1 Tuesday, 16 November 2004
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.26 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. It is unfortunate that you have been
6 kept waiting this morning. Apparently there were delays in the
7 transportation of the accused.
8 Mr. Guy-Smith, do I understand that you wish to raise a matter at
9 this point?
10 MR. GUY-SMITH: Yes, I do, Your Honour, if I might. And I do
11 apologise for the interruption. My client, Mr. Bala, yesterday not only
12 was concerned about the blindfold issue, which has been taken care of, I
13 understand, today, but also was concerned with the inordinate period of
14 time that it took for him to be transported from the gaol to the Tribunal.
15 It took approximately two hours, as I understood it, yesterday. It took
16 approximately the same amount today. The difficulty is as follows for
17 him: It has been, as the Prosecution has acknowledged, known for some
18 period of time that he does have a heart condition, and he is not a
19 particularly well man. And this morning, he said to me that he was
20 feeling extremely ill and was extremely concerned about his state of
21 health, and also was extremely concerned about the fact that each time
22 that he is taken from the prison or at least in the past two days, it has
23 taken an inordinate period of time. I have made this journey from the
24 Tribunal to the prison myself on bicycle and it has taken me 15 minutes.
25 I appreciate the fact that there are certain security concerns or perhaps
1 there's some traffic jams or other reasons why this is occurring.
2 However, his concern was so severe that he, as a matter of fact, said to
3 me initially that he would prefer for proceedings to continue with his
4 absence, with him being back at the prison so he does not have to undergo
5 the stress that is attendant with these accommodations that he has in
6 travelling here. I asked him just before Your Honours came in whether he
7 felt that way for the very moment and he said that what he would like to
8 do is address the Court with regard to this issue if at all possible,
9 because it's a continuing matter that I think is going to be something of
10 grave concern to him and maybe of grave concern to his health. Once
11 again, I do apologise for raising it from the standpoint of I know that
12 there's a process of the Court expected. However, I thought it of
13 sufficient urgency that I wished to address it immediately.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Guy-Smith, I think it would be not useful at
15 this moment if what you are proposing is that the accused personally
16 should address us on the issue. The issue, though, is of course one of
17 concern, that your client should be in a position where he is able to
18 manage the process of the trial without undue strain on his health. Now,
19 quite obviously, the commencement of the trial itself and the fact that
20 yesterday was an unusually long day will have perhaps particularly have
21 aggravated the pressure of the moment, and it may be that when we settle
22 in to a more regular routine, he will find the matter of being in court
23 for half a day as something that isn't as demanding as he experienced
25 MR. GUY-SMITH: I understand that. With regard to whether that's
1 the case or not, I do not know, Your Honour --
2 JUDGE PARKER: I know, but I think we need, as it were, to monitor
3 it. But more importantly, and although it may sound an echo of earlier
4 words that I've uttered, the question of the order in which the accused
5 are moved here and transported back, and therefore, the time that each
6 spends is something that I think could be very usefully discussed between
7 yourself and the Registrar, who has the ultimate running of those things.
8 MR. GUY-SMITH: I appreciate that, Your Honour.
9 JUDGE PARKER: And could I suggest that you might follow that
10 avenue and that, clearly, we are all in the hope that, as matters settle
11 in to a routine, your client may find that the pressure of the occasion is
12 not too great for him. Do, of course, feel free at any moment, where it
13 is of serious concern, to raise the matter directly with us.
14 MR. GUY-SMITH: Which is why I raised it this morning. And I will
15 follow the Court's suggestion. However, seeing the speed with which the
16 order that was ordered yesterday was responded to, I thought that perhaps
17 it might be also a good idea to advise the Trial Chamber of what is
19 JUDGE PARKER: I will not at any time enter into discussion as to
20 the Tribunal's -- the Trial Chamber's jurisdiction to make the order that
21 was made yesterday, Mr. Guy-Smith.
22 MR. GUY-SMITH: I'm not commenting on that.
23 JUDGE PARKER: It seemed to be a way of perhaps resolving what had
24 become something of an impasse in the complex procedures of dealing with
25 an issue that concerned all accused. And so the Chamber was prepared to
1 act as we did.
2 MR. GUY-SMITH: I speak on behalf of my client and I'm sure the
3 others, that we appreciate the comments that the Chamber has made with
4 regard to that particular issue.
5 JUDGE PARKER: And I think a slightly different approach may be
6 appropriate in the case of your client at the present time, as I've
8 MR. GUY-SMITH: One would hope that that would work.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
10 Mr. Mansfield, I understand you propose an opening statement.
11 MR. MANSFIELD: If Your Honour pleases, yes. I want to check, if
12 I may, firstly that a bundle of documents that I indicated yesterday we
13 would use during the opening to refer to has in fact reached everyone. It
14 looks something like this, with an index on the front cover. There are,
15 in fact, 11 documents. These are all documents, save possibly one, that
16 were already before the Tribunal at an earlier stage.
17 JUDGE PARKER: We all seem to have them, Mr. Mansfield.
18 MR. MANSFIELD: I'm most grateful.
19 [Limaj Defence Opening Statement]
20 MR. MANSFIELD: Your Honour, that being the case, may I, on behalf
21 of Mr. Limaj, together with my co-counsel, address you on matters that we
22 hope will be of some assistance in relation to his case. And I would like
23 to begin where the Prosecution concluded last night, because their
24 observations where these: That this Tribunal, or the process of this
25 Tribunal, in a sense is a vehicle or an instrument of reconciliation,
1 essentially through justice. The raison d'etre for, again, the Tribunal
2 and its process has been a means whereby individuals and groups of
3 individuals may come to face certain truths and certain facts.
4 Now, we endorse that approach, namely, that you may regard
5 yourselves as part of that process, of course within the parameters that
6 are set on a statutory basis. But bearing that approach in mind, it does
7 immediately highlight the consideration which I ask you to give to the
8 context for this case, both historical and personal. The context for this
9 particular indictment, because we say when one looks at the context and
10 the background to this case, it will be important and relevant to issues
11 that will arise in the substantive hearing in the days hereafter, and it
12 will become relevant, and is relevant and important, in relation to three
13 particular aspects: Firstly, assessing the nature of the conflict in
14 1998, how it arose, the nature of the response in the early months by the
15 Kosovar Albanians. Plainly, all of these factors may have a bearing on
16 the nature of armed conflict. And may I say at once: I don't intend,
17 plainly, to reiterate the matters or issues raised in the pre-trial brief
18 at this stage.
19 That's the first matter, assessing the nature of the conflict
20 itself in the context of events that went before.
21 Secondly, the context is important in assessing the alleged
22 actions and course of conduct said to have been pursued by this defendant
23 whom I represent, Fatmir Limaj. In other words, one needs to look at, as
24 a contextual matter, the nature of the man himself, who he is, what he's
25 done, both before and after the events alleged in the indictment. Because
1 these, again, may assist in assessing the truth of the allegations made
2 against him.
3 And thirdly, the way the context, in other words, the events
4 before and, to some extent, after, are highly relevant in relation to
5 function of reconciliation through justice, is assessing some of the
6 evidence that you will hear in the light of those events, in order to
7 ascertain whether it has been in any way tainted or politically inspired.
8 So those are three ways in which the context which I wish to
9 develop this morning becomes, we say, relevant and poignant.
10 Before beginning with the narrative of context, although very
11 obvious, it is easy to overlook, especially when one listens at
12 considerable length and in considerable detail to matters that were
13 outlined yesterday, that this indictment in fact is limited in time. It
14 is, in fact, three months of one year: May to July 1998. And it affects,
15 albeit, of course, any one person being unlawfully affected in the sense
16 of murdered, tortured, or unlawfully abducted, is reprehensible and
17 unforgivable in one sense. However, there are a limited number in
18 relation to this indictment, and the word that was used yesterday
19 essentially measured in tens. So a three month period with alleged
20 victims numbering in the tens, not the hundreds, not the thousands. So
21 having said that had as a precursor, what is the context that I'd ask you
22 to consider relevant to this defendant, Mr. Limaj. And what I want to do,
23 if I may, is run the two alongside in the decade before 1998, in other
24 words, the ten years, roughly, that led up to 1998, both for Kosovo and
25 for Fatmir Limaj. They are intertwined, almost inextricably. And to ask
1 you, in a sense, not necessarily now, but as the case goes on, to, as it
2 were, bear in mind the conditions and the situation of an individual like
3 Fatmir Limaj and his family growing into maturity through this decade.
4 And I start with the year 1989. By that year, as you've heard,
5 Fatmir Limaj, having been born in 1971, was 18. He marries in that year,
6 having been educated locally at an elementary school and a secondary
7 school, and it is in 1989 that he enrols in the faculty of law at
8 Pristina. In one sense an unremarkable, ordinary, straightforward,
9 law-abiding young man. But he is living under the shadow, a very dark
10 shadow that is being cast across the whole of Kosovo by a person whose
11 name is now almost household throughout Europe, namely, the newly elected
12 president of Serbia, Mr. Milosevic, May the 8th, 1989, the very year Limaj
13 marries and enrols at the faculty of law.
14 And it was again in 1989 that a new Serbian constitution revoked
15 the autonomy of Kosovo and began a legislative programme aimed at
16 discriminating against and eliminating the right almost to exist of
17 Kosovar Albanians, and Limaj, of course, is one of those.
18 One has to pause for a moment to imagine without difficulty what
19 it begins to be like for a person of a group who is being targeted out of
20 existence. To begin to appreciate, plainly, I would submit on his behalf,
21 his responsibility, in a sense, for others during these years, one which
22 we will see throughout the matters that I raise this morning, demonstrates
23 someone who wishes to be inclusive, not exclusive, not wanting to erect a
24 form of apartheid which essentially the Milosevic years began, but worse.
25 The following year, 1990, another important year, his first son
1 was born in that year, but that's the year on which the Kosovo parliament
2 was dissolved, July 5th. That's the year in which further legislation of
3 the kind I've already indicated was laid by the Serbs, the Serb
4 government, a policy which was entitled, ironically, the Programme for the
5 realisation of peace, freedom, equality, democracy, and prosperity in the
6 province of Kosovo. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
7 The complete opposite of those tenets, peace, freedom, equality,
8 democracy, and prosperity, were to be wrought upon the Kosovar Albanians.
9 And I want, if I may, just to give you a description which comes from the
10 Human Rights Watch report. I just quote it. I don't ask for it to be on
11 screen or that you have it, but so that it can be checked, it's page 27.
12 This is how Kosovo was described from 1990 onwards, these very years in
13 which this young man is bringing up or attempting to start a family and
14 bring up his family.
15 Kosovo became a police state, run by Belgrade, a strong Serb
16 military presence, committed ongoing human rights abuses. Police
17 violence, arbitrary detention, and torture were common. Ethnic Albanians
18 were arrested, detained, prosecuted and imprisoned solely on the basis of
19 their ethnicity, political beliefs, or membership of organisations or
20 institutions that were either banned or looked upon with disfavour by the
21 Serbian government.
22 Over the ensuing years in this police state, hundreds of
23 thousands, not tens, of Kosovar Albanians were removed, sacked from
24 government institutions. Particularly, of course, this effect was felt in
25 the most important aspect of any society, namely, education. All Albanian
1 teachers were sacked. Albanian-speaking schools were closed. And this
2 process, which affected every aspect of life, the tentacles of this police
3 state reached every aspect of Kosovar Albanian identity. Its object was
4 clear: To eradicate that identity. And it is estimated by Human Rights
5 Watch that in the seven years after 1990, 350.000 Albanians were dispersed
6 in a diaspora which we say is catastrophic. These are all words used by
7 the Prosecution in another context yesterday. A catastrophe occurred
8 through these years to this community purely because of their ethnicity.
9 And towards the end of this seven-year period, that's 1990 through
10 to 1997, in 1996, page 34 of the Human Rights Watch report, human rights
11 abuses intensified. The police acted with near total impunity. Police
12 abuse generally took three basic forms: Random beatings on the streets
13 and in public places, targeted attacks against politically active
14 Albanians and arbitrary retaliation for attacks by the KLA.
15 I pause. Imagine yourselves in your own home countries, where the
16 parliament has been dissolved, you are occupied essentially by a foreign
17 power, and your very existence is denied. No wonder so many thousand
18 left. And in fact, as you've heard, in 1997, Fatmir Limaj was forced
19 himself to flee.
20 This was, in a sense, ethnic cleansing of the worst kind. This
21 was, to use the words that are sometimes espoused in another context, a
22 widespread and systematic attack on a civilian population.
23 We arrive at the door of the year 1998. And it is in this year,
24 yet again, between May and September - Human Rights Watch page 47 - a
25 further 298.000 Kosovar Albanians are internally displaced. And gradually
1 through this year, the forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,
2 otherwise known as FRY, the forces of the Republic of Serbia, and MUP, the
3 acronym occasionally used in connection to them, began a more intensive
4 campaign than the one that we have so far outlined. Whole villages were
5 razed to the ground. There was not only destruction of property but, of
6 course, the destruction of men, women, and children, young and old. Once
7 again, the catastrophe and the horror of what was happening is not to be
8 measured in tens but in hundreds and thousands, in terms of people killed
9 and homes destroyed, well beyond, we say, the incident that you're
10 familiar with, the Jashari massacre at Drenica in February and March,
11 three villages then attacked indiscriminately, 83 dead, 24 of whom are
12 women and children, one pregnant woman shot in the face, four brothers of
13 one family killed, ten members of the Ahmeti family summarily executed.
14 One has no doubt at all that in each of those cases the horror and the
15 catastrophe for them was, again, unforgettable.
16 This is to indicate, clearly, that what you are faced with
17 deciding in this case has to be set against what has happened before,
18 particularly when it is said yesterday, in the context of reconciliation,
19 the Prosecution read out a list of those Serbs who have been indicted.
20 However, the list of Serbs who have been indicted do not stand indicted
21 for the years before the 1st of January, 1999. In other words, the events
22 to which I have referred in a little detail have not been made
23 accountable, and there are those within Serbian authority who plainly have
24 not disciplined anyone, nor has anyone else chosen to take action in
25 relation to what has happened.
1 It is in that context that this young man, with a young family by
2 now through these years, he has three more children in the 1990s, three
3 daughters, one born in 1993, another in 1995, and another in 1999.
4 They're now aged 11, 9, and 5. He has also in these years, despite the
5 oppression and the repression, he has graduated from the university I
6 indicated he had entered in 1989. He graduated in 1995, and in 1996, he
7 began his masters' degree in international relations before he had to
8 depart the country in 1997. But through those years, despite everything,
9 there is no suggestion from any quarter that Fatmir Limaj was, as it were,
10 conducting any kind of campaign of hostility or abuse of any kind towards
11 any other racial group within Kosovo.
12 And so it is in the spring of 1998 that he does return to Kosovo,
13 where he was born, to face the might of a well-equipped, long-standing
14 military presence, by trying to breathe life back into pockets and groups
15 of armed resistance, villagers attempting to fend off the might of the
16 onslaught that I have described to you. He himself this morning, no
17 doubt, with your permission, will wish to say a little about that.
18 Before moving on, may I pose one question in relation to this
19 spring period of 1998 with which this indictment is concerned, May to
20 July. The principal question that has been posed, plainly, is whether
21 Lapusnik was a farm or a camp, whether, in fact, plainly, it was a place
22 of detention, torture, and so forth. We merely pose for your
23 consideration at this stage, given the early nature of what was going on
24 in 1998, when Fatmir Limaj returned, and as you've heard, there has been
25 no issue that he, obviously, went to Lapusnik. And what I am about to
1 pose, the question, is one foreshadowed by the Prosecution in their
2 pre-trial brief, paragraph 39. Given the location of Lapusnik, would
3 anyone choose to place a place of detention for civilians right on the
4 front line, 350 metres from Serb forces, such that if you stand in the
5 farmyard, you can see where the Serb forces were stationed.
6 We would submit to you that it doesn't take a great military brain
7 to work out that that is not where you would put civilians. If you are at
8 the stage of the spring 1998 concerned with, primarily, fending off the
9 Serbian military machine, focusing your attention on that, you are hardly
10 going to be, we suggest, distracted and using up scarce resources dealing
11 with bringing civilians from disparate municipalities, across dangerous
12 roads in dangerous circumstances to a highly vulnerable position just in
13 front of the Serb lines. A different matter if you were dealing with
14 prisoners of war, in other words, soldiers or people who were engaged in
15 combat. You might, for sake of convenience, because you have taken or
16 captured them near the front line; you would not, we suggest, necessarily
17 want to bring civilians to that position. It is a question to be asked in
18 relation to the issues that you face.
19 What I indicated was that I wanted to ask you to consider the
20 context of this short period of time. For these purposes, may I then pass
21 to events after this short period of time, as the post-context aspect of
22 it, in other words, how Fatmir behaved in the years immediately after the
23 war was over.
24 On the 16th of October, 1999, the Party for the Democratic
25 Progress of Kosovo, the PPDK, which was formed yesterday, was formed. He
1 played a role in that. And then, of course, the PDK itself, which grew
2 out of it. He was secretary for public relations. And when the first
3 assembly elections were held in 2001, he became chair of the PDK
4 parliamentary group and was, clearly, a deputy, having been elected
5 democratically. It is clear he played a vital role in the fledgling
6 institutions of transition at that time by advocating an inclusive
7 democracy. And the reason why we raise this is the same as the reason we
8 raise the events before this three-month period, namely, is to assess
9 whether this is the man who would have supervised murder and torture and
10 suddenly have changed into the utmost diplomat, and serious and genuine
11 politician seeking a new union within Kosovo, of course, matters which are
12 yet to be determined in the final status talks next year. Once again, he
13 demonstrated extraordinary responsibility when, of course, he might have
14 done quite the reverse if he had wanted to provoke a different political
15 situation and solution.
16 For these purposes, may I ask you to turn to some, we submit,
17 extremely important documents in relation to the nature of the man with
18 whom you are faced today. If you kindly turn to the bundle that you have,
19 the very first document is a letter sent to the Tribunal by the prime
20 minister of the provisional institution of self-government, as it's headed
21 on page 1 of the bundle. A letter sent on the 13th of March. Now, a
22 number of these documents were provided for the purposes of the Tribunal
23 considering the question of provisional release in this case. However, we
24 pray them in aid now so that you have a picture which may, we say, hang
25 over this Tribunal room as we proceed. The opinion of the prime minister
1 speaking on behalf of the Kosovar government, and I'll only read some
2 paragraphs, but it's all here. On the first page: "Let me assure you
3 that I share the opinion of many local and international colleagues
4 involved in our joint efforts to set the rule of law in Kosovo and that
5 Mr. Limaj's attitude vis-a-vis the ICTY has been exemplary. As the prime
6 minister of Kosovo, I do say it frequently that, aside from all our
7 efforts, his willingness to voluntarily face the trial, non-denial of the
8 Tribunal's authority, and full cooperation with the same, have made the
9 strongest impact to keep the situation calm. It was his attitude that
10 helped the most in this respect. In addition to that, of crucial
11 importance have been his address to the citizens, where without any
12 ambiguity he recognised the authority of the ICTY to prosecute him, his
13 clearly made intention to surrender to the same, as well as an appeal that
14 he made to the citizens, asking them not to protest against charges
15 brought against him by the Tribunal but to recognise the authority of the
16 court and work towards strengthening our institutions and the rule of
18 May I pause. There had been a massive demonstration in Pristina
19 and Kosovo of a quarter of a million people, and we say, far from exciting
20 and inciting any form of public disturbance or undermining the fragility
21 of the union that he was attempting, with others, to build up, this is
22 not, we say, the action of a man who really and fundamentally wishes to
23 destroy in the way the indictment alleges against him.
24 The next paragraph reads: "Furthermore, Mr. Limaj, with his
25 attitude, has given the most ethical contribution in setting the pattern
1 of behaviour towards your highly respected authority, which in this region
2 as a whole is frequently contested and brought into question. Yet, when
3 it comes to Kosovo, our determination for a full cooperation with the ICTY
4 is firm and honest and should not be accused with those governments and
5 citizens that don't recognise your authority and search for any
6 possibility to avoid fulfilling obligations vis-a-vis the ICTY.
7 Mr. Limaj's behaviour is by every means an illustration of our
8 determination for full cooperation.
9 "I'd find it important too, to highlight that Mr. Limaj has played
10 the most crucial role in the after-war period in Kosovo. He was the most
11 constructive person as a member of the Assembly, providing a critical link
12 between different political and ethnical groups. For that he was, and
13 still is, widely respected and acknowledged.
14 "At the same time, we shall bear in mind that he has no criminal
15 record of any kind. On the contrary; he is an excellent jurist by
16 education and a former fighter who joined the forces of the Kosovo
17 Liberation Army in pursuit of freedom for all Kosovar citizens, regardless
18 of their ethnicity, religion, or political opinion."
19 Now, lest it be said that, of course, the prime minister may or
20 might say that of one of his own deputies, I would submit, given the
21 nature of his position and the democratic institution that he heads, it is
22 unlikely that he would be saying things just for the sake of it, in the
23 context of Kosovo. The same cannot be said of other jurisdictions,
24 possibly. However, if you turn -- or would be kind enough for turn to the
25 next document, to illustrate the point I make. It isn't just the opinion
1 of fellow Albanians in Kosovo. And the next document, page 4, is a letter
2 dated the 28th of April, 2003, from Daan Everts, who was heading the task
3 force of the OSCE. And that, as you will know, played an extremely
4 important role itself in relation to reconstruction within Kosovo. The
5 Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Kosovo is perhaps one of the
6 most important international organisations. And this is what he had to
7 say when sending a letter to the Chief Prosecutor: "Although I'm unable
8 to pass any judgement on events taking place in the period during the war,
9 I came to know Mr. Limaj quite well during my nearly three years as head
10 of the OSCE mission in Kosovo right after the conflict, when the
11 international community was engaged in the reconstruction of the region.
12 As an active member of the Kosovo Assembly, subsequently transformed from
13 the democratically elected parliament, Mr. Limaj has always advocated
14 inclusive, conciliatory governance, stressing the importance of compromise
15 and accommodation. He forcefully argued in favour of his party, the PDK,
16 joining the joint interim administrative structure (including Serb
17 participation), which was crucial at the time for achieving broad-based
18 agreement on executive rule by the UN administration. He has also taken a
19 firm stand against ethnic violence and nationalist extremism, inside
20 Kosovo as well as with regard to the near civil war in the neighbouring
21 former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and southern Serbia."
22 In short, we say Mr. Limaj has demonstrated a willingness and a
23 propensity for the very function which was described yesterday by the
24 Prosecution of reconciliation and reconstruction. And over the page, page
25 5, the letter continues: "In short, during a post-conflict period of
1 intense nationalist and extremist tendencies, I found Mr. Limaj to be a
2 politician who was willing to compromise and work constructively with both
3 the international administration and Kosovo's various ethnic communities."
4 We say the importance of this is that this gentleman plainly would
5 not be easily hoodwinked, would plainly be someone able to assess,
6 carefully, the nature of the man with whom he's dealing, and if he thought
7 for one moment that Mr. Limaj was a maverick, if he thought for one moment
8 that Mr. Limaj was manipulating or whatever, there is no doubt that this
9 letter would not have been written. He is supported by the next document,
10 page 6.
11 This is a testimonial, essentially, by Carolyn McCool, and you
12 will see from her CV, curriculum vitae, which appears at page 8, that she
13 has an extraordinarily impressive background in Canada, with innumerous
14 positions and appointments prior to the ones that she took up in Kosovo.
15 We've included them again so that you can see the quality of the people
16 who are making the assessments, outside Kosovo, of this man inside Kosovo.
17 She says, going back to page 6, in paragraph 2: "In August 1999, I went
18 to Kosovo as the first director of the Mitrovica region of Kosovo for the
19 OSCE mission in Kosovo, otherwise known as OMiK, in which position I
20 remained until December 2000. Subsequently, I was transferred to Pristina
21 as the director of democratisation," and then she indicates where she's
22 practiced before, and that I've already indicated. "I first came to know
23 Fatmir Limaj after moving to Pristina Kosovo in early 2001. As the
24 director of democratisation for OMiK it was necessary that I become
25 acquainted with political leaders. I knew Fatmir Limaj as vice-president
1 of the Democratic Party of Kosovo, commonly known as the PDK."
2 Paragraph 4: "After meeting and speaking with Mr. Limaj on a
3 number of occasions, I formed the opinion that he is one of the most
4 open-minded and progressive of the politicians that I know in Kosovo, of
5 any ethnic community. It appeared to me to be transparent at all times
6 that he is committed to an ethnically inclusive and democratic future in
7 Kosovo, integrated into Europe and with close ties to North America, and
8 is equally committed to establishing a society based on the rule of law in
9 order to ensure that integration. Mr. Limaj was, in my experience, at all
10 times eager to cooperate with the international community in Kosovo,
11 whether this was in respect of political party development, the electoral
12 process, or the central Assembly of Kosovo, to which he was elected in
13 November 2001.
14 "Mr. Limaj is not alone in having impressed me in this way. There
15 are others in his political party and members of other political parties
16 and other ethnic communities, who have also shown that their primary
17 interest is in building a future for Kosovo which is ethnically inclusive,
18 democratic, and mindful of the public interest. But in my view, the
19 community of politicians that can be described in this way is relatively
20 small. It is my considered and very strong opinion that Fatmir Limaj is a
21 member of this relatively small community.
22 "Mr. Limaj is without doubt one of those Kosovar Albanian
23 politicians most prepared to deal with Kosovo Serbs in a responsible,
24 open, and honest manner. Throughout my acquaintance with him in 2001, it
25 became apparent that he was interested in Albanian/Serbian dialogue at a
1 level of principle as opposed to simple rhetoric. At every meeting that I
2 saw him at with Kosovo Serbs, he was able to crystallise points and
3 clarify lines of demarcation in ways that were extremely helpful to the
4 process overall. At what we used to call multi-ethnic dialogue meetings,
5 Mr. Limaj was, in my experience, invariably one of the most productive and
6 honest participants. I do not mean to suggest that he agrees with the
7 perceptions or analysis of Kosovo Serbs. Quite the contrary; his views
8 are almost symmetrically opposed to those of Kosovo Serbs. I mean rather
9 to say that Fatmir Limaj is prepared to deal with those issues as a matter
10 of politics and at a level of principle. For instance, I know from
11 personal experience that he is prepared to meet personally and
12 individually with Kosovo Serbs, and does so in a spirit of non-rhetorical
13 moderation and professionalism."
14 Over the page: "I have never heard Fatmir Limaj voice expressions
15 of hatred for people of different ethnic backgrounds, including Kosovo
16 Serbs, nor have I ever heard him incite anyone to violence against anyone
17 else, again of any ethnic community. In my experience, he has always
18 acted in a very correct and courteous manner towards all people,
19 regardless of their ethnic, religious, political, or national
21 Finally: "My high regard for Fatmir Limaj is apparent. I've
22 considered these comments carefully, due to the significance of the
23 charges which he faces and my high respect for the Tribunal. What I saw
24 here reflects my honest opinion, that Mr. Limaj is one of the most
25 progressive and enlightened politicians working in Kosovo today."
1 Perhaps, if I may add, it is unfortunate that he is not there now
2 and able to participate. Clearly you may think that is the highest
3 testimonial anyone could expect, and we say well merited. And so, again,
4 if there are to be matters that you should consider as the case goes on
5 while you listen to the evidence, it may be that you might wish to reflect
6 upon the nature of this man as described. But it isn't just the nature of
7 the man; it is in fact his actions as well, and his approach to the
8 Tribunal and his approach to the charges. Because may I turn in the very
9 latter stages of the chronology, to what happened. We say it's quite
10 important to see what happened when in fact matters came to a head for him
12 On the 27th of January, 2003, the indictment in this case was
13 confirmed. It was sealed, as we know, until the 17th of February, a
14 Monday. On the 15th of February, a Saturday of that year, Mr. Limaj and
15 others had taken a short break. They had in fact gone to Slovenia. And
16 as you will see in a moment, this was known to some of the authorities,
17 that he had gone, important members of the authorities knew that he had
18 gone, even though, of course, by the 15th an indictment had been confirmed
19 and sealed.
20 On Monday, the 17th, while he's still away, he hears about the
21 fact that there are arrests. But we say what is important here, he
22 doesn't evaporate, he doesn't abscond. Because of course if the
23 Prosecution are correct, he must have known, essentially, having
24 committed, according to them, atrocious, atrocious matters in Lapusnik,
25 that he might be one of those that is being sought. But he doesn't, as I
1 say, disappear. He has time to on the 17th. But at that stage, he
2 doesn't discover that it's an indictment including him, but he does the
3 next day, Tuesday, the 18th. And this is where we come to page 10 in the
4 documents. If you'd kindly turn to that page. There is there a
5 transcript of a telephone call. The importance of this call is twofold.
6 One, it informs him about matters concerning himself; two, the telephone
7 was on a mobile, the telephone call. So in fact, we suggest, in the end,
8 the authorities would not have known where he was unless he had himself
9 made it clear, which he did. And we say what happened thereafter is a
10 direct result of Mr. Limaj's responsibility in this matter. If I may just
11 read portions of the tape-recorded conversation, which was broadcast. This
12 is a Reuters journalist who telephones him at 2.30 and tells him about the
13 announcement in Montenegro, and Limaj says: "No. It's the first time I'm
14 hearing about it. Can you read it for me please." It's read over the
15 phone to him. He's asked, over the page, if he's ever met with The Hague
16 Tribunal investigators. He says no.
17 "Would you surrender to the Hague Tribunal?"
19 "Would you voluntarily surrender"
20 "Absolutely, yes. If I'm one of the indicted, I'll hand over
21 myself voluntarily, but first I'll fly back to Kosovo to greet with my
22 family and will immediately surrender."
23 We submit all of that is perfectly responsible and reasonable.
24 "You are accused for war crimes. Do you feel guilty?"
25 Limaj: "Absolutely not. I fought of fought for the freedom of my
1 people. I don't languish at all on any indictment and I don't feel guilty
2 at all. I'll go to The Hague to defend Kosovo as I've always done."
3 He is thanked by the journalist.
4 Matters don't reside there. If you turn to the next document,
5 this is another statement by the prime minister of Kosovo, a man we submit
6 of considerable responsibility himself. Approximately one and a half
7 hours later, Limaj is not disappearing into the valleys and mountains of
8 Slovenia, knowing, as he does by then, that he's wanted, if he is a guilty
9 man, as alleged. He is in fact doing the reverse. He's remaining where
10 he is and telephoning the prime minister. And a record of that -- a
11 recollection of it, should I say, is set out in this statement, page 12.
12 On the 18th of February, the prime minister writes: "At about 4.00 p.m.,
13 Mr. Limaj telephoned me at my official residence. He informed me that he
14 had just learned of the indictment against him and expressed his readiness
15 to surrender himself voluntarily to the Hague Tribunal. To this end, he
16 requested that he should be enabled to return to Pristina from Slovenia
17 and say goodbye to his family and from there immediately travel to
18 The Hague to voluntarily surrender to the ICTY."
19 Over the page: "I'm also aware that prior to his detention,
20 Mr. Limaj made public statements on the Kosovo broadcast media where he
21 expressed both his readiness and determination to turn himself in
22 voluntarily to the ICTY in The Hague. He additionally expressed regret
23 that he was out of Kosovo at the time the indictment was made public.
24 "Given that the field of security in Kosovo is a reserved power
25 for the special representative of the Secretary-General, in my capacity as
1 prime minister of Kosovo, I asked Mr. Steiner to facilitate the return of
2 Mr. Limaj from Slovenia to Kosovo and his onward travel to The Hague. The
3 meeting between the SRSG, Mr. Steiner and myself and other representatives
4 of the Kosovo government" - and he names them - "took place at
5 Mr. Steiner's office from 5.00 to 6.00 on the 18th." You will begin to
6 see that the events after 2.30 indicate a trail of responsibility by the
7 Kosovo government and by this, we say, responsible politician, Mr. Limaj's
9 He was, therefore, we say, in the process of arranging a perfectly
10 proper surrender to the authorities. And it is part of his, we say,
11 approach to this Tribunal and the process throughout that he has, as it
12 were, taken it into his confidence and asked the people of Kosovo to do
13 the same. And as you will see in this letter, page 13, one more
14 paragraph: "The SRSG expressed his readiness to travel to Slovenia
15 himself the following morning, the 19th of February, 2003, on a special
16 plane, and to accompany Mr. Limaj from Slovenia back to Kosovo, from where
17 Mr. Limaj would go on to The Hague."
18 And in a later letter, he indicates, I don't ask you to read it,
19 pages 14 and 15, he confirms that he knew the whereabouts in Slovenia when
20 he spoke to Mr. Steiner, which is why that topic was discussed at 5.00.
21 He remained, that is, Mr. Limaj, at his hotel in Slovenia. It is clear
22 that, in fact, prior to his detention by the Slovenian police who went to
23 the hotel in the end a little later, Mr. Limaj made some other broadcasts
24 which are then to be found at page 17 onwards, and these -- some of these
25 are important in relation to, again, assessing Mr. Limaj and his approach
1 to these charges and to the Tribunal.
2 At page 17, we identified yesterday a rather better transcript of
3 what he said on the 18th to the RTK, the Public Television of Kosovo,
4 sometime before his detention in Kosovo. So it's the sheet 17 and 18
5 which are slightly better and more expanded version of what is on page 19.
6 So if I may just read this. What he says to the interviewer on the 18th,
7 before detention: "To tell the truth, I am, of course, surprised at such
8 a statement, meaning the indictment, or indictment, but I take it as
9 something which, in the end, is a duty that I must perform. At least this
10 is what the Hague Tribunal, a valued international authority, foresees,
11 and of course I will obey its will or ... This indictment prepared by
12 Ms. Del Ponte. As you say, I have been and still am abroad, but now,
13 having received this information one and a half or two hours ago, I will
14 get ready to travel to Pristina and will surrender voluntarily or will
15 travel to the court in The Hague, so that this indictment can go through
16 the normal procedure as it should. No doubt it's been an accident, but as
17 you see from their statements, it seems that there were many who knew
18 about this thing. This was, as is normal, a secret of KFOR or
19 Ms. Del Ponte, and I can confirm that I did not in any way, not a sign, so
20 confirmation or warning of any such thing, and so I continued to perform
21 my ordinary duties and obligations according to the prearranged schedule.
22 And so by chance I found myself away from Kosovo. My greatest wish would
23 have been to be there when this news was brought to me, but I hope that I
24 will be in Kosovo soon and I would request there's no need for anybody to
25 put on a display of any kind, because I am ready for this kind of thing
1 and I am ready to go voluntarily to The Hague. I say voluntarily because
2 I'm very confident and I'm very proud of all my past and what I've done so
3 far. If you ask me what would I change, I say that if I had to live the
4 life I have lived so far one million times over I would not change it for
5 a single second or by one millimetre. I would do the same things again
6 because I am convinced that what I did was done in the service of my
7 country and my people and that I behaved within all national and
8 international norms. Perhaps the greatest crime that I have committed was
9 when my soldiers and I protected 85.000 civilians, people's lives."
10 If I may just interpose. Those are the civilians who were driven
11 into the mountains. "Perhaps this was the greatest crime, in quotation
12 marks, that I could have committed, in not allowing the Serbian fascist
13 troops to commit genocide in the territories where we were active. So on
14 this basis I am ready to go there and I use this opportunity through your
15 television channel to appeal to all my supporters and all citizens not to
16 make something big out of this. Let them take it quietly, because we must
17 be confident that just as we were able to defend Kosovo in very much worse
18 circumstances, so I will be ready to defend Kosovo and our glorious army,
19 the Kosovo Liberation Army, in the procedure that Ms. Del Ponte has set in
20 motion. In the end, it must be clear to all of us citizens of Kosovo that
21 the process through which Kosovo is passing and to which we are all
22 committed to make Kosovo a state is more important than any individual.
23 So I call on everybody not to harm the political process and to continue
24 to carry forward this process until we achieve our state. The fate of
25 individuals is of minor importance and myself, nothing else. I am
1 continuing to do my duty and I see this as a price for the independence of
2 Kosovo, and if I have to pay this price for the independence of Kosovo, I
3 am ready to do such a thing, seeing as we have also been ready to give our
4 lives for Kosovo."
5 We say that is an impressive broadcast, spoken from the heart,
6 with sincerity.
7 At around the same time, page 20.
8 THE INTERPRETER: The counsel please needs to slow down. Thank
9 you very much.
10 MR. MANSFIELD: -- And he says at page 20: "You know there had
11 been indictments from The Hague and we have all the obligations to
12 cooperate with The Hague.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Please slow down. The interpreters are having
14 hard time because you are going so fast. Thank you.
15 MR. MANSFIELD: "I'm very encouraged about the statement from
16 Fatmir Limaj that he's made. He recognises the responsibility and he
17 recognises his obligations under The Hague and I would like to tell you
18 that I'm also encouraged that the prime minister came here and has told me
19 and confirmed to me that Fatmir Limaj is ready to present himself here to
20 the authorities. I think this is a good sign. That's a very dignified
21 way how we should deal with our obligations of The Hague. And I'm pleased
22 that we have this behaviour from the institutions."
23 And he says much the same in the next answer on this page 20, that
24 he has recognised his responsibility and dealt with an issue -- this issue
25 in a way which is confirmative with the rule of law. "I am proud for this
1 behaviour and I think that's how we have to deal with this issue, in a
2 dignified way."
3 So it's quite clear, even at this stage, that those who have met
4 and know him are assessing him to be a man of responsibility, to be a
5 person who is willing to uphold the rule of law, not undermine it. And
6 that is echoed, finally, on page 25. The intervening pages are other
7 examples of broadcasts at that time. I don't take up your time with
8 those. They are there to be read, if necessary.
9 What appears on page 25, a broadcast again on the 18th by the
10 officer commanding KFOR, General Mini. And I just read the paragraph
11 relating to Limaj himself: "About Limaj was a different approach.
12 Mr. Limaj didn't show, never showed that he wanted to flee or leave the
13 country. He was free to walk, and so he didn't pose any kind of threat to
14 the safe and security of" -- and then it's inaudible: "So we didn't feel
15 that we have to secure immediately. He was the last priority in terms of
16 risks. That's why we knew very well that he is going abroad for a small
17 trip, and it was -- we were also sure that he was coming back, and that is
18 why we didn't make any big operation on him. But of course, this
19 was -- there was also the decision by the International Tribunal to go
20 immediately with the open indictments instead of the sealed indictments.
21 And so the operation was stopped in the middle. Then the last part is
22 taking another option, which was a good option since the beginning, to
23 have the suspected or the accused to surrender himself and this is the
24 case of Mr. Limaj."
25 And over the page, 26, he again takes the opportunity of the
1 broadcast in the middle of the major paragraph there to thank the
2 institutions of Kosovo that supported this operation. And the reactions
3 of the leaders and the cooperation. "Justice is justice, and international
4 justice is something really serious. So the show, the demonstration,
5 maturity by the institutions is a great success for that kind of
7 And we do say that the reaction of Limaj himself, as well as the
8 institutions and the other politicians, demonstrated that throughout.
9 On the final pages of this bundle, page 27 is a statement in
10 support of Fatmir Limaj by the Assembly of Kosovo. Page 28, another
11 message of support for Mr. Limaj from the president of the Assembly. And
12 perhaps the most important document is the last one, in the light of the
13 allegations in this case. It's headed "Minority Statement," and it
14 occurred on the 14th of June of 2003. It reads: "We the deputies, which
15 in the Kosovo Assembly represent the Bosniaks, Turks, Romas, Ashkalis and
16 the Egyptians, fully aware of our responsibility, do declare and confirm
17 that Mr. Fatmir Limaj is a deputy and head of the PDK parliamentary group
18 and as a senior official of PDK, was always committed to the
19 democratisation of Kosovar society and for the equal integration of all
20 ethnic groups. Mr. Fatmir Limaj has always strived to establish
21 conditions for free life for all ethnic groups and for all citizens of
22 Kosovo, irrespective of their ethnicity, political allegiance or religious
23 conviction. He contributed in the Kosovo Assembly to the creation of good
24 interhuman, interpartisan, and interethnic relations. A tolerant,
25 trustworthy, and respected atmosphere among parliamentary deputies was
1 also his contribution."
2 And then the various members are listed on the very final page.
3 Once again, if one as it were brackets the observations I'm making in the
4 post-period context, with Carolyn McCool and Daan Everts at one end and
5 the minority report at the other, you'd have in between those two brackets
6 a man of substance, a man with responsibility, and a man who is cognisant
7 at all times of the need to provide unity and harmony and reconciliation.
8 And may I say, finally, this on behalf of Mr. Limaj. You will
9 have seen throughout that that he has great respect for the rule of law,
10 great respect for these institutions that were set up by the
11 United Nations in Kosovo and, of course, for this Tribunal. And,
12 therefore, he comes here carrying that respect with him. But as you may
13 for a moment, if you just, as it were, once again put yourselves into his
14 position. He has, in fact, been incarcerated for 20 months. And the
15 reason I light upon these matters at the end is to ask you, and we are
16 confident in the light of what has happened only yesterday and today, that
17 you will be able to be in a position to overcome and dispel another shadow
18 in his life, this time not from Mr. Milosevic at all, but the shadow of
19 prejudice. And it's, of course, an important principle that justice
20 should be done and be seen to be done. And the problem that he's faced in
21 the months up to now has not only been the denial of liberty and the
22 incarceration for 20 months, but also, of course, a matter hopefully now
23 finally resolved, the indignity and trauma of being brought on every
24 occasion, save today, in blindfolds, with no explanation ever being
25 provided to him as to why this man who has contributed so much should be
1 treated in this way. One would have expected at least the courtesy of an
2 explanation. But you may think the final straw for someone facing
3 respectfully the Tribunal has been in the crucial weeks leading up to this
4 hearing, where he's been kept incommunicado, again, at the beginning with
5 no real explanation and certainly the evidential basis not being provided
6 so it can be tested and certainly as I indicated to you yesterday, we
7 suggest there is and was no reasonable basis for doing it vis-a-vis
8 Mr. Limaj.
9 However, the problem with all of this, and we ask that you - and
10 I'm sure you will - carefully consider, that it may give the impression to
11 some, hopefully obviously not yourselves, that, in a sense, his case is
12 prejudged. Why would he be incarcerated? Why would there be blindfolds?
13 Why would there be incommunicado? Unless, underneath it all, underlying
14 it all, is the serious suggestion, the innuendo almost, well, then he must
15 be guilty of something to attract these strictures and this regime prior
16 to the trial itself.
17 And this is topped by, of course, the enormous prejudice that has
18 been created, surrounded this hearing, both inside the Tribunal and
19 outside the Tribunal, by repeated and continuous allegations of witness
20 intimidation, which of course, as you've heard, is being laid again at the
21 door of Fatmir Limaj. This is repudiated. This is the reason that we, as
22 you know, were asking for some time to consider whether this has any
23 manifest basis at all. We suggest it doesn't. However, in view of your
24 approach yesterday, Mr. Limaj is confident that this prejudice that has
25 arisen inside and outside and that might be by some inferred from the
1 conditions that have been imposed is in fact a matter, to use your own
2 words yesterday, of conjecture and speculation. And we do trust this
3 Tribunal to disregard all of this in the process of analysing and
4 assessing the evidence that is to come before you. Do not, we implore
5 you, allow any of those matters to, as it were, fill any gaps that the
6 Prosecution may find themselves faced with in order to provide
7 explanations. It is a very natural tendency and a very natural risk. But
8 once again, dealing with professional Judges, we are confident that it can
9 be laid to rest. And therefore, in that context, a context of a future in
10 which he now feels he will receive a fair assessment, an impartial
11 assessment by an independent Tribunal, all the factors and features of
12 Article 6 of the European convention. And therefore, it's in that context
13 that I would ask permission perhaps - I see the time. It may be after a
14 break or it may be later - for Mr. Limaj himself to address you on related
15 matters to those to which I have addressed you myself.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Mansfield. It will be necessary to
17 have a break now, because of the requirements of those assisting with the
18 interpretation and the need to change the tapes. Could I invite you,
19 Mr. Mansfield, to discuss with your two colleagues the question whether it
20 would be preferable for your client to make his statement upon our
21 resumption or whether it would be preferable after each has had their
23 MR. MANSFIELD: Yes, certainly.
24 JUDGE PARKER: I think not Mr. Guy-Smith, from his indication
25 yesterday. The Rules would tend to suggest that it should be at the end
1 of all opening statements. From the Chamber's point of view, it would
2 perhaps be more practical if he followed you now. But we leave it to
3 discussion between you.
4 MR. MANSFIELD: Predilection for now, but I'll check that.
5 JUDGE PARKER: We will adjourn now and resume at 5 past the hour.
6 --- Recess taken at 10.42 a.m.
7 --- On resuming at 11.07 a.m.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Mansfield.
9 MR. MANSFIELD: May I just confirm the indication I gave before
10 the break, that we would prefer, and I think the Tribunal would, to hear
11 Mr. Limaj now.
12 JUDGE PARKER: The issue really is whether the other Defence
13 counsel are content for that.
14 MR. GUY-SMITH: Yes.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
16 Now, Mr. Limaj, there is now an opportunity for you to address the
17 Chamber. I'm sure your counsel has discussed the matter with you. But
18 you should understand you're under no obligation to address us, but you
19 are free to do so if you wish. And this is now the opportunity. And you
20 may do it while seated and from the position that you're now in, if that's
21 convenient. You may sit down, if that's easier, or stand, whichever you
22 feel --
23 THE ACCUSED LIMAJ: [Interpretation] I think I'd prefer to sit
24 rather than stand, if that's okay with you, Your Honour. I don't know.
25 Can you hear me? Okay. I would prefer to sit, if that's okay with you,
1 Your Honour.
2 Your Honours, allow me first of all to thank you for giving me
3 this opportunity to speak and to express a few words regarding my case. I
4 have talked, certainly, with my lawyers before I asked for this
5 opportunity to address you. Your Honour, I'd like to say that I've been
6 waiting for this opportunity for 20 months now, to speak to you, to hear
7 my views, to hear my truth. I'll try not to repeat what my Defence lawyer
8 already has said to you. However, I think that, speaking about my
9 personal life, my personal biography, I will throw -- I will shed light
10 also on the general situation that prevailed in my country during the time
11 I grew up and during the time of our activity.
12 Your Honour, I come from a family where my parents had -- or have
13 six children. We are three sisters and three brothers. I'm the eldest
14 son. In my narrow family, apart from my parents, I have lived and had,
15 also my uncle and his wife, who unfortunately God did not bless them with
16 a child, and in a way they treated us, their nephews and nieces, as their
17 own children. I want to tell you that I'm very excited, now that I'm
18 talking to you, but also I want to tell you that in the last month, I have
19 been under pressure, under terrible psychological pressure, which I think
20 has been deliberately done before I appeared to you in this court, in this
21 Chamber. Therefore, I kindly ask you to bear that into consideration.
22 Normally I wouldn't feel so excited, but before being here before you,
23 before this Honourable Tribunal, which is not normal, not a common
24 occasion, I feel very excited indeed, very emotional, given the
25 responsibility that I have, but also because of the respect I have for
2 As I said, Your Honours, my father is called Kadri Limaj. My
3 uncle, who is now deceased, may God bless his soul, was called Gani Limaj.
4 As the case is with every Kosovo family, my family is not an exception to
5 the rule, we had an average life because of the very poor economic
6 situation in Kosovo and the difficulties we faced in order to make our
7 daily bread and have normal well-being, I would say, for my family. Our
8 parents, our father, worked for 25 years in the well-known city which has
9 become common knowledge to all the world, to Sarajevo, initially as a
10 worker, as an ordinary worker; then afterwards, when I talk, I think you
11 will remember that we used -- at that time the communist
12 dictatorship -- communist government was in power. He managed to be
13 trained and become a team leader in a construction company in Sarajevo.
14 Apart from his regular job, he did also some private work in order to make
15 extra money for the family, to create us better conditions for us living
16 in Kosovo. During all this time, he took good care of us. It was the
17 uncle, actually, who took real good care of us, who educated us.
18 I want to say that I'm one of the hundreds and thousands of Kosovo
19 children who were not blessed with the fact of having the father when they
20 grew up. I'm saying thousands, hundreds and thousands of Kosovo children,
21 because their parents were obliged to work elsewhere, and it was very
22 rarely that they were present when they were born and be present on their
23 birthdays or traditional celebrations, because of the economic
24 difficulties, because of the need they had to work elsewhere. The same
25 holds true of me.
1 The absence of my father was made up by my uncle, and in a very
2 good way indeed, and I consider him as my second parent. Having a very
3 difficult life, everything my parents did was with the aim of educating
4 us, at offering us the possibilities that they themselves were deprived
5 of, in order for us to lead a better life, in order for us to live with
6 our own families, in order for us to contribute to the family, to the
7 family cycle and to the country.
8 After 25 years, Your Honour, of living in the communist system
9 then the workers who had the right, after working for so long, to have a
10 house, an apartment. And this was also the case with my parents, with my
11 father. He, in 1979, he was given an apartment in Sarajevo. But the
12 great wish to be with his children, with his family, and to spend his
13 whole life with them, my father tried to exchange his apartment in
14 Sarajevo with another in Pristina. But he had another aim in mind in
15 doing so. Having a house or an apartment in Pristina, it would be better
16 for us, it would be easier for us to go to school. And fortunately for
17 us, in 1982, my father managed to exchange that house or apartment and
18 find -- with another in Pristina, and find a job in Pristina. And from
19 1980 to 1983, he's been working in the Elektroenergija plant in Kosovo in
20 Obilic until he retired at an early age, even though that is an unclear
21 issue in Kosovo, that of retirement. So I wouldn't know how to describe
22 his retirement now. But I know that he gets a pension of 50 or to 100
23 Euro. It's an early pension.
24 He came to Pristina, as I said, which was a good opportunity for
25 us, his kids, to go to school. I did my elementary school in my -- in
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Malisevo, in my hometown, whereas the high school I finished in Pristina,
2 in Kosovo's capital, where I also continued with the higher studies. Now
3 in Pristina, where I resettled, so to say, I never broke off my ties with
4 my native town, Banje, and Malisevo, which was the commune, municipality.
5 Apart from the fact that part of my family was there, there were many ties
6 that linked me with my native place. During my school vacation, I used
7 for work and try to help my family, my uncle, my father, to increase what
8 assets we had there. During the high school, as my Defence lawyer said,
9 in 1988, when I was doing my high school studies, dramatic processes
10 started to unfurl in Kosovo, but at the time I was doing my fourth year in
11 the high school, and normally everything was -- what was happening around
12 us was reflected in us, or had an impact on us. I don't want to go into
13 the details of what happened during 1988, what happened in Belgrade, how
14 events developed. I want to speak from my own point of view how I looked
15 at these things in Kosovo. Following the protest, massive protest of
16 1988, I mean massive because all the people of Kosovo were involved in
17 them and they wanted to protect their leadership that were threatened to
18 be fired from work, and even to be imprisoned by the Milosevic regime, in
19 a public and very firm way, the people voiced their protest, their
20 opposition to these measures, and expressed their support for their own
22 For all of us, it was clear that this was but the first step that
23 Milosevic was undertaking to come to the liquidation of that single -- of
24 that autonomy we had won in 1974. And unfortunately, things developed, as
25 we foresaw then. Like all the citizens of Kosovo, I too participated in
1 these protests, and in the developments then, as a young enthusiast.
2 Things became more dramatic in 1989, with murders. Only in March 1989, 24
3 persons who were trying to protect the constitution then of the socialist
4 Federation -- province of Kosovo were killed. They were high school
5 students. Among them, three were girls.
6 I want to remind you of the case -- when I said three girls, one
7 of them, during those protests, she happened to die in my hands and in the
8 hands of a friend of mine. In 1989 I was but only 18 years old. I had
9 never known that girl before. I had never seen her before. She was shot
10 by a bullet, and I wanted to help her, but she died in our hands, as I
11 said. That girl is from Slatine village, which was part of Pristina
12 municipality, now of Kosovo plain, Fushe Kosove. After Kosovo got its
13 autonomy, things continued to deteriorate. I continued my life, like all
14 the people did in those circumstances. When the time came for me after
15 finishing the high school to enrol in the university, I chose to study
16 law, and it was not by accident that I chose that branch. It was because
17 not only myself - I'm talking in this case about myself - but because the
18 entire Kosovo was surrounded by injustices, injustices that were reflected
19 in every moment of our life and in every individual. Nobody was safe from
20 them. Maybe this is the reason why I decided to study law.
21 In 1990, after the dramatic developments in Belgrade and the
22 beginning of the dissolution of the communist system, not of Yugoslavia
23 but the communist system, because then we have later on we have the
24 dismemberment of Yugoslavia. That was the first step, as was said in one
25 of the congresses of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. The student
1 movement in Kosovo in the 1990s, people appeared -- took to the streets in
2 a broad protest to demand democracy and freedom and the establishment of a
3 democratic and pluralistic system in the country. The democratic spirit
4 and movement which had started with the fall of the Berlin Wall had spread
5 rapidly, like in all former Eastern Europe, also in Kosovo. It had a
6 great impact there and on the developments. The student youths were very
7 enthusiastic at this change.
8 I want to make a difference here, I mean I want to explain the
9 motive prompting the youths in different countries, Czechoslovakia,
10 Poland, Hungary, former Yugoslav Republic, Bulgaria. Their motive was to
11 change the system and to win their rights in a free democracy. For us,
12 the students of Kosovo, the motive was even more important, it was
13 extraordinary. Apart from the fact that we realised that through a
14 democratic system we would have more possibilities and we would be freed
15 from a totalitarian system. We Kosovars thought that through these
16 changes, we would win a freedom we never had. We had a double motive
17 through democratisation of former Yugoslavia, through democratisation of
18 Kosovo, the Kosovars thought this was a possibility for them, that the
19 time had come for them to win our freedom and our rights.
20 That's why it's indescribable, the euphoria, the enthusiasm of
21 that time. Your Honours, I want to mention a fact which for us is
22 interesting to point out. The Communist Party, or the Communist League of
23 Kosovo, was the only one in Europe, in the Eastern Europe, that was
24 destroyed earlier, quicker. And this is thanks to our former communist
25 leaders, the leaders who worked under that communist system. They were
1 the first to give up that political organisation, and this wave of
2 developments was followed by the entire people in Kosovo. And for about
3 two weeks in Kosovo, there was no Communist Party or Communist League of
4 Yugoslavia. I'm talking about 1990.
5 I'd like to suggest to you that -- to remind you that the
6 Communist League of Yugoslavia was destroyed much later, was transformed
7 much later. At this time, departure from the Communist League of Kosovo
8 and its transition into new political organisations, it was at that time
9 that new political movements appeared in 1989, we have the Democratic
10 League of Kosovo formed and then following the dissolution of the
11 Communist League of Kosovo, almost the entire people joined this
12 Democratic League of Kosovo, which was regarded as the movement -- as a
13 popular movement, as a movement that will definitely lead the people
14 towards prosperity as a movement, that would definitely lead Kosovo to
15 express the views of Kosovo people, to voice its concerns, to work for the
16 realisation of the people of Kosovo. In all these popular movements, I
17 would like to point out that in the lead of all these changes,
18 transformations, was the youth of Kosovo. I don't think it's superfluous
19 to tell you that Kosovo is a country with a young population. Over 50 per
20 cent of the people are of a young age. So the role played by the youth in
21 the then developments, and later, is decisive. This enthusiasm and these
22 new developments affected everyone. As I said, the entire people joined
23 the movement, this popular movement, which was led by the most eminent
24 figures of our culture, our most prominent intellectuals, in a word, the
25 elite of the intellectual brain of Kosovo at that time. At that time,
1 there were no other parties in Kosovo, because it did not need, I would
2 say, other parties then; it was but the beginning.
3 In 1991, if I'm right, I began to work with a youth parliament. It
4 was a non-political organisation then. It's like a non-government
5 organisation now, I would say. But it was known by the name non-political
6 organisation, whose duty was to organise, mobilise, the youth of Kosovo
7 into various cultural, sports, humanitarian activities, and other
8 activities. In a word, through that organisation, keep the youth under
9 control in the sense of monitoring their education, their cultural
10 activities. Because you have to bear in mind the fact that we didn't have
11 our own institutions.
12 In 1990 - sorry - change occurred in Kosovo, Your Honour. The
13 Assembly of Kosovo, which in 1989 was obliged to - under pressure, under
14 the pressure of tanks, was threatened with gaol and was surrounded, a
15 building was surrounded - was obliged to sign the constitutional
16 amendments to the constitution of 1974. In 1990, it said -- they said
17 their own word, expressed their own will, by proclaiming declaration of
18 Kosovo. Through this declaration, the Assembly of Kosovo made it clear
19 that all the laws that were approved earlier were abrogated and their
20 regulation of the statute of Kosovo would depend on the resolution of the
21 Kosovo -- of the Yugoslav crisis which had just started. Kosovo is
22 waiting to define its status. Kosovar bodies and citizens were -- would
23 be willing to participate in the solution, in the redefining of the status
24 of the new Yugoslavia if all the peoples were -- that had constituted it
25 were to take part in these developments. And Kosovo was in its legitimate
1 right to be one of the factors that -- one of the main factors that would
2 contribute to that Yugoslavia and that would normally enjoy the rights
3 pertaining to it.
4 After this declaration, there was a reaction, a response. I
5 wouldn't say firm; normal reaction maybe, by Milosevic regime, which
6 closed down all the institutions in Kosovo, beginning from the Assembly to
7 the media. In this case, we had the only one public Albanian language
8 television in Kosovo. It was closed down. Imagine, gentlemen,
9 Your Honours, that all these facts that I'm trying to recount before you,
10 imagine that, say, today here in Holland the police entering the premises
11 of television channel and beat and imprison the staff working there, the
12 journalists, close down the television channel, for no reason at all,
13 without giving them any explanation, just because they think differently.
14 What do you think they would do? How would expect that? After the
15 television and the closing down of the only daily, Rilindja in Kosovo,
16 practically Kosovo was plunged into a total information darkness.
17 These developments made our life even more difficult. But
18 Milosevic did not stop at that. He started the campaign of massive
19 expulsion of people from their jobs, firing them, hundreds and thousands
20 of workers were fired from the public administration to the mines they
21 were working and plants. Factories were closed down. The miners were
22 fired from their mines. In a word, everything that was functioning until
23 that time in Kosovo stopped functioning. Every family that made a living
24 through their work could no longer do that because of Milosevic.
25 This went on, the dismissal from work of all the police staff who
1 were Albanians from the court -- Albanians from the courts, from the
2 hospitals, and finally, from the education system. In 1991, I was a
3 student at the faculty of law. I did two years in the premises of the
4 faculty, in the university premises. I want to tell you one of my
5 experiences. We were going to the auditorium to hear our lectures,
6 without knowing that madness would reach that extent. We were supposed to
7 hear a lecture on the right -- on the law, and we were expecting the
8 professor to begin -- to deliver his speech. I was there among the
9 students eager to hear that lecture by that professor, Professor Osmani.
10 We waited for half an hour and nobody addressed us. Then after
11 half an hour, someone told us that the professor is no longer allowed to
12 enter the premises of the university because he's been fired. After three
13 days, not only the professor, Professor Osmani, but nobody, not even the
14 other professors or the students, were allowed to enter the university of
15 Kosovo. They were expelled, so to say.
16 In such a situation, where practically Milosevic had put two
17 million people out of the law -- I mean had deprived their rights, their
18 rights to live, what could the Albanians do under these circumstances?
19 Did they recall their traditions. They had recourse to their most
20 precious values that have kept us surviving during all our history: That
21 is solidarity, close cooperation, helping each other and surviving. In
22 Kosovo, the phase of survival began. It was also the survival of
23 education, because for a long time the Serbian propaganda, with a kind of
24 jealousy within the framework of educational system in Kosovo and also
25 with ardent will of the Kosovar youth which tried by all means to be
1 educated and receive this education, because our parents, they had no such
2 possibility in the past, and also the youth saw the danger in the
3 intellectual brain, or the schools in Kosovo. As I said, during this time
4 of survival of education, this came at foreground and expressing gratitude
5 to all those professors and activists who found ways and means to get
6 organised, and above all, thousands and thousands of professors of
7 schools, of elementary schools, high schools, that I'd like to mention
8 here. I'd like to mention the late -- my former professor and first
9 rector of the university of Pristina, the first rector I'm talking about
10 the years after the 1990s, under the new condition,
11 Professor Doctor Jup Statovci who was at the lead among -- also together
12 with other professors and organised our student lives under new
14 We started to hold lectures in private premises, private
15 buildings. The citizens emptied their flats and their houses, their
16 rooms, to offer us the possibility to get education under such
17 circumstances. You cannot imagine how difficult, how difficult it was,
18 what conditions we were learning in and can you imagine that how much
19 education you would have gotten under such circumstances.
20 Thanks to the financing on the part of the people themselves and
21 the all-round help, the readiness and sacrifices of our professors who,
22 with no reward at all, managed to keep the education alive, and at the
23 same time, the indisputable will of the youth to get education, we managed
24 to survive. Not to go long into detail of the problems we faced during
25 the time of our studies, I'd just like to mention one example in 1992.
1 When we started our studies in private premises, me and some friends of
2 mine had to hide the indexes in the building of the school we were
3 learning, we were having classes. In the yard of that house, we had put a
4 place where we had to hide the documents, and from that place we had to go
5 to our flats. So that when the police searched us, they could not be able
6 to find the documents. Because in 1992 and 1993, if they would find such
7 documents with us, it was equal as in, let's say, as in the year 1998.
8 They would say: You're a member of the UCK.
9 There's been hundreds of cases of students were imprisoned and
10 beaten by the police. As I mentioned, the face of survival at that time
11 under this euphoria of course in the eastern Europe, this was just an
12 illusion and there were illusions for a people, and under the
13 circumstances which we lived, they were not strange at all. All of us
14 thought that Europe would get united in 1992, and after 1992, and we would
15 have no problems at all. Each of us would have their own rights. We all
16 thought like this. We all hoped so. Because our eyes were directed
17 towards Europe, toward the West. But that for us was just an illusion,
18 seeing it from the perspective of today, it was just an illusion but that
19 was what it was yesterday and we worked and acted and lived with that kind
20 of logic.
21 However, illusions slowly passed and then we tried to realise, to
22 see the reality we were facing. You see, after all these events in
23 Kosovo, Kosovo fell into an economic and social collapse, under stress,
24 under an entire stress. People were unemployed. They tried to survive.
25 And they were trying to find ways and means how to keep and support their
1 families, because they were like 500.000 people who were dismissed from
2 their work. There were over a million families who practically had no
3 income except for someone who had probably a kind of a small property or a
4 kind of a piece of land in a village. Many of our intellectuals returned
5 to plough their land just to survive.
6 There was another way out of this: To migrate. I mentioned
7 figures of expulsion here, because it was uncontrolled and it was very
8 difficult to know how many people fled Kosovo during -- from the 1990s and
9 onward. During the time when we were attending classes, dozens and dozens
10 of buses from various agencies were transporting, carrying Albanians to
11 the West. And this is a well-known fact to you, I guess. From various
12 countries, say Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, the road they know which way to
13 go and they're paying lots of money and they sold their property. They
14 sold everything they had in Kosovo just for the simple fact of leaving,
15 fleeing the country, and have a kind of a perspective for themselves in
16 the promised West.
17 I'd like to mention here only three occasions which I will never
18 forget them. One morning we were going to the school premises. Always
19 I'm talking about private premises; you know that. We were going to a
20 place where people were waiting for the buses, and the buses were leaving
21 Kosovo in the morning. It was about 100 to 120 buses in the morning.
22 They were filled with people. And this was in front of the Serb
23 authorities. And they knew what was happening, whether they had
24 documents, they had no documents, they were seeing clearly that it was a
25 trade with people. It was an extraordinary smuggling that was taking
2 In front of a bus, I saw two old people, woman, an old woman and
3 an old man. And they were yelling. The woman was yelling at something
4 that scared the hell out of us. One in one of my colleagues approached
5 the old woman and was asking why is she crying? What was wrong with her?
6 Was she -- she had bad health or what happened to her? And she said: "I
7 just saw off my son, my only son. He was going abroad to migrate. We
8 were just left, two of us left, two old people." And the old man had his
9 niece -- carrying his niece in his hands and was kissing her just as a
10 grandfather can kiss his niece. And it was difficult to see that scene of
11 parting. And that time, according to the words of the old woman, I
12 understood that the old man was blind. And the little girl was, let's
13 say, his eyes, his eye. It was -- she was his hope. In other words, the
14 little niece led the old man, the blind man, through his life, and it was
15 the time when, because of the economic situation, they had to part. And
16 the two old people were left out in the streets because their son had sold
17 out the entire property to make money and give it to the smugglers or
18 dealers, whatever you can call them, such people.
19 I'd like to mention another occasion here, because there are
20 thousands of such cases that we have seen. But there's such a case that
21 left an impression on me. A traditional family. I'd like to remind you
22 that we Albanians, we have many -- Albanian families have many children.
23 A family that had seven children. The parents were about, say, 45 to 50
24 years old. However, this family had taken a road of migration because
25 they had not enough money to pay for their trip, and so they were obliged
1 to leave three of their kids in Kosovo, because of the lack of money to
2 pay for the trip. It's unbelievable to see the scene and the horror when
3 you see the mother parting with her own child, because she was
4 unable -- they were unable to travel together or because they were unable
5 to stay together. And when a child -- it's impossible for a child to get
6 away from the mother's bosom. It is hard to see that kind of scene. I
7 mentioned all these just so that you feel, even a little, to feel with the
8 soul of these people, not with papers, not with reports. It is easy to
9 read. It is easy to say good words very easily. You can accuse someone
10 easily. You can prepare for months to say certain words or to say your
11 report, but it is good to experience something. It is very important to
12 see what happened, in fact, not only in a telegraphical way, just to say
14 To tell you the truth, during the whole time I had the same danger
15 and inner fear: Will it happen -- will the same thing happen to me, just
16 like many of others? Probably this was a fate that we all had to share.
17 Practically, Your Honours, I did not accept the way of migration because
18 of the family that I had experienced and also for the other fact that I
19 wanted to build my life in my own country. And the moment, the time had
20 come that we had the right to live our life in our country the way we want
21 to live it. And those things I could have avoided I'd like to put them to
22 the service of my country.
23 After graduating the faculty of law in 1994, 1995, I also, so to
24 say, took the road of migration. However, to tell you the truth, my road
25 to migration had another goal: I wanted to continue my studies in
1 Germany. But because the diploma of the faculty of the university that I
2 had graduated from was not recognised, then I had to return or to start
3 my -- to resume my studies from the very beginning. So there were no
4 possibilities for me to resume my studies from the beginning. So I worked
5 in Germany for six months, physical labour, with my own sweat, so that
6 when I returned to Kosovo I had some financial means, resources, to live
7 in Kosovo.
8 I belong to a middle-class family with an average economic level.
9 I had no problems of survival, as I mentioned, compared to what the others
10 had. Fortunately, my parents had some, enough property to lead a normal
11 life, an average life in Kosovo. Because you can imagine what was the
12 demands to lead a normal life in Kosovo at that time.
13 Your Honours, from that part of my biography or background, I'd
14 like to give you a fact that has not been mentioned so far, or probably is
15 not known to you. It seems that it is not known to you or I haven't seen
16 anyone mention it. In 1991, I was a soldier in the Yugoslav army, and I
17 responded to the summon to join the army. Can you imagine after what
18 happened, after all the events that happened in the 1990s, after what
19 happened in Kosovo in 1990, in June 1991, I responded to the summon of the
20 army to continue my military service. After two weeks, conflict broke up
21 in Slovenia, and after Slovenia, right away in Croatia. I was in
22 Bjelovar. It was a small town in Croatia. And the barracks where we
23 served were under the protection or the control of a town called Pakrac.
24 It was one of the first centres where the conflict started between the
25 Yugoslav army and the Croats.
1 After the conflict erupted there, just as many others, I left the
2 army right away, because I was not willing to take part in such a war,
3 neither on the part of the Yugoslavs, which were under the Yugoslav army,
4 no under the part of the Croats, because -- and I returned to Kosovo and
5 continued my life there.
6 After all that I mentioned here, Your Honours, under such a
7 situation, after I returned from Germany, after graduating from the
8 faculty, lack of some future prospects, not to talk about the systematic
9 violence and terror, we -- if we see that from 1990 on, there are hundreds
10 and thousands of our girls who were raped by the police. I'm talking
11 about before, the beginning of the open war. Killings, rapes, beatings,
12 maltreatment. Over 500.000 Albanians from 1990 until 1997 were
13 maltreated, were imprisoned by the Serbian police. No family in Kosovo
14 was -- every family -- there was no family in Kosovo that had not a person
15 of his family without being maltreated by the police.
16 It is a people that were, therefore, kept out of law, or outlawed,
17 we might say so. Under such circumstances, there arises the question. I
18 was at the time 25 years old. If I might ask you all: What do you think?
19 Do you think a 25-year-old man with what I said was prepared to be a
20 lawyer, to serve his own country, to work, find a job, live with his
21 family? Do you think that such a person would choose the road of war or
22 the road of death? I hope not. I don't think that there is anyone with a
23 sound logic that would have made another solution if he had the choice to
24 do so. In the absence of this, Your Honours, we were -- everything was
25 imposed on us. We had our backs against the wall. Every prospect for a
1 better life was missing, was not there. It was a massive humiliation that
2 was done to the compatriots in every step, to your families, to your
3 friends, to your neighbour. You would see humiliation in every step. And
4 there came a moment when it was difficult to cope with such a situation.
5 I just want to mention another fact. You come from a country
6 where I don't know how many migrants from Kosovo live in your countries
7 but I know that in your countries there are many emigrants from Kosovo.
8 And you know quite well that, unfortunately, a part of them have found it
9 impossible to get integrated into your societies. The Albanian emigrants,
10 the Kosovars, until -- there has been Albanian Kosovar emigrants in your
11 countries until 1989. They were known as -- well, known as workers,
12 people who work, mind their own affairs, behave quite well, and
13 hard-working people. Developments after 1990s and the flow of the
14 displacement that I mentioned before toward the West had its own
15 consequences. The overwhelming part of the migrated people -- people who
16 migrated to the West were most of a young age, starting from 14 years old
17 until 25 years old. Unfortunately, being faced with a new reality, with a
18 completely new environment, which gives -- offers various possibilities.
19 Unfortunately, most of them found it impossible to get integrated and they
20 have chosen ways that destroyed, harmed the image, not only of their
21 families but also of their country.
22 If we see it from another viewpoint, let us imagine that these
23 young people had constitutional care, had an education. Would they be
24 involved in the road of crime? I'm convinced that there would have been
25 very, very little. In a way, they were just left in the streets. Fate
1 left them in the streets, and this is a good substance to get involved
2 into crime. That is why there have been such cases in the western
3 countries, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, which unfortunately, I have seen
4 it with my own eyes in Switzerland. Some of my compatriots, I've seen
5 what they have done. However, the majority, the overwhelming majority,
6 is -- they have sacrificed -- made sacrifices, they've worked hard, even
7 in doing hard jobs, just for the only goal of keeping their families in
8 Kosovo. Because our hope was migration, and life in Kosovo during the
9 time with millions unemployed, this hope had kept this overwhelming
10 majority of people who migrated, just doing all kinds of jobs. I'm
11 talking about honest jobs. But unfortunately, as I said, there were such
12 who made the lives of those who did honest jobs very difficult.
13 I'd like to talk about the Kosovo Liberation Army. Your Honours,
14 as I mentioned before, under such a situation, at the time when no one
15 sees you, when no one gives you even a single sign of hope that things
16 will get better, that something will improve, that a kind of a prospect
17 will be here, at the time when the violence was not -- was increasing, the
18 occupation was increasing, then there comes the time for survival. Then
19 you have to lay yourself against the wall and there is no other outcome;
20 there's no solution. There comes what we call -- I cannot -- if I cannot
21 do things for myself, then let the others do it. Or: What can I do for
22 my own country which would help my -- which would help me and my country
23 to overcome this situation I'm faced with? There are many questions like
24 these that every person in Kosovo has asked such a question. And I've
25 asked this question to myself many times, because I had a family to
2 It is said that many people want to enjoy the life when they don't
3 have it, and because that's why they want life more. I would like to say
4 that I'm sure that life is not -- is no precious for the person who really
5 wants to give this life for his own country. Because there are two ways:
6 Either to live humiliated or to live free. And I'm proud of finding the
7 road, the way, the best possible way, the road to freedom, for what I was
8 able to do, for what I knew. And this is at best seen and appreciated by
9 the citizens of Kosovo. Whatever words we say here, my work that I've
10 done for my Kosovo, and Kosovo will praise my work, my activity, my
11 engagement and my behaviour. This is vital to me.
12 My involvement in the UCK, after the arrests that were carried out
13 in 1997, which prompted me to leave Kosovo, and I'm going to talk shortly
14 about this period and the fact that I lived one year in Switzerland, where
15 I was granted the right to political asylum. And I'd like to thank the
16 Swiss government and the people for granting me this possibility and have
17 a care granted by the state. On the other hand, I'd like to say that I
18 have tried, I did my best to obey, to respect the law of the hosting
19 country, and I've respected that law. I worked there and I did jobs, just
20 like the majority of Albanians did. I did all kinds of jobs. I was not
21 selective. I didn't want to live from the social aid that I was granted.
22 And I've seen that the Prosecution, and even the bills of my salaries,
23 they included those in the exhibits, those that were included the period
24 during the time in Switzerland. Because my entirely family was in Kosovo
25 and I had to help my family there and I also was dealing with -- was
1 engaged in activity with -- of -- carried out by the Albanian migrants in
2 Kosovo -- in Switzerland.
3 I tried to organise and help and collect financial resources for
4 the Kosovo Liberation Army. I joined the people there who were dealing
5 with their activities. And I think we've done a good job.
6 The events of February 1998 -- I'm talking about the February
7 events, the massacre of Likosane and which culminated with the massacre in
8 Prekaz, at a time when Serbia did not save even children, women, old
9 people; nothing. Serbia spared nothing and killed the legendary
10 commander, Ademi Jashari and his brother, in an effort to protect his
11 family. This was a clear signal to us and to all Albanians that Serbia
12 had started to take other steps; that is, they were carrying out a massive
13 elimination of Albanians. No order was given to me, either to join UCK or
14 to return from Switzerland to Kosovo. Not only me, but I say it with
15 full -- I bear full responsibility here, that no one, no one ordered
16 anyone else to return from the West and come to Kosovo. This is
17 something -- it's publicly known throughout Kosovo. I did it at my own
18 will, or if I can call it a will, because it was not a real will, but as
19 they had no other choice, they came back and joined the UCK ranks.
20 Your Honours, it was said here yesterday that the Kosovo
21 Liberation Army was structured, organised, separated into zones from May,
22 February, April, and then July, August. It's such a short time. In one
23 year -- sorry. It was organised in one year, has fought and got
24 transformed. I would kindly ask you to have a different approach to the
25 conflict in Kosovo and in Croatia, due to the short period of time and due
1 to the nature of it.
2 The Kosovo Liberation Army, when we returned to Kosovo, I would
3 say that there were approximately 200 members in that army at that time.
4 So it is -- it's about March 1998. At the time when it is about the month
5 of May, period of time when they say that KLA was organised, was
6 structured. The place where I stayed, place of Klecka, there were seven
7 of us, seven soldiers. At that time, Your Honour, the KLA was nothing but
8 a guerrilla. The developments after the murder of the legendary
9 commander, Ademi Jashari, that it had in Kosovo had an impact in the soul
10 of each and every Kosovar and that did mobilise every Kosovar. And for a
11 short period of time, KLA grew up, because in the very beginning it was
12 only a guerrilla group.
13 These events demonstrated that general headquarters of the KLA
14 wasn't very much prepared for the new events. If one could call it an
15 infrastructure, then it would be a guerrilla infrastructure. And you
16 could think of a structure with three people only working. So the duties
17 were to attack the Serbian forces and then to retreat. According to what
18 it is said later, it comes out that the leaders of the KLA were planning
19 for years and years for the expansion of the KLA, but the events developed
20 in a dramatic way. And we were facing a situation where the biggest
21 optimists, be it locals or internationals, were not expecting any good
22 developments during the spring of Kosovo. As I stated, from a guerrilla
23 group, it started growing as a popular movement, at the time when the
24 general headquarters absolutely lacked the infrastructure. No one was
25 prepared for such a development. Then what should it do? Like to get
1 armed or to start the organisation -- the structural organisation? Those
2 thousands of people, for three months, were involved with the KLA around
3 the flag. Students, villagers, intellectuals, citizens, young people,
4 elder, females, males. And please bear in mind that all those people were
5 members of LDK. Someone was trying to imply here that the LDK was against
6 KLA. But it's a good thing that our people do not trust any longer to
7 this insinuations.
8 Citizens of Kosovo cannot -- from all of this mess, where people,
9 with their own initiative, in their own villages, in their own
10 neighbourhoods, were getting organised to defend themselves. As I stated,
11 KLA appeared as a meteor. It was enough to say that we were members of
12 KLA. Everyone joined the common interests. We were referred to as
13 saviours. We were referred to as the hope, the solution. Everyone joined
14 each other around the flag. And there are no proceedings to solutions
15 like this. There is no infrastructure on these occasions. Everything was
16 done on a voluntary basis at that time.
17 And this expansion, and also the fact that the KLA was getting
18 massive, was becoming massive, led to the expansion of KLA in different
19 parts of Kosovo. After the offensive that took place in summer, the KLA
20 wasn't a military organised organisation. And at that time, KLA operated
21 in units in different villages. There was enough for ten people to carry
22 weapons, and one of them would be led as the commander. When I say one of
23 them would be appointed as commander, I would like to provide you with an
25 One of the commanders was mentioned here yesterday. By the end of
1 zone, in the operative zone of Drenica, in the zone of Drenica, that would
2 be the main zone, operative zone of KLA, the oldest one, from the units
3 that operated throughout the whole territory of Drenica, the commanders of
4 the zone was elected by votes. And then that election was turned into an
5 appointment by the general headquarters. This occurred in June, if I'm
6 not mistaken. This would be the first organisation of KLA. And then other
7 organisations followed. But that was interrupted by the summer offensive.
8 I'm sorry that I do not have a map of the territory with me.
9 There was a total displacement of my place of action, place of operation.
10 I'm still stating, Your Honours, that the time factor is very important.
11 In Kosovo and inside of KLA, things could take place in a night, which are
12 things that could not take place in a professional army, because that was
13 a totally voluntary organisation. Therefore, I would kindly ask you to
14 take into consideration the factor, the time factor, because those were
15 dramatic developments. I'm taking only an example.
16 In May of 1999 -- 1998, we were only seven. At the place which I
17 led, in the municipality of Malisevo, which has 53.000 inhabitants, there
18 were 35 soldiers, approximately. In three months, the number of the armed
19 soldiers in that municipality exceeded 2.000, whereas 5.000 or 6.000
20 others were expecting to get weapons. And this expectation would go like
21 this: One would rest on the other, with substitute him, would take his
22 weapon, and so on.
23 So May 1998 and May 1999, the KLA at the same time had to fight,
24 to get supplied, to get organised, to defend itself, and this only in one
25 year. And in the end, to get transformed, in the end, after the KFOR
1 entered Kosovo. It is not by accident the historian Judah represents this
2 as the most great achievements of the modern history.
3 As I stated, I don't have a map with me. What would the term
4 "region" mean? What would one mean with the term "region"? This term, in
5 the KLA and in Kosovo, is quite unknown. These terms are mentioned in the
6 KLA. Units that have operated in villages or different points, two
7 levels. General headquarters and then the unit. Then, by mid-June, we
8 are dealing with the beginning of the formation of the zones. It started
9 with the zone of Drenica, which then stopped, and then the zone of Pastrik
10 and Dukagjin, and after the summer offensive we have the creation of the
11 brigades and other companies. That process of the formation did not start
12 even after the completion of the war, but at least the main goals were
14 I think that when it comes to time to the matter when it will be
15 about the statements, I would have a chance to give a more clear statement
16 on this. The thing that you might have -- you should have into account,
17 Your Honour, is the responsibility issue. For the time, we are speaking
18 of, the time this indictment is relevant, each and every commander of the
19 KLA can be held responsible for his point. There was no other area of
20 responsibility. So this is the territory that has this commander, this
21 territory that it is under their responsibility of this or that person.
22 There were no such things at that time. Villages that were mentioned here
23 were -- these are change of facts because it is about the period covering
24 the end of August, when a brigade was founded which involved all units at
25 that time, not as it was represented in the map that was shown yesterday.
1 And from these units was created -- was founded a brigade, as instructed
2 by the general headquarters. And I was appointed as the commander of this
4 The tendency to represent such an organisation as something that
5 occurred on April, May, or July is unstable [as interpreted].
6 Your Honour, I'm saying -- I'm repeating it time and again that from all
7 of the things I have done until now throughout my life, I have no reasons
8 to feel myself humiliated, to have a bad conscience, as we say. On the
9 contrary; everything I've done until this moment is as clear as daylight.
10 Without modesty, I have to say that not only in Kosovo but in the Balkans,
11 and in other countries, if you look at the biography of someone, I don't
12 think you'll find another that is clearer or purer than mine, because I
13 have been transparent in everything I've done. Whatever I've done, it has
14 been in the service of my country and in the service of all. I was an
15 idealist. Sometimes even naive, I would say. Why do I say this? Because
16 I dreamt of another Kosovo from the one that I saw after 1999, and I
17 cannot say that I am content at what I've seen after 1999 and what I see
18 now. I dreamt of a free Kosovo, a Kosovo that would be in the service of
19 all its citizens, a Kosovo that would give opportunities to all, a Kosovo
20 where its citizens would be proud at being its citizens. But
21 unfortunately, this has not come true. My country is not what I dreamt
22 of. It's a different country. But I hope that it will become as I want
23 it to be.
24 Your Honour, in the pre-trial brief, they spoke about the
25 conflict. My aim was for me, in 1998, was a war. There was a war,
1 irrespective of how that is seen in the context of international law, for
2 me, in 1998, we had a war, and that was the case also for all the people
3 in my country. I don't want to discuss it, whether it was a conflict or
4 not, but I want to come back to what the Prosecutor said yesterday.
5 It's interesting to note that when it's a question of speaking
6 about something that is beneficial for Kosovo, nobody says anything about
7 it. It's not respected; it's not appreciated. When it comes to harming
8 it or accusing it, then millions of documents are produced to accuse its
10 I'm giving you an example. Maybe it would be important for you to
11 bear in mind that in no way, when we talk about Serbian-perpetrated
12 crimes, the aim is not to justify them. I am aware of the crimes
13 perpetrated, isolated instances of crimes or murders. Such things may
14 have happened. But I am saying that if we say why the Serbs are not
15 accused for their acts, this is not that we want to justify what has
16 happened with us. As you heard yesterday, the Prosecutor said that in
17 1998 there was a conflict in Kosovo because Serbian police and army killed
18 children and women in Kosovo. Then, later, it said for the crimes
19 committed in Kosovo we have two indictments. But the names of the people,
20 I'm saying there are two indictments. One indictment is against
21 Mr. Milosevic for crimes in Kosovo, Bosnia, and Croatia, and other one for
22 Kosovo with seven or six persons. Then it says for the crimes committed
23 by the Serbian forces in Kosovo in January to June 1999. They forget what
24 happened in 1998. Again I'm saying -- I don't want to justify anything,
25 just to draw your attention to this fact, what did happen in reality or
1 what is happening now.
2 Your Honour, from February 1998 to December, according to
3 incomplete data by non-government organisations in Kosovo, about 3.000
4 civilians have been killed and wounded. Among them, 500 children and
5 women, aging three months old to 14 years. Many women were pregnant. In
6 1998, I want to remind you of some of the massive crimes, massacres,
7 committed in Kosovo which are public knowledge. I think this is a good
8 chance to mention them. During this year, these massacres were
9 perpetrated: Qerez massacre, Likosane massacre, Prekaz massacre, Poklek
10 massacre, Obrinje massacre, Ljubenic massacre, Golubovac massacres, and
11 other massacres. Allow me to, in a few words, to single out the massacre
12 in Obrinje, for one single reason: Because it had a political impact or
13 implications after that. I want to thank outstanding British journalist.
14 He has made public this fact, this massacre. If I'm not wrong -- if I am
15 wrong, I apologise to the BBC reporter, whose name I don't remember. He
16 makes known the massacre that is known in Kosovo by the name of massacre
17 of Deliu family. Because that journalist was capable of shooting the
18 victims and broadcasting those views that shocked the entire public
19 opinion, which led to the agreement between Milosevic and Holbrooke. This
20 is an example to show what horrors were perpetrated in Kosovo in 1998 and
21 for which the Prosecutor has been indifferent. The failure to institute
22 proceedings for any of these massacres or murders of those 3.000 people or
23 failure to make any indictments for these crimes committed in 1998 cannot
24 be explained otherwise than with the fact that the Prosecutor has closed
25 both eyes and has overlooked these crimes committed in 1998 and forgiving
1 the Serbian forces for all the crimes committed. On the other hand, they
2 tried by all costs to criminalise KLA for these three months period given
3 the situation we were in not being sufficient and content with the fact
4 that with the number of Serbs committed by counting the Serbs killed all
5 over the places, beginning from Belgrade and in the border and
6 everywhere. In Lapusnik, the border of Belgrade to Lapusnik is 200
7 kilometres long. So anything might happen. So as far as I know, about
8 100 Serbs were killed or disappeared in 1998.
9 I don't want to make a distinction between the numbers, because
10 victims are victims. They are all the same. Not only the victims of my
11 country, of my people, but everywhere in the territory of the former
12 Yugoslavia. I want to express my condolences to the victims, because they
13 are victims, victims of a genocide committed against my family, my people.
14 I know what it means to suffer victims.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Limaj, I'm sorry to interrupt you, but our
16 tapes are about to reach their end, so we must break now. We will break.
17 Could I invite you to give consideration to when you will be concluding
18 your statement, because you will understand another person is to follow
19 you today.
20 We will adjourn now and resume at 1.00.
21 --- Recess taken at 12.39 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 1.03 p.m.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Limaj.
24 THE ACCUSED LIMAJ: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I'd like to thank
25 you very much for your patience and the possibility you granting me to
1 offer this short overview. I will continue where I left.
2 Please allow me to first of all thank my family, then my
3 neighbourhood, the place where I was born, the town where I was born, my
4 country, my professors, the political leaders and intellectual leaders of
5 my country who undoubtedly have the great -- should be given the greatest
6 credit of making me the human being, that person that I am today. Thanks
7 to their education given to me, I'm proud of my actions, I'm proud of my
8 life, I'm proud of everything I've done so far, because this has been a
9 human education, very humane, and, above all, an education that has always
10 inspired me to determine my own way in life.
11 Your Honour, one of the strata that is most respected in the world
12 are those activists who fight for the protection of human rights, in
13 various non-governmental organisations, being in the government, not -- it
14 has not very seldom happened that those whose rights were being violated
15 in a drastic way had been condemned or punished just because they
16 protected the rights of their own people. They were punished and
17 sentenced with years and years in the name of justice.
18 I'd like to remind you and mention here two occasions -- three,
19 three, sorry. In the long run, sees the creation of the world or our era,
20 as we might say, was the Christ crucified and did it plunder. Then I
21 would mention two other occasions, honourable well-known world personality
22 figure Nelson Mandela. For years and years on end he stood in prisons in
23 the name of justice. He stayed, and at the end, the South African people
24 won their rights, while the world won racial equality. Fortunately, and I
25 say -- I'm very proud of saying this here, I belong to a people who, among
1 many dignitaries and those people who have granted to the humanity, and
2 that small people, that small nation, has also rendered a contribution to
3 humanity. This small people has given Mother Teresa to this humanity.
4 This small people with its works has served to the mankind and has given
5 another hero, Judge Kastri Skanderbevo [phoen]. At the same time, I'm
6 proud belonging, being part of this people, who even in the new era has
7 given not only to Kosovo, has given an example also to Kosovo and Europe
8 as how to protect human rights. And this was Adem Demaqi, a symbol of
9 resistance or, as it is well known, as Mandela of Europe, and he has
10 received the Saharov prize.
11 Allow me just to say one of his sayings here. The broader the
12 freedom is, the greater and broader the care towards minority communities,
13 toward other ethnic communities, the broader our freedom will be.
14 This saying that leads -- that most of the Kosovar people are led
15 nowadays, despite news coming from Kosovo, but please believe that this is
16 one of the sayings that most of the people are led by today, by this
17 postulate, and the way our institutions work there today.
18 As I said earlier today, this kind of strata is being praised for
19 their protection of human rights because they are engaged in many
20 countries of the crisis, in the areas of crisis, regardless of their
21 ethnic pertainence [as interpreted], or nationality. They go there and
22 help the people and they publish human rights abuses. However, I'd like
23 to ask you, Your Honour: Is there a greater engagement to protect the
24 rights of a people than readiness to give your own life for the rights to
25 protect the rights of these people, than the readiness that a 25-year-old
1 man - and when I say 25-year-old, I'm not talking about myself, but about
2 thousands and thousands of my compatriots - who are ready to sacrifice
3 their own selves just to protect the rights of this people, of this
4 country. I'm proud of mentioning the dignitaries I said before and I'm
5 proud of my country, who has given me that education. And as a result of
6 this upbringing and education, we always were able to distinguish, to make
7 a distinction what is the Serbian people and what is a criminal regime.
8 And under the spirit, we have seen the criminal regime as something
9 terrible, something -- as something evil that is also for Serbia itself
10 and the Serbian people who, unfortunately, were -- the Serbian people who
11 were represented by this regime.
12 The KLA, willy-nilly, and this is a historic fact, is a promotor
13 of the positive changes that happened in the region, in that area, and in
14 that area that has suffered for a long time. Why? Because it was facing
15 the KLA, went to the forefront to protect human values, civilised values.
16 And as a result of protecting those values which were endangered, which
17 were entirely endangered, for years on end, and now they were facing a
18 complete elimination. The KLA went up to the aid and action of NATO in
19 Kosovo. The Western world could not allow those democratic values and
20 that kind of civilisation in Europe to be endangered and to be -- to
21 expand further. That is why, as I've stated, everywhere, even Kosovo,
22 because the Balkan mentality very often, if someone -- if you give someone
23 a support, they think that you're against the other. I just wanted that
24 my own people does not fall prey of such indications. And I've said this
25 in public, everywhere, whenever I was given the indication, that NATO did
1 not come to Kosovo because they love Albanians or because they are against
2 the Serbs. NATO came to Kosovo to protect democratic values and civilised
3 values that were on the verge of destruction. And for NATO, everyone is
4 the same.
5 Honourable Judges, what I said earlier here about what happened in
6 1998, it is not a price, it is not that the victims in Kosovo are being
7 ignored. To ignore 3.000 victims and among those I'm including the 20
8 victims that I am accused of here, because never -- I will never, never
9 accept that I was involved with their fate.
10 It is not saying -- being ignored that no one bears responsibility
11 for such crimes, but to try by all means to raise an indictment against
12 the KLA, the Prosecutor, facing lack of facts that has taken from the
13 Serbian security service and the criminal regime of Milosevic, would like
14 to put Albanians, to involve Albanians into a game here, to satisfy the
15 standards of an indictment. As Albanians allegedly were endangered, that
16 it is not enough number of Serbs, so let us concoct an indictment against
17 the KLA. It was said here that this is a good example to unite the two
18 peoples together. In this way, this way does not only connect or serve
19 the two peoples or serve to the peace, but it leaves room for tendency
20 that within my own people, this might cause reactions.
21 Anyway, in any case, I would like to say, Your Honour, in front of
22 you here and in front of all of us, we will hear various witnesses here,
23 Serb witnesses. I'd like to mention one occasion that I've heard at this
24 trial, at this Tribunal, that one person which is providing his evidence
25 as a witness of the Prosecution, describing the situation in Kosovo in
1 1998, 1999, says the following: I was in Krusa. It's a small village in
2 Kosovo. We say Big Krusa and Small Krusa. These are two villages that
3 many, many massacres have taken place. All the men of those villages were
4 killed. Terrible massacres were committed in these villages and their
5 family members are found in the bridges of Belgrade, in the backyards of
6 the secret police, into the refrigerators of someone, and no one is
7 interested to know where these people are. He says the following: "When
8 I entered the village, instead of air, I was breathing the stench of
9 blood." Why I'm saying this to you? Because here, after a few days, a
10 witness from the Prosecution will be the commander of the Serbian forces
11 who had led those massacres in those places. Now he comes again here to
12 judge and to provide evidence against victims here. And he will be a
13 witness against us. Everyone here, let us recall to your conscience and
14 see where this is leading us to or is the crime that is being judged or
15 the victim? Is it worth -- is it worth doing this for career or for
16 various interests to come up to this level?
17 My fate, my personal fate, is of concern to me, to tell you the
18 truth, because I've given my fate once for Kosovo and because if God has
19 foreseen my fate to be as such, I'm ready to accept this fate. It's no
20 problem at all. I'm not concerned at all. I feel sorry for the
21 international justice. This is -- it's my opinion for the international
22 justice, what I think of it, and this has been an ideal opinion of mine
23 before. I'm sorry for my people, because much is being played with these
24 people, with my own people.
25 Your Honour, my country whom I belong is used to injustice, just
1 as it is known that United Kingdom is known as the cradle of democracy, or
2 let's say western Europe is known as such. Just as a British man in the
3 first view might know -- might realise whether a country is democratic or
4 not, having a long tradition, unfortunately, we -- if I can call it a
5 favour, but it is not a favour, no one in Europe, I believe no country, no
6 people, no nation in Europe would be able to see the injustice before we,
7 the Albanians, do so. Because we have lived in injustice for a long
8 period of time.
9 I would like to say one more thing. The Yugoslav system started
10 to be destroyed in Kosovo because of injustices or a system, a legal
11 system that was completely, entirely against Albanians. Today, as long as
12 in Croatia and Bosnia, those who fought for their own country are being
13 respected and honoured and a place to live is being ensured to them, to
14 live with their own family. Their integration is provided for these
15 people, other facilities to find is a job. In my country, the contrary is
16 taking place. In my country, UNMIK has found -- has chosen the shortest
17 and less expensive way. For the majority of the KLA members, they are
18 getting -- the majority of the KLA members, they are getting the former
19 prisons as a reward. About 500 members of the KLA so far had gone through
20 the institutions of the so-called transparent justice. Hundreds were held
21 in detention for a long time, with no kind of explanation at all, no other
22 judgement or no indictment raised against them. Dozens of them were
23 punished and they're serving their gaol terms. Some of them have
24 condemned for war crimes.
25 I want to draw the attention of the Prosecutors that the methods
1 that they want to use, to resort to in the Hague Tribunal have been
2 already utilised in Kosovo and the Kosovo people no longer trust such
3 matters. Your Honour, I'm saying here too what it means not to have a
4 state. We are -- we feel here like orphans. For 20 months, the treatment
5 we have received has been quite different from that of other inmates.
6 Nobody is allowed from the official bodies is allowed to come and visit
7 us. UNMIK doesn't care at all about us. Our own institutions allege lack
8 of competences, of powers; I don't know what. So, in real terms, in the
9 absence of an institutional care, we feel here -- we are in your hands. I
10 feel as if we are abandoned. Nobody can draw the -- can reprimand those
11 who violate our rights. We are the only ones submitted to such treatment
12 so far, I think. Every state has its representatives, can establish
13 links. Every group of prisoners from the former republics of Yugoslavia
14 have, under the law, care ensured to their family, to themselves, they
15 receive various financial and legal assistance. Whereas in our case,
16 nobody cares. Nobody has done anything, despite the initiatives taken by
17 some local institutions, they have been thwarted. I think it's high time
18 that we began to be treated differently. I think we deserve a human
19 treatment. I hope that those institutions there will see what is really
20 happening with its citizens, because before everything, we are Kosovar
21 citizens and we are here, and efforts are being made to write the new
22 history of Kosovo according to the instructions of the Prosecutor's
24 Your Honour, I'm about to conclude, but there is one thing I want
25 to say. In the absence of this institutional care, despite this horrible
1 situation we are in, despite the injustices committed against us, despite
2 the constant threats made to our family, I want to make it known to you:
3 Our families in Kosovo are constantly subjected to pressure and threats.
4 We have the support of the people of the citizens of Kosovo, of those for
5 whom we fought, and they are helping us in all possible ways. And this
6 keeps us going. Every citizen in Kosovo has, in his own way, shown his
7 support, her support, through written letters, through open expressions of
8 sympathy, and this is what keeps us going, as I said. Our families have
9 been -- are constantly subjected to pressure. Kosovo is led by UNMIK, and
10 the security issue is its prerogative.
11 You may bring all Kosovo here if you want. Every single member
12 of -- former member of Kosovo Liberation Army you can bring here. If you
13 can't bring here the real culprits, you can bring just an ordinary citizen
14 or ordinary member. You can even imprison my own mother. Because, of
15 course she will curse, curse people for bringing me here. And you can
16 accuse her. You can levy any accusation against her. I feel threatened.
17 We are threatened. In the last month, the pressures have been great.
18 Without any warning, we have been banned to communicate with our families,
19 with our country, for any reason at all. The detention officer who has
20 told us -- he has said that we have never violated any rules, any rules in
21 the pre-detention cells. And for no reason at all, as I said, they are
22 not allowed to visit us, and this happens only in the case of the
23 Albanians of Kosovo because people think that they can do anything with us
24 because there is no one to take care of them, no one to look after them.
25 Another thing: I hope, Your Honour, and I'm convinced that
1 justice that will be meted out in this Tribunal in your judgement, but
2 until now I want to say things have been going on according to the old
3 Chinese saying: "When there is a will to punish, to condemn someone, the
4 evidence is found." Or, as Hilary Clinton says in her book of memories,
5 when she describes a well-known American lawyer, she says: "If the
6 prosecutors come into play, they can indict -- can build indictments even
7 for a sandwich."
8 I think that Chinese saying I mentioned, I'm afraid is being the
9 rationale of what's happening here, at least from what we heard yesterday.
10 Allow me now to say -- to refer to a saying of a French lady whom
11 I think suits my situation now and our situation.
12 After the Second World War, a French lady whose name was
13 Michelle Morelle said in the first hours after she was freed, after the
14 capitulation of fascism, she says: "In the early morning of freedom,
15 distrustful of the reality," she says, "I was in ecstasy, paralysing
16 ecstasy. I was trying to tell myself that I was free. I tried," she
17 said, "to write a poem, but I never managed to say more than I'm free, I'm
18 free, and finally free." She said: "For me, so far the concept of
19 freedom was not broader than that."
20 Your Honour, by mention of this, I want to say that for as long as
21 the concept of freedom was not broader than me for this French lady and
22 for the French after the Second World War, unfortunately for my people
23 too, even though five years have passed, this concept has not become
24 broader; it's shrinking, in fact. It's being poisoned, undermined. I
25 hope that those who have the obligations to do things will come to realise
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 that the long-suffering people is not content only with having freedom and
2 not being beaten, but freedom has a broader meaning, to be able to
3 determine your own fate, to be able to find a job, to work, and to live as
4 you wish.
5 Yesterday, the Prosecutor explained their views about what a
6 criminal I was, with exception of the fact that if I had been a Serb army
7 officer, then everything would be okay. I'm saying -- I mean those
8 officers who have done bad things, not professional ones. Your Honour,
9 I'm proud, and thank God for enabling me that together with my
10 co-fighters, I can defend about 85.000 civilians who were constantly, for
11 six months, endangered by special units, Serbian units, led by a notorious
12 criminal who is being tried today in Serbia, Miodrag Lukovic, Legija. And
13 you can imagine what a man he is who, having no more to kill, killed his
14 own prime minister.
15 So this is where -- this is how we should see Lapusnik. He was
16 leader of the operations in Lapusnik. I hope that time will clarify
17 everything. Members of the Serbian secret service will testify, those who
18 for years have constructed, orchestrated, executed the policy of
19 extermination of my own nation. After all, Serbia itself is facing the
20 remnants of that regime and of that service. Kindly look at the Belgrade
21 officials and look what this secret service constitutes for Serbia itself.
22 Imagine what it did for Kosovo and what it does. Those remnants have
23 blackmailed and are blackmailing people in Kosovo too, in order to do the
24 same thing. Someone wishes that the Serbian UDBA makes Albanians condemn
25 not Fatmir Limaj but Kosovo. I'm certain that they will fail in their
1 goal, because now we are free and we know what freedom means. The freedom
2 that Kosovo has today, distinguished gentlemen, Honours, is not a freedom
3 that I brought from my family. Those hands which yesterday were described
4 as bloody hands, in those hands, and many hands of my co-fighters today,
5 we have -- we keep the smiles of our children. Now we have creches,
6 kindergartens, schools open. Life is going on. Children are smiling.
7 Their parents are no longer scared for the fate of their kids. And I am
8 happy, indeed, that even if I did something, little as it might be, I did
9 it for my country. I contributed to my country, even though it cost me my
10 imprisonment. And I cannot enjoy the freedom I worked for and that the
11 Prosecutor's office has, for the moment, banned my dreams and separated me
12 from my love. The only thing that I know is that if I were in Kosovo
13 today, when in that country there is need also for my contribution to help
14 build that democratic society, this saddens me and makes me suffer,
15 because I have no possibilities to contribute to the building of the
16 democratic society which was the ideal for all the citizens of Kosovo.
17 But I hope that I will have the possibilities to go back and render my
18 contribution to where it's most needed and to where I can.
19 Finally, it's an old saying of my people which goes: Suspicion is
20 like the fog that covers, the mist that covers the beautiful landscape.
21 This fog which has been -- the Prosecutor's office has been constantly
22 trying to create -- to cover -- with which to cover my personality. I
23 hope, Your Honours, you will be able to dispel, in order to look at the
24 true picture lying behind it, look at my true personality and realise who
25 I am, who I was, and whether I deserve to be where I am today.
1 Your Honours, I wish that we are no longer subjected to the same
2 treatment we've been subjected so far, but be treated in the way we
3 deserve. We don't want more or less than the other inmates. Also, I
4 want -- I'd like to say that the positive atmosphere prevailing, the
5 support I have in the Kosovo people, which the Prosecutor's office looks
6 upon with jealousy, I want this -- and wishes deliberately to transform
7 into a threatening atmosphere for its witnesses, I'm not, Your Honour,
8 guilty of enjoying the respect of each and every family in Kosovo.
9 Your Honour, I am not to blame because in every respect the people
10 of Kosovo have shown their support for me and appreciate my work and
11 activity. In Kosovo, there is no sympathy -- I mean, there is no hatred
12 against the Hague Tribunal. The sympathy for me does not mean that the
13 people there are against the Tribunal. You can see that for yourselves.
14 The people say that they trust the Tribunal, but at the same time they
15 trust me, and I don't see anything wrong in this. There is no negative
16 tendency there as to what's going on here. It only demonstrates that this
17 people has seen in this court a window to their hopes, because they are
18 victims. They think that here the criminals who have wreaked havoc in
19 Kosovo are going to be tried. For them, the only hope that for the first
20 time in our history the true criminals are going to be punished and
21 condemned which unfortunately is not the case. The opposite is happening.
22 Some suspicions arise as if Albanians are being used as
23 scapegoats, as cards, as a means to make up to the others just because
24 Belgrade wants it, whether there are facts or not. We have to make an
25 indictment by all means. You can, as I said earlier, you can arrest and
1 bring here as many people as you want from Kosovo but you have to be
2 worried about the credibility of what's going on here and especially how
3 much the process is being undermined in Kosovo and in international
5 Thanking you for your passions, for the possibility you gave me to
6 express my views, to make this statement. Your Honour, again, in
7 conclusion, I want to express my regret and condolences to all the
8 victims, be them from my people or the Serbian people. I hope that the
9 true culprits, all the tragedy incurred, will be found and condemned.
10 Because as it is -- because the victims will be condemned only if
11 you -- only if you condemn the true culprits. They want the murderers,
12 the assassins, those who have caused them pain. In front of you is not
13 the assassin, the killer of the victims but the defender of the victims
14 who has tried to serve his people as much as he has to bring his country,
15 his freedom, and I am happy for what I have done in the service of my
17 Thank you very much.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Limaj.
19 Mr. Guy-Smith, it is the position, I understand, that the Defence
20 of Mr. Bala prefers to -- not to make a statement at the present time.
21 MR. GUY-SMITH: That is correct. We will be reserving that right
22 until a later point in time, Your Honour.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, indeed.
24 Now, Mr. Topolski, I'm sorry. I think we each may have thought
25 that you would have been able to speak today, but we must break at a
1 quarter to to enable the court to be readied for 2.15 for the next. So it
2 will be tomorrow afternoon at 2.15.
3 MR. TOPOLSKI: Courtesy of you to apologise, but what we've just
4 heard, of course, is important, and I shall be ready to proceed tomorrow
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. We will adjourn now until
7 2.15 tomorrow.
8 Mr. Mansfield.
9 MR. MANSFIELD: I'm so sorry to delay you for one minute only, and
10 that is out of courtesy to the Tribunal, I wanted to indicate that owing
11 to commitments in London that have been running all this year, it's one
12 matter, it's about to conclude, I do have to return there for a day or
13 two. I have liaised with my co-counsel and matters that are
14 certainly -- we have an interest in will be covered by others. But I felt
15 it rather than just not be here, that you should know that it's a
16 professional engagement, I'm afraid, which has been going on for nine
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you for that, Mr. Mansfield. I'm sure that
19 Mr. Khan will be ready and willing.
20 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, could I raise one matter before we
21 adjourn? Because I see Mr. Mansfield is not going to be here tomorrow.
22 Our next witness, Ole Lehtinen, is the investigating officer on the case.
23 I've raised the matter with Mr. Topolski. We'd like to be able to speak
24 with him about matters not connected with his testimony after he's sworn,
25 because he is the investigating officer on the case and we need him for
1 other purposes. And I would just like to secure the Court's permission on
2 that point.
3 JUDGE PARKER: I'm a little confused. Do you mean during his
5 MR. CAYLEY: During his evidence we may need to speak to him about
6 matters not connected with his evidence.
7 JUDGE PARKER: How long would you expect him to be giving
9 MR. CAYLEY: Two to three days.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Oh, I see. I see. Well, I will turn to those on
11 the other side.
12 Mr. Mansfield.
13 MR. MANSFIELD: Yes. Your Honours, it's a little difficult to
14 respond, since it's in somewhat circuitous terms. Obviously I accept
15 everything Mr. Cayley says; I'm not suggesting anything else. But it's a
16 little difficult for us to say. It's an unusual practice, and he's not
17 saying that it's unconnected with the case, I think.
18 JUDGE PARKER: I understood the opposite.
19 MR. MANSFIELD: Yes.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
21 MR. MANSFIELD: If it is connected with the case, if it's possible
22 to give us some idea of what it is that is so important that can only be
23 dealt with as he goes through it, it would help us make a decision.
24 MR. CAYLEY: Mr. President, he being the investigating officer on
25 the case, assists us with getting witnesses here and we need him for that
1 purpose. Now, if we can't deal with him, then we can't bring witnesses in
2 to follow his evidence. So that's what we would need to talk to him
3 about, not matters connected to his testimony or evidence in the case,
4 simply securing the presence of witnesses here. And that's what we need.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Cayley. Mr. Mansfield, is there any
6 objection to Mr. Cayley speaking about the movement of other witnesses to
7 the Tribunal.
8 MR. MANSFIELD: No, obviously there wouldn't be.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Guy-Smith.
10 MR. MANSFIELD: May I just add that if it's possible for someone
11 else to do that, a unit that's concerned with it, then I'd ask, but that's
13 MR. GUY-SMITH: Understanding that the discussions will be limited
14 to the matters raised, I have no objection whatsoever.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Mr. Topolski.
16 MR. TOPOLSKI: It was that which Mr. Cayley indicated me would be
17 the sole and only purpose of any communication with a witness under oath,
18 and it was upon that basis I indicated my agreement.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
20 MR. TOPOLSKI: And I still do.
21 JUDGE PARKER: On that limited and explicit basis, Mr. Cayley,
22 yes, you may communicate with the witness.
23 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Mr. President.
24 JUDGE PARKER: The adjournment will now occur.
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
1 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 17th day of
2 November 2004, at 2.15 p.m.