1 Tuesday, 17 May 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.23 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. We welcome you back after your
6 busy endeavours during the break.
7 Now, before we formally turn to Mr. Mansfield, are there any
8 matters still unresolved that have arisen during the break concerning the
9 provision of the Defence materials as required by the Rules before the
10 commencement of the Defence cases?
11 Mr. Whiting.
12 MR. WHITING: Yes, Your Honour. Thank you. There are two minor
13 matters that relate both to the Defence of Mr. Musliu. First, we had
14 been promised more complete 65 ter summaries of the 92 bis statements
15 some time ago. It's my understanding that we received them just minutes
16 before coming into court today, so I have not had an opportunity to look
17 at them. But assuming that they are complete then that issue will have
18 been resolved.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Have you had the statements?
20 MR. WHITING: No, Your Honour, and that was going to be my next
21 point. I was --
22 JUDGE PARKER: Because if you had the statements, I would have
23 thought the summaries were not very material.
24 MR. WHITING: No, that's correct, Your Honour. We wouldn't have
25 pressed for the summaries if we had the statements. And of course the --
1 we would like to be able to agree on 92 bis statements, but we can't do
2 that unless we see the statements. It also impairs our preparation to
3 meet the Defence case if we don't have the statements.
4 It's my -- just looking at the brief summaries that I have seen,
5 I don't think that it's likely we will be able to agree on all the
6 statements with respect to 92 bis. They don't appear to satisfy the
7 requirements of the Rule just from the summary. So I would just ask that
8 the statements be provided to the Prosecution as soon as possible so that
9 either they can be agreed upon, redactions can be made, or they can be
10 litigated if that's necessary. Or the witness can be brought to testify
11 live if that's -- if that's also a possibility.
12 JUDGE PARKER: This affects only -- sorry. This affects only the
13 Rule 92 bis witnesses?
14 MR. WHITING: Well, that's correct. I don't -- unfortunately,
15 there is not yet, I think, a rule requiring the Defence to provide
16 statements of other witnesses who are going to testify viva voce. If
17 there were such a rule, would I --
18 JUDGE PARKER: Were you anticipating by the word "yet" that that
19 will change?
20 MR. WHITING: Actually, think there is some discussion about
22 JUDGE PARKER: There is discussion, yes. Unfortunately, I'm a
23 member of the Rules Committee.
24 MR. WHITING: I won't press for the Court's view on that matter.
25 In any event, I think it's clear how the Rule stands now, and while we
1 would appreciate having the prior statements of the witnesses, I don't
2 think that we have a legal basis to press for them to be provided to us.
3 So, yes, it does just relate to the 92 bis statements, where of
4 course we have to have the statements in order to take a position on
6 And that -- while I said at the beginning that these matters
7 relate only to Mr. Musliu, that -- that point with respect to the 92 bis
8 statements actually relates to, I believe, at least to the Limaj Defence
9 because I think they have some proposed 92 bis statements. I don't
10 believe that Mr. Bala has any proposed 92 bis statements, but I may be
11 mistaken about that.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Now, before you sit, Mr. Whiting, where have you
13 reached with exhibit lists and copies of exhibits?
14 MR. WHITING: Well, that was the next point. The -- with respect
15 to the Defence for Mr. Bala and Mr. Limaj, we have received both exhibit
16 lists and copies of exhibits within the last few days.
17 With respect to Mr. Musliu, we have received neither an exhibit
18 list nor any exhibits, and I would ask again that those be provided to us
19 or that it be put on the record that there are no exhibits.
20 JUDGE PARKER: And what about expert witnesses' reports?
21 MR. WHITING: We have received one expert witness report, and we
22 have discussed the matter with the Defence and it is agreed that he will
23 testify next week. That's the second witness.
24 There has been indication of additional experts through the --
25 through the 65 ter summaries, but we have not yet received those reports,
1 and I would urge those reports to be provided as soon as possible.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Any other issue that you anticipated raising?
3 MR. WHITING: No, Your Honour.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. It might be convenient to start with
5 Mr. Topolski.
6 MR. TOPOLSKI: Your Honours, if that start needs to begin with an
7 apology, it is made. Mr. Whiting is quite right. The 65 ter summaries
8 in their fuller version were served today.
9 May I ask that we be indulged to this extent regarding 92 bis,
10 that we will meet with Mr. Whiting and agree what I hope he will find to
11 be an appropriate timetable. The statements are in unsigned form in
12 their present format. That is being dealt with literally as I speak, and
13 that of course involves them going either physically or electronically to
14 Kosova and being seen, checked, signed, and returned. And that is an
15 ongoing process, as I say, as I understand it as I address you this
17 As far as exhibits are concerned, with the possible, I underline
18 the word possible, exception of a video or two, we are not relying upon
19 any exhibits, as I presently understand the case for Mr. Musliu, beyond
20 those, of course, which have already been put in and exhibited as part of
21 the Prosecutor's case. There was a significant difficulty in viewing
22 videos at the UNDU during the course of Your Honours' break in the case.
23 That has been resolved. We, again with your permission and leave, will
24 liaise directly with Mr. Whiting and his team over that matter in the
25 hope again that there will be no difficulty in due course in presenting
1 that material should we choose to do so to the Court as part of Mr.
2 Musliu's case, which on current predictions is or could be at least a
3 month away. But, Your Honour, that is not being taken as any excuse nor
4 justification for any further delays as far as all of these aspects are
5 concerned. I can assure you that we have not been idle over the break.
6 There have, as you can appreciate, been difficulties with various members
7 of the team physically located in different countries, not least Mr.
8 Musliu being here. And I hope, therefore, that the Court will --
9 Tribunal will have some understanding and appreciation of the
10 difficulties that such problems give rise to. And again, as I began, if
11 any inconvenience has been caused, I apologise. But more than that, one
12 is anxious of course that we comply with the Rules, and I am making it my
13 business to ensure we do as quickly and as completely as possible.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Topolski.
15 I can pass Mr. Guy-Smith by. Mr. Mansfield.
16 MR. MANSFIELD: Yes, good afternoon. The position I think as far
17 as we're concerned is virtually complete. So far as statements, 92 bis
18 statements are concerned, the Prosecution do have our summaries. I think
19 they are uncontroversial. They concern three witnesses who relate the
20 extent to which Fatmir Limaj appeared on television at various times, so
21 I don't think there's going to be an issue about any of those. But we
22 don't have their statements yet, and as soon as we do, we'll ensure that
23 the Prosecution have them, but we've asked for them. But that's the
25 So far as experts are concerned, if I may pass to that topic,
1 clearly we've obviously given a list of witnesses, and I'm grateful for
2 the agreement over Mr. Churcher who can really only come next week, and
3 we've agreed a timing for that.
4 The other expert, and I'll mention it now, as far as our list is
5 concerned, is number 16 on the list, Professor Wagenaar, and his name may
6 already be known to you from other cases. He deals with the processes of
7 identification generally and also in this case. We do have a draft
8 report. We are awaiting a joint conference with him. He affects
9 actually all three cases, and the intention at the moment, at least
10 provisional intention since it's plain we're not going to be able to
11 serve in time for him to be called as part of my case, but hopefully it
12 will all be sorted such that Mr. Topolski, who comes last and has already
13 indicated at least a month between now and the start of his case, that
14 the professor might be called as part of his case, towards the end of his
15 case. So we hope to rectify that situation. I'm sorry it's taken a bit
16 longer to solidify what is being said there. It's relatively detailed.
17 But that's the position.
18 So may I say at once I don't think Mr. Whiting need at the moment
19 concern himself that it will -- he will come as part of Mr. Limaj's case.
20 I can undertake that he won't.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you for the moment.
22 Mr. Topolski, I'm sorry, experts other than Professor Wagenaar?
23 MR. TOPOLSKI: Your Honour, there is a possibility of only one
24 other, and that is a psychologist who has been in to see Mr. Musliu once
25 in the earlier part of trial. He is someone, again, we are meeting Mr.
1 Powles and I and others in my team are meeting with next week, I hope, to
2 discuss a further consultation. And I will therefore know and again
3 personally undertake to advise Mr. Whiting whether there is any serious
4 prospect of any evidence from that quarter being deployed, again only as
5 part of Mr. Musliu's case. I recognise that with such a -- such a
6 category of evidence, I should say, early service of any report upon
7 which one relies is doubly important upon the basis of another expert
8 being potentially deployed to counter him or her.
9 Your Honour, again there have been difficulties. Unless I'm
10 asked to, I won't elaborate upon them now, but that is the only other
11 expert area that could conceivably touch upon the case of Mr. Musliu.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
13 Mr. Guy-Smith, was there any prospect or is there any prospect of
14 expert evidence from the point of view of your client?
15 MR. GUY-SMITH: There is the possibility of one expert who is
16 presently in consultation that deals directly with an issue that comes
17 before this court on a number of occasions with regard to Mr. Bala and
18 specifically obviously deals with his physical condition. Whether or not
19 the specific conclusions to be drawn will go directly to some of the
20 issues that exist actually within the case or not is still a matter which
21 is open and we should have an answer in the relatively near future.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
23 Mr. Whiting, it is suggested by Mr. Topolski that there might be
24 discussions concerning the Rule 92 bis summaries and statements and the
25 exhibit copies. Is that something that you would see as adequate for the
2 MR. WHITING: I do, Your Honour, with respect to exhibit and 92
3 bis statements, certainly. I think that that's perfectly satisfactory
4 and I don't anticipate any difficulty.
5 I would make two points, however. The first is with respect to
6 exhibits. I think that -- I've heard about the video, the potential
7 video that the Musliu Defence might rely on already. I heard about it a
8 couple of weeks ago from -- I think from Mr. Powles. And I would just --
9 I would just submit that the Defence should -- should, like the
10 Prosecution, err on the side of disclosure. When they're unsure if an
11 exhibit is going to be used it shouldn't be at the last minute when there
12 is absolute certainty that the exhibit is disclosed. I would ask that it
13 be -- if they're considering it that it be disclosed as soon as possible.
14 The second point, and this is to -- with respect to experts and
15 it's to follow on from what Mr. Topolski said about the need for early
16 disclosure of expert reports. Rule 94 bis, of course, talks about -- has
17 a 30-day requirement where the opposing side has 30 days to respond to an
18 expert report about whether it will accept the report or require
19 cross-examination. I don't think that that 30-day requirement should be
20 interpreted as being the minimum that -- the time of disclosure. That
21 is, it's not the same as, well, we can -- we can disclose the report and
22 then call the witness within 30 days. With experts, often more time is
23 required to -- to digest the report, consult with other experts, to fully
24 prepare to have the expert come and testify and possibly get an expert to
25 consult for the Prosecution.
1 With the Churcher report, we are having the witness come almost
2 to the day 30 days after the report was provided to us, and in that case
3 it's been difficult to prepare fully for it but it's been possible in
4 part because he is an expert in a sense responding to our expert.
5 But with the Wagenaar report, I'm a little concerned about having
6 only 30 days to prepare to respond to that report, and so the time is
7 running. The Defence has told me they anticipate the case to be seven
8 weeks long now. If we don't get the report soon, we're not going to have
9 enough time to prepare to respond to it, especially as -- as it
10 apparently deals with all three accused.
11 So I don't know. Perhaps it would be visible if possible to set
12 a date when the report can be provided to us, especially since it's now
13 already -- there's a draft report. Maybe by the beginning of next week
14 it could be provided to us, end of this week, I don't know. But I would
15 press very strongly for that report to be provided to us as soon as
17 JUDGE PARKER: Could I ask Mr. Mansfield how soon it would be
18 practical to give, at least to draft in adequate shape to Mr. Whiting of
19 the expert reports that are being considered.
20 MR. MANSFIELD: Yes. One of the problems is arranging a joint
21 conference but that we're arranging at the moment. I will ask for 14 --
22 we will serve within 14 days of today but that may be perhaps to Mr.
23 Whiting too long, but I would ask for that, because we're also dealing
24 with Mr. Churcher who is arriving here next Monday and we're trying to
25 correlate the two.
1 The other thing that obviously must be known to the Prosecution
2 already is that this particular witness, Professor Wagenaar, has already
3 given evidence in other cases and so the gist of what he's saying is in
4 fact clearly set out in the Tadic case, and we have a transcript of that,
5 and we can in fact provide that if they don't already have it. But I
6 understand obviously what Mr. Whiting is really saying: We need to know
7 what he's saying in this case in relation to all three defendants. And
8 so I ask for a little longer than next Monday because I think we may not
9 have had the final conference, joint conference, with him before that
10 date. That's the only thing. So if we could have a little leeway on
12 Certainly I would undertake within 14, did you if you feel that
13 that's too much time, then I don't know, within ten days certainly.
14 MR. GUY-SMITH: If I might.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
16 MR. GUY-SMITH: I definitely concur in that request. I believe
17 that we will be able to set up the joint conference in short order, and
18 once that's done, we'll get it to Mr. Whiting and the others as quickly
19 as possible and certainly within the 14-day request that's been made by
20 Mr. Mansfield. And obviously if they need any more time or if there are
21 any difficulties, we certainly wouldn't wish to put him too far ahead of
22 the game with regard to testifying.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Anything to add, Mr. Topolski?
24 MR. TOPOLSKI: No thank you.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
1 [Trial Chamber confers]
2 JUDGE PARKER: We would indicate that service of that report
3 should be effected by midday of Thursday of next week, which a little
4 less than Mr. Mansfield had hoped for but should be adequate.
5 Now, if there are other expert reports, clearly the same concern
6 of Mr. Whiting would apply to those, and we would hope that there would
7 be an early advice to Mr. Whiting of any decision to call an expert, and
8 if one is under serious consideration that they might be made available
9 at the earliest opportunity, even a draft report, so that we don't run
10 into impractical problems which necessitate delay or put everybody under
11 unnecessary pressure.
12 As for the other matters yet to be dealt with, the Chamber at the
13 moment is prepared to accept the suggestion of Mr. Topolski that counsel
14 might confer to resolve those.
15 And that leaves the Chamber with just one concern of its own.
16 That is when the estimates given so confidently of the length of the
17 Defence case just before we broke are still maintained.
18 Mr. Mansfield.
19 MR. MANSFIELD: Overall, yes. As far as my case is concerned, or
20 that of Mr. Limaj's is concerned, because we were unaware that there were
21 going to be two days lost this week, the three-week, I'm afraid, estimate
22 trickles into the fourth for obvious reasons. But that's the only
23 amendment. Otherwise, we are relatively confident we're going to meet
24 those deadlines. Overall, I think, in fact the same position, but I
25 don't want to speak for others, but I think we are hoping to meet the
2 JUDGE PARKER: Your list of witnesses would seem to suggest
3 otherwise at first glance.
4 MR. MANSFIELD: Yes, it's the first blush, I'm afraid. The
5 second blush means that -- we have indicated this to Mr. Whiting. In
6 fact, this very evening we're going to decide whether we really do need
7 -- we were accepting the approach that Mr. Whiting offered earlier that
8 we should err on the side of disclosure. So that is what we've done.
9 That's the raft of witnesses. But we have made it very clear and I
10 certainly personally left a message for him that the end of the day, and
11 I say now it's unlikely we'll call all of them because some of them are
12 repetitious and we're certainly not wishing to make the point more than
13 once unless it's really necessary. So there will be less witnesses, and
14 some of them are very short. The longer ones are at the front; that's
15 this week, next week and possibly the beginning of the following week.
16 But after that they should be relatively quick. So that's how we worked
17 it out.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Is there any other revision of estimates at the
19 moment? Not, I see, from Mr. Guy-Smith.
20 Mr. Topolski.
21 MR. TOPOLSKI: After I'd left, Mr. Powles told you two to three
22 weeks, I think for Mr. Musliu's case, and I agree with that estimate. If
23 I were to introduce a cloud onto the horizon, I would suppose one would
24 have to say subject to agreement regarding the 92 bis witnesses. But I
25 personally can see no difficulty there. And the estimate given for the
1 Musliu case of two to three weeks was one given with Mr. Powles and I
2 having discussed that as a prospect in any event. And therefore the
3 short answer to Your Honour's question is no revision, as I speak, and
4 indeed I would anticipate from the way certain matters are developing be
5 in a similar situation as to Mr. Mansfield and not necessarily calling
6 all of those as live witness who is currently appear on our list to be
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Topolski. It will be obviously --
9 obvious to you and Mr. Mansfield that at present the Prosecution are no
10 doubt preparing for the full list. If you're going to remove a
11 significant number of names, their task becomes more practical and
12 manageable, as does the Chamber's if the list can be revised.
13 MR. TOPOLSKI: Well, Your Honour, if I may say so, I think I
14 speak on behalf of the whole of the Defence bar. We, too, prepared for
15 all of the Prosecution's witnesses to be called as part of their case and
16 was pleased when Mr. Whiting was able regularly to tell us that he was
17 not intending to call one or other or indeed several, in fact, I can say
18 many. And so we will reciprocate as best we can. It's been a case, if I
19 may say so, marked for its level of cooperation, and I see no reason why
20 that should not continue.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Well, the Chamber is grateful for the efforts that
22 have been made by counsel so far and looks forward to a continuation of
23 that mood.
24 Mr. Mansfield, that brings us to the commencement of your case.
25 MR. MANSFIELD: Yes. May I call Fatmir Limaj, please,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 JUDGE PARKER: If Mr. Limaj would come to the witness position.
3 MR. MANSFIELD: And while he's doing that, may I just check with
4 Your Honours there is an exhibit list you should have which indicates
5 maps. They're mainly maps, and there is a DVD which may -- we may reach
6 today, we may not. The maps are on your own DVDs. We haven't got hard
7 copies yet. They may be available tomorrow.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
9 Mr. Limaj, if you would good enough to take the affirmation that
10 is on the card handed to you.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
12 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.
14 WITNESS: FATMIR LIMAJ
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Mansfield.
17 Examined by Mr. Mansfield:
18 Q. Mr. Limaj, can I just test that the acoustics are all right and
19 you can hear adequately. Is that comfortable now?
20 A. Yeah, it's okay now.
21 Q. You pointed out I think only one microphone is on. Perhaps two
22 should be, I'm not sure. There are two in front and I think there's
23 another. Yes. Thank you.
24 Mr. Limaj, I'm going to ask you questions in a chronological
25 order, because it's easier for you and it's easier for everyone else to
1 follow what you have to say. And so that it's clear to you and also to
2 others, most of today will be concerned with background matters, but we
3 may reach obviously the crucial period in 1998 later on today. But
4 mostly background.
5 So I'm going to start with the obvious question. It's going to
6 be the only one that I'm going to lead you on. Is it right that you were
7 born on the 4th of February, 1971?
8 A. Yes, it is.
9 Q. And where were you born?
10 A. I was born in Banje, previously part of Suva Reka commune. And
11 then in 1986 it became part of Malisheve municipality.
12 Q. Just for these purposes but we'll have to come back to it a
13 number of times, we'll try out the exhibits. The first map that I want
14 to use in relation to obviously your home and your birthplace and other
15 matters is map number 1, which is to your left-hand side on the board.
16 MR. MANSFIELD: And Your Honours have it on a CD as well if you
17 wish to follow. But the village, your birthplace and other matters is
18 map number 1, which is to your left-hand side on the board. And Your
19 Honours have it on a CD as well if you wish to follow. But the village,
20 your birthplace is marked very clearly on the map on the board.
21 If Your Honours also wish to see exactly where it is, that is Banje his
22 birthplace, it is also marked on Prosecution Exhibit 1, map 6.
23 Q. But could you -- I don't know whether you can reach it from where
24 you're sitting, but could you please point out where your birthplace is
25 on the map on the left-hand side which is a large-scale map.
1 A. Banje is here.
2 Q. Now, it might be acceptable because in the longer run I'm going
3 to ask if this map -- you're going to have a mark a number of places will
4 become relevant. If you circled a number of those key areas. Is there a
5 marker, a pen you could use. If you could kindly stand up and mark it so
6 that we can it see when this becomes an exhibit. Just circle Banje.
7 A. [Marks]
8 Q. Thank you. Now, the first question about your birthplace is how
9 big a place is it in terms of numbers? Certainly at the time -- you
10 wouldn't have known at the time you were born obviously how many were
11 there, but roughly speaking over the intervening years, what is the
12 population of that village?
13 A. If we are talking about the present, it must have about 3.000
14 inhabitants. I want to tell you however, that Banje is a very beautiful
15 and tourist village, and unlike other villages of Malisheve municipality,
16 it is one of the most developed village. And given that, there are often
17 people visiting the village and settling there from other regions. But
18 generally, I would say -- give an estimate of 3.000.
19 Q. Now, I want to ask you a little bit about your parents and your
20 family. First of all, how many brothers or sisters do you have?
21 A. As I have said in my opening statement, we are three brothers and
22 three sisters.
23 Q. And so far as your parents are concerned, were either of your
24 parents -- have they been working throughout this period we're dealing
25 with, that is 1971 onwards? Were they working during this time?
1 A. Yes. My dad worked since he was 14, 15 years of age. But he
2 started to have a permanent job first in Sarajevo, if I am not mistaken,
3 in the early 1960s, and he worked until 1982 or 3 when he returned in
5 Q. And what was the work that he did in Pristina from 1982 or 1983
6 when he returned there?
7 A. After he returned to Pristina, he had a house, an apartment in
8 Sarajevo given to him from the company he worked for, because at that
9 time it was customary for a company to provide accommodation to its
10 workers. After that, my father was in a position to trade that apartment
11 with another. That person helped him find a job in Pristina. He worked
12 in the Electroeconomy enterprise in Kosova, Banje village. Because there
13 -- it was very difficult then to find a job. He refused to return to
14 Kosova before he was certain to have a proper job, and having a house or
15 an apartment was the condition for him to make the decision to return.
16 Q. Now, a little bit more about yourself in the early years. Where
17 did you attend elementary or primary school?
18 A. I attended my primary school in my hometown, because as I said,
19 my father was in Sarajevo. It was my uncle who took care of us, and we
20 lived together with his family, for him to take care of us kids since my
21 father was in Sarajevo. So I finished my primary in Banje of Malisheve.
22 After completing the primary school in Banje, I went on for two
23 years. I did two years of the high school. The system was such that for
24 two years it was like a preliminary course. Then after that, after two
25 years, you had to make your own decision as to what you wanted to study.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could he please -- ask to slow down.
2 MR. MANSFIELD:
3 Q. You're speaking very fast for the interpreters. So if you could
4 just take it more slowly. And may I just, therefore, use this
5 opportunity to go back one phase.
6 At what age would you have finished your primary school?
7 A. I entered primary school at the age of 6, and then I finished it
8 in 1984, 1985.
9 Q. That's the primary education. And the secondary school that you
10 began doing the course, where was that?
11 A. I started high school immediately, that is in 1984, 1985, I
12 think. 1985, in fact. I went for two years in Banje in Malisheve. It
13 was -- it was a parallel school from the one in Suva Reka called "Jete
14 Ere" [phoen], New Life.
15 Q. And after two years where did you move to?
16 A. After two years I continued my studies in Pristina, in the high
17 school in Pristina.
18 Q. And by that time, the time you moved to Pristina, how old were
19 you then?
20 A. Sixteen.
21 Q. Sixteen. I want to pause for a moment --
22 A. Sixteen going to 17.
23 Q. Yes. I want to just reflect on the first, therefore, 16 years.
24 Where did you -- in those 16 years, where did you spend most of your
25 time, your youthful time?
1 A. In my native down.
2 Q. And where were all your friends? Were they also in the native
3 town or other towns? Where were they?
4 A. Normally it's not a town. It's like a village. Most of them
5 were friends from that area. Some others came from a larger area.
6 You know, Banje was a kind of local unit comprising three or four
7 neighbouring villages, and all of them had -- all the children of these
8 villages went to the same school in Banje. I mean the high school.
9 Q. During that time - we're dealing with the first 16 years - did
10 you have occasion to go visit relatives or friends in other villages
11 other than Banje and, if so, which villages were they in that period?
12 A. Family ties in Kosova are very strong and powerful, so it was
13 common for me to see my extended family, if I might say so, that is my
14 uncles, my aunts on my father's side or on my mother's side, and other
15 in-laws, because ours was a rather large family. So it was customary for
16 us to go and visit our relatives in other villages where they were
18 There were occasions when I also visit my friends. I had friends
19 in various villages. So we kept links with one another. Sometimes it
20 happened that we visited our classmates on the occasions of birthdays or
21 other occasions.
22 Apart from that, there were other occasions that we visited one
23 another as part of daily life and work, because they were all surrounding
24 villages very close to one another.
25 Q. Now, there is obviously a purpose behind these questions, so I
1 wonder if you'd be kind enough to just return to the map for a moment if
2 the villages are marked. You've indicated there are villages relating to
3 relatives, villages relating to friends.
4 Could you just on that map, you've marked Banje already, if there
5 are other villages on that that you would have gone in these first 16
6 years, if you could just ring those as well if they're there on that map.
7 It's to your left-hand side on the board.
8 A. If you are kind enough to ask me about the villages where I have
9 relatives? Or you want me to indicate the villages I have travelled to?
10 Q. We'll deal with the relatives first. So if you could stand up
11 and just ring the ones with relatives in, first of all. This is in the
12 first 16 years. If you could just call the names as you do it.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters cannot hear what the witness is
15 MR. MANSFIELD:
16 Q. We'll have to point one of the microphones. Can I just repeat
17 it. I think you said Belanica.
18 A. Bellanice is the native village of my mother. It's a village
19 where I used to go very frequently when I was a child with my mother and
20 alone, and I knew it almost as much always I knew Banje.
21 Then there is a village here.
22 Q. Its name, please?
23 A. Carralluke, it's called, where my aunt on my father's side lives.
24 Then comes this -- this village here, Kravosari. We used to go there
25 often because my uncle had relatives there. Then Lladrovic village. The
1 aunts of my father lived there. Then Blac. Some distant relatives, but
2 for us it was a common practice to visit even distant relatives on -- in
3 weddings or for funerals. Klecka is the place where my -- the father --
4 the sister of my father lives, my aunt, that is. I visited regularly.
5 These are some of the villages that I used to go to. There are
6 some others, but they are part of Suhareke municipality. They are not
7 part of this map here. But I can tell you that Suhareke was part of an
8 adjoining municipality. So we had occasion to visit all these villages
9 although we didn't have family links.
10 Q. Yes. Thank you. Now, in this period --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
12 MR. MANSFIELD:
13 Q. I could -- could you point the microphone back towards you.
14 Thank you.
15 Now, in this period I'm going to ask you the direct question
16 here: Did you ever have occasion in these 16 years to go to Lapusnik?
17 A. The village is situated along the road linking Pristina to
18 Malisheve, which at that time was not a municipality but a large commune.
19 So I have travelled along the villages situated along the main road, but
20 I have not stopped there because I didn't have anything to do with then.
21 I just happened to pass by.
22 Q. Now, I want to move to the next period. You're 16,
23 approximately, and you are finishing your studies, school studies, by
24 going to Pristina. Where did you live in Pristina while you were
25 completing your school studies, first of all?
1 A. As I said earlier, because my father was living in -- he had
2 found an apartment in Pristina, and one of the reasons for that, was to
3 enable us to learn in our mother tongue in the capital of Kosova. While
4 I was in primary school, I used to -- to study in Albanian during the
5 weekends, but -- and I wanted to go to Pristina, but at that time it was
6 difficult to go from one school to another, to transfer to a new school.
7 So after finishing the two years of the high school, I went on to
8 Pristina where I lived in the house of my father, that is, with my
10 Q. I just want to ask you this: By this age, 16, 17, were you
11 conscious or aware of the political developments taking place in Kosovo,
12 and were you interested in those?
13 A. Not at that time, because we were kids, teenagers. We didn't
14 have such interests. However, developments in 1981 had their impact on
15 all, but you might imagine how much can a 15- or a 16-year-old know of
16 what is going on. However, as I said, they had an impact.
17 Q. I just want to pause for a moment in relation to 1981. How did
18 you learn about the events of 1981? And perhaps as a first question,
19 what were the events of 1981 to which you are referring?
20 A. In 1981, I was ten years old, and so I heard what other people
21 said, because in my native town it was difficult to know what was going
22 on. And even to hear about what was going on was difficult for us living
23 in the village, because there was a very great censorship. Afterwards, I
24 heard from grown-ups. I saw some of my classmates telling us that his
25 father was in prison or so.
1 The movement from 1981 was a student movement called the Spring
2 of 1981. The demands of that movement were to improve the social life of
3 the Albanians in Kosovo. After that, then they demanded political rights
4 for Kosovo to be recognised, the right as the seventh republic of
6 After these demands and some demonstrations staged in the
7 streets, the then forces of Yugoslavia exerted pressure and terror
8 against the demonstrators to disband them and to put down their demands
9 and -- and they imprisoned hundreds of people. Thousands of students
10 were expelled from school. Some were killed.
11 All of these were things which I heard much later, because as I
12 said -- you might imagine that under a communist regime it was very
13 difficult for information to leak. It was very tight censorship. All
14 these things I realised later, 1989, 1990, actually, when I could meet
15 some of the then participants of that movement.
16 Q. Well, coming to that particular moment in time, 1989 -- an
17 important year for other reasons, obviously, but in 1989, 1990, where
18 were you studying at that point?
19 A. In 1989, I began my studies at the Faculty of Law in Pristina.
20 Q. What were you studying?
21 A. I was studying law.
22 Q. Any particular aspect of law were you studying?
23 A. Our system, education system, at that time did not include any
24 division. It was a general faculty, the Faculty of Law. It didn't have
25 any particular or specialised branch.
1 Q. You indicated that it was in the later period you learnt about
2 people's testimony as to what had been happening in 1981 and since then.
3 Did you meet any particular people that you recall in this period whilst
4 you were at the university in the Faculty of Law with whom you became
5 particularly friendly?
6 A. As for a person who could have participated in the events then,
7 no, but I have met people who took part in these demonstrations.
8 However, they did not have any particular role in those demonstrations.
9 If you refer to the leaders of those demonstrations, I didn't meet any.
10 I just met with participants.
11 Those who participated in those demonstrations, those who were
12 imprisoned, they had to continue with their studies later, and that's why
13 we studied together later on, and these people became our colleagues even
14 though they were older than us. However, I had the opportunity to meet
15 with family members of those who spent time in prison.
16 In 1989, 1990, information began to circulate in areas regarding
17 the situation and the conditions of the imprisonment of political
18 prisoners. Also, I had the opportunity to listen to some of the
19 interviews with these persons, for example Adem Demaqi.
20 He gave an interview to a Croatian newspaper. So basically these
21 were conversations that students have amongst themselves.
22 Q. During your time at university -- you graduated, I think, in
23 1995, so we're dealing with a four- to five-year period. During that
24 period, did you become politically active yourself?
25 A. I graduated in 1994. In Kosova, from 1987 or 1988, development
1 was rapid. Kosovo entered an entirely new phase.
2 In 1988, in November, this time in Kosovo is known as people's
3 movement. This all popular movement is called such because people
4 demanded amendments to the constitution. The Serbian regime at that time
5 debated the constitutional changes in Yugoslavia at that time, and at
6 that time the system of public debates was implied. These constitutional
7 changes foresaw the changes to the constitution of Kosovo as well. And
8 also, the diminishing of the competence from the Kosovars themselves. So
9 people through these public debates they expressed their views which were
10 that they were against these changes. They were against these
11 constitutional changes.
12 After these public debates the protests took place, public
13 manifestations where citizens, publicly, and coming from all other
14 Kosova, came to Pristina, and they publicly expressed their opposition to
15 the tendencies of changing the constitution and to -- to express their
16 public support for the then leadership of Kosova, which at the time was
17 constantly attacked by the Serbian Communist Party in Belgrade.
18 After these developments of 1988, some of the Kosovar leaders
19 were removed from their positions. The federal government under the
20 Serbian pressure condemned this public manifestation of the Kosovar
21 citizens by accusing the Kosovar leadership as one of the organisers of
22 the pan-popular movement. As a result of this, some of the Kosovar
23 leaders were imprisoned, some were isolated. In a way, this gave a way
24 to the constitutional changes that Serbia introduced in 1989.
25 I would like to say that behind all these developments were the
1 youth of Kosova and the workers, including those who worked in the Kosova
2 mines at that time.
3 After these repressive measures undertaken by the federal
4 government under the Serbian pressure in 1988 and after the arrest of
5 some of the leaders, Kosovar leaders, and saying that Serbia was moving
6 towards its decision and that it's not to change the -- to deprive Kosova
7 from its autonomy. In February of 1989, the method of protest changed
8 and workers went on a hunger strike, and the situation of hunger strike
9 continued until the time when the federal government stopped the
10 anti-constitutional methods that were exercised by the Serb regime.
11 Q. I'll stop you there. It's a very long answer. The question, in
12 fact, was this: To what extent did you yourself against this background
13 become involved in any political discussions, political movement,
14 political process? We're dealing with 1988, 1989, 1990.
15 A. Maybe I was long, but this was an experience that was experienced
16 by all citizens of Kosova, and I was part of this as well as every other
17 citizen of Kosova who is interested in the fate of its own country.
18 Q. It might be helpful if you could describe - I'm sorry to bring it
19 down to the particular - how these changes affected you on a daily basis,
20 and your fellow students. I mean, what changes were brought about at the
21 university, for example?
22 A. Well, everybody felt differently. As young students, we wanted
23 to be part of this, to be in the leadership of these protests in order to
24 defend our autonomy. And we were convinced that we were asking for our
25 own rights, that those measures were anti-constitutional. Shortly, we
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 wanted to undertake preventive measures that would avoid them depriving
2 us of those little rights that we were given.
3 Q. What were the preventive measures that you had in mind for that
5 A. To our opinion was -- a preventive measures was to make it clear
6 to the government that the citizens were not satisfied with the changes,
7 and at that time the only forum to make it clear to the government was
8 through these public manifestations and protests. So this was in order
9 to draw the attention to the federal government who was implementing
10 these changes to the constitution.
11 Q. Did matters improve at the university? Did it get better or
13 A. No. On the contrary. Things turned the way people feared. As I
14 said earlier, our protests were answered with repression. They
15 proclaimed us enemies of Yugoslavia. These are expressions that they
16 constantly used, especially after 1981.
17 I would like to add that over 1 million people participated in
18 these gatherings.
19 Q. Now, as we progress through the 1990s, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993,
20 what else was happening with regard to effectively the Serb occupation of
21 Kosovo in those years? Can you just give a description of life in Kosovo
22 for a young man such as yourself.
23 A. Maybe it's important to point out that in 1989, Serbia, by
24 implementing measures of pressure and by encircling the Assembly of
25 Kosovo with tanks in order to implement the changes -- to implement the
1 constitutional changes, the situation became worse when we came to the
2 proclamation of the state of emergency declared in Kosova.
3 In 1990, or it was the end of 1989, the new democratic era
4 started and the pluralist system was established. Some efforts were made
5 in Kosova to create new political alternatives. And some political
6 groups were formed which then were transformed into a popular movement.
7 In 1989, the Albanian parliament of Kosova, the legitimate
8 parliament, decided to issue the statement of July the 2nd, known as such
9 all over Kosova, being unable to do it within the premises of parliament
10 because at that time the leadership of the Kosova parliament - the leader
11 was one of Milosevic's trusted men - they declared the statement before
12 the parliament premises in two words and trying to give the gist of it.
13 The statement of July the 2nd declared unlawful what happened in 1989,
14 because they were considered unlawful. That is a decision to deprive
15 Kosova of its autonomy, and that the status of Kosova, it was said, would
16 wait to see how the Yugoslav FEDERATION is going to be reformulated.
17 Because efforts made in various republics at that time demanding
18 constitutional amendments. So they said that Kosova would be willing to
19 participate in a new Yugoslav concoction, having equal status to other
20 republics, but Kosova will not participate if the other republics are not
21 going to participate. This statement is known in Kosovo as the statement
22 of independence.
23 And after that decision some of the deputies were prosecuted,
24 some were imprisoned, some fled the country. This gave a context to the
25 Belgrade regime, to the Milosevic regime to disband parliament and to
1 close down the media outlets in Kosova, the only television station and
2 Koha Ditore newspaper. Violence was intensified all over the territory
3 of Kosova, and from that time people started to be fired from the more
4 sensitive sectors like the police, the public administration, and other
5 sectors, to continue later with the economic -- the firing of people from
6 economic enterprises and the driving out of students from school
8 Q. Just pause there. You're speaking again if you wouldn't mind me
9 saying, very fast. So just take it slowly. And I want to follow on that
10 last part of the last answer where you're dealing with parliament being
11 closed down, television stations being closed down, and so on, and
12 students being driven out. The question I'd like you to deal with is so
13 how did this impinge, impact on your daily life? What did you see going
14 on with your own eyes, just if you could describe, in this period after
16 A. The citizens of Kosova were being greatly politicised. There was
17 not a single person who wasn't following up developments very closely,
18 because after all, these political developments had a direct impact on
19 each and everyone's life, on my too. So I was one of those who also
20 developed those developments very closely, especially the decision of
21 Kosovo parliament, which was a very welcome decision or a decision which
22 all the citizens of Kosovo had been looking forward to. So there were
23 various sentiments prevailing. It was a kind of euphoria, I would say,
24 which was sweeping over Kosova like the entire Eastern Europe.
25 Q. Slow down. You are talking very fast. I know you are used to
1 speaking in a very quick manner but it's very difficult for the
2 interpreters and everyone else. I'm sorry to put a brake on it but if
3 you could take a slowly. Sorry.
4 So you were dealing with the fact that it was a kind of euphoria.
5 What I want you to continue from is when there was the shutting down of
6 parliament, the shutting down of the television stations and students
7 being driven out, what happened to you? What did you see actually
8 happening on the streets of Pristina and elsewhere?
9 A. It was something which none of us was clear about. None of us
10 was understanding what was happening, what was going to happen. The Serb
11 response was very violent, but we believed that the federal government
12 wouldn't allow that to continue, wouldn't allow things to go to extreme,
13 and that the situation would change for the better.
14 There were some federal institutions that were still functioning,
15 and we very much hoped that they would find a solution and that these
16 anti-constitutional acts were going to stop and that the situation would
17 change especially after first democratic developments this had just
19 So as a young man, I was looking on with sympathy what was
20 happening in parliament. But after what happened, of course, we saw that
21 this couldn't go on but hoped it would change. And we went on with our
22 daily activities as citizens, as students.
23 A new time began in 1990. Everybody was doing something. That
24 is, it was, as I said, a kind of euphoria. People began to freely
25 express their opinions. They saw possibilities of doing things better.
1 We have this phenomenon you know of the blood feuds, of vendetta.
2 It was one of the customs that unfortunately was very dominant in Kosova
3 until of late, and it was at that time what we saw we could do better in
4 the new circumstances. And as a result of this there was an initiative
5 taken by some group of students and formerly political prisoners who
6 started to reconcile blood feuds.
7 At that time some political prisoners were released. They were
8 sentenced because of what they had said orally, publicly. So now nobody
9 would accept to see them in prison, people who had been among the main
10 actors of the events in 1981. So they were released and turned home.
11 They too began to become active in this process of blood reconciliation
12 movement. The entire elite almost subscribed this a movement. The
13 intellectual elite in Kosova. Under the leadership of our honourable
14 professor, a well known processor Anton Ceta, that movement became very
15 active. And in 1991, all our activity was focused on blood
16 reconciliation, blood feud reconciliation, and we managed to reconcile
17 1.600 families in blood feuds. Maybe the figure is not right, but more
18 or less, and in a way to free these families from their isolation, from
19 their fear of vendettas.
20 As students at that time, we began to act in our respective
21 municipalities trying to do something where we lived. I too was involved
22 in blood feud reconciliation in Malisheve municipality or in some other
23 places. We set up the councils for blood feud reconciliation.
24 The people at that time, the youth -- the people in Kosova had
25 special respect for the students and for what they did. This was more or
1 less when we did. As young people, we ignored. We didn't take seriously
2 what was happening on the part of Serbia, hoping that the federal
3 government would put an end to what was happening if they were really
4 interested in improving the political situation.
5 Q. Now, just before the break if this is the time that Your Honour
6 would seek to have one, could I ask you this: When you were living in
7 Pristina -- just going back to Pristina for a moment. Were you living on
8 your own or were you living with anyone else, any other student or
10 A. Mostly I lived with my parent [as interpreted] until 1991, 1992,
11 I think, when, as I said, the Serb government drove away the students
12 from their premises, from their dorms, or from public places. Like every
13 other citizen in Pristina, I, too, took in a student to live with me as
14 an act of solidarity, as a response to the pressure exerted by the Serb
15 government, telling them that you might close down the dorms but not our
16 homes. And so for some six months, there were 20 students who lived in
17 the house of my father, students who were unable to live in the dorm.
18 And this was the case with all -- with all the people of Pristina who
19 took in accommodating students for free for them to continue their
21 Q. Is there anyone in particular that you remember sharing the house
22 with from that period?
23 A. Yes. I remember many of them at this time.
24 Q. Were any of them to become important later on in the year 1997,
25 1998? Anybody from that period?
1 A. Not in particular. Not at this time.
2 MR. MANSFIELD: Your Honour, I don't know whether you were
3 considering an afternoon break, but --
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Mansfield. We have to break at
5 about an hour and a half because of the tapes.
6 MR. MANSFIELD: Yes.
7 JUDGE PARKER: We resume at five minutes past four.
8 --- Recess taken at 3.44 p.m.
9 --- On resuming at 4.09 p.m.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Mansfield.
11 MR. MANSFIELD:
12 Q. Mr. Limaj, we're dealing with your university days as a student,
13 but I just want to, as it were, put alongside that a personal development
14 in your life. Is it right that in 1989, just at the beginning of this
15 period, you got married?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And once again if you'd be kind enough just to stand up to your
18 left and mark the village from which your wife came, please. I think
19 it's on that map, and also say the name.
20 A. The village is called Marali.
21 Q. Now, if you can just turn the microphone back towards you, the
22 one you just used.
23 I appreciate these children were not all born while you were
24 still at university, but some were. Is it right that you have four
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. If I may just lead on the dates because there is no controversy
3 here. A son born in 1990; and three daughters, one born in 1993, another
4 in 1995, and the last one in 1999. Are those the correct dates?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. Now, where -- where was your family living? You were at
7 university. Were they living with you in Pristina or were they living in
8 one of the villages with their families?
9 A. Most of the time they lived in the village.
10 Q. Yes. I'm sorry to be precise. Could you say which village that
11 they lived in. It may be obvious ...
12 A. In my birthplace, in Banje.
13 Q. How often in this period -- we're still dealing with the 1989
14 through to 1990, 1991, 1992. How often would you see them? Would you go
15 back at weekends? Just describe what would happen on that.
16 A. During the studies, I would usually go on weekends and during the
17 school breaks.
18 Q. Would they ever come to visit you in Pristina?
19 A. Of course, yes.
20 Q. Now, you've indicated before the break that you graduated in
21 1994. But before we reach that year, I would like you to deal with other
22 developments at the university. Did there come a time when a form of
23 segregation was imposed at the university?
24 A. This happened back in secondary school before I began my studies
25 at university. At my time, both Serbs and Albanians attended school.
1 However, in 1989, after the propaganda launched by Belgrade regime and
2 after Milosevic created a national programme, a nationalist programme,
3 Serbs began to say that they allegedly were under threat by students, and
4 policemen began to come to schools.
5 In the secondary school where I attended, that was segregated and
6 remained with the Serbs. I refer to the new building where the
7 conditions were better. The majority of students, however, were
9 So the entrance of the school was divided. It had two entrances.
10 One the so-called official entrance, which was used for the members of
11 the administration and professors. The other entrance was for students.
12 I don't know who brought those decisions, but the official entrance was
13 now used only for the Serbian students while the usual entrance which
14 students used in the past was now used by Albanian students.
15 In addition, the federal police or the Serb MUP, because it was
16 mostly MUP who acted under the umbrella of the federal police, was
17 present throughout the time in school yards, and this continued to my
18 university days as well.
19 Q. What about the teaching and syllabuses and the use of Albanian
20 language at the university in this period? What happened on those
21 various topics?
22 A. If you could repeat your question, please.
23 Q. Yes. In addition to segregation in terms of Serbs being kept
24 separate from Albanians, I'll take them in stages, was the Albanian
25 language permitted as a language for teaching?
1 A. During the secondary school days, yes. We didn't have problems
2 as for the language because we worked under the curriculum of the Kosova
3 government. However, changes occurred after the parliament of Kosova was
4 dispersed, so the curriculum was changed and the Albanians did not accept
6 Q. After you graduated in 1994, what was your intention? What did
7 you want to do at that time yourself?
8 A. After I graduated in 1994, my intention was to continue with the
9 post-graduate studies. As a result, I enrolled for post-graduate studies
10 in Pristina University, the administration and political branch. At that
11 time, only three or four branches existed for post-graduate studies. I
12 chose this one. I went on lectures and so on.
13 Q. And presumably this means you remained living in Pristina.
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Now, I'm dealing now with the post-graduate period, 1994 onwards.
16 What about the political situation so far as you understood it, as far as
17 you experienced it, 1994 onwards? What was going on in this period?
18 A. From 1994 onwards, certain developments, important developments,
19 occurred in Kosova, important for the future of the country. First of
20 all, the majority of Kosova had chosen a political leadership that would
21 defend the political interests of Kosova. So everyone took on their
23 Another important development that occurred in this time was the
24 constitution of Kosova that proclaimed Kosova as a country. This
25 constitution -- I learnt it as a student, and I had an examine on
1 constitution in 1990. The political class in Kosova organised a
2 referendum for the independence of Kosova. The majority of Albanians and
3 other nationalities, except for the Serbs, participated in this
4 referendum. 99 per cent of the citizens declared themselves pro the
5 independence of Kosova.
6 I would like to add that this referendum was held in a way of
7 illegality, without the approval of the authorities.
8 After the referendum results, as it is logical, the political
9 class of Kosova now had a mandate to make the independence of Kosova a
10 reality. And the second step was to organise elections. The general
11 elections aimed at this political class getting a legitimacy by the
12 citizens of Kosova.
13 The response of citizens was massive. They participated
14 massively in the elections, and you can imagine in what circumstances
15 these elections were held and organised.
16 As a result of these elections, a leadership was elected, a
17 parliament, a president. This was the first step towards the
18 institutional building of Kosova.
19 To my opinion, I as a citizen of Kosova participated in all these
20 developments in order to complete my duty towards the country. Now that
21 the situation was stabilised and we had our institutions and we had the
22 people who were elected by the citizens of Kosova to realise our
23 interests --
24 THE INTERPRETER: If the witness could speak slower, please.
25 MR. MANSFIELD:
1 Q. Thank you. If we could just remind you again as we did before
2 the break. Very difficult, I know, when you have a train of thinking.
3 If you could just take it slowly so the interpreters can keep up.
4 Can I ask you again in relation to this, that is the elections
5 and the institutions, when were the elections?
6 A. The free elections were held in May 1992, while the referendum in
7 September 1991.
8 Q. And who was the leader who was elected as a result of the
9 elections in 1992?
10 A. We can't say that a democratic way of life existed in that time.
11 The leadership that had emerged at that time was known to the people, and
12 we didn't have any other alternative, and we didn't need any other
13 alternative at that time. The citizens voted for the Democratic Alliance
14 of Kosova and its leader Ibrahim Rugova.
15 Q. Just moving on from that position, what happened under his
16 leadership in the years that followed 1992 as you were experiencing it?
17 A. After these actions, after the conclusion of the first euphoria,
18 after Kosova now had its leadership, people hoped that the question of
19 Kosova would be soon resolved because we had a leadership that would
20 uphold interests of the citizens which in cooperation with the
21 institutions of the federation would see to it. We hoped that after the
22 election we would have the Assembly of Kosova constituted, which was a
23 normal thing. That's why the election was held. But unfortunately, this
24 didn't occur.
25 Q. I'm interrupting. So sorry. I don't mean to interrupt rudely,
1 it's just it is really difficult at the moment to keep up. So if you
2 could bear with us and just speak a little more slowly. It will help
3 everybody. I'm sorry.
4 I have interrupted your train of thought. It was to do with the
5 Assembly of Kosovo as being one of the hopes and aspirations after the
6 election. So if you could just continue with that hope at that point.
7 A. First, I apologise for going so fast. I'll try to be more
9 As I said earlier, the political class in Kosova had called on
10 the people twice to give them a mandate to act, a mandate about the
11 status for Kosova for which they had to work to embody the will of the
12 people. And second, to give them a mandate to -- to make them legitimate
13 leaders and enable them to carry, translate into practice the result of
14 the referendum.
15 Q. The question I want to pose to you is: What is it at that time
16 that you wanted or hoped for Kosovo, you yourself?
17 A. We expected the results to be implemented in practice, to build a
18 new parliament for which we had voted, to have a political class that
19 could find the proper channels, ways to resolve the question of Kosova
20 and the problems we encountered daily, and gradually to reconstruct the
21 institutional life in Kosova.
22 Q. And in relation to that, were you hoping for -- I'm going to put
23 the -- various possible alternatives so you can be clear if you had in
24 mind one of these alternatives. Did you want a Kosovo that was
25 independent of all other countries? Did you want a Kosovo that was
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 united with another country and, if so, which one and so on? So what did
2 you want? What did you expect?
3 A. I think that at that time, the political class of Kosova came up
4 with various alternatives to the solution of the Kosova issue, probably
5 up to the referendum for independence. I know that through reports I
6 read in the media, what was published there, there were three possible
7 options to the solution of the Kosova and the Albanians' problem in
8 Yugoslavia then.
9 There were three options, as I said, prior to the referendum and
10 the election, as far as I recollect, because at that time Yugoslavia was
11 still intact. One of the options was for Kosova to be independent. The
12 second option was to have a kind of republic which would comprise most of
13 the Albanians distributed in three different republics of Yugoslavia
14 then, that is to have a republic with Albanian majority. And the third
15 alternative was if Kosova would be destroyed, then the option was to join
17 These were the three options or alternatives put forward by the
18 political class in Kosova at that time. When I say the political class,
19 I mean that in 1990, a coordinating political council was set up which
20 was composed of all the parties, of all the Albanian political parties
21 existed in Kosova at that time, in Macedonia, in Montenegro, and the
22 Albanians in Presheve, Medvegje and Bujanovc. This coordinating
23 council - at leave this is what I presume reading reports in the media
24 about it - its duty was to coordinate the activities, political
25 activities, and to unify the Albanians in Yugoslavia at that time. I'm
1 talking about 1990.
2 Q. The --
3 A. And at the head of this coordinating council was Mr. Rugova.
4 Q. Now, which of the options that you've set out which were being
5 put before the public did you prefer or did you not have a preference?
6 A. [In English] I have a problem with the microphones.
7 [Interpretation] I've problem with the microphones.
8 Q. Can you hear my questions? Is that all right? I can repeat the
9 last question. We can do a test run on it, which was: Which of the
10 three options, if any of them -- is that all right?
11 All right. The question -- I just want to follow on from your
12 answer. You set out three options put before the public of Kosovo at
13 that time. Did you have yourself a preference for any one of the three
14 or not?
15 A. To tell you the truth, I didn't bother about that at that time.
16 For me it was important that finally Kosova had its political leadership,
17 and for me they knew better what should be done.
18 Q. Now, we know that by 1996, you yourself had in fact joined the
19 KLA. So what would be of importance to know is what happened between
20 1994 and 1996 that caused you to take that step.
21 A. The developments that I mentioned earlier, they had a direct
22 impact on everyone in Kosova and on me, too, since from 1990 to 1994 this
23 leadership had absolute trust, indisputable trust, I would say. They
24 didn't question at all their commitment, and some developments that
25 occurred at that time contributed to the splits and divisions among this
1 political class, especially 1993, 1994. For the first time we started to
2 hear some opposition voices in its ranks which criticised this
3 leadership, political leadership that is.
4 In the context of the Democratic League, splits began to be
5 formed. A great number of those who had contributed to the establishment
6 of this movement began to deflect because of displeasures. One of them
7 was the fact that the parliament of Kosova never set on a very strange
8 [as interpreted] ground, which irritated a number of people. Allegedly
9 they didn't dare sit because of the Serb regime. That was the
10 allegation. On the other hand, the same leadership had been calling to 2
11 million people to turn out to vote. People were afraid to vote without
12 having the approval of Serbia. That leadership had asked the people to
13 give them the mandate to act. Those deputies were not forced by anyone
14 to be elected. They had undertaken this duty, this risk. So it was
15 inexplicable for people to understand why that parliament didn't start
16 its work. So for them the politics -- there was a stagnated political
17 situation. The situation in general was becoming more difficult. And in
18 my opinion, the active policy finished with the conclusion of the free
19 elections in 1992.
20 Q. Can you go just a little bit more slowly again. I see you are
21 speeding up, or I feel you are. Sorry. Just take a breath. Take a
23 You're talking about the conclusion of the free elections in
24 1992, so -- and the situation was now stagnating. So the question I want
25 to ask you, did you feel -- you've talked about what other people felt.
1 Did you feel that the political situation after the free elections and so
2 forth and the parliament was stagnating?
3 A. Personally, I was looking forward to the establishment of this
4 parliament, and initially we trusted the reasons giving -- given for not
5 forming that parliament. It was then for the first time for us to hear
6 those dissenting voices and to see, to read in the media some alternative
7 reports on the reasons why it didn't sit.
8 Personally, I didn't have any very well-formed opinion. I saw --
9 I looked at the situation as an ordinary citizen at that time.
10 Q. Well, then I'm going to ask you to move forward to 1996. Is that
11 the year in which you did join the KLA?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Why did you join the KLA in 1996?
14 A. Events were linked in Kosova. One led to another. Life became
15 more difficult for all of us. The citizens were seeing an active
16 politics -- from an active politics being turned into a stagnating one.
17 It was a phase where -- where life was very difficult.
18 The political class in Kosova didn't do anything in real terms to
19 bring about any positive changes in the life of the people. People were
20 left to fend for themselves. Those who couldn't fit in the life in
21 slavery, some of them emigrated. A large number of young people did.
22 Another part remained there in the -- hoping that things would change for
23 the better. Another part were looking for alternatives. And
24 developments that occurred, especially after the Dayton agreement, and
25 the frequent instructions given to us by the international diplomacy were
1 -- didn't give us any hope that things would be improved, that there
2 would be a solution, a short-term solution for the country. Indeed,
3 there were some rumours in the international diplomacy which said that
4 the situation in Kosova is calm and we shouldn't hurry to find another
5 solution. There were some who said that in Dayton are only those who
6 have fought, and that in Kosova things are developing properly.
7 Kosova was looked upon only as a case where there were violation
8 of human rights. That was all.
9 Q. I want to stop you at that stage just to put it in again a
10 context. The Dayton agreement was in December 1995. Were there
11 representatives of Kosovo present in the talks that led to that
12 agreement, so far as you can recall?
13 A. No, there were not.
14 Q. Was that an issue that concerned people like yourself in Kosovo,
15 that you were excluded from those talks?
16 A. Of course. This was a turning point, in my view, in the way
17 people in Kosova began to think. Dayton was an important event. It was,
18 in our view, a defeat or an agreement that disregarded everything we had
19 done until then regarding our political definition as a country. It was
20 -- it was looked as another manipulation that was done by the political
21 leadership. In fact, people had great trust in that leadership and they
22 didn't look for other truths. Then only heard what that leadership told
23 them. But after this development, people started to realise that the
24 truth was different, that the reality was different, and they started to
25 look for other alternatives.
1 Q. Now, I want to ask you some practical questions. Where did you
2 join the KLA? I mean, was it an office in Pristina or a home somewhere?
3 Where did you do it?
4 A. I had the opportunity to know certain colleagues, students in the
5 1990s. Sometime in late 1992, I met Rexhep Selimi. He lived in the
6 apartment of a friend of my parent, and he then came to live in my
7 apartment. Later on, if I'm not mistaken, we lived about two years in
8 the same apartment, and sometime in August 1996, in a conversation we
9 had, we discussed these developments because at that time the KLA came
10 public with certain communiques, and we of course were part of that -- of
11 those who didn't know, who were not well informed what was true and what
12 was not true.
13 In these conversations, Rexhep Selimi said to me that the KLA as
14 an organisation existed and that he was a member of the KLA. He said
15 that if I wanted to, I could join the KLA to help it. I said to him that
16 they could count on my assistance, meaning providing shelter and other
17 facilitating things, especially in my birthplace.
18 So this was my first contact with the KLA, although I knew Rexhep
19 Selimi before. Until that moment, I didn't know that he was a member of
20 the KLA.
21 From this time on, I felt as being a member of the KLA, meaning
22 from August 1996.
23 Q. Now, a series of questions arise. First one: What did you
24 understand were the objectives of the KLA in August 1996?
25 A. The main objective was to prepare a liberating war for Kosova in
1 order to realise what people wanted and what people voted for with the
2 objective of what I had learnt at school in order to fulfil the
3 constitutional obligations that the Kosova parliament had. So this was
4 the objective.
5 Q. Did you understand that there was any targeted time for this war?
6 A. What do you mean by targeted time?
7 Q. Well, you indicated in your answer that you -- that the objective
8 was to prepare a liberating war for Kosovo. Did anyone have in mind when
9 that process would actually begin? In other words, the process of taking
10 up arms to secure liberation.
11 A. No. At that time, nothing concrete regarding dates came up.
12 This was a process. This was a movement towards engagement. Certain
13 developments had already started in this direction. The KLA had
14 undertaken some actions. And with this preparation - I mean mobilisation
15 of people - at this time, at this phase, the circumstances were
16 different. At that time, I didn't even ask about these things because I
17 thought these were matters that the Kosova institutions were
18 well-familiarised with and because I thought that someone else was to
19 look after these things. And as all other citizens, my obligation was to
20 fulfil my duties as a citizen of Kosova.
21 Q. You indicated that you would be prepared to help. The example
22 you gave was shelter. Now, in 1996, did you in fact help in any
23 practical ways that you can recall?
24 A. At that time, from conversations with Rexhe, I recall that these
25 were their demands. I found out that they had a need for shelter, and we
1 discussed about people, about different activities, propaganda for new
2 alternatives, to search for new alternatives without mentioning the KLA.
3 Concretely, there was an occasion when Rexhep and another friend stayed
4 with me in Banje. I provided shelter for them. I stayed with them.
5 Even in my apartment now I knew that there was a KLA member staying in my
6 apartment. So these were my main activities at that time.
7 Q. And you mentioned also that the KLA undertook certain actions,
8 you call them, some actions. Again, were these actions in this period
9 1996 and, if so, can you recall what the actions were?
10 A. I think that the communique had just been published, and in it
11 certain actions were described, a guerrilla attack launched by KLA
12 members against some Serbian police stations. At that time, you could
13 read about this in daily media through the communiques, KLA communiques.
14 Q. Were you yourself involved in any way in the -- in assisting with
15 guerrilla actions from 19 -- from August of 1996 onwards?
16 A. No. No, I didn't have the opportunity then.
17 Q. We're approaching the beginning of 1997, and something very
18 important happened in January 1997. Would you please describe what that
20 A. I would like to mention that before January, if I'm not mistaken,
21 sometime in September, October 1996, Rexhep Selimi began to act illegally
22 because he was -- his identity was discovered by the Serbian police. He
23 was forced to leave Pristina.
24 Now, in 1997, in late January, the Serbian state security forces
25 undertook a general operation of arrests. More than 100 people were
1 arrested. Three were killed as members of the KLA.
2 I was -- my name was on the list of the persecuted persons.
3 Fortunately, I was not at home that night. I was staying at a friend's
4 house when a considerably great police force encircled my house. They
5 searched my house. They were looking for me. As I was not at home, they
6 arrested my parent. The following day, they also arrested my brother as
7 he came back from Pristina to Malisheve.
8 Q. Which brother was that?
9 A. And I was fortunate not to be arrested since I was not there that
10 night. Demir.
11 Q. Demir was the brother. And which of your parents was detained?
12 A. My father.
13 Q. Now, I just want to deal with those two before we move on in your
14 own story. For how long was your father detained or arrested? Do you
16 A. Approximately six months, for six months.
17 Q. And so far as you're aware, was he maltreated during that
18 six-month period in custody?
19 A. Yes. He still suffers the consequences of the maltreatment to
20 this date.
21 Q. So far as again you are aware, had he done anything to merit
22 being arrested?
23 A. He had nothing to do with any action, with nothing at all. He
24 was arrested just for being my father and for having me in his house.
25 Q. May I move to your brother Demir. Was he charged with any
1 offence by the Serbian authorities?
2 A. He was accused of being a member of the KLA, and he was sentenced
3 to eight years' imprisonment.
4 Q. And so -- again I'm just dealing with Demir for the moment. When
5 was he released from the eight-year sentence?
6 A. Demir was released in 2001, after the war.
7 Q. So after the war. And in his case, was -- as far as you are
8 aware, was he maltreated by the Serb authorities during the time he was
9 kept in prison?
10 A. I think it was a miracle how he escaped these tortures that were
11 in force in 1997 and 1998, especially exercised on those who were accused
12 of such activities as my brother Demir was. I didn't see him personally,
13 but these were descriptions provided by my family members.
14 Q. Now, the particular date, if I can just put this to you, of the
15 arrest and the search was January the 31st, 1997. Are you able to say
16 that that is the correct date that this all happened?
17 A. Yes, correct.
18 Q. And when was it that you learnt of the particular forms of
19 mistreatment that occurred to Demir? Was it after his release in 2001 or
20 at some earlier stage?
21 A. This was in 2000, when my mother managed to visit him at the Nis
23 Q. And can you recall the nature of the mistreatment that your
24 mother recounted to you?
25 A. They used electroshocks against him, and they deprived him of
1 food, beat him up and such things. They left him hungry for a long time.
2 When my mother went to visit him in 2000, she didn't recognise him and
3 some others she knew because of the fact that they had been famine [as
4 interpreted]. They had lost a lot of weight. It was only when he stood
5 up that -- and called her that she recognised him.
6 Then we started sending him food from Kosova in 2000. And as my
7 mother described him, this was the same with other mothers who visited
8 their sons. According to her description, he didn't weight more than
9 about 30 kilos at that time, when normally he's a well-built young man.
10 He was like this before he was arrested. And as Demir told my mother,
11 they had not eaten properly and were constantly tortured by the Serb
13 Demir is one of the eyewitnesses of the massacre in Dubrava
14 during which more than 260 Albanian prisoners got killed. At that time,
15 we didn't know about such developments. We found out after the war.
16 Q. And when had that massacre occurred?
17 A. The massacre occurred sometime in April, May 1999 during the
18 airstrikes when the Serbs fired directly at the prisoners, shot at them,
19 killing some of them, injuring some others. Some others managed to
20 escape. Among them was my brother.
21 People don't speak about that. He doesn't speak about that.
22 Sorry. There are 3, 400 living people who have seen with their own eyes
23 what happened at that time. But Demir doesn't like to talk much about
24 that. At least with me he didn't discuss it very much.
25 After his release from prison, we didn't stay much together
1 because of my political engagements. It's very rarely that we met and
2 talked like two brothers do.
3 Q. May I take you back to January the 31st, 1997, when that sequence
4 of events began. You weren't at home when the police raid occurred.
5 What did you decide to do after that?
6 A. At that time, you had to be psychologically -- psychically ill or
7 mentally ill or mad to go and hand yourself over to the Serbs knowing
8 what to expect you. I was fortunate not to be at home at that time. I
9 hid myself somewhere and then went to people, to families I knew well,
10 with which we had family links, and tried to make arrangements to flee
11 Kosova. That was the only way to escape falling into the Serb hands.
12 If you allow me, I will speak -- I will say a detail. I heard
13 from my mother about what happened in the night of the 31st. The mother
14 came to the village where I was taken that night as a guest, and when I
15 heard about my father being arrested, I thought to surrender myself in
16 order for the Serbs to release my father. But my mother didn't allow me
17 to do that. She insisted on me not handing myself over to the Serbs but
18 to flee the country. And this is what I did. Then upon second thoughts,
19 I realised at that it was better to flee than to surrender to the Serbs.
20 Q. I want to ask you before we leave Kosovo, though, about your
21 wife, and by this stage there are three children, one born in 1990,
22 another in 1993, and another in 1995. What did you feel about their
23 situation in view of what was happening to you?
24 A. The situation was not an easy one, of course, but we could expect
25 it from Serbia. This was something that didn't happen only to my family.
1 Many other people had suffered. Thousands of people had suffered. Some
2 had been killed. So that was not an extraordinary thing for me. Of
3 course we didn't like it, but it was a reality. We couldn't help it.
4 Q. You mentioned that you stayed or, rather, hid with families that
5 you knew. Can you just indicate -- I don't want the names of the
6 families, but can you just indicate where they were situated in Kosovo,
7 the places where you hid?
8 A. I might mention their names as well. There is no problem. I had
9 stayed with our in-law in Carralluke village, with my brother-in-law, and
10 this is where my mother found him -- found me, sorry. Then I went on to
11 stay with some other nephews and there I contacted a friend of mine who
12 tried to find ways for us to leave Kosova.
13 I stayed afterwards at a family in Panorc village. My uncle had
14 his sister-in-law living with that family. We were good friends. It was
15 a family member with whom I had constant contacts. I knew him very well.
16 So I kept changing places, coming closer to the border with Albania.
17 After a time, this friend of mine who could move freely all over Kosova,
18 he had arranged for me to meet and to leave for Albania.
19 During all the time I was underground, it was a time when even my
20 family didn't know my whereabouts because the Serb police went daily to
21 look for me at my family. They started to maltreat residents from my
22 neighbourhood, to imprison them, relatives of mine as well like the
23 person with whom I had stayed that night in Carralluke. They took him,
24 Isak, and his two sons. This is what they did to all the people they
25 thought had links with me or knew about my whereabouts. But I kept
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 changing places without telling my family where I was. So I managed to
2 escape then. For this I have to thank also the people, the families that
3 sheltered me and escorted me from one place to another.
4 Q. You mentioned in that answer or referred to nephews. Were any of
5 the nephews or relatives in Klecka that you hid at that time?
6 A. Yes. Yes, because I said we have a large family. I may tell you
7 that the entire Klecka can be identified with that family. It's a family
8 where I have six nephews. It's a large family, well-to-do economically,
9 with a good reputation on a national scale. And it was my right hand, I
10 would say. For everything I've had to give me economic assistance or for
11 any problem we might have had, these people offered to help me. During
12 the time I was a student they helped me economically to finish my
13 studies, me and my family.
14 So the first thing I did was to turn for help to this family.
15 And they were living in a remote, mountainous village, so you can live
16 there without drawing the attention of -- of people. So I was certain I
17 could stay with them for as long as I wished, and from there I could
18 think of doing something else.
19 I have to tell you, if you allow me, Your Honours, that at that
20 time it was very difficult to shelter people like me because you might
21 suffer. Your family might suffer. You could expect that to be done by
22 very close relatives of yours. But that family, as I said, were willing
23 to defy the danger and to shelter me. Some of my relatives, as I said,
24 suffered because of that. They went to gaol or were maltreated.
25 Q. Now, you've described, as it were, inching your way or getting
1 closer to the border with Albania. Did you in fact cross into Albania at
2 some stage?
3 A. I don't know if the village of Panorc is on the map, but from
4 this village I walked without stopping. This is a village on the
5 borderline between Malisheve and Klina municipality. So I walked without
6 stopping together with a friend of mine up to the border with Albania
7 and -- to Albania, in fact, to the nearest village in Albania. The
8 journey took us about 35 to 40 hours.
9 Q. There's the second map there on the board, and I wonder if you
10 would kind enough with a felt pen just to -- if you can find roughly the
11 route you took on foot across the Albania border and just mark it, if you
12 wouldn't mind.
13 A. The village of Panorc, as I said, is somewhere here. We used
14 off-roads, so it is difficult for me to find them, but this is
15 approximately the route.
16 Q. That's fine. Just an approximation.
17 MR. MANSFIELD: Your Honours, I believe hard copies of this map
18 are available and will be before you, and what I intend to do, if I may,
19 is when the markings are finally finished, if these can become exhibits.
20 We haven't quite finished with this map either for the moment.
21 Q. When you crossed the border into Albania, had you any idea where
22 you were intending to go after that? Stay in Albania, go to another
23 country, or what?
24 A. To tell you the truth, my sole intention at that time was to
25 leave and to avoid the danger from the Serbs.
1 Q. So what did you do at the beginning?
2 A. After this friend that was with me, as he knew some people there,
3 his name is Ragip Shala. We studied together in Pristina. He had gone
4 to Albania before during his economic activities. He had some friends in
5 Tirana, and together with him we stayed in an apartment there. We
6 contacted his friends. They helped us find accommodation, and nothing
7 else. We were just waiting.
8 Q. And what were you, if I may ask, waiting for? What did you hope
9 would happen?
10 A. Simply, we were waiting for information, what was going on in
11 Kosova with our families. Then we were waiting also for the engagements
12 by -- at that time, to tell you the truth, I was thinking of even
13 continuing my studies in Tirana, my post-graduate studies, but
14 unfortunately after I stayed there for 20 days or a month Albania entered
15 a crisis. This is known by March riots. So at that time, we didn't see
16 a short improvement, a short-time improvement of the situation in
17 Albania, and we didn't see a perspective for us. So in contact with
18 certain persons there we decided to leave Albania and to go to
20 The situation in Albania was chaotic because of the developments
21 that occurred due to the March riots.
22 Q. Why Switzerland? Was there some particular reason?
23 A. The only reason was that this was a country that I had visited in
24 the past in 1989, and I also had family there. I had some of these
25 nephews from Klecke village living in Switzerland. So I thought I could
1 count on their help for anything I needed. This was the main reason.
2 Q. Did you travel alone to Switzerland?
3 A. No. We were a group of seven or eight, maybe even six, I don't
4 know. We all travelled together.
5 Q. Any of the six or seven individuals who returned with you or you
6 met again later or are they all people that disappeared after that?
7 A. Out of these persons, I only know the person who was with me.
8 These were people who were fleeing Albania or other countries, people
9 that I didn't know. I don't know even where their destination was, where
10 they were going.
11 Q. And where did you end up in Switzerland?
12 A. I went to Geneva, and I applied for political asylum at a
13 reception centre. Then they sent us to Lausanne and I settled in the
14 canton of Vaud in Lausanne.
15 Q. Were you granted asylum?
16 A. Yes, after three or four months.
17 Q. And were there people in the place where you settled in the
18 canton of Lausanne, were they relatives or friends or unknown? In other
19 words, what were the premises where you stayed?
20 A. The Swiss government offered us accommodation. They offered
21 accommodation and organised accommodation of the asylum seekers. I lived
22 in their settlements. One of them lives in Lausanne, one in Fribourg and
23 in the surrounding area with my nephews.
24 Q. During this time, had you had contact with your wife and children
25 back in Kosovo?
1 A. For some three or four months or even more, we didn't have any
2 contact at all. After this time, I contacted them by phone.
3 Q. And were they surviving all right in this period or were there
4 difficulties? What was the position for them?
5 A. There were problems, because none of us who could provide for the
6 family was in the house. Demir was imprisoned, my brother was
7 imprisoned, my youngest brother at that time Florim was at that time in
8 Germany. He was working there. My uncle was almost paralysed. It was
9 my mother who was trying to cope with this situation.
10 The Serbian government had placed Demir in Pristina prison and my
11 father in Prizren prison to make it impossible for my mother to visit had
12 them both, because the visiting time was at the same time and at the same
13 hour so it was impossible for her to visit them both. These were really
14 difficult -- this was really difficult situation for my family and other
15 families in Kosova. We were not alone in this.
16 Q. Did you manage to find work in Switzerland?
17 A. To tell you the truth, there was no need for me to work because
18 my relatives didn't want me to work. They had a good political --
19 economical situation, and they had worked in Switzerland for a long time.
20 As they helped us in the past, they wanted to help me now as well.
21 However, I was resolute to find a work because I wanted to provide for
22 myself alone and for my family as well. So with the help of certain
23 friends of mine, I found a work, a job in a hotel in Switzerland in a
24 tourist place, Montreux, and I worked as an assistant in that hotel for
25 three or four months.
1 After this time, I had some health problems. I was admitted to a
2 hospital for a short time. I underwent a minor surgery, so I stopped
3 working because my nephews insisted on me stopping.
4 THE INTERPRETER: The microphone is not working.
5 MR. MANSFIELD:
6 Q. If we can pause just for a minute to -- can you hear the
7 questions I'm asking?
8 A. Up to this time, I did hear.
9 JUDGE PARKER: I think, Mr. Mansfield, that might be a convenient
10 time, then, and the difficulty can be attended to --
11 MR. MANSFIELD: Certainly.
12 JUDGE PARKER: -- during the break. We will resume just after
13 ten minutes to six.
14 --- Recess taken at 5.31 p.m.
15 --- On resuming at 5.54 p.m.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Mansfield.
17 MR. MANSFIELD: May I just ask whether the -- they're all right.
18 Q. Now, we're in Switzerland. You've dealt with a number of areas.
19 One which I want to ask about in particular is whether you maintained
20 contact with the KLA while you were there.
21 A. Will you repeat the question, please.
22 Q. Yes, certainly. You were in Switzerland. I want to ask you
23 whether while you were there you maintained contact with the KLA back in
24 Kosovo or its representatives or people who were connected with it in
1 A. After I settled in Switzerland, I didn't have contacts with the
2 KLA or its members because it was impossible for me to have such contacts
3 in Switzerland, because even if there were people like me, they wouldn't
4 say like me. I didn't say that I had contacts with the KLA for the only
5 reason that the KLA was in Kosova. And for people being outside Kosova,
6 it didn't make any sense to tell them this.
7 The only contact or link I had with KLA was in mid-summer, if I
8 am not mistaken. It was Rexhep Selimi who sent me a greeting, a letter
9 of greetings with his brother. But there was nothing in that letter
10 other than his greetings and his expression of pleasure at my escaping
11 Serb forces.
12 As to other contacts, while I was in Switzerland I want to tell
13 you that the Albanian diaspora in Switzerland and in the other countries
14 in the west was organised in various political organisations. I was
15 fortunate that in the place of my residence in Lausanne, I became
16 acquainted with some people among whom I would like to single out Bardhyl
17 Mahmuti and Ramadan Avdiu and Adem Grabovci. These three people, former
18 political prisoners. Bardhyl and Ramadan were continuing post-graduate
19 studies at Lausanne and Geneva universities. Since we were very close,
20 Bardhyl used to come often to visit me or invite me to his family because
21 he was there with his family. They were members of the leadership of the
22 Kosova Popular Movement for Switzerland, and they were open supporters.
23 That was the source for the organisation of the KLA, actually, that
24 movement. They were engaged in political activities to make the KLA
25 known to diaspora and for diaspora help this formation that is the KLA.
1 I also started to join their activities. At that time in
2 Switzerland, like in other countries of the west, some informative
3 rallies, we call them, began to inform diaspora of the existence of the
4 KLA as a first phase. And as a second phase we started to collect, raise
5 money for it, the national liberation war, through the fund Homeland Is
7 And so gradually I, as I said, became active in such activities
8 even though I was not a member of the Kosova Popular Movement, I was a
9 sympathiser of this movement, and a sympathiser of those people who had
10 devoted their life to the question of the liberation of the homeland.
11 And so started my activity in meetings with the diaspora. Becoming
12 acquainted with such people for me was very important, because through
13 such people I managed to -- to get to know things about the life of the
14 diaspora. They were thinking various activities organised by them. They
15 were people who had left Kosova for -- since many years ago. Some of
16 them didn't have a sense of reality in Kosova, about development there.
17 I want to point out that even though they had left Kosova for
18 many years, such people had never broken off relations with their
19 country. In various ways and forms they tried to assist, to contribute
20 to the movement in Kosova. They assisted their families and the
21 political activities. So I looked at them with admiration. In
22 Switzerland they had all the possibilities to lead a good life, but even
23 though they had the possibilities the life they were leading was very
24 simple, very modest, because all the money they could spare they had put
25 to the Kosova cause. Some of them had left, as I said, for many years
1 ago, and for me it was the first time to met some of them. Some of them
2 were former political prisoners. That was good experience for me.
3 I want to stress that despite their willingness, despite their
4 sacrifice for their country, despite their interest in Kosova, there were
5 some who because they had left Kosova, as I said, for a long time, they
6 found it difficult to grasp the developments and the realities in Kosova
7 and sometimes they had differing -- different views about developments
9 My meetings with them, my constant stay with Bardhyl Mahmuti and
10 Ramadan Avdiu helped me a lot because these two were open-minded people.
11 They had left Kosova at a later phase, and they had been integrated in
12 the Swiss society, and they were more informed about the reality in
13 Kosova, and together we thought of doing something good for the country
14 to sensitise the public among the diaspora about the new circumstances
15 created in Kosova, about the new forces established, about Kosova
16 embarking on a new phase of political developments, that the so-called
17 political efforts had failed and that Milosevic was the main argument;
18 that the war in Bosnia and Croatia had already proven that Milosevic
19 would not -- under no circumstances give Albanians of Kosova their rights
20 or accept Kosova to get away from his federation without the Albanians
21 doing something themselves.
22 As of 1995, in my opinion, Albanians had been following that
23 slogan "Do what you can on your own," but none of them had done any
24 serious -- had made any serious efforts to do something about the
25 country, to change the situation, and from that time I continued my
1 activities in Switzerland, taking part in rallies and so on, and raising
2 funds as I said earlier.
3 I want to say that in none of the rallies there was anyone, at
4 least that I knew of, being a member of the KLA, because there was no KLA
5 in Switzerland. Those who were KLA members were in Kosova.
6 I continued this activity until I returned to Kosova.
7 Q. I want to come to that point of when you return, which we know is
8 in the spring of 1998. Now, my first question here is: Why did you
9 decide to return?
10 A. There are many reasons for that, one of them being that I had
11 voluntarily subscribed to such an initiative. I was convinced that this
12 was an attempt made in an organised way. I felt it my moral obligation
13 to join the KLA. Nobody forced me to do that.
14 What affected my haste to return to Kosova was the March events.
15 Hadn't it been for the March events, I would have returned upon the first
16 opportunity to continue my activity. But the fact that accounted for my
17 quick decision was the Likoshan, Qirez, and Prekaz massacres.
18 Q. Were these massacres something that you read about in the
19 newspapers in Switzerland or was on television or came through friends?
20 How did you hear about them?
21 A. The first time we heard about that was through the media outlets.
22 It was a tragedy that could not be kept a secret, especially foreign
23 radio broadcasts, which were the only window to us -- for us to
24 communicate with Kosova, like the BBC service in Albanian, the VOA in
25 Albania, the Deutsche Welle, and the Albanian television had informed us
1 of what had happened. There was a daily newscast for Kosova broadcast by
2 the Albanian television. These were the sources which informed us of
3 what happened.
4 But people also communicated with one another through the
5 telephone. We kept links with our families. So the news spread like
6 wildfire. But as I said, it was BBC, CNN, all the most important
7 international television stations broadcast that news.
8 Q. Did you decide to return on your own or with a group of people?
9 A. I decided on my own to return. I contacted Adem Grabovci, who
10 was an act advice of the fund Motherland Calls. I knew that he went
11 often to Albanian. At that time I had not left Switzerland. I couldn't.
12 I knew that that guy had the links that could help me go from Albania to
13 Kosova, and I called him once to find someone for me in Albania to help
14 me go to Kosova, and he told me that there are other people who want to
15 go. And so I decided to go back to Kosova -- sorry, to Albania.
16 There are two other people who have always helped us form a
17 friendship. I mean Ismet Jashari, aka Kumanova, and the family relative
18 of mine and a friend with whom I went to school in Banje. His name is
19 Haxhi Shala. To tell you the truth, those people knew that I was going
20 to Kosova. They didn't know at least they didn't hear me say that I was
21 a member of the KLA. No one when I was in Switzerland knew about that.
22 I was ashamed to say I was a member of the KLA being in Switzerland,
23 because for that I had to be in Kosova.
24 So I told them I'm going to Albania. I have some thing to do
25 there. They might have said something. And they asked to come with me
1 to Albania. I tried to escape them, so to say, but it was impossible.
2 They insisted on coming with me, and they came with me.
3 I thought that after I went to Albania I would find a way to go
4 to -- to return to Kosova.
5 My nephews with whom I lived in Switzerland, I told them I was
6 going to London. I told them that I'm going to London for some
7 activities related to this fund and that I would be missing for some
8 days. So I had made sure that they didn't know where I was going,
9 because it was dangerous. It was simply dangerous that word might spread
10 that we -- before us arriving in Kosova people knew that we would be
11 going there. We had to be careful to protect our families. And this is
12 what I did, together with these two people that I mentioned.
13 Q. Did anyone in Kosovo know that you were returning?
14 A. No. No, absolutely not. It was beyond imagination.
15 Q. Now, I want to take you straight to Albania. You flew, is this
16 correct, to Tirana?
17 A. Yes. From Zurich airport I flew to than a there were many
18 Albanians on that plane. Among them there were people whom I knew later,
19 people who also wanted to go to Kosova. Some of them I met when we
20 approached the border. And this is how we went to Albania, to Tirana.
21 Q. Once you arrived in Tirana, which is in fact marked at least
22 slightly off the map of the second map, bottom left-hand corner as you
23 look at it, south-west corner, once you got to Tirana, how did you travel
24 to the border?
25 A. First I want to tell you that Adem Grabovci received me at the
1 airport with these other guys. He had gone to Albania two days before me
2 from the Rinas airport we went to Tirana. We stayed one night in Tirana.
3 Adem had rented an apartment.
4 Maybe it's of interest for You Honoured Judges that after we
5 arrived in Tirana things were more or less clear, the reason for my trip
6 to Albania. Haxhiu and Ismet Jashari whose families didn't know about
7 their trip, so their wives and children didn't know where they were
8 going, they knew simply that they were going to Albania for four or five
9 days. Then I was obliged to tell them that I'm going to Kosova and that
10 you may stay in Albania for four or five days as you wish, and then when
11 you go back to Switzerland, please don't tell anyone that we have gone to
12 Kosova. Tell them that we remained in Albania and from Albania will go
13 to a western country. But Ismet and Haxhi insisted that they knew from
14 the first moment that I was not going to remain in Albania and that they
15 too were determined to accompany me to Kosova. Despite my insistence
16 that they go back to Switzerland to their family for a short time to see
17 what would happen because in fact we didn't know what was going on in
18 Kosova at the time. And personally, I didn't know where I was going,
19 where I was staying, what would happen after that. And I didn't want to
20 take these two along with me.
21 We were going to an unknown, let's say, place, towards an unknown
22 fate. So I felt that they were not prepared to face unexpected
23 situations, because from outside it might be easier for you to have an
24 idea of the situation, but when you go there on the ground, the situation
25 might be different. But these two guys were determined. They wanted to
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 come with me no matter what. And this is what we did.
2 And on the next day, Adem told us to leave at 8.00, to -- we
3 travelled by bus, kombi bus it was called. We travelled towards the
4 border. He told us that in the border there are people who will escort
5 us. There will be some activists of this Homeland Calls fund who had
6 come from different countries and they also were determined to go to
7 Kosova. So we would form a group and together we would enter Kosova, he
8 told us.
9 On the next day at 8.00 we left. We got on the bus and set out
10 to Fokukus [phoen] from Tirana.
11 Q. Could you again, on the second map on the board, just indicate
12 with a different pen from the one you've used already so we can
13 distinguish the route out and the route back can you indicate on that
14 with a felt pen, some colour you haven't used, the point on the Albania
15 border where you crossed back into Kosovo.
16 A. [Marks]
17 Q. What colour have you used so we know -- black. Black. Yes.
18 I want to ask you -- now, the place where you crossed the border,
19 was it a border crossing or was it a little-known track? What was it?
20 A. It was a little-known track, I would say, a track used by
21 shepherds mostly.
22 Q. Now, did you cross it on foot or in a vehicle?
23 A. From the place we left and to the place of our destination, we
24 travelled on foot.
25 Q. And who is the "we"? Who is with you as you cross the border?
1 A. When we arrived at Krume by using different roads, we were about
2 ten persons in the van, and some others joined us on the way. At the
3 place where we stopped we were about 30. We spent the night there and
4 the entire day, the following day. In the evening we travelled.
5 At that time, of course, I didn't know the names of the persons who were
6 travelling with me, but I learned these names later on.
7 Q. And who were they?
8 A. Maybe I cannot remember all of them at this moment, but I will do
9 my best to mention all of them. I will start with Fehmi Lladrovci's
10 name. I didn't know him from before. It was the first time that I saw
11 him. I will continue with the name of his wife, Xhevat. I didn't know
12 her either. Then Bekim Berisha, whom I didn't know from before. I don't
13 know the name of one person, but his pseudonym was CD. I know that he
14 came from the Llap region. These two persons came from Croatia. Then
15 Sami Lushtaku. I didn't know him to that moment. There was also Sahit
16 Jashari. I knew him from before. I had met him once in Kosova in 1996
17 in his house. There was -- there were two Geci brothers. I don't
18 remember their names at the moment. And one of their nephews. Then
19 myself, Ismet Jashari, Haxhi Shala, then Xhema, Xhem Gashi. I didn't
20 know him until that time. Then Shukri Buja. I knew him from before. I
21 had met him in Switzerland. I had met him once or twice in some rallies.
22 I worked as a journalist. I met him in a rally in Zurich.
23 Then Hashim Thaqi, the president of the Democratic Party, and a
24 person whom I didn't know by name at that time but whom I had seen in
25 Switzerland, and I had met with him once or twice there. His pseudonym
1 was Luan. And then Kadri Veseli . I didn't know him from before. There
2 were also some young men from the Dukagjini area, but I don't remember
3 their names or pseudonyms. These were the persons whom I saw at that
5 I would like to add, if possible, that Bekim Berisha, known by
6 the pseudonym Abeja at that time, when we went to the place where we
7 spent the night, he gave me the impression of being a military officer
8 because he had participated in the Croatian war together with the person
9 with the pseudonym CD, and they had military experience. I know that
10 some of the weapons arrived that night, an automatic rifle. We began to
11 clean the weapons, and he started to teach other persons how to operate
12 the rifle, because 70 or 80 per cent of those there didn't even know how
13 to open a rifle. They were young men. They hadn't completed their
14 military service.
15 We discussed the way we were going to travel and how we were
16 going to do it, and they also said that if someone was not prepared to
17 cope with that journey then they should return now and not at a later
19 So basically this is what was discussed that night. The
20 following day, in the evening, we travelled. I would like to say that
21 throughout this time, we stayed with a family in a house on the
22 Albanian-Kosova border. They had deserted the house, and probably one of
23 these friends had rented their house.
24 At around 8.00 or 9.00 p.m., we all got on our backs a military
25 bag, about 25 or 30 kilogrammes loaded with ammunition, bombs, and we set
1 off towards the border.
2 As I said, the column was led by those who were experienced,
3 Abeja or Bekim and CD. As for the journey, there were two from Albania
4 and one from Kosova, a young man who was usually there waiting and
5 escorting people at the border. And this is how we set off.
6 Q. Now, the question that should be asked at this point is: Was
7 anyone in charge of your group?
8 A. As I mentioned earlier, from a military point of view, if we can
9 call it a military point of view, from the way they communicated with us
10 as a group you could tell that Bekim and Fehmi Lladrovci were the two
11 persons who had the most of experience. As for leadership, there was
12 Hashim and Kadri.
13 I can say that this was the group that was kind of a leadership
14 to our group.
15 Q. At that point when you crossed the border, did you have any idea
16 where you were going in Kosovo?
17 A. Well, at that time it was said that we were going in the Drenica
18 area. We didn't know the exact place where we were going. I think that
19 except for Hashim and maybe Fehmi Lladrovci, nobody else knew where we
20 were going, but we were all knew that we were going to Drenica. We
21 didn't know the exact place or the exact village where we were going.
22 Q. Who had decided Drenica was the destination?
23 A. Well, it was clear at that time there was no other place you
24 could go to except for Drenica. That was the place where the fighting
25 was going on. That was the only place that could have had a KLA place
1 and -- a KLA base and a place where the KLA soldiers could be assigned
3 When I'm speaking of Drenica, I do not refer to the entire area
4 of Drenica. I'm referring to some villages in the Prekaz area, some
5 villages that had entered combat at that time. So we all knew that we
6 were going in Drenica.
7 Q. Yes. I'm sorry to persist a bit. It may be important, I don't
8 know. But did somebody, one of you, even though you all realised that's
9 where you were going, did one of you decide that was the obvious place to
10 go, or was this generally discussed and agreed amongst you this was the
11 only place to go? How did it happen?
12 A. There was no special decision. People were just going there to
13 join the KLA, and the only address that you could go to and join the KLA
14 at that time was Drenica. Whoever set off for joining the KLA, they --
15 their destination was Drenica.
16 As I said, the people who were leading us during that journey,
17 they were heading there and they knew better because they had information
18 from inside where to go. You should consider the fact that we didn't
19 have any exact information what was going on in Kosova, where Serb forces
20 were positioned or where the KLA members were positioned. We didn't know
21 what was the journey we were going to undertake. So those were the
22 people who knew exactly, who knew the accurate place where to go in
24 There were also others who did not come to Drenica but stopped at
25 other places. Some stopped at their birthplace, some who had been
1 persecuted in the past.
2 Now maybe it's good to make a distinction here. I just
3 remembered. We in a way were searched for by the Serb forces. So for us
4 there existed only one way, one address, Drenica. For some others who
5 were not -- for whom the Serbian forces had no knowledge of, they could
6 stop in their birthplaces and visit their families.
7 I with like to say that the majority of us went to Likovc.
8 Q. If you wouldn't mind, we've got the place where you crossed the
9 border. Could you as far as you can with the same pen that you've just
10 used mark on that second map the route you just had to get to Likovc.
11 Yes, please.
12 A. Approximately this is the route.
13 Q. May I just interrupt. I gather it's on the monitors now. I
14 don't know whether you have it or not.
15 Thank you. You've marked the route. How long did it take you to
16 go that distance?
17 A. In hours, about 75 hours. I would like to say that the journey
18 took place at night and only at night. Whenever -- at dawn we would plan
19 to find a shelter place in the mountains and shelter there until the
20 evening, and at night we would proceed on foot and so on. During the day
21 we would shelter. At night we would proceed with our journey. The
22 terrain was very difficult. It was March, and the mountains on the
23 Kosova Albanian border are very difficult to pass, especially at winter.
24 There was snow up to a metre, a metre and a half on these mountains, so
25 it was very difficult for us to travel through this terrain. Then we
1 encountered difficulties inside Kosova since we had to use invisible, so
2 to say, roads, off-roads. We had to pass rivers as Drini Ibar River is,
3 on foot. We would get wet and then wait to dry and it was really, really
5 So it took us about 75 hours, approximately 75 hours to reach
7 Q. And was something showing you the way?
8 A. Yes. At all times we had persons who were leading us, especially
9 in such circumstances. You cannot manage a journey without having some
10 who know the terrain. There were two persons who had travelled that road
11 and who knew the terrain.
12 Q. How many were left in your group by the time you arrived in
14 A. To tell you the truth, I didn't show much interest to find out
15 the number, but I believe that we were 24 or 25, we who arrived at
17 Q. And where did you go in Likovc?
18 A. We arrived around 3.00 in the morning. We separated. I know
19 that we met with Musa Jashari and Rexhep Selimi in Likovc. Musa had gone
20 out to wait for his brother Zahid, and after the tragedy that had
21 occurred in Prekaz, their family had suffered losses. Their mother and
22 father were killed as well as other members of the family. So he had
23 gone out to wait for his brother who had been away from Kosova for a long
25 I know that Musa took us to a house where he was staying after he
1 had left Prekaz. So we spent that night there where Musa was staying
2 together with some family members of his. Some villagers had given them
3 part of their house after the Prekaz events. So we spent that night
5 Q. Did you personally have any weapons or ammunition with you?
6 A. Yes. As all the others had, I also had an automatic rifle of
7 Yugoslav make, and I had a military bag filled with different ammunition,
8 which was about 20 or 25 kilos in weight.
9 Q. How long did you stay in Likovc?
10 A. I think we stayed approximately seven or ten days.
11 Q. In that time, did you discover whether the KLA as an organisation
12 had set up all kinds of points, had established a structure? I mean,
13 what did you discover about the KLA at this first arrival?
14 A. When we arrived at Likovc, the next day we wanted to see where we
15 stood, what the situation was. We wanted to face the reality that
16 existed there at that time. We couldn't wait to meet KLA members and to
17 meet the people there. We had that western opinion, an imagination that
18 was quite different from the reality there.
19 We met with people who didn't even have uniforms. Some of them
20 had a rifle, some didn't. And we were looking at them with sympathy, and
21 they were looking back at us with sympathy and hope. There it was
22 obvious to us that the reality was different from that of our
23 imagination. After the developments in Prekaz, the situation was
24 extremely difficult, and simply for those who hoped or who in a way were
25 optimistic about the developments inside Kosova, what we saw on the first
1 day in Likovc was really disappointing. It was not what we expected. We
2 faced quite a different situation, a situation that we could not even
3 imagine before entering Kosova.
4 Q. So what was the reality that you discovered on the first day?
5 A. The reality was that in a small village of Drenica, in Likovc,
6 you could see 15, 20 people armed within the village, people who were
7 still under the influence of the recent battle of Prekaz. They were all
8 talking about the tragedy, its consequences. People were very scared.
9 The situation in the village was very tense. They expected some
10 retaliation action by the Serbs, and they were not capable of protecting
11 their village. And the number of the KLA members was very small.
12 I went to visit a point which was set up to protect the village.
13 I remember there were about 20 people there. I remember a teacher, Rifat
14 Musliu [phoen], he's a hero now. If I not mistaken about his name. He
15 had a hunting gun, two automatic rifles and a few other rifles. There
16 were some 16 people wearing some KLA insignia. The situation was really
17 grave. We didn't see more than 15, 16 people then.
18 We went to various villages to rest -- to homes in the village to
19 rest. On the next day, we started to talk with villagers. We could see
20 that they -- their only hope was in us. So the reality we found was
21 really very sad.
22 I may be wrong, but I don't think I saw more than 200 soldiers
23 altogether, in all those areas. When I'm talking about the number, I'm
24 talking about the whole region, even outside Drenica. The situation was
25 very, very critical.
1 Fighting was going on in some villages near Prekaz. People were
2 unarmed. They lacked munitions. Serbia had dealt a very heavy blow
3 following the murder of the legendary commander, and the outcomes were
4 very obvious for everybody to see.
5 Q. What did you decide you could do, in fact, therefore?
6 A. We stayed there for several days, and we could talk to people
7 every day, to soldiers. Now we saw some civilians coming and joining the
8 KLA, people who wanted to defend the village. We could talk with them.
9 We could become acquainted with some members of the KLA. Two of the KLA
10 members had been injured in Likoshan and Qirez actions. They were being
11 treated in a room there. Some medical assistance was being administered
12 to them. Dr. Fadil was the person. And we saw people who came to visit
13 the injured persons, and they recounted new developments.
14 So we saw that there was no reason for us to remain there.
15 People were very poor. They couldn't even feed us. What could we do in
16 a small hamlet with 20, 30 village -- households? They wanted to help us
17 but we couldn't stay there at the crossroads of the village, walk around,
18 talk with people. We told them about life abroad. They all looked up at
19 us waiting for us to tell them what to do. So in a way they had thought
20 we had come there that -- because we knew what was going to happen. It
21 was -- for us it was a confrontation with the truth. We had expected
22 something else. They had expected something else. So both sides had
23 expected different things. So they were under the constant
24 pressure and threat of the Serb forces. I wanted to go to my
25 municipality to see what I could do there in Malisheve municipality, at
1 least to provide economic assistance to them and to expand the activity
2 of the KLA to other zones, because the purpose of Serbia was to localise
3 the war. Even within Drenica the Serb forces had managed to divide
4 Drenica and to minimise the war within six, seven villages.
5 So seeing all this, I went to Rexhep Selimi whom I met every day
6 and with whom we [as interpreted] talked. We couldn't ask because the
7 situation -- the information was considered secret. So we just talked in
9 I went to him, to Rexhep, since -- whom I considered as a friend
10 mostly, to tell him that there was no need for me to stay here. I don't
11 see the point of my remaining here and that I wanted to go to my
12 municipality and try to do something there, recruit people, to expand the
13 activity to other municipalities. Because if we -- if we remain here,
14 what shall we do?
15 Rexhep thought that everyone could shoot, act, whatever we could.
16 So for us it would be better for us to go back to our native villages and
17 where we could find more easily accommodation and food. And this is what
18 we did.
19 After one or two days, I tried to establish some contact with
20 someone from Malisheve, to find some people I knew. Then Haxhi, who was
21 not wanted by the Serb forces, he had been working in Switzerland for one
22 year, and he was a person who could go freely -- legally, I might say so,
23 to his home. And he went to Malisheve and arranged for our transit from
24 Likovc to Malisheve engaging a cousin of his to come and pick us up at a
25 certain place where we had agreed. And after two days, I met Rexhe
1 again. Hashim was present at the meeting. I was prepared to go to my
2 native village. Hashim told me that if it's possible -- I forgot to
3 mention the name of Agim Bajrami who was among the group of 30 persons.
4 So he asked me if I could get Shukri and Agim with us so that
5 they could pass from Malisheve to their respective municipalities. So
6 almost all of us who were there went back to our respective
8 I offered my, of course, help to Shukri. He came with us. He
9 ate with us in the same place. So I offered him the same safety I had
10 for myself. I couldn't guarantee him more.
11 So they were supposed to come with us, and we promised to help
12 them go back to their municipalities. Lipjan and Stimlje were their
13 respective municipalities. Agim was supposed to go to Kacanik and this
14 is what we did. Shukri came and told Hashim that he would go together
15 with me to Malisheve, and we set off at about 9.00 on the next day in the
16 next evening. Two villagers escorted us. They gave us a lift with their
17 car up to the main road, Pristina-Peja road to Mlecan village. Then
18 after that, we walked on foot. We passed the main road and headed to
19 Vermice village.
20 Because it was very late, we decided to stay over in Vermice with
21 some family members of Haxhi. It was someone called Jupa, I remember. I
22 don't remember his last name. At that house we stayed that night. In
23 fact, it was his brother's home. We stayed there also during the next
24 day, and Haxhi -- then on the next day Haxhi went to met his cousin to
25 come and pick us up or along this Orlat-Malisheve-Terpeze asphalt road.
1 And in the evening of the second day we, the five of us, set off for the
2 place where two other people were supposed to meet us. From Terpeze or
3 Smonice, after a trip that lasted some three or four hours, these two
4 lads came and we continued the way towards Pagarushe through Malisheve.
5 So we travelled by car along the main road because Malisheve is
6 mostly inhabited by Albanians. And after the 1990s where it was -- its
7 status was changed from municipality, it had no -- nothing, no state
8 institution, no police station, no administrative building. So it was as
9 easy for us to move around at night up to Pagarushe.
10 Q. Where were you aiming to go?
11 A. Haxhi's cousin had found a provisional place for us to stay in
12 Pagarushe, and we went there. We stayed there overnight, but it was a
13 temporary stay. My purpose was to did to Klecke, because I felt safe
14 there. It was my place of residence. I knew I could find a place to
15 stay. Nobody could refuse us because it was normal for people to refuse
16 you to stay with them at the time. They were afraid. But it was safe
17 for me to go there.
18 First I had to go to sound out the situation. We stayed in
19 Pagarushe on one night. On the next day in the evening, we - Shukri and
20 Agim - travelled to Klecke accompanied by these two lads, because at that
21 time it was very dangerous for five people to stay together and even for
22 people it was not easy to feed and to shelter five people. So Shukri and
23 Agim together with Haxhi's cousin continued their trip to Klecke and went
24 to Klecke at the house of my nephew who is a hero now. Sadik Shala is
25 his name. I had told Sadik that he should tell my nephew that I had sent
2 Shukri goes there and tells him that Fatmir had sent them and
3 asked for his help. Sadik was a person who knew the terrain very well,
4 so he helped them pass on to Lipjan and Stimlje municipalities.
5 The three of us who remained went from Pagarushe to Goriq village. Goriq
6 we -- we stayed with some acquaintances of Haxhi at the family of
7 Zejnullah Mazreku. There we stayed for two days. I want to say here
8 from the very first moment Zejnullah told us that his home was ours and
9 that we could go there any time we needed and that he would take care of
10 us. Or we could stay there because accommodation, shelter, was the
11 number one necessity for us.
12 After two days of stay in Goriq, we travelled in the direction of
13 Klecke. In Goriq we had created a base that we might use -- make use of
14 if the need arose.
15 So after that we went to Klecke. All the time we travelled at
16 night because we didn't know -- didn't want people to know about our
18 We arrived in Klecke in late evening, and Sadik came to meet us.
19 And this is how it happened that we settled in Klecke.
20 Q. I have one more question tonight because it's now approaching
21 7.00, and that is this: Where are we in the -- are we still in March
22 that you arrive in Klecka finally or have we got to April do you think?
23 A. No. I think it was the end of March. In might have been the
24 20th of March, probably. It was -- I know that it was the last part of
25 March, the end of March.
1 MR. MANSFIELD: Your Honour, would that be a convenient moment?
2 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Mansfield.
3 We will continue tomorrow afternoon at 2.15, and we will adjourn
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.01 p.m.,
6 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 18th day
7 of May, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.