1 Monday, 4 March 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.31 a.m.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
6 MR. NICE: Your Honour, before the witness is called, just a few
7 administrative matters. Firstly and briefly, pre-trial brief due in
8 respect of Croatia/Bosnia. The Chamber knows that there is a limit of 50
9 pages unless extension is granted. The Chamber will recall that in
10 Kosovo, we stuck to 50 pages and didn't seek any extension. For
11 Croatia/Bosnia, I would ask that the Rule be interpreted so that we may
12 have 50 pages per indictment, if that's acceptable to the Chamber.
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
14 MR. NICE: Thank you very much. The second point is a matter of
15 information and so that we don't lose sight of it. The Chamber recalls
16 that the Rule 68 reports that we file come with identification of the
17 parameters we are applying to fulfil to the best our ability and in a
18 reasonable way the 68 duty. It seems prudent fairly soon for us to review
19 the parameters, in light of the cross-examination of the accused, to make
20 sure that they don't need revision, and so I will serve a report again
21 comparatively soon but with that objective in mind. And it may be helpful
22 for us to have that in mind as cross-examination is developing.
23 Third point which comes in two parts is both a general and a
24 specific. As the Chamber knows, the accused has told us that he has a
25 room full of the material we've served on him and which he does not turn
1 to. The Chamber will also know that, as of the end of last week, the
2 accused has sought, via the Registry, from us witness statements of
3 witnesses who are about to be called, and we have made those available
4 through the Registry to him.
5 Now, in due course, there's going to be a very great deal of
6 material served in respect of the Croatia/Bosnia indictment in accordance
7 with the Rules, and we hope that that service will be effective for the
8 accused to prepare his defence and for him to prepare for witnesses when
9 they come. And we hope that it will not be necessary for us then to have
10 to serve everything according to a different routine, and we would ask the
11 Chamber not to make any decision today but, in due course, to perhaps
12 raise the matter with the accused, because if he wants disclosure on a
13 different basis that is more helpful to him in his work and preparation,
14 then that can be done, but it doesn't seem to us entirely desirable that
15 things should be being disclosed once to no effect and then on an entirely
16 different basis.
17 That brings me to the immediate problem -- I'm probably speaking
18 too fast and I apologise.
19 That brings me to the immediate problem. Next week, it is
20 intended to call the first expert, Patrick Ball, and a witness,
21 Lord Ashdown, whose material will cover not only Kosovo but will cover
22 part of matters relevant to the Croatia/Bosnia indictment. One can't, I
23 think, respectfully -- respectably expect the witness to come twice; he
24 can only come once. So that the accused is now on notice that those are
25 the two witnesses, or two of the major witnesses for next week.
1 So far as Patrick Ball is concerned, the accused has had the
2 report for months and he has notice that we intended to call him at this
3 time for months as well. Technically, I think in terms of filing his
4 report with the Chamber, we may be four days short of the required 30-day
5 limit for service, and so we would seek relief in respect of that. But
6 what we are more concerned to do is to ensure that the accused has the
7 material or can find the material that he may need to look at to deal with
8 that witness, because this is not just, obviously, a witness who's coming
9 to give an account of something happened in a village. It's material
10 he'll need to look at. What I am in a position to do, by immediately
11 after the break, is to serve or to make available to the accused a
12 schedule that sets out where he may find, according to the dates of the
13 service, all the material that relate to this particular witness.
14 JUDGE MAY: Why don't we simply ensure that he has, towards the
15 end of this week, the material? If need be, the Chamber will do it, or if
16 you want, perhaps you could do it yourself. I think it would be much
17 easier for him.
18 MR. NICE: Very well. I'll deal with that. And the same will
19 apply with Lord Ashdown as well.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
21 MR. NICE: So I'll simply serve his material again.
22 JUDGE MAY: It may be convenient to do it at the end of the week
23 so he can look at it over the weekend.
24 MR. NICE: Well, I'll get it to him as soon as may be.
25 JUDGE MAY: Let us know when you're going to serve it.
1 MR. NICE: Certainly.
2 JUDGE MAY: Lord Ashdown, of course, is not an expert; he's merely
3 another witness.
4 MR. NICE: Correct.
5 JUDGE MAY: But as far as the expert is concerned, we have the
6 report and that can very largely stand as the evidence in chief. Do you
7 want to ask the witness any questions?
8 MR. NICE: I should probably want him to summarise the effect of
9 his evidence, but it may not be necessary to go into it in any great
10 detail other than that. But as a matter of public record, it would be
11 important to get him to deal with it to that extent.
12 There's another expert, again whose reports have been available
13 for months and in respect of whom the accused has had notice for months
14 that he was to be called, Ridelmayer, R-I-D-E-L-M-A-Y-E-R. His report was
15 filed on the 28th of February, and accordingly, depending on whether we
16 call him next week - I think unlikely, or the week after more
17 probable - there will be some short service in respect of which we would
18 seek relief. But again, no prejudice to the accused.
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, I think as far as Mr. Ridelmayer is
20 concerned, not next week, but the week after would be better, because
21 we've only just got the report ourselves. But we will allow short
23 MR. NICE: Thank you very much. And then, finally, the
24 Prosecution's paper on the scope of cross-examination will be with you by,
25 I hope, the middle of the week.
1 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
2 Let me deal with some practical matters. We will hear the
3 argument on Rule 92 bis on the statements, the written statements, that
4 is, and their admissibility, on Thursday afternoon at a convenient time.
5 There will be no need for anybody to repeat what's already in the
6 documents which have been served, so I hope it can be relatively quick.
7 MR. NICE: Your Honour, Thursday afternoon I think we're --
8 JUDGE MAY: We're not here. Quite right. Thursday morning it
9 will have to be. Yes, we're sitting 9.00 to 1.45 from today onwards.
11 In that connection, the accused asked us to consider the position
12 about 5.00 sittings, and we have done so. And in the light of his
13 representations and in the light of various other consideration and the
14 difficulties of sitting late for members of the staff and others, we have
15 reconsidered that, and the result is this: that we won't sit until 5.00.
16 We will decide on a daily basis whether it's necessary to sit beyond the
17 normal time of 4.00 or so to 4.30 on a particular day, and we shall not
18 sit today beyond 4.00.
19 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm obliged.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Can we have the first witness, please.
21 MR. NICE: Ms. Romano will call this first witness.
22 MS. ROMANO: The Prosecution calls Hasan Pruthi.
23 [The witness entered court]
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration. Yes, if
25 you'd read it out, please.
1 WITNESS: HASAN PRUTHI
2 [Witness answered through interpreter]
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
4 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
5 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
6 Examined by Ms. Romano:
7 Q. Mr. Pruthi, can you please state your full name for the Court.
8 A. Hasan Pruthi.
9 Q. You were born in Gjakove on the 10th of October, 1947? You are
10 married, with three children?
11 A. I'm born on 10th of June [sic] -- of April [sic], 1947, father of
12 three children.
13 Q. Excuse me. I think I have a problem with the translation. It's
14 June or April?
15 A. October. I was born in October.
16 Q. Okay. So, Mr. Pruthi, you were born in October of 1947?
17 A. That's right.
18 Q. You're a lawyer and you're currently working as a legal advisor
19 for the Norwegian Council of Refugees?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. And you worked as a judge, first in the Municipal Court of Gjakove
22 from 1976 to 1978, and after, in Gjakove Business Court from 1978 to 1991?
23 A. That's right.
24 Q. What's your ethnicity?
25 A. Albanian.
1 Q. Were most of the people in Gjakove Albanians?
2 A. That's right.
3 Q. Were there Serbs in Gjakove?
4 A. There were a few Serbs in Gjakove.
5 Q. Where Gjakove is located, Mr. Pruthi?
6 A. Gjakove is in -- is in the southern part of Kosova. It's between
7 Peja and Prizren.
8 Q. Do you have any military training or experience?
9 A. I merely completed my military service.
10 Q. When was that?
11 A. I completed military service in 1973 to 1974.
12 Q. Mr. Pruthi, during all the time that you worked as a lawyer and as
13 a judge in Kosovo, more specifically in Gjakove, did you notice any
14 difference in treatment between Serbs and Albanians?
15 A. Of course I noticed a difference. I might say that in 1991, the
16 Serbian parliament at that time made a discriminatory decision according
17 to which the Commercial Court of Gjakove district was dissolved and about
18 40 employees were left on the streets without work.
19 Q. Mr. Pruthi, why you say that this decision was a discriminatory
21 A. Because this court was an adjudicating court, and this decision
22 was taken at a time when the Federal Ministry of Yugoslavia had given --
23 had greatly praised the work of this court, and there was no reason to
24 dissolve it at all.
25 Q. What was the work in the Commercial Court? What was the role of
1 the Commercial Court?
2 A. The district Commercial Court was responsible to settle economic
3 disputes and to register firms.
4 Q. Were there a lot of applications by Albanians to register their
6 A. There were applications to register firms because this was a year
7 when the law on enterprises came into effect. It was the time of Ante
8 Markovic. And according to this law, people were given the opportunity to
9 register private companies and to turn their property and to start joint
10 enterprises with public enterprises. So this court was responsible for
11 enforcing this law and registering various kinds of property.
12 Q. And how did the abolishment of this court by the Serb parliament
13 affect the Albanians?
14 A. Because this court extended its authority over the entire plane of
15 Dukagjin. It was involved in administering the economic life of this
16 entire part of Kosova. So the abolition of this court, it was a blow to
17 this entire part of Kosova.
18 Q. Mr. Pruthi, if the Albanians wanted to register their private
19 business at that time, with the abolishment of that court, where they had
20 to go?
21 A. At that time, there were two courts working in Kosova. There was
22 the Pristina economic court and the one in Gjakove which was abolished.
23 Albanians at that time who wanted to register their court [sic] at the
24 Economic Court in Pristina were instructed and were unable to register
25 their firms because the officers of that court refused to register them
1 after the Gjakove court was abolished.
2 Q. Are you saying, Mr. Pruthi, that it was difficult for the
3 Albanians to register their property in just one court?
4 A. Yes, because they couldn't register these firms. At the time that
5 I'm talking about, they couldn't register these firms at the court in
7 Q. There was any particular reason why they couldn't register their
8 firms in Pristina?
9 A. According to the rules, any refusal of an application by citizens,
10 any registration of a company needed a written reason of any failure to
11 register it, and the court didn't supply these but merely refused them
13 Q. Also while -- during the time that you practised law in Kosovo,
14 was there any requirement for the trade of property?
15 A. Yes, there was. This was a time when the Serbian parliament had
16 introduced the law on the trading of property in -- under special
17 circumstances, which covered the territory of Kosova, which required a
18 special approval from the Finance Ministry in Belgrade.
19 Q. And this requirement was mandatory to everyone, to Albanians,
20 Serbs, to everyone in Gjakove; is that correct?
21 A. It was binding on everybody, but according to the discriminatory
22 law, it prevented the trade in property on a daily basis, and citizens
23 could not sell their property without obtaining prior approval of this
25 Q. Mr. Pruthi, what was the difference in treatment between Albanians
1 and Serbs concerning those requirements?
2 A. The treatment was not the same, in fact, because the applications
3 of Albanians dragged and were prolonged and were not settled for a long
4 time, while Serbian applications were settled immediately. And a large
5 number of Albanian applications were also refused.
6 Q. Do you know -- do you personally know Albanians who had problems
7 in obtaining this authorisation?
8 A. There were plenty of cases -- I can't give you a name, but there
9 were many cases in which applications were refused by this ministry.
10 Q. Are you able to provide a percentage between Albanians and Serbs?
11 A. What kind of percentage do you mean?
12 Q. How many applications between -- how many Serbian applications
13 were admitted in comparison with how many Albanian applications were
15 A. You mean by this ministry?
16 Q. Yes.
17 A. The Serbian percentage, when I'm talking about Kosova, there were
18 fewer applications, of course, from Kosova, from Serbs, than from
19 Albanians. But as I said before, the Albanian applications were refused
20 and some others were settled, but over a very long period.
21 Q. And all the Serbian applications were admitted?
22 A. The Serbs didn't dare sell their property in Kosova as long as
23 this law was in effect.
24 Q. While performing your duties as a lawyer and a judge as well, what
25 was the language used in applications and documents?
1 A. As you know, before the overthrow of Kosova's autonomy, Albanian
2 was an official language, but not afterwards, so that communications in
3 the district courts were made only in Serbian. I'm talking about the
4 municipal court in Gjakove. And applications in writing always had to be
5 made in the Serbian language. If they were made in Albanian, they were
6 immediately sent back and refused by the office.
7 Q. And did the Albanian population complain about that situation?
8 A. Some lawyers in our municipality complained to the justice
9 ministry, the republican one, of course, but they never received a reply,
10 even though it was the right of the Albanians to make applications in
11 their own language. But this right was not recognised.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Pruthi. What do you know about the KLA?
13 A. The KLA was a force that appeared during the war in Kosova, a
14 force that was -- stood by the unarmed people who were suffering, were
15 defenceless, and they always defended the population who were in such
16 danger from the murderous Serbian forces.
17 Q. Mr. Pruthi, you said it was a force that appeared during the war.
18 Which war are you referring to?
19 A. I'm talking about the criminal attacks of Serbian forces and
20 Serbian police in Kosova.
21 Q. Before we get there, I wanted to ask you: Were you associated to
22 the KLA at any time?
23 A. I was not connected with the KLA at any time, and I never saw KLA
24 troops in my city at the time when the war broke out, but it was present
25 on the outskirts of the city. It wasn't able to enter the town at that
1 time because of the great presence of Serbian army and police inside the
3 Q. Mr. Pruthi, did you support the KLA?
4 A. The activities of the KLA in protecting the population from crimes
5 and from murders, as I said before, at the hands of the Serbian police and
6 army, of course I supported, because its activities were in the interests
7 of the population, who were totally defenceless at that time.
8 Q. And did you materialise this support in any way?
9 A. No.
10 Q. Mr. Pruthi, can you briefly describe how was the life in Albania
11 immediately before the NATO campaign?
12 A. It was very tense. Life was -- it was a miserable life which
13 can't be summarised in a few words. The people lived in tension and fear
14 and were shut up in their homes. Only their needs for daily supplies for
15 their families and for groceries -- one member of the family would have to
16 go out for the market, fetch supplies, but otherwise it was impossible to
17 go out on the streets because of the major presence of Serbian military
18 equipment and the police.
19 Q. Mr. Pruthi, when was that? Which time did you see this presence
20 of Serbian army and police in your town?
21 A. I saw this presence from 1988, when the roads were filled with
22 Serbian army and police vehicles who patrolled up and down the streets all
23 day and all night.
24 Q. You referred to Serbian army and police. How do you know they
25 were soldiers and police?
1 A. You could see by their uniforms. Because the army had one uniform
2 and the police had another, you could see who were policemen and who were
4 Q. Can you describe the uniforms, the police uniforms and the army
6 A. Of course; the police had a blue uniform, camouflage, while the
7 Serbian army had green uniforms, also camouflage.
8 MS. ROMANO: Can I please have the witness shown the Exhibit 18.
9 Q. Mr. Pruthi, the usher will show you a series of photographs
10 containing photographs of uniforms. Can you please take a look on those
11 photos and see if you can identify any of the uniforms, a photo similar of
12 the uniforms that you saw belonging to the police and the army.
13 A. For example, here's a police uniform, a Serbian police uniform
14 here, and in this photograph up here.
15 Q. Which number, Mr. Pruthi?
16 A. Number 6 and number 4.
17 Q. And the army?
18 A. This is the uniform of the Serbian police, number 6. And this is
19 also a kind of uniform of the Serbian police, number 4.
20 Q. Can you identify the uniform that the army soldiers wore at that
21 time, looking again at the photos?
22 A. I can. Here we are. Number 9, that uniform.
23 Q. Thank you. You mentioned vehicles, also equipment. What kind?
24 A. I'm talking about police and military vehicles of various kinds -
25 trucks, Pinzgauers, jeeps of different kinds - and their weapons were
1 generally automatic rifles.
2 MS. ROMANO: Can I please have the witness shown Exhibit 17 and
3 also, after, 21.
4 Q. Mr. Pruthi, can you look at the photos that the usher will put
5 before you. And there are a series of photos of military and police
6 vehicles. Can you see among them if you can identify any photo of a
7 vehicle that you saw at that time?
8 A. Yes, of course I can show you. There are various vehicles in
9 front of me which I saw at this time. I will start here. This first kind
10 and this third kind, tanks, and this kind -- these other kinds of vehicles
11 that I saw at this time.
12 Q. Mr. Pruthi, can you please indicate the one and --
13 A. And the jeep.
14 Q. Can you indicate one by one, and the usher will put on the ELMO.
15 A. Yes, I can. Vehicle number 7. Vehicle number 10.
16 Q. Can you also indicate if you know what kind of vehicle it was and
17 if it was a military vehicle or a police vehicle.
18 A. These were both police and military vehicles. The two kinds were
19 together. I have these kinds here in front of us in this photograph.
20 There was also a kind of jeep that they used at this time.
21 Q. Can you please proceed and indicate the numbers and the vehicles.
22 A. Number 2, number 15, number 10.
23 Q. Thank you. You saw all this equipment, all these vehicles at that
24 time around your town, in your town. Where did you see them?
25 A. You could see them on all the streets of the city, parading
1 throughout the day, and you could hear the noise of them as they moved
2 during the night too.
3 Q. You mentioned also automatic weapons. I will again ask you to
4 look at some photos and see if you can identify any of the weapons that
5 you saw at that time.
6 A. That time, I saw the gun number 4, the gun number 1 and number 2.
7 And there were also kinds of cannon shown, and the kind shown in
8 photograph number 1.
9 Q. So you mentioned -- the first ones you mentioned belong to sheet
10 A, and the cannon belongs to sheet B; is that correct?
11 MS. ROMANO: Mr. Usher, the A and B.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right. That's right.
13 MS. ROMANO:
14 Q. Thank you. During 1998 and beginning of 1999, do you remember
15 seeing people from other villages coming to Gjakove, coming to live in
17 A. Yes. I remember well the flight of a part of the population from
18 the villages roundabout Gjakove in 1998. These people streamed toward
19 Gjakove and were pushed by Serbian police and military forces and were
20 forced to leave their houses. These people told how they were chased by
21 Serbian police and army, how their houses were burned, and some were
22 killed by their fellow villagers and were always taunted by the words and
23 were told to leave their house -- to leave their houses as soon as
24 possible and go to Albania because what were they looking for here in
25 Kosova? The population told how they were obliged by this horror to leave
1 their villages.
2 Q. Did you personally speak with the villagers that arrived in
4 A. I spoke to these villagers personally because we were helping to
5 accommodate them in various houses in Gjakove at this time.
6 Q. And did they tell who was pushing them away from their villages?
7 A. Yes, they did. They showed us who was chasing them. They told us
8 that the police and the army, the Serbian police and army, were driving
9 them away. They had not yet left their homes when they saw their homes in
10 fire. They saw it with their own eyes, and that they were horror-struck
11 at the sight, and this forced them to leave their own homes and take the
12 street of emigration.
13 Q. Mr. Pruthi, where were you when the NATO bombing campaign
15 A. I was in Gjakove then, in my own home.
16 Q. How many people were you in your home?
17 A. My own family.
18 Q. Can you describe the members of your family?
19 A. Yes, I can. My wife and my young daughter. When late at night we
20 heard a shot, and then after that shot, I went out to see what was
21 happening and then I heard the second shot coming from a hill overlooking
22 the town called the hill of Cabrat, and then I heard the counter-fire by
23 the Serbian forces which were deployed there. I heard different sounds of
24 anti-aircraft fire, firing at the NATO planes flying over the city of
1 Q. Mr. Pruthi, did you hear or see the airplanes flying over Gjakove?
2 A. Yes, I did.
3 Q. And what time was that?
4 A. It was about 9.00 at night.
5 Q. Was any part of the town hit by the bombing?
6 A. No, it was not. They bombed the depots, the military barracks,
7 and some other depots, military depots, which were located at Cabrat Hill.
8 These were the two targets hit by NATO then, at that night.
9 Q. These two targets, they were far away from the town? They were
10 near or they were far away from the town?
11 A. The Cabrat was near my home, whereas the barracks and the depots
12 were in the periphery of the city, in the outskirts of the city. On the
13 next day, we found out that they were hit by NATO that night.
14 Q. For how long did the NATO planes fly over Gjakove?
15 A. For a short time, I would say.
16 Q. And do you remember what time did they leave?
17 A. Maybe 15 past 9.00 or 20 past 9.00.
18 Q. And what happened after the NATO airplanes left?
19 A. They left, and then after the fire of -- anti-aircraft fire by the
20 Serbian army, everything became calm for a couple of hours. It was at
21 about 12.00, at midnight, when I saw a great light in the fire [as
22 interpreted], and I was curious to see what it was. I went to the second
23 floor of my own house to see, and across my house, in the direction of
24 Carshia, old Carshia of the town, I saw a great fire and great smoke,
25 accompanied by shots of all kinds, and they were found in objects, in
1 facilities that were set on fire.
2 Q. How far was this old part of the town from your house?
3 A. About 400 metres.
4 Q. And can you describe exactly what you saw from your window?
5 A. I saw the old part of the town, Carshia e Madhe, otherwise known
6 by this name. It was all set on fire. It has cultural, historical value,
7 and that night it was all on fire.
8 Q. Do you know what caused the fire?
9 A. I was informed that it was the Serbian police that set fire to
10 this part of the town using a special substance, to all the stores of the
11 marketplace, and they also killed some people living there, whose houses
12 are found in this part of the town. Several people were killed, among
13 whom well-known Doctor Izet -- in front of his own family members. Izet
15 Q. How do you know that, Mr. Pruthi? Who told you that?
16 A. His own family members told this. They testified to his murder to
17 the Council for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms, where I was
18 also present.
19 Q. Did the doctor -- was he killed at the same time while the old
20 part of the town was burning and in flames?
21 A. Yes. At the same time, Dr. Hima was killed, in the most brutal
22 manner, in front of the eyes of his family.
23 Q. Mr. Pruthi, at the time you saw the flames was a very few hours
24 after you saw the NATO airplanes. How do you know the burning of the old
25 centre was not a result of the NATO bombing?
1 A. The flames appeared much later than the NATO planes left. This
2 was certain, a certain fact. There are hundreds of people who saw with
3 their own eyes Serbian police setting fire to this old part of the town.
4 Hundreds and hundreds of witnesses have been there. So it's a fact that
5 everybody has been testifying to.
6 Q. Thank you. Coming back to your house in your neighbourhood at
7 that time, on the next morning you remained at home?
8 A. Yes, I did. I used to stay at home then, and very much -- was
9 very much worried about what was happening. On the next day, we saw
10 Serbian police and military patrolling the streets of the town, and only
11 some small -- some people went to some stores to buy some things they
12 needed for their own daily living. In the evening --
13 Q. I'm going to interrupt you, Mr. Pruthi. You said police
14 patrolling. What kind of uniform were they wearing? Were they any
15 different from the ones you had already seen in the photos?
16 A. No. They were the same uniforms I showed you in the pictures a
17 while ago.
18 Q. What exactly were they doing there?
19 A. They were just patrolling with their cars in the streets of the
20 town, were seeing on both, you know, sides of the street what happened.
21 They struck fear among the citizens, and nobody dared leave their homes.
22 Everybody stayed at home after they heard what happened one night before.
23 They were all horror-stricken and stayed at home.
24 Q. Did you have any contact with your neighbours at that time?
25 A. Yes, I did have contacts with my neighbours then, and we were
1 discussing together what we would do. We were counting the minutes,
2 fearing that the worst might happen to us.
3 Q. And what happened?
4 A. On the second night, after the lights went out, it was about 8.00
5 when gunshots started, coming from automatic rifles, a lot of fire shots.
6 We stood at home, my wife, my daughter and myself. It was around 11.00
7 when I heard a noise coming from the yard of my neighbour. It was a noise
8 of, I mean, people talking. I went to the window to see what was
9 happening. I saw a large crowd of people gathered in the yard. I opened
10 the window to see better. Then I saw that the wall dividing my home from
11 my neighbour, there in the yard were a large number of people. And the
12 shots coming from the police in our street made us afraid lest that they
13 could come to our own homes. So I went to the yard of my neighbour and
14 joined the group of people who had gathered there and who had come from
15 the next adjoining street, from that part of the city where the houses
16 were on fire and from where people were driven out of their homes. They
17 told us that they were coming from those burning homes and that they had
18 left behind dead people.
19 Q. How long did you stay there?
20 A. We stayed there until before dawn, until the cars in which the
21 Serbian police were withdrew. When the police withdrew, then we returned
22 to our own homes. But while we were staying in that yard, I heard with my
23 own ears the voices of police speaking and shouting, because they were
24 close by the houses. They were telling people, "Go away. This is not
25 your country. This is Serbia. Go to Albania," in a loud, shrieking
1 voice. It was a sad sight to see. Then we went home to my own house with
2 some neighbours to have some rest.
3 Q. Mr. Pruthi, was anybody hurt or injured during this time?
4 A. It was 6.00 in the morning. The wife of my cousin came to my
5 house. She was crying, and she told me that her husband was killed, and
6 she asked me to help her. I --
7 Q. What is the name of your cousin?
8 A. His name is Shevqet Pruthi. I rose to my feet and went with her.
9 We went out in the street even though it was very dangerous because the
10 streets were rife with police, Serb police. And then we went to her home,
11 and she showed me the dead body of her husband behind the house. It was
12 lying on the floor, on the ground. And I saw that both his soles were
13 damaged from the fire of the automatic rifles, and part of his hand was
14 also damaged, and his body was full of holes in the chest and in some
15 other parts.
16 Q. Did his wife -- did his wife see what happened to him?
17 A. She didn't see what happened. This criminal deed was committed in
18 the very eyes of his daughter. Arta is her name. She saw her father
19 killed in front of her eyes. She saw her father die in front of her eyes.
20 Q. Mr. Pruthi, did you leave your house again?
21 A. After we buried my cousin, I returned home, and then with my wife,
22 we were discussing what to do since we felt that we were in jeopardy
23 staying in my neighbourhood since about 17 people had got killed that
24 night. So we were wondering what to do.
25 Q. So what did you do?
1 A. What --
2 Q. Is there any problem with translation?
3 A. Together with my wife and my daughter, we went to my sister's, who
4 lives in another neighbourhood in the vicinity of my neighbourhood, and we
5 took shelter there.
6 Q. For how long did you -- first, where is your sister's house
7 located? How far was it from your house?
8 A. My sister's house is located in the neighbourhood called Qerim,
9 about 200 metres away from my neighbourhood.
10 Q. For how long did you stay in your sister's house?
11 A. In my sister's house, we stayed from the 26th of March up to 2nd
12 of April.
13 Q. How many people were with you in your sister's house?
14 A. My brother, my youngest brother; and the members of my sister's
15 family. For some time, my second brother stayed there, but then he left.
16 Q. During the time you stayed there, what did you see happening in
17 the neighbourhood?
18 A. During all this time, from 8.00 fire shots started. First the
19 light went out and then automatic shots started. It was the sign that the
20 Serbian police began its operations in various neighbourhoods of the
22 Q. Mr. Pruthi, did you see who was shooting?
23 A. I didn't see who did the shooting, but on the 1st of April, when
24 the Serbian police came to a neighbour, neighbour of my sister, to the
25 house of the neighbour nearby my sister's home, they threw some substance
1 in the two upper floors of my -- of his house, and then I saw the flames
2 engulfing all the house.
3 Q. How do you know -- during the time, you said you heard shooting.
4 How do you know it was the Serbian police or army?
5 A. Usually the fire shots were heard every night, but the 1st of
6 April is a night I will never forget in my whole life. It was the most
7 terrible night. The police surrounded, encircled all the neighbourhood
8 and started to kill and set fire to the houses. We changed our place. We
9 went to some other neighbours, but there was no other place we could go
10 because we were surrounded by the police. So we found shelter in one of
11 the houses of the neighbourhood where there were many other people,
12 about -- over 100, who came from other parts of the neighbourhood that --
13 whose houses were set fire to. So they found shelter in this very house
14 that I am talking about.
15 Since we were close by to the street, I saw fire brigade coming,
16 driving by, going to the houses on fire. Then on the next day, I found
17 out that this truck protected a house of a Serbian inhabitant not to be
18 burnt as a result of a burning house of an Albanian citizen that was close
19 by to this house of the Serb. This is what the witnesses told me on the
20 next day.
21 Q. Thank you.
22 A. Please, this night, I have to tell you that more than 20 Albanians
23 were killed in the cellar of a house. Only a young girl managed to
24 escape. She asked for assistance, but there was nobody to give her any
25 assistance, and she also was burned in the fire.
1 Q. How do you know that 20 Albanians were killed? Who told you?
2 A. I found out on the next day from the people who withdrew from this
3 neighbourhood, and they had seen many people died. Apart from -- in
4 addition to this 20 that I'm talking about, they told me that they had
5 left many people behind because they had to flee in a hurry. They didn't
6 have time to see what was happening, you know. And they were told to go
7 to Albania because that was not their place, they were told.
8 Q. Did there come a time where you left again the house of your
10 A. This happened on the 2nd of April when in the yard of my home, of
11 my house, I saw many Albanians had gathered there, and together we were
12 discussing what to do. And then we heard that we had to organise to go to
13 Albania, because we heard the police saying on that very day when they
14 were driving out people from their own homes to flee these houses and go
15 to Albania. This is what they were told.
16 Q. So did you -- did you leave the house?
17 A. We left our house and went to a square. Then we lined up and
18 found about 500 people who did not have cars. We had our own cars. And
19 there was a bus there, the bus which couldn't take more than 60 people.
20 So the remainder left in the direction of Qafe e Prushit border
21 checkpoint, in the direction of Albania. It was a very sad sight.
22 Q. I'll just interrupt you. You gathered in this square. How many
23 people, approximately, you saw in this square?
24 A. At that moment, I think that there were about 500 people there.
25 Q. And did you see police or army at that moment at that place?
1 A. Yes, I did. I saw policemen who all the time that we were staying
2 there were keeping vigil and looking what was happening, looking at us, at
3 our cars.
4 Q. So what - you and the crowd of 500 people, what did you do?
5 A. The people started to move in the direction of the border. Many
6 of them were old people, women who could not walk. Some were -- were
7 carrying their family members on carts. Some were sick. It was really a
8 very horrible sight, very sad sight to see. And then even -- then after
9 them, we too started to move in our cars towards the direction of Prizren.
10 Q. Do you know if the police around that time do anything? Did they
11 help the people or did they do anything?
12 A. No. Nobody offered the people any help because they were in their
13 cars and only looked at what was happening. They either patrolled or just
14 stopped and looked at what was happening from their cars.
15 Q. Do you remember passing any checkpoint?
16 A. The first checkpoint, I remember it was about three kilometres
17 away from the city at the place called Ura e Terzive where we were obliged
18 to stop because the Serbian police asked us to. They asked to us hand
19 over to them all our IDs, passports we had with us.
20 Q. And did you do that?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Did they tell you why they were doing that?
23 A. I remember that when I asked why the police were taking this,
24 because I needed this document, he told me that, "There is no reason why
25 you need it. There's no reason why you should have this document -- why
1 you should keep this document." And then he told me not to say anything
2 else. And then we went on to Prizren.
3 Q. And from Prizren, where did you go?
4 A. In Prizren, we came across a second checkpoint at which there were
5 several policemen, and they pointed us with their hands towards Albania.
6 Q. Were you asked at any time before crossing the border to show
8 A. At the border point, when we arrived, they -- the soldiers asked
9 us for identity documents, but of course we didn't have any because it had
10 been taken by the police before. And they -- and we told him -- we told
11 the soldier that all our documents had been taken by the Serbian police
12 and we didn't have any more, and he smiled and laughed at us because he
13 knew this, but he wanted to abuse the population. And he said that it's
14 not true that they've taken them and, "You just don't want to hand them
15 over." And we said, "It's true. Our documents have been taken." And
16 then the soldiers started to take the licence plates from the vehicles.
17 Q. Mr. Pruthi, who were at the border? You said soldiers and
18 police. Who was asking for the documents?
19 A. They were soldiers, soldiers.
20 Q. Were the police present there as well?
21 A. They didn't have police uniforms.
22 Q. Can you describe the soldiers, the uniform that the soldiers were
24 A. It was a green uniform, camouflage.
25 Q. Was it different or similar to the one that you have already
2 A. It was the same.
3 Q. Did you or the others ever receive back your documents?
4 A. Never.
5 Q. When did you return to Kosovo?
6 A. I returned on the 16th of June, 1999.
7 Q. Was your house in the same way as when you left?
8 A. Of course my house was not the same as it had been. The Serbian
9 army had been stationed in my house for three weeks and they had destroyed
11 Q. How do you know that?
12 A. In my neighbourhood, there were three or four families who
13 remained there the entire war.
14 Q. Were they Albanians?
15 A. Yes, they were Albanians. But also I knew from the things that
16 the army had left behind.
17 Q. Mr. Pruthi, why did you decide to leave your town and Kosovo?
18 A. I decided to leave the city and to leave Kosova because I saw with
19 my own eyes people killed. I saw horror, fire. I heard from other people
20 the most terrible stories of what they had experienced in their own homes,
21 so I decided to leave Kosova and to save the lives of my children.
22 Q. And who was causing this terror?
23 A. I believe that this terror was caused by the Serbian army and
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MS. ROMANO: No more questions, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
3 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
4 Q. [Interpretation] You said that you had lost your job when the
5 Commercial Court in Djakovica in 1991 was dissolved.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Do you know why a court is dissolved? You're a lawyer. When
8 something like this happens, do you know why it happens?
9 A. I know.
10 Q. Well, why was the court dissolved, then?
11 A. There was no reason for the abolition of this court, because I
12 said in my evidence, it happened when -- it happened at a time when a
13 commission of the ministry had expressed the highest appreciation for the
14 work of this court.
15 Q. In that decision taken by the Assembly to abolish the court, was
16 there no reason given, or were there reasons given for this?
17 A. The reasons given at the time were not correct.
18 Q. And what were those reasons that were stipulated?
19 A. I don't remember. I don't remember.
20 Q. Do you know that the Assembly dissolves a court when it ascertains
21 that it is working unlawfully, illegally?
22 A. The court worked in the most legal fashion and enforced the law in
23 the most meticulous way.
24 Q. And who assesses whether the court is working legally or not? You
25 or the Assembly?
1 A. The responsible authority.
2 Q. So parliament; is that it?
3 A. Of course.
4 Q. Was it only the Albanians who were employed in that court, or were
5 there Serbs working in it too?
6 A. There were a few Serbs working there.
7 Q. So it was the Serbs and the Albanians who lost their jobs, in
8 fact; is that right?
9 A. The Serbs had found other jobs, in time. The Serbs found other
10 jobs before the court was abolished.
11 Q. I assume that you found another job too, as far as I can read from
12 these documents here. So there's no difference in that respect, is there?
13 A. After two years. After two years on the streets.
14 Q. You said that the Albanians would apply to have their companies
16 A. On the basis of the law.
17 Q. Of course on the basis of the law. Did Serbs make applications to
18 register their own companies too?
19 A. There were a few applications.
20 Q. So both the Serbs and the Albanians would make their applications
21 to register their companies in the same place; is that right?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. So there wasn't any discrimination there either?
24 A. I'm talking about after the decision made by the Serbian
25 parliament. I'm talking about a discriminatory decision. This was a
1 decision which the Serbian parliament took in a way -- in an unrealistic
3 Q. At all events, as a legal man yourself, I assume that you know
4 that the law was the same for Albanians and Serbs alike.
5 A. It was not the same because it wasn't applied in the same way.
6 The law was not applied in the same way.
7 Q. In what sense was it not applied?
8 A. There were cases in which the Albanian applications were turned
9 down, and there's no point in saying it again.
10 Q. I am going back to this question precisely because -- and let me
11 ask you a question, actually, because you're a legal man, you're a lawyer,
12 and you must know the answer to this question. So let me start by asking
13 you a question. You said that, quite simply, the Albanian applications
14 were obstructed, they were placed on ice, if I can put it that way; is
15 that right?
16 A. In what sense?
17 Q. You said -- you described that when Albanians made their
18 applications for their shops, companies, and so on, to register them, that
19 they had to wait a long time and that there was a great deal of
20 obstruction and that they had to wait indefinitely, that the authorities
21 obstructed this.
22 A. At the time I'm talking about, when I was chairman of this court,
23 this was true, because applications were obstructed by the leaders of the
24 Commercial Court in Pristina, that is, after the abolition of the Court in
25 Gjakove. Albanians were obstructed and prevented.
1 Q. So the obstruction consisted in the fact that the applications
2 were kept for a long time and there was no response to them for a long
3 time; is that it?
4 A. Oral replies were given immediately and they were told that they
5 didn't have the right to register. This happened at the Pristina court,
6 and people who submitted applications were mistreated. A very small
7 number did register.
8 Q. You're a lawyer yourself, and you should know, you ought to know
9 that on the basis of that law, if you do not receive registration in a
10 brief period of time, it is considered that the company is registered
11 lawfully. Do you remember provisions stating that?
12 A. If -- if applications are made to authorities, they were obliged
13 to reply in writing and not for the application to be given back
14 immediately into the hand of the applicant without any kind of reply.
15 There were plenty of cases of this kind.
16 Q. I am saying that that is impossible following the letter of the
17 law itself, because in the law it is stated that if there is no reply
18 after a certain deadline, after a short period of time has elapsed, it is
19 considered that the answer and response has been automatically allowed and
20 that the company has been registered. This was a provision to avoid
21 corruption, discrimination, friendly ties with officials. So I'm well
22 aware of provisions of this kind.
23 Is that right or is it not?
24 A. Many impossible things happened in the time I'm talking about.
25 Q. But let's clear this point up. If somebody tables an application,
1 they can send it through the post, for example, send to the court and
2 receives no reply from the court within the deadline prescribed by law,
3 then that piece of paper and his application is considered to have been
4 approved. Is that correct or not?
5 A. It's not true.
6 Q. I claim that it is impossible --
7 A. They didn't act in this way.
8 Q. All right. They didn't have to do anything, and they could not
9 prevent you from registering your company anyway. Is that true or not?
10 A. I can merely stress one detail. The employees of the Secretariat
11 for Internal Affairs came several times to my office to warn me to stop
12 registering property according to Ante Markovic's law. And on the final
13 occasion, these people took all the registration ledgers of the court and
14 took them to the police. This is an unprecedented act in jurisprudence,
15 and this happened in the Gjakove Commercial Court. This was a time when
16 people were registering firms with mixed capital.
17 JUDGE MAY: It's now 11.00. We'll adjourn for half an hour.
18 Mr. Pruthi, could you remember in this adjournment and any others
19 there may be not to speak to any one about your evidence until it's over,
20 and that does include the members of the Prosecution team. Could you be
21 back, please, at half past eleven.
22 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 11.30 a.m.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
25 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Since you say that Albanians were obstructed in registering their
3 shops, how can you explain the fact that on the 24th of March, when the
4 war broke out on the territory of the municipality of Djakovica, there
5 were 8.900 privately owned firms owned by Albanians and they were
6 operating normally?
7 A. All these firms were registered before, before this latest change
8 that I mentioned.
9 Q. That is not correct, but for example, from 1994, 861 gasoline
10 stations were registered in Kosovo, that is to say, after all of this that
11 you have said. Only 20 of them were Serb owned out of 861. How do you
12 explain that?
13 A. I don't know that.
14 Q. All right. You said that a law was passed on special trading in
15 immobile property. Do you know that that law pertained to the territory
16 of all of Serbia, including Vojvodina?
17 A. The law on the trading of property on special circumstances, that
18 was not included in that law.
19 Q. You said that the Ministry of Finance had to give approval for the
20 buying and selling of immobile property.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Article 3 of that law says the Ministry of Finance shall approve
23 of the buying and selling of immobile property when it assesses that this
24 does not affect the ethnic pattern of the population or the migration of
25 the members of a certain national or ethnic group and when this buying and
1 selling does not cause anxiety or uncertainty or inequality of right among
2 the citizens of a different ethnic or national group.
3 A. The law was discriminatory because it did not give the right to
4 the owners to transfer his property without prior consent of this
6 Q. I have precisely been talking about the reasons for that. Since
7 you are talking about discrimination, I should like to remind you of the
8 following: In your municipality, there was one case. For example, in the
9 village of Meca, in the 1980s, Miodrag Saric was killed in his field,
10 before the eyes of his entire family, because he did not want to sell his
11 field. Do you remember that case? At that time, you were still a judge.
12 A. This is not true. I was not a lawyer then, but this is not true.
13 Q. So it is not true that Miodrag Saric was killed in the field in
14 the village of Meca, in the municipality of Djakovica, in the 1980s, in
15 connection with this?
16 JUDGE MAY: That's what the witness says. He says it's not true.
17 Just a moment, Mr. Pruthi. There's no need to answer.
18 He says it's not true.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Very well. Are you aware of other pressure and murders in order
21 to force people to sell their property and leave their property behind?
22 A. No, I don't know of any such cases.
23 Q. Very well. Do you remember, for example, the village of Ratis,
24 which is near you, how many families left that village - that's in your
25 neighbourhood - and left their property because of beatings, rapes,
1 torchings, in the 1980s? Do you remember these examples from the village
2 of Ratis?
3 A. No, I don't remember.
4 Q. And do you remember that in relation to this right exercised by
5 the Ministry of Finance, for which you say that it is discriminatory, the
6 higher-instance authority that decided on this was a commission set up by
7 parliament: Within 30 days you could lodge a complaint with the
8 parliamentary commission. Do you remember that?
9 A. Distinguished Judge, I think such questions are irrelevant. I am
10 not called here to explain the procedure, I think, of the parliament or of
11 the law, Your Honour.
12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Pruthi, you must allow us to be the Judges of
13 what's relevant and not. You have given evidence about some
14 discriminatory matters, and the accused is entitled to ask some questions
15 about it. Just one moment. You were asked about a commission set up by
16 parliament. Do you remember anything like that? If you don't, just say
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Ministry of Justice of
19 Yugoslavia did set up -- assessed the work of the court, and it said that
20 the work has worked very well, in conformity with Yugoslav laws in force.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. You are not aware that there was, as a matter of fact, a special
23 commission that was established in order to ascertain the misdoings of
24 your court, and this is why this commission was established?
25 A. The commission never came to the court.
1 Q. Many irregularities were ascertained then - as a matter of fact,
2 many forgeries, too - on the basis of which registrations were carried
3 out. Do you remember that?
4 A. I don't remember to have found out such falsifications of the
5 documents. I remember that we have implemented the law of Markovic on the
7 Q. Do you know that the overall jurisdiction of this Commercial Court
8 as a registration court was transferred to the Court in Pristina?
9 A. No, it was not transferred to the jurisdiction of the Prizren [as
10 interpreted]. The Commercial Court of Pristina assumed these powers.
11 Q. I did not say "Prizren"; I said "Pristina." I don't know what
12 kind of interpretation you got.
13 JUDGE MAY: He's answered that question.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Do you know about other parts of the territory of Serbia, in
16 bigger towns than Djakovica, for example, the town of Vranje, that shops
17 from Leskovac were -- shops from Vranje, for example, were registered at
18 the court in Leskovac. Vranje even did not have a court of its own.
19 A. I don't know about these things. I didn't know -- didn't have how
20 to know these things.
21 Q. In response the Prosecutor's question as to whether Serbs were
22 refused in terms of their requests, you said that there were far less
23 applications by Serbs. And now my question is whether Serbs were also
24 refused like Albanians were refused?
25 A. I don't remember that.
1 Q. Did anything in that law pertain to Albanians only?
2 A. The Albanians were not allowed to sell their properties without
3 having the consent of this ministry first.
4 Q. I'm asking you whether the Serbs were allowed to sell their
5 property without the consent of the ministry.
6 A. The Serbs who lived in Kosova did not allow to sell their
7 properties without having the approval of this ministry either.
8 Q. That means that Serbs and Albanians were in the same position.
9 Yes or no.
10 A. No. Because the applications of the Albanians were dragged on
11 forever by the ministry, whereas the Serb applications, the Serbs living
12 outside the territory of Kosova were approved immediately without any
14 Q. That is not correct either, but let's go on because I think that
15 we have clarified this matter.
16 You mentioned the law on language. Do you know that the use of
17 language is not only regulated by law but also by the Constitution of
19 A. Yes. I know that the Albanians who -- were deprived of their
20 right to use the Albanian language in addressing official documents even
21 though they had this right by law. They were obliged to present various
22 documents to the courts or other institutions of powers -- of power in
23 Serbo-Croatian language. That's why I said earlier that the group of
24 lawyers in our commune, in our municipality, took a stand against this.
25 Q. Do you know that in the law of the Republic of Serbia governing
1 use of language, it says that in municipalities in which national
2 minorities comprise the majority population, the language of the national
3 minority concerned is equally used officially with -- along with the
4 Serbian language throughout the territory of Serbia?
5 A. I explained earlier that this right was trampled in the most
6 flagrant manner.
7 Q. I asked you whether you know that this is what the law says quite
8 strictly, what I quoted a minute ago.
9 A. Yes. I said that the right existed, but it was not enforced in
10 real terms.
11 Q. Do you know that this law also applies to Bulgarians where they
12 are the majority, for Hungarians where they are the majority, for all
13 other national minorities on the territory in Serbia and that it is
14 observed everywhere?
15 A. I don't know whether that law has been respected also in other
16 territories. I don't know.
17 Q. You said that the KLA appeared during the war. Can you answer the
18 following question: Who, then, killed so many people before the war in
19 terrorist attacks?
20 A. I don't know that.
21 Q. Well, do you know that this was done by the KLA?
22 A. No. This fact I don't know.
23 Q. You don't know?
24 A. No, I don't. No, I am not informed about that.
25 Q. Do you know that from the 1st of January, 1998, until the war
1 broke out, that is to say just before the war broke out, the terrorists
2 killed -- the terrorists killed 186 citizens who were ethnic Albanians?
3 A. I don't know this fact.
4 Q. And do you know how many households from the municipality of
5 Djakovica were expelled at that time due to ethnic cleansing?
6 A. What families, please?
7 Q. Serb families. I'm going to read out a number of them to you.
8 Perhaps you will remember at least some of these families from your
9 municipality, because you were a judge there. Babovic Miloje, then
10 Milinko Babovic, Bogoslav Babovic, Branko Jekic, Milun Fatic [phoen],
11 Zoran Fatic, Mika Vulic [phoen], Damjan Garic, Bogoslav Garic, Hodzoma
12 Slovic [phoen], Radila Kicevic [phoen], Jelica Jukic, Miljic Stijovic
13 [phoen], Slobodan Vuksanovic, Ranko Vukadinovic, Petrosav Vuksanovic,
14 Dragutin Frentic [phoen], Nusko Stejanovic [phoen], Predrag Micunovic,
15 Aleksandra Stojanovic, Spasoj Petkovic [phoen], Dragan Petkovic, Fron
16 Gagovic [phoen], Vejo Ibrahimovic [phoen], Vojin Petkovic --
17 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. Just a moment. The witness should be
18 allowed to answer.
19 Mr. Pruthi, do you recognise any of those names? Can you help us
20 about any of them?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know these names, but I
22 didn't keep any evidence of migration from the town.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. But you lived in that town. You probably know some of these
25 people. You probably know that they were forced out of there. Are you
1 trying to say that you do not know any one of these people, any one of
2 these cases?
3 A. I don't remember these people migrating because they were forced.
4 Q. All right. Let me remind you of some of the other names. Perhaps
5 you knew them, and I did not read those names out. Do any of these names
6 mean something to you? The families, I'm reading the heads of families.
7 Milorad Radovanovic, Karovic Vujadin, Delovic Petar, Delovic Nikola,
8 Delovic Anica, Srenev Bozidar [phoen], Jevtovic Dusan, Sarenac Roza,
9 Bibercic Draga, Bibercic Marija, Sarovic Mara, Kovacevic Bozidar, Grubisic
10 Nediljka [phoen], Krstic Mirko, Arandzelovac Zoran, Babovic Slobodan,
11 Babovic Savka, Vulevic Savka, Soskic Misko, Vulevic Radan, Vulevic Vujicka
12 [phoen], Mitic Slavko [phoen], Adzic Boris, Lakic Bosko, Dzakovic Blagoje,
13 Simonovic Drago, Zindivic Rajko [phoen], Pantic Ljubica, Radojcic Nikola,
14 Pantic Dragoljub, Pantic Dragomir, Pantic Momcilo, Tun Kasnjeti --
15 JUDGE MAY: Just pause. Again, do you know any of these names?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know any of them. I said
17 before that I didn't keep any evidence of these things, and I don't know
18 these names.
19 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, the Court thinks it would be pointless
20 to read out any more names. You can put them into evidence in due course,
21 but it's no point asking this witness about them.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] There is a list of 80 families here
23 that were expelled. The former president of the court, and lawyer, does
24 not know of a single case, and all of them are from Djakovica.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. I shall move on to the next question, because you talked about the
2 situation in the municipality in response to the Prosecutor's questions
3 related to tensions in the municipality, along with the explanation that
4 these tensions were generated by the Serb police from 1980 onwards.
5 Do you know of killings in the territory of the municipality of
6 Djakovica from the beginning of 1998 until the outbreak of the war on the
7 24th of March, 1999, for example, the policemen that were killed: On the
8 1st of August, 1998, Zeljko Bozic, policeman; on the 10th of August, 1998,
9 Zoran Jovanovic. Do you know of any one of them?
10 A. No, I don't know.
11 Q. Do you know of the killing of Sasa Jovanovic, policeman, on the
12 14th of June, 1998?
13 A. No. I know only of some citizens of Gjakove who were killed and
14 were found in the morning on the outskirts of the city.
15 Q. Do you know of the killing of a policeman on the 29th of January,
16 1999? The policeman was called Predrag Rakovic.
17 A. No.
18 Q. Do you know of the killing of the policeman Nebojsa Savic on the
19 5th of August, 1998?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Do you know of the killing of Zoran Slavkovic, also a policeman,
22 on the 8th of March, 1999?
23 A. No.
24 Q. And Slavoljub Stanisavljevic, also on the 8th of March, 1999? Do
25 you know of the killing of these policemen?
1 A. No.
2 Q. All right. And do you know about the killing of Albanians,
3 Albanian civilians, in the territory of Djakovica from the beginning of
4 1998 until the 24th of March, 1999? Pajak Binak, killed on the 4th of
5 May, 1998? Do you know about him?
6 A. No, I've never heard of him.
7 Q. And do you know of the killing of Nisa Nedjar [phoen] on the 19th
8 of May, 1998? The 19th of May, 1998.
9 A. No.
10 Q. And do you know of the killing of Abaz Hoti on the 18th of July,
12 A. No.
13 Q. Do you know of the killing of Krasniqi Prec on the 6th of August,
15 A. No.
16 Q. And Krasniqi Prend? They were both killed on the same day. And
17 Merturi Mira and Merturi Prend?
18 A. No.
19 Q. All four on the same day?
20 A. No.
21 Q. And do you know of the killing of Dreni Zef on the 29th of
22 October, 1998?
23 A. No.
24 Q. That happened in Djakovica. What about Kelmendi Haxhi, on the
25 24th of January, 1999?
1 A. No.
2 Q. That is the 24th of January, 1999, when Kelmendi Besim and
3 Kelmendi Shaban and Kurti Samir were killed, as well as Kurti Hisin
4 [phoen]. You don't remember this big killing?
5 JUDGE MAY: He said he doesn't. Mr. Milosevic, I don't really
6 think there's much point going on putting more names to him when he
7 doesn't remember.
8 You can deal with this, Mr. Pruthi. Do you know any more details
9 of those who you say were killed and their bodies were found on the
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Gentlemen, I am asking questions
13 with respect to the killings of Albanians in the Djakovica municipality,
14 and Djakovica is not an overly large town, and every citizen of that
15 municipality must have known about these killings; not one of them, but
16 many of them. There are a large number of them here that I have quoted.
17 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, you've made your point. There's no
18 point repeating it.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I won't go on quoting and
20 enumerating because it is obvious that the witness knows nothing about a
21 single killing that was committed by the KLA up until the beginning of the
22 war. But as there were many of these killings, the question arises as to
23 who made the problem: the terrorist killers or the policemen who were
24 protecting citizens from those terrorists?
25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Pruthi, would you like to comment on that
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts. Pages 1480 to 1489.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Please repeat the question.
3 JUDGE MAY: Who was doing the killing before the war, as far as
4 you were aware? If you can assist us, tell us; if you can't, just say
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know.
7 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, would you like to be a little more
8 specific in the question that you just put? It was: "Who made the
9 problem: the terrorist killers or the policemen who were protecting
10 citizens from those terrorists?" Perhaps you'd like to specify more
11 clearly what you mean by "the problem."
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I used the word that was used by the
13 witness, namely, that it was the police who made problems. And as I
14 presented an enormous list of killings which the KLA terrorists committed,
15 precisely on the territory of Djakovica municipality up until the start of
16 the war, I wanted to hear from the witness how he assesses the situation.
17 Who actually caused all this? Was it really the police or was it the
18 terrorists who had killed so many people, and, for the most part,
19 civilians, as you can see, and amongst them, a large number of Albanians,
20 too, as you can see. Let me remind you that 196 Albanians were killed by
21 the KLA --
22 JUDGE ROBINSON: You have clarified it, Mr. Milosevic. You have
23 clarified it.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you, too. I just wish to draw
25 your attention to the fact that there's been an inversion here. That's
1 the key word, "inversion." Inversion the red thread going through all
2 these testimonies.
3 JUDGE MAY: Move on to the next question, please.
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. You said that you were in Djakovica when the bombing started and
6 that from the hills, the army shot at the planes. Do you remember whether
7 any part of the town was hit that particular night?
8 A. I saw the anti-aircraft firing from the hill of Cabrat when they
9 fired on the NATO aircraft with shells of various colours.
10 Q. Do you remember that on that particular night the barracks was hit
11 and that around the barracks was a densely populated area with many
12 Albanian houses and that several projectiles which missed the barracks hit
13 those houses? Do you remember that?
14 A. The depots and the military barracks are alongside the river, and
15 it is not an inhabited area.
16 Q. So you claim that next to the places targeted by NATO planes,
17 there were no houses belonging to citizens; is that what you're saying?
18 A. There are in the slightly upper portion. There were no houses in
19 the area around the depot and the barracks.
20 Q. All right. Let me be more precise and specific in asking my
21 questions. Did NATO planes hit any houses in Djakovica? Let me put it
22 that way.
23 A. No. No NATO aircraft hit any house. I can say so with a full
24 sense of responsibility.
25 Q. Very well. Let me remind you that I have even shown photographs
1 here of the facilities that were hit in Djakovica, objects that were hit,
2 and they were not depots or warehouses of any kind. You claim that after
3 the bombing, the police went out onto the streets to set fire to houses
4 and not to put the fires out, to extinguish the fires. Is that what
5 you're saying? Is that what you're claiming?
6 A. It's ridiculous to use the word "putting out fires" or
7 "extinguishing fires." They went out to start fires - and there are an
8 enormous number of witnesses who saw this with their own eyes - setting
9 fire to the old market area and killing people.
10 Q. It is correct that the bombing caused a number of houses to be set
11 on fire, but do you know that the majority of the citizens in those
12 houses --
13 JUDGE MAY: Wait a moment. The witness has said that no houses
14 were hit by the bombing. Are you suggesting, Mr. Milosevic, that the
15 bombing in fact set houses on fire? If so, the witness should be asked if
16 that is true or not, if he agrees.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That is precisely what I'm saying,
18 and I should like to add that --
19 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We will ask -- let us ask the witness what
20 his recollection of it is.
21 Were any houses set on fire by the bombing?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The bombing caused no fires in
23 houses of the city of Gjakove, not a single house.
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. How do you know that?
1 A. Everybody knows this. All the citizens of Gjakove know this.
2 It's a well-known truth. Not a single bomb from a single NATO aircraft
3 ever fell on a roof of a house in Gjakove.
4 Q. I'll tell you later on how many bombs were dropped on Djakovica,
5 but I should like --
6 JUDGE MAY: It's pointless going on with this witness. He says
7 not. Now, if you've got contrary evidence, you can adduce it in due
8 course, Mr. Milosevic.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Some of them you saw here, but yes,
10 I can move on. I wish to establish one more fact. Everything that the
11 witness said here, he used the word that he had heard, and not that he had
12 seen. He kept saying he had heard the police setting fire to, he had
13 heard that the police had killed somebody, et cetera.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] With my own eyes, I saw two
15 policemen setting fire to a house, the measure [as interpreted] of my
16 sister's neighbours. I saw this for myself.
17 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. On that particular night, the night in question when NATO bombed
19 the Djakovica territory, was there street fighting between the KLA members
20 and the army and police?
21 A. I didn't see this. I don't know about this fact.
22 Q. You said that the police shot when 500 of you had been gathered
23 there. Who did the police shoot at? You said that they didn't shoot at
24 you, so who did the police shoot at? Was it only the police who were
25 doing the shooting or anybody else? Do you know anything about that?
1 A. People saw the police with their own eyes, firing at Albanian
2 civilians. Twenty people were killed and burnt in the cellar of a house,
3 and dozens of others in the same neighbourhood. This was related by
4 residents of the city on the following morning.
5 Q. And why do you usually take shelter in a basement or cellar when
6 there's a bombing on or some other danger threatening?
7 A. Because of fear of the police. Because we felt safer in the
9 Q. And the 500 of you who had collected in front of your house, you
10 didn't go -- take to the cellars because you feared the police?
11 A. When I said 500 people, I meant when we got together to go to
12 Albania, driven out of our homes by the Serb police. This is when I
13 mentioned the number 500.
14 Q. You didn't mention the fact that anybody had been expelling you or
15 that anybody had even knocked on the front doors of your houses. You
16 didn't mention any of that.
17 A. I think that the Serb atrocities, the murder of my first cousin,
18 whom I saw with my own eyes, the state to which his body was reduced lying
19 behind his home, as well as other atrocities that people kept recounting
20 were the reasons why we left.
21 Q. I have a piece of information that a cousin of yours died in the
22 clashes between the police and the KLA. Is that correct or not?
23 A. That is ridiculous, very ridiculous. This is not at all true.
24 His daughter saw her father being killed with her own eyes. He was shot
25 in front of her eyes in the most atrocious manner.
1 Q. Do you know who killed people in the most atrocious manner or
2 generally in a terrible manner in Kosovo and Metohija? Do you know who
3 did that?
4 JUDGE MAY: That's a very general question. Perhaps you can ask
5 something a bit more particular.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. Very well.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. May we take it that all the victims that are left after a NATO
9 attack and the clashes between the army and police on one side and the KLA
10 on the other, you would ascribe all that to the police force, to the
11 police and the army?
12 A. Yes. And I base it on facts given by the eyewitnesses to these
13 crimes and atrocities.
14 Q. A moment ago you said, in answer to questions from the other side,
15 that you didn't see who was knocking but that it was certainly the Serb
16 police. That was your conclusion. How do you know who was shooting?
17 Shooting, not knocking. Shooting. Who was shooting?
18 A. The police were in front of my own door. I'm not clear.
19 JUDGE MAY: Did you see -- Mr. Pruthi, help us with this: Did you
20 see the police shooting at all?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When do you think? When are you
22 asking me?
23 JUDGE MAY: In the period between the NATO bombing and your
24 leaving Djakovica, did you see the police shooting?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I didn't see police shooting with my
1 own eyes, but others saw them shooting, who experienced those moments and
2 who recounted those to me.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Do you have any idea at all as to who in Djakovica killed during
5 the war -- here I have a list of 11 policemen. The ones I read out
6 earlier on was before the war, but who killed 11 policemen in Djakovica
7 during the war? That's what I'm asking you now. Do you have any idea?
8 That means from the 20 --
9 A. I have no knowledge of this. I have no knowledge of this fact.
10 Q. Do you know that I have a list here of 61 members of the army who
11 were killed on the territory of Djakovica municipality between the 24th of
12 March up until the end of the war? From the 24th of March up until the
13 end of the war, 61 soldiers. Do you have any idea who killed them? Were
14 they killed by the soldiers, the police, and the army too?
15 A. I'm not aware of how they got killed. I don't know anything about
17 Q. All right. You said that you saw fire brigades but that they just
18 went to put out the fire on one Serb house.
19 A. I don't know where the fire truck was going and what purpose it
20 had, but on the next day, the people who came from that area told us that
21 the fire truck was there to protect the Serb houses lest the fire from the
22 Albanian house spread there too. This was testified to by several
23 witnesses who saw it with their own eyes.
24 Q. You claim that nobody offered any assistance to the citizens of
25 Djakovica and that the police just stood by and watched. That's what you
2 A. Yes, that's correct. They didn't offer any assistance to the
3 Albanian population. On the contrary, they just -- all of them just
4 escorted them and mistreated them in the most brutal way on their way to
5 the border.
6 Q. You didn't mention any brutal way in which they mistreated them.
7 Could you tell me what was this mistreatment, this brutal way that they
8 treated them?
9 A. I think I was clear when I explained that.
10 Q. You explained that you were travelling towards the border. You
11 did not explain that anybody mistreated you on your way to the border.
12 A. Don't you think it's an act of mistreatment when Serbian police,
13 when we arrived at the first roadblock, in the most harsh way mistreated
14 the citizens in their cars, asking them to hand over their IDs, ridiculing
15 them, and showing them the place where they were to go from where they
16 would never return to Kosova they told them?
17 Q. So they were mistreating them by asking for their IDs. Is that
18 what the police did?
19 JUDGE MAY: He's just said that.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. You also said that there was tension in Djakovica with the police
23 presence, and I read out the names of the many people who were killed and
24 you didn't remember a single one, Albanians or Serbs. Do you know the
25 Ymer Grezda Street in Djakovica and number 134A in particular where, two
1 days prior to the bombing, the KLA launched an attack, executed an attack
2 on a vehicle belonging to the police patrol? Do you remember that?
3 A. I'm not aware of that.
4 Q. Do you know whether they were members of the KLA from Albania or
5 local ones?
6 A. I don't know that.
7 Q. You said that before the beginning of the war that there was a lot
8 of tension and that life did not evolve normally. Now I'm going to ask
9 you a concrete, specific question with respect to work and the functioning
10 of companies in Djakovica which functioned right up until the war. As you
11 were president of the Commercial Court, I assume that you know enough
12 about that.
13 The Emin Duraku company, a cotton mill which had 6.800 workers,
14 120 Serbs, the director was an Albanian; is that correct?
15 A. Yes, that's correct. There was a firm or factory by that name in
17 Q. And the Metaliku company with 800 employees, only 10 of them
18 Serbs, the director once again an Albanian?
19 A. All these firms that you mention, as well as others, after Kosova
20 was deprived of its autonomy, they were all destroyed.
21 Q. I'm just talking about companies which functioned until the
22 beginning of the war, which were working up until the start of the war.
23 A. I am not clear. What do you mean by that? I don't get the
25 Q. I mean that those companies in Djakovica were functioning. They
1 were operational even, as you say, that the Commercial Court had been
2 dissolved and its competencies and authorities transferred to Pristina.
3 A. You are mixing up things. At the time that you are asking about,
4 none of these firms were functioning. The enterprises you are mentioning
5 were not operational then. They were in a deplorable situation in terms
6 of economic state. And the Commercial Court was not in Gjakove in 1991,
7 it was transferred, I said earlier.
8 Q. I'm not asking about the court now, I'm asking about the firms.
9 You're a lawyer, you live in Djakovica, and you're well-acquainted with
10 the firms.
11 JUDGE MAY: The witness has said that the firms were not
12 operational. Now, can we move on, please.
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Have you heard about the motor factory, 1.200 employees, only ten
15 of them Serbs, and the director once again was an Albanian? Electrical
16 motor factory.
17 A. I know that this firm, the electrical motor factory, existed and
18 that its director was an Albanian. It was a joint enterprise, joint stock
19 enterprise, from Slovenia.
20 Q. Do you know about the model factory with 400 employees, several
21 Serbs that you can count on the fingers of your hand, and the director
22 once again an Albanian, producing carpentry-wear. Dolarija [phoen].
23 A. At the time that you are talking about, this firm, too, was not
24 operational because it was destroyed.
25 Q. How do you mean "destroyed"?
1 A. In the sense of economic rentability. Because in the economy of
2 Gjakove, the Serb parliament introduced violent measures. All of the
3 profitable economies was subjected to violent measures; therefore, those
4 measures had an impact on their profitability, and as such, the firm that
5 you are talking about was also destroyed, was ruined, actually.
6 Q. What about the Agimi slaughterhouse, 120 employees, 10 of them
7 Serbs, the director once again an Albanian. Was that operational?
8 JUDGE MAY: So we can avoid going through a very long list, can
9 you assist us in this way, Mr. Pruthi: In the period we are talking
10 about, namely the period leading up to the NATO bombing campaign, were any
11 of the enterprises in Djakovica operating normally or not?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, none of the firms in
13 the Gjakove municipality were operational on the eve of the war because
14 their capital was all ruined.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. What about Tik Dukagjin, was that operation?
17 JUDGE MAY: No. He's answered the question now, so we must move
18 on to another topic. He says none were operational.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right.
20 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. How many Albanians were employed in the Municipal Assembly of
22 Djakovica? Was the Municipal Assembly operating at all?
23 A. This Assembly had technicians, technical staff of lower ranks, a
24 small number, I think.
25 Q. Is it correct that in the Municipal Assembly, that is to say in
1 the municipal administration in Djakovica, there were 320 Albanians
2 employed and 210 Serbs?
3 A. I have no knowledge of this fact.
4 Q. What about the Isa Grezda Medical Centre in Djakovica? Was it
6 A. It worked, but in very hard conditions.
7 Q. Do you know that in this medical centre, Isa Grezda, there were
8 780 employees and 740 of them were Albanians?
9 A. I'm not aware of the exact number of this medical centre.
10 Q. And do you know that the heating plant worked in town? Not a
11 single Serb was employed at the heating plant, only Albanians.
12 A. That I don't know.
13 Q. You don't know about that either. And do you know about the Agimi
14 Trading Company, that is to say, the one that had retail shops?
15 JUDGE MAY: We have been through this. Now, I think we've spent
16 long enough on this topic. Now, Mr. Milosevic, have you got anything else
17 on this matter?
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Of course I do.
19 JUDGE MAY: We shall expect you to wind this up fairly quickly.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, I can't finish
21 quickly because so many untruths have been said that I have to refute
23 JUDGE MAY: That's a matter of comment. Now, you've been
24 cross-examining for an hour and a quarter and you really should be coming
25 to an end. The witness has dealt with the matters. You have a contrary
1 case and you can put the contrary case to us in due course. You can put
2 the evidence which you say supports your case before us. But there's no
3 point going on arguing with the witness when he says he doesn't know.
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. And were all shops closed or were they open in Djakovica, before
6 the war broke out?
7 A. Most of the shops were closed in Gjakove because people didn't
8 dare go out. It was too dangerous. There was a very small number of
9 shops that were open and where Serbs were employed.
10 Q. I am talking about your assertion that Albanians were
11 discriminated against, and I presented a series of companies here where it
12 is quite obvious that 99 per cent or 95 per cent of all employees were
13 Albanians and all the managers of these companies were Albanians. So your
14 assertion now is that all of this is not true.
15 A. The truth is that the majority of the Albanian shops weren't
16 working. Some self-service stores where Serbs were working were open.
17 Q. All right. Are you aware, for example, that the bank Investbanka
18 in Djakovica had -- all its employees were Albanians and an Albanian
19 manager? Was that bank working?
20 A. I don't remember. I don't know about this.
21 Q. You don't know about that? Do you know that in the territory of
22 the municipality of Djakovica, in the local police, there were 68
23 Albanians who were employed there at the very outset, at the very
24 beginning of the war?
25 A. No.
1 Q. All right. Your own brother was the manager of the hydro system,
2 that is to say, the water supply company; isn't that correct?
3 A. My brother was not the manager of this company. The accused has
4 mixed things up.
5 Q. He did not work at the hydro system, your brother?
6 A. My brother never worked at the water supply company in Gjakove.
7 One brother was a merchant.
8 Q. All right. This area that you mentioned by the border with
9 Albania - you mentioned it at the beginning of your testimony - that area
10 is called Zla Reka?
11 A. I have never heard of this name.
12 Q. Reka e Keqe, this area. Reka e Keqe, that's the area, isn't it,
13 in Albania, from Djakovica towards the Albanian border? That's the area
14 I'm talking about.
15 A. Yes. Yes.
16 Q. Do you know that that area along the Albanian border was the
17 recruitment centre as well as the training centre for KLA members and
18 that's where they took their oath as well?
19 A. I don't know about this.
20 Q. Do you know that the organiser there was Naim Maljoku, a former
21 JNA officer who came from Zagreb in 1998?
22 A. I don't know him. I don't know.
23 Q. And do you know that this area is largely populated by Albanians,
24 migrants who came from Albania in 1945 and even more so after 1948?
25 A. No.
1 Q. No. And do you know that from that area, all the major attacks
2 were launched in 1998 in the territory of Djakovica and its outskirts?
3 A. Translate it for me again, please.
4 [Trial Chamber confers]
5 A. What kind of attacks?
6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, we are wasting time in this matter.
7 The witness knows -- had said he knows nothing about this. He knows
8 nothing about the KLA. Now, the way to deal with it is, rather than
9 arguing with him, for you to put the evidence which you claim to have
10 before us in due course. Now, we have to get on with this trial, and in
11 those circumstances, you must finish your cross-examination. You've put
12 your case very fully to the witness. You must finish in the next five
13 minutes, and we'll move on to the next witness.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] You can deny me the right of
15 cross-examination altogether, but he's a judge, he's a lawyer from
17 JUDGE MAY: All this is a matter of argument, and in those
18 circumstances, there's no need to address us on it. Now, you've got the
19 right to cross-examine. You use it very fully. Now, will you kindly
20 finish this witness, because cross-examination has to be reasonable and to
21 the point.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Do you know that during the war, 898 bombs were thrown on
24 Djakovica - the area of Djakovica, that is - 898 bombs fell there?
25 A. No, I don't know this.
1 Q. And it is your assertion that not a single bomb hit a single
3 A. That's exactly what I say. I will say it again. Not a single
4 bomb hit a single roof in Gjakove.
5 Q. For example, the house of a Serb was demolished. His name is
6 Nikic. It was hit by a bomb. But not only his house, but also a few
7 Albanian houses around his was hit. Do you know about that at least?
8 JUDGE MAY: There is no point in putting to the witness something
9 which he's already dealt with. He says not a single house was hit, and
10 that's his answer, so there's no point trying to put other matters to him.
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. All right. I'm putting a specific question: Does the witness
13 know that the centre of Djakovica was bombed, for example, when the SUP
14 building was targeted, the police building?
15 A. This building was hit.
16 JUDGE MAY: Was the SUP building hit?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This building is on the outskirts,
18 on the way out of the city.
19 JUDGE MAY: No, but whether it is or not, was it hit?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, it was hit. I don't know who
21 hit it.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. All right. Do you know when that building was targeted, that
24 Gjoci, an Albanian lawyer, was killed - he was in his bathroom - because
25 he lived in the neighbourhood of that building? A colleague of yours. Do
1 you know about him?
2 A. I know that my colleague died during the war. This fact is known
3 to me. I was in Albania, and when I returned from Albania, I was told
4 that he died in the war, was killed in the war.
5 Q. A NATO bomb?
6 A. I don't know about that.
7 Q. Do you know that not a single Albanian from the 18 villages of the
8 Djakovica municipality where Albanian Catholics lived did not move out,
9 did not leave his or her village, although the KLA made every effort to
10 have them removed as well?
11 A. I don't know anything about this.
12 Q. And do you know about the village of Meca, where the villagers
13 were calling the army to come to free them from KLA pressures, since they
14 were making them leave and go to Albania? Do you know of that example?
15 A. I don't know about this. I don't know about this.
16 Q. In your written statement, you mentioned that the town was
17 attacked from the hill of Cabrat.
18 A. On the 24th of March, when the NATO bombing started, anti-aircraft
19 fire started from the hill of Cabrat, and later this hill was struck by
20 NATO forces. This is above the town.
21 Q. I'm going to skip these questions since obviously they're of no
22 use. Do you know about the village of Batusa, two kilometres away from
23 town and also the village of Borovina that the terrorists expelled the
24 entire village to the town of Djakovica and that the villagers returned to
25 the village only when the army drove away the terrorists?
1 A. I don't know about this. I don't know.
2 Q. And do you know about the village of Junik where the terrorists,
3 when they had to withdraw before the army, they took along with them 700
4 women and children to act as a human shield, a human shield for them until
5 they got to the border? When they reached the border, they let them go
6 back to Junik.
7 A. I don't know.
8 Q. And do you know the following: that 18.000 persons left Djakovica
9 and went to Albania?
10 A. I don't know.
11 Q. And the population of Djakovica, the municipality of Djakovica, is
12 110.000, whereas the population of the town of Djakovica is 70.000?
13 A. I can't -- there's no way that I can know the exact figures.
14 Q. And do you know of the village of Lukbunar, where the KLA forced
15 the entire village to go to Albania and then the army returned them? All
16 the way from Vrbnica, they returned them to the village, and when they got
17 back to the village, the village was intact, nothing had been touched in
18 the village. Do you know of that incident?
19 A. I've never heard of it.
20 JUDGE MAY: The witness doesn't know about these incidents.
21 Mr. Wladimiroff, do you have any questions for the witness?
22 MR. WLADIMIROFF: I have only one issue to raise, Your Honour,
23 just --
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I haven't finished.
25 JUDGE MAY: I know you haven't finished, but we've given you a
1 limited time.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. Let me just put one more
4 JUDGE MAY: Just one more.
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] One more. I'm going to select one
6 of these out of all these questions.
7 Q. Does the witness know that at the beginning of April, in the
8 village of Glodjane, the KLA detained 21 Serbs and two Romany, that they
9 tortured them and then they took them to the village of Donji Ratis and
10 executed them by Lake Radonish? They were discovered 15 days later,
11 buried by the Orthodox cemetery. There were children killed there.
12 Babies were found there with bottles. 21 Serbs and two Romanies first
13 tortured and taken to the village of Donji Ratis and then killed, executed
14 in the canal by Lake Radonish. Do you know of that incident, at least?
15 A. I have no knowledge of this.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. All right. It's
17 pointless to put any more questions anyway.
18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Wladimiroff.
19 MR. WLADIMIROFF: Thank you, Your Honour
20 Questioned by Mr. Wladimiroff:
21 Q. Mr. Pruthi, in your evidence in chief, you told the Court about
22 the killing of your first nephew -- or a cousin, it was. I understand
23 that evidence to be that you did not see the killing itself. Later on, in
24 cross-examination, told the Court, I quote: "The murder of my first
25 cousin whom I saw with my own eyes." Could you clarify?
1 A. I didn't see this murder. The murder took place in front of the
2 eyes of his daughter.
3 MR. WLADIMIROFF: Thank you.
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
5 MS. ROMANO: Yes, Your Honour. I just have a couple of
7 Re-examined by Ms. Romano:
8 Q. The first one is just you have just answered a question saying
9 that you did not see the killing of your cousin. I just would like to
10 know if you -- did you see the body?
11 A. Yes. Yes, I saw his body. I saw his body with my own eyes.
12 Q. When did you see the body?
13 A. I saw the body on the morning of the 26th, when I went to the
14 scene of the incident with my cousin's wife. And my cousin's wife said,
15 "What shall we do?" And I said, "We must report this case to the
16 police." And we did as I said, and we reported the incident to the
17 police. And we expected the police to come to investigate the case, and a
18 few hours later, the police came.
19 Q. And --
20 A. The judge --
21 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Pruthi. And just to clarify, so you saw the body
22 on the scene where --
23 A. We saw the body in situ.
24 Q. And can you describe how was the body? What did you see?
25 A. Yes. The body was lying on the ground on its back, and I saw that
1 the two soles of the feet were very badly injured, I believe by a volley
2 of automatic rifle fire. And one hand was also almost detached. There
3 were several bullet holes in the chest. And I saw that the two soles of
4 the feet had been hit and had been damaged, almost detached, and that one
5 palm of the hand was injured and almost cut off.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 A. Also --
8 Q. No. You can finish.
9 A. We waited for the police, and the investigating judge and the
10 police came a few hours later. I went out to see the investigating judge,
11 and I was immediately surrounded by the police. And I went up to the
12 investigating judge and met him, and immediately I was surrounded by the
13 police. There were about 12 policemen, and they didn't allow us to move.
14 The investigating judge asked me where the body is, and I told him that
15 it's behind the house. "Where is the other body?" Because another
16 neighbour of ours, Avni Ferizi, was killed that night and I told him where
17 the house was. And the judge said, "We will go to see Avni first and then
18 we'll come to you, to your cousin," and that's what he did.
19 Q. Do you know the outcome of the investigation?
20 A. He came back from the neighbour's house, and I thought, Well, now
21 we'll go to the scene and examine the body as according to the legal
22 procedure. But opposite happened. It's incredible for me as a lawyer,
23 because the judge simply said, "There's no need to investigate on the
24 site. You can bury him." And he immediately went away and that's all.
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Pruthi. On cross-examination, the accused said
1 that -- alleged that 196 Albanians were killed by the KLA. Do you have
2 any evidence of these killings, about the fact that 196 Albanians were
3 killed by the KLA?
4 A. I have no information about this.
5 Q. It was also alleged that the KLA ordered or pushed the villagers
6 outside their homes. Do you also have any evidence about this fact?
7 A. Can you ask the question again, please?
8 Q. If the KLA at any time ordered or pushed Albanian villagers
9 outside their homes.
10 A. This is not true.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MS. ROMANO: Thank you, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Pruthi, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
14 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are now free to
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 JUDGE MAY: We'll adjourn now until half past two.
18 --- Luncheon recess taken at 12.55 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.31 p.m.
2 [The witness entered court]
3 MR. RYNEVELD: The Prosecution calls Mr. Shabani.
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.
5 WITNESS: QAMIL SHABANI
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
8 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
10 Examined by Mr. Ryneveld:
11 Q. Mr. Shabani, would you give your full name to the Court, please.
12 A. My name is Qamil Shabani, from Zheger village. I was born on the
13 14th of November, 1952. I am married and have four children: two sons and
14 two daughters.
15 Q. Thank you. I understand, sir, that you -- in March of 1999, you
16 were a primary school teacher, but at this time you now have a different
17 job; is that right?
18 A. Yes, that's right.
19 Q. Is it also right, sir, that you are of Albanian ethnicity and of
20 the Muslim faith?
21 A. Yes, that's right.
22 Q. Sir, were you ever a member of the KLA?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Mr. Shabani, I understand, sir, that you performed your compulsory
25 military service in 1978; is that correct?
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 Q. And that was spent in Kranj, Slovenia, and you were part of an
3 engineering unit at the time?
4 A. Yes, that's correct. Kranj, in Slovenia, yes.
5 Q. Now, sir, you've just told us that you are a resident of the
6 village of Zegra, of the municipality of -- is it Gnjilane?
7 A. Yes. I'm an inhabitant of Zheger village, Gnjilane municipality.
8 Q. And approximately how far away is Zegra from the actual town of
10 A. Zheger village is 12 kilometres away from Gnjilane.
11 Q. And in March of 1999, sir, can you tell the Court how many
12 inhabitants or how large a village Zegra was?
13 A. Zheger village at that time, that is, March 1999, had about 4.000
15 Q. And can you tell us: The majority of the inhabitants, what
16 ethnicity were they?
17 A. Most of the inhabitants are of Albanian ethnicity. The remainder,
18 of a smaller number, are Serbian. If we consider the Albanian and the
19 Serbian settlements or houses, it turns out that there is a total of 600
20 houses, of which about 70 belong to Serb inhabitants.
21 Q. All right. Now, in March of 1999, did there come a time when you
22 were able to tell which of those houses belonged to the Serb inhabitants,
23 and if so, how could you tell?
24 A. The Serb houses in Zheger village are situated in their own
25 neighbourhoods, but there are also Albanian houses in the vicinity of the
1 Serbian houses. They were mixed up. There were no partitions between
3 Q. Did there come a time in March when the Serbs did something in
4 relation to their residences that would set them apart from the other
6 A. Yes, they did. It is a form of fascist manifestation which is --
7 was programmed in their heads, of the Serb citizens, that is, who wanted
8 to take revenge against the Albanian population who undertook to organise
9 them and to divide the Serbian houses from Albanian houses through putting
10 some signs, some white cloths over them. I think that this was staged by
11 certain Serbian citizens in Zheger village. I might mention Djuro Lazic,
12 an inhabitant of Zheger who, together with some other Serbs in two places,
13 in the houses of Srecko Lazic and another, have got together and decided
14 to divide the houses in this way.
15 Q. Let me -- let me just ask you, sir, what if anything they did that
16 you could see that marked the houses of Serbs. What did you see?
17 A. Before the paramilitaries came to Zheger, this happened. In the
18 past in Zheger, there were Yugoslav army troops stationed there about ten
19 days before the NATO airstrikes. That is, before the 24th of March, the
20 army troops were deployed there with all their military arsenal, including
21 tanks, armoured cars, cannons, and other equipment. So --
22 JUDGE MAY: You may be asked about this in a moment, Mr. Shabani,
23 but for the moment, what you were asked was whether the Serbs marked their
24 houses. Could you just deal with that?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. They marked their houses with
1 a white cloth.
2 MR. RYNEVELD:
3 Q. All right.
4 A. It resembles a fascist genocide.
5 MR. RYNEVELD:
6 Q. Let's just stop there, if we may. I'm going to ask you --
7 MR. RYNEVELD: Madam Clerk, could the witness be shown some maps
8 at this point. Exhibit 3, map 10, and if we could also have Exhibit 4,
9 map 8 available to the usher.
10 Q. I'd like you first of all, Witness, to look at the map before it
11 goes on the ELMO. Just have a look at that map.
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Do you see your village of Zegra marked on Exhibit 3, map 10?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. All right. Now, perhaps we can put it on the overhead projector
16 and you will see it on the television screen in front of you, and if you
17 could just point out to the Court with the pointer, on the map that's on
18 the overhead, where your village is. No, not on the TV screen. That
19 won't help us. Put it on -- thank you.
20 A. Here.
21 Q. All right. You're now pointing to something that's marked as
22 "Zegra," and that's your village?
23 A. Yes, that's my village.
24 Q. And your evidence is that that was some 12 kilometres distant from
25 Gnjilane; correct?
1 A. Yes, 12 kilometres away from Gnjilane.
2 Q. And there are some other villages marked in that general
4 A. Yes, the village of -- my village borders in the east with
5 Vlastica village, inhabited by Albanians. To the north it borders Lladove
6 village, also inhabited by Albanians, Albanians of Albanian ethnicity. In
7 the south it borders the Haxhaj village. So these are the villages
8 surrounding Zheger.
9 Q. All right. Sir, we might get back to that in a moment. I'd like
10 you to look at map 8 of Exhibit 4. Would you look at that first. It's
11 got some very small printing on it so I want you to have a look at it
12 before it goes on the ELMO.
13 Now, do you see Zegra marked on that larger detailed map?
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. All right.
16 A. Yes, I see it.
17 Q. All right. Perhaps that could go on the ELMO at this point, and
18 you could use the pointer again and point out for the Court's benefit so
19 they could see where Zegra is on this more detailed map.
20 A. Here.
21 Q. You're now pointing on the record to something that is marked in
22 two names, "Zheger" and "Zegra," is that correct, about three inches down
23 from Gnjilane?
24 A. Yes. The Serbs call it "Zegra." We call it "Zheger."
25 Q. All right. And the other village of Vlastica is also known --
1 A. The other village is Vlastica, which, as I said, lies east of
2 Zheger village, whereas in the north is Lladove village. Then there is
3 another village, Haxhaj village. Then come the Miraj, then is Jsufaj
4 village, and so on.
5 Q. If you look just to the north, on a road, there's something called
6 Donja. Does Donja have another name, sir? Is that the same as Donja
7 Stubla or is it different?
8 A. It is a village that is situated south-west of Zheger village. It
9 lies on a raised plateau. There is a Stubell village.
10 Q. Can you point that out on the map for us? Perhaps you did and I
11 wasn't watching. I'd just ask you to look now and see if you see Donja
12 Stubla. Sorry, my monitor is not --
13 A. [Indicates]
14 Q. All right. You are now pointing to an area that is on a -- it's
15 not white; it's sort of a shaded colour, showing that it's in the next
16 municipality. Is that correct?
17 A. Yes. This village belongs to Viti municipality, whereas the other
18 belongs to Gnjilane municipality. You see that there is a division there.
19 Q. Yes. Thank you very much, sir. Now, Mr. Shabani, I believe that
20 you were about to tell us about what you saw, I think you said about ten
21 days before March 24th. You were telling us about seeing the arrival of
22 some military forces. Can you pick it up there and tell us what you saw.
23 A. During the time that talks were being held in Rambouillet, which
24 did not have any marked effect, political effect, Serbia was preparing for
25 its certain goal, Yugoslavia too, headed by the accused.
1 Q. Sir, let me just -- just stop there. What I asked you about is
2 what you saw in your village, what happened in your village as opposed
3 to --
4 A. In our village came military forces of the regular army and the
5 reservists, people of an older age but in uniforms, equipped with all the
6 necessary arsenal - tanks, cannons, armoured cars - and other military
7 equipment: mortars, machine-guns, and other weapons. They were deployed
8 in the agriculture cooperative of our village at the entrance to the
9 village, and part of the army was displaced at the exit of the village, in
10 the south of the village, and occupied the house of Dermush Sejdiu. Over
11 90 people were stationed there, whereas the others used to patrol the
12 streets of the village. They were either opening trenches along the river
13 of Zheger, in Pidiq village, up to the border. This is what the army
14 did. It came there with a certain, specific goal.
15 Q. We'll get to that in a moment, sir. I'm just going to ask you:
16 You mentioned there was an agricultural area. Is that where they set up,
17 or was there any other location in your village that they seemed to use as
18 a congregation point or a headquarters or place of --
19 A. They set up all their headquarters. Some were in the village,
20 near the school, actually, in the school facilities, primary school
21 facilities, whereas the army took its position at the entrance and at the
22 exit of the village during all the time. During their stay there, they
23 used to patrol the streets and check the citizens. They checked the
24 citizens, observing what each and every one were doing, who was coming and
25 going where, checking their personal IDs and documents, until the moment
1 when the bombing by NATO started. Then the army became very angry, and
2 the army forces that were deployed in our village, they started to fire,
3 to shell the house of Ukshin Ukshini during the NATO airstrikes.
4 Q. All right. I'm going to stop you there and back up and fill in a
5 few details, if I may, sir. Now, you've mentioned that they took up a
6 position at the north entrance to the village. Prior to the arrival of
7 these army troops, as you've called them, was there -- do you know whether
8 or not there was a radiator factory in your village?
9 A. Yes. Near the agricultural cooperative, there's also the radiator
10 factory, and this was used to accommodate the army. It was used for
11 military purposes. No work went on in the factory at that time.
12 Q. All right. You've mentioned the home of Dermush Sejdiu. What did
13 that home have to do with this? What happened there?
14 A. This house, you can see by geographical position, it's to the
15 south of the village, and it was used to accommodate soldiers and to store
16 weapons and ammunition. So in this way, these forces surrounded the
18 Q. I see. Now, sir, you've mentioned in your evidence that both
19 regular army and, I think you said, some older people as well, were they
20 also in uniform?
21 A. Yes. This army consisted of regular soldiers, with officers who
22 had specific duties, according to their ranks, and there were also
23 reservists, older people who had completed their military service a long
24 time ago and now had come to join the regular army.
25 Q. I see.
1 MR. RYNEVELD: At this point, might the witness be shown some
2 exhibits. Madam Clerk, I would that ask 17, 18, 21A and 21B be held
4 Q. I'm going to show you Exhibit 18 first when we get it ready, sir.
5 On Exhibit 18, you will see a large sheet with a number of uniforms, and
6 when you see it, I'm going to ask you to look at that before it's placed
7 on the ELMO. And I'm going to ask you to tell the Court whether or not
8 any of the people that arrived in your village prior to the 24th of March,
9 the army or these older reservists, do you see any uniforms similar to
10 what they were wearing in any of these photographs?
11 A. Yes. Number 1, uniform number 1.
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. That uniform was the most used. All the army had this kind of
15 Q. Actually, before --
16 MR. RYNEVELD: Mr. Usher, we'll look at that in a moment.
17 Q. Can you look and see whether you see any other uniforms before we
18 put it on the overhead? And then I'm going to ask ...
19 A. And this uniform number 2 is also -- was also worn by the army
20 under certain circumstances. And also number 9.
21 Q. Which uniforms were worn by the older reservists? Do you recall?
22 A. The reservists mainly wore this uniform, number 1.
23 Q. All right. Perhaps this would be an appropriate time to place
24 that on the ELMO and then you can point us, just so that we know what
25 you're talking about when you said 1, 2, and 9. First of all, 1.
1 A. Number 1.
2 Q. You're pointing to what looks to be sort of a khaki green -- is
3 that a camouflage uniform or is that a regular khaki green or what can you
4 tell us about that?
5 A. It's green, and that's why -- that's why I mentioned it
6 particularly. It's -- you can see some camouflage, but it wasn't used
7 generally. It wasn't used when they were prepared for attacks.
8 Q. You say you also saw uniforms like number 2; is that correct?
9 A. Yes. Number 2 was also present among the soldiers.
10 Q. And number 9.
11 A. And number 9, too.
12 MR. RYNEVELD: Would you show that, please, Mr. Usher.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Number 9, too. This was worn when
14 they moved in among the village and when they took up positions in the
16 MR. RYNEVELD:
17 Q. Witness, are you telling us that all three of these uniforms were
18 present in the ten days leading up to the 24th of March in your village of
20 A. Yes. Yes. All these uniforms were present during that time.
21 Q. And, Witness, I'd like you to now -- you've told us that they came
22 with all of the -- I think you said "military equipment," but that may be
23 my way of referring to what you said. What kind of --
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. -- military equipment do you recall seeing?
1 A. The military equipment that I saw when we were in a bus round
2 their positions, we saw automatic rifles, machine-guns, and then mortars
3 of the infantry, and then armoured vehicles patrolled. There were tanks,
4 Pinzgauers, and other equipment --
5 Q. All right.
6 A. -- that they had at their disposal.
7 Q. I'm going to ask you now to look at four sheets comprising
8 Exhibit 17. On these four sheets there are, I believe, a total of 15
9 photographs. I'd like you to have a look at those photographs, if you
10 would, please, and tell us whether you see any of the types of vehicles
11 that you've just described for us depicted in these 15 photographs
12 comprising Exhibit 17.
13 A. Yes. On this sheet, we have a tank, another kind of tank, and
14 then an armoured vehicle.
15 Q. Let me stop you there.
16 A. And then a personnel carrier.
17 Q. Let me stop you there. The photographs on these sheets have
18 numbers, so when you tell us "on this sheet," can you tell us what numbers
19 you're referring to?
20 A. Yes. The photograph I have here, there's number 6, 7, 8.
21 Q. Yes. And let's stop there. Number 6, what is that?
22 A. This is a tank used by the army in their positions.
23 Q. What's number 7?
24 A. This is a small military truck which was used to carry soldiers,
25 small groups of soldiers, to different positions.
1 Q. Number 8?
2 A. This is also a small open truck used to carry soldiers to their
3 positions and during their patrols through the village of Zheger.
4 Q. Now, sir, did you see vehicles like all three of these vehicles,
5 6, 7, and 8, in the village of Zegra in the days leading up to the March
7 A. Yes, all these vehicles. They were all present in our village,
8 and they moved round the village from north to the south, towards Gnjilane
9 and Budriga, where they had their positions.
10 Q. Sir, you also mentioned, I believe, the word "Pinzgauers," and I
11 think you mentioned APCs, which I understood to be armoured personnel
12 carriers. Do you see any of those in any of the photographs comprising
13 Exhibit 17?
14 A. The armoured vehicles and the Pinzgauers are on number 7. There,
15 number 7. That's a Pinzgauer, as used by the army. And the armoured
16 vehicle, but it -- it's armoured but it has rubber tires and equipped with
17 weapons, it's number 2.
18 Q. All right. And these were all present in your village and you saw
19 them yourself, did you, sir?
20 A. Yes. I saw them all myself with my own eyes, because at this
21 time, we were able to see these soldiers in movement.
22 Q. And finally, I don't want to take a lot of time, sir, but could
23 you take a look at what's been marked as Exhibit 21A, please. You've told
24 us that they also had automatic weapons. Do -- on Exhibit 21A there are
25 five images of what appear to be weapons. Do these in any way -- are they
1 similar at all to the automatic weapons that you saw, and if so, which
3 A. The armoured -- automatic weapons which we saw are on sheet B, B1,
4 B2, and then a gun with a long-distance sight.
5 Q. I'm sorry. Your B and my B may be different. Would you just put
6 the one you're looking at and tell me which one you're looking at. You're
7 now holding what I believe to be Exhibit A. Is that actually marked B?
8 A. Here it's written B. Never mind. I can say --
9 Q. That's fine. Then we've just got our numbers -- sorry. I'm going
10 to go by the exhibit copy. I've just copied my numbers wrong.
11 So you're now holding up a sheet that's marked 21B, and it seems
12 to have some five weapons on it; is that correct? Put that --
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. -- on the ELMO and tell us which ones you saw, if any.
15 JUDGE KWON: It should be 21A.
16 MR. RYNEVELD: That's what I thought, but apparently it's marked
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Here. These are number 1, number 2,
19 and number 3, and then 4 and 5. The army possessed all these weapons at
21 MR. RYNEVELD:
22 Q. Now, sir, you mentioned the 24th of March, 1999, and I think you
23 told us that that was the date when NATO bombing started. Do you recall
24 that incident?
25 A. Yes, I remember this day, which for the Albanian people of Kosova
1 was a day when our hopes came true, and we hoped that we would be freed
2 from Serbian and Slavic rule that had been imposed on Kosova.
3 Q. All right.
4 A. On this day --
5 Q. What happened in your village on this day?
6 A. On the 24th of March, when the NATO bombing started, the Albanian
7 population was very cheerful, but the Serbian population were very angry,
8 and this rage of theirs turned into retaliation against the Albanian
9 population, and certain people had made certain preparations under
10 directions from Belgrade.
11 Q. Witness, unless you --
12 JUDGE MAY: Let me tell you about the evidence, Mr. Shabani. What
13 is most helpful to us, if you tell us what you saw and heard yourself
14 rather than giving a commentary upon it. Could you just stick to what you
15 saw and heard, please.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. It's true; I can only talk
17 about what I saw myself.
18 MR. RYNEVELD:
19 Q. Yes. My question, Witness, was: When the NATO bombing started,
20 what happened to your village? In other words, you've told us about
21 soldiers who were in and around your village prior to the 24th. Did they
22 do something in particular? Did they go somewhere?
23 A. During the bombing, they started -- they became wilder and behaved
24 much more savagely towards the Albanian population, and some soldiers who
25 were stationed there in the agricultural cooperative, out of spite,
1 started firing on Ukshin Ukshini's house, out of revenge.
2 Q. Well, sir, let me just direct your mind to a particular incident,
3 if I may. You've told us earlier that soldiers were in the radiator
4 factory. Did they stay there or did they go somewhere else in the
5 village? And in the process, what happened?
6 A. The soldiers at this time, the regular army - that is, on the 24th
7 of March - took up a position in trenches in order to defend themselves
8 against NATO forces, and they expelled the inhabitants of four Albanian
9 houses so that they could leave the radiator factory and move into the
10 houses of these Albanians, houses which were near the agricultural
11 cooperative. Meanwhile, other --
12 Q. No. Let me just ask some questions that I want to ask you, sir.
13 We'll get along better if you listen to my question and answer that
14 question rather than volunteering where you think we're going to go next,
16 Sir, you've told us about NATO bombing. Did NATO bombing occur in
17 your village or around your village, or how do you know that NATO bombing
19 A. There was no NATO bombing around our village, but we heard
20 explosions from the distance, somewhere to the north, at a very great
21 distance, but there was nothing in our village.
22 Q. All right. So your village did not come under -- did not
23 experience any NATO bombing on the 24th of March; is that correct?
24 A. That's right. It wasn't bombed.
25 Q. Now, sir, prior to the 24th of March, or on the 24th of March, are
1 you aware of any KLA being in your village?
2 A. There were no KLA forces in our village, and I never saw them and
3 I never heard of any formation of this kind at this time. I'm talking
4 about the village of Zheger.
5 Q. Yes. Were there any skirmishes or exchange of gunfire or anything
6 between the regular army troops you've described and any of the
7 inhabitants, whether in uniform or in civilian clothing, in your village?
8 A. No, there were no skirmishes between Serbian forces and local
9 people, because we didn't have any weapons.
10 Q. I'm going to move now, sir, to the 28th of March. I understand
11 that it was a Muslim holiday; is that correct?
12 A. Yes. This was the day of Bajram, which the inhabitants of Zheger
13 were unable to celebrate because of the circumstances and because of the
14 very tense situation, because of the army presence. So on the evening of
15 that day of Bajram, to the east, where the village of Vlastica is, we
16 heard a hail of gunfire and volleys lasting for about an hour, coming from
17 the direction of the village of Pasjan, which is a Serbian village and
18 where there were also soldiers and reservists. They shot at the village
19 of Vlastica in the evening.
20 Q. Now, before you move on, is that something that you know from
21 personal experience or something someone else told you, or how do you know
22 that the village of Vlastica came under gunfire from the Serb village?
23 A. I know this from the noise that came and the gunfire and the heavy
24 automatic weapons, and we heard all this from a distance, although it's
25 not a very great distance, but we heard them from a distance. These were
1 weapons that the army possessed, and it was they who opened fire on
3 Q. Sir, I'm going to turn you now to the following day, the 29th of
4 March, 1999. Did something happen in your village that you can tell us
6 A. On the 29th of March, in Zheger, additional troops came,
7 paramilitaries, with eight buses and a minibus, with a licence plate from
8 Nis. According to eyewitnesses who saw this -- because the position of my
9 house was far from the point where the buses arrived, so I didn't see it,
10 but other villagers have told me that eight buses and a minibus from Nis
11 came to Zheger and went to the village school.
12 Q. What happened next?
13 A. Then, in the evening, that is, towards 6.00, the Serbian
14 inhabitants of Zheger had prepared a plan to liquidate people.
15 Q. Sir, unless you know about this yourself -- I'm not asking you to
16 give us a commentary on who planned what. I want you to tell us who did
18 A. Well, there was a murder in the house of the Tahir Tahiri, the
19 chairman of the Democratic League of Kosovo, and they killed his brother,
20 Shyqeri Tahiri, and at this place the family of Nasuf Tahiri was present,
21 and Nasuf Tahiri's daughter, Nexharije, was wounded. The house of the LDK
22 chairman was pointed out by local Serbs, and that was when the Albanian
23 residents began to shed their blood, and they were defenceless and unarmed
24 in their own homes. And on that night, on that terrible night, the
25 residents of the houses round about, when they heard the gunfire, some of
1 them fled from their houses, going from yard to yard, out of fear, lest
2 they encounter Serbian forces who were ready to fire on anybody that they
3 saw. So a number of Albanian villagers, on that night of the 29th of
4 March, spent the night in the hill called Kushlevica, to shelter from the
5 Serbian army that had begun their operation to expel the population. I
6 was among them with my family, and we all spent the night up there.
7 Q. All right.
8 A. In the morning --
9 Q. No. Before we get to the morning, there's a couple of details I
10 want to fill in. Let's back up.
11 You said that that evening, after these two individuals had been
12 shot -- one was killed, Mr. Tahiri, and a girl was shot in the foot. You
13 said later that evening -- I think you referred to Serb forces. Who are
14 you now talking about? Who -- what kind of Serb forces? Was there one
15 kind or a combination? Tell us, if you would, please, what kinds of Serb
16 forces were in your village that night of the 29th.
17 A. It was a mixture of Serbian forces in Zheger. There was the
18 regular army, there were paramilitaries who came, and then armed Serbian
19 civilians with their own guns, and they all created a mixed Serbian force
20 in our village.
21 Q. Were there any police in your village?
22 A. Yes. The police station is in Zheger, too, and -- and they were
23 also present in the village.
24 Q. Now, you told us that the residents were frightened into leaving
25 the village and that they went from yard to yard. What was it that was
1 happening that caused the villagers to be frightened into leaving? Tell
2 us what -- what it was that prompted them to leave.
3 A. They were forced to leave by this crime that was committed on that
4 night and the tortures to which people who were found on the roads were
5 forced to submit. And there was a father and son who were beaten by
6 Serbian soldiers and paramilitaries. And the population or some of them,
7 in panic, went up to the hill of Kushlevica and spent the night of the
8 29th of March there.
9 Q. While these -- you've described the combined forces, Serb forces.
10 Were they using their weapons in any way other than to shoot Tahiri and
11 his daughter?
12 A. Yes, of course. In the --
13 Q. How --
14 A. In the murder of Shyqeri Tahiri, this crime was committed with the
15 use of automatic weapons, and his daughter was also wounded with an
16 automatic weapon. And besides this, they fired in the air to scare the
17 Albanian population and to drive them out of the village.
18 Q. Okay. I'm going to just focus you. As I understand, sir, you and
19 your family also went up to hill called Kushlevica; is that correct?
20 A. Yes, that's right.
21 Q. And when you got there that evening, late that evening, are you
22 able to say whether there were a lot of people, and if so, how many?
23 A. Yes. It was a large crowd of people, about 1.200. There were
24 women and children, men; people of all kinds. It was raining. The
25 weather was very wet. And all the population was up there.
1 Q. All right. Sir, I'm sorry that I stopped you earlier when you
2 were about to tell us -- "early the next morning," that's where I stopped
3 you and filled in some detail. Tell us about what happened early the next
5 A. On the next morning, on the 30th of March, a day that the Albanian
6 people cannot forget because innocent victims also died on this day at the
7 hands of Serbian forces --
8 JUDGE MAY: Just tell us what happened, please.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was when Ukshin Ukshini and his
10 wife Miradije were murdered, on the morning of the 30th. At the same
11 time, all the Serbian forces in the village started to enter the houses in
12 turn, expelling the inhabitants, scaring them into leaving their houses.
13 Q. And where did the villagers go?
14 A. The residents of Zheger, when they were expelled under the threats
15 of Serbian forces, some of them went to Stubell e Ulet, and from the north
16 they went in the direction of Koresht, driven by Serbian forces, but most
17 of them went to Stubell. But on this day, Skender Aliu was beaten, as was
18 his brother Xhafer Aliu. These two were beaten in their own homes with
19 rifle butts and told to leave their houses within a very short time, as
20 was everybody else.
21 Q. All right. I'll stop you there. How did you hear about the death
22 of Ukshin Ukshini and the beatings of these other individuals? Was that
23 told to you that day or on some subsequent time or did you see it?
24 A. No, not on that day. We found out from villagers who had houses
25 close to Ukshin Ukshini's house and were expelled in our direction, that
1 is, towards Stubell. As for Skender and Xhafer Aliu, they themselves came
2 to Stubell and we saw their marks.
3 Q. So they told you what happened, and you saw the evidence of the
4 beatings yourself, did you?
5 A. That's right. I saw it myself. I saw the evidence with my own
6 eyes because it was on their face and other parts of their body.
7 Q. Yes. Now, sir, just so that I'm clear, earlier when I showed you
8 the map of the -- the more detailed map, the second map I showed you, I
9 asked you to point out Donja Stubla. You've today in your evidence
10 referred to "Stubell." Is that the same place or a different place or
11 have I got it wrong?
12 A. Yes, this is the same place.
13 Q. I see.
14 A. Because the maps are in Serbo-Croatian --
15 Q. I see.
16 A. -- and not in Albania.
17 Q. So the place that you indicated on the map to Their Honours as
18 Donja Stubla, that's the place you're referring to where you and other
19 villagers left the second time you were expelled from Zegra; is that
21 A. In Stubla village, not all the inhabitants could find shelter
22 because there were very few available houses compared to the large number
23 of people. So they found shelter in some tents which they put up in the
24 mountain slopes in the vicinity of Stubla, Donja Stubla or the Upper
25 Stubla. So the citizens or the inhabitants of Zheger, the Albanian
1 citizens of Zheger, were in this situation.
2 Q. All right. So you and other refugees from Zegra went to Donja
3 Stubla and you tried to find accommodation in that area. Have I got that
4 more or less correct?
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Yes. Let's try and finish, if we can, this
6 witness's evidence in chief this afternoon.
7 MR. RYNEVELD: Yes.
8 Q. Now, sir, how long did you stay in Donja Stubla?
9 A. We stayed in Donja Stubla with my family from the 30th of March up
10 to the 4th of May. During our stay there in Donja Stubla, many tragic
11 events occurred in the surrounding areas, in the villages that --
12 bordering Stubla.
13 I might mention the date of the 15th of April, when the village of
14 Delekare of Viti municipality was likewise submitted to terrorist acts
15 committed by the Serb paramilitary and military forces.
16 Q. I'm going to stop you there, sir. Maybe I can summarise what I
17 understand you're going to be saying, and that is: While you were at
18 Donja Stubla, did a number of other villagers from other villages come to
19 find refuge at Donja Stubla as well?
20 A. Yes. There was a large number of people who came there.
21 Q. And while you were there, are you able to give the Court a total,
22 approximately, of how many refugees were gathered in the Donja Stubla area
23 while you were there?
24 A. Yes. I might tell you that during the time I was there, when
25 people came from surrounding villages like Lladove, Nosale, Remnik and
1 Delekare, the figure of civilian population which came to upper
2 Stubla - or lower Stubla, sorry - and in the surrounding areas, it might
3 be approximately up to 20.000 inhabitants. This is an estimate.
4 Q. All right. Now, sir, you've told us that you stayed there until
5 the 4th of May. And during the time that you were at Donja Stubla, did
6 some of these 20.000 people decide to leave that area?
7 A. Yes. From the moment when the village of Delekare and Remnik were
8 attacked, and Lladove as well, by the Serb paramilitary and military
9 forces, the situation of food and drinking water for the citizens became
10 critical with every passing hour, because people were living in nylon
11 tents, which reminded you of a large concentration camp, I would say, in
12 terms of the large number of people herded there, civilian population
13 herded there, comprising mostly children, wives and -- women and men [as
14 interpreted]. So given this deplorable situation, people started to
15 spontaneously organise themselves. As of the 15th of April, groups of
16 people started to leave this place in Stubla and head in the direction of
17 the border of Macedonia, because they thought that they would find
18 salvation there.
19 Q. And, sir, did you hear of any villagers who had attempted to
20 return to their villages, and did they come back with stories about what
21 they found there?
22 A. Yes. I'm not so clear what you mean. Which villages are you
23 talking about? Do you mean Delekare or Remnik village?
24 Q. Let me now be specific, sir. Did any of the people, the 20.000,
25 try to go home again; and if so, did they come back with stories about
1 what they found? If you don't know, that's fine.
2 A. No. It's true that when some of them returned home, they found
3 the houses looted and raided, some burned down, but this happened after
4 some time, after the tenth day in Delekare and Remnik. The other part of
5 the population fled.
6 Q. And you fled with them, I understand, sir, on the 4th of May, and
7 you decided to go to Macedonia; is that correct?
8 A. Yes, that's correct. That is, on the 4th of May, driven out of
9 poverty, misery and lack of foodstuffs and the constant danger threatening
10 us, listening to the firearms, gunshots coming from the Serbian army and
11 which were present in that area, seeing their movements, we felt
12 completely insecure. This is why we decided, as a group of about 600
13 people, to leave that place and head towards the border with Macedonia.
14 Q. And you did that, I understand, sir, and you walked for a while
15 and you stopped somewhere. Where was that?
16 A. Yes. On the 4th of May, at night, we moved from there. It was
17 about 8.00 in the evening. We moved at night because we didn't want to be
18 discovered by the Serbian forces and suffer as a result of that. So
19 during our movements, we passed from Donja Stubla to Selishte village,
20 then to Goden, then Jsufaj neighbourhood, and then we arrived in Seferaj
21 village. It is situated --
22 Q. That's fine. I understand you stayed there overnight and then the
23 next morning you walked on to Rustaje; is that correct?
24 A. Yes, that's correct. In Rustaje, we arrived sometime around
1 Q. And then something happened there, sir. Tell us about that.
2 A. Our group, which was heading towards Macedonia, when it arrived in
3 Rustaje neighbourhood, we encountered Serb forces, military and
4 paramilitary forces. We were surrounded by them. Then, under the threats
5 and after they ransacked and searched us, we felt very tense and
6 insecure. During this time, men were separated. Men beginning from 16
7 years of age up to 60 years of age were separated from the women and
8 children. They took us away about 500 metres from the group and ordered
9 us to kneel down and keep our hands above our heads. We were surrounded
10 by the Serbian forces, among whom there were also paramilitaries who were
11 always under the influence of drugs, and so their behaviour was very
12 severe towards us. While we were there and being threatened with being
13 killed, we suddenly heard the shouts and shrieks of our women and children
14 who were present there. And when it became a very alarming situation,
15 some of the military ordered us to get up, and at that moment the women
16 and the children who were crying, shouting, they started to come towards
17 us, to join us as a group.
18 Q. I'm going to stop you there. You were reunited with the women and
19 children, and then I understand you went somewhere further. And how is it
20 that you ended up going wherever it was you went? How did you know where
21 to go, and how did you get there?
22 A. During the time that we were reunited with our women and children,
23 they ordered us to walk about one kilometre on foot, being escorted by
24 them all the way. They were lined up on both sides of the group. And
25 then they asked us to sit down when we found a meadow. And during the
1 time that they ordered us to sit down in that meadow, the commander of
2 that military unit came up to us with four paramilitaries and soldiers,
3 with their weapons trained at us - at me, actually - and they threatened
5 Q. How?
6 A. They threatened me with words, asking me to give them explanation
7 why we had called in NATO, and they began to insult me for being Albanian,
8 and using other obscene words. They stayed with me for about one hour. I
9 tried to keep calm.
10 Q. What language did they use to communicate with you?
11 A. The language they used to communicate with me was exclusively
12 Serbian, no other language.
13 Q. All right, sir. And after that hour, what happened then?
14 A. Then we were ordered to move on in the direction of Presevo and a
15 village, Hoxhe of Presevo. We were told not to turn our head, or if we
16 dared move from the way, we would be killed.
17 Q. Did you follow that instruction?
18 A. At the beginning, we followed their instructions up to a point
19 until when we thought that we started to deflect from the role because we
20 were afraid that we would run up against some other forces. So someone
21 among us who knew the terrain better said, "Let's go and take to the
22 mountains," and this is what we did. The entire group took to the
23 mountain and approached the border with Macedonia.
24 That night, the entire group of deported citizens, we spent the
25 night in Mal i Thate under the rain. And the next morning very early - it
1 was about 3.00 in the morning - we set out, led by a person who knew the
2 way but who had links with the Serbian forces. He told us where to go,
3 but in exchange for that --
4 Q. Okay. Finish your sentence and then I have a question. In
5 exchange for that, what?
6 A. This person who was certainly urged by the Serbian forces, asked
7 us, the members of the group, to give him some amounts of Deutschmarks for
8 him to show us the place. I think everything was done in collaboration
9 with the Serbian forces, border forces.
10 Q. En route to this different border crossing, sir, did you meet up
11 with other refugees from Zegra?
12 A. Yes. In the Mal i Thate, there was another group who was
13 stationed some days ago in -- in Presevo and other surrounding villages.
14 Q. All right.
15 A. They were about 300 other citizens. One of them knew the way, and
16 he showed us the way.
17 Q. All right. And is it fair to say, sir, that together, the group
18 you were with and the 300 other group, you joined into a combined group
19 and crossed the border; is that right?
20 A. Yes, that's correct. That is, our group and the other group
21 joined together and crossed the border at that checkpoint, and we went
22 over to Macedonia.
23 Q. Sir, I just have a couple more questions. I'd like you to have a
24 look at Exhibit 3, map 10 again, if you would. I said we'd come back to
25 this map. Can you or would you, please, for the benefit of the Court,
1 point the route that you took to the border. In other words, from Zegra,
2 you went -- just trace on the pointer on the map, without commentary, just
3 show the general area where you went and where you crossed the border on
4 this map, if it's visible. Don't give us any detail, just show us the
5 route you took. Do you understand my question?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. All right. If you could do that, it would be very helpful. Start
8 at Zegra, if you would, please.
9 A. It is the Zheger village.
10 Q. [Previous translation continues]... going to help. Thank you.
12 A. This is where the Zheger village is.
13 Q. Yes.
14 A. This is where the refugees were. Then we moved in this way, along
15 this way that I'm showing you with my pointer.
16 Q. All right.
17 A. Then we passed Reka, the Jsufaj neighbourhood, Seferaj, Rustaje,
18 and so on.
19 Q. Into Macedonia?
20 A. Yes. We crossed over to Macedonia.
21 Q. All right. So if we look at the map, just so that the record
22 reflects what you've done, if we look at Zegra and go -- there's also a
23 compass point heading south. There are two arrows leading to the
24 Macedonia border south of Zegra. You took the second arrow to the right;
25 is that correct?
1 A. Yes, that's correct.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 A. The second arrow to the right, the one that I showed you. That
4 was our way.
5 Q. Just one more question, sir. When you returned to your village,
6 can you tell us how you -- what state you found your village in? That is,
8 A. During the time that we were in Stubell, Lower Stubla, from the
9 5th of April, the Zheger village began to be torched. The houses were set
10 on fire, the houses of the Albanian citizens, by the Serb military and
12 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Shabani, we'll get on better if you just listen to
13 the question.
14 MR. RYNEVELD:
15 Q. Did you go back to your village of Zegra?
16 A. Yes. Yes, we did, on the 26th of June.
17 Q. And when you got there, what condition did you find the Albanian
18 houses to be in, in general?
19 A. The houses of Albanians, in general, were burned down or -- either
20 wholly burned down or partially burned down. Only a few of them remained
21 intact. I may otherwise say that none of the houses managed to remain
22 entirely intact. Most of them, about -- out of 120, they were totally
23 burned, 420 partially burned, and only a small number more or less intact.
24 Q. How about the Serb houses?
25 A. The Serbian houses were all intact. When I was returning from
1 Macedonia by car, whose owner drove me to my village, the local Serbs were
2 getting ready to leave Zheger at those moments.
3 Q. Would you -- those are all my questions. Thank you very much.
4 JUDGE MAY: Cross-examination tomorrow morning.
5 Mr. Shabani, would you, during this adjournment, remember not to
6 speak to anybody about your evidence. That includes members of the
7 Prosecution team. Would you be back, please, at 9.00 tomorrow morning to
8 conclude your evidence.
9 We'll adjourn now until 9.00 tomorrow morning.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour.
11 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 3.55 p.m.,
12 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 5th day
13 of March, 2002, at 9.00 a.m.