1 Tuesday, 16 January 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.01 a.m.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, good morning, everyone. Welcome back. I
6 hope -- or we hope suitably re-invigorated to respond to the many
7 challenges, I'm sure, that lie ahead for this year.
8 Mr. Hannis.
9 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour, good morning. Happy New Year
10 to everyone. And our first witness this year, Your Honour, will be Adnan
11 Merovci. Your Honour, this witness will testify as a live and a 92 ter
12 witness; 92 ter being his statement, which is Exhibit P2588. There is a
13 supplemental information that we obtained yesterday. He added two new
14 paragraphs or two additions to his statement. I don't know if Your
15 Honours have a copy of that or not.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: We do, thank you.
17 MR. HANNIS: I had indicated in Defence counsel in that that I was
18 going to move to amend the 65 ter summary and seek to lead that evidence
19 live when he testifies today.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Is there anyone opposed to that evidence being led
21 from this witness?
22 Very well, Mr. Hannis, we will allow you to amend the 65 ter
23 summary accordingly.
24 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: And we will now hear the witness.
1 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
2 One other matter, Your Honour. He indicated to me that he had
3 prepared a one-page handwritten document in Albanian, which is a list of
4 dates with names or events to the side. I made a copy of that and handed
5 it around to the Defence. He indicated to me since he felt some unease
6 certainly on dates that he might refer to it. I indicated to him to let
7 us know if and when he felt the need to do that.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Good morning, Mr. Merovci.
11 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please make the solemn declaration to
13 speak the truth by reading aloud the document which is now before you.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
15 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
17 As I'm sure you know, you're going to be examined, asked questions
18 by a number of counsel here; and in the first instance, these questions
19 will be posed on behalf of the Prosecution. And the first counsel to
20 examine you, therefore, will be Mr. Hannis for the Prosecution.
21 Mr. Hannis.
22 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
23 Your Honour, this witness will be testifying to the paragraphs
24 that are indicated in the notification that was filed last week.
25 WITNESS: ADNAN MEROVCI
1 [Witness answered through interpreter]
2 Examination by Mr. Hannis:
3 Q. Mr. Merovci, good morning. I understand, sir, that you are a
4 Kosovo Albanian, that you are married and a father of four children. Is
5 that correct?
6 A. Yes, that is correct.
7 Q. And you speak, in addition to your mother tongue of Albanian, you
8 also speak and understand English and Serbian?
9 A. Yes, that's correct.
10 Q. I'm sorry -- yes, thank you. I would first of all like to show
11 you an exhibit that's been marked as P2588. Mr. Merovci, if I can hand
12 you momentarily a hard copy of the English version of this document. Do
13 you recognise what that is?
14 A. Yes, that is the statement I gave and signed.
15 Q. And did you have a chance to review that statement before you came
16 in to court to testify today?
17 A. Yes. I had a chance to read it again, and it's clear to me.
18 Q. Okay. And are you satisfied it's true and accurate?
19 A. Yes, the entire statement is correct.
20 Q. And can you attest to the Court today that that is your evidence,
21 and you would give the same answers to those questions if you were asked
22 the same questions again today?
23 A. Yes, I can.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, we would tender that statement pursuant
1 to Rule 92 ter.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Hannis.
3 MR. HANNIS:
4 Q. Mr. Merovci, since the time of your statement, I wanted to ask you
5 about some of your employment. After you left Mr. Rugova, did you have
6 occasion to perform any work for the OSCE?
7 A. Yes, I did. I was the chief executive of the election
8 secretariat. I was the head of the institution for the organisation of
9 the local election in Kosova.
10 Q. And those elections were held in what year?
11 A. I'm talking about the election of 2004.
12 Q. And since that time, have you worked in private industry?
13 A. Before that time, I was a director of Kosova post service. After
14 election, I worked in the private sector where I work even now. I am the
15 executive direct of a foodstuff industry.
16 Q. Now, I want to take you to your statement.
17 MR. HANNIS: And if I could have the usher bring me back the copy
18 of your statement so I can refer to my notes.
19 Q. In paragraph 1, you make reference to in 1981 you began working
20 for the Bank of Kosovo. What kind of work did you do at the bank?
21 A. I was responsible for the data processing department at the IT
23 Q. Now, you continued to work at the bank until 1990, as I understand
24 from your statement. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes. I worked until 1990, but with one year interruption, during
1 which I served in the military.
2 Q. That was your compulsory military service with the JNA?
3 A. Yes. In 1983, 1984.
4 Q. And what type of unit with the JNA did you perform your compulsory
6 A. I was in the artillery division.
7 Q. Mr. Merovci, I want to jump ahead in your statement to paragraph
8 8, and you're talking about the 1980s. You say: "Even then it was
9 Mr. Milosevic's strategy to get Kosovars," Kosovar Albanians I take
10 it,"out and move Serbs in so that an ethnically clean province was
12 What evidence did you have or what did you see to lead you to the
13 conclusion that that was Mr. Milosevic's strategy?
14 A. Among others, there was a programme, a pre-determined programme,
15 for the return of the Serbs which absolutely discriminated Albanians, and
16 I will provide only a few arguments here. For example, the Serbs could
17 have access to work, they had a place of work, they had accommodation,
18 housing; then there was the law in force, discriminating law, whereby the
19 Serbs were not allowed to sell solid property to the Albanians. These are
20 a few things that come to my mind at this moment.
21 Q. When you say the Serbs had access to work and had accommodation or
22 housing, how was that different from an Albanian's access to work or
24 A. When I said that they had deliberate discriminating programme
25 against Albanians and favouring Serbs, it was a programme organised by the
1 government at that time, and often it worked against Albanians. For
2 example, if a house or an apartment that was meant to be given to an
3 Albanian working in a certain place - and at the time when I am talking
4 about that was a collective property. There was no private property -
5 such houses or apartments were -- were meant to be given by people working
6 in different enterprises.
7 That happened to me, too. I was -- my name was in a list waiting
8 to get this accommodation, and a colleague of mine came to work and she
9 got a new apartment for a couple of days, an apartment which was
10 dedicated -- which was meant to be given to me.
11 Q. Okay. And you said that Serbs could not sell property to
12 Albanians. What type of property are you talking about?
13 A. That is true. There was discriminating law in force which was
14 criticised afterwards even by the international community. In the case of
15 solid property, it was forbidden for the Serbs to sell it; however, there
16 are have been transactions, private transactions made because this law, in
17 fact, was discriminating the Serbs who wanted, in fact, to sell some sort
18 of their solid property. So the effect of this law, in fact, worked
19 against the Serbs, but it also had an effect on the Albanians as well.
20 Q. You mentioned that law that prohibited Serbs from selling property
21 to Albanians. Was there a similar law preventing Albanians from selling
22 property to Serbs?
23 A. No. Only the Serbs were prohibited from selling property to the
24 Albanian. So we couldn't get hold of that property through court
25 proceedings, but the opposite could be done.
1 Q. Okay. I want to move forward to paragraph 11 of your statement,
2 where you talk about in 1989 the formation of the LDK party under
3 Mr. Rugova and others. When and how did you become an activist in the
5 A. I became an activist of the LDK in its first days of formation. I
6 was one of the first militants engaged simply in technical affairs. My
7 engagement consisted mainly of the organisation of the work of the office
8 for the deceased -- for the late President Rugova. And at no moment did I
9 become involved in political affairs during my entire career in that
10 organisation and in more real terms with Mr. Rugova.
11 Q. Did you ever become a member of that party?
12 A. In fact, I was not a member, formally speaking; but given that
13 there was an organisation that resembled more a movement that dealt with
14 the organisation of life in Kosova, the health service, education,
15 cultural activities, and so on, it was a form of organisation which all
16 Albanians ascribed to, because that made possible their life in those
18 Q. Although you were not a member, did you eventually come to be paid
19 for the services that you provided to the LDK?
20 A. Initially, every activist worked on a voluntary basis, mainly
21 engaging in activities of his or her own free will. So our activity was
22 based on the personal contributions of each and every one, because at the
23 beginning it was difficult for this organisation to get funds. This went
24 on for the first three years.
25 And in my private car I, drove Mr. Rugova for three years at my
1 own expenses. After that time, we managed to put in place a financing
2 system which was called more, a monthly contribution, and because of that
3 we managed to be paid.
4 Q. Okay. In paragraph 13 you talk about your employment at the bank
5 of Kosovo and your membership in the Presidency of the trade union. Can
6 you tell us briefly what -- what was the role of the trade union at the
8 A. At that time, a little while before the multi-party system was
9 legalised in Yugoslavia, workers started to organise trade unions. They
10 were called independent trade unions. Each organisation, each
11 institution, even the public institutions, could form such kind of
12 organisation. I was one of the organisers of the independent trade union
13 at the United Bank of Kosova. I was a member of the Presidency of this
14 trade union.
15 Q. And you mention in 1989 the imposition of certain emergency
16 measures, I think sometimes they've been referred to here as special
17 measures, that took place in -- around the time the autonomy of Kosovo was
18 revoked. You're familiar with that event?
19 A. Yes, I am. Following the constitutional amendments, the violent
20 constitutional amendments, all the public, economic, and social
21 institutions, mainly economic, were subjected to violent measures. This
22 is how we described them and this is the word used in Serbian. These
23 measures were imposed on us against the will of the society and the
24 workers employed in these institutions. After these measures, procedures
25 started to eliminate or liquidate --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Correction.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- the institutions which might
3 continue for years to declare them bankrupt. The process of assessment
4 went on for years, and then commissions of experts had to decide on the
5 destiny of the enterprise, which implies the liquidation procedure or
6 bankruptcy procedure which, in fact, continued in Kosova in the bank where
7 I worked. I'm talking of the time when Markovic was prime minister and
8 his notorious programme was published.
9 MR. HANNIS:
10 Q. Okay. You used the term that has been translated into English as
11 violent measures. You said that this was the word used in Serbian. Can
12 you say the word in Serbian so we can hear how that's translated from the
14 A. We called it -- or in Serbian it was called "prisilne mere,"
15 coercive measures.
16 Q. And how did it affect you and other employees at the Bank of
17 Kosovo when these measures were put into effect? How did that work in
18 real life?
19 A. These measures had the objective of destroying all the
20 institutions in Kosova and, especially, they aimed at firing Albanians
21 from work in all institutions. At the bank where I worked, which had
22 about 500 employees, of whom about 300 were Albanians and the remainder
23 Serbs, with the exception of some Albanians who were in key positions in
24 the bank, I was one of them, the number was about 60, we were the ones who
25 were -- who remained in that institution and about 240 others were fired.
1 As I said, I was one who remained in the bank. But after some
2 weeks, I, too, suffered the same fate. I was sacked from work as well.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Merovci, you have referred a moment ago to the
4 way in which enterprises were bankrupted or liquidated. In the case of
5 the bank, you've described in your statement how the Serbs took control.
6 Once they had control of the bank, why did they liquidate it?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Initially, they put in place a
8 programme of violent measures in all institutions. When I say "all
9 institutions," I mean all institutions, including social, state
10 institutions, and others. In the bank then, they started to use the
11 liquidation procedure on the pretext that it was not a profitable bank.
12 I'm talking about the time when this was the only bank operating
13 in Kosova, and it was part of the unity of banks of the former Yugoslavia.
14 And the process of liquidation is applied in an institution only when it
15 is assessed that it is not a profitable institution, which was not the
16 case with that bank being the only one operating there. So by violent
17 measures, I mean the imposition of a violent management.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: I don't think you understand my question. My
19 question isn't to understand the process, but to understand the motive for
20 the process. Why, if it was possible to secure control of the bank by
21 dismissing Albanians and ensuring that the Serbs had all the senior
22 positions, why was it then necessary to liquidate the bank, by which I
23 assume its operation ceased?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is my opinion and I base it on
25 fact. I want to explain to you that these violent measures were imposed
1 on every institution and this is a fact. Then, in the case of some
2 institutions, as the case is with the bank being a financial institution,
3 the only way for them to fire employees from this institution, which has
4 nothing to do with politics, was through the process of liquidation.
5 This was the reason why the bank was subjected to this procedure,
6 and all the procedures were conducted by Belgrade. To be clear to all,
7 the liquidation process didn't come about as a result of violation of the
8 state of the bank of this financial institution, but only with the intent
9 of firing the workers from or the staff from their posts.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Once the bulk of the Albanian staff were dismissed,
11 did the bank continue to operating under the control of the Serbs? Or did
12 it -- was its business terminated and its doors closed?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The bank continued its operation,
14 but not with the status it used to have with a very reduced number of
15 staff. When I say "reduced," I mean taking off all the Albanian staff,
16 and it changed the name as well.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. I do now understand. Thank you.
18 Mr. Hannis.
19 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
20 Q. Mr. Merovci, were any of the Serbs who worked at the bank fired or
21 let go during this process?
22 A. No, not only the bank but in no other institution were the Serbs
23 fired. I don't recall any case of any Serbs being sacked. On the
24 contrary, other Serbs replaced the Albanians who were fired.
25 Q. I want to move now to paragraph 17 of your statement. This is
1 after you have been expelled from your job at the bank, and you joined Dr.
2 Rugova full time. Did you eventually have a title for the job that you
3 did with Dr. Rugova?
4 A. Yes. I was responsible mainly for the administration of his
5 office, his cabinet. My position was based on the work I did. I was
6 personal secretary of Mr. Rugova. Now and again, I was described as chief
7 of protocol. Sometimes I was described as his technical secretary or
8 personal secretary, but my work consisted of things having to do with the
9 position of a personal secretary.
10 Q. Okay. Was Mr. Rugova your direct supervisor, your direct boss,
11 nobody between you and him?
12 A. My -- I had direct relations with Mr. Rugova. My work consisted
13 only in activities related to his activity.
14 Q. And what kinds of things did you do for Dr. Rugova in that
16 A. Since in 1989 Mr. Rugova was elected president of the LDK and in
17 92 he was elected president of Kosova by the election organised at that
18 time by the Albanians, my work had to do with the organisation of his
19 protocol meetings; sending and receiving documents. I was responsible
20 also for his security. It was kind of improvised security for his
21 transport, and also I had to take care of his family.
22 Q. In paragraph 19, you mentioned that in the course of travels with
23 Dr. Rugova that you had numerous contacts with the border police or the
24 border personnel. You say: "Sometimes the harassment would be a personal
25 matter and sometimes it would be organised harassment."
1 Can you explain for the Judges the difference between and give us
2 some examples of personal harassment and organised harassment.
3 A. Yes. In the course of my work, I had to escort him in all his
4 trips; and in all his trips abroad I was with him, I accompanied him all
5 the time. There was a person who had to communicate with the counterparts
6 and to witness harassment or -- by the police. For example, when we went
7 to Macedonia or even when we crossed the border to go to some other
8 foreign countries, this kind of, if I can say, maltreatment or harassment,
9 had a personal character often. When I say a "personal character," I mean
10 that sometimes when they stopped our car - usually, we used three cars;
11 one before, one at the rear, and one with the president in the middle -
12 they allowed, for example, the first or the last car and stopped the
13 middle car, where Mr. Rugova and I was.
14 And after asking us to show our IDs, sometimes it happened that a
15 policeman in secret told me that we did this only because my chief asked
16 us. We don't have an order to stop you, but we just want to prove to you
17 that it is us who are here. And after that, they made comments that we
18 stopped Mr. Rugova, we saw him, and we talked to him, and so on. These
19 were the things that happened to us by the individuals who were charged to
20 do that by the police. When I say that they stopped us and maltreated us
21 in an organised way, I mean that sometimes from Pristina to the border,
22 which is about 60 kilometres, it has happened that they have stopped us
23 seven to eight times on the way and asked us the same questions,
24 communicated to us in the same way, just to delay us.
25 It has happened sometimes that I show them the plane tickets, and
1 when they saw the time of the flight they deterred us even more and we
2 lost the plane. Sometimes we were invited to attend some occasion by
3 international institutions like the European parliament and other
4 institutions. We show them the documents and they didn't show any
5 understanding for our position. When we arrived at the border, we didn't
6 have any problems. So this is an argument that convinces me that
7 everything was staged.
8 Q. Thank you. I want to --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: It may be that this will be resolved later, but in
10 line 4 I think -- in fact in line 3, the witness said I was the person who
11 had to communicate with the counterpart.
12 MR. HANNIS: That's what I heard too, Your Honour.
13 Q. Mr. Merovci, I want to move to another topic. In paragraph 28 of
14 your statement, you mention that in early 1998, the UCK, the KLA, became
15 more established and more active. Did Dr. Rugova or you ever have any
16 direct contact with the UCK?
17 A. No. To my knowledge, Mr. Rugova had no contact whatsoever with
18 the Kosova Liberation Army.
19 Q. Now, I guess I should limit that, but I understand from other
20 parts of your statement from the Rambouillet and Paris talks that there
21 were representatives of the UCK that were part of the Albanian
22 delegation. But I meant apart from that where you were members of the
23 same delegation, no contact?
24 A. If we are speaking of the time before the war, before the
25 Rambouillet conference, then the answer is no, I did not have personal
1 contacts with them. But these were people that I knew before, before they
2 became active in military ranks.
3 Q. Okay. And Dr. Rugova, likewise, before Rambouillet?
4 A. Mr. Rugova, too, did not have any contact with these people.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I clarify two things just before we move on.
6 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: In your statement in paragraph 28, you say that one
8 of the leadership of the LDK, Fehmi Agani, did have contacts with the KLA;
9 and you say, according to the English translation, "this was a formal
10 relationship between Agani and the KLA." Now, what do you mean this was a
11 "formal relationship" between them?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Well, the late Mr. Agani was one of
13 the deputy chairman of the LDK and a close associate of Mr. Rugova. I
14 would say that Mr. Agani had indirect contacts with the KLA through
15 activists and people who were during one time part of the LDK organisation
16 and then became KLA members.
17 So when I say "formal relation," I refer to this aspect. So these
18 were contacts of a courtesy and informal nature. As for Mr. Rugova, he
19 never had any direct contacts with these people.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Now, I read you as saying not formal, but rather
21 informal contacts with the KLA. There was no established relationship,
22 according to the answer you've just given?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. What you are saying is
24 correct. When the statement was taken, I meant "formalisht" in Albanian,
25 which is "formal" in English. And in a way it changes the character of
1 the sentence, but you are right, Your Honour..
2 JUDGE BONOMY: The other matter is a separate matter in the
3 previous paragraph, which is unrelated to this, paragraph 27. You're
4 talking about the completion of the agreement about education that the
5 communita di San Egidio was involved in. Did Rugova and Milosevic never
6 even meet to sign that agreement?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We are now speaking of the agreement
8 that was signed in 1996. As you already pointed out, it was mediated by
9 that organisation. It was signed by what is called shadow diplomacy.
10 There was no direct contact between the two, but the agreement was signed
11 first by Mr. Milosevic in Belgrade and then by Mr. Rugova in Pristina.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
13 Mr. Hannis.
14 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Q. Mr. Merovci, sort of going back to a topic we talked about
16 earlier. In paragraph 30 you mentioned that because of the increasing
17 violence in Kosovo, Dr. Rugova had reduced his travel within Kosovo,
18 particularly in the isolated areas, but he continued to travel abroad.
19 And you mentioned that you almost always had harassment on the
20 Kosovo side of the Macedonian border when you came back from these trips
21 and that you noticed that the level of harassment seemed to differ
22 depending on where you had been on the immediately preceding trip. Can
23 you give some examples of that.
24 A. Yes. Mr. Rugova, with his journeys abroad and his meetings,
25 official meetings I mean - and when I say "official," it means that these
1 meetings were convened; he was invited to take part - in cases of
2 high-level meetings and when these meetings were made public, on return
3 we were treated as VIPs in all other countries except in our own country.
4 We were treated there as enemies, and we were at many occasions harassed
5 due to these meetings.
6 I would like to single out the meeting with President Clinton.
7 Upon entering the border, we were maltreated as never before. Mr. Rugova
8 was taken out of the vehicle several times, three or four times, and then
9 made to enter the vehicle again. Everything was searched, the people
10 inside the car, then the escorting vehicles were also followed. So this
11 kind of maltreatment. If the road was clear up to Pristina, there would
12 be a stop by the police; a stop that had nothing to do with traffic
13 violations, but just to ask questions.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Could you remind us of the date of the meeting with
15 President Clinton?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember the date; but if
17 I'm not mistaken, it's 1994 or 1995. And when President Rugova received
18 the Sakharov prize, it was in 1998.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: I think Mr. Hannis is anxious that we move on now
20 to 1998 and 1999, hopefully.
21 MR. HANNIS: Yes, Your Honour, I have one question to follow-up on
22 that answer.
23 Q. You mentioned the Sakharov prize in 1998. What was that and was
24 there an incident upon your return after that trip?
25 A. You are probably familiar with the character of this prize because
1 it was presented to many other personalities, distinguished personalities.
2 After Mr. Rugova received this prize, as we were coming back to Kosova, we
3 were maltreated by the Serb police at the border. And which -- and this
4 behaviour on the part of the police was an expression of nervousness
5 because Mr. Rugova received this prize. In a way they were trying to say
6 that whatever rewards or prizes you get, they are not valid in this
8 Q. Let me move on --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: And are you saying that on the occasion of
10 receiving the prize, he also met President Clinton? Or is the only
11 occasion of meeting Clinton in 1994 or 1995?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The incident after the meeting with
13 Clinton is different. I only wanted to point out these two incidents when
14 we were maltreated.
15 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
16 Q. Mr. Merovci, in paragraph 31 you mentioned the Holbrooke-Milosevic
17 Agreement in October of 1998, and that after this agreement was reached
18 Dr. Rugova and you travelled around parts of Kosovo with Ambassador Chris
19 Hill. You mention while on that trip seeing VJ troops in the hills
20 between Shtime and Suva Reka. What kind of troops did you see in that
21 area? Were they infantry?
22 A. Yes. They were mainly infantry troops consisting of different
23 types of tanks, armoured vehicles. They were masked and we could see them
24 every now and then from the road in the mountains where you could only see
25 the barrels of the vehicles; although, according to the agreement, these
1 vehicles had to leave, to withdraw.
2 Q. In the following paragraph, paragraph 32, you mention that
3 Mr. Milosevic did not stick to the agreement to withdraw troops and you
4 say: "In fact, even more were introduced into Kosovo."
5 How do you know that more troops were introduced into Kosovo?
6 What was your source of information for that?
7 A. My source of information, or rather, the source of information for
8 Mr. Rugova's office was an information centre that was part of the LDK in
9 Kosova. It had an information commission which had an information agency
10 called the Information Centre of Kosova. LDK activists would bring the
11 information from the field to this centre.
12 These -- this information was mainly coming from the area of
13 Podujeva at the border with Serbia, where activists would personally see
14 the movement of the Serb machinery and they would report these things to
15 the information centre. The information centre then would make this
16 information public through the media at that time.
17 Q. Thank you. I want to move next to paragraph 38 of your statement.
18 This is after you have discussed some of the events at Rambouillet, and
19 you discuss how during the three weeks between Rambouillet and the
20 continuation of talks in Paris, you say: "Serbs took the opportunity to
21 amass more troops and equipment in Kosovo, although it was strictly
22 against the Holbrooke Agreement of 1998."
23 First of all, how were you aware of the terms of the agreement
24 between Milosevic and Holbrooke?
25 A. The terms of the Milosevic-Holbrooke Agreement or the agreement
1 itself was crowned with the dislocation of the members of the Kosova
2 Verification Mission, of the OSCE observers. This group or this mission
3 had a task to see to what level is this agreement implemented. The
4 deadline was pronounced.
5 Our activists at the various alteration points followed an
6 enormous number of equipment that entered Kosova from Serbia, and this is
7 a public fact. During that time, over 30.000 troops entered Kosova and
8 the number kept growing. The information came mainly from the activists
9 who were following these developments on the side, counting each and every
10 one of the pieces of equipment.
11 Q. So again, your source of information is through the LDK's Kosovo
12 Information Centre?
13 A. The main source of our information was the Kosovo Information
14 Centre, but this was -- the information we got was proven by the real
15 facts. After the Rambouillet conference, after the Paris conference, the
16 verification mission made -- the work of this mission made no sense
17 because the Holbrooke Agreement was violated, was breached. So the
18 reality spoke to the opposite of the Holbrooke Agreement.
19 Q. Now I want to move to --
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
21 MR. HANNIS: Yes.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Is there KVM material on this that you're going to
23 be presenting to us? I don't recollect DZ giving us specific figures, for
24 example, like the figure we've just had.
25 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I don't recall. I would have to
1 double-check --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
3 MR. HANNIS: -- his transcript.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I ask you one other question which is related
5 to this matter, but it's a bit disjointed from the evidence you've been
6 given at the moment. Hashim Thaci is referred to as one of the delegates
7 to Rambouillet. Do you know what position precisely he held in the KLA?
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. Officially, he was the
9 director of the political bureau of the KLA; that is, the KLA had a
10 political division, and Mr. Thaci was the director of this department, or
11 to put it more explicitly, he was the political representative of the KLA.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: And how did that position fit in with the other
13 leadership of the KLA?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As far as I know from the
15 information we received and from what I read, the KLA had a General Staff
16 and these people were mainly members of the staff, with Mr. Thaci being
17 one of them in his capacity as political representative.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
19 Mr. Hannis.
20 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
21 Q. You mentioned the figure of 30.000 troops coming in. When you say
22 "troops," are you referring only to VJ, to the army?
23 A. It is difficult to determine the composition. I mentioned the
24 number 30.000 because even later the assessment of the internationals was
25 that about 50.000 troops were deployed in Kosova. So when I say this, I
1 am not in a position to give you accurate descriptions as to the number of
2 the police and the army, but I think it covers both.
3 Q. Thank you. Moving now to paragraph 44 of your statement, this is
4 after the talks in France have concluded and you returned to Pristina, you
5 say that there were huge numbers of Serb paramilitaries everywhere. Can
6 you tell us how you -- your definition of paramilitaries, as distinct from
7 the VJ and the MUP. Who were you talking about?
8 A. The paramilitary groups or paramilitaries in this case mean the
9 people who were carrying legal weapons, or to use a better word, were
10 transparent. The weapons were there for everyone to see. So these people
11 were wearing an undistinct uniform. Some were wearing civilian clothes,
12 some black uniforms, sometimes a camouflage-type of uniform, sometimes the
13 upper part of the uniform was green, the trousers were civilian trousers,
14 civilian trousers. In general, what we recognised as members of the JNA
15 or police whose uniforms we knew or were familiar to us, the rest for us
16 were paramilitaries.
17 Q. At the end of that paragraph you say: "In most instances they
18 appeared to have just put on a military jacket or something similar, taken
19 the licence plates off their vehicles, and picked up a gun. Nevertheless,
20 it seemed very organised."
21 Can you tell us how so? In what way did it seem that they were
22 organised or very organised?
23 A. When I say they seemed organised, I mean this, that - I'm talking
24 of Pristina where I was an eye-witness to what happened - in Pristina the
25 units were coordinated. As you might well know, there was an Arkan staff
1 deployed in the Arkan -- in the hotel, in the Grand Hotel. It was a staff
2 that in the evenings organised the activities that they were going to
4 The fact that they were distributed in different neighbourhoods
5 and they demolished stores, restaurants in an organised way goes to show
6 that their activity was organised.
7 Q. In your answer it's translated that there was an Arkan staff
8 deployed in the hotel, the Grand Hotel. Can you tell us what you mean by
9 "Arkan staff?"
10 A. Yes. These were things which everybody knew. I personally wasn't
11 in the Grand Hotel myself to see them with my own eyes, but I've heard -
12 and I base this on rumours - that there was a headquarters or a staff
13 there that functioned, because most of the personnel went away. And of
14 the Serbs who remained, some have communicated with some Albanians and
15 conveying information. The Grand Hotel was a forbidden place for
16 Albanians. Indeed, people said that Albanians and dogs are not allowed to
17 enter the Grand Hotel.
18 Q. In the next paragraph, paragraph 45, you mentioned that the:
19 "Paramilitaries began destroying all Albanian-owned property."
20 How do you know about that?
21 A. These small enterprises that existed and were property of
22 Albanians, they were destroyed. In the period between Rambouillet and
23 Paris Agreements, I have seen such destruction myself. To give you an
24 example, in Dardania neighbourhood there was a health clinic called
25 Rezonanca that was blown up, and that clinic was in a concrete building.
1 That clinic was completely destroyed because of the explosion put there by
2 the paramilitaries. Other stores, jewellery stores, were broken into,
4 Q. Are you aware of any non-Albanian businesses or shops that were
5 destroyed during this time?
6 A. No, I don't recall of any instance of a non-Albanian store being
8 Q. And how many buildings or businesses are you talking about? Are
9 we talking about ten or 20 or 100? Can you give us a rough idea?
10 A. For the time we are talking about, the period between --
11 three-week period between Rambouillet and Paris, these businesses that
12 were destroyed might comprise, let's say, four, five such businesses. I'm
13 talking of Pristina because I didn't travel a lot outside Pristina. But
14 if we talk about the following months or period, then the number might
15 exceed 100 because every one of these businesses belonging to Albanians
16 was destroyed.
17 Q. Now, you mentioned seeing these huge numbers of paramilitaries
18 when you returned from Paris. What about the MUP or the VJ, did you see
19 them in Pristina during this time between your return from Paris and the
20 beginning of the NATO bombing, during those few days?
21 A. Yes. The return from Paris is the time when the Rambouillet
22 agreement was signed by the internationals and the Albanians and refused
23 by the Serbs. At this time I saw and met groups of MUP and JNA, Yugoslav
24 army, but these groups were more organised I would say and worked on the
25 basis of a plan. Mainly, these groups were dealing with the ousting of
1 Albanians from their homes, with the paramilitary groups preceding them.
2 Depending on the zone, on the neighbourhood and, as you might say,
3 depending on the composition of the Albanian group that was to be driven
4 out, they employed the tactic of sending them out.
5 If they thought that by you using the police and the army more --
6 to drive them out more easily, they did that. But in other instances,
7 first, they strike panic among the population with the use of the
8 paramilitaries and the police in the army simply drove them out. This was
9 the case also with us in the neighbourhood where I lived.
10 Q. In paragraph 46, you mention on the first night of the bombing, on
11 the 24th of March, 1999, that several prominent Albanians were abducted
12 and killed. You mentioned Bajram Kelmendi and his two sons. Where were
13 they from? Where did they live at the time?
14 A. Mr. Kelmendi and his two sons were kidnapped in the night of the
15 air-strikes, if I'm not mistaken, on the 24th of March. And they were
16 kidnapped in their own home in the presence of their family members. They
17 were in the bedroom, actually, when Bajram and his two sons were
18 kidnapped. And the people who did that, according to the descriptions by
19 Mrs. Kelmendi, people of the army, of the Yugoslav army.
20 Q. And where did Mr. Kelmendi live, what town?
21 A. Mr. Kelmendi lived in the centre of Pristina in a neighbourhood
22 called Vellusha, which is situated in the very heart of Pristina.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Your statement, Mr. Merovci, in paragraph 46
24 attributes these deaths to paramilitaries, but now you're, I think, saying
25 something different, are you?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The statement speaks about -- also
2 about cases killed by the paramilitaries. But in the second part of the
3 statement, things are more -- of a more general character. In the case of
4 Bajram Kelmendi, we have tangible evidence. His wife describes who came,
5 how they communicated with the family members, and what uniforms they were
6 wearing. This has to do mainly with Mr. Kelmendi and his two sons.
7 In the case of Mr. Hajrizi and Latif Berisha, who was the chairman
8 of the KLA -- LDK in Mitrovica, that is the leader of branch of peaceful
9 movement, he was killed at home. He was called by some people and his
10 killed on his very doorstep. This was the case with Hajrizi as well.
11 MR. HANNIS:
12 Q. And they lived in Kosovska Mitrovica, those two, Mr. Berisha and
13 Mr. Hajrizi?
14 A. Mr. Berisha and Mr. Hajrizi lived in Mitrovica and they were
15 killed there. As I already mentioned, Mr. Berisha was the chairman of the
16 LDK branch in Mitrovica and member of the LDK central leadership; in other
17 words, he was an associate of Mr. Rugova.
18 Q. In this -- I'm sorry. With connection to these two killings, what
19 was the source of your information?
20 A. In the beginning, the communication was done through phones. The
21 phones worked at that time. This kind of information was distributed
22 through personal communication, but also there were media that had their
23 own reporters who passed us information.
24 Q. Do you recall what individuals or what media source you heard
25 about Mr. Berisha and Hajrizi from?
1 A. I don't remember accurately, but during this time we mainly
2 listened to Voice of America, Deutsche Welle section in Albanian language.
3 It was mainly radio because it was easier for us to follow what was
4 happening through radio. The radio or the transistor was the main
5 equipment used by the Albanians in order to inform themselves.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: I think, Mr. Hannis, that the indictment in any
7 event in relation to Mitrovica doesn't make reference to any killings.
8 MR. HANNIS: That's correct. It's only a deportation site.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. But even under the heading deportation
10 there's not a killing; whereas, at least in relation to Pristina itself,
11 there is reference to the kill of people from the 24th of March onwards.
12 MR. HANNIS: Correct, Your Honour. I'll move on.
13 Q. You mentioned in that paragraph that on the 24th of March, Dr.
14 Rugova's office was bombed. Was it a NATO bomb that hit Dr. Rugova's
16 A. On the 25th, a day after the air-strikes, Mr. Rugova's office was
17 blown up, not by NATO air-strikes but by different paramilitary groups.
18 The following day, I personally went there by car and passed by the
19 office. I saw it was demolished and burned to the ground. It was a
20 massive explosion. My personal things and documentation was also burned.
21 Q. And how do you ascribe it to paramilitaries? What was your source
22 of information about who had done it?
23 A. It is very difficult to state what the source was precisely. This
24 information mainly came by Albanian inhabitants who had gone out to carry
25 out some basic, necessary things for their existence, because it was a
1 period when you could not circulate freely and easily or news -- these
2 were news that were commented later on. Even people who spoke of them
3 could not qualify them properly because the time was chaotic. It was
4 difficult for people to distinguish between different groups.
5 Q. Let me move now to paragraph 49 of your statement. In that you
6 say, Mr. Merovci, that all the Serb males were mobilised into some force
7 or another, and this was done in a coordinated manner. What was your
8 source of information about all the Serb men being mobilised?
9 A. The mobilisation in the time we're speaking of was in the final
10 stage, because the mobilisation of Serbs and Serb families started much
11 earlier. This was communicated through the media as well where you could
12 see different groups distributing weapons to Serb families, and this was
13 also clear from conversations we had with Serb colleagues who would
14 mention the weapons they possess.
15 They would carry these weapons in a way that they could be seen.
16 I'm speaking of the times earlier. As for the times during the bombing, I
17 don't think that there was a single Serb who possessed weapon who was not
18 allowed to use it.
19 Q. And are you talking about in Pristina only or did you have
20 information about distribution of weapons outside Pristina?
21 A. I'm talking about Pristina exclusively, because I'm a witness to
22 those events. But from the information I received, similar things
23 happened in the whole territory of Kosova.
24 Q. Is this information received from the LDK Information Centre that
25 you told us about?
1 A. You know that the LDK had branches in the entire territory of
2 Kosova and held regular meetings between chairman of these branches and
3 Mr. Rugova. These meetings were usually held on Fridays, and the chairman
4 of branches would report on the events in their particular areas. In --
5 during the relevant time we're speaking of, the activists who were in the
6 field would report, even in writing, about mobilisation and other
8 Q. In your earlier answer you said that, at page 28, line 10, that
9 you could see different groups distributing weapons to Serb families. Who
10 was distributing weapons to the Serb families, if you know, what groups?
11 A. It is difficult to tell. These were groups that cannot be
12 particularly designated.
13 Q. Thank you. I want to now move to paragraph 52?
14 MR. HANNIS: And could we pull up an exhibit, Exhibit 615 at page
15 31. This is the Kosovo atlas.
16 Q. Mr. Merovci, I'm moving to the 31st of March, 1999. I understand
17 on that day you were at Dr. Rugova's home. On the monitor, I hope in a
18 minute, you'll have a map of Pristina, and I want to ask you about a
19 couple of locations there. Will you let me know when you have it.
20 A. Yes, I can see it now.
21 Q. Is that big enough that you can recognise it? I want, first of
22 all, if you can point out --
23 A. It's okay now.
24 Q. If you can point out where Dr. Rugova's office was in Pristina at
25 the time. Using that pen, can you just put a number 1 and draw a circle
1 around it for where the office was located hypothesis?
2 A. Dr. Rugova's was here in building number 85 near the stadium. It
3 was exactly here, his office. While his residence, his office --
4 THE INTERPRETER: Correction.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- house where he lived, it was in
6 Velania neighbourhood, in this part here.
7 MR. HANNIS:
8 Q. Okay. You've drawn a half circle on the right edge of the map,
9 and that's where Dr. Rugova lived?
10 A. Based on this map, because I can read here Lagjja e Dodones and
11 Velania 8, I cannot find the exact location but it should be within the
12 semicircle I drew here.
13 Q. Thank you?
14 MR. HANNIS: Can we take a snap-shot of that and give it the next
15 IC number, please.
16 THE REGISTRAR: That will be IC114, Your Honours.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
18 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Mr. Haider.
19 Q. In paragraph 52 you tell us that on the 31st of March, 1999, the
20 MUP came to Dr. Rugova's home. First of all, can you tell us
21 approximately how many individuals came up and were there when the door
22 was first broken down.
23 A. Initially, we were with Rugova's family and some friends in the
24 house. We saw that certain organised police and army groups were
25 systematically driving out Albanians from their homes. We knew for sure
1 that our turn will come as well. When these groups came to the first
2 house next to Rugova's house, we all went to a room on the first floor and
3 we could see them demolishing the house of the neighbour and looking for
4 people. When they would find people, they would order them to leave.
5 This is when we realised that shortly they will come to us.
6 When they approached the gate of the house, because the house is
7 encircled and has a metal gate, I took the keys to the gate. I wanted to
8 open the door myself in order to show them that there are people in this
9 house. This is the house of Mr. Rugova but this did not happen, because
10 they broke down the metal gate that led to the garden immediately and they
11 set off in the direction of the door to the house. They wanted to break
12 down the door as well, but I called from inside the house and said to them
13 that there are people in this house. I will open the door, but they gave
14 me no time to do that. They broke down the door as well.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, we really are repeating what's in the
16 statement rather than answering the question I think.
17 MR. HANNIS: I'm sorry.
18 Q. Let me stop you there, Mr. Merovci. Yes, your written statement
19 is in evidence and the Judges have it and will read it if they haven't
20 read it already. I want to ask you specifically: Do you recall
21 approximately how many men were in that first group who came through the
23 A. It was a group consisting of approximately seven or eight persons
24 initially, as much as they could go through the gate; and then this number
25 became larger.
1 Q. Do you remember what kind of uniforms they were wearing?
2 A. Yes. They were wearing army uniforms, the uniforms of the former
3 Yugoslav army.
4 Q. What colour and what design?
5 A. These were dark green uniforms, and there were also uniforms of a
6 colour between black and dark blue. They were fully equipped, and they
7 had flamethrowers on their backs.
8 Q. In addition to the flamethrowers, any other kinds of weapons?
9 A. They had long-barrel weapons, hand-grenades, and short-barrel
10 weapons as well.
11 Q. You mentioned earlier that as they were coming through the
12 neighbourhood, you saw them going door to door expelling people; and in
13 your statement further on we know that you were, apart from the trips that
14 you took between the 31st of March and the 4th of May, you and Dr. Rugova
15 were in that house.
16 During that time, did you see any of the people, any of the
17 Albanians, in the neighbourhood who had been expelled, did any of them
18 return during those five weeks?
19 A. No, that did not happen. There was no chance for any Albanian who
20 had been expelled to return to his home.
21 Q. Now, you said that that initial group was seven eight, and later
22 on in your statement I think you indicated that there were ten downstairs
23 and ten upstairs. Was that the totally contingent in the house on the
24 31st of March, approximately 20 men?
25 A. This was a number I was able to see because at that time we were
1 isolated in one room, and we could not see outside the window during the
2 first seven and eight hours who was there outside.
3 Q. And we have quite a bit of detail about this first day in your
4 statement. In paragraph 52, at the end, you mention a local MUP commander
5 arrived called Jankovic from Suva Reka. In your supplemental information,
6 you tell us he told you something else about who he was and where he was
7 from. Can you tell us what that was?
8 A. Since as in the statement and not to go into details, after
9 waiting for several hours without any communication, without any
10 conditions, without any water, a person of police ranks escorted by two
11 people came. In the area where we were, there were soldiers who were
12 guarding us. This person addressed the group of people who were there,
13 asked them, "Who is the person that represents you?" I replied and he
14 said to me, "You will have no problems. We are here to look after you."
15 And I said to him, "You should be careful. In case anything happens to
16 these people here, you will be held personally responsible."
17 I introduced myself. I said I was Adnan Merovci and asked him who
18 he was, and then he introduced himself and he said he was Major Stankovic
19 from Suhareke. He had police ranks, he was armed. I wanted to make him
20 aware of the situation, but he thought that I was, in a way, threatening
22 Q. Let me interrupt you there, Mr. Merovci. I have a question about
23 the transcript. Your answer just was translated as he introduced himself
24 as he said he was Major Stankovic from Suva Reka. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes. He said this, "I am Major Stankovic from Suhareke." The
1 police ranks -- I was not familiar with these ranks, and I could not tell
2 what his rank was without he -- him telling me.
3 Q. I want to clear that up because in your supplemental information
4 we had indicated that you said he identified himself as a mayor from Suva
5 Reka and that his name was Jankovic. Can you tell me now if that was
6 mistaken, the supplemental information is incorrect, and it's not -- he's
7 not the mayor, as a political office, but he's a major in the MUP.
8 A. No, he definitely was a major from Suhareke municipality. So when
9 I said "Suhareke," I meant Suhareke area.
10 Q. And was his name Stankovic or Jankovic?
11 A. Now I'm confused and I want to make a correction. His name was
12 Jankovic, not Stankovic. The names resemble one another and that's why I
13 got confused.
14 Q. Okay. Thank you.
15 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, would this be the appropriate time for
16 the break?
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, it would be, Mr. Hannis. Thank you.
18 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Merovci, we have to break now briefly at this
20 stage. We will be breaking for 20 minutes. The usher will show you where
21 to wait in the meanwhile, so could you please go with him.
22 [The witness stands down]
23 JUDGE BONOMY: And we will resume at 10 minutes to 11.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 10.52 a.m.
1 [The witness entered court]
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
3 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. Mr. Merovci, one other matter that was in your supplemental
5 information, there was an additional person in the Rugova house at the
6 time that the -- these police and soldiers came that wasn't mentioned in
7 your original statement. This was a non-Albanian. Can you tell us about
8 Renata Flottau, F-l-o-t-t-a-u. Who was she and how did she happen to be
9 at Dr. Rugova's house on the 31st of March, 1999?
10 A. Yes. Mrs. Flottau is a correspondent of Der Spiegel based in
11 Belgrade. She covers the Balkans. On the 31st, she was at Mr. Rugova's
12 house and interviewed him. During this interview, Mr. Rugova firmly
13 stated that the air-strikes should go on, and it was on the same day that
14 this expedition came and broke down the doors and entered the house.
15 Mrs. Flottau was there. She was there together with the family
16 members. She stayed there until the 5th of April, the day when an
17 improvised conference, news conference, was held on the occasion of the
18 arrival of Ambassador Kotov at the residence of Mr. Rugova to pay him a
20 Q. And her identification as a German journalist was kept a secret
21 from the men who were keeping you in the house; correct?
22 A. I cannot tell you accurately whether this is so because things
23 evolved very rapidly, and the persons who entered the house didn't
24 identify any of the participants. They just asked us to get together in a
25 hole. This explains why at the beginning they didn't know that there was
1 a German journalist present there, but we, too, didn't feel obliged to
2 declare that because we considered that life and death struggle, at least
3 for the first moments. Later on during this news conference, she joined
4 the other journalists and she went her way.
5 Q. I want to move now to paragraph 54. You mention a Ljubo Joksic,
6 who you describe as the head of the DB in Pristina, came to the house
7 about 8.30 that evening. How -- did you know him from before?
8 A. I knew him by name because it was a well-known name for us in
9 Kosova, but I didn't know him personally. I met him only once, quite by
10 accident, in a cafeteria, and this very brief meeting -- it was a very
11 brief meeting. He was with a person who I know. This is all I can tell
12 you. So that was the first time for me to understand that that person is
13 Mr. Ljubo Joksic.
14 Q. And how did you know that he was the head of the DB in Pristina?
15 A. Because many Albanians were interrogated in what we call
16 informative talks and they passed on the information. The structure was
17 known to the Albanians. I cannot describe to you accurately how his name
18 came to my attention, but Albanians commented on him, on his name, as well
19 as on other Serbs who were engaged in informative talks with Albanians.
20 So the information came to the Kosova Information Centre.
21 Q. You tell us that on that night he came with another man who was a
22 man you knew as in charge of the Serbian media centre. Do you remember
23 the name of the other man that came with Mr. Joksic?
24 A. He was a person engaged in the Serbian centre base in the Grand
25 Hotel. If you give me three names, I can tell which is his name, but at
1 this moment I can't remember.
2 Q. Okay. Were these two men wearing uniforms or civilian clothes?
3 A. Civilian clothes.
4 Q. Now, with regard to this group of police and soldiers that were
5 occupying the house and the surrounding area, do you know who was in
6 charge of them on the 31st of March? Was there anybody who introduced
7 himself as the one in charge?
8 A. No. No one introduced himself as the person in charge of this
9 group; but with the arrival of Mr. Joksic, in a way we all understood that
10 he was the top man, the man to communicate with, at least this is how he
11 said also.
12 Q. Okay. In paragraph 54 you tell us on that night that after Joksic
13 and the Serbian media guy left, that there was "an improvised attack on
14 the house." Why do you say that it was an "improvised attack?" Why do
15 you believe it was not a genuine attack on the house?
16 A. That night when it became dark, we were staying in a room where
17 there were policemen in uniform. When kids wanted to go to the toilet, we
18 had to ask their permission. We couldn't make even a simple move. I'm
19 talking about the beginning and the first night; and then the electricity
20 went out. There was no electricity because there are constant outages.
21 And some shots were heard around the house, and the policemen
22 started to move about the house, going out to the terrace and shooting
23 from there. A whole situation of chaos and noise was created. Kids were
24 scared. There were very young children there. We were all sitting in a
25 room without hearing any explanation as to what was happening. I'm
1 talking about the first night; then at midnight, this person, Mr. Joksic,
2 came again. I -- if I remember correctly, he was alone and he wanted to
3 discuss our trip to Belgrade.
4 Q. And what trip to Belgrade was that that he wanted to discuss? I
5 think you said in paragraph 54 earlier that he had mentioned that Dr.
6 Rugova should go talk with Milosevic. Is that the trip you're referring
8 A. Yes. In the situation we were, in the true sense of the word, at
9 least in the beginning, we were treated as if we were detainees. We were
10 not allowed to make any move that we wanted. We were encircled by
11 policemen. In such a situation, we felt that we couldn't perform our
12 duties and tasks as leaders, like Mr. Rugova was, and I, as his associate.
13 By this I want to say that the trip to Belgrade came about as a
14 result of a communication conveyed to us to go there and find a solution
15 to the situation created. But the decision to go there was not a decision
16 made by Mr. Rugova. The trip to Belgrade was made, as I said, under the
17 circumstances I described. It was not a trip made under the will, full
18 will, of Mr. Rugova.
19 Q. Yes. In paragraph 56 I think you explain that, that Mr. Joksic
20 insisted, in spite of Mr. Rugova's protest. On the 1st of April, then, in
21 paragraph 57, you tell us about the trip in some detail. Let me ask you
22 some specific questions. How big a police escort did you have on this
23 trip to Belgrade? Was it just one car and you and Mr. Rugova and Joksic?
24 A. During the first trip on the 1st of April, in the morning, we were
25 ordered to get ready in a short time and get on the car. There was a car
1 that escorted us behind. We were in the car with Mr. Joksic, and a car
2 that escorted us behind.
3 Q. And what about your families, did they remain behind in the house
4 secured by the police and VJ?
5 A. Yes. Our families remained behind, with the exception of my
6 family and my children, who, on my demand for them to be released and go
7 to Skopje, they were allowed to go and escorted up to my brother's house,
8 where the rest of my family was staying. And they went to Skopje during
9 the time we were going to Belgrade.
10 Q. When had they been released, during the night of the 31st?
11 A. My family was allowed to join the rest of my family, my brother's
12 family, and escorted up to the border on the 1st of April, the day that we
13 travelled. This happened first and then we went to Belgrade.
14 Q. You say in your statement that when you got to Belgrade, Dr.
15 Rugova met alone with Mr. Milosevic for about half an hour. After that
16 meeting, did Dr. Rugova tell you what he and Milosevic had discussed?
17 A. First they met for a while and then they invited me to join them.
18 I joined them, and there was a brief communication among us. When we
19 arrived in Pristina, on the same day, we also made some comments, short
20 comments, on that meeting.
21 Q. Did Dr. Rugova, sometime that day or later, tell you what had been
22 discussed in his private meeting with Mr. Milosevic [Realtime transcript
23 read in error "Milutinovic"], if you recall?
24 A. When I joined the meeting, the reason why I was invited was that
25 Mr. Rugova wanted to gain time from that meeting and avoid for some time
1 the attention. We had a press release in front of us which Mr. Milosevic
2 insisted on us signing. and Mr. Rugova was hesitating, saying that it is
3 not necessary, then I intervened and said that these are technical issues
4 and that press communiques or releases are not signed. They are just sent
5 to the press as they were. But Mr. Milosevic insisted again,
6 and then Mr. Rugova signed this press release, consisting of two or three
8 And the comments of Mr. Rugova were that this had been going on;
9 that is, a talk and an insistence on the part of Milosevic. But we
10 insisted during the meeting that we be allowed to leave Kosova because
11 Mr. Rugova, as it were, couldn't play his role. He didn't have his
12 associates with him, and that we felt like hostages and that a life
13 struggle was going on. I'm talking about what we felt, our inner feelings
14 at what was happening.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: In line 17 there's a reference which is clearly
16 inaccurate. It should be Milosevic and not Milutinovic that's referred
18 MR. HANNIS: I agree. That's correct.
19 Q. Now, when you joined the meeting then, I gather from your
20 statement paragraph 57, it was just the four of you; Dr. Rugova, Mr.
21 Milosevic, Goran Milenovic, and yourself. Was it just the four of you
23 A. Yes, the only four of us.
24 Q. And I believe you had met Mr. Milosevic one time before this. Is
25 that correct?
1 A. In 1998 there was a meeting initiated by the US embassy in
2 Belgrade. Mr. Surroi Agani and Bakalli were present. I was present, too,
3 but I was dealing with technical issues and I met him in the crossroad.
4 Q. Now, on this occasion, when it's just the four of you on the 1st
5 of April, 1999, you spoke to him and told him about houses being burnt and
6 Albanians being attacked and expelled; correct?
7 A. Yes. In such circumstances, I tried to explain to him the
8 situation in Kosova and what the Albanians were going through. I raised
9 the issue of some names of persons that I mentioned, like Mr. Agani,
10 Gashi, Mrs. Tahiri, Mr. Hajrizi, and some other people, for whom it was
11 said that they had disappeared. Nobody knew whereabouts were. I
12 expressed my concern about them and explained to him that the Albanians
13 were being expelled from Kosova en masse. I was talking only of Pristina,
14 about things which I saw myself.
15 Q. Did you tell Mr. Milosevic who was doing this, who was burning the
16 houses and expelling the people?
17 A. During that talk, I raised this issue and wasn't asked who was
18 doing what was happening, but it was implied that it was the work of
19 formal and informal structures. The topic was focused mainly on our
20 demand or on our insistence to be allowed to leave Pristina and Kosova
21 together with our respective families. This was an insistent demand by
22 Mr. Rugova and by myself.
23 And another demand was that we be allowed to have a fixed
24 telephone line which in fact worked until that time, but it was
25 interrupted. These were two requests that we insisted on, and our
1 expression of concern about things that were happening to his
2 collaborators and associates and to the people of Kosova in general.
3 Q. In your statement, you say you told him that almost 600.000 had
4 left Kosovo. Where did you get that number from? What was your source
5 for that?
6 A. The figures were published in various articles by Information
7 Centre and by the media that I mentioned earlier.
8 Q. In your statement, you say that Milosevic replied that people were
9 leaving because the NATO bombing, and then you say that you said that this
10 was not the case. Did you tell him why they were leaving, if it was not
11 for the NATO bombing?
12 A. Yes. This was also part of our talk. In light of the situation
13 and the circumstances we were in - and this was not a genuine political
14 meeting. We were not on an equal position. We were driven by -- we were
15 also afraid and furry is a human feeling. We were also concerned about
16 our families - so in this meeting and in other meetings we tried not to
17 irritate, to aggravate the situation further, because this affected our
18 lives and the lives of our families.
19 So in the statement that NATO was the reason for the Albanians
20 leaving Kosova, we had a negative response but a soft negative response.
21 I remember that in a diplomatic manner I tried to explain that maybe it's
22 not very important who is causing this situation, but the important thing
23 is to find a solution. If NATO is the one that is making Albanians leave
24 Kosovo, then why are the Albanians being bombarded when they are going to
1 THE INTERPRETER: Correction: Montenegro.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And if NATO is causing the bombing,
3 then why are these again being attacked? It was a more of a kind of
4 diplomatic talk, I would say, or exchange of opinions.
5 MR. HANNIS:
6 Q. Thank you. I now want to go to paragraph 60 of your statement.
7 The next day, on the 2nd of --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Before you do that --
9 MR. HANNIS: Yes.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: -- Mr. Hannis.
11 Mr. Merovci, it was Milosevic that arranged this meeting. What
12 was it he was after?
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If I can say so after such a time,
14 even though I was asked several times about this incident -- this event, I
15 think he was after this: He wanted to use Mr. Rugova in a perfidious way,
16 for his ends, and to have the strike stopped. If that failed, then he
17 wanted to kill Mr. Rugova politically. Because attending a meeting
18 organised in such circumstances when he publicly demanded the continuation
19 of the strikes, by attending such a meeting he would go against himself.
20 In a way, if I might say, after so much time has passed.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Your reference to what he asked for is this. You
22 say that he told Dr. Rugova that "they needed to make an interim agreement
23 which would allow people to return. Only you and I, no third parties
25 Now, what was wrong with that suggestion?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I am being asked to make a comment
2 and it's not a question if I understand you right, Your Honour, for me to
3 say yes or no.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: It's not simply comment because Rugova would not
5 respond to that. You say that he -- he stalled for time and didn't accept
6 this proposal. So there must have been something wrong with it and that's
7 what I would like to know.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At this meeting, Mr. Milosevic was
9 very severe, used bad words against the internationals. Mr. Rugova kept
10 saying that the international mechanisms are in operation, and it is only
11 you that can interrupt this process. Mr. Rugova proposed that in every
12 communication between him and Milosevic and in the case of an eventual
13 agreement, a third party be present as a guarantor to it saying that I am
14 in a situation that I am now. In a way I am not a relevant factor so my
15 consent may not have an effect.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, it's possible to understand why someone being
17 bombed has no good word for the persons bombing him. So let's lay that
18 aside for the moment. What was Milosevic's way out at that stage? What
19 could he have done other than enter into discussions with the likes of
20 Rugova to bring this bombing to an end?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't want to make a comment on
22 your question, but it was the Albanians who were experiencing the tragedy
23 and not him. But given the strict demand of the international community
24 that started the bombing, there was no other possibility, other than
25 accepting the conditions of the international community which had imposed
1 them. We didn't see any way out other than that, and this is what
2 Mr. Rugova told Milosevic directly, that, "You have the key to the
3 solution of this situation."
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Remind us, please, what these specific conditions
5 were at that stage, immediately after the collapse of the negotiations in
6 Paris. What exactly were the conditions that he was not accepting?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The conditions were well-known
8 internationally. I think there were five initially. I will mention what
9 I remember. You have documents about that. One of those was the return
10 of the expelled people and the creation of the necessary conditions for
11 them; the withdrawal of all Serbian troops, police and army,
12 paramilitaries as well; as well as some other conditions which I don't
13 seem to remember now. But they were public and official conditions.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: But by that time, was one of the conditions that
15 within three years there would be a referendum on the status of Kosovo?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. It was a subarticle of the
17 Rambouillet agreement. In fact, the strikes came about as a result of the
18 refusal of the Serbian side to sign that agreement. In one of the
19 subarticles guaranteed by the US Secretary of State Mrs. Albright was that
20 after this agreement in three years' time, a referendum should be held on
21 the future of Kosovo.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
23 Mr. Hannis.
24 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
25 Q. In connection with that, do you recall if one of the five NATO
1 requirements was for Serbia to sign the Rambouillet agreement?
2 A. I can't remember accurately, but you can easily find out. But I
3 know that the pretext for starting the air-strike was the failure to sign
4 the agreement and the fact that they actually started the demands
5 increased, asking, first of all, the withdrawal of all police and military
6 forces. But whether the signing of the agreement was another condition,
7 this I don't remember.
8 But I think it was not, if I remember correctly. Then the
9 agreement was not signed, and as a result of it the air-strike started.
10 And the fact that that happened, that is, the air-strike started, is a
11 logical consequence that things cannot go back to where they were.
12 Q. In paragraph 58, Mr. Milosevic is reported as saying to Rugova:
13 "Only you and I, no third parties involved;" and then you say: "Dr.
14 Rugova stated they needed to have third parties to ensure the agreement
15 was carried out."
16 Is it fair to say at this point Dr. Rugova didn't trust
17 Mr. Milosevic to honour any agreement?
18 A. The question of this agreement we are talking about was an ad hoc
19 settlement by Mr. Milosevic, with the sole purpose of creating a pretext
20 to have an agreement to demand the stopping of bombing; otherwise, such an
21 agreement was not part of any agenda. It wouldn't be -- have any effect.
22 The fact is that in the condition Mr. Rugova was, he had to have a
24 And the response was that this agreement cannot have any juridical
25 or political effect because we are in the situation we are and the
1 international community have put up some demands, which, without failing,
2 the bombing will not stop. Mr. Rugova always insisted on the presence of
3 a third party, but Mr. Milosevic always opposed that.
4 Q. And I think you --
5 JUDGE BONOMY: What I read into all of that, Mr. Merovci, is that
6 the only way out for Milosevic was to capitulate at that stage. They had
7 moved on to air-strikes and, therefore, all he could do is surrender
8 because no one would talk to him.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was a condition imposed by the
10 international community. The entire thing was done on the burden of the
11 Albanian population, at the expense of the Albanian population. Under
12 this pretext, the Albanian population was expelled in the most brutal way.
13 The Albanians of Kosova were looking forward to the air-strikes,
14 seeing it as the only way out to freedom, and this was the pretext they
15 used in order to expel the Albanians and destroy them and their property.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
17 Mr. Hannis.
18 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
19 Q. I think you said in one of your earlier answers that prior to the
20 start of the NATO bombing or right around the start of the NATO bombing,
21 Mr. Rugova had said to the international media that he supported the
22 bombing. Is that correct?
23 A. This is correct, and it can be proven by facts. The interview
24 with Der Spiegel on the 31st is a proof Rugova clearly states during this
25 interview that he wants these air-strikes to continue. On the first day
1 after the return from Paris, it was a Sunday, journalists were waiting for
2 Mr. Rugova at his house, and I remember his words - they were in English -
3 "Now it is time for NATO."
4 And the third argument, the third fact is that when the soldiers
5 entered the house they said to me, "This is the house of the person who
6 wanted NATO."
7 Q. What was the gist of the press statement that was signed by
8 Mr. Rugova on this 1st of April, do you recall?
9 A. I don't recall exactly the content, but it is along the lines of
10 peaceful solution to the entire situation. If I'm not mistaken, it only
11 consists of three or four lines. I want to point out again that this is a
12 document addressed to the media. It's not an agreement whatsoever, but
13 it's just a press release, signed.
14 Q. And do you have an opinion that Mr. Milosevic was trying to use
15 this signed press statement by Mr. Rugova to drive a wedge between the
16 different members of NATO as to continue the bombing --
17 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Your Honour, I object to the leading form of the
19 JUDGE BONOMY: I think there may be substance in that objection,
20 Mr. Hannis.
21 MR. HANNIS: All right. Let me rephrase the question.
22 Q. Do you have any idea of how Mr. Milosevic might be trying to use
23 this agreement or this press release that he got Dr. Rugova to sign?
24 A. This press release had no effect. I want to stress again that
25 this statement was signed under pressure. I was invited to join them in
1 the room where they were having this meeting just for Mr. Rugova to gain
2 some time, to prolong this. Mr. Rugova wanted to gain time, and the
3 statement itself was not an expression of his own free will. Under the
4 circumstances that we were in, Mr. Rugova signed it, knowing that it will
5 have no effect. And later on, it showed that in fact the statement did
6 not have any effect whatsoever.
7 Q. Shortly after that press statement was issued, did any of the
8 international community members try to get in touch with Dr. Rugova to
9 confirm whether or not he was indeed saying what was in that press
10 statement? Were there inquiries from the internationals?
11 A. The inquiries focused on whether it was true that we went to
12 Belgrade or not, and we confirmed it on the same day because the phone was
13 working. The first thing I did was to call the American ambassador to
14 Macedonia in Skopje, Chris Hill, and I informed him of what happened. So
15 it was confirmed that Mr. Rugova was there. I don't remember that this
16 statement was ever mentioned by relevant structures during that time or
17 later on.
18 Q. I think you make a reference to that in paragraph 61 of your
19 statement, which -- it appears you made that phone call the next day, on
20 the 2nd of April, when you got back to Pristina. Is that right?
21 A. It's on the same day. We went on the 1st of April and returned
22 the same day in the afternoon, and I called Mr. Hill on that same day.
23 Q. Okay. And you say there that -- you described the circumstances
24 you were facing, and Mr. Hill asked you if you were under arrest. And you
25 said you didn't want to say openly but suggested that he should draw his
1 own conclusions. Why didn't you want to speak openly at that time?
2 A. The policemen were at the place where the telephone was, and I
3 knew that the phone was intercepted. And as I already mentioned, we were
4 concerned about our lives. That's why I was careful in my comments and
5 answers. And this is what told him, "They say that they've come here for
6 other purposes; but under circumstances that we are in, you can draw your
7 own conclusions." This is what I told Ambassador Hill and also members of
8 different media.
9 Q. In that same paragraph you mention Blerim Shala, S-h-a-l-a. Who
10 was Blerim Shala?
11 A. Mr. Shala is an independent intellectual. He's the
12 editor-in-chief of Zedi [phoen] newspaper. He was a member of the
13 Rambouillet delegation, member of the group of independent intellectuals.
14 When he was leaving at the border, the police called Mr. Rugova and asked
15 him, "Do you want Mr. Shala to come back and join you?" And Rugova
16 responded by saying that, "It is his own decision to leave and he can do
17 so," so he left.
18 Q. Now, in paragraph 60 you say that on the 2nd of April,
19 Mr. Milenovic - and it's, I guess, Mr. Milosevic's assistant - called you
20 and told you that you should meet with Ratko Markovic. First of all, who
21 is Ratko Markovic? What was his job or position?
22 A. Mr. Goran Milenovic called me and said that we had to meet.
23 Mr. Ratko Markovic was a person who was nobody as a person engaged in the
24 education process. At that time, if I'm not mistaken, he was the deputy
25 prime minister of the Serbian government.
1 Q. And was he suggesting that you, Adnan Merovci, meet with Markovic
2 or that Dr. Rugova meet with him or both?
3 A. This was a sort of unpleasant communication, because even during
4 this discussion we insisted on being allowed to leave. And our priority
5 was to leave Kosova. They came up with different ideas and subjects. On
6 this concrete case, he wanted to meet us. He said that, "You can meet
7 first and then Mr. Rugova as well." This was a result of the first
8 meeting in Belgrade and the pretext was that these meetings will continue
9 to discuss different subjects. This is at least how I understood it.
10 Q. In paragraph 62 then, a couple days later, on the 4th of April,
11 you tell us that Nikola Sainovic came to the house for the first time and
12 wanted Dr. Rugova to meet with Ratko Markovic. Again, do you know why
13 Mr. Sainovic wanted that meeting to take place?
14 A. This was the first meeting with him, and I mentioned it as a
15 request for meeting. And he insisted that a meeting between Markovic and
16 Mr. Rugova take place. If I'm not mistaken, on the 4th of April, the
17 arrival of Ambassador Kotov to Pristina was discussed.
18 Q. Ambassador Kotov is the Russian ambassador to Belgrade; correct?
19 A. Correct.
20 Q. What could or would Ratko Markovic be able to do that Slobodan
21 Milosevic or Nikola Sainovic could not do? Why was it necessary for
22 Dr. Rugova to meet with someone seemingly at a lower level?
23 A. In my opinion, this was in order to gain time and to send the
24 international community a signal that a process is going on, that there is
25 communication going on. But you could tell that these things were not
1 well-organised, that --
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, Mr. Fila.
3 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I don't want to interrupt
4 Mr. Hannis's examination-in-chief. However, the way he is putting his
5 questions should not be allowed. First of all, he is putting a sign of
6 equal between Milosevic and Sainovic. What is it that Markovic could do
7 and Sainovic couldn't? And how come he now says that Markovic was below
8 Sainovic, when we know that Markovic was the head of the delegation and
9 not Sainovic.
10 This line of questioning is not going to lead us anywhere. This
11 is it and I didn't want to interrupt his questioning. I'm not going to
12 interrupt the answers either, but I just drawing your attention to the
13 fact that this line of questioning should not be allowed because he has
14 included two assertions in his question which is more than enough to make
15 the questions leading.
16 [Trial Chamber confers]
17 JUDGE BONOMY: I think your point is very easily understood,
18 Mr. Fila, in the context of an exchange that might take place in a civil
19 jurisdiction. But in light of the process that we're following here,
20 these are all matters that can be adequately dealt with in
22 You can point out the inaccuracies at that stage. At the moment,
23 we do not consider this to be leading, and we think it's material which
24 can be resolved in due course as a result of cross-examination. So we
25 will repel your objection but understand clearly the point you're making.
1 Mr. Hannis.
2 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
3 Q. Mr. Merovci, you had partly completed your answer. Was there
4 anything else you wanted to say about why they wanted you to meet with
5 Markovic and what it was that he might be able to do that Sainovic and
6 Milosevic couldn't do themselves?
7 A. No. Not then and not even now, I didn't understand him as a
8 person who could do something more. But these were things aimed at
9 sending this signal to the internationals; that the process was going on,
10 that talks were going on.
11 Q. Okay. Thank you. Then you tell us there was another meeting on
12 the 5th of April, Mr. Sainovic came; then again, on the 9th of April at
13 paragraph 65, Sainovic and Markovic, Ratko Markovic, came to the house.
14 Did -- was anything discussed, other than stopping the bombing and Dr.
15 Rugova's request to go abroad? Anything else discussed on the 9th of
17 A. I want to make a small correction. In the beginning you said 5th
18 of April and now you corrected yourself, 9th of April. This is what
19 happened on the 9th April. But on the 5th April, there was a meeting with
20 Ambassador Kotov and there was a press conference. On the 9th of April, a
21 similar meeting was held along the same lines, and every meeting was
22 opened with our demand to leave Kosova.
23 Q. And on the 10th of April in paragraph 66, you tell us Joksic had
24 called about locating a couple of Dr. Rugova's aides, and you detail that
25 out. I don't have a question on that. Let me move to paragraph 67.
1 The 13th of April, Mr. Sainovic came again and suggested that Dr.
2 Rugova should meet with Mr. Milutinovic, and you were told that the
3 meeting date was going to be three days later, on the 16th, in Pristina.
4 Did Mr. Sainovic tell you at that time what the purpose of this meeting
5 was to be?
6 A. Yes, this is correct. He informed of a meeting with Milutinovic
7 that was to take place on the 16th in Pristina. I will repeat this again,
8 and I will always repeat it whenever I'm asked. We had become people
9 whose opinions were not asked. We had entered this process in order to be
10 able to survive and live.
11 The meetings and topics that were expected to be discussed were
12 along these lines, what we've already said: To enter an agreement, to
13 improve conditions, to create a body for self-governing, things that had
14 been initiated even in the past through two different groups, G15.
15 On our demand to leave Kosova, it was always said that we could
16 find assistants and bring them here, and this is what happened with two
17 assistants; Mr. Ramaj and Mr. Kurteshi.
18 Q. Thank you. On 16th of April, you got a call from Mr. Joksic from
19 the DB and told the meeting was going to be in Belgrade instead of
20 Pristina. In paragraph 68, you tell us you went there and you met with
21 Milutinovic and Sainovic. And upon your arrival, there were journalists
22 or photographers there. Milutinovic, in your statement, is reported as
23 saying that there was unity among all of us, referring to the government,
24 and complete loyalty to Milosevic; and then he told Dr. Rugova that:
25 "Kosovo is yours."
1 What -- in the context, what did you understand that statement to
2 mean to Dr. Rugova, that "Kosovo is yours?" It seems Dr. Rugova couldn't
3 even leave his house without somebody else's permission. How could Kosovo
4 be his?
5 A. This meeting was as you described. We were told that we have to
6 get ready shortly and travel to Belgrade. During this time, it is true
7 that he said this, and at that time I understood it to be: "You are a
8 person, a leader, of the citizens of Kosova and the responsibility is --
9 lies with you." And this is how I understood it.
10 He simply told him in a diplomatic way that, Kosovo is yours. But
11 on the other hand, there was our consistent demand to be allowed to leave
12 Kosova, and then we brought up the subject of my leaving Kosova and going
13 to Shkup.
14 Q. So for the first time there was some movement on that request and
15 they agreed that you, Mr. Merovci, would be allowed to go to Skopje;
17 A. In a way, in such situations, they knew that this would be our
18 first demand, and perhaps they were thinking of finding a solution to make
19 a small step forward. So this idea appeared which did not resemble what
20 we wanted, but at least it softened the entire situation. They thought
21 that I would go to Rugova's assistants and tell them that everything is
22 okay and everything can continue, but that did not resemble the reality.
23 Q. And you say in paragraph 68 at the end of the meeting Sainovic
24 gave you some instructions what to say in Skopje. One was to say that you
25 and Rugova were not under arrest and not to mention Sainovic's name too
1 much. Did he say anything about what would happen to you if you didn't
2 follow those instructions? Or did he simply give you the instructions?
3 A. The issue of my trip to Shkup should explained as follows: In
4 discussing this thing with Rugova, we reached an agreement. And he even
5 insisted that the international community should be informed about the
6 situation we were in so that we would be able to discuss the possibility
7 of evacuating Mr. Rugova and his family.
8 This was the purpose or the reason why we insisted on this trip
9 and supported it. And the purpose of the opponent, of the opposing side,
10 was for us to go there and allegedly inform the assistants that everything
11 is okay and everything can continue normally.
12 Q. I take it from that answer that you didn't tell Mr. Sainovic and
13 Mr. Milutinovic that you were going to tell the internationals that you
14 and Rugova were under house arrest?
15 A. No. No, I never said that.
16 Q. In paragraph 69, we know that you went from the border to Skopje
17 and you were there for a few days. Did you go by yourself? Were you
18 alone on that trip?
19 A. I wasn't alone because I was not allowed to move alone. I was
20 escorted up to the border, up to the border -- in the border point of
21 Kumanova on my way to, and Edmund Kerliu received me there. And I went to
22 his house and on the next day I met the internationals.
23 Q. So within Kosovo you were escorted, but once you got to the
24 Macedonian border were you alone until you met -- I'm sorry. No one else
25 from Dr. Rugova's house went with you on this trip? That's my question.
1 A. No. I was escorted by a police car, and at the moment when I
2 crossed the border I was by myself. On the other side of the border, my
3 friend, Edmund Kerliu, waited for me. He was not a collaborator of
4 Mr. Rugova in terms of party collaboration. He was a friend of ours, a
5 citizen of Skopje.
6 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 70, you tell us about in Skopje you met
7 with Ambassador Hill and discussed the situation. He understood and was
8 convinced that you and Rugova were definitely under house arrest. Were
9 you under house arrest?
10 A. At the first meeting I had, I had it with Mr. Ambassador Hill at
11 his residence. The meeting lasted for four hours. We were just the two
12 of us, and the conversation was about the way we went to Belgrade, the
13 circumstances we were forced to go. And we -- while we were describing
14 what happened, we said that we were under house arrest and that I was
15 commanded by Mr. Hill on going to Shkup or Skopje.
16 I met Mr. Hill also on the last day when I returned to Pristina,
17 and we discussed the possibility or talked about the possibility of
18 evacuating Mr. Rugova's family, which was said to be practically
19 impossible, but that was one of the topics of our conversation.
20 Q. And you returned, and I want to go now to paragraph 72, and in a
21 meeting on the 28th of April, 1999, in Pristina at this time. You and
22 Dr. Rugova met with Mr. Milutinovic, Mr. Sainovic, Ratko Markovic, and
23 Zoran Andjelkovic. Did you have any advance notice of this meeting?
24 A. Yes, we did. We were noticed in advance of everything meeting.
25 Q. And what were you told was going to be the purpose of this meeting
1 on the 28th of April?
2 A. The meeting was organised following my return from Shkup after
3 finding out that there were no other associates that could return under
4 these circumstances. Maybe that was their last attempt, to use Mr. Rugova
5 as a -- because of the great pressure brought to bear by the international
6 community to release him. And I can mention here the official calls by
7 the German Foreign Minister, Mr. Fischer, and Mrs. Albright, who publicly
8 called for the release of Mr. Rugova and his family. She said, "I want to
9 see them in Brussels."
10 Under this pressure, I think they wanted to gain something in the
11 sense of talking, organising some structures that would deal with the
12 repairing of his house, the return of Albanians; things which for us
13 seemed very irrelevant, and that we saw ourselves as just useless
14 instruments. And I addressed the participants using the words -- using my
15 statement. And from Mr. Milutinovic, I heard that he cannot answer me
16 immediately about our release, but he promised to give me an answer in 24
17 hours. And the reply came, if I'm not mistaken, about three days later on
18 the 4th.
19 Q. Let me stop you there and ask you a couple specific questions.
20 You say at this meeting Mr. Milutinovic said that he could not understand
21 why people were leaving the city. And you then told him that people were
22 being forced out of their homes, that your own flat had been destroyed,
23 and that the MUP had done it. And Mr. Milutinovic then turned to Sainovic
24 and asked: "Is this true?" What, if anything, did Mr. Sainovic say in
25 response to Mr. Milutinovic's question about whether that was true?
1 A. To argue what I was saying about the events in Pristina, I gave
2 the example of the destruction of my own house, which was free of
3 inhabitants at that moment, because as I said I was at Mr. Rugova's house.
4 So since you are -- you have destroyed my house and I'm staying
5 here, I can tell you that nobody can be -- can feel secure. And the fact
6 is that he asked the question that you cited, but there was no reply, just
7 a nodding of the head and they went on to other subjects.
8 Q. Nodding of the head by whom and in -- and in which way was it
9 nodding? Was it nodding as a yes or nodding as a no?
10 A. It was a nodding of the head as if to express surprise.
11 Q. By Mr. Sainovic?
12 A. Yeah, you might say so.
13 Q. Well, I wasn't there. Can you tell us who it was.
14 A. There were six people there, and the question was asked in their
15 presence. And Mr. Milutinovic asked this question of his own people and
16 they feigned surprise, and then they went on to the discussion of other
18 Q. You already told us that --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Before moving on.
20 MR. HANNIS: Yes.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: What is the evidence that the MUP had destroyed
22 your flat?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] At the time when I left my flat, it
24 was the 31st of March. We are talking about the 28th of April. During
25 this time interval, I went to visit my flat twice, escorted by the
1 police,. And the destruction of my flat was seen also by the policemen
2 who escorted me, and they were the witnesses to what had happened.
3 And when I said that my flat was demolished by the army members, I
4 argued this with the fact that during my visit there I met a neighbour of
5 mine who told me in Albanian that this was done by a regular soldier who
6 had with them trained dogs. This is an argument I mentioned, but as I
7 said the people with me saw it with their own eyes.
8 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, at line 17 the last part of that
9 sentence is not translated, and I didn't quite hear what he said. "A
10 regular soldier had with them rain."
11 THE INTERPRETER: Trained dogs.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, "trained dogs" is the translation.
13 Mr. Merovci, the statement that we have in front of us is that
14 your flat had been destroyed and that the MUP had done it, but do I
15 understand you to be saying it was a member of the VJ who did it?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I apologise because I may mix up
17 things sometimes now. In my statement I have declared that it was done by
18 MUP forces, but now I want to correct it because I made a wrong
19 interpretation. My neighbour told me that people in uniform, policemen in
20 uniform, with dogs came here. I don't remember accurately what -- whether
21 she said to me just uniformed people with dogs or people in police
22 uniforms. This is how it really is.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
24 Mr. Hannis.
25 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
1 Q. You told us that at the end of this meeting Mr. Milutinovic told
2 you they couldn't decide the question about you and Dr. Rugova travelling
3 abroad but needed 24 hours. Other than -- Mr. Milutinovic was president
4 of Serbia and Mr. Sainovic was a deputy prime minister of the federal
5 republic. Who had higher authority than those two to make a decision
6 about you travelling abroad?
7 A. What you said I also said at this meeting. Having a meeting with
8 such senior people, I said, "Why cannot we get an answer, since we are
9 free," as they alleged, "to leave?" And the answer I got was, "You will
10 receive an answer in 24 hours." And my impression was or is that an
11 approval had to be taken about that, but this approval depended on the way
12 our demand was conveyed.
13 Q. And was there some sort of document signed by Dr. Rugova and
14 Mr. Milutinovic at the conclusion of this meeting on the 28th of April?
15 A. We are talking about the document which has been presented before
16 when Mr. Rugova, late Rugova, mentioned that there was a press release.
17 To be very sincere, that document was signed not in my presence. I was in
18 the corridor dealing with the journalists who were waiting for the
19 delegation to come out. The document was meanwhile signed; and to be very
20 frank, I learned of it during the testimony of Mr. Rugova in this chamber.
21 Q. And have you seen that document since time that, since April of
23 A. If I am not mistaken, that document was presented during his
24 testimony, because at the time everything was followed through the media
25 and this is where I saw it.
1 MR. HANNIS: Could we show the witness Exhibit P416, please.
2 Q. While we're waiting for that, in your statement you said about 30
3 hours after this meeting you got a call back saying that someone told you
4 that they were going to meet with Slobodan Milosevic to resolve the issue,
5 your travel abroad. Who called you back?
6 A. First, Ljubo Joksic was the one. He told me, "Your request has
7 been approved and that you will be allowed to leave;" then, if I am not
8 wrong, it was Mr. Sainovic who also called me and informed me of the same
10 Q. Now we have the exhibit, 416, on the screen. Do you recognise
11 that document?
12 A. I saw this document on the screen, as I'm doing now, during the
13 testimony of Mr. Rugova. And if I am not mistaken, this was also in the
14 form of a communique, and this is how it was called, "Joint Statement," as
15 it is here, and it was read out to the journalists. But I want to repeat
16 that I didn't witness the actual act of signing it.
17 Q. Do you have any doubt that that's Dr. Rugova's signature on that
19 A. From what I see, no. It is his signature, but as I already
20 stated, at the time it was signed I was outside in the corridor, because
21 you know it takes a couple of seconds to sign a document. I didn't say it
22 for any other reason than to say that I was not there when it was signed.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Did I note you correctly as saying that this was
25 the same joint statement as had been signed with Milosevic?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. The joint statement is a title
2 of the statement, that was a Serbian word which means joint statement.
3 MR. HANNIS: I recall the answer I think Your Honour is referring
4 to and I had the same thought in my mind, but I think it's clear.
5 Q. The statement that was --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Merovci, you -- the question was: "And was
7 there some sort of document signed by Dr. Rugova and Mr. Milutinovic at
8 the conclusion of the meeting on the 28th of April?"
9 And your answer was: "We are talking the document which has been
10 presented when Mr. Rugova mentioned that there was a press release." So
11 it's a different -- it's a different press release from the one that
12 you're talking about at the -- following the meeting with Milosevic. Is
13 that correct? The Milosevic one was plainly much shorter?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's correct. There are two
15 different statements.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
17 Mr. Hannis.
18 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour. We had also listed, Your
19 Honour, Exhibit P833. I wanted to show a connection with this. It's a
20 media report of this meeting and who was present. I don't intend to show
21 it to the witness. I just wanted to indicate that I'm offering it to
22 corroborate his report of who was at the meeting?
23 Q. In paragraph 73, Mr. Merovci, you say that Joksic called saying
24 that you should be ready to travel to Belgrade again, and that you and Dr.
25 Rugova went and met with Mr. Sainovic. What was the purpose of this
1 meeting on the 4th of May?
2 A. As we were told, that was supposed to be a meeting which would
3 finalise the details of our trip. We insisted that we move together as a
4 family, but were told that, first, it was our turn to go and agree on that
5 issue. We agreed and we went on the 4th of May, but we noted a tendency
6 to separate our families from us, that is, Mr. Rugova and myself,
7 something which we categorically refused.
8 We didn't want to leave them because we wanted to leave Kosova as
9 families. And Mr. Milosevic supported this, and I think that his decision
10 was to allow us to leave together as families, Mr. Rugova and myself. And
11 we flew to Rome on the 5th of May.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: I thought you said earlier that your family had
13 gone on the 1st of April to Skopje.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When I say "families," I am talking
15 of Mr. Rugova's personal family, close family, and some relatives of his.
16 I'm talking of a group of some 16 people; that was the composition of the
17 group. If you give me some time, I may give you their names, but I know
18 it was over ten members.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
20 Mr. Hannis.
21 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
22 Q. Now, paragraph -- so you then were allowed to leave and all went
23 to Rome on the 5th of May, you say? The day after you arrived in
25 A. Yes, that's correct.
1 Q. In paragraph 74 of your statement, you tell us that you had
2 conversations with Mr. Sainovic throughout your period of confinement.
3 And in one of those conversations, you told Mr. Sainovic that he might end
4 up in The Hague as a war criminal. Was there any response to that when
5 you told him that?
6 A. At those meetings, which often were informal meetings, I might say
7 meeting sometimes among humans because we all were humans, we discussed
8 about many things. We discussed also Recak and his name and I mentioned
9 that, and he responded again by saying that this was played by Ambassador
11 JUDGE BONOMY: In that connection, you say that Mr. Sainovic
12 claimed that the KVM had existed exclusively of military people who had
13 installed locators to assist NATO. Is that a -- perhaps a mistranslation.
14 "Had existed exclusively," did you mean to say "consisted exclusively"?
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is not my statement. I may say
16 that this is speculation by a Serbian circle.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes, but you're quoting what Sainovic said. So
18 what was it he said about the military people? Could you tell me again to
19 clarify it, because the English in the statement's not clear.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As I said, these were talks of an
21 informal character, brief talks when we were entering or leaving the
22 rooms. And one of those was about the massacre in Recak, and the response
23 was the one I mentioned. But it was also said that the mission had in its
24 composition -- had done also this, that is, located places which were
25 later bombed by NATO. This was said.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
2 Mr. Hannis.
3 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
4 Q. Mr. Merovci, in paragraph 76 of your statement, you mention MUP
5 tactics of propaganda that prominent people had been killed, and you say
6 this was done to scare Albanians. How did you know about this? What was
7 your source of information?
8 A. That was a campaign to strike fear. Symbolically putting it, I
9 may say that every Albanian - I'm talking of citizens living in their
10 homes and cities - had to save their lives and the lives of their
11 relatives. Such a campaign proclaimed also through some primitive ways to
12 strike fear among the population to make cleansing easier. I may
13 illustrate this by a pamphlet that was distributed during the first days
14 of the air-strikes alleging that KLA and Mr. Rugova had issued an
15 instruction to the population, saying them -- saying to them to leave
17 But this pamphlet was rejected even earlier because there are two
18 things which are incompatible. The KLA and Mr. Rugova had opposite
19 stance, politically speaking, and this pamphlet had errors in it, such
20 errors that make it clear that it was not prepared by the people who had
21 allegedly issued a that call.
22 Q. I will stop you there and if we can show you Exhibit P839. To
23 follow-up on that, I will ask you some questions. You have seen this
24 pamphlet; correct?
25 A. Yes. Yes, I have seen it, because they had distributed it in
1 various places, in streets, in doors, thresholds of various houses. So if
2 it was a pamphlet that was written by Rugova, I would be the first to know
4 Q. Okay.
5 MR. HANNIS: I see we have a handwritten version. Can we go to
6 another page of the exhibit. I think we have an English and we also have
7 the original?
8 Q. Did Dr. Rugova have anything to do with this pamphlet that was on
9 UCK or KLA letterhead and apparently called on Albanians to evacuate
10 Kosovo and go to Macedonia and Albania?
11 A. No. This is far from the truth. This has been refuted also by
12 the KLA and by Mr. Rugova. If we talk about the first letter, this is
13 handwritten in Cyrillic letters, and it's -- doesn't stand to logic that
14 you write some -- a letter to the citizens in Cyrillic letters. It's a
15 very primitive way of doing it.
16 As to the other, as I said, it's a pamphlet put in a better shape
17 because it has the original letterhead of the KLA and an improvised text,
18 which in Albanian had many grammatical errors.
19 MR. HANNIS: I think there may be one more page that shows the
20 original in Albanian. Is that available on e-court? I see we have now
21 the handwritten Cyrillic version in the English version, but I think there
22 is another printed version in Albanian.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, we'll break here I think, Mr. Hannis, and the
24 reason for that is there's little point in telling us that there are many
25 grammatical errors in the Albanian unless they're pointed out with a view
1 to some assessment being made, if you think that is of importance.
2 MR. HANNIS: No. I want to put it on the screen and that's all I
3 have on my direct examination.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well. Put it up on the screen before we go.
5 MR. HANNIS: It's up now, I believe. It's not a very good copy,
6 but there it is.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Before we go, there is just one question I would
8 like to ask you, Mr. Merovci, and that is: On the 4th of May, did you
9 meet Milosevic?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. It was a very brief meeting,
11 just to inform us of the planning arrangements -- of the trip planning
13 JUDGE BONOMY: And Rugova was with you at that meeting?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In fact, I was with Mr. Rugova.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes. And was there any stage on the 4th of May
16 when Milosevic and Rugova were together and you were not there?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't remember because this was
18 simply a technical meeting just to inform us of the travel arrangements.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
20 Well, we'll have to break again at this stage for half an hour, so
21 could you again go with the usher and we'll resume at 5 minutes to 1.00.
22 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness be asked to state again the
23 beginning of the sentence because the interpreters didn't get it.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Merovci, the interpreters missed the beginning
25 of that. Could you repeat what you were saying, please.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have a request for you, and this
2 has to do with the time of my testimony. I came here on Saturday, and it
3 was very difficult for me to find this time to testify here. I would
4 kindly ask you, within the time-frame of your work, to be able to conclude
5 today because I have a lot of professional commitments to take care of.
6 So I would like to ask you for your understanding.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: We'll consider what you said in our break, but it's
8 very unlikely that it will be possible to oblige you. It's likely your
9 evidence will be concluded tomorrow, but not today. However, we will look
10 at the position and explain it further to you when you come back.
11 Meanwhile, could you leave with the usher and we'll see you in half an
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 [The witness stands down]
15 --- Recess taken at 12.25 p.m.
16 --- On resuming at 12.55 p.m.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Before the witness comes back, Mr. Hannis, can I
18 take it that you were unaware of the request that was made a moment ago?
19 MR. HANNIS: Yes, Your Honour, I am. I was. Can you tell me now
20 what the request is.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: No, sorry, the request that the witness made that
22 his evidence be completed today.
23 MR. HANNIS: I had spoken with him yesterday, Your Honour, and
24 told him we would do our best, but I thought it was likely we would go
25 into tomorrow. Your Honour, while I was on the record, I wanted to
1 introduce a couple of people. Michael Hehn, on my far right, is from our
2 LRT and research team. He's an intelligence analyst, and I asked him to
3 sit in today. And to my right is Priya Gopalan. She is an associate, a
4 legal officer, with our team.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Hannis.
6 Let's have the witness back, please.
7 [The witness takes the stand]
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Merovci, your request to complete your evidence
9 today came as a surprise to us because there will be cross-examination.
10 There are six accused in this case, and each has -- is represented by
11 counsel. They won't be examining you -- each one won't be examining you
12 for the same length of time as the Prosecution, but we have to strike a
13 fair balance. So inevitably the time that cross-examination will take in
14 this case will lead us into tomorrow.
15 What I can say is that we will make exceptional efforts to
16 complete your evidence tomorrow. Should it appear that that's not going
17 to happen in the ordinary course of a sitting, then we would accommodate
18 your request and make sure that we finish tomorrow. But there's
19 absolutely no question, I'm afraid, and I'm sorry about this, but
20 absolutely no question of being able to complete your evidence today. So
21 please bear with us, understand the situation, and help us to make as much
22 progress as we can as quickly as we can.
23 One of the things you will find is that if you concentrate on the
24 particular question you're being asked and answer -- confine your answer
25 to the question that counsel's asking you, you might find that we get
1 through the evidence a bit more quickly than we have done so far. So we
2 are grateful to you for your indulgence and thank you for that.
3 Now, Mr. O'Sullivan.
4 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Your Honour, thank you. We'll follow the
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well. Please continue.
7 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Thank you.
8 Cross-examination by Mr. O'Sullivan:
9 Q. Good afternoon, sir. Good afternoon, Mr. Merovci.
10 A. Good afternoon.
11 Q. Sir, in your testimony, you said you had been an employee of the
12 United Bank of Kosovo. And my question is: Do you know the name of that
13 bank in the Serbian language? What the name of the bank is in Serbian,
14 could you tell us?
15 A. Yes. It was called Udruzena Kosovska Banka.
16 Q. Thank you. Do you know whether that bank was in the Belgrade
17 banking system, the Beogradska banking system or the Yugoslav bank
18 system? Do you know which one?
19 A. For the relevant time, two bank systems existed; the commercial or
20 state banks and the United Bank of former Yugoslavia, which comprised all
21 the united banks of the six republics and two provinces. There was also
22 the People's Bank of Yugoslavia that had six plus two popular banks, which
23 dealt with legislative matters of the bank system.
24 Q. Thank you for that. Sir, in your -- in your statement --
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, the question hasn't been answered, though.
1 That doesn't tell us which system this particular bank belonged to, if
2 that's important to you, of course.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was the United Bank of Kosova.
4 It was a state or commercial bank, which dealt with the development of
5 economy in Kosova. There were other branches of other banks, like
6 Jugobanka, Investbanka, and Beogradska Banka which were a totally
7 different kinds of banks.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: That helpfully explains that it was part of the
9 first category that you mentioned.
10 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Thank you, Your Honour.
11 Q. Sir, in your statement, the one that Prosecutor referred to, the
12 one that you looked at before coming in, in that statement at paragraph
13 64 - and you don't have to look at it - you say that you saw meetings on
14 television where you saw Mr. Milosevic and other people like
15 Mr. Milutinovic, Momir Bulatovic, Mirko Mujanovic, and others. Do you
16 recall seeing that on television in 1999?
17 A. This is about a body that was communicated to the public, like a
18 crisis headquarters.
19 Q. And you saw this on RTS, Radio Television Serbia. Is that
21 A. I don't recall accurately on which television, but until the
22 bombing started there was the Kosova Radio Television, which was under the
23 control of the Serbian authorities and under these oppressive measures.
24 As I said, I don't recall accurately on which television I saw this, but
25 it is possible that I saw it also on the Kosova Radio Television.
1 Q. So you think you may have seen it either on RTS or the local
2 Kosova television. Is that correct, just to be clear?
3 A. The local Kosova television, as you call it, was a TV station
4 controlled by the Serbs during the relevant time. And in my
5 understanding, everything was controlled by the regime.
6 Q. And I want to ask you about what you saw on the television. You
7 would see -- is it correct that you saw Mr. Milosevic sitting at the head
8 of a table, and to his left and to his right was this group of individuals
9 sitting at a long boardroom table. Would that be a fair description of
10 your recollection of what you saw on television?
11 A. This was a very short fragment of -- or clip, only a couple of
12 seconds long. I cannot describe accurately how those present were
13 sitting, but I know that that was chaired by Milosevic. And the persons
14 who attended it, I know them --
15 Q. All right --
16 A. -- and I've mentioned them in my statement.
17 Q. And I believe you saw this on television more than once. You
18 didn't only see one clip. You would see it from time to time on the
19 evening news. Would that be correct?
20 A. No. I saw this only once. These fragments and communiques from
21 this body were not very frequent; and for the time-frame we're speaking
22 of, the television was closed down and we were unable to follow the news.
23 Q. Now, Momir Bulatovic who you saw, he was the prime minister of the
24 federal government; correct?
25 A. Momir Bulatovic came from Montenegro, but I do not recall the
1 function he performed.
2 Q. During this television broadcast, do you recall seeing Zividan
3 Jovanovic at the table? He was the Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia?
4 A. You're saying "in these," and I'm speaking of a clip that I only
5 saw once. And what I can state here is only what I've already stated in
6 my statement. It is only a couple of seconds long clip.
7 Q. I'd like to move on to the meeting held in Belgrade with
8 Mr. Milosevic on the 1st of April. All right. Now, looking at your
9 statement, just to set the context, you joined the meeting with
10 Mr. Milosevic and Mr. -- Dr. Rugova about 30 minutes after it started.
11 And you remained in that meeting for about one hour with Mr. Milosevic,
12 Dr. Rugova, you, and Mr. Milenovic, Mr. Milosevic's chef de cabinet;
14 A. When you say "one hour," it is generalised. It is in approximate
15 terms under those circumstances. It is probable, though, that it is the
16 case. It is true that I joined the meeting upon request by Mr. Rugova. I
17 attended this meeting for not more than 15 minutes maximum. In general,
18 if you take the meeting in general, you can say that it was about one hour
20 Q. And this is a small point, but just the name of Mr. Milosevic's
21 chef de cabinet -- your statement says Milenovic, but it's correct that
22 his name is Milinovic. Would you accept that, one letter different?
23 A. I accept that. Yes, it's correct. Goran Milinovic.
24 Q. Now, you said that during this meeting when you were there, after
25 you had joined it, Mr. Milosevic said he wanted to make an interim
1 agreement with Dr. Rugova which would allow people to return. Correct?
2 A. When I joined the meeting, the word "agreement" was not mentioned
3 at all. Mr. Rugova just showed me a piece of paper titled "press
4 statement," and he said that they want him to sign this press statement.
5 And as I mentioned earlier, he wanted to gain in time --
6 Q. I'll stop you there. I'm not interrupting you to be rude, but,
7 sir, at paragraph 58 of your statement is -- I'm quoting it back to you to
8 set the context for further questions. At paragraph 58, you've adopted
9 this statement as being true and accurate, and it says in paragraph 58:
10 "Milosevic went on to say to Dr. Rugova that he and Dr. Rugova needed to
11 make an interim agreement which would allow people to return."
12 I'm just asking you to adopt that as true and accurate; that's
13 what you said?
14 A. This is fully correct. But when you say that an agreement had to
15 be made, it does not mean that this press statement was the agreement.
16 This is the point I wanted to make.
17 Q. I don't believe I asked you that question, and I haven't even
18 mentioned the press statement, sir.
19 Now, again in paragraph 58, you say that Dr. Rugova said he needed
20 to have third parties to ensure that the agreement was carried out, he
21 needed to consult his colleagues, and that he had no contact with his
22 colleagues and his aides at that time. Now, that's correct also, isn't
24 A. You can say it's correct, but you cannot answer it by yes or no.
25 If you are putting it to me that there was an agreement, my answer is no,
1 categorically no. This was the first meeting. During this meeting, a
2 press statement was signed; and also during this meeting, a possible
3 agreement was discussed. And Mr. Rugova emphasised that there cannot be
4 any agreement without the presence of a third party.
5 Q. And some of Dr. Rugova's colleagues, his aides with whom he did
6 not have contact, were -- some were in Kosovo and some were in Macedonia,
7 correct, at that time?
8 A. More than 90 percent were not in Kosova from his close associates.
9 Q. Sir, I wonder if you could focus on my question, and it will go
10 much faster and much smoother. I was just suggesting to you that some of
11 his colleagues were in Kosovo and some were in Macedonia. I think you can
12 answer that yes or no.
13 A. When you say "some were in Kosovo and some were in Macedonia," I
14 cannot answer that by yes, because you should define the word "some." How
15 many do you mean?
16 Q. Well, are you -- can we agree, regardless of the numbers, that
17 some were still in Kosovo and some had gone to Macedonia?
18 A. I would agree with the following: That the majority had left and
19 only a few had remained in Kosova.
20 Q. At one point in that meeting - again, I'm quoting your words from
21 paragraph 58 - you told Mr. Milosevic that Mr. Rugova and you needed to go
22 abroad to make contact with key people and to work on peacefully resolving
23 the situation; correct?
24 A. Our request had to do with our leaving, and we had to justify the
25 request for leaving.
1 Q. Now, you have mentioned the statement, and you say in your
2 statement to the Prosecution, the statement that Mr. Rugova and
3 Mr. Milosevic signed. You said that: "Before he signed it, Mr. Rugova
4 read it over and he found it acceptable and then he signed it." Correct?
5 A. Mr. Rugova was under pressure. As I already said, he called for
6 me, for me to attend this meeting as well. You know, I was only technical
7 staff there; but as Milosevic was insisting on him, he was forced to
8 formally, officially sign this statement.
9 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Can we put Exhibit 1D59 on the screen, please.
10 Q. And, sir, you said that the statement signed by Mr. Rugova and
11 Mr. Milosevic was rather short, and I'm suggesting to you that the text of
12 that statement we'll see in a moment, 1D59.
13 I'm sorry. I don't have this text in your language. It's only in
14 English and in Serbian, so I hope you can perhaps follow the Serbian at
15 least. I don't have the Albanian, I'm sorry. Right now I don't have
17 A. The original was in Serbian as well. I don't mind.
18 Q. Well, on the left of the screen, sir, that's the front page of
19 Politika, the Belgrade daily newspaper?
20 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Can we go -- show the right side, please.
21 Q. You can see that it's the 2nd of April, 1999. You see
22 Mr. Milosevic and Dr. Rugova sitting together.
23 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Now, can we focus in -- can we enlarge the
24 picture of these two gentleman and the text above it with the signatures
25 to help everyone see it. Can we go down so we can see the text -- up,
1 sorry, up, up. All right.
2 Q. And there it says:
3 "President of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic,
4 has received Dr. Ibrahim Rugova in Belgrade in discussions about of
5 problems in Kosovo and Metohija. It has been fully agreed that they are
6 both committed to the political process and that the problems can be
7 successfully and permanently resolved only through political means."
8 So that's the short text that you had described earlier this
9 morning, isn't it?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. Now, I think you said many times that starting with this meeting
12 with Mr. Milosevic there were two issues or two concerns that Dr. Rugova
13 and you had. The first was leaving to go abroad and the second was
14 locating Dr. Rugova's aides and colleagues. Would that be a fair
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. And during this meeting with Mr. Milosevic, you gave him a list of
18 some of the aides that Dr. Rugova was anxious to communicate with;
20 A. I didn't give him a list but I mentioned names orally, and he
21 wrote those names down on a package of cigarettes.
22 Q. And Mr. Milosevic told you that he would have his security people
23 try to locate those people for you; correct?
24 A. Yes. This is what he said. The first name we asked for to be
25 located was Fehmi Agani, who was later killed.
1 Q. And on 10th of April, you were informed by Mr. Joksic from state
2 security that two of Mr. -- or Dr. Rugova's aides, Abdyl Ramaj and Ilijas
3 Kurteshi, had been located. You went to see them in. You brought them to
4 Dr. Rugova's house; correct? That's paragraph 66 of your statement.
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. And you also told us that the journalist Mr. Shala, Blerim Shala,
7 a man who shared a moderate view of politics, the same type of political
8 stand as Dr. Rugova, had been located. And Dr. Rugova said it's up to
9 Mr. Shala whether he comes back to Pristina or not; correct?
10 A. Yes, correct.
11 Q. Now, you've told us that you actually went to -- abroad on the 5th
12 of May when you flew from Belgrade to Rome. But as early as the 5th of
13 April, when you met with Mr. Sainovic to discuss going abroad and locating
14 Dr. Rugova's aides, you were told you were free to go abroad but your
15 security abroad remained an issue. That's what you were told on the 5th
16 of May -- 5th of April, excuse me, paragraph 64. Isn't that right?
17 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, that's not a precise --
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Just a moment --
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We have mixed up the dates.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
21 MR. HANNIS: I'm sorry. My objection is that it's not a precise
22 quote. It's that your security -- "We cannot guarantee your security, not
23 necessarily your security abroad. It may mean your security in Kosovo or
24 Serbia as well."
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, perhaps precision in the question will get
1 the answer clarified from the witness.
2 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Thank you.
3 Q. On the 5th of April, you were told by Mr. Sainovic, "You're free
4 to go but we cannot guarantee your security." You were told that on the
5 5th of April; correct?
6 A. You mixed up the dates. You said 5th April and then 5th May. On
7 the 5th April, Ambassador Kotov was there and we had a meeting. Later on,
8 the issues that you mentioned were discussed, including the issue of my
9 security, that it can be endangered during this trip.
10 Q. Right. But in fact on this -- between the 17th and 21st of April,
11 you did travel to Macedonia, where your family was located, where you had
12 contact with some LDK people and some international diplomats; correct?
13 A. Yes, that's correct. I went to the house where my family was
14 staying, in the house of Mr. Nushi Kerliu, who I mentioned earlier. There
15 I met with only two LDK activists. The entire visit or meetings that I
16 had with Rugova's aides were confined to these two activists. The other
17 meetings were with foreign diplomats and journalists.
18 Q. I'd like to talk about the late Dr. Rugova for a moment. In your
19 statement, you describe him in these terms, paragraph 11: "He was a very
20 stable, democratic, non-radical politician. I saw Dr. Rugova as the
21 person who would be able to lead the Kosovars and deal with matters
22 democratically and peacefully."
23 Now, this is what you said about him in 1989, and I assume that
24 was one of the reasons you were attracted to him and worked with him. Is
25 that fair to say?
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. And would it also be fair to say that as a politician,
3 Dr. Rugova's guiding principles were political dialogue and taking
4 concrete action through peaceful means?
5 A. Fair, that's fair.
6 Q. And would you also say that it's fair to say that Dr. Rugova's
7 approach to politics remained unchanged throughout his life until his
8 death last year?
9 A. I departed from him at the beginning of 2000; therefore, I can
10 talk about that and comment about him for that time. After 2000, the
11 legal internationally recognised institutions were organised in Kosova and
12 Mr. Rugova had posts that I was not involved with, but I am in favour of
13 what you put to me.
14 Q. And would it be accurate to say that Dr. Rugova was a key
15 spokesman and interlocutor for finding solutions on issues concerning
16 Kosovo, and one example out of many would be the work he did with
17 Monsignor Palija at St. Edigio on education matters?
18 A. Up to that time, yes, you can say that. But with the appearance
19 of the KLA on the scene and its activities, things changed, because it was
20 seen that Mr. Rugova's policy was such that they didn't -- it didn't go
21 with them, didn't agree with KLA. Therefore, its influence waned.
22 But as to the agreement you mentioned, it was an expression of the
23 good-well of Mr. Rugova as an argument for his peaceful politics because
24 that agreement had to do with the freeing of facilities that were
25 occupied, I mean education facilities, that were occupied by the regime.
1 That agreement was never implemented fully.
2 Q. Would it also be fair to say that the institutions that Dr. Rugova
3 tried to establish were for all nationalities and groups living in Kosovo?
4 Would that be a fair statement?
5 A. Yes, it would because we held referendum and elections. And if
6 you allow me to recall that as a result of these elections, we had a
7 parliament and there were seats reserved for the Serbs and other
8 nationalities, even though they didn't participate in this election and
9 the election was not internationally recognised.
10 Q. Another important approach to Dr. Rugova's politics was to
11 establish mutual trust among communities in Kosovo and with the
12 authorities in Belgrade; correct?
13 A. At first, Rugova was "a monster for the regime," but later maybe
14 they changed opinion, and so that he was a man with authority who followed
15 an approach that was acceptable to the entire world.
16 Q. We've seen from your statement - and you've mentioned it here -
17 that Dr. Rugova met with Russian Ambassador Kotov in early April. And
18 while you were away in Macedonia, you know that he met with Patriarch
19 Aleksey of the Russian Orthodox church; correct?
20 A. That's correct.
21 Q. I have to ask you something that is intriguing to me about
22 Dr. Rugova, and that was his tradition -- the tradition he had of
23 presenting a gift, a crystal, a rock containing precious minerals when he
24 met certain individuals. Why did he do that and what did it represent for
1 A. It was his passion, then it became a symbolic gesture for him.
2 Any time he met someone, he made a gift of such a rock as symbolic
3 representation of Kosova's riches because, for your information, Kosova is
4 very rich in such minerals.
5 Q. In the spring of 1999 when the war broke out, would it be fair to
6 say that Dr. Rugova believed that it was important to restore peace?
7 A. Can you repeat the question, please.
8 Q. Well, once you found -- once Dr. Rugova found himself, all of you,
9 in a war in the spring of 1999, Dr. Rugova believed, did he not, that it
10 was important to restore peace?
11 A. This was the case until the Paris agreement. With a failure to
12 sign that agreement, it was the end of the process. And with the
13 beginning of the air-strikes, in a way, a solution was imposed. But
14 Mr. Rugova's definition was always in favour of a peaceful way.
15 Q. Do you recall, sir, that at the beginning of April 1999 - focus on
16 the beginning of April 1999 - in the period between western and Orthodox
17 Easter, which at that year fell at the beginning of 1999, there was a
18 unilateral cease-fire declared by the Serb side, do you recall that, in
19 the media?
20 A. No, I don't remember that.
21 Q. Well, maybe I can refresh your memory?
22 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Can we have 1D36 on the screen, please. 1D36. I
23 see the Serbian version on the left and the English will come up in a
24 moment I hope.
25 Q. Sir, what you're looking at is a joint statement of the federal
1 government and the government of Republic of Serbia, and I can represent
2 to you that the date on that document is the 6th of April, 1999. Now, in
3 the middle of the page, paragraph 1, is the reference I made a moment ago
4 to the unilateral cease-fire that both the federal and the republic
5 government had adopted.
6 And if you go up the page and look, you can see that the second
7 paragraph refers to the meeting between Mr. Rugova and Mr. Milosevic on
8 the 1st of April. Do you see that?
9 A. Yes, I do.
10 Q. And then the next paragraph refers to the meeting between
11 Mr. Rugova and Mr. Sainovic on the 5th of April, a meeting we've already
12 talked about. Do you see that?
13 A. Yes, I do.
14 Q. And if we go down to the bottom of the page, you'll see paragraph
15 2 is there. And paragraph 2 makes reference to, states that:
16 "The government represented that it should immediately embark upon
17 preparations for a political agreement in cooperation with representatives
18 of those Albanians represented by Dr. Ibrahim Rugova, as stated under A,
19 wishing first of all to achieve a simple interim agreement enabling the
20 functioning of joint self-governing authorities in Kosovo and Metohija
21 with Albanian and Serbian national community and the other national
22 communities. That agreement would, after a certain period of time, be a
23 basis for lasting, substantial autonomy in Kosovo and Metohija within
25 Paragraph 3, which I won't read, makes reference to the return of
1 refugees. Does -- is your -- are you familiar with or do you recall this
2 declaration and the declaration concerning the simple interim agreement?
3 A. This is a first time for me to see this document; but as I see it,
4 it doesn't seem to be the agreement. It's something -- a document issued
5 by the two senior leaders. But as the document, as I said, it is the
6 first time for me to look at it, and I don't have any comments because it
7 seems to be staged and doesn't contain the approval or the statements by
8 Mr. Rugova, at least in this text I see here.
9 Q. Very well. I'll move on. Now, you mentioned in the questions by
10 Mr. Hannis earlier this morning that on the 2nd of April, when you
11 returned to Pristina in Mr. Rugova's home and the phone was we stored,
12 Mr. Milinovic, Mr. Milosevic's chef de cabinet, phoned you and asked you
13 to meet with Dr. Ratko Markovic.
14 Now, you know that Dr. Markovic was the head of the Serb FRY
15 delegation at Rambouillet; correct? You have no answer. You knew that,
16 you knew that Professor Markovic was the head of the delegation at
18 A. Being the head of delegation in this case was a question of
19 something that the Serbs had to decide, because there were no direct
20 meetings between Serbs and Albanians. This was something that they
21 decided. We heard that he was chief of delegation, but it was never
22 officially made it known to us, just as Mr. Thaci was the head of the
23 Albanian delegation.
24 Q. Right. You knew also that Professor Markovic was one of the
25 deputy prime ministers of the government of the Republic of Serbia? You
1 knew that?
2 A. This name has stuck to my memory mostly because of the talks on
3 the question of education, but what you are saying afterwards, are things
4 I cannot tell you. I cannot deny it but I don't know what posts he had.
5 Q. Are you aware that he was an eminent scholar and Professor of
6 constitutional law?
7 A. No. It is the first time for me to hear that.
8 Q. Do you know that Professor Markovic was the head of delegation
9 established by the Government of Serbia established in 1998 to attempt to
10 negotiate a political settlement with Kosovar Albanian leaders?
11 A. If we are talking about these talks which have been held and are
12 publicly known, he was there, but I don't recall that he was a leader. By
13 this, I want to say that the importance of these talks came to nothing
14 because they didn't have any effect at all. To tell you the truth, I
15 don't remember accurately. As I said, I'm not denying it. I know that he
16 was one of the people that led these talks, but I cannot say whether he
17 was the head of the delegation.
18 Q. Well, you must have known if you were working closely with Dr.
19 Rugova that in 1998 Professor Markovic, as head of this delegation, had
20 written to Dr. Rugova and other Kosovar Albanian leaders to attend
21 meetings with the Serb delegation to discuss these issues. You must have
22 known that?
23 A. Yes. This I know because I received these invitations as a person
24 responsible for protocol issues, but for your information I was involved
25 mostly and primarily with technical issues, not with negotiations or
1 political issues. And sometimes things developed so fast that I cannot
2 always give you an answer. The fact is that I received these invitations
3 and I signed that I received these invitations. I don't deny it I said.
4 Eight years have passed since then. Whether he was the head of this
5 group, I cannot ascertain.
6 Q. And you must also know in that same context that this delegation
7 had invited the Kosovar Albanian leaders and been refused at least 15
8 times. The Serbian delegation would come to Pristina and the Albanian
9 delegation would not appear. You must know that?
10 A. Yes, I recall that. And the question was about the venue of the
11 meetings, because often we were asked to meet with them at a building of
12 the Serbian government; and when I say we, I mean the Albanian delegation,
13 refused to go to that place. It happened that they came to the office of
14 Mr. Rugova; and once we went, Lord Owen and Mr. Vance from United States
15 were responsible for the conference on the former Yugoslavia. This is, if
16 I am not mistaken, how it was.
17 Q. Well, sir, I'm talking about 1998 and I don't believe that Vance
18 and Owen were involved in this process at that time were they, in 1998?
19 A. That's correct, but I brought this up because of the question of
20 the venue for the meetings because that was a problem I didn't agree and I
21 mentioned the occasion when we went there to that building. I also said
22 that some meetings -- we refused some meetings because of the location and
23 then we started to hold these meetings at the office of Mr. Rugova in
25 Q. Well, there was one meeting in Pristina with Dr. Rugova and the
1 delegation headed by Professor Markovic and that was after the G5, the
2 group that met with Mr. Milosevic in the spring of 1998, but that was the
3 first and last time the Albanians leadership agreed and accepted an
4 invitation to meet, to discuss a political solution in 1998. Isn't that
6 A. I cannot say yes because I don't remember what you are putting to
7 me, neither the event nor the date.
8 Q. And in answer to one of my questions, you said that the Albanian
9 delegation refused to meet in the building of the Serbian government in
10 Pristina, but the Albanian -- Kosovar Albanian leadership refused to meet
11 anywhere. They wouldn't meet in Pristina. They wouldn't meet in
12 Belgrade. They were invited to meet anywhere, any time, and they refused;
14 A. The Albanian side always insisted on the presence of the
15 international factors at such meetings. As you might know, these meetings
16 were proposed, but every time we were about to attend something happened.
17 Something was not done that we required to be done, and that's why we have
18 refused to attend.
19 MR. O'SULLIVAN: Your Honour, is this an appropriate time for the
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Merovci, we will have to interrupt the
22 proceedings now for the day and resume tomorrow; that will be at 9.00.
23 And as I indicated to you, we will ensure, even if it needs exceptional
24 measures on our part and barring unforeseen events, we will ensure that we
25 complete this cross-examination and any re-examination tomorrow.
1 Overnight, it is very important that you have no discussion with
2 anybody, anybody at all, about the evidence in the case. Obviously you're
3 free to discuss any other matter with anybody you wish, but off-limits is
4 any discussion of the evidence. So we will see you again tomorrow at
5 9.00. Meanwhile, could you leave the courtroom with the usher. Thank
7 [The witness stands down].
8 JUDGE BONOMY: 9.00 tomorrow.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.,
10 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 17th day of
11 January, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.