1 Thursday, 3 March 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.49 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. It seems the weather defeated us
6 this morning. Could I mention before I turn to Mr. Whiting that I was
7 too hasty yesterday as we adjourned in indicating that we could not sit
8 on Friday week because of a plenary sitting. It now appears that plenary
9 will not commence until the middle of the day so that we will be able to
10 sit until about noon on Friday the 11th. So that we will get some useful
11 sitting out of the day.
12 I see the Defence bench is up to near strength.
13 MR. MANSFIELD: May I just say I'm really grateful to Your
14 Honours and also, may I say, to Mr. Whiting for accommodating the
15 difficulties that I had and it's been a very important time. So thank
16 you very much.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Now, Mr. Whiting, you were wanting to say
19 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour. There was a matter that
20 arose yesterday that I -- and I've had discussions with Defence counsel
21 about this matter that I think requires some clarification. At the
22 beginning of the session with respect to the application that Mr.
23 Topolski made, I represented that the OTP had not told this witness, Mr.
24 Qeriqi, anything about a change in status, that he had not been told that
25 he was no longer a suspect. That was true when I said it yesterday and
1 from our point of view it is true today. I double-checked it just to be
2 absolutely sure and just from our point of view no such representation
3 has been made to this witness. He has not been told that he is not a
5 Now, to make the record complete and clear, I should say that the
6 investigator who was mentioned by the witness, Mr. Lehtinen, Ole
7 Lehtinen, has had significant discussions with this witness about coming
8 here to testify in this trial as a witness. Once the trial started he
9 did have contact with him about coming here, about him requiring a
10 subpoena before he would come here to testify. Mr. Lehtinen was there
11 when he was served with the subpoena to come testify as a witness, and he
12 has been involved in his arrangements to come here to testify as a
13 witness. So that is true. However he has not been told by Mr. Lehtinen
14 or as far as I know, and I've checked very carefully, by anyone in the
15 OTP that he is not a suspect and I thought it was important to make that
16 clear on the record.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Only -- yes, Mr. Topolski.
18 MR. TOPOLSKI: I'm sorry I interrupted Your Honour.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I was about to say something but wisdom would get
20 me to hold my tongue until I've heard you. Wisdom is a rare quality with
22 MR. TOPOLSKI: Your Honours, of course the bar accepts what Mr.
23 Whiting says, no doubt faithfully reporting that was what he was told;
24 however, this is a matter of potentially some significance. And I simply
25 say this: that we would expect and we would hope that the at the
1 appropriate time Mr. Lehtinen is made available again for further
2 cross-examination upon this and indeed upon other matters that have
3 arisen and I have no doubt will arise regarding the conduct of the
4 investigation. And I shall say no more than that on that subject.
5 May I also while I'm on my feet beg your forgiveness and leave.
6 There was a matter that I should have put to Mr. Qeriqi yesterday by way
7 of detail in relation to something I've always had instructions about. I
8 omitted to do so. Before Mr. Mansfield starts his cross-examination, may
9 I be permitted to do that?
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
11 What I had been about to say was that that issue does not affect
12 the decision we reached on your motion yesterday, Mr. Topolski. The only
13 evidence we presently have on the issue is that of the witness who has
14 said he was told that he was no longer a suspect. So if the Prosecution
15 wants to advance the factual material in any way, it will need to give
16 consideration to further evidence. And yes, you may have leave.
17 MR. TOPOLSKI: Thank you.
18 MR. MANSFIELD: Your Honour --
19 JUDGE PARKER: Oh, I was hoping we would get a witness in before
20 we finish today.
21 MR. MANSFIELD: The door is half open, only half. It relates to
22 this very same issue because I was hoping to ask this witness a little
23 bit more about what he's already said in relation to not being told that
24 he was, or being told that he wasn't -- put it that way round -- being
25 told that he wasn't a suspect. Now, if it's going to be suggested that
1 in fact that's wrong, he's never been told, then before -- it would be
2 useful certainly and desirable before I ask further questions, if there's
3 any documentation about the meetings that have just been described with
4 Mr. Lehtinen about coming here to testify, subpoenaed and so forth, then
5 it would be of use to us to know what in fact he is going to be -- if Mr.
6 Lehtinen is going to return to the Tribunal to deal with these matters,
7 what he's likely to be saying while the witness is still here. So I
8 merely indicate that, and I give notice I'm going to ask a number of
9 questions about this because it will bear upon your ability in the end
10 and your function of assessing the truth of this witness.
11 So I merely ask, if there's any material may we have it now.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Whiting, are you in a position to assist in
13 that matter?
14 MR. WHITING: Not on the -- not at the moment, that is I can't --
15 I cannot answer if there are -- the question if there are notes about
16 these meetings or reports or anything. It wouldn't take me long to
17 determine that. I'll just need to ask the investigator, but it would
18 take me, say, ten minutes.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I would suggest that you get those inquiries
20 underway and arrange to communicate them to Mr. Mansfield as soon as you
21 -- the result as soon as you can. And in the meantime, we will move on.
22 It seems to me that the question whether or not you propose to recall Mr.
23 Lehtinen is one which you would normally evaluate at the end of the
24 cross-examination of this witness rather than on your feet now. And if
25 you haven't a clear view about that at the moment, we would not press you
2 MR. WHITING: I do not have a clear view about that. Your Honour
3 is correct it's something that I have to evaluate later. And I can with
4 modern technology I think from my seat here make this inquiry to Mr.
5 Lehtinen, assuming he's at his desk, and hopefully get the answer
6 relatively quickly.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Well, with or without technology if you could help
8 Mr. Mansfield as soon as possible and before he commits himself down a
9 course he may not want to commit himself to, it would be useful for
11 The witness may be brought in.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, Mr. Qeriqi. If I could remind you
14 of the affirmation which you took at the beginning of your evidence; that
15 still applies. I'm sorry you've had to wait longer, but apparently the
16 weather conditioned delayed the arrival of the accused this morning.
17 Now, Mr. Topolski has one matter that he wants to raise with you
18 and then Mr. Mansfield will have some questions.
19 Mr. Topolski.
20 MR. TOPOLSKI: I'm very grateful.
21 WITNESS: RAMIZ QERIQI [Resumed]
22 [Witness answered through interpreter]
23 Cross-examined by Mr. Topolski: [Continued]
24 Q. Mr. Qeriqi, you want to say something.
25 A. I'm sorry. I have a request. Yesterday there were cases when we
1 went on a closed session. I request that this Trial Chamber when Defence
2 counsel are cross-examinating [as interpreted] not to go on a closed
3 session. I want people, my people back home, to be informed correctly
4 about everything. So my question is not to go on closed session. I want
5 everything to be open and public. I want everyone to know what the
6 lawyer is asking because I am going back to Kosova. I really hope that
7 my request will be taken into consideration.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you for the indication of your willingness
9 to speak openly and for others to hear everything that you say and the
10 questions you're asked. That certainly is relevant and is taken into
12 The Chamber, though, has to consider the possibility that others
13 may be affected by what you say, particularly when you name other people.
14 And in some cases, that will require or may require that small aspects of
15 your evidence be in closed session. As you will appreciate, almost all
16 of your evidence to date has been in open session. If the occasion
17 arises, we will consider and take into account the view and wish that you
18 have expressed.
19 Mr. Topolski.
20 MR. TOPOLSKI:
21 Q. Mr. Qeriqi, you'll remember yesterday we were talking about the
22 formation of battalions and brigades. I wonder if you can help me with a
23 meeting that I suggest you attended. First of all, when it was. The
24 best I can do is to suggest to you that it must have been in the first
25 ten days or so of August of 1998. Secondly, I suggest - and I'm going to
1 break it up and invite you to deal with each part of this - secondly I
2 suggest that Isak Musliu, Qerqizi, came to Kroimire to tell you of an
3 important meeting that was going to take place that evening, and the
4 meeting was to take place in Klecka at a house where Fatmir Limaj was
6 Now, do you recollect any of this?
7 A. I mentioned it earlier that up to the offensive, up to the end of
8 May, number one was Shukri Buja and I was his deputy, number two. After
9 the offensive, the battalion and the brigade was formed and the decision
10 was taken, the decision that I brought here, according to which I was
11 appointed a battalion commander. For the period prior to this, I said
12 that I rarely went to Klecka and I'm not able to know whether there was a
13 brigade or not. Maybe Shukri might know this. It is true that -- and
14 the reason why I brought that document is that I became a commander,
15 battalion commander, after the offensive. And from that time, from my
16 appointment, I became an official leader of the staff in Kroimire.
17 Q. The offensive you're referring to is the offensive in late July
18 by the Serbs, isn't it? Let's get that clear first of all.
19 A. The offensive occurred on the 25th and 26th of July, and I mean
20 this offensive.
21 Q. Right. Yes. Now, I'm being very specific, Mr. Qeriqi, or trying
22 to be and I'd like, sir, if you could to see if you can help me. I'm
23 suggesting that you attended a meeting in Klecka in a house where Fatmir
24 Limaj was based in the first few days of August. This was a house
25 located about halfway up a hill in Klecka. Did you attend a meeting in
1 Klecka in early August 1998?
2 A. I don't remember exactly whether it was beginning or the end of
3 August, but I was there. It is true that I attended that meeting.
4 Q. Right. I'm going to give you a list of people who were also
5 there. Isak Musliu was there. Do you agree?
6 A. Could you give me the list with all the persons because I might
7 not remember that meeting, so it's easier for me to have all the persons
8 that attended.
9 Q. Right. Very well. It's not many. Isak Musliu, Fatmir Limaj,
10 you, Skender Hoti, Muse Jashari, Ismet Jashari, and possibly one or two
11 others who I'm afraid I cannot identify.
12 A. It is possible, yes. It is true.
13 Q. This meeting began by discussing the situation with regard to
14 civilians and then moved quickly on to discuss the new brigade structure,
15 and the meeting lasted about one and a half to two hours. Do you
17 A. I don't remember how long it lasted, but as a meeting I do
18 remember it.
19 Q. And there is one particularly and extraordinary incident that
20 occurred at the end of it that I suggest may bring it back to your mind,
21 Mr. Qeriqi, and it was this: Just as the meeting was breaking up and
22 people were leaving, three artillery rounds were fired by the Serbs into
23 the garden of the house. Now do you remember?
24 A. I don't remember, but it could be that this happened during the
1 Q. And it was from that meeting that it was decided, amongst other
2 things, that Fatmir Limaj should become the commander of 121st Brigade
3 and as you have indicated in due course you were to become appointed as
4 commander of a battalion within that brigade. So that was the meeting
5 where these matters were resolved, I suggest. Do you accept that?
6 A. I don't remember that the issue who will become commander was
7 discussed during this meeting, but at that time I did -- I was appointed
8 commander of the battalion. I did take the decision.
9 Q. Well, I'll leave it there.
10 MR. TOPOLSKI: I'm very grateful to Your Honours for permitting
11 me to put that, and I apologise for not putting it last night.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Qeriqi.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Topolski.
14 Mr. Mansfield.
15 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, if I may, I have an answer to the
17 JUDGE PARKER: Good. Yes, Mr. Whiting.
18 MR. WHITING: The answer to the question is there are no
19 substantive reports of the meetings. There is a record -- these were
20 just courtesy meetings to arrange travel and coming -- being a witness.
21 There are -- there is a record of when the meetings occurred, but the
22 there is no substance to record. So there's no report about the meeting,
23 just a record of when the meetings occurred.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
25 Cross-examined by Mr. Mansfield:
1 Q. Mr. Qeriqi, good morning. I'm sorry about --
2 A. Good morning to you, sir.
3 Q. I'm sorry about the delay. I represent Fatmir Limaj, who sits
4 behind here, who you know or you knew him as Celiku. I want to ask --
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. -- you some questions that relate to what -- the matter that Mr.
7 Whiting has just raised. This relates to something you said yesterday,
8 and may I just indicate what you said yesterday concerning whether you
9 had been told you were a suspect or not. That's the topic. Do you
11 A. I think that when I was summoned to be questioned I was allegedly
12 a suspect and allegedly had knowledge about things that happened. After
13 the questioning and after I told what I knew -- as for other matters they
14 surely realised that I was not familiar with and most probably that
15 suspect quality was removed.
16 Q. What you said yesterday was this: That you had not been told
17 that in writing, but a person called Ole you tend to forget his name -
18 and I am going to quote exactly what you said - "When we met with him, he
19 told me that after the investigation they conducted they found out that I
20 was not a suspect, and this was in the end before I came here."
21 Now, do you remember saying that yesterday?
22 A. I did say this and you know this.
23 Q. Right. Just one second. Just listen to the questions, it may be
24 a bit quicker. I want to ask some more questions about this. First of
25 all, I know it's difficult because of the lapse of time. Your interview,
1 when it was indicated that you were a suspect, was in April 2003.
2 A. Yes, on 23rd of April, 2003.
3 Q. How long after that was it that you had the meeting with the
4 investigator called Ole? Can you tell -- can you give us some idea?
5 A. I didn't take notes and I haven't written the date down, but it
6 was most probably two or three other times that I met with him.
7 Q. Where did you meet?
8 A. In Pristina where their offices are, in their office.
9 Q. When you met him on these two or three occasions, was he on his
11 A. He was with an interpreter.
12 Q. And anyone else?
13 A. No, there wasn't anyone else.
14 Q. And were you on your own?
15 A. Alone.
16 Q. Now, you didn't keep a note, but did the investigator so far as
17 you could tell while you were in his presence, did he make any notes?
18 A. I think that he did.
19 Q. And I apologise for asking you the detail, but it may be
20 important. Do you happen to know -- remember whether the notes that he
21 made were in a notebook, on loose sheets of paper, a file, or was he
22 doing it on a laptop?
23 A. I don't remember, but I think it was on -- in a notebook. It
24 could be possible that he made notes somewhere else, but I really didn't
1 Q. Right. Now, can you remember on which of the two or three
2 occasions that he told you that you were no longer a suspect? Do you
3 think it was the first or the second or the last meeting?
4 A. I think the meeting before the last. I'm not quite sure, but I
5 think it was the meeting before the last one.
6 Q. Now, at that meeting before the last one, was anything else
7 discussed with you besides the fact that you were no longer a suspect?
8 A. It wasn't discussed, no.
9 Q. Nothing else was discussed?
10 A. I was asked whether I would come to this trial and -- as a
11 witness, and my reply was that I was ready to come and testify about
12 myself and about my knowledge on the KLA war. And what I know is that it
13 was a just war and it is a great satisfaction for me to come and testify
14 about this war.
15 In the end, this request was an obligatory one, but as I said
16 from the very beginning I made it clear that I was ready to come here
18 Q. Now, either on that occasion, the meeting before the last one, or
19 the last meeting were you ever told that the Prosecutor or the
20 prosecuting authority did not regard you as someone telling the truth?
21 A. Would you please repeat your question, please.
22 Q. Yes. Either at the meeting we've just talked about, the one
23 before the last one, or on the last meeting you had with Ole Lehtinen,
24 the investigator, did Ole ever suggest to you that you were not regarded
25 as someone telling the truth?
1 A. No. He didn't say this to me. He didn't say that I was not
2 regarded as someone telling the truth. On the contrary, he believed that
3 I was telling the truth.
4 Q. Thank you. Now, when you did come here very recently, did you
5 have a meeting here in The Hague with any member of the prosecuting team
6 before you actually began your evidence?
7 A. I met with the investigator.
8 Q. Is that the same investigator you have been referring to as Ole?
9 A. No, the one who is here, the one who questioned me on the 28th.
10 Q. Yes. I think you mean Mr. Whiting, who sits across this Tribunal
11 floor. Is that right?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Now, did he say to you before you gave evidence, Look here, we
14 don't think you're telling the truth?
15 A. No, he didn't say that.
16 Q. Now, I'm sorry to have taken some time on this topic, but today
17 the Tribunal has been informed that the investigator you call Ole is
18 denying that he ever said these things to you. What do you say about
20 A. I don't remember him telling me that I was not telling the truth.
21 Q. What is being denied further is that you were ever told that you
22 were not a suspect; in other words, are you aware at the moment that the
23 Prosecution are going to suggest you are a suspect? Did you know that?
24 MR. WHITING: Excuse me, Your Honour. I would object to that
25 question. That's -- that is not quite right. The issue is not whether
1 he is a suspect or not; the issue is what he has been told about his
2 status. And I would ask that the question be put clearly to him if it's
3 going to be put to him this way, that Mr. Lehtinen has said that he has
4 not told him that he was -- that his status has changed and he has not
5 told him anything about not being a suspect.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Continue, yes.
7 MR. MANSFIELD:
8 Q. Yes, I'll ask you the questions to -- in stages. The
9 investigator you are naming as Ole is saying that he never told you that
10 your status has changed and that you were no longer a suspect. That's
11 what he is now saying. What do you say about that?
12 A. Since he did not give it to me in writing, maybe it's a
13 misunderstanding. Maybe he said, In the beginning you were a suspect
14 because you know many things, and I always thought that like any other
15 investigator he is looking for something more. He wants me to say
16 something more and maybe that he thought that I was not telling him
17 everything. But Ole said that, You were a suspect but now you are no
18 longer a suspect. There is no suspicion. In the beginning we thought
19 that you knew many other things that you were not going to tell us. So
20 this was it. Nonetheless, I did say things that I knew and I did come
21 here to defend my statements from earlier.
22 Q. And while you have been here in this Tribunal, have you told the
24 A. I did say that.
25 Q. Now, I want to give you the opportunity of dealing with in
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 general terms what the allegations were that made them think, that is the
2 prosecuting authority, in the beginning that you were a suspect. Do you
3 follow what I'm going to do?
4 A. Would you repeat it once again, please.
5 Q. Yes. I want to give you the opportunity now of dealing with in
6 open session the allegations that were being made against you during the
7 interview where it was being said you were a suspect. Do you follow what
8 I'm about to do?
9 A. Yes, I follow you.
10 Q. You follow. The allegations in general terms - and I will not
11 mention any names so we can remain in open session - the allegations were
12 that first of all you authorised abductions and kidnapping of Serbs and
13 Serb collaborators. Did you do any such thing?
14 A. I never did such a thing. These allegations were made on the
15 basis that I allegedly took them and brought them somewhere else, but in
16 fact this is not true.
17 Q. And the allegation in relation to that was that you were present
18 when people were abducted or kidnapped. Were you ever present, if such a
19 thing happened?
20 A. I was never present. I was never present and I never even heard
21 that people were kidnapped.
22 Q. Did you authorise any arrests, as opposed to kidnapping, any
23 arrests of Serbs or Serb alleged collaborators for interrogation?
24 A. Never.
25 Q. In the area for which you were or had some responsibility in your
1 municipality, as far as you were aware were is there any detention or
2 prison facilities?
3 A. Where? In which zone?
4 Q. Well, I'm going to be careful about the use of the word "zone."
5 In the area where you were acting on behalf of the KLA between April and
6 August, that time span and that area. Do you understand?
7 A. At that time I was not in a position to think about prisons.
8 This is really a funny question for me because at that time we could
9 hardly find bread for us to feed.
10 Q. Now, I want to ask you about a particular person who has made
11 allegations to this Tribunal about you, and I am respecting your desire
12 for open session; however, as His Honour has already pointed out to you,
13 it isn't always possible to do everything in open session when
14 identification of other people is at risk. Do you understand?
15 A. This worries me a lot, simply because of the fact that I live
16 there, for some people that you asked me questions about, I do see and
17 meet their families and I don't have any problems with them and simply
18 they will not be put in any risk. And to put it shortly, lies should be
19 made clear and -- I want the people there to know everything because
20 otherwise how can the truth come out? But I know it is up for the Trial
21 Chamber to decide on these things.
22 MR. MANSFIELD: Your Honour, may I just indicate what I would
23 like to do, and I appreciate what the witness says. I'm only going to
24 take one example, but it's an example you may yourself recall. It
25 occurred on Day 24. I'm not going to name who it was, but he -- this
1 person gave evidence which implicated this witness. It's not been put to
2 him and I would like it put to him so this witness can deal with it to
3 the witness that also affects the person I represent. And what I would
4 seek to do is to put the passages from the transcript where this witness
5 is mentioned, but it was all in closed session when it was done
6 originally. And plainly I don't want to transgress that original
7 position. It's not for a desire that the truth should not come out in
8 the end.
9 JUDGE PARKER: I think we must start in closed session, Mr.
10 Mansfield. If we judge that that can be relaxed, we will intervene and
11 change it.
12 MR. MANSFIELD: I'm much obliged.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Closed session.
14 [Private session]
11 Pages 3704-3707 redacted. Private session.
2 [Open session]
3 THE REGISTRAR: We're in open session.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I thank you very much for going
5 into open session.
6 MR. MANSFIELD:
7 Q. Now, if I may, I want to summarise in open session without naming
8 anyone what the allegation was so you can say it in open session. The
9 allegation is that you had ordered an individual to be brought to you in
10 order to hand over weapons and that when the individual arrived in your
11 presence a sack was put over his head and he was kidnapped. Is there any
12 truth in that?
13 A. No, there is no truth in that. I recounted even earlier with
14 respect to that person. I think the police, too, asked me twice about
15 this case; the investigators did also. We engaged in the same questions
16 and answered the same talk. And I am repeating, this is not true. The
17 truth is they came there of their own free will. One left in the
18 direction of Shale, the other went home. After the war that old man
19 asked to meet me and I told him, you can meet me any time because I have
20 told the truth and I will uphold that truth. No sack. Nothing like that
21 happened. Since I didn't know them before, that was the first time I saw
22 them that day, and how could I do that? As far as I know this witness
23 has said, from what I heard, I went to ask for Luan because I didn't find
24 him. He was in the front line and that he had found my deputy.
25 Q. May I just pick up one point in that answer. Can you help us as
1 to which police had asked you twice about this particular incident?
2 Which police was it? Which police force was it?
3 A. The international police force in Lipjan.
4 Q. And sorry to be particular, but can you help us as to when it was
5 that you were asked twice about this. Is it in 1999? 2000? 2001?
6 A. It was after the war. I don't know, it was 2000 -- once in 2000,
7 once in 2001 I think. I'm not sure but I know that it was after the war.
8 Q. And were the police officers who actually asked you the same on
9 those two occasions or different police officers?
10 A. They were different.
11 Q. Again, this is for the purpose of the record. Forgive me, it's
12 more detail. Do you recollect whether the police officers on those two
13 occasions made a record, either wrote it down, what you were saying, or
14 typed it up or put it on a laptop or whatever?
15 A. I think they wrote it down and I signed it myself; it was on a
16 piece of paper.
17 Q. Right. Is it too much to ask you if you happen to know their
18 names? Do you know the names of either of these people who spoke to you?
19 A. No, I forgot their name because it didn't seem important to me to
20 remember the names.
21 Q. I'm going to pass to a different topic. I want to ask a little
22 bit about Fatmir Limaj himself and your contact with him. Do you follow?
23 A. Yes, I do.
24 Q. Now, firstly would it be right to say that -- and I'm going to be
25 specific about the time so you don't have to, as it were, range over a
1 number of months. I am dealing with the period between April and August
2 of 1998, the spring to summer period. I'm just dealing with that period.
3 Now, you've indicated that you saw Fatmir Limaj or Celiku from
4 time to time, but this morning you've indicated that you didn't go to
5 Klecka very much until after you were appointed on the 16th of August.
6 Is that right?
7 A. I told you, as I already explained, we met in Likovc as far as I
8 remember. And from there we came together down here.
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. And I was very rarely before the offensive in Klecka, compared to
11 the period when I became a commander because I was not the top man. I
12 was second in command.
13 Q. Now, during that period before you were appointed in August --
14 MR. MANSFIELD: And could we just have on the ELMO, please, P155.
15 I think it should be a piece of paper on which the word
16 "decision" is written. No. Yes, it's another sheet. I think it may be
17 the one -- can we have the sheet on the ELMO which has got the word
18 "decision" -- no, that's it. This is the English.
19 Q. Now, I'll come to August in a moment. You see this is -- you
20 have already talked about this. This is dated the 16th of August, 1998,
21 signed by Celiku. Would it be right to say that in the April-to-August
22 period on the occasions when you did meet Celiku there was never any
23 discussion between you about detention camps or prisons? Would that be
25 A. Yes, that would be right. We never talked about such things. I
1 cannot even imagine such a topic of conversation; it never occurred.
2 Q. In that period would it also be right to say that Celiku in fact
3 never gave you any orders, did he?
4 A. I already explained here that after this decision I reported in
5 writing. Every week we held a meeting. But before the offensive it was
6 Shukri, the commander, and I had to report to him on the situation on the
7 stage of the positions as we were building. And it was very rarely that
8 I went to Klecke.
9 Q. Is it also right to say that you were unaware of who had
10 appointed Shukri Buja. Would that be right?
11 A. I stated yesterday it must have been the General Staff. He
12 couldn't come there on his own.
13 Q. Right. Did you know who was on the General Staff between April
14 and August? Did you know at that time who was on it?
15 A. I don't need to say anything. Jakup Krasniqi, the spokesperson,
16 informed you of all these things. So it's none of my business and I
17 don't have any reason to know that.
18 Q. Right. So does it also follow - and you gave evidence to this
19 effect yesterday and also on an earlier day this week - that so far as
20 Mr. Buja was concerned, Shukri Buja was concerned, you did not know
21 whether or if he got orders from anyone else and if he did who he got
22 them from.
23 A. You might ask him in person. How can I speak on his behalf? I
24 think he can tell you better than me because I informed him -- I reported
25 to him about the positions, about the soldiers. And probably he had to
1 report this to someone else.
2 Q. Yes. I want to ask you now finally about another topic, and this
3 is about the development of the KLA as an army, as an organisation. It's
4 about its development. Do you follow? That's the topic. And I want to
5 suggest to you that the KLA in 1998 went through three very different and
6 distinct phases. Are you following what I'm putting to you?
7 A. Yes, I'm following.
8 Q. The first phase which had existed before April 1998 was an
9 underground army which might be termed a guerrilla force, which undertook
10 specific targeted operations on behalf of the community. Now, in other
11 words, a guerrilla force. Do you agree with that description?
12 A. From the 14th of June when we went on a frontal attack, it was no
13 longer guerrilla warfare.
14 Q. Yes, I'll come to -- please be patient, I'm doing it slowly in
15 phases. Phase one, do you agree it could be aptly or appropriately
16 described as a guerrilla force, which then developed into a volunteer
17 army with many people volunteering and coming forward to form units and
18 points in various areas of Kosovo? So it's a volunteer army in about
19 June/July. That's phase number two; do you agree?
20 A. Yes, I'm repeating it, that it was a voluntary army until 1999
21 and everybody joined it on a voluntary basis. Nobody was forced to join
22 it; that is true. But on the 14th of June I said we came out openly as
23 an army. It was a frontal war. I mentioned this on the first day. It
24 was a joy for us to join the KLA, to become a soldier of it, no matter
25 what kind of weapons we had, just because we wanted to drive away the
1 Serbs. And we did fight against tanks, many of them. So you cannot
2 describe it as a guerrilla war; it was a frontal warfare.
3 Q. Yes, I accept that. And what began to happen in August with the
4 decision of your appointment on the 16th of August was that the volunteer
5 army in various areas of Kosovo had to be organised and formalised into
6 something more resembling an army that might be recognised in the rest of
7 Europe. Do you follow the point I'm making?
8 A. Yes, yes. I follow it.
9 Q. And do you agree?
10 A. Yes, I agree. There were many internationals at that time who
11 came and conducted negotiations and things like that, but I was on a
12 lower rank so I didn't take part in this negotiations and talks. So I
13 cannot give you an answer to what you are trying to put to me regarding
14 those issues.
15 Q. No, I don't want to ask you about negotiations. Thank you for
16 your help.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Mansfield.
18 It's probably a convenient time, Mr. Whiting, to have a break.
19 So we will have the first morning break now and resume at 20 minutes
21 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
22 --- Upon resuming at 11.22 a.m.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Whiting.
25 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Re-examined by Mr. Whiting:
2 Q. Mr. Qeriqi, you'll be grateful to know I just have a few
3 follow-up questions. I want to ask you about your conversations with Mr.
4 Lehtinen to see if I can possibly clear up that matter. You said this
5 morning when you started being asked about this topic - and I refer to
6 page 10 of the transcript - you said: "I think that when I was summoned
7 to be questioned I was allegedly a suspect and allegedly had knowledge
8 about things that happened. After the questioning, and after I told what
9 I knew -- as for other matters they surely realised that I was not
10 familiar with and most probably that suspect quality was removed."
11 And then later on on page 14 after some more questioning about
12 this topic you said that you thought perhaps there was a misunderstanding
13 about your conversations with Mr. Lehtinen. So my question is: Is it
14 possible that you after time passed and after you were not charged with
15 any crime, is it possible that in fact there was a misunderstanding and
16 you were not actually told that your status had changed by Mr. Lehtinen
17 but that's what you believed. Is that a possibility?
18 MR. GUY-SMITH: Objection, leading.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I was distracted. I've got to confess to the
20 precise tone of the question. A reliability authority suggests that it
21 may have been leading, Mr. Whiting.
22 MR. WHITING: I submit that it wasn't. I'm just asking if
23 something -- if it was possible --
24 JUDGE PARKER: Let me re-read it then.
25 No, I will now that question, Mr. Guy-Smith.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. WHITING:
2 Q. Do you need me to repeat the question, Mr. Qeriqi?
3 A. Yes, please.
4 Q. Okay.
5 A. It was rather hard for me to understand it.
6 Q. I understand. I will repeat it, but not the whole thing. You
7 said this morning that -- when you were first asked about your
8 conversations with Mr. Lehtinen you said that after the questioning and
9 "after I told what I knew -- as for other matters they surely realised
10 that I was not familiar with and most probably that suspect quality was
12 Then you said later that you thought perhaps there was a
13 misunderstanding about your conversations with Mr. Lehtinen. So my
14 question is: Is it possible that after time passed and you were not
15 charged with any crime, is it possible that in fact there was a
16 misunderstanding and you were not actually told that your status had
17 changed by Mr. Lehtinen, but that is what you believed? Is that
19 A. Yes, that's right. When you first questioned me as a suspect, it
20 was, I believe, your way of questioning me or anyone because if you
21 hadn't mentioned the word "suspect" perhaps I wouldn't have responded at
22 all. It was later that I realised, myself, that you no longer suspected
23 of me, even though here in the first session I saw that you still came
24 back to that point or that implication or that you asked again. And I
25 consider it normal. This is what I thought, as you said, as you put it.
1 Q. Thank you. Now you have said that -- you have said that if the
2 word "suspect" had not been mentioned, perhaps you would not have
3 responded at all. So that leads me to this question --
4 A. I said this for the first time here.
5 Q. Yes, I just was repeating what you said. So this leads me to
6 this question: Does the fact -- has the fact that you were initially
7 questioned and you were told you were a suspect and in court here today
8 you've said you believe you're no longer a suspect, has that changed in
9 any way your testimony?
10 A. No, not at all. Like, there is -- how can I change it? I have
11 come here to stand by what I said earlier and to tell the truth regarding
12 KLA, the work that was done then. I said even earlier that I'm very
13 happy and proud to be able to say what I know and what we did in the KLA.
14 Q. Now I want to follow-up on that answer that you just have given.
15 Mr. Qeriqi, focusing just for a moment on the four months of April, May,
16 June, and July of 1998, is it important to you that the history of the
17 KLA during those four months in your area be accurately told? Is that
18 something that's important to you or is that not important to you?
19 A. Of course it is important to me, when many people laid down their
20 lives. And for the sake of the blood they have shed, I have told the
21 truth and I am telling the truth.
22 Q. And is it -- is the fact that it is important to you that the
23 history of that time period be accurately told, is that fact one of the
24 reasons that you were willing to testify here today and in previous days
25 to the Tribunal?
1 A. Yes, this is why I'm here, and before coming here I talked at
2 length with my comrades. Everyone asked me to tell the truth, both the
3 families of the martyrs, the true fighters who today are in the streets
4 without a job. And I've spoken here also on their behalf as well as on
5 my own behalf.
6 Q. Finally, Mr. Qeriqi, have you accused anybody in the KLA of
7 committing any crimes during the war?
8 A. No, I have not accused anyone, and I haven't seen anyone
9 committing any crimes. To my recollection, I have not accused anyone;
10 I've just told the truth about KLA, of what I have seen with my eyes and
11 what I have seen it do.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Qeriqi.
13 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I have no further questions.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Qeriqi, you'll be pleased to know that that's
15 the end of the questions for you. The Tribunal would thank you for your
16 assistance in coming here and for the evidence that you have given. You
17 may now return to your home and carry on with your normal affairs. So
18 thank you very much. You're free to go.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Is it over? Can I say a word,
20 Your Honour?
21 JUDGE PARKER: You may indeed.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask this Trial
23 Chamber, with due respect for it, to judge the truth and only the truth
24 and not be a political trial. I thank you very much.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much indeed.
1 [The witness withdrew]
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Whiting.
4 MR. WHITING: We're ready for the next witness.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Next witness.
6 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
7 [The witness entered court]
8 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, sir. Would you please make the
9 affirmation, reading it aloud, that's on the card.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
11 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
13 Yes, Mr. Whiting.
14 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 WITNESS: SHUKRI BUJA
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 Examined by Mr. Whiting:
18 Q. Good morning, sir.
19 A. Good morning.
20 Q. Can you understand me clearly?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Could you state your name, please.
23 A. My name is Shukri Buja. I am from Bujan village, Lipjan
24 municipality. I was born on the 27th of August, 1966.
25 Q. Sir, I'm going to ask you some questions about your background,
1 but first I want to ask you a few preliminary questions. Did you receive
2 a subpoena from the Court to testify here today in this trial?
3 A. Yes, I did receive a subpoena to report to this court.
4 Q. Mr. Buja, did you testify in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic on
5 the 5th and 6th of June, 2002?
6 A. Yes, sir.
7 Q. Were you subpoenaed to testify in that trial?
8 A. No. I came here as a Prosecution witness.
9 Q. When you testified in the trial of Slobodan Milosevic on the 5th
10 and 6th of June, 2002, did you tell the truth during your testimony?
11 A. Yes, I told the truth under oath.
12 Q. And, Mr. Buja, was that testimony largely about events that
13 occurred in Racak in January of 1999?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Before -- before you gave that testimony, had you been
16 interviewed by the Office of the Prosecutor in August, September, and
17 October of 2001 concerning those matters?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And in that statement that you gave to the OTP, were you
21 A. I tried to recollect all those events and to tell the truth.
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters ask the witness to stand
23 closer to the mike, please.
24 MR. WHITING:
25 Q. I think the usher is going to ask you, sir -- try to bring you a
1 little closer to the microphone and --
2 JUDGE PARKER: If you could try to speak a little bit louder, it
3 will be easier for us to hear.
4 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Q. Finally, sir, after you testified in the Milosevic case, were you
6 summonsed to an interview with the Office of the Prosecutor on the 28th
7 of April, 2003?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And did you tell the truth in that interview?
10 A. Your Honours, I need to give -- to make an explanation regarding
11 this interview, if you allow me.
12 Q. If you could first just answer the question and then provide your
13 explanation. Did you -- did you tell the truth in that interview of
14 April 2003, yes or no?
15 A. I cannot say yes or no because I never saw the interview later.
16 Q. I'm not asking if you saw the interview later. What I'm asking
17 is: When you went to the interview, did you try to tell the truth in
18 response to the questions that were put to you? Were you trying to be
19 truthful or were you untruthful?
20 A. At that time I couldn't recollect the events accurately and
21 thought that the same procedure would be followed as the investigator
22 told me when I testified for the Milosevic case, when I met the
23 investigator after the invitation I received in April of 2003 they told
24 me that the same procedure would be followed. That's why in that
25 statement I wasn't very focused, thinking that the same procedure would
1 be followed and I would have occasion to review my statement and
2 reformulate and correct mistakes if there were so that when I came before
3 this Tribunal I could be truthful and speak truthfully under the oath.
4 That's why I cannot speak about that statement.
5 Q. I appreciate that explanation, Mr. Buja, but it's -- it doesn't
6 answer my question. I understand that you say there may have been
7 matters that you could not recollect. You say that you were not focused
8 and that you did not have an opportunity to correct mistakes. But my
9 question is: Were you -- to the extent you were able to recall the
10 matters that were put to you, were you truthful? Were you trying to tell
11 the truth or were you trying to mislead or deceive the Tribunal?
12 A. Sir, I am declaring to this Tribunal that that statement was used
13 by the Prosecution as a means of blackmail to make me appear before this
14 Court. That's why I refused to be the Prosecution's witness, but I
15 obeyed the subpoena sent to me by the Court. And I am here to speak the
16 truth before this Court under the subpoena.
17 Q. Sir, I would submit that you still have not answered my question.
18 Could you please focus on the question and answer the question and then
19 we can move on to other matters. The question is: Did you try to tell
20 the truth in that interview? Yes or no?
21 A. Sir, I explained this issue. I cannot say that -- how truthful I
22 was in that interview, whether it was true or not, because I never had a
23 chance to look at it afterwards.
24 Q. I'm sorry to persist on this point, but it's important to have
25 answers to the questions before we can move on. The question is not
1 whether it's accurate or not; it's not whether you may have made
2 mistakes. The question is -- it has to do with your motivation. Were
3 you trying to tell the truth in the interview were you not trying to tell
4 the truth in the interview? If you could just answer that question.
5 You've provided other explanations now, but if you could answer that
7 A. Your Honours, I tried to tell the truth, but of course during the
8 interview there were very provocative answers -- questions, sorry, asked
9 of me and I tried to tell them that they were not giving me a chance to
10 explain things. And at the end of the interview as far as I remember I
11 clearly stated that something of the truth was stated, but not the whole
13 Q. Sir, can you please describe -- you've told us when and where --
14 you've told us when you were born and where you were born. Can you tell
15 us how far you went in school, your education, please.
16 A. I finished the faculty of journalism and I am doing
17 post-university studies at Pristina University for political sciences.
18 Q. Where did you go to high school?
19 A. I did my high school in Lipjan.
20 Q. And after your high school in Lipjan, did you go then to the
21 faculty of journalism?
22 A. No. I was imprisoned by the Serb occupiers.
23 Q. Before you were imprisoned - and I will ask you some questions
24 about that - did you start schooling in the university?
25 A. I enrolled at Pristina University but couldn't continue my
2 Q. Did you start in the university or did you not even have an
3 opportunity to start?
4 A. I didn't have an opportunity to start.
5 Q. You said that you were imprisoned; what year was that?
6 A. In 1989.
7 Q. Can you tell the Court, please, what happened. How is it that
8 you were imprisoned?
9 A. I was a member of clandestine organisations then which dealt with
10 clandestine activities to ensure the recognition of the rights of the
11 Albanian peoples in Kosova, like the other peoples of the former
12 Yugoslavia. This clandestine organisation was working to ensure Kosova
13 republic in the context of the Yugoslav Federation.
14 Q. Did the -- did this clandestine organisation have a name?
15 A. Yes. Popular Movement for the Republic of Kosova.
16 Q. Was it known by any initials?
17 A. Yes, LPRK.
18 Q. Did the name of that organisation change at some point?
19 A. Yes, the change of the name occurred when I was doing my prison
21 Q. Do you remember approximately what year that name changed?
22 A. To my recollection, in 1990.
23 Q. And what did the name change to?
24 A. The word "Republic" was removed because at that time the Kosova
25 Assembly had proclaimed the statement for Kosova and the name became LPK,
1 Movement for -- Popular Movement for Kosova.
2 Q. Now, you said that you were imprisoned because you were a member
3 of the LPRK, as it was known at that time. Were you charged with
4 something in particular, with some particular activity?
5 A. I was accused for the organisation of the demonstrations in 1989
6 under Article 139, which was related to Article 114 of the Criminal Law
7 of the former Yugoslavia.
8 Q. And what was your sentence?
9 A. I was sentenced to 13 years of jail.
10 Q. Did you serve 13 years in jail?
11 A. I served only five because after the changes that occurred in
12 1990 in the former Yugoslavia and the introduction of political pluralism
13 the deed pertaining to Article 139 was removed and so I was sentenced
14 only under Article 119 which was for political offences. So my sentence
15 was reduced after the amnesty.
16 Q. So you were released from prison in 1994?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Can you tell us where you served your prison sentence from 1989
19 to 1994?
20 A. In several prisons, initially in Pristina jail. Then Gjurakovc
21 and Dubrava in Kosova, and the last three years in Nis prison in Serbia.
22 Q. After you were released in 1994, were you a member of any
23 political party or movement or organisation, either clandestine or
25 A. Yes. After my release from prison I was engaged in public
1 activities in the Democratic League of Kosova, which was known by the
2 population as The Movement.
3 Q. Was that also known by any initials?
4 A. Yes, LDK.
5 Q. How long were you a member of the LDK?
6 A. For some six months.
7 Q. And what happened at the end of the six months?
8 A. During all the time that I -- after my release, the occupy -- the
9 occupiers, police and army, were exerting pressure on me. They detained
10 me very often on the street. They called me to report to them and asking
11 me to report every day at the police station in Lipjan; this prevented my
12 political activity.
13 Q. Can you explain a little further in what sense that prevented
14 your political activity.
15 A. It prevented it because the police -- the Serb police forces
16 didn't allow me to have -- didn't enable me to have the identity card,
17 and the purpose for that was that every time the police stopped me they
18 could maltreat me for not possessing that document, that identity card.
19 And then sometimes they have called me for informative talks at Lipjan
20 station, where they questioned me for a whole day and released me in the
21 evening. This happened for two days. And they asked me to report there
22 every day and I refused to obey that order, so they became more
23 aggressive towards me.
24 Q. When you were questioned for an entire day during these
25 informative talks, were you mistreated?
1 A. Yes. The very fact of me being there and questioned was a
2 mistreatment, but they didn't mistreat me physically; psychologically,
4 Q. And what did they question you about?
5 A. They questioned me about my political commitment and activity and
6 the context of the LDK, its members whom they knew because they were
7 public figures, they were known to all. They asked me whether they were
8 engaged in some other clandestine activities. These were more or less
9 the questions they asked of me.
10 Q. Did anybody ever think that you were cooperating with the Serb
11 authorities, with the Serb police?
12 A. No, but the aim of the Serb forces when they detained people for
13 these informative talks was to compromise the personality of the time,
14 the political personalities. And I think this Court, this Tribunal,
15 should bear in mind this fact that over 900.000 Albanians of Kosova were
16 subjected to this treatment.
17 Q. What do you mean exactly, that the aim was to compromise the
18 personality of -- the political personalities? Can you explain that,
20 A. Yes, because being present in those informative talks and their
21 intention to have the politicians report to police stations on a daily
22 basis aimed at spreading their notorious propaganda that such-and-such a
23 person among the political personalities is our man or our collaborator.
24 Q. And did you know at the time it was happening in 1994/1995, did
25 you know that that was their aim? Did you realise that at the time, that
1 this was the aim of the Serb authorities?
2 A. Yes, certainly. These were obvious for us to see.
3 Q. Now, in 1995 did you leave Kosovo?
4 A. Yes, in 1995 I left Kosova.
5 Q. And where did you go?
6 A. And went to Switzerland.
7 Q. Do you remember when that was in 1995?
8 A. I can't be accurate, but it was I think the beginning of 1995.
9 Q. Approximately how many months after you had been released from
11 A. Maybe nine or ten months.
12 Q. Now, you said that after six months you stopped being a member of
13 the LDK. Before you left Kosovo, did you -- for Switzerland, did you
14 join any other political organisation or movement, either clandestine or
16 A. I was a member of the Kosova Popular Movement even though I could
17 not act as a member of this movement I still belonged, I pertained [as
18 interpreted] to that movement.
19 Q. And that's the LPK?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Why did you leave Kosovo to go to Switzerland?
22 A. Because of the reasons I mentioned earlier, the great pressure
23 brought to bear on me by the Serb violent apparatus, as well as other
24 reasons which were economic reasons added to them. It is common
25 knowledge that at that time in Kosova all the Albanian workers had been
1 fired from institutions, be them political, economic, or educational and
2 scientific institutions. And they were -- the young people were
3 pressured to be recruited in the wars that Serbia was waging against the
4 freedom-loving peoples of Yugoslavia, and there were over 500.000 youths,
5 Albanian youths, who had left Kosova, and I was one of them.
6 Q. Did you work in Switzerland?
7 A. No, I was an asylum-seeker.
8 Q. How long did you stay in Switzerland?
9 A. Before I was granted asylum in Switzerland, I stayed for nine
10 months. Then after nine months, they granted me this asylum and I stayed
11 some two or three years after that.
12 Q. After you were granted asylum, were you able to work?
13 A. Yes, I was able to work. But the Swiss policy was that we should
14 start our integration into the life there and could attend language
15 courses, German in my case, and vocational courses.
16 Q. When you were working, what work did you do?
17 A. I did not work in Switzerland in the sense of getting income from
19 Q. I understand. Were you involved -- did you continue to be
20 involved in the LPK in Switzerland?
21 A. Yes. I began to be involved, unfortunately very little because
22 of my financial situation. But at a later phase I became directly
23 involved and I continued my activity in this political movement.
24 Q. Can you describe what you did in this later phase, what kind of
25 activities you participated in. And we're still talking about your time
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 in Switzerland.
2 A. I dealt mainly with organisation of informative rallies for the
3 citizens, Albanian citizens, who are immigrants in Germany, Switzerland,
4 and other countries. We organised cultural and sports activity and such
5 likes -- such like.
6 Q. Now, could you briefly tell the Chamber what the -- what you
7 understood the LPK to stand for. What did it advocate?
8 A. The LPK was a political organisation which was politically
9 committed to the solution of the Albanian question, the political status
10 for Kosova, and it conducted its public activity in the Western state
11 countries, whereas its activity in Kosova was difficult and it was done
12 underground. Mainly -- it was committed to the liberation of Kosova.
13 Q. There's been some evidence in this trial about the LDK and the
14 fact that the LDK took what might be described as a peaceful or pacifist
15 approach to obtaining the liberation of Kosovo. Did the LPK, to your
16 knowledge, take the same approach or a different approach? How would you
17 describe the approach of the LPK?
18 A. The difference between these two organisations consisted in the
19 fact that the LDK had as part of its political philosophy the peaceful
20 movement which became actually a passive movement, pacifist movement,
21 whereas the LPK was more active in its approach. Its programme didn't
22 rule out the possibility for armed war.
23 Q. When did you first begin to hear about the KLA?
24 A. Even during my prison term in 1994 it was written about some
25 communiques issued by the KLA, but more directly -- we talked with Nait
1 Hasani who was my political cooperator, a man who I had shared a prison
2 term in Dubrava prison. The talks we had amongst us were not very open
3 because the risk was very great, but we talked about the activity of the
4 KLA, the organisation of the KLA.
5 Q. And when would you say, if you know, the KLA became publicly
6 known in Kosovo?
7 A. The KLA became public in 1997 with a public appearance of three
8 of its representatives following the fighting in Drenica.
9 Q. Was that an appearance at a funeral?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. And do you remember where that was?
12 A. This happened in Drenica. I don't remember the name of the
13 village, but I remember it was November 1997. I think it was the village
14 of Llausha.
15 Q. Now, Mr. Buja, are you able to tell us what is the relationship,
16 if any, between the LPK and the KLA at the end of 1997/beginning of 1998?
17 A. The organisation of LPK, as I [as interpreted] was organised in
18 Switzerland and after the public appearance of the KLA, it mainly
19 consisted of supporting the KLA politically and financially.
20 Q. In Switzerland do you know who the leaders were of the LPK at the
21 end of 1997/beginning of 1998?
22 A. Yes, of course.
23 Q. And who were they?
24 A. The president of the Kosova Popular Movement, the LPK, for the
25 diaspora branch was --
1 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter could not hear the name.
2 MR. WHITING:
3 Q. Mr. Buja, you'll have to -- first of all, you'll have to repeat
4 the name and I'll ask you, if you could, try to speak up a little bit
5 more so the interpreters can hear what you're saying. So could you
6 repeat the name of what the president of the LPK was in the diaspora.
7 A. The president of the LPK, the branch in diaspora was Fazli
9 Q. And were there any other leaders of the LPK in Switzerland aside
10 from the president?
11 A. Yes, there were members of the Presidency and it had an executive
13 Q. Do you remember any of those names?
14 A. Of course I remember. Emrush Xhemajli, Bardhyl Mahmuti, Adem
15 Grabovci, and others.
16 Q. Now, did you hold any position in the LPK at this time, at the
17 end of 1997/beginning of 1998?
18 A. In the general meeting of the diaspora branch, I was elected
19 member of the LPK branch in the diaspora.
20 Q. When was that?
21 A. This happened in 1997.
22 Q. Was there a leader at this time of the LPK within Kosovo?
23 A. There could have been, but I was not aware of that.
24 Q. Now, I'm going to move forward in time to 1998. In 1998 did you
25 leave Switzerland?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Do you remember what month?
3 A. It was March.
4 Q. Where did you go?
5 A. We travelled from Switzerland to Albania.
6 Q. Did you then go from Albania to Kosovo?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. Was it still March when you arrived in Kosovo?
9 A. Yes, March.
10 Q. Now, what made you decide to go on this trip at this time in
11 March of 1998?
12 A. I was the person who insisted mostly for the members of the
13 executive council to return to Kosova and engage in the movement in
14 Kosova. The situation created in Kosova because the violent apparatus --
15 the Serb violent apparatus in Kosova had begun an operation in Drenica
16 area, but what made me go to Kosova the most was the heroic fight of Adem
17 Jashari, our legendary commander, and the sacrifice of the entire Jashari
18 family. Of course to this we can also add the massacres that the Serb
19 forces committed in other Drenica villages like the massacre in Likoshan
20 and Qirez.
21 Q. I understand. When you decided to go in March of 1998, was that
22 your decision or -- and this is with respect to the timing, the decision
23 to go at that time, was it your decision or did anybody tell you that it
24 was time to go?
25 A. The decision to go to Kosova was made by me, and as for the
1 organised journey it was organised by others, by members of the LPK.
2 Q. Did you know Hashim Thaqi at that time?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. How did you know him?
5 A. I knew him as a member of the Kosova Popular Movement.
6 Q. Did you have any conversations with him before your decision to
7 return to Kosovo?
8 A. We didn't have prior discussions, but we did discuss this on the
9 day when I decided to return to Kosova I was informed that others were
10 returning to Kosova and I of course informed my close friend and
11 cooperator Agim Bajrami, I informed him we were heading to Kosova.
12 Q. You say you were informed that others were returning to Kosova.
13 Was it Hashim Thaqi who informed you?
14 A. Yes, it was Hashim Thaqi, Adem Grabovci and others, and of course
15 my brother Agush Buja.
16 Q. At that time, on that day that you made the decision to return to
17 Kosovo, did you consider yourself a member of the KLA?
18 A. I considered myself a member of the KLA from the moment I began
19 with my activity to support the KLA financially and politically.
20 Q. And can you tell us when that was. When was that moment?
21 A. This was the moment of my engagement in LPK to support the KLA
22 financially and politically. This was in 1997.
23 Q. And did you similarly consider Hashim Thaqi at that time in March
24 of 1998 to be a member of the KLA?
25 A. We couldn't consider him as a member of the KLA, but we could
1 consider him as a member of the LPK who was also engaged in supporting
2 the KLA politically and financially.
3 Q. Had you heard about -- again, in March of 1998, had you heard
4 about the existence of the General Staff of the KLA?
5 A. Yes, we were informed because at that time the KLA General Staff
6 communiques were being published.
7 Q. Do you know who -- did you know at that time in March of 1998 who
8 the members of the General Staff were?
9 A. Of course we didn't know them.
10 Q. Did you know if Hashim Thaqi at that time was a member of the
11 General Staff?
12 A. No.
13 Q. At the time that you decided to go you said that you learned that
14 others had decided to go, who else besides the people you've told us?
15 A. Amongst the others were Ismet Jashari, whom I knew from the
16 political engagement in LPK. In Albania I met with Fehmi Lladrovci, Xhem
17 Lladrovci, Sami Lushtaku and many others. Amongst them whom I'll later
18 on know by name was Fatmir Limaj [as interpreted].
19 Q. When did you first meet Fatmir Limaj?
20 A. My meeting with Fatmir Limaj was in Switzerland. I don't know
21 how many times I met with him there, not frequently but it could have
22 been once or twice. I then met with him on my journey to Albania and to
24 Q. You said that you met once or twice with Fatmir Limaj in
25 Switzerland. Do you remember the first time you met with him in
2 A. Yes. It could have been in the editorial board of the Zeri i
3 Kosoves, Kosova Voice.
4 Q. And when was that?
5 A. As I said, I cannot remember the time of the meeting.
6 Q. Do you remember if it was in 1997? 1998? Before then?
7 A. It could have been in 1997.
8 Q. Did Fatmir Limaj have some role on the -- on that newspaper?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Do you remember the circumstances of the meeting, how it is that
11 you came to meet at that editorial board of that newspaper?
12 A. I don't remember the circumstances of that meeting, but what I
13 know is that many members of the movement, many compatriots, many
14 Albanian immigrants in Switzerland, they would come to the editorial
15 office. We would contact, maintained contacts with them, and we mainly
16 conducted political discussions.
17 Q. Was Fatmir Limaj, to your knowledge, a member of the LPK?
18 A. I don't know and I can't say whether he was or he wasn't.
19 Q. Was Fatmir Limaj living in the same place as Ismet Jashari?
20 A. I don't know.
21 Q. Do you know where Fatmir Limaj was living at the time in end of
22 1997/beginning of 1998?
23 A. No.
24 Q. When did you -- moving forward again to March of 1998 --
25 JUDGE PARKER: Perhaps before you proceed, is that a convenient
2 MR. WHITING: It is, Your Honour. I wasn't sure what the time
4 JUDGE PARKER: We've had unusual hours because of the late start,
5 but we'll resume again at quarter to 1.00.
6 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE PARKER: We're having a break now and we'll resume at a
8 quarter to 1.00.
9 --- Recess taken at 12.24 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 12.47 p.m.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Whiting.
12 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Mr. Buja, I would just remind you again to please try to speak up
14 when providing your answers. Do you understand?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Now, before the break I was going to ask you some further
17 questions about March of 1998. You said that you had a conversation with
18 Hashim Thaqi and learned that others were going to return to Kosovo at
19 that time. When did you learn that Fatmir Limaj was also going to Kosovo
20 at that time?
21 A. I didn't say that it was only in conversation with Hashim Thaqi,
22 but with others as well. As for Fatmir Limaj, I met him in Albania, and
23 from Switzerland to Albania we travelled on the same plane.
24 Q. Were there others in your group on that flight from Switzerland
25 to Albania besides you and Fatmir Limaj?
1 A. It wasn't my group but it was a group to which I belonged as
2 well. There was Adem Grabovci, Hashim Thaqi, Ismet Jashari, Agim Bajrami
3 and others.
4 Q. Was Fehmi Lladrovci on that flight?
5 A. No. I met with Fehmi Lladrovci in Albania. He came with several
6 others from Germany.
7 Q. Do you know the others that he came with from Germany?
8 A. Others came from Germany as well, including Sami Lushtaku. There
9 were from other states as well which came there.
10 Q. Which other states besides Germany and Switzerland? What other
12 A. I can't know all the countries, but for sure from Austria and --
13 in one word from Western countries.
14 Q. And the group you were part of from Switzerland, you've given us
15 some names. Can you tell us approximately how many people were in your
17 A. Ten to 15.
18 Q. Where exactly did you go in Albania? Where did you fly to?
19 A. To Rinas airport in Tirana.
20 Q. Did you stay in Tirana or did you go somewhere else in Albania?
21 A. In the beginning we stayed in Tirana.
22 Q. How long did you stay in Tirana?
23 A. I don't remember how long. It could be that we spent a night
25 Q. And where did you go after that?
1 A. We set off towards the Albanian/Albanian border, Albanian/Kosova
3 Q. Now, when you arrived in Tirana, was the group that you've
4 referred to from Germany that included Fehmi Lladrovci and Sami Lushtaku,
5 were they already there or did they arrive after you arrived?
6 A. I don't know. We met with them at the border.
7 Q. Did the group that you were a part of from Switzerland, the 10 to
8 15 people, did you travel together from Tirana to the border?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Were there any other people that joined that group in Tirana
11 before you set off for the border?
12 A. I don't remember.
13 Q. What happened in Tirana before you left? Did you meet with
14 anybody there, your group? And when I mean your group, the group you
15 were a part of.
16 A. There were other people in Tirana as well.
17 Q. Who were the people in Tirana?
18 A. I -- amongst them my youngest brother was there as well, Lutfi
20 Q. Was Emrush Xhemajli there?
21 A. I didn't see him.
22 Q. Did you hear that he was there? Did you learn that he was there?
23 A. I didn't see him.
24 Q. But did somebody tell you that he was there or not?
25 A. I cannot say what others said but what I have seen with my own
2 Q. In fact you can say what others said and it's -- I appreciate
3 that you see the distinction and it's important that you make the
4 distinction for us in giving your answers between what you saw for
5 yourself and from what you heard from others, but the Court can hear what
6 you heard from others. So if you could answer the question: Did you
7 learn from anybody else that Emrush Xhemajli was there?
8 A. I don't remember learning about this from someone else and simply
9 I didn't see Emrush Xhemajli there.
10 Q. Did you -- how about Xhavid Haliti? Did you see him there in
11 Tirana before you set off for the border?
12 A. To my recollection, yes.
13 Q. And did you know who he was at that time?
14 A. He was a member of the Presidency of the LPK; that's how I knew
16 Q. Did you know if he had any role in the KLA?
17 A. At that time I didn't know about his role in the KLA.
18 Q. Did you learn later that he had a role in the KLA?
19 A. After the war. I learned about this after the war.
20 Q. Now, when you arrived in Tirana, the group that you were a part
21 of, did you receive instructions on where you should go or what you
22 should do?
23 A. We didn't receive instructions. We were going to Kosova and we
24 were interested in knowing the situation at the border, whether there
25 were -- there was a great concentration of police and army forces, Serb
1 police and army forces.
2 Q. And were you able to determine the situation at the border? Was
3 anybody able to tell you what the situation at the border was?
4 A. We discussed this amongst each other. The situation at the
5 border was quite difficult due to the concentration of the Serb forces
7 Q. When you say "we discussed this amongst each other," are you
8 talking about the members you are -- of the group you are part of or with
10 A. Mainly I discussed things with Agim Bajrami and several students
11 who were there at the time.
12 Q. And the students, were they a part of the group from Switzerland
13 or had they been in Tirana?
14 A. No, they were studying in Tirana.
15 Q. Were they members of the KLA, to your knowledge?
16 A. I don't know.
17 Q. Now, did you -- how was -- how was it decided where exactly you
18 would go, how you would cross the border? Was this something that you
19 decided amongst yourselves or was this something that was told to you?
20 Were you given instructions on how you should travel to Kosovo?
21 A. I did not deal with these matters. There were others dealing
22 with this matter. I didn't know the terrain. I wasn't familiar with the
24 Q. Who in your group dealt with this matter?
25 A. I don't know who dealt with these matters but I know that the
1 group set off together with others, and we had like a -- advanced guard
3 Q. Where did this advanced guard unit come from?
4 A. It was there on the border.
5 Q. Did you learn -- you said you did not deal with these matters and
6 you're not able to say who in your group did deal with these matters, but
7 did you learn whether your group had received instructions or an order to
8 make the trip to the border? And when I say "did you learn that," did
9 you hear that? Were you told that? Did you come to know that at that
11 A. At that time there were persons who mainly dealt with entering
12 from Albania to Kosova. I didn't know these people. We were told to go
13 to the border and we did that. With -- by cars we went to the border.
14 Q. And do you know who told your group to go to the border?
15 A. Xhavid Haliti came and said we could set off for the border.
16 Q. Before you went to the border did you -- were you given any
17 weapons or uniforms or anything like that?
18 A. No.
19 Q. Did you have any equipment?
20 A. No. Up to the border we were in civilian clothes.
21 Q. What happened at the border?
22 A. At the border those who could find a uniform found a uniform and
23 we got equipped with ammunition and weapons.
24 Q. Can you describe for us, please, what it is exactly what you
25 found at the border. Did you go to a village, a camp, or what -- where
1 was it that you got this equipment and uniforms?
2 A. We went to a village and the weapons were given to us there and
3 the ammunition boxes as well.
4 Q. Do you -- and then -- and then what happened? Did you then cross
5 the border?
6 A. Yes, we set off for the border.
7 Q. Where did you cross the border? Do you remember -- do you know
8 what village or area of the border did you cross?
9 A. I'm not quite sure because I don't remember exactly. Maybe it
10 was the village of Vlon.
11 Q. And when you were told -- when your group was told that it was --
12 that you could go to the border and cross, were you also told where to go
13 in Kosovo once you crossed the border?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Where did you go after you crossed the border?
16 A. We were heading towards the Drenica area.
17 Q. Now, the Drenica area is quite a large area. Were you heading in
18 any more specific -- heading to any more specific place within Drenica?
19 A. We set off for Drenica and we were not yet familiar with the
20 situation in Drenica, and we were not sure in which villages we could
21 base ourselves because we didn't know which villages were already
22 liberated by the KLA.
23 Q. When you get into Kosovo, how many people are in your group?
24 A. Approximately 30.
25 Q. And once you crossed the border, how were you travelling? Were
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 you travelling by car? Were you travelling by foot?
2 A. The major part of the journey on foot.
3 Q. How long -- where in Drenica did you end up as a group, still as
4 a group of 30? Where's the first village or town that you ended up in in
6 A. I based myself in the village of Tice.
7 Q. Did the entire group of 30 go to that village of Tice?
8 A. No, because it is -- it was impossible for the entire group to
9 stay in one village that did not have many inhabitants. So this group
10 was dispersed in several villages of that area.
11 Q. And where did that occur? That's my question. Where did that
12 occur? Where did your group break up into smaller groups?
13 A. It is difficult for me to say where precisely because I was not
14 familiar with the Drenica terrain. It could have been the village of
15 Llausha, Tice, Likovc.
16 Q. I understand you're not sure what village it occurred in. Can
17 you describe how that occurred. You arrived in some place as a group of
18 30, and then how did it occur that you broke up into smaller groups? How
19 was that decided? How did that happen, if you could describe that for
20 us, please.
21 A. Arrive -- having arrived in Drenica we saw KLA soldiers and we
22 needed a place to settle so that we could spend the night and be ready to
23 act the following day; therefore, we broke into smaller groups. Together
24 with Fehmi Lladrovci I went to a house in Tice village.
25 Q. Just the two of you went to that house?
1 A. There were two other soldiers whose names I don't remember, and I
2 didn't know their names.
3 Q. Now, at this time were you -- did you know one other by your
4 names or did you use pseudonyms?
5 A. Some knew each other by names, but as of yet they didn't have
7 Q. How long did you spend in this village of Tice?
8 A. It could be three or four days.
9 Q. And what's the next thing that you did?
10 A. During these days we discussed the organisation of the KLA, the
11 situation with the population there, with -- about the tendencies of the
12 Serb occupiers to set the limit of the KLA warfare to the territory of
13 Drenica only, and the risk that this could pose considering the massacres
14 and the uprising that had already occurred in 1945 in Drenica. The
15 situation with the population there -- although I was there for different
16 reason, I was there to deal with journalism to report as a war reporter
17 directly from the field. Having faced the risk of the population, I
18 decided to set off for Kosova and to organise guerrilla units in that
19 part of Kosovo where I was familiar with the terrain.
20 Q. Now, the discussions that you just described regarding the
21 organisation of the KLA, the situation, were these discussions that the
22 four of you had in Tice, the four soldiers, you, Fehmi Lladrovci, and the
23 two others you can't remember, or were you having these discussions with
24 other soldiers or other leaders of the KLA?
25 A. We discussed with Hashim Thaqi as well and another person whose
1 name I didn't know at the time. I spoke about this with Fehmi Lladrovci
2 as well; with Fatmir Limaj, whose name I didn't know at the time; and
3 with Agim Bajrami, whom I knew.
4 Q. You said you didn't know Fatmir Limaj's name at that time. Did
5 you know him by a pseudonym?
6 A. No. During the time I was in Tice village, I didn't know his
8 Q. When did you learn his name -- or let me ask you a different
9 question. Did you learn his name first or his pseudonym first?
10 A. First I learned his name.
11 Q. And when did you learn his name?
12 A. I think it was this period of time during my stay in Tice, maybe
13 three or four days after.
14 Q. Now, you testified that you had met Fatmir Limaj on one or two
15 occasions in Switzerland. Are you saying that you didn't know his name
16 when you met him in Switzerland?
17 A. I could have heard his name at that time when we met because he
18 probably introduced himself. But I did not remember his name when we
19 entered Kosova, because as I said I met many people at the editorial
20 office of Zeri i Kosoves, Voice of Kosova, and it was difficult for me to
21 remember all those names.
22 Q. When did you learn his pseudonym?
23 A. It depends which pseudonym you're asking me about.
24 Q. Well, why don't you tell us which pseudonyms you are aware of.
25 A. Initially I knew him with the pseudonym Arben and Daja because
1 his nephews called him, Daja, and we also called him Daja. And much
2 later the Celiku pseudonym came into use.
3 Q. When did you first hear the Celiku pseudonym?
4 A. It could be May 1998.
5 Q. Now, you said you were having these discussions with all these
6 people, Fehmi Lladrovci, Fatmir Limaj, Hashim Thaqi. Are they staying in
7 villages around Tice?
8 A. I don't know whether they were staying in Tice, but I knew that
9 they were staying in that territory which had smaller villages. There
10 was also a wounded soldier as well -- in fact, there were two injured
11 soldiers. One was -- had serious injuries and there was a medical centre
12 there as well. So we would meet in Tice or in that medical centre or if
13 I'm not mistaken here in Likovc because I'm not sure whether Likovc was
14 there or not.
15 Q. Aside from the people you've mentioned that were part of your --
16 part of the group that you crossed the border with, were there other
17 people who were based in Drenica who had been there before you arrived
18 that you met with?
19 A. Yes. There was a smaller part of soldiers who I saw when I
20 arrived in Drenica.
21 Q. Do you remember any of their names?
22 A. No, because I couldn't know them by name and it was illogical for
23 me to ask them for their names.
24 Q. Well, how about pseudonyms? Do you know any of their pseudonyms?
25 A. No, because I didn't ask. There was no need for me to ask them
1 with the exception of one pseudonym, Dhjeqi, meaning number 10.
2 Q. Did you ever learn who this -- the name of this person Dhjeqi or
3 number 10?
4 A. Yes, later I did learn the name of number 10. His name was
5 Rexhep Selimi.
6 Q. Where was Rexhep Selimi based when you arrived there in March of
8 A. I don't know where he was based, but I know that we met in the
9 area I met -- I mentioned earlier, Tice, Likovc, or some other village
10 which I can't name now.
11 Q. Did he appear at that time to be a commander or at a higher level
12 in the area where you were, Rexhep Selimi?
13 A. I couldn't know what -- at what level of organisation he
14 belonged. I simply regarded him as a soldier of the Kosovo Liberation
16 Q. You saw -- your testimony is that you saw him as a soldier no
17 different from all the other soldiers that you saw there from the KLA?
18 Is that your testimony?
19 A. Yes, that's my testimony. We had -- we were wearing uniforms.
20 We had weapons. We couldn't tell one soldier from the other. It wasn't
21 easy to tell someone from the appearance, if he were at a higher level.
22 But talks with him showed that he had very good political preparation.
23 Q. Did you learn if he had any contacts with the General Staff of
24 the KLA, any communication with the General Staff?
25 A. I don't know about Rexhep Selimi, but in talks with Hashim Thaqi
1 I found out he had contacts with the General Staff. At least this is
2 what he said.
3 Q. Now, what happened after these discussions that lasted -- I
4 believe you testified for three or four days. What's the next thing that
6 A. I didn't say they lasted three, four days. I said that during
7 these three, four days we held talks. Some once or twice with Hashim
8 Thaqi. Once with Dhjeqi, number 10. And from the very first meeting I
9 asked to be sent in the direction of the place where I was born, which I
10 knew better, whose people I was familiar with, that is, in Lipjan and
11 Shtime municipality.
12 Q. And after those three or four days, were you sent there?
13 A. After three, four days we did leave in the direction of the
14 municipalities that we thought of organising the guerrilla units.
15 Q. But my question is: Were you -- you said that you asked to go to
16 the area where you were born. After you asked to go, were you sent
17 there, were you told to go there?
18 A. Yes, they approved it. Hashim Thaqi approved my proposal to be
19 engaged in the military organisation, to start organising a guerrilla
20 unit in the place I knew well.
21 Q. Were you told specifically what areas you should organise
22 guerrilla units?
23 A. No. It was my request, as I said, that was approved by Hashim
24 Thaqi to go to the area which I knew. At the time, we couldn't define
25 the operational zones.
1 Q. No, that wasn't my question. My question was: When it was
2 approved by Hashim Thaqi to go to the area you knew, what area was that?
3 Is it just your village? Is it villages around your area? Is there any
4 particular area that you were tasked to go to?
5 A. Lipjan municipality is not a village; it's a municipality that
6 comprises several villages, as the case is today with Shtime and Lipjan
7 municipalities. We couldn't simply concentrate on a single, small
8 village like my village was called Bujan. And I couldn't, as I said,
9 concentrate my work only there because the danger in that case was very
10 great. It was -- the village was situated on a plain. It was very
11 dangerous for us to work there.
12 Q. So you were only -- your task when you left was to go to organise
13 in Lipjan municipality, not any other municipalities, just Lipjan?
14 A. I had decided myself to go to Shtime municipality, which I had
15 some in-laws, a person whom I trusted to stay with this family, from
16 where I could work for the organisation of the guerrilla unit. I thought
17 to do that through people who were politically involved in the Lipjan
19 Q. Was Fatmir Limaj given any task at this time to go somewhere and
20 organise or do something else?
21 A. I can't say whether he was given any tasks, but from
22 conversations we have had with him and Agim Bajrami, Fatmir Limaj had
23 expressed his wish to be working in Malisheve municipality area from
24 where he was from actually.
25 Q. And after he expressed his wish, was that wish approved by Hashim
2 A. To my recollection together with Fatmir, Agim Bajrami, Ismet
3 Jashari, Haxhi Shala, we left to go to the respective area where they
4 were familiar with and where they had people.
5 Q. That wasn't my question -- or that wasn't an answer to my
6 question. My question was: Did Fatmir Limaj ask to go organise in
7 Malisevo and that was that approved by Hashim Thaqi? Did he say, Yes, go
8 organise in Malisevo.
9 MR. GUY-SMITH: This time I would object to the leading nature of
10 the question. Mr. Whiting is driving towards obtaining approval. He can
11 ask him how Hashim Thaqi responded to the wish made by Mr. Limaj or by
12 anybody else.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
14 Yes, Mr. Whiting.
15 MR. WHITING: I'll rephrase the question.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
17 MR. WHITING:
18 Q. You told -- you testified that Fatmir -- it was Fatmir Limaj's
19 wish to go to organise in Malisevo. My question is: Did he put that
20 wish to Hashim Thaqi the way you put your wish to Hashim Thaqi? Did he
21 do that?
22 A. I don't know whether he did that. I do know that I myself asked
23 to be allowed to go to the area which I knew well and I could work for
24 the organisation of the units.
25 Q. So do you know if -- do you know if Fatmir Limaj was given a
1 task, yes or no?
2 A. I know that he was given a task of accompanying us or showing us
3 the way from Drenice area to the area of Malisheve municipality, which he
4 knew well up to the border of that area and to the border of the area
5 that I knew well. Whereas, I would accompany Agim Bajrami towards
6 Kacanik municipality.
7 Q. How long did that trip take to go from where you were in Drenica
8 to Malisevo municipality?
9 A. Our -- we travelled always during night because of the danger of
10 Serb forces. So to my recollection we slept in a village.
11 Q. But how -- but how long did the trip take from Drenica to
12 Malisevo municipality?
13 A. Several hours.
14 Q. Where did you go in Malisevo municipality?
15 A. If I'm not wrong it was Pagarushe village.
16 Q. And who was in the group again that went to Pagarushe village?
17 A. It was myself, Fatmir Limaj, Ismet Jashari, Agim Bajrami, and
18 Haxhi Shala.
19 Q. Was any person a leader of that group or in charge of that group?
20 A. In the sense of a command, no. But as I said earlier, the person
21 who was supposed to show us the way because he knew the area well was
22 Fatmir up to Pagarushe but not in the sense of any chain of command.
23 Q. How long did you -- you said it took you a few hours to get to
24 Pagarushe. And then where did you go, did you spend -- where did you go
25 after that?
1 A. After Pagarushe village, Agim Bajrami and myself would continue
2 the way towards the place we had set out for. We went to Klecke village.
3 Q. And it was just the two of you who went to Klecke village?
4 A. Yes, the two of us. Myself and Agim Bajrami.
5 Q. Where did you go in Klecke village?
6 A. We went to the nephews of Fatmir, Sadik Shala. At that time I
7 didn't know him by name.
8 Q. And why did you go there?
9 A. We went there because we wanted to take Sadik, a person from that
10 family, to escort us in the -- on the road that we didn't know from
11 Klecke to Ribare village of the municipality I knew well.
12 Q. But did somebody tell you to go to Sadik Shala's house and pick
13 him up or was that your idea?
14 A. It was not my idea because I didn't know Sadik Shala or his
15 family. It was Fatmir who told us because he was their uncle. He knew
16 the family. So he told us to go to Klecke to contact this family and to
17 ask one of the -- his nephews to escort us to the village where we wanted
18 to go.
19 Q. How long did you spend in Klecka?
20 A. In Klecke we didn't stay more than an hour. We just contacted
21 Sadik Shala and he came with us to accompany us through the villages of
22 Shale, Blinaje, to Ligore [phoen] village.
23 Q. I forgot to ask you one question. When you were in Pagarushe,
24 how long did you stay in Pagarushe?
25 A. In Pagarushe we stayed one night; the next we travelled.
1 Q. Now, you said you went with Sadik Shala to the villages of Shale,
2 Blinaje. Where did you end up?
3 A. Until Ribare we were accompanied by Sadik; he had acquaintances
4 there because it was after midnight when he arrived. He stayed with the
5 people he knew, whereas myself and Agim Bajrami continued our way to our
6 native village and we managed to reach my home by early morning.
7 Q. And this is your home in Bujan?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. How long did you stay in Bujan?
10 A. We stayed there about two days. I thought that through my elder
11 brother, Rame Buja, I could start establishing contacts with people whom
12 I knew in that area.
13 Q. And did you do that?
14 A. Yes, I did.
15 Q. And after two days where did you go?
16 A. After two days we set out for where I had thought of basing
17 myself, Bulapovc [phoen] in the family of Mevbajovc [phoen] where I could
18 continue my unit to organise a guerrilla unit and I held talks with
20 Q. What's the name of the village again you went to? Bulapovc?
21 A. Mullapolc.
22 Q. That's what I thought. And that's in what municipality?
23 A. Shtime municipality.
24 Q. How long did you stay there?
25 A. I stayed there in March, April.
1 Q. Now, at this time you -- you've testified that you left Fatmir
2 Limaj in Pagarushe village. Is that right? Is that your testimony?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Do you know where he went after that, after Pagarushe village?
5 A. We had agreed to keep contact through his nephews in Klecke, and
6 I believed that Fatmir Limaj would be settled in Klecke and that we would
7 have -- keep contacts with the couriers, his nephew and my brother Avni
8 Buja from Bujan.
9 Q. Did you have any understanding about what he was going to be
10 doing in Klecka?
11 A. I had the understanding that he, too, would start work for the
12 organisation of the guerrilla unit as I was going to do.
13 Q. And who else besides Fatmir Limaj went to Klecka, if you know?
14 A. Together with him I think went also Ismet Jashari.
15 Q. And what about the Haxhi Shala. You mentioned his name before.
16 Do you know where he went?
17 A. I don't know where he went because he could move freely because
18 he was not persecuted by the Serb forces.
19 Q. Now, you've testified that you had agreed to keep in contact by
20 courier with Fatmir Limaj in Klecka. Can you tell us, what was the
21 purpose of those contacts?
22 A. The purpose of these contacts was that in case I needed to go to
23 Drenica where I could contact Hashim Thaqi, through couriers we could set
24 up the meeting time so that Fatmir Limaj could organise my escort up to
1 Q. Was there any other purpose or was the only purpose to arrange
2 meetings with Hashim Thaqi, if that's what you wanted to do?
3 A. The form of organisation of the KLA at that time, the way I saw
4 it, was the General Staff and the guerrilla units. As a man who was
5 supposed to organise a guerrilla unit, I had to keep in touch with the
6 General Staff through Hashim Thaqi. That was the purpose of my trip
8 Q. But my question is about your contacts with Fatmir Limaj. Did
9 you stay in -- you've testified that you stayed in contact -- you agreed
10 to stay in contact with Fatmir Limaj in order -- for the purpose of
11 arranging meetings with Hashim Thaqi. Was that the only reason to stay
12 in contact with Fatmir Limaj or were there other reasons?
13 A. Meetings and -- in Albanian there are two words for meeting. It
14 means personal meeting and meetings. So the purpose of the meeting was
15 for us to keep in touch for needs that I mentioned earlier. That's why I
16 wanted to contact the Hashim Thaqi in order for me to get in touch with
17 the General Staff.
18 Q. But could you communicate with Hashim Thaqi through Fatmir Limaj?
19 In other words, a courier would send a message to Hashim Thaqi -- I mean
20 to Fatmir Limaj who would then communicate with the General Staff and
21 then return with information? Would that happen?
22 A. No, because that couldn't happen because the time we are talking
23 about was a very hard, difficult time. We were at the beginning of the
24 organisation of the guerrilla units. So I had for many reasons, for many
25 needs I had to set out for meeting Fatmir Limaj and then for Drenica
1 where I could get clear instruction through Hashim Thaqi from the General
2 Staff about my further actions.
3 Q. Well, can you explain for us why you would have to first meet
4 Fatmir Limaj and then go meet Hashim Thaqi to get the instructions. Why
5 that step, meeting Fatmir Limaj? What was the purpose of that?
6 A. Because the purpose was that I couldn't travel on my own. I
7 didn't know the area to Drenice. I knew only Shtime and Lipjan
8 municipality area, whereas Fatmir knew the area in Malisheve municipality
9 which was linked to Llapushe territory or Drenice area and he was, as I
10 said earlier, familiar with that area. So he could accompany me. It was
11 a time of great dangers for us to move about without knowing the terrain
13 Q. I don't want to belabour this point, but I do want to be clear.
14 So it your testimony that Fatmir Limaj's only role, then, was to help you
15 travel in making contact with Hashim Thaqi so you could communicate with
16 the General Staff? His only role was assist you on your travel. Is that
17 your testimony?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did you ever communicate with Hashim Thaqi or the General Staff
20 through Fatmir Limaj? If you understand my question.
21 A. I tried to communicate through Fatmir Limaj, but my first meeting
22 with Fatmir Limaj failed; it was supposed to be in April. I managed to
23 contact him at the end of April 1998 for him to accompany me, as I said
24 earlier, on this trip; but Fatmir Limaj and Ismet Jashari were injured
25 and the great concentration of the Serb forces prevented me from going to
1 Drenica. And all my trip was -- became possible only -- it was not in
2 vain because there I met a soldier who had come from Germany and he was
3 willing to come and help in the organisation of guerrilla unit in
4 Ferizaj. So I had -- I kept contacts with Hashim Thaqi through telephone
5 in May.
6 Q. I think you misunderstood my question. My question is: In March
7 and April did you ever have a courier go to Fatmir Limaj for Fatmir Limaj
8 to get information from Hashim Thaqi or the General Staff to then pass
9 back to you; in other words, communicate with Hashim Thaqi or the General
10 Staff that way, by first asking Fatmir Limaj to get the information and
11 then waiting for the response from Fatmir Limaj. Did that ever happen in
12 March or April of 1998?
13 A. No, this didn't happen in March, April, or later because the
14 purpose of my contacts with Fatmir Limaj through the courier in April was
15 jeopardised because my brother and his nephew wanted -- we were supposed
16 to go to Klecke and from there these soldiers might accompany me to
17 Drenica where I could contact Hashim Thaqi, but this didn't come true.
18 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I think this is probably a convenient
20 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. We then adjourn for the day, resuming
21 at 9.00 in the morning.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.44 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Friday, the 4th day of
24 March, 2005, at 9.00 a.m.