1 Monday, 1 October 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.19 p.m.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon to everyone.
6 Mr. Registrar, would you please call the case.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Good afternoon, Your Honours. Good afternoon to
8 everyone in the courtroom. This is case number IT-04-84-T, the Prosecutor
9 versus Ramush Haradinaj et al.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
11 The Chamber was informed that both parties would like to address
12 the Chamber.
13 Mr. Emmerson.
14 MR. EMMERSON: I can do so very briefly.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
16 MR. EMMERSON: I simply wanted to raise the question of the
17 witness who is provisionally due to testify on Thursday, Zoran Stijovic.
18 The Prosecution served on the Defence late on Wednesday night a 92
19 ter witness statement with exhibits to follow on the Thursday. And I
20 notified Mr. Re and Mr. Zahar directly that given the anticipated content
21 of the statement, the Defence would wish to file a motion concerning the
22 admissibility of significant portions of the testimony that is to be
23 adduced particularly in the form of summaries of documents annexed to the
24 witness statement and the annexes themselves.
25 That motion is close to being finalised and will be filed today,
1 but one consequence may be certain difficulties so far as dealing with the
2 evidence of Mr. Stijovic in full on Thursday is concerned, because given
3 the nature of the anticipated testimony and the extent to which it relies
4 upon material to which objection is taken, this is a matter which, in our
5 submission, as we have set out in detail in the motion, needs properly to
6 be resolved before the witness testifies.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Of course the Chamber cannot respond in any way
8 before we have seen your submissions, but we were on notice already that
9 the Chamber could expect a filing in relation to this witness.
10 Now, in the beginning you -- I think you carefully avoided
11 mentioning the name, perhaps because there's -- it was uncertain whether
12 there would be any protective measures.
13 MR. EMMERSON: No, in fact I did mention the name and --
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then -- you then did, yes.
15 MR. EMMERSON: I'm told -- I've been informed that there is no
16 application for protective measures with respect to this witness.
17 JUDGE ORIE: There'll be no applications for --
18 MR. RE: No. In respect of all four witnesses we have listed for
19 this week, there are no applications for protective measures.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. That's good. Yes, then -- okay. Then we'll
21 wait and then this evening look at these submissions.
22 Any other matter by the Defence?
23 MR. GUY-SMITH: With regard to the same matter, we will be joining
24 in the submissions and may -- may well be filing additional submissions
25 and we will be filing those by tomorrow morning.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
2 MR. HARVEY: We will be taking the same position.
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Thank you.
4 Then Mr. Re.
5 MR. RE: I -- I appreciate it's not the test whether the Defence
6 are objecting to parts of a statement or which parts, but I just notify
7 the Trial Chamber if Mr. Stijovic, who is supposed to be arriving on
8 Wednesday, doesn't testify on Thursday, we will probably not have any
9 witnesses as of Thursday. Professor Lecomte is coming on Wednesday and is
10 available, we have told, only on Wednesday, she's in the middle of a trial
11 in Paris. So those are our plans and if Mr. Stijovic doesn't come, we
12 will have a difficulty. We have tried to get a reserve witness --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
14 MR. RE: -- but we haven't been successful.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Of course we cannot anticipate on a situation
16 still to a certain extent unknown to the Chamber, but we are on notice of
17 that as well.
18 Was there any other matter the Prosecution would like to raise?
20 MR. RE: No, Your Honour.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Then is the Prosecution ready to call its next
22 witness? I do understand your next witness to be Mr. Shaban Balaj.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: That's correct. I anticipate his evidence will be
24 a combination of evidence adduced under Rule 92 ter --
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: -- and orally.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I was informed that you have prepared a 92 ter
3 summary for the first 17 paragraphs of his statement.
4 Are there any objections against the summary? Mr. Emnmerson is
5 nodding no. Mr. Guy-Smith, Mr. Harvey, that's three times "no."
6 Then, Madam Usher, could you please escort the witness into the
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Will I be reading it out into the transcript?
9 JUDGE ORIE: I think if you read it when the witness is there --
10 MR. DI FAZIO: Sure.
11 JUDGE ORIE: -- then he is also aware --
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Yes, I agree.
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE ORIE: Good afternoon, Mr. Balaj. Can you hear me in a
15 language you understand?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I do.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Balaj, before you give evidence in this court,
18 the Rules of Procedure and Evidence require you to make a solemn
19 declaration that you'll speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
20 the truth. I'd like to invite you to make that solemn declaration.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
22 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I swear.
23 WITNESS: SHABAN BALAJ
24 [Witness answered through interpreter]
25 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Balaj. Please be seated.
1 Mr. Balaj, you will be first -- you'll be first examined by
2 counsel for the Prosecution. I do not know whether you were informed
3 about the way this is done. Since you have given already a statement,
4 part of this statement will be summarised and -- so you don't have to
5 repeat that portion, but then other parts you'll be examined about and
6 then you'll have to answer the questions.
7 Mr. Di Fazio.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
9 If Your Honours please, I'd propose to ask the witness to identify
10 his statement, and once he's done that and I've sought its admission, then
11 I propose to read the summary, if that's okay.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And then, of course, apart from seeking him to
13 identify his statement, the obligatory questions related to it.
14 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Please proceed.
16 MR. DI FAZIO: I'd ask that the witness be shown on the screen his
17 statement, and that is 65 ter 2067. And it should be the Albanian signed
19 Examination by Mr. Di Fazio:
20 Q. Could we scroll down to the bottom, please.
21 Mr. Balaj, would you look to the bottom of that particular page.
22 Do you see your signature on the commencement page of that statement? Can
23 you see --
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Thanks. You can pull your chair in a little closer if you want
1 and just speak up a little bit so we can hear you. And you'll be there
2 for a little while, so just relax.
3 A. Okay.
4 Q. Could the witness be shown the next page, please, at the bottom
5 again. Thank you.
6 And same question, Mr. Balaj: Is that your signature at the
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Thank you. And the next page, please, again at the bottom.
10 Same question: Your signature?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Thank you. Again, please, with the next page.
13 The same question: Is that your signature that appears at the
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And just the last -- if we could do this just one more time,
17 please. Next page.
18 And again, at the bottom, is your signature, or at least part of
19 your signature, apparent?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Thank you. And is that a statement that you gave to officers of
22 the -- of the Office of the Prosecutor on the 2nd and 8th of June --
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Thank you. And does it contain material that you would provide
25 evidence of here in this court if you were asked questions about that?
1 Those topics, that material.
2 A. I will respond as much as I can.
3 Q. Yes. But my -- my question is simply this: The first 17
4 paragraphs of this statement deal with all sorts of topics, including
5 trips to Albania to procure arms and so on. If you were asked questions
6 about that topic, would you repeat what is contained in your statement up
7 to that point, up to paragraph 17?
8 A. I will.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 MR. DI FAZIO: If Your Honours please, I seek to tender the
11 statement into evidence under the Rule.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Any objections against? No objections. Then
13 it is submitted into evidence.
14 Just for my information, Mr. Di Fazio, we received a copy of a
15 statement which just says "the 2nd of June, 2007" and one of the -- I see
16 that this is a combined --
17 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
18 JUDGE ORIE: -- version.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: I think there's just simply an oversight. The one
20 on the 2nd of June is in all respects almost completely identical to the
21 one dated the 2nd and 8th of June. It had to be fine-tuned and some minor
22 matters were adjusted in it.
23 The one that you should have is the English translation which
24 bears the "2nd and 8th of June."
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: That is the final polished version, so to speak, of
2 the statement that --
3 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I have it on my screen at this moment, the
4 English translation.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: So that's 2nd and 8th of June.
6 JUDGE ORIE: But there are no major differences, from what I
8 MR. DI FAZIO: No. No. It's just -- no, there -- I'm sure there
9 are no differences at all.
10 JUDGE ORIE: No differences at all.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: But nonetheless, just for the sake of safety, can
12 we deal with the 2nd and 8th of June.
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I've got it -- I've got that version now on my
14 screen. So please proceed --
15 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll now --
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. But first of all admitted into evidence but not
17 yet assigned an exhibit number.
18 Mr. Registrar, that would be ...?
19 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be P922.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Registrar.
21 Please proceed, Mr. Di Fazio.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
23 If Your Honours please, I'll now read a summary - and it's only a
24 summary - of the evidence that is contained in those portions of
25 Mr. Balaj's witness statement that has just been introduced into evidence.
1 Shaban Balaj joined the KLA in March 1998 in his village of
2 Strellc. A village guard was established after hearing that Gllogjan had
3 also organised such a guard. Following the establishment of the village
4 guard, the witness and about 40 people from his village left to obtain
5 weapons in Albania and met up with other groups also engaged in the same
7 The witness and his group made it to - I don't know how to
8 pronounce this, I think it's Tropoje - and purchased arms and then headed
9 back to Kosovo with the weapons being transported on horseback. They
10 returned to Kosovo and going via Upper Jasic or Jasic, Junik, Rracaj, and
11 then Gllogjan. From Gllogjan, they travelled to Strellc as Serb forces
12 were located on the main roads.
13 Mr. Balaj was aware of other such trips to Albania to purchase
14 weapons from the end of March and some of his fellow villagers went on
15 such convoys, most of which passed through Gllogjan, as this was the
16 safest route, although other more dangerous routes existed through
17 Carabreg and Strellc.
18 Around the 7th or 8th of May, 1998, Mr. Balaj escorted a large
19 group of people on their way from Drenica to Albania to obtain weapons.
20 He acted as a guide and assisted the group as far as Gllogjan.
21 Convoys travelled at night because Serb forces were not active at
23 Mr. Balaj speaks of the communications methods adopted by
24 villages, and this consisted of the use of satellite phones.
25 Mr. Balaj noted the positions of Serb forces. Checkpoints existed
1 along the Peja-Gjakova road, including two such checkpoints near Upper
2 Strellc. Another check-point along the same road was located near Prilep,
3 with one or two hundred Serb paramilitary and police forces. Other Serb
4 positions existed at other points along this road as well as in various
5 villages, such as Ljubenic and Decane itself.
6 Occasionally Serb forces would venture from the main road for
7 short periods of time. Serb forces entered Ljubisa or Ljubisa, Prilep,
8 Carabreg. In May, Vranoc and Baran were captured for a short period of
9 time by Serb forces.
10 JUDGE HOEPFEL: Please, a bit slower.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: A bit slower. I'm sorry.
12 However, between the end of March and mid-August 1998, Serb forces
13 were generally restricted to locations along the Peja-Gjakova road,
14 although they did hold positions at Suka Herec, Suka Radonicka,
15 Suka Babaloq, and Suka Bites.
16 Mr. Balaj first received a KLA uniform from Albania during a trip
17 there in March 1998 and it featured camouflage patterning and KLA
19 Letters or authorisation cards were issued by KLA commanders
20 permitting travel within KLA areas. Such authorisation cards were
21 required to allow a person to pass through KLA checkpoints -- through KLA
22 checkpoints. Almost all villages north and west of Lake Radonjic had KLA
23 checkpoints. New cards were required for each -- each new trip an
24 individual undertook.
25 That, if Your Honours please, is just a summary of the written
1 portion of the evidence that -- of Mr. Balaj that was just tendered.
2 Just one final matter on the statement before we turn to his oral
3 evidence. Could the -- could we scroll back until we find paragraph 5 of
4 the -- of the statement, please. In the Albanian version, paragraph 5.
5 Q. Mr. Balaj, would you just have a look at that. Just have a look
6 at paragraph 5.
7 And perhaps we could make it big.
8 Can you -- can you read it easily, paragraph 5? Can you see it
9 there? Number 5.
10 A. Yes. Yes.
11 Q. Okay. Now, I think you might want to make a change to the date
12 there. It says that at the end of March a group of people went to --
13 went -- left your village to go to Albania. Now, do you want to change
14 the date and give us a -- another -- another date? Is that correct?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. What -- when did this expedition --
17 A. Yes. Yes. It happened at the end of April. It is a mistake
19 Q. All right. So you want to correct that, and paragraph 5 should
20 read "at the end of April," and then all of the events that you describe
21 happened in that paragraph.
22 A. That's right. You're right.
23 Q. Okay.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. If Your Honours please, I've done with
25 that particular witness -- particular statement.
1 Q. All right. Mr. Balaj, could you tell me if these personal details
2 are correct: In 1998, you were living in Lower Strellc; is that correct?
3 A. Yes, that's correct.
4 Q. As far as your own brothers and sisters are concerned, I think you
5 had two sisters and two brothers; is that correct?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. One of those sisters was named Sanije.
8 A. Yes, correct.
9 Q. She was born, I believe, on the 5th of December, 1963, and that
10 made her about 35 years old in 1998. Would that be --
11 A. Yes. Correct.
12 Q. And in 1998, she was the owner of a -- and in 1998, she was the
13 owner of a -- of a small travel agency in -- in Peja.
14 A. In 1997.
15 Q. I see. Okay. And in 1998, was she living with you?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And she was unmarried.
18 A. No, she wasn't.
19 Q. All right. Thanks. I want you to turn your mind, please, to
20 events on the 11th of August, 1998.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. I withdraw that, and I apologise. I'll reformulate my question.
23 I want to draw your attention to events on the 12th of August, 1998.
24 A. Shall I start?
25 Q. No, no, just wait for my question. On -- on that particular day,
1 was your sister residing with you?
2 A. Yes. Yes.
3 Q. Did she -- did she go anywhere on that particular day?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Where was she intending to go and what was the reason for her
7 A. She was intending to go to Peja.
8 Q. What for? Why?
9 A. She wanted to buy a mobile phone.
10 Q. And how did she commence her journey? How did she start to get
12 A. At 8.30 in the morning, Hamdija and Haziri came, my cousins. They
13 came by car. Hamdija was on the wheel. And I asked them, "Where are you
14 going." And they said to Rosulje. I said, "Can my sister come along with
15 you up to Rosulje and pass through Gllogjan?" Because that was the safest
16 road for females to use, because they -- otherwise they couldn't go to
18 They said yes. I gave them 2.000 -- I gave my sister 2.700
19 Deutschmarks, because that was the price for a mobile phone. They set out
20 on their journey.
21 When it was 3.00 or 4.00, I think, in the afternoon.
22 Q. Okay. Can I just ask you to pause there. I just want a few more
23 details, please.
24 Firstly, were -- were there any children traveling on the trip in
25 addition to your sister and -- and your -- and your two cousins?
1 A. No. There was a cousin, about 18 years old. He was also going to
2 Peje to see father, because his family lived in Peje. He was going to
3 Rosulje but he had nothing to do with the others. He just was a
4 passenger, let's say. And then from Rosulje, he would go to a friend of
5 his family and then wait for the bus that went to Peja.
6 They went up to Baran. There was a check-point of KLA there,
7 self-styled KLA, actually.
8 Q. Right. Well, we'll ask you -- let me ask you the questions about
9 that. But just tell me this: After --
10 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Di Fazio, I noticed that the French translation
11 is a couple of lines behind. So if you would please slow down a bit so
12 that everyone has time to --
13 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes.
14 JUDGE ORIE: -- transcribe and to translate.
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Certainly, Your Honours. I apologise for -- yes, I
16 apologise for my speed.
17 There's just --
18 MR. GUY-SMITH: Also, if I might caution Mr. Di Fazio to make a
19 distinction between that information which is from the personal knowledge
20 of the witness and that information which is hearsay information.
21 JUDGE ORIE: I take it that you take that on board, Mr. Di Fazio.
22 MR. DI FAZIO: I certainly do.
23 MR. EMMERSON: Just one matter of clarification best with, I
24 think, with the witness. Page 13, line 2 the route to be taken is
25 recorded as "passed through Gllogjan?"
1 I think the witness's testimony was Leshan rather than Gllogjan.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Could you please seek clarification of that.
3 MR. DI FAZIO: I will. In fact, I'll show him a map and ask him
4 to -- at a later point to indicate some of these places but perhaps I'll
5 just clarify that last point.
6 Q. As far as you're aware, did your sister's intended route that
7 morning on her way to collect her telephone -- buy her telephone, would
8 that have taken her through Gllogjan or would she have avoided it?
9 A. No. No. The road didn't pass through Gllogjan but through Baran
10 and to Rosulje then. There is Leshan village where the bus stopped,
11 because the bus didn't go to Rosulje but to Leshan village. That was
12 where the bus that went to Peje stopped.
13 Q. Thank you. And just one more question about your sister. Was she
14 ever a member of the KLA as far as you were aware?
15 A. She was to buy foodstuffs for the families that I kept in my own
16 home in Malisheve. She was wearing a uniform but it was a uniform I gave
17 her and she was carrying a rifle that I gave her. She was there to
18 purchase some foodstuffs. She met some girls who were singing the
19 Albanian hymn and hoisting the flag. She sang a couple of songs with them
20 and she lined up with them. That was as far as her KLA, let's say,
21 participation lasted.
22 Q. Thank you for explaining that. And on this particular day that
23 she left in the car to go off and buy the telephone, was she dressed in
24 KLA uniform or was she dressed in civilian clothes?
25 A. No. She was wearing normal dress and she was wearing sandals and
1 carrying a bag.
2 Q. Thank you. Following her departure with these -- with your
3 cousins, in the car, did you ever see your sister alive again?
4 A. Never. Only on the day that I received her dead body from the
6 Q. Very well. Okay. Now, you -- earlier you started to tell us that
7 you learnt of certain matters that day. Could you now tell Trial Chamber
8 if -- if you saw your cousins again, the men that she'd left with that
9 morning, and where and when you saw them and under what circumstances.
10 A. Haziri came back. In Baran they were stopped. Commander Mete
11 Krasniqi, he was self-styled commander of the KLA.
12 Q. Can I just ask you -- can I just interrupt you there. I'm going
13 to ask you to give details about what your cousins told you. But we want
14 to be clear -- the Trial Chamber wants to be clear and all the lawyers
15 want to know how you know things. And at this stage, I'm just asking you
16 to tell -- tell the Trial Chamber what your cousins said to you when you
17 saw them again that day. Just report to the Trial Chamber what they told
18 you when you first saw them again.
19 A. My cousins went up to Rosulje, returned to Baran, and asked for my
20 sister. And they were told that she went to Strellc, to her village.
21 They came back from Baran and came up to me. It was about 3.30 or 4.00, I
22 think, 2.30. I can't be very precise. And they recount -- they asked me,
23 "Is Sanije back?" I said, "No." And I said, "What happened?" And they
24 said, "That Mete Krasniqi came out and stopped us," them, that is. There
25 was Vesel Dizdari with him, Avni Krasniqi, Iber Krasniqi and this person
1 who killed her, his pseudonym was Galani. At that time, I didn't know
2 him. His name is Idriz Gashi. I talked with them and I took my car, took
3 my rifle.
4 Q. Okay. Just pause there. Now, this information that you've just
5 given us - okay, that -- that she'd been stopped and amongst the persons
6 who stopped her were all of these gentlemen, Ahmet Krasniqi,
7 Iber Krasniqi, and so on. Were you actually told, actually given those
8 names, actually told that by your cousins when they returned or is this
9 something you've learnt later?
10 A. No. They told me -- they showed me the persons who stopped--
11 persons who stopped them. I dressed, got my car and my rifle, and
12 together with Hamdi and Hazir we went to Baran.
13 Q. And I just want to be clear about one name. I may have misled
14 you, I suspect. But I think you mentioned Mete Krasniqi, not Ahmet
15 Krasniqi; is that correct?
16 A. That's correct, Mete Krasniqi.
17 Q. All right. Thanks. Okay.
18 All right. Well, now, you told us that you started to -- to do
19 things. Tell us how you -- what you decided to do, how you approached
20 this -- this business when you -- when your cousins returned. What did
21 you do?
22 A. I was very understand -- understand -- upset, indeed, because I
23 didn't owe them anything. And I set out very sad and angry at the same
24 time. I wanted to meet them.
25 We went to the red school that was Shkolle e Kuqe in Albanian,
1 where the military police were located.
2 Q. Just pause there. Just pause there. Who were you in company
4 A. I was with Hamdi and Hazir, my cousins.
5 Q. And the school that you went to, which village is that located in?
6 A. In Baran.
7 Q. Now, think carefully about this question: On the way to Baran,
8 did you stop anywhere?
9 A. I stopped at Gani Gjukaj's to ask him go.
10 Q. Now, just explain to the Trial Chamber who Gani Gjukaj is and why
11 you stopped there. Just explain to the Trial Chamber why you stopped at
12 his house, what you did there.
13 A. Gani Gjukaj was a commander of the village. He was a very sincere
14 person. I stopped at his house to ask him -- I forgot to mention that on
15 the 11th of August I went to him and took the authorisation, an official
16 authorisation, for my sister to travel up to Rosulje because I didn't want
17 her to go to the Serb-controlled territory but to Rosulje which was
18 controlled by the KLA.
19 I stopped and asked Gani, "Do you know anything about what
20 happened?" He said, "No." And then I continued my way towards Baran.
21 When I arrived in Baran, I went to the Shkolle e Kuqe it was
22 called, meaning red school. Now it is white-washed. It is white.
23 I entered the school, I didn't find anyone there, and turned to go
24 towards Vranoc to meet Mete Krasniqi. On the way to Vranoc Hazir told me
25 here is Mete with the white van.
1 Q. Okay. Could I just ask you to pause there. You said that you
2 went -- you continued -- you went to Vranoc.
3 A. Yes. We set out for Vranoc.
4 Q. Yes. And you went there to meet Mete Krasniqi -- Mete Krasniqi.
5 What --
6 A. We set out to go to Vranoc but we met him at the entrance to
7 Vranoc. There is a gas station there.
8 Q. I suppose my question is this: What was your plan before you met
9 Mete Krasniqi? What had you intended to do by going to Vranoc? What was
10 in your mind?
11 A. I wanted to ask him where my sister was and in the first place why
12 they had stopped her.
13 Q. All right. So you were specifically looking, do I understand, for
14 this gentleman Mete Krasniqi?
15 A. Because this is what my cousins told me. They told me that he was
16 the main person among those persons who had stopped them.
17 Q. Okay. All right. Well, you met him in the white -- in -- you met
18 him in a white van. Can you tell the Trial Chamber what happened upon
19 your encounter with him.
20 A. I blocked his road with my car. I came out of the car together
21 with Hamdi and Hazir. He was with another person whom I didn't know. I
22 don't know even now. I don't know who he was and I don't know his name.
23 I opened the door of his van and told him to come out and asked
24 him where my sister was. He answered and told me that they took her to
25 Gllogjan. I said, "Why?" He said, "Because -- we stopped her and they
1 took her to Gllogjan." I said to him, "If my sister does not come from
2 Gllogjan, you will pay with your own life." I shut his door, he didn't
3 say a word, and went on his way.
4 I returned. When I set out for Gllogjan, I knew -- I knew -- I
5 felt that it was a lie that Mete Krasniqi told me, but there was nothing I
6 could do, because in Gllogjan people are not taken, are not killed. He
7 just said that to lie to me.
8 I, as I had set out to Gllogjan, when I was half in the --
9 halfway, there was an -- a lot of fighting going on. I tried to enter
10 Gllogjan, but I couldn't.
11 Q. Can I just ask you to pause there for a moment. Is there a
12 village in your area called Zllapek?
13 A. Yes. I forgot about it. Sorry.
14 Q. I just want to know, when the -- did you go to this village on
15 this day you're telling us about or not?
16 A. Yes, we did go to Zllapek. We called Vesel Dizdari, we spoke with
17 him. And he said, "Follow this issue because Mete and his brothers are
18 very dangerous and especially that person called Galan." I did not know
19 him, this person.
20 We continued. I left Hamdi in Strellc and with Hazir we went to
21 Gllogjan. As we went towards Gllogjan, there was a lot of fighting going
23 Q. Thanks. I still want to get some more details please about this
24 encounter in Zllapek. I haven't finished with that.
25 You spoke to Vesel Dizdari.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And he said follow this issue because Mete and his brothers are
3 dangerous. Were any names mentioned other than Mete?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Were any names mentioned other than Mete Krasniqi's name?
6 A. Well, these were known, these people. Avni, Iber -- people knew
7 that they were a group and that person called Galani, that everybody knows
8 about him today.
9 However, at that time nobody knew his name until the year 2000,
10 2001. I did not know his real name. That was Idriz Gashi. I only knew
11 him as Galani, Commander Galani of Lugu.
12 Q. Thanks. And that shows why we have to be careful about being
13 precise; all right? Because what I'd like to know is this: On that day
14 when you were standing there with Vesel Dizdari - not later - but on that
15 day, on that very day, were any other names mentioned to you by anyone,
16 actually spoken out loud, other that Mete Krasniqi? That's what I want to
17 know. Not something you learnt later. But on that day, that very day.
18 A. On that day, I did not meet anybody else who mentioned their
19 names. After that day, I learnt that there had been Cufe Krasniqi who had
20 interrogated my sister. That evening I heard that he had been the one who
21 had interrogated her, but not that day. At the time when I was going to
22 Gllogjan, about Cufe Krasniqi, that he had interrogated her. It was
23 either the same evening or the next day that I learned that Cufe Krasniqi
24 had interrogated her.
25 Q. Okay. Well, just tell us from whom did you learn that.
1 A. I don't understand the question.
2 Q. Who told you? Who said -- who informed you that Cufe Krasniqi had
3 interrogated her?
4 A. Vesel Dizdari. When I returned from Gllogjan. Because I went
5 back to him. He told me that Cufe Krasniqi, deputy commander he was
6 called, was the one.
7 Q. All right. Well, let's just go back now to your very first visit
8 to Zllapek when you first spoke to Vesel Dizdari. Just -- just --
9 A. It was about --
10 Q. Okay. Just wait for my question. Just wait for it and I'll ask
12 Did you explain about your concern for your sister to him? Just
13 answer that for now.
14 A. Yes, I did. And he was looking at me and he did not come close to
15 my car. He spoke to Hamdi and Hazir more, because he could see that I was
16 very upset. He did not approach me.
17 Q. Now, you've already told us that on this occasion that he
18 mentioned Mete Krasniqi. Did he say anything to you about what
19 Mete Krasniqi had -- what connection he had with your concern about your
21 A. I don't understand the question.
22 Q. You said you -- you explained to him your -- your worries about
23 what had happened with your sister. Do I understand?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And did he explain to you or say anything to you about
1 Mete Krasniqi? If so, what precisely did he say to you about him??
2 A. Who do you mean? Mete?
3 Q. What did Vesel Dizdari say to you about Mete?
4 A. Vesel Dizdari said that, "She has been stopped and please follow
6 Q. Did he say anything about who stopped her?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Did he provide you with any names of who stopped her?
9 A. She had been stopped by Mete Krasniqi. He was the first one to
10 stop her. And my cousins told me that Mete Krasniqi was the first. My
11 cousins knew Mete Krasniqi, Avni, Iber, while this other person, Galani,
12 they didn't know him.
13 There were other people there, about 30 or 40 or 50. I don't know
14 how many. But they were not the ones to stop her. Only these that I
15 mentioned had stopped her.
16 Q. Thank you very much. Okay. All right. So after Zllapek, where
17 did you proceed from there and after speaking to Vesel Dizdari?
18 A. I went back home. My friends, my relatives had come because of
19 all these -- this sadness that had befallen our family. Why should this
20 happen to us? Because people had learned that she had been stopped and
21 they were asking why and how. Friends from the KLA had come to my house.
22 Neighbours, relatives. And I went to Gllogjan with Hazir. Hamdi did not
23 come with us. He -- we -- he got off. But when we went close to
24 Gllogjan, it was raining and there was fighting and we could not get in
25 there. That's where we met a soldier from Gllogjan, coming from Gllogjan,
1 and I turned the car. This soldier came in. His surname was Dervishaj.
2 I don't know his first name.
3 So we travelled to Gllogjan, and we went home.
4 Q. All right. Okay. Do I understand you that you didn't actually
5 make it into the village of Gllogjan? Just answer me yes or no. You
6 didn't actually get into Gllogjan because of the fighting.
7 A. No, we couldn't get in because there was fighting going on.
8 Q. Thanks. Now, explain to the Trial Chamber why you went there in
9 the first place. What was -- what was in your mind? What did you intend
10 to do if you'd been able to get through?
11 A. I knew that this was a provocation on the part of Mete. But I
12 wanted to know and I wanted to reveal his lie, because he lied to me. He
13 lied. He betrayed and he was untruthful to me. I knew that there was
14 nothing true in what he told me.
15 I told Hamdi and Hazir after we left that he lied to us and he
16 betrayed us.
17 Q. All right. Well, that -- that might be what you thought. But how
18 was going to Gllogjan going to help you? What exactly were you intending
19 to do?
20 Or to put the question another way: What would you have done if
21 you'd been able to get into Gllogjan?
22 A. Well, I intended to go to my father's uncle's, because they lived
23 in Gllogjan, Sejfijaj, is the surname, and asked them. And I intended to
24 meet Ramush, because I knew that Mete Krasniqi had lied. I just wanted to
25 uncover this lie. Because I had never heard about any wrongdoings
1 occurring in Gllogjan. I thought I was betrayed. I was lost. He
2 betrayed me. And that's why I wanted to go there.
3 Q. Thank you. Is that Ramush Haradinaj?
4 A. Where do you mean?
5 Q. You said that you wanted to -- intended to meet Ramush. My
6 question is: Do you mean Ramush Haradinaj? Is it --
7 A. Yes. Yes. I wanted to meet him personally, because he was a very
8 polite person. There was no problem in meeting him. I could have met him
9 if I wanted --
10 Q. I just want to understand. So you -- were you going to take your
11 problem to him and enlist his aid, if possible?
12 A. Yes, of course.
13 Q. Thank you. All right. So you didn't make it into Gllogjan
14 because of the fighting. And did you return home?
15 A. No, I couldn't get there, so I went back home.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Balaj, could I -- no, it's me speaking at this
18 Could I ask you not to seek eye contact at this moment with the
19 accused. Would you please focus on Mr. Di Fazio, who's putting the
20 questions to you, and could I also ask the accused not to in any way
21 respond to eye contact either established by you or by the witness.
22 Please proceed.
23 MR. DI FAZIO: All right. Thank you, Your Honours.
24 Q. I want you to start thinking now about the -- the events of the
25 next day; that's the 13th. Did you continue your inquiries to try and
1 locate your sister?
2 A. Yes, the next day, early in the morning, I continued -- I went to
3 Lugu i Baranit, where she was executed. We asked people around whether
4 they had seen her and I could get through to Cufe Krasniqi, but he was not
5 there. The second day, I asked people again and I went to Tahir Zemaj in
6 Prapacan. I explained him the case, what had happened.
7 Q. Just a minute. The next day -- this is the 13th you're talking
8 about now. You said you went to Lugu i Baran. Did you actually go to
10 A. Yes. I went to Lugu i Baranit and to Tahir Zemaj the same day.
11 Q. Okay. Yeah, did you actually go to the village of Baran as well
12 apart from going to Lugu i Baran?
13 A. I went there, but I couldn't meet any of the people who had
14 stopped my sister. I saw the people. I saw other soldiers. I went
15 inside. But I couldn't meet Mete. I couldn't meet Vesel. Neither Avni
16 or Iber, although the latter I only knew him very little, by face.
17 I saw people there but I didn't know them. I asked for
18 Cufe Krasniqi, a soldier came out and he said that he didn't know where he
19 was. I went to Tahir Zemaj. I told the story to him. He said that they
20 would take measures. He must have undertaken his investigation as well.
21 Q. All right. Now, this is all -- this is all happening the next
22 day. Do I understand you correctly? The -- the 13th, that's when you
23 saw -- when you saw Tahir Zemaj.
24 A. Yes. Yes.
25 Q. Now, you've mentioned -- you've mentioned this gentleman
1 Cufe Krasniqi in your evidence.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Did you see him at all that day?
4 A. The next day, on the 14th, I think it was. That's what -- that's
5 when I met him. I went first in the morning. I couldn't see him. Then I
6 went at about 2.00 or 3.00 p.m. He was inside. A soldier called him.
7 Cufe came out. And he begged me --
8 Q. All right. Well, I'm going to ask you about Cufe Krasniqi later,
9 but let's just go through it in chronological order. We're still now
10 dealing with the 13th, the day after.
11 You've told us that you went to Baran.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You spoke to Tahir Zemaj and he said --
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And he said that they would take measures. Do you know what
16 measures were taken?
17 A. Yes. Tahir Zemaj had called Mete Krasniqi, Avni Krasniqi, and
18 Iber Krasniqi, Cufe Krasniqi as well, all of them and some other people
19 whose names I don't know, and he had asked him questions -- them
20 questions. But Idriz Gashi had left; he did not report to Tahir Zemaj to
21 be questioned. So he did not go there.
22 Q. Do you know a gentleman named Hysen or Hysan Gashi?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you know --
25 A. Hysen Gashi.
1 Q. Thank you for the pronunciation. Hysen Gashi. Do you know a
2 gentleman named Fadil Nimani? Fadil Nimani?
3 A. Yes, I know that person. He was a very good man, a good
4 strategist, and he came from a very good family.
5 Q. Did you see either of those two gentlemen in your searches for
6 your sister or --
7 A. Yes. Yes. Yes, I met them.
8 Q. Okay. And how did you come to meet them?
9 A. Tahir Zemaj took me to them. When I went back for the second
10 time, he introduced me to them and they started asking me questions about
11 what happened to my sister. They were not in Tahir's barracks. They were
12 situated in the clinic close to the road, close to the school where the
13 barracks were located.
14 I went into their office. They started to take notes. We started
15 speaking about my sister. And for four or five days I went there and they
16 asked me questions and I wanted information from them about my sister's
18 Q. Thank you. Anyway, it was Tahir Zemaj who introduced you to them;
19 do I understand you correctly?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And it was after he introduced you to them that they started this
22 business of asking questions?
23 A. Yes. They started asking questions such as: Where was your
24 sister intending to go? What did she want to buy? There was -- they were
25 asking me how I felt, and please don't rush into things. Everything will
1 be clear in -- and Fadil will clear up everything.
2 So every day I went there from 2.00 p.m. in the evening or 8.00 in
3 the morning till noon. Sometimes I went in the morning, sometimes in the
4 evening -- in the afternoon. And I thanked them for the way they worked
5 with me and -- for their work. The fourth or the fifth day I was waiting
6 for them and they came in and Fadil Nimani said, "Well, my condolences,
7 because your sister is dead." And then I lost consciousness. They gave
8 me some water to drink. And I left.
9 Q. Thank you. While we're on this specific topic, did they explain
10 how she had met her death?
11 A. No. No. They just said that they had learnt that my sister had
12 died and that they would investigate further into the case, try to find
13 her body. I greeted them and left, because -- and I also thanked them
14 because of the work they had done. I just pleaded with them for me to be
15 able to get her body back, and they told me -- they told me that they
16 would continue investigating. And that's how we parted.
17 Q. Thank you for that explanation.
18 All right. Now, let's just -- we've gone ahead a few days. Now,
19 let's go back now to the 13th. Okay? That's the day after you first
20 learnt of your sister's disappearance. All right?
21 Now, you've told us that on that day -- on that day you met
22 Tahir Zemaj and that various things happened. You also said that you did
23 not meet Cufe Krasniqi that day but the day after. So that takes us to
24 the 14th. Correct?
25 A. Well, the 13th or the 14th. I'm not really sure. But either one
1 of those dates --
2 Q. All right.
3 A. -- it could be the one that I met him.
4 Q. Fine. Fine. Fine. I understand. I'm not going to press you to
5 it. That's understandable.
6 Can you tell us this, at least: Would you say that you met
7 Cufe Krasniqi on the same day that you met Tahir Zemaj or was it on the
8 day after?
9 A. It could have been the same day or the day after. I can't
10 remember exactly. It's been a long time. However, I met him -- as I told
11 you, I asked for him at the gate of the barracks. A soldier went to get
12 him. Cufe came out --
13 Q. Slow it down. Slow it down, first of all. Firstly, where? What
14 village did you -- where did you see him, Mr. Cufe Krasniqi?
15 A. In Baran, where the barracks were, the military barracks.
16 Q. Thanks. Did you seek him out?
17 A. Yes, I did.
18 Q. And what was your purpose? Why him?
19 A. Well, I wanted to ask him about my sister, what happened to her
20 and where she was.
21 Q. Thank you. And did you actually succeed in having a meeting with
22 him and speaking to him about this?
23 A. Yes. It was a very calm encounter. He -- we shook hands and he
24 asked me who I was. I told him that I was Shaban Balaj from Strellc and
25 that I had gone there to ask about my sister and what happened to her,
1 because I was told that he had interrogated her.
2 There was a little shop there, a coffee-shop. He told me we could
3 go there and drink something. I said no. He said, "Let's go back into
4 the barracks." I said, "No." I was unshaven. I had a Kalashnikov in my
5 hand, but not to threaten him or anything.
6 We got into my car, a red Lada [as interpreted], and he told me
7 what had happened. He said that he had been in the office of Nazif
8 Ramabaja; Avni Krasniqi and Iber Krasniqi had come and told him that they
9 had captured a Serb collaborator, a -- a suspicious person and had asked
10 him to interrogate her.
11 He had gone there, greeted her. There were three of them there:
12 Avni, Iber, and Galani. Avni and Iber had left the room, the office. He
13 had asked her questions, where she was from. My sister had answered him.
14 And I found," he said, "I found a name of a person" -- well, I'm not sure
15 whether that was true. I think that that was a slander. Dragan Corovic.
16 Q. Can I just ask you, just pause there. You're doing well so far.
17 All I want you to do now is not tell us what you think, what's true,
18 what's slanderous, what isn't. Just tell us what came out of his mouth.
19 Just tell us, tell the Trial Chamber what he told you as you're sitting in
20 the car. Continue, please.
21 A. Well, he didn't say anything to this effect when we were in the
22 car. He just said there was nothing about her and that he had released
23 her. Even in the trial in Peja he did not mention this. However, even if
24 she really had an address in her notebook, she had a travel agency. And
25 when she had this agency, there were lots of Serbs living in Peje and they
1 travelled, of course, as we did.
2 He said that Galani stayed in the office all the time while she
3 was interrogating Sanije, while Avni and Iber had gone out. When he had
4 opened the bag that my sister had and found the 2.800 Deutschmarks in
5 there, Galan was in the office. I don't know why that person was in the
6 office while he was conducting this kind of job.
7 However, he left. So he got out of the car, and I went on my way
9 Q. Thank you. Okay. Now, you said that Mr. Cufe -- Cufe, sorry,
10 Cufe Krasniqi had said, "I found a -- a name of a person. Well, I'm not
11 sure whether that was true." He actually said those words to you? Is
12 that what your -- is that your evidence?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And the name Dragan Corovic, was that the name -- did he actually
15 mention that name to you as you were sitting in the car discussing this?
16 A. No, he didn't mention that name in the car. I heard it here. He
17 didn't mention that even when he gave a statement to Peje court when the
18 accused was condemned.
19 MR. DI FAZIO: Could Your Honours just give me a moment.
20 [Prosecution counsel confer]
21 MR. DI FAZIO: All right. Okay.
22 Q. You said that you -- earlier in your evidence today that you had
23 gone to Gllogjan in an attempt to get into the village and that part of
24 your reasoning was that you had gone -- you had wanted to take your case
25 to -- to Mr. -- Mr. Ramush Haradinaj. Did -- as far as you're aware, did
1 Mr. Haradinaj respond in any way to your predicament?
2 A. I don't remember the date. I don't remember -- because I was very
3 upset indeed. After three, four, or five days - I'm not sure - I went
4 again to Gllogjan with Hazir. There was Taf Tafaj, an in-law of ours, who
5 accompanied us up to Gllogjan in my car. He's got nothing to do with this
6 affair. He was simply escorting us. He didn't know anything.
7 We entered Gllogjan, met an old man there, greeted him, and asked
8 him, "Do you have a prison here?" He smiled back at me and said, "There
9 isn't any such prison." I said, "Yes, but someone, a traitor to the
10 nation, did a treacherous thing to me." He smiled a little and then he
11 offered me a cigarette. Tafaj was in the car. He didn't know what was
12 going on between me and that old man, what we -- we talked. I said
13 good-bye to this old man and went back to the car and then we headed to
15 After two or three days, Gani Gjukaj told me -- I wasn't at home.
16 All the time I was searching for my sister. I wanted to find her even if
17 she were dead. Gani Gjukaj said to me that -- my wife told me that Ramush
18 and Gani Gjukaj had come to my house to pay condolences for my sister;
19 meaning that he had got nothing to do with that. I knew even before that
20 that Ramush wasn't -- wasn't meddling in that affair at all. He had
21 nothing to do with that. He had no finger at all in that. And I
22 mentioned that in all my statements. And I swore to tell the truth and
23 not to say anything against innocent people.
24 This is what my wife told me. And I thanked them in their
25 absence. I was happy that, say, that a commander comes to pay condolences
1 to my house.
2 I have mentioned that I am repeating here that from 2001, when I
3 started to give interviews in Prizren, to this day that Ramush Haradinaj
4 has got nothing to do with the death of my sister.
5 Q. All right. Well, that's very clear, and thank you for explaining
7 Let's move on now to another topic, please. And that's this: As
8 part of your inquiries, did you ever go in company with other men to the
9 house of Mete Krasniqi?
10 A. I went. I don't remember well when it was, but one of those days
11 with 20 persons. Once I went to Mete Krasniqi and we were in four cars.
12 We went to his house escorted by old people who know things better. Our
13 chairman was Shaqir Gjonbalaj, a neighbour of mine. He was a sort of
14 representative of our group. Avni was hiding. His brother came out and
15 received us. It was a very tense situation. He offered coffee to some
16 four or five people, old people. As I said, we were about 20 persons in
17 that group. Shaqir Balaj, my cousin, asked for Din Krasniqi. Din came.
18 We talked. He felt very bad about what had happened. He had heard that
19 my sister was killed.
20 We had some very distant family relationship to Krasniqi's family.
21 Q. Can I just ask you to pause there and clarify some of the things
22 you've said so far. Firstly, what -- what was the whole reason for this
23 big group of people to go there? What -- what was to be achieved?
24 A. It is the kanun of Lek Dukagjini for a group of people to go and
25 talk things over before you take a kind of revenge for what happens. We
1 have these guestrooms which we call oda, this is where people sit down
2 and -- to talk with each other about such things.
3 Q. And I take it that the disappearance of your sister was central to
4 this -- to this issue?
5 A. Yes. Of course, we were there to ask account for what happened,
6 because that was one of the persons who stopped her and he should know
7 where she was taken and what happened to her.
8 Q. And is Din Krasniqi related in any way to Mete Krasniqi?
9 A. Yes. They are first cousins.
10 Q. All right. Thank you. Okay. Now, you -- you told us that you
11 went there with a big group and Shaqir was your spokesperson. Tell me how
12 matters unfolded.
13 A. We were there, as I said, with this large group, and we discussed
14 with Din was Mete wasn't there. Avni was hiding. We didn't meet Iber.
15 And our old man Shaqir Balaj told Din Krasniqi, "Tell Mete, because I am
16 telling you that in 24 hours we want our daughter back, dead or alive. We
17 want her to come -- to be brought to Strellc."
18 The visit ended. We left the house and went -- on the way out, we
19 ran into Mete by accident. We exchanged some strong words and then
20 Zeqir Balaj told Mete Krasniqi, "Talk with Din Krasniqi. He will tell you
21 what we are here for."
22 Q. Now, did -- did Mete -- on this occasion, did Mete Krasniqi say
23 anything to you about these events?
24 A. No. I didn't talk with him personally at that moment.
25 After three or four days, Mete Krasniqi had taken this red Golf
1 car which he used and had taken the Hoxha, the Muslim priest, of Vranoc
2 village. My -- Ramadan Gashi, my cousin; Zeqir Gjoci from Kodradiqi, he
3 was also my cousin and a friend, someone I knew; Xhavit Ukaj, again from
4 Kodradiqi, and came to the room of Shaqir Balaj. All the cousins got
5 together, along with friends and well-wishers, a group of about 50, 60
6 persons. And Mete Krasniqi began to speak about the case of my sister.
7 He started by saying, "I came here with all these people to swear
8 for what happened. I was wrong to stop her, but I have nothing to do with
9 her death. I came here to swear to you all that I didn't commit this
11 My brother, Avni is involved in this, in this deed, and a person
12 called Colonel Galani from Lugu i Drinit.
13 Shaqir Gjonbalaj asked him and said to him, "Mete, if you bring
14 the body, we will see after the war as to what happened. If you don't
15 bring her dead body, according to the Lek Dukagjini kanun, you have -- you
16 owe us two lives."
17 Mete said, "The body has been taken away from Lugu i Isufit, where
18 she was buried." Then Shaqir Balaj, this old man said, "Where is the
19 body? Who took the body away?" And he said, "Galan, using force, had
20 ordered them to take out the body from there. A person called
21 Zymer Hasanaj had seen what had happened. He had told them to remove the
22 body from that territory."
23 They had been forced to remove the body. Shaqir Gjonbalaj asked
24 him again, "Who took away the body?" Mete said, "My brother and Iber
25 Krasniqi, but they were forced to do that. And Togeri removed the body
1 from Lugu i Isufit but we don't know where."
2 Q. Who's Togeri?
3 A. I don't know who Togeri was. I don't know. I wasn't interested
4 to find out who he was. This is what he said. It was only later, after
5 one or two years, that I found out who he was. I said who he is.
6 Q. What did you find out one or two years about Togeri?
7 A. After one year I heard.
8 Q. What did you hear about Togeri after one year?
9 A. I heard that in 2002, when I was asked, some people in the court
10 showed me some information about him. They said, "He killed your sister."
11 I said, "No, Togeri didn't kill my sister." And that was all.
12 When I heard the name, it was Idriz Balaj. It was in the court,
13 when I heard that and I have mentioned that in my statement. He didn't
14 kill my sister. He's got nothing to do with the killing of my sister.
15 Mete Krasniqi, with his methods, with his betrayal, said that he took the
16 dead body with his jeep and she was -- she disappeared.
17 I didn't trust him. I don't trust him even now.
18 Q. Just a second. Mete Krasniqi said he -- listen. "He took the
19 dead body with his jeep." Who took the dead body with whose jeep? Who
20 was he talking about, as far as you are aware?
21 A. They had a lot of jeeps. He said, "It was Togeri's jeep." But he
22 said, "Idriz Gashi forced them to do that." Excuse me, by Galani, because
23 at that time I didn't know who Idriz Gashi was. He ordered Avni and Iber
24 to pull out -- to take out the body from there. I believe that Galani
25 would have done that, but not that Togeri might have done that. But these
1 people are still alive. They were 40 people -- there were about 40 people
2 there in that room where Mete Krasniqi said such words, and there are also
3 other people that he brought along with him, like hoxha, Ramadan Gashi,
4 Xhavit Ukaj, people who are still alive today. But I didn't trust what he
5 said. I trusted only when he mentioned Idriz Gashi. But not the other
6 one. And that was it.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Di Fazio.
8 MR. DI FAZIO: I was just about to say I've got one small topic
9 and then I've just about finished.
10 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then we'll make you do that. Then we'll let
11 you finish the examination-in-chief. That would be the last topic you
12 would want to cover?
13 MR. DI FAZIO: One more. Just one more brief topic.
14 [Prosecution counsel confer].
15 MR. DI FAZIO: Actually, I would prefer, if Your Honours don't
16 mind, for the break. It will enable me just to review the last portion of
17 evidence and --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then I'll first ask Madam Usher to escort the
19 witness out until after the break.
20 Mr. Balaj, we'll have a break until quarter past 4.00. Would you
21 please follow Madam Usher.
22 [The witness stands down]
23 JUDGE ORIE: I'd like to address the Defence. A request has been
24 filed for leave to amend the indictment, from what I understand, mainly on
25 the basis of new DNA results. Could the Defence give an indication on how
1 much time they'd need to respond to that request.
2 MR. EMMERSON: Would it be unreasonable to ask for seven days?
3 JUDGE ORIE: If you could do it quicker. I mean, we are coming
4 closer and closer to the -- to the end to the Prosecution's case.
5 MR. EMMERSON: Yes.
6 JUDGE ORIE: It seems to be a rather technical matter. I'm not
7 saying that technical matters do not require a lot of attention now and
9 MR. EMMERSON: Yes.
10 JUDGE ORIE: And, of course, nothing is said about what the
11 evidentiary situation would be once the indictment has been amended.
12 We're just talking at this moment about --
13 MR. EMMERSON: Yes. I'm -- I'm happy to work to whatever
14 timetable the Trial Chamber imposes.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If I would suggest three days, would that be an
16 acceptable ...? I'm also looking at you, Mr. Guy-Smith, and you,
17 Mr. Harvey.
18 MR. GUY-SMITH: Four.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Four days. That would mean that we would receive the
20 answer by close of business on Thursday. One -- Monday would then be one
22 MR. GUY-SMITH: Yes.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harvey, would that be acceptable for you as well?
24 MR. HARVEY: I can work with that, Judge.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then the Chamber expects a position, a response
1 by the Defence, not later than Thursday COB.
2 MR. EMMERSON: If we're in the position to give it any sooner, we
3 will certainly do that.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. That would be appreciated.
5 We'll have a break until quarter past 4.00.
6 --- Recess taken at 3.50 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 4.19 p.m.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Could the Defence give an estimate on how much time
9 they will need approximately for cross.
10 MR. EMMERSON: I anticipate nothing.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Guy-Smith.
12 MR. GUY-SMITH: Perhaps as much as -- as a half an hour. I'm not
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Harvey?
15 MR. HARVEY: Nothing.
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
17 Mr. Di Fazio, please proceed.
18 MR. DI FAZIO: Thanks, Your Honours.
19 Q. Just a couple of topics remain that I'd like to deal with. You'd
20 mentioned, I think -- let me withdraw that.
21 Do you know of a place called Lugu i Isufit?
22 A. Yes, I do.
23 Q. That's a location near Vranoc?
24 A. It is close to Lower Vranoc, because there are two Vranocs, the
25 lower one and the upper one.
1 Q. Did you ever go there in connection with your searches for your
3 A. Yes, I did.
4 Q. How did you come to go there?
5 A. According to information I was given by people I knew who knew
6 that place.
7 Q. And why did you go there? What did you -- what did you expect to
8 achieve or hope to achieve by going there?
9 A. Well, I thought that when Fadil Nimani offered me his condolences,
10 I -- she must have hidden somewhere. So her body must have been hidden
11 somewhere, in the forest or the mountain. I had friends who had followed
12 the situation and according to their words, I went and found the place
13 where she had been buried. I also found her blood -- her blood there. It
14 was close to a well. There was also a stream 7 to 10 metres away. And
15 this was in a corner, in a ravine. She had been buried there about 40 to
16 50 centimetres below the surface of the earth. It had been covered. The
17 place had been covered, but I found the soil had been freshly dug. And I
18 stayed there. My friends from the KLA, my relatives, my brothers were
19 trying to protect me. They were all around.
20 I contacted them. They -- and they asked me whether I found her.
21 I said yes. And some of them came. Some of them cried. And we
23 Q. Thank you. Did you ever go back to that location during the trial
24 of Idriz Gashi?
25 A. I did, after people who asked me questions, Robert Dean and
1 Irving Morris asked me. That's when I went and visited the place again,
2 together with them. Before, I went with the UNMIK forces. So that the
3 accused person who was accused of having committing this crime, a person
4 who was an evil person, who had killed this woman just because of the
5 money, to take the money away from her, and he tried to slander our
6 family. And he couldn't. No one can slander our family, because we are a
7 family originating from the Gervalla family. Everybody knows them in
8 Kosova. My father is from the Sejfijaj family from Gllogjan. We have
9 three martyrs in our family. And also the Dervishaj family, three sons of
10 this family are martyrs, who gave their life for the freedom of Kosovo.
11 And one of them was Ramush Haradinaj's soldier, a soldier. He was Kuqi,
12 his nickname was Kuqi. They cannot throw mud on our name.
13 Q. Thank you for that. You've explained -- you've explained your
15 Now, I just want to ask you a few more questions about your
16 sister, general questions. She -- she -- to finish up. She was -- she
17 was running a travel agency, I think, in Peje. And earlier today you said
18 that was at least until 1997. Can -- can you remember when she stopped
19 running her -- her travel agency?
20 A. Well, 1996, 1997? I'm not sure. The Serb forces began to loot
21 everything. Even the agency. I had money to maintain her, because my
22 brothers work in Germany and they brought money home for us. And whenever
23 I had money, she had money as well.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 A. We -- at that time, we paid 10 Deutschmarks for one litre of gas.
1 Q. Thank you. So after she stopped working in -- in the travel
2 agency or couldn't -- in fact couldn't continue her -- her job, did you
3 support her?
4 A. Yes, of course. I supported her. I would have supported her
5 until I died.
6 Q. Thanks. And did she live at home with you under your protection?
7 A. Of course. She lived in my house. She had her own room. She
8 loved my -- my children. She was my younger sister.
9 Q. Did she --
10 A. I loved her very much.
11 Q. Thank you. Did she look after your children in the -- in the
12 weeks and months before her disappearance?
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. -- Mr. Di Fazio --
14 Mr. Balaj --
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] She did. All the time. I worked
16 all day and she took care of my children. She bought them clothes. Of
17 course the money was mine, but she took care of the children and the
18 house. We were sister and brother. We had nothing to hide from each
19 other and my money was her money and her money was my money. We were one
20 family, one home. And I will always try to find out what happened to her
21 until I die.
22 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Balaj, I earlier asked you to address -- to look
23 at Mr. Di Fazio or to the Chamber, not to seek any eye contact with any
24 other persons in this courtroom. Could I remind you that that's what I
25 asked you and what seems to be difficult for you to do.
1 Please proceed.
2 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you. Thank you, Your Honours.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honour. I
4 apologise. Now I am calmer, but for nine years I had this anger inside
5 me, and now after the 3rd of July, when I buried my sister, it was like a
6 wedding to us, because I brought her home. I brought her to her mom and
7 dad. So today I'm much calmer than I was then. I wouldn't have been able
8 then to give you a statement or to testify. Now I am, and I don't want
9 anyone who is innocent to be involved in this, because I don't want any
10 slander to fall upon any other family. We are a sincere family, an
11 honourable family, and I would not allow anyone to slander us.
12 MR. DI FAZIO:
13 Q. Okay. Thank you for that and explaining that. But I just want to
14 return to your sister in that period of time before she last disappeared.
15 You said that she -- she was living at home under your protection. You
16 said that she was looking after your children from time to time and that
17 she would buy them gifts. Is that what she was doing in the weeks and
18 months leading up to her disappearance?
19 A. Yes, exactly. She did things around the house. She helped my
20 wife to do the housework, to prepare food. At that time, I had many
21 people living in my house, and she took care of them as well. It was very
22 difficult to find food and other things at that time. She was able to do.
23 She went to Malisheve and brought food, to us and to the neighbours and
24 other villagers, to the whole village. And the whole village was grateful
25 to her.
1 Q. And these donations --
2 A. She loved my children very much.
3 Q. Thank you. And did those domestic tasks occupy her up until her
5 A. Yes. She did all these things until her disappearance. She
6 wanted to have a mobile phone in order for her to be able to make some
7 money. There were many people in the village and in other places who
8 wanted to speak to people abroad, and that was how this all started. She
9 asked me for the money. I gave her the money. And that was -- that went
10 for the worse, because she was looted and for nine years her body could
11 not be found.
12 Q. Thank you for that.
13 MR. DI FAZIO: And if Your Honours please, I have no further
14 questions of this witness; however, the witness is most anxious, and I --
15 I know this, having spoken to him, to show the Trial Chamber four
16 photographs of his sister's funeral. And I wonder if the -- the Trial
17 Chamber could view these particular photographs. They do show his
18 sister's burial. It shouldn't take very long at all.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE ORIE: Is there any objection by the Defence?
21 We understand the request to be not of a primary evidentiary
22 nature but, rather ...
23 Then, Mr. Balaj, I do understand that you'd like to show us a few
24 photographs. And I think they could be best perhaps placed on the ELMO so
25 that we can see them. The Chamber will allow you to show us the
1 photographs of the funeral of your sister.
2 I also take it, then, that there's no need to assign numbers to
3 it. It will be on the record -- on the video record of this proceedings.
4 Could we have the assistance of the technicians to have the ELMO
5 ready. I think there we are.
6 If you'd briefly, one by one, explain to us what we see,
7 Mr. Balaj.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is my son. He was eight years
9 old -- sorry, he was five, and he's holding his aunt's photograph. He's
10 crying. Close to him is my daughter reading a statement about her life.
11 This is a co-villager of mine who read the petition written by the Strellc
12 village inhabitants and also telegrams coming from the diaspora and
13 friends from all countries in America or in Holland, where I worked for
14 several years.
15 This happened on the 3rd of July, 2007. Then also you can see
16 other children and the wreaths.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Madam Usher, could you please put the next
18 picture on the ELMO.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here are my friends, relatives, and
20 they are praying for my sister in her funeral.
21 JUDGE ORIE: The third photograph?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here you can see hundreds of people
23 who took part in the funeral. People tried to -- evil people tried to
24 slander my family, but they couldn't. They didn't manage to do that.
25 JUDGE ORIE: And finally the fourth photograph.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is where my sister is lying --
2 my dear sister is lying, between my father and my mother. That's where
3 her grave is.
4 Thank you for accepting to see the photographs.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour.
7 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber understands that this is very emotional
8 for you, and the Chamber was -- as you may have noticed, the parties did
9 not object in any way, and the Chamber was glad to give you this
10 opportunity. At the same time, I would like to ask you now to focus again
11 on the questions that will be put to you by Defence counsel, Mr. Balaj.
12 Mr. Emnmerson.
13 MR. EMMERSON: I made it clear, Your Honour, that I didn't
14 anticipate any questions, and that is the position. There is, though, the
15 one matter about the transcript that I would like, if I may, just very
16 briefly to put on the record.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Can the witness keep his earphones on?
18 MR. EMMERSON: I'm in Your Honour's hands.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then out of an abundance of caution I --
20 Could I ask you to take off your earphones for a second. Yes, to
21 take them off.
22 Mr. Emnmerson.
23 MR. EMMERSON: Simply this: Your Honour first raised the issue of
24 the witness seeking eye contact. I think at page 26 --
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
1 MR. EMMERSON: -- line 4, and I simply wanted, for the sake of
2 the record, to record the observations from where I was sitting that
3 coincided with the witness looking around the courtroom, because on page
4 25, line 2 he was asked a question by Mr. Di Fazio about why he was going
5 to Gllogjan. And then at page 25, lines 7 to 13 he answered that question
6 by reference to Ramush.
7 JUDGE ORIE: And then Mr. Di Fazio asked which Ramush --
8 MR. EMMERSON: Well, his exact question was: Is that
9 Ramush Haradinaj? To which the witness replied, as looking around the
10 courtroom, "Where do you mean?"
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I'm -- I'm aware of that. And I'm also aware
12 that at the same time Mr. Haradinaj made a gesture which --
13 MR. EMMERSON: Which was him, I think, identifying himself as the
14 person to whom --
15 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Yes.
16 MR. EMMERSON: Was --
17 JUDGE ORIE: I do understand the context of it. The context is
18 now clear. At the same time, you will understand.
19 MR. EMMERSON: I'm not -- I entirely understand the admonishment.
20 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And matters are clear by now.
21 Could the witness put his earphones on again.
22 THE WITNESS: [Witness complies]
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Balaj, questions will be put to you now by
24 Mr. Guy-Smith, who is counsel for the -- Defence counsel for Mr. Balaj.
25 Please proceed, Mr. Guy-Smith.
1 Mr. Guy-Smith is over there.
2 Cross-examination by Mr. Guy-Smith:
3 Q. Good afternoon, sir.
4 A. Yes. Yes. Good afternoon to you.
5 Q. I -- I want to start with trying to get a bit of an understanding
6 of some of the things that you've testified here today. And I -- I'd like
7 to start with when you first learned that your sister had disappeared.
8 That information came to you from your cousins; correct?
9 A. The information was given to me by two of my relatives: Hamdi
10 and Hazir, who were with her. And they told me about it. And after that,
11 I started to try to trace her, where my sister was.
12 Q. I understand. When you spoke with your two relatives, Hamdi and
13 Hazir, they told you --
14 A. My -- I spoke to them in the afternoon, 2.00 or 3.00 p.m. or 4.00.
15 I don't know. I'm not sure. At that time, I wasn't paying attention to
16 the time, of course. I lost it.
17 Q. I understand, and I wasn't asking you about the time. What I was
18 asking more specifically was about the information that they gave you.
19 And when you spoke to your two relatives, you were told that they had
20 spoken with Mete Krasniqi, who had told them that your sister had gone to
21 Strellc, which was a lie; right? And by that I mean that Mete Krasniqi
22 had lied.
23 A. Yes. Yes. Mete Krasniqi had told them that she had left for
24 Strellc. In fact, it was Cufe Krasniqi who had told them that. They had
25 not met Mete but Cufe. They had gone there to ask who had been
1 interrogating her, and they were told it was Cufe Krasniqi, and that's how
2 they learnt that she had gone to Strellc.
3 Well, now at this moment I'm not sure. Somebody had told them
4 that she had gone to Strellc. I met them in Strellc close to my house. I
5 was at -- at a cousin's house, and they told me that they felt very bad
6 about what had happened and told me everything. And I asked them - I was
7 angry - "Why? Why did you allow this to happen? Why didn't you stay
8 there?" But this was in vain.
9 And I opened the door of my car and told them to get in and went
10 to Gani Gjukaj. After Gani Gjukaj, we went to Baran.
11 Q. If I might, if you could bear with me and listen to some of the
12 questions that I ask, perhaps it might go a little quicker for you and a
13 little easier. Okay?
14 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Before we continue, could I ask the assistance
15 of the technicians. The scrolling on my system is irregular. Very often
16 it gets stuck. I earlier noticed one of my colleagues had the same
17 problem. But we are not -- now it's running fine with him. It's not
18 running fine with me.
19 Please proceed, Mr. Guy-Smith.
20 MR. GUY-SMITH: May -- am I in the midst of making a test of the
21 scroll for the moment to see whether it's --
22 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If you -- if you go to the pause and then to
23 the continue, you'll finally get it running again.
24 MR. GUY-SMITH: Okay.
25 JUDGE ORIE: But it's not -- it's not perfect.
1 MR. GUY-SMITH:
2 Q. Okay. Cufe Krasniqi is a relative of Mete Krasniqi's; correct?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Avni Krasniqi is Mete Krasniqi's brother; true?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Iber Krasniqi is another --
7 A. His cousin. Their cousin. Mete's cousin, Cufe's cousin, and
8 Avni's cousin. But he's closer to Mete and Avni than to Cufe.
9 Q. When you first heard about your sister, you were very upset. And
10 when you were testifying earlier, you said you were very upset "because I
11 did not owe them anything." And I want to ask you a couple of questions
12 about that.
13 When you said to us here that you did not owe them anything, is
14 what you meant that you had no debt to them and that's why you were
15 somewhat surprised and upset, because there was no debt as between your
16 family and their family at that time.
17 A. I had no -- I did not owe them any debt, neither in money or
18 anything else. But they were a self-styled army under the command of
19 nobody. Their aim was to slander people, to rob people.
20 Q. And when you say that "they were a self-styled army under the
21 command of nobody whose aim was to slander and to rob people," you are
22 referring to Mete Krasniqi, Avni Krasniqi, and Iber Krasniqi; correct?
23 A. Well, that is clear, because Mete stopped them. Avni and Iber
24 went to Cufe Krasniqi, who had interrogated her, and Idriz Gashi, whose
25 nickname was Galani, was there. So there was a command that could not be
1 called a command, because a commander, an officer who interrogates someone
2 should not allow anybody to be in that room and listen to what is going
4 The name now is known, Idriz Gashi, and he stayed all the time in
5 that office. This also was said in the trial in Peje. And -- this is
6 what he said: That Avni and Iber came in and went out all the time while
7 Galani, Idriz Gashi, stayed there all the time and saw the money. And
8 that's why the killing happened, the murder happened, because of the
10 Q. Now, you've mentioned the name of Galani, who is also known as
11 Idriz Gashi. And I'd like to ask you one -- a simple question for the
12 moment, which is: Do you know what relationship Idriz Gashi has to the
13 Tahiraj family?
14 A. I have not heard any -- of any Tahirajs. Just Krasniqis.
15 Q. Now, there --
16 A. Galani was in their staff, in the headquarters. He was there for
17 a short time, but he had been seen in Mete Krasniqi's staff, which was
18 located in Mete Krasniqi's house.
19 Q. I want to turn to the first time that members of your family went
20 to Mete Krasniqi's home in an attempt to resolve this matter.
21 A. Well, we went to Mete and to Din, because it's the same family.
22 They are first cousins. Mete was the one who first stopped my sister, and
23 then the other ones had taken the matter into their hands. Mete had left
24 when the others took her, and she had nothing to do with what happened
1 Q. My -- my question is this: At the time that you went to
2 Mete's -- Mete's home with members of your family, according to, as I
3 understood it - and correct me if I'm wrong - according to the kanun of
4 Dukagjini, you went there to resolve the issue of your sister's
5 disappearance; correct?
6 A. Correct. That's why we went there, to resolve my sister's issue.
7 Q. And when you went there to resolve that issue, you went there with
8 village and elders, because under the kanun that is the way such disputes
9 are resolved; correct? You bring the village elders with you so that the
10 determination can be made of what is the proper thing to do.
11 A. Yes. We were all of the same mind, my uncles, my cousins. We
12 agreed that one person should represent all of us. One would speak; we,
13 the others would simply listen. And this is what the kanun of Lek
14 Dukagjini prescribes in such circumstances.
15 Q. During the first meeting where Avni was hiding and Mete was not
16 present, there was no resolution between your family and the Krasniqi
17 family over your sister, was there? The first meeting.
18 A. That's correct. We met Din Krasniqi, who is the first cousin of
19 Mete, and we told him -- we informed him of what we had agreed, that this
20 elder -- elderly people, Shaqir Gjonbalaj, was the one who would convey
21 our opinion of Mete Krasniqi and he set the deadline of 24 hours, as the
22 kanun says, for them to find the dead body of my sister, whom we knew for
23 sure was dead.
24 Q. And when you say "as the kanun says," what the kanun says in this
25 regard is that Mete Krasniqi had a responsibility to bring either her back
1 alive or dead within 24 hours; otherwise, he would incur a debt to your
2 family; correct?
3 A. Correct. He was obliged to do that, because he knew what he --
4 his brother had done. He knew that he worked with Galani. He -- he
5 himself worked with Galani with his brothers. They were military police.
6 They were commanders. They referred to each other by the name of
8 Q. The second time that the families met together when they were
9 about, I believe you said, some 50 men in the oda, that is when the Imam
10 came, the imam -- and that would be Imam Gashi; right?
11 A. No. He was Mullah Llukmani. Imam Mullah Llukmani. He was a
12 hoxha from Drenice but served as a hoxha in Vranoc.
13 Q. Right. And in one of the photos that you showed us, he was one of
14 the men that was present at the funeral; right?
15 A. No. He was a hoxha from Gllogjan.
16 Q. When the imam came with Mete Krasniqi, during that meeting that
17 was the second attempt to resolve the matter according to the kanun of Lek
18 Dukagjini; right?
19 A. Yes, that is correct, because he wouldn't dare come alone. He had
20 chosen the imam, he had taken my first cousin, Ramadan Gashi, and the
21 other cousin of mine, Zeqir Gjoci from Kodradiqi and a friend of mine and
22 a native villager from Kodradiqi, who was a friend. They were all
23 together. And when you come with someone, no matter what feuds you may
24 have, we are supposed to receive the guest in this case, whoever that may
1 Q. And whatever happened during that second meeting, would it be fair
2 to call that a trial where all of you met together and tried to resolve
3 the issue of what had happened to your sister, to accord responsibility
4 and for any debts that were owed to be paid? That was the attempt.
5 A. We were already there. We were in the oda, because there were
6 police check-points -- two police check-points surrounding the village,
7 200 metres away. Mete Krasniqi came and we -- we got there. We are 31
8 households, we of the Balaj family. And we have elderly people in our
9 midst, young people. Of course, the young people didn't dare open their
10 mouth, because only one was supposed to be the spokesperson of the entire
11 Balaj family. It was he who asked -- who started the conversation with
12 Mete. He said, "Why have you come here," to Mete. Mete said, "I have
13 come here to absolve myself of any guilt. I was guilt -- I was to blame
14 only for stopping her, but I have no other thing to do with her
16 Q. And Mete also said -- and Mete also said during that trial that he
17 couldn't guarantee --
18 A. He said this in the presence of all the participants, in the
19 presence of the imam, of Ramadan Gashi, Zeqir Gjoci and Xhavit Ukaj, he
20 said that, "I personally swear to you all that I didn't do anything as far
21 as her death is concerned. I cannot swear for my brother, because he is
22 stained." And in fact this came true in the court, because he was there.
23 He was all the time there until her last moment of life. And this was
24 proven in the trial.
25 Q. And so my question to you is: At that time, he said that he was
1 not able to swear for her brother, Avni Krasniqi, nor was he able to swear
2 for the responsibility of Idriz Gashi, also known as Galani. He was not
3 willing to say that they were not responsible.
4 A. He said they were responsible.
5 Q. I see.
6 A. He wanted to swear for himself.
7 Q. During that trial, you've told us that the elder said, "If you
8 don't bring her dead body, you owe us two bodies." Correct?
9 A. Correct. This is what he said, in the name of all of us, both
10 young and old, that you should bring the body dead or alive. Mete said,
11 "I cannot bring her body, because it has been removed from the original
12 burial place." And our elder asked him, "Where is she?" And he retorted,
13 "I don't know." He said further on that Galani forced his brother and
14 Iber Krasniqi to -- and he mentioned the name of Togeri at that moment, to
15 remove the body from there. "I don't know," he said, "where they took
17 Q. I understand. And my question to you is: Once again, when that
18 statement was made, that if her body was not returned or if she was not
19 returned, that they would owe you two bodies. That, once again, is
20 according to the law of the kanun; correct?
21 A. Yes. It was said. And this is how it was left. He couldn't
22 return the body. The body was -- the person who killed her was found, and
23 he is Idriz Gashi, pseudonym Galani, self-styled commander, under nobody's
24 command, called himself "commander of Lugu i Drinit, and he's suffering
25 his sentence in Peje.
1 Q. Has that debt been paid, the debt of two bodies, under the kanun?
2 A. No, it hasn't been paid. Now the criminal has come out in the
3 open. But earlier or later it will be paid; if not by her brothers, by
4 the -- her -- her nephew and niece, who cry for her even now. A time will
5 come when they will pay them back.
6 Q. As -- as you sit here today, do you know whether or not
7 Mete Krasniqi is alive or dead?
8 A. I heard that he is dead.
9 Q. You contacted UNMIK in 1998 and spoke to them about the
10 information that you had concerning --
11 A. I didn't meet anyone else there. In 1998? Not in -- in 1998,
12 there wasn't any UNMIK.
13 Q. I want to read something to you and see if this refreshes your
14 recollection of meeting some people from UNMIK at the regional
15 headquarters in Peja on the 28th of September -- I'm sorry, that was in
16 2002. My apologies.
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. In which you discussed the disappearance of your sister and the
19 movement of her body. And this is what you told them.
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. "I state that on the 12th of August, 1998, my sister, called
22 Sanije Balaj from Strellc i Uleti headed towards Peje"?
23 A. That's correct.
24 Q. "On the above-mentioned date, she was stopped by Mete, Kadri, Avni
25 Krasniqi from Vranoc village, Peje municipality and Vesel Dizdari from
1 Zllapek village in the presence of the witnesses Hamdi Balaj and Hazir
3 A. Correct.
4 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters kindly ask the Bench to ask the
5 witness to wait for the entire question before answering, please.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Balaj, could I ask you not to start answering the
7 question until you've heard the whole of the question. You frequently put
8 a response to only half a question, and that's very difficult for the
9 interpreters because then people are speaking at the same time. So please
10 first wait until Mr. Guy-Smith has finished his question and then please
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Your Honours, could I just --
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Just --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Just --
16 MR. DI FAZIO: Just a minor clarification. What statement is
17 being referred to here so we can follow this evidence?
18 MR. GUY-SMITH: This is the statement received from the
19 Prosecution, the -- I have a number, R0629065.
20 MR. DI FAZIO: Thanks. But if it could just be identified with a
21 date and -- and --
22 MR. GUY-SMITH: I did at the beginning. It's the 28th of
23 September, 2002.
24 MR. DI FAZIO: Thanks. Is that an UNMIK statement?
25 MR. GUY-SMITH: Correct.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
2 MR. GUY-SMITH:
3 Q. You also said at that time, in 2002: "From the part of
4 Cufe Krasniqi, she was released and she headed alone towards Kodradiqi
5 village at her nephew's."
6 A. Kodradiqi.
7 Q. Thank you for the correction. "Avni, Kadri Krasniqi, together
8 with Idriz Gashi, stopped her again and they've taken her to the forest of
9 Vranoc village at the hill called Lug e Shabanit [phoen] and they executed
10 her there."
11 A. It was Lugu i Isufit, not of Shabanit, that's a mistake. And it
12 was Ibra and Avni who took her in a kind of friendly way. At least, this
13 is what Cufe said. I don't know. I wasn't there.
14 Q. Okay. My question now is this, sir: You go on to say, "Due to
15 what we find out, she remained there buried for two days, and after that
16 Hysen Ukaj and Ahmet Ukaj from Vranoc e Vogel village, under the pressure
17 of Idriz Gashi and Avni Krasniqi exhumed her. Until now we don't know
18 anything about the place where she was buried and where her bones are."
20 A. I mentioned that, and this is how it was. They were two
21 witnesses, Ahmet and Hysen Ukaj. This was mentioned in the trial of 17 of
22 May in Peje. Ahmet Ukaj, together with Durim Hasanaj, a young boy who
23 happened to see two soldiers, but he didn't mention the names, who went to
24 Lugu i Isufit in a red Golf II.
25 Q. Sir, you had another meeting with UNMIK, and that was on the 2nd
1 of October, 2002.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And when you met with them at that time, you told them the
4 following: "According to the investigation that I have conducted, these
5 persons killed my sister." And the persons that you are referring to were
6 Mete, Avni, and Idriz Gashi. You go on to say: "And somewhere on the
7 15th of August, they were -- they buried her. They dug the grave again.
8 Idriz Gashi, Avri -- that's Avni Vranoci --
9 A. [Not interpreted]: Krasniqi.
10 Q. -- Krasniqi on the 15th of August, while using two other persons,
11 named, Hysen Ukaj and Ahmet Ukaj from the village Vranoc, and it is not
12 known where they have taken the body." Correct?
13 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Guy-Smith, it's now the second time that you put
14 a question in a similar way. You are putting a quote to the witness and
15 then you ask "correct."
16 MR. GUY-SMITH: I'm sorry, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE ORIE: What he stated at the time or --
18 MR. GUY-SMITH: I'll make it clear.
19 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please do so.
20 MR. GUY-SMITH:
21 Q. That's what you stated at the time. That's what you told the
22 people at UNMIK at the time, that based upon your investigations, those
23 were the four people who were involved in moving your sister's body;
25 A. That's correct. At the time, I didn't know Galani. I knew
1 Mete Krasniqi, Iber and Avni, who stopped my sister, and I asked them to
2 tell me where she was. But in order to lay the blame on others, they
3 mentioned others. I didn't know Galani or the others, but I knew the
4 others who collaborated with them, who were together. For a long or for a
5 short time, I don't know. I wasn't interested in pursuing that further.
6 And today they have testified to that, to the court in Peje.
7 Q. I understand. On the 15th of October, 2002, you spoke with
8 members of the Office of the Prosecutor. You spoke with an investigator
9 by the name of Ole Lehtinen, and at that time, after telling him what
10 happened during the trial where the imam was present, you said the
12 "After this, the rumours continued to be heard and one was that a
13 woman was buried in the mountains of Vranoc in a place called Lugu i
14 Isufit near a well. I went there with a few friends of mine and we found
15 a place where the ground had been dug and around I found papers that I
16 knew belonged to Sanije. I dug in the ground, but it was obvious that the
17 body wasn't there any more. I totally lost control and left the place.
18 On my way down from the mountains, I met a young shepherd who saw that I
19 was upset, and he asked me what the matter was. I told him that my sister
20 had been killed there. The boy told me that there had been a body buried
21 in that place. He had seen Avni Krasniqi, Commander Galani, which I know
22 is the nickname of Idriz Gashi, force two soldiers to remove the body from
23 the ground and it was then driven away in a four-by-four vehicle. Avni
24 and Galani had threatened the two soldiers and said they had to vanish the
25 body. I don't know the name of the shepherd. I was so upset at the time.
1 I guess he was approximately 13 or 14 years of age. The shepherd told me
2 that the two forced soldiers were from the village Vranoc and their family
3 name was Ukaj.
4 When you made that statement to the Office of the Prosecutor in
5 October of 2002, that was true, wasn't it? That's what you told them.
6 A. That was true. And they have come out openly in the court. Even
7 the young boy, Durim Hasanaj. He was eight years old at the time. Now
8 he's 16. They have testified before the court in Peje. They had told
9 this to the Prosecutor as well. They narrated things as they happened.
10 They were four witness.
11 There was someone with Idriz Gashi. They also said that the young
12 boy was taking care of his cattle, he was very upset, that he left, went
13 to his home in Vranoc e Vogel, told his mother what he saw, and that when
14 his father came, Zymer Hasanaj, his wife told him --
15 Q. Earlier you testified that you were told by some people in 2002.
16 And you said the following: "When I was asked, some people in the court
17 showed me information about him. They said, 'He killed your sister.' I
18 said, 'no, Togeri didn't kill my sister'. And that was all. And what I'd
19 like to ask you --
20 A. Yes, this is what I said.
21 Q. What I'd like to ask you is: When you were referring to people
22 in the court, were you referring to the trial in 2002 involving
23 Idriz Balaj when you saw him and people said that he killed your sister?
24 A. I have stated that all the time when they asked me. Whoever from
25 the Prosecutor's asked me, I have said that Idriz Balaj didn't kill my
1 sister. I have found the perpetrator, but they have cast mud at
2 Idriz Balaj. That is, Avni Krasniqi and Iber Krasniqi. I have never said
3 that Idriz Balaj did that, in none of my statements, even in the recent
4 one in Prishtine, when they questioned me. When they asked me whether he
5 killed your sister, I said no. When the process against Idriz Gashi was
6 still underway, they mentioned that. But I don't know.
7 Q. When you say "they mentioned that," and you're talking about the
8 Prosecutors, when you spoke with the Prosecutors here today, did they
9 discuss with you and ask you whether or not Togeri or Idriz Balaj had
10 killed your sister?
11 A. They asked me, and I said no, he hasn't but Mete and Avni said
12 this. They have accused him, not me. In none of my statements have I
13 accused Idriz Balaj of having killed my sister. They have accused him of
14 eliminating the body of. But I have not done that. But Avni Krasniqi is
15 still alive. He can be asked about that.
16 Q. And when you say, "they have accused him of eliminating the body,"
17 my question to you is: When you were speaking with the Prosecution today,
18 did the Prosecution suggest to you that it was Idriz Balaj who had moved
19 the body?
20 A. They didn't suggest it to me. I simply stated that I forgot to
21 mention that in my statement. And you have the statement even now by
22 Avni Krasniqi in Peje, who, like Mete Krasniqi, who accused him of moving
23 the body. I don't know anything about that. They know. They can -- they
24 should be asked.
25 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... In 2002 on three separate
1 occasions, twice speaking with people from UNMIK and once speaking with a
2 representative from the Office of the Prosecutor, you never mentioned this
3 particular piece of information, that Mete Krasniqi or anyone else had
4 suggested that Idriz Balaj had moved your sister's body, did you?
5 A. I didn't. It was Mete Krasniqi who suggested that and his brother
6 on 17 May 2007 in his statement in Peje, but not me. I never accused
7 Idriz Balaj. It was he who has accused him.
8 Q. I --
9 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Balaj, the question -- I think you might have
10 understood the issue. When you say that Mete Krasniqi accused - so not
11 yourself but he accused - Idriz Balaj of being involved in removing the
12 body, Mr. Guy-Smith would like to know why you didn't state that in 2002,
13 why you didn't mention it at that time when you gave statements to UNMIK.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It didn't occur to me. I was very
16 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Guy-Smith.
17 MR. GUY-SMITH:
18 Q. Has any information that you received from Mete Krasniqi
19 concerning your sister's disappearance been true?
20 A. I don't know whether it was true. When he did what he did to me,
21 sending me to Gllogjan for no reason at all; he might have done anything.
22 But I don't know. I said what he said. And his brother said the same,
23 Avni Krasniqi, and he has his statement. Either in Peje or in here. I
24 don't know. But they said so. I accused them and they accuse someone
25 else. So let them face each other with their accusations and be brought
1 before justice. I didn't accuse anyone.
2 Last time I was in Prishtine, I didn't accuse anyone. When the
3 Prosecutor asked me whether he was involved in the murder of your sister I
4 said no, about Togeri, I mean. I never saw him. I wasn't interested at
5 all in who he was, what he did.
6 MR. GUY-SMITH: Mr. Balaj, I want to thank you for your time, and
7 I offer you my condolences for your loss.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Harvey.
9 MR. HARVEY: No questions.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you so much.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Balaj, I have a few questions for you, matters
13 which I'd like to seek clarification.
14 Questioned by the Court:
15 JUDGE ORIE: In the beginning of your testimony, you explained
16 that Sanije was to buy foodstuffs for the families. And you gave that
17 answer in response to a question which was whether she ever was a member
18 of the KLA as far as you were aware.
19 Do I have to understand your answer that she bought foodstuffs
20 when serving as a member of the KLA?
21 A. She was not a member of the KLA. She wanted to wear that uniform,
22 and I gave her my rifle. I bought it with my own money in Albania. But
23 she wanted so much to wear the uniform, I gave her the gun. And then when
24 she went to Malisheve, she saw that group of young women. She joined them
25 when they sang the national anthem, the anthem of the KLA together with
1 that group of girls. I did not see that video. I heard that it was
2 recorded. But at that time, she was wearing my uniform and had my gun.
3 At that time, she went to buy food for people in the village, not
4 for the KLA. Things like cigarettes. Mostly cigarettes, as a matter of
5 fact. And other things that she could buy with the money that the people
6 had given her. Because they knew that she was traveling to Baran, to
7 Malisheve, and they knew that Sanije had money and that we were a good
8 family and they asked her to bring things back for them.
9 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
10 A. We worked. Our family has worked abroad, in Germany, other
11 countries, so we have money.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. So I also do understand from your answer that
13 when you provided her with a uniform or with a weapon, that that was not
14 because you held any position in the KLA. Or did I misunderstand your
15 testimony in this respect?
16 A. No, I did not have a position. I was a simple soldier. I wanted
17 to protect my home. I was an honest person in my village. I was an
18 honest person to everybody, my brothers and my whole clan, 30 Balaj
19 households. I just gave her the uniform to wear. Why not? I brought it
20 from Albania. I went through lots of things. I could have been killed
21 when I went there and came back. I could have been killed by the Serbs.
22 And I think it was my right to give her my uniform if I wanted to.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Was that a KLA uniform or a uniform with any KLA
24 patches on it or ...
25 A. It was a uniform of the Albanian army. It was a camouflage
1 uniform, various colours, green and other colours, and a cap. I think the
2 cap had the KLA patch on. And also, there was a patch of the KLA on the
3 arm sleeve and on the chest. The cap resembled the caps that are kept now
4 by -- that are worn now by our police.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. When I earlier asked you whether you had any
6 position in the KLA under which you provided her with a uniform and a
7 weapon, of course I meant to say that you -- whether you had -- or I meant
8 to ask you whether you had any position in which you were competent to
9 distribute uniforms or weapons, because I do understand from, especially
10 the statement that you gave, that you were involved in getting arms from
11 Albania. Is that correctly understood?
12 A. Yes. I went to Albania to get arms, and I tried to make my
13 contribution. I put the life of myself and my family in danger. I just
14 wanted to protect -- to defend Kosova, a soldier who defended his own
15 family and his own country, the life of any person who lived in Kosova. I
16 got the uniform. That was my uniform and I gave it to her to wear.
17 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. And do I also then understand you correctly if
18 this implies that she was never under any orders by a superior in the KLA?
19 A. No, she was not under any orders. She was staying at home. I had
20 people at home, about 50 people of the Selmani family, who were staying
21 with me for six months, and she helped them. She stayed with this family,
22 with our family, took care of them. And whenever I was not home, she was
23 the one who protected everybody. Because I could have been killed when I
24 went to help the KLA, to assist whenever fighting was occurring. She was
25 the one who took care of all the children. At that time, they were very
2 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you. Then one other matter where I'd like to
3 seek clarification. You said - and I read from the transcript - "He
4 knew" - and you were talking then about Din Krasniqi - "He knew that he
5 worked with Galani." And he was referring to his brother Mete Krasniqi.
6 "He himself worked with Galani with his brothers. They were military
7 police. They were commanders. They referred to each other by the name of
9 Could you be very precise in your answer: Who exactly called
10 whom "commander"?
11 A. Well, as I said earlier, everybody was a commander. Din Krasniqi
12 was appointed, I think, commander. His village elected him as a leader or
13 commander of the village. But as for the other ones, nobody appointed
14 them, nobody elected them, nobody commanded them. I will always say this.
15 I've mentioned this before. I will say it again. If they had been
16 under the command of Tahir Zemaj, Nazif Ramabaja, or Ramush, they would
17 not have allowed these people to do what they did. Ramush would not have
18 allowed them. Tahir Zemaj would not have allowed them. And
19 Nazif Ramabaja, the same. They would not have allowed them to do the
20 things they did to my sister.
21 JUDGE ORIE: You also said in this respect: "They were military
22 police." Who did you refer to exactly when you said "they were military
24 MR. GUY-SMITH: Excuse me, Your Honours, just so I have some
25 clarification. Are we just discussing his testimony or are we talking
1 about --
2 JUDGE ORIE: It's page 55, line -- "he himself worked with Galani
3 with his brothers. They were military police," it reads on line 10.
4 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
6 Could you please tell us exactly to whom you referred when you
7 said "they were military police. They were commanders." And why you
8 understood them to be military police.
9 A. Well, they called themselves military police, because the real
10 military police did not do the stupid things that they did. The military
11 police behaved properly towards people.
12 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Then you're referring to Mete Krasniqi again or
13 whom else?
14 A. Well, Mete, Avni, Iber, these people who were involved in stopping
15 and killing my -- my sister, in collaboration with Galani. I didn't know
16 about Galani. I saw a photograph of him in Peje, in black clothes
17 together with Mete Krasniqi and Vesel Dizdari. They were also wearing
18 black clothes. That's when I saw them in black clothes. When I met Mete
19 myself, he was wearing civilian clothes the first time I went to see him.
20 I was so angry and upset, I didn't even pay attention to the clothes, but
21 when I saw the photograph in the courtroom, the photograph that was shown
22 to the judge and the prosecutor and defence attorney, I saw Mete Krasniqi
23 wearing a black uniform, Vesel Dizdari in black uniform, and Galani,
24 Idriz Gashi, in black uniform. That was when I saw them.
25 Well, they could have worn all kinds of uniforms, black or
1 camouflage, and so on.
2 We had people in our village who had black uniforms but were not
3 members of the military police.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you for that answer.
5 One second, please.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE ORIE: Could you take off your earphones for a second.
8 Do you understand any English?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I do.
10 JUDGE ORIE: You do understand English? No -- Mr. Di Fazio.
11 MR. DI FAZIO: I don't believe he does.
12 JUDGE ORIE: I would like to raise the following issue: We
13 allowed the witness to show a few photographs of a funeral. The coffin or
14 the body was covered by a red flag with a black eagle on it. The Chamber,
15 although did not seek to obtain this information for purposes of evidence,
16 but nevertheless not everyone is buried covered by a flag. The Chamber
17 would like to give an opportunity to the parties, if they consider it of
18 any relevance, to put questions to it and gives notice that this is what
19 the Chamber observed, for full transparency of our observations.
20 I don't know whether you want to seek any further clarification.
21 The Chamber might ask a question on it itself, but at the same
22 time it would not do so unless it had given an opportunity to the parties
23 to consider putting a question on that matter.
24 No, I see from the Defence side there seems to be no ...
25 Mr. Di Fazio.
1 MR. DI FAZIO: Would Your Honours just give me a moment, please.
2 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
3 [Prosecution counsel confer]
4 MR. DI FAZIO: I'll just ask a few questions, if I can.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Please do so.
6 Could you please put on your earphones again.
7 And may I ask you to introduce the matter in a -- such a gentle
8 way, because it's a very emotional issue and --
9 MR. DI FAZIO: I understand.
10 JUDGE ORIE: And I can imagine that one would ask about what the
11 habit is or about -- seek in a very cautious way.
12 MR. DI FAZIO: Yes. Yes, yes.
13 Further examination by Mr. Di Fazio:
14 Q. Witness, Mr. Balaj, you showed us earlier some photographs - four,
15 I think, in total - of your late sister's funeral earlier this year, I
17 I wonder if you still have them. Could I -- could I see them
18 again, please.
19 A. Yes.
20 JUDGE ORIE: The first and/or the third, not the second and the
22 MR. DI FAZIO: Well, I can't remember the sequence, but I think I
23 know which one is -- oh, yes.
24 Okay. Could the usher hand these two back to the witness, these
25 two. And that can also go -- the other two can be put away.
1 Q. Now, just the two photos that I'm showing you there show a -- a
2 portion of your sister's funeral. And you see a -- a flag there. How --
3 how and why was that flag placed -- placed there?
4 A. This is our national flag. We use it.
5 MR. DI FAZIO: Thank you.
6 Questioned by the Court:
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Do I understand you that it's customary to use
8 the national flag at burials to cover the body of civilians in general
9 terms or ...
10 A. No. People who were killed during the war are buried with this
11 flag. People who die a natural death do not have this flag upon their
12 coffin. This flag came from the morgue, as a matter of fact, where my
13 sister was kept, in Rahovec. We did not put that flag on the coffin. It
14 came from the morgue like that where my sister was.
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you very much for that answer.
16 Is there any further need to put questions to the witness? If
17 not --
18 Mr. Balaj, this concludes your testimony. Of course, the Chamber
19 has noticed that it took you back to emotional events. The Chamber would
20 like to thank you for coming to The Hague and to answer questions of both
21 parties and of the Bench. We wish you a safe trip home again.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much, Your Honours.
23 You know things about justice. You are judging this case. And you will
24 bring the truth out. Thank you very much.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Usher, would you please escort the witness out of
1 the courtroom.
2 [The witness withdrew]
3 JUDGE ORIE: The Chamber was informed that the next witness
4 scheduled who had some medical problems today is ready to appear at
5 quarter past 6.00 in this courtroom. That's the latest information
6 which -- at 5.31 we were informed that the witness was still under medical
7 care. At 5.36 we were informed that he could be here at quarter past
9 I take it that proper attention will be paid to the medical
10 condition, and of course the Chamber will also verify that, but in public
11 it might not be possible to do that in depth, but I take it, Mr. Di Fazio,
12 that proper attention will be paid to the witness who, if for medical
13 reasons is not able to testify, does not enter the court.
14 But we, for -- on the basis of this information, we'll have a
15 break and --
16 Yes, Mr. Di Fazio.
17 MR. DI FAZIO: I'm not entirely sure I've understood correctly.
18 Do you -- are Your Honours inviting the Prosecution to -- to make sure
19 that the witness is able and --
20 JUDGE ORIE: Well --
21 MR. DI FAZIO: Able in all the circumstances to start tonight?
22 JUDGE ORIE: I read at 5.31 that - and I'm now paraphrasing - as
23 far as the Prosecution knows, he is still in hospital. If then five
24 minutes later I receive that we were informed that the witness can be here
25 at quarter past 6.00 to start his testimony, the only thing I'm saying is
1 that under those circumstances, of course, it -- it's important to verify
2 just for yourself that the witness you call is in a position and is in a
3 medical condition that he's able to testify.
4 I take it that this information does not only say that he can be
5 in the courtroom in half an hour but also that his condition is such that
6 it is acceptable that he appears.
7 MR. DI FAZIO: We'll -- I'll make sure that all of those inquiries
8 are attended to. If -- if for any reason we have misgivings about his
9 ability to start today or to testify today, I'll make sure that everyone's
10 notified immediately.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
12 Then we'll have a break. I take it that there are --
13 MR. GUY-SMITH: No, that's perfectly all right. Mr. Di Fazio and
14 I spoke about this early this afternoon, and I had suggested that if --
15 that if there was any undue strain upon anybody --
16 JUDGE ORIE: Yes --
17 MR. GUY-SMITH: -- who was suffering from a medical condition
18 that --
19 JUDGE ORIE: The information the Chamber received -- well, let's
20 say on the basis of very general knowledge of medical matters, would not
21 indicate necessarily that the witness could in such condition not testify
22 and at the same time it is a condition where some additional caution is
23 rightly placed.
24 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you for the general information.
25 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. We adjourn until quarter past 6.00.
1 --- Recess taken at 5.44 p.m.
2 --- On resuming at 6.22 p.m.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE ORIE: Could -- before we -- yes.
5 Please put on the earphones.
6 Please sit down for a second, Mr. Hasanaj.
7 I'd like to turn into private session for a moment.
8 [Private session]
2 [Open session]
3 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, we're back in open session.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Hasanaj, before you give evidence in this court,
5 the Rules of Procedure and Evidence require you to make a solemn
6 declaration that you'll speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
7 the truth. May I invite you to stand. The text of the solemn declaration
8 will be handed out to you by Mr. Usher.
9 May invite you to make that solemn declaration.
10 Mr. Usher, could you please give the witness.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
12 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
13 WITNESS: ZYMER HASANAJ
14 [Witness answered through interpreter]
15 JUDGE ORIE: Thank you, Mr. Hasanaj. Please be seated.
16 You'll first be examined by Mr. Re, who's counsel for the
18 Mr. Re.
19 Examination by Mr. Re:
20 Q. Good evening, Mr. Hasanaj.
21 A. Good evening.
22 Q. I'm going to ask you some questions and I'm going to show you some
23 statement and one map -- or sorry, two maps.
24 Firstly, your name is Zymer Hasanaj? Have I pronounced that
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And your date of birth is the 16th of June, 1952?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You were born in Vranoc e Vogel in Deqan?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And you're a Kosovar Albanian.
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What is your occupation now?
9 A. Now I work as a taxi driver.
10 Q. Where is that?
11 A. In Deqan.
12 Q. Now, I'm going to show you a statement, which is in English and
13 Albanian. And it -- you signed it today, and I'm going to ask you some
14 questions about that statement.
15 Can the witness please be shown the hard copy, which is 65 ter
16 exhibit 2068, and it has an annexed map which is referred to as Annex A.
17 I'm not sure whether the Defence have actually received the annex,
18 which is the map which has got the "X's the witness has marked on of
19 certain villages. Am I correct in that?
20 MR. EMMERSON: I think we have it attached to an earlier
21 statement, not to the 92 ter.
22 MR. RE:
23 Q. Can you please look at the statement, Mr. Hasanaj.
24 All right. Is that the statement you signed this morning,
25 Mr. Hasanaj?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And does it accurately reflect -- is it accurate? Does it
3 accurately reflect your signature in the declaration there?
4 A. Yes. Yes.
5 Q. And does it say what you would tell the Judges if you were asked
6 to give -- if you were asked to tell them what's in that statement? Is it
7 what you would say if I or the Judges or any of the lawyers here asked you
8 the same questions?
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. RE: On that basis, may it please be received into evidence.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Registrar, could you please assign a number to
12 the statement.
13 THE REGISTRAR: That's P923, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Are there any objections against the ...? Then it's
15 admitted into evidence.
16 I add to that the following: Mr. Re, you asked for the identity
17 of this witness. With the previous witness, that was not done. I have
18 understood the identity of the previous witness to be established on the
19 basis of his confirmation that he signed the first page of his statement;
20 although, he was not specifically asked whether he was the person whose
21 name appears on that document.
22 If the Defence would think of it in any different way, I'd like to
23 know it now rather than when the witness has returned.
24 Mr. Re, this was -- as a matter of fact, was an excursion to the
25 previous witness, rather than -- it had nothing to do with the present
1 witness. Please proceed.
2 MR. RE:
3 Q. I just want to ask you a few clarifying questions based upon what
4 is written in the statement which you have in your hand there.
5 Now, could you please go to paragraph 2 in which -- oh, I'm sorry.
6 Might I read onto the record the one-page summary which I have prepared --
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Perhaps -- is the witness aware of -- of how it
8 works? Then -- otherwise, I'll explain to him briefly what we are going
9 to do now.
10 MR. RE: I'm more than happy for Your Honour to do that.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Mr. Hasanaj, since there's no need for you to
12 repeat all the answers you've given already and which are put on paper,
13 but for the public to know what your testimony is about, Mr. Re will read
14 a short summary of what we find in your statement so that the public is
15 aware of your evidence as well. So just listen, and then later on Mr. Re
16 will have some further questions for you.
17 Mr. Re, has the Defence received a copy of the summary? No
18 objections. Then please proceed.
19 MR. RE: The witness is from Vranoc e Vogel in Deqan. From March
20 1998 his village and seven or eight around it started organising it --
21 sorry, started organising to monitor the situation. They considered
22 themselves to be KLA and obtained weapons and military attire with KLA
24 Sometime after a Serb attack on the 29th of May, 1998, the
25 villagers were sent via Gllogjan to obtain weapons from Albania.
1 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Re, let me just -- you're hesitating, and I can
2 imagine a reason why.
3 MR. RE: I was just waiting for the French to catch up with me,
4 Your Honour.
5 JUDGE ORIE: Oh, that's good.
6 MR. RE: And they did eventually.
7 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Please proceed.
8 MR. RE: Ramush Haradinaj came to Vranoc on many occasions. In
9 mid-April 1998, he came to announce the appointment of Din Krasniqi as the
10 commander of the Lugu i Baran regions, which included about 25 villages,
11 including Vranoc.
12 People -- people accepted the expression "God in heaven, Ramush on
13 earth," meaning that he had great authority.
14 Serb forces attacked on the 29th of May, 1998. They withdrew from
15 the village at about 6.00 p.m. That night. Serb forces also attacked
16 Prilep, Carabreg, and Strellc that day. A "free zone" came into operation
17 in the Dukagjini valley by the end of March 1998 and except for occasions
18 such as the 29th of May, the witness -- such as the offensive on the 29th
19 of May, the witness could travel between Vranoc and Gllogjan without
20 coming across a Serb soldier or police officer.
21 The witness went to Gllogjan to see Ramush Haradinaj after the
22 attack of 29th of May to obtain assistance. Ramush Haradinaj subsequently
23 came to Vranoc to see whether they had sufficient supplies. On the day
24 that Sanije Balaj was killed in August 1998, the witness's eight-year-old
25 son told him that he and two friends had been near a water spring at
1 Lugu i Isufit and had seen two men forcing a woman out of a car. The men
2 yelled at the boys to leave. They did and heard three gunshots. The
3 witness went with his son to the place and also with Ahmet Ukaj and Hysen
4 Ukaj. They went to the place. When they were there, a person called to
5 them to stop and they saw a man crouching wearing a cap with a KLA symbol.
6 Ahmet Ukaj later told him that Idriz Gashi and Avni Krasniqi were
7 there. Ahmet Ukaj -- Ahmet Ukaj told him that Galani had killed a woman
8 there and that Galani had threatened him - that is, Ukaj - not to tell
9 anyone. The witness reported the incident to Din Krasniqi, the commander
10 in the area, that night and told him to go and report it to the commander
11 in Baran, Nazif Ramabaja.
12 Okay. That -- that completes the summary which is contained --
13 what is contained in the 92 ter summary -- sorry, statement.
14 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. Re, I have paragraph -- yes. I have at this
15 moment on my screen paragraph 15. I do not know what the reason for that
16 is, but I noticed that in the English language that we certainly find a
17 third person giving a statement. If you look at the second line of
18 paragraph 15, it reads not but "I do not know anything," but it reads "he
19 does not know anything," which is quite extraordinary in the statement.
20 MR. RE: Yes.
21 JUDGE ORIE: Is that correct in the original or is it a
22 translation error or is it -- or are you refer -- or is the witness
23 referring there to Toger, which would come as a surprise, to say the
25 MR. RE: No, it's just a simple error.
1 JUDGE ORIE: A simple error. Okay. Yes.
2 MR. RE: It's been corrected when the statement was taken. I
3 think someone wrote in "he does," referring to the witness does not.
4 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
5 MR. RE: It's been corrected. The version which has been put into
6 e-court should have "I do not know anything about their activities" and
7 the witness's corrected signature next to it.
8 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. The Chamber has no access to upload the
9 documents in e-court and has to deal with the hard copies that are
10 provided before to the Chamber. So if that's corrected, then that's
12 Please proceed.
13 MR. RE:
14 Q. Can you please go to paragraph 2 of your statement, Mr. Hasanaj.
15 And in your statement, you refer to considering yourselves to be KLA but
16 did not have a commander as such.
17 My question is: Why did you consider yourselves to be KLA?
18 A. As a KLA member and representative of Vranoc e Vogel, which is a
19 small village, actually, I was responsible more for emergency issues, like
20 food supplies, surveying the terrain lest some attacks might be launched,
21 and we should in that case evacuate the people.
22 Q. Was there a -- how did you formally come to be in the KLA?
23 A. I came to be a member of the KLA when Lugu i Baranit was part of
24 Peje commune. Being near Vranoc when Vranoc e Vogel was attacked, after
25 Gllogjan was attacked we didn't feel safe in our village. We were afraid
1 of other attacks. After that we were sitting in a room and seeing whether
2 Serbs -- Serb forces would be coming or not.
3 Q. When was it that you formally became part of the KLA?
4 A. I don't remember the exact date. I know that it was sometime in
5 the middle of April. And I take pride in the fact that I was a member of
6 the KLA.
7 Q. Was there a commander of the people who considered themselves to
8 be KLA in April 1998 in your village?
9 A. We didn't have any commander at that time, but as a person who was
10 in a position to contact people, to be kind of representative, I would
11 say. This is how it was.
12 Q. In paragraph 4, you refer to Ramush Haradinaj coming to Vranoc on
13 many occasions, including to announce the appointment of Din Krasniqi as
14 the commander of the Lugu i Baran region. Did you know Ramush Haradinaj
16 A. I do know Ramush Haradinaj personally. After the offensive
17 against Vranoc, Ramush Haradinaj didn't appoint Din Krasniqi. It was the
18 people who elected him. And it was after the Gllogjan offensive that he
19 became known, Ramush Haradinaj, offensive during which there were many
21 Q. Can you give us a date of this Gllogjan offensive?
22 A. I am not certain of the date, but in Deqan commune it was during
23 the first offensive. At least, this is how we know it, when the they
24 attacked Gllogjan.
25 Q. Was that before the Serb offensive of the 29th of -- or the Serb
1 attack on your village of the 29th of May?
2 A. On the 29th of May, they attacked us at 5.00 in the morning. The
3 Vranoc village was attacked by the Serb forces.
4 Q. What I'm asking you is about -- did Ramush Haradinaj become known
5 before then? And if so, how far? How long before then?
6 A. Before the Gllogjan offensive, he was not known, Ramush Haradinaj;
7 at least, I didn't know him either personally or even by name.
8 Q. Just so we know what you're talking -- everyone knows --
9 understands what you mean by "the Gllogjan offensive," can you describe to
10 the Trial Chamber what you're referring to. I mean, what happened in the
11 Gllogjan offensive?
12 A. From what I heard - because I wasn't there, present - during this
13 Gllogjan offensive, the village was attacked. Everybody heard that there
14 were numerous forces. Three people were killed on that day. The others
15 fled to other villages. I don't know where. It is based only on hearsay,
16 because I wasn't there to see it with my own eyes.
17 Q. In paragraph 5, you refer to an expression: "God in heaven;
18 Ramush on earth," meaning that he had great authority. Then you say: "No
19 one was superior to him."
20 I just want you to tell the Trial Chamber, the Judges, what you
21 mean by "no one was superior to" Ramush.
22 A. I -- I said this because from -- every time there was a Serb
23 attack until the KLA became engaged in the war, when the name became
24 known, Ramush -- that of Ramush Haradinaj, it was myself who put that
25 expression, "God in heaven; Ramush on earth."
1 Q. What do you mean by "no one was superior to him"?
2 A. I thought that -- how can you put up resistance to the enemy. I
3 didn't know that it was difficult to put up resistance. In fact, it was
4 very small resistance that was put up.
5 Q. I'm not sure I quite understand your answer. I'm asking you about
6 why you say that no one was superior to him. What do you mean by
7 "superior to" Ramush?
8 A. After he -- he became known -- I don't know how it has been
9 translated there, but I personally gave this description. It was my
10 personal opinion.
11 Q. And what I'm -- what do you mean by it? That's what I'm asking:
12 What do you mean by "no one was superior to him"?
13 A. He was good then and he's good now -- I mean, he's loved by
14 people. He's considered -- he is -- he's held in esteem by the Albanian
16 If you allow me, I would like to continue. There is a wise
17 saying: "The children eat the fruit in the trees and the parents get sore
19 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's explanation. It might mean to say
20 that the parents suffered for the deeds of the children.
21 MR. RE:
22 Q. Okay. Same paragraph, you refer to Ramush always acting as a
23 simple soldier. Then you said: "He assumed the front position with
24 everyone sitting around him in a circle."
25 What do you mean by assuming the front position with everyone
1 sitting around him in a circle? Describe to the Trial Chamber what you
3 A. According to the Albanian customs and traditions, everyone who
4 comes from outside the village is given priority in the seating.
5 Q. Describe the intensity of the attack on the 29th of May on your
6 village by the Serb forces and the response by the KLA.
7 A. On 29th of May at 5.00 in the morning, we heard shots. They had
8 come and taken positions on a hill -- they had come with infantry troops
9 and started shooting. That day Vranoc e Madh -- during that time, there
10 was only one guard that kept guard duty, and that guard missed the forces,
11 didn't see the forces come. So then after that, they brought heavy
12 artillery and we couldn't respond to their fire. When they came with
13 tanks and APCs and other heavy war machinery, the village, Vranoc e Vogel,
14 could be an easy target for the forces.
15 There was a forest nearby. Upon the first shots, people started
16 to leave their houses and go to other villages, Maznik, Lumbardh,
17 Dashinoc, and some other villages, those who could make it. Some were
18 burnt, were carbonised. Three people, actually. One was killed by the
19 tank fire. Near Lugu i Isufit, one person. Imer Ukaj was his name.
20 Q. How many were on the Serb side and how many were on the KLA in
21 the -- the conflict that day? I mean approximately.
22 A. On the Serb side, we couldn't count them. We only saw that they
23 had a lot of artillery means; whereas, we, we were very few in numbers.
24 We couldn't do anything. We couldn't resist them.
25 Q. Why did the Serbs withdraw at about 6.00 that night?
1 A. I don't know the reason why. They set fire to the village. More
2 than half the houses of the village. They killed some, as I said. They
3 killed livestock. They destroyed everything they could. As I said, four
4 persons were burned.
5 Q. In your statement in paragraph 15, you refer to Idriz Balaj and
6 Toger as one and the same person. Did you know Idriz Balaj, Toger, in
8 A. No. No. I didn't know him.
9 Q. Do you know whether he came to your village?
10 A. No, I didn't.
11 MR. RE: Could the witness please be shown Exhibit P10 in e-court.
12 Q. Now, while this is coming up, I'm going to show you a map and I'm
13 going to ask you to mark on the map the position of the location of Lugu i
14 Isufit. And --
15 JUDGE ORIE: Mr. -- Mr. Re.
16 MR. RE: Yes.
17 JUDGE ORIE: If you do so, that -- if the witness says that a
18 person is one and the same, although known by two names, and if he then
19 testifies that he doesn't know that person, then would it not be a good
20 idea to establish the basis on which he comes to the conclusion that's one
21 and the same person?
22 MR. RE: If it assists the Trial Chamber, I'll --
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. Yes. Otherwise, I wouldn't know how he knows.
24 MR. RE: Okay.
25 Q. Mr. Hasanaj, how do you know that Toger and Idriz Balaj are the
1 same person?
2 A. People said so, because people at the time went by pseudonyms, and
3 this is how people knew them, by pseudonyms. And I heard even after the
4 war, after he was gaoled the first time, everybody knew who he was.
5 That's why I said that Idriz Balaj and Togeri are one and the same person.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
7 The map is now on the screen. I take it, Mr. Re, you are aware
8 that zooming in and zooming out, once marking starts, there's no further
9 zooming in or zooming out.
10 MR. RE: We've got it just where we want it.
11 JUDGE ORIE: Yes.
12 MR. RE:
13 Q. Can you see Vranovac on the map in the top right-hand corner and
14 can you see Dasinovac on the map and can you see Zarki Pojas marked on?
15 About one third of the way down, just slightly to the right of the middle?
16 A. Between Dashinoc and Vranoc, Vranoc e Vogel.
17 Q. Can you see the place called Lugu i Isufit there?
18 A. Yes, it is there.
19 MR. RE: All right. Do we have a red pen?
20 Q. And just put a big cross over the top of it, a large cross,
22 A. Here, above this place.
23 Q. You've actually marked it just below Dasinovac. Is it where Zarki
24 Pojas is, a bit above the road? Or have I got that wrong?
25 A. I can't find it here.
1 Q. Can you see where Zarki Pojas is?
2 A. I can't see Zarki Pojas here.
3 Q. Below Kodradiqi.
4 A. Unless it's here. I can't see it very well.
5 Q. Just go up above where you put your red cross. You might see it.
6 A. Unless it's here. I can't see it very well. It is between
7 Dashinoc and Vranovc. It was a cooperative field but it was otherwise
8 called Zarki Pojas. This is where Lugu i Isufit is.
9 Q. Okay. If you look at Zarki Pojas it's directly underneath --
10 A. Yes. Yes. I apologise. I've found it. Yes, where the two "Z"s
11 are, is the place called Lugu i Isufit. Here, can I draw it?
12 Q. Can we refresh it, please, so he can redo it, please?
13 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. I do understand that it is a way of getting rid
14 of some of the markings. I don't know whether that would affect all the
15 markings or whether you could choose.
16 MR. RE: If we could just wipe it and he could put the second "X,"
17 the one above it again, I think it would make the record --
18 JUDGE ORIE: Yes. If we could -- perhaps we could have the
19 original unmarked document again on the screen. Yes.
20 Yes. Could you now, please, indicate the place where you --
21 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
22 MR. RE: Thank you. May that please be received into evidence.
23 JUDGE ORIE: Yes, Mr. Registrar, that would be exhibit number...?
24 THE REGISTRAR: P924, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE ORIE: If there is no objection, it is admitted into
2 Mr. Re, I'm looking at the clock. I think we'll have to -- to
3 finish for the day.
4 MR. RE: I suspect I've finished, but I'll let you know in the
5 morning. I think I've finished as much as I need to go.
6 JUDGE ORIE: Okay. Just one second, please.
7 Mr. Hasanaj, we'll finish for the day. We'd like to see you back
8 tomorrow at quarter past 2.00 in this same courtroom. You'll then be
9 further examined.
10 I have one matter I'm drawing the attention of the --
11 First of all, Mr. Re, I stand corrected. I received half an hour
12 before the -- before we started at quarter past 6.00, I received the
13 latest version of the 92 ter statement, so -- and that was already the
14 corrected one. So I stand corrected when I said that the Chamber had not
15 received it.
16 I was wondering what the saying in the language actually meant,
17 whether it is that parents are suffering under the acts of the children.
18 I also could imagine that it is that those who are in charge are carrying
19 the burden of what others enjoy and that could be for leaders and people,
20 parents and children.
21 I'm just wondering if anyone would be in a position to -- or
22 perhaps with the assistance of the interpreters, to find the correct
23 meaning of the saying the witness expressed, then that would certainly
24 assist the Chamber.
25 We adjourn until quarter past 2.00, 2nd of October, Courtroom I.
1 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.03 p.m.,
2 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 2nd day of
3 October, 2007, at 2.15 p.m.