1 Monday, 3 June 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.06 a.m.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
6 MR. NICE: If we've delayed you for a few minutes - I hope we
7 haven't - it's due to slight problems with the first witness, K12. May he
8 come into court, please.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness take the declaration. Yes. Just read
11 out what's on the card, if you would.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
13 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes. If you'd like to take a seat.
15 WITNESS: WITNESS K12
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 Examined by Mr. Nice:
18 Q. You are going to be known in these proceedings as Witness K12.
19 The usher will show you a piece of paper which has on it a name, a date of
20 birth, and the words "Pseudonym K12." Would you please look at the piece
21 of paper, read it to yourself and simply say yes, the only word to be
22 said, if the name and date of birth are yours. If they're not yours, say
23 no, but if they are yours, just say yes.
24 A. Yes.
25 MR. NICE: May that piece of paper please be processed in the
1 usual way. We have, I'm afraid, only a small map, the one with which
2 you're familiar, showing all the areas referred to by this witness, but I
3 think the areas in Serbia to which he needs refer at the moment will be
4 sufficiently identified if identified by an area.
5 May this bit, please, the very first bit -- may the first part of
6 the testimony please be given in closed session, as it's conceivable that
7 it would identify the witness. Or in private session.
8 [Private session]
12 Pages 6031 to 6038 – redacted – private session.
16 [Open session]
17 MR. NICE:
18 Q. Witness K12, did you do Yugoslav army national service?
19 A. Yes, I did my military service.
20 Q. What years was that?
21 A. 1988/1989.
22 Q. What job did you do in national service?
23 A. Driver.
24 Q. Did you have any basic military training as well as the necessary
25 training to be a military driver?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Following national service, did you return to civilian life and
3 work as a truck driver for several years?
4 A. Yes, I did.
5 Q. Did you have a woman with whom you shared your life - just yes or
6 no - but to whom you were not in fact formally married?
7 A. I don't want to answer that.
8 Q. In February 1999, did something happen when people came to your
9 house? Just yes or no first.
10 A. Be reasonable. Don't confuse me here. Do you understand this
11 language that I'm speaking? Do you understand what I mean when I say I
13 Q. I'd like you, please, to listen to the question. In February
14 1999, did men come to your house? Yes or no, please.
15 A. Are they being obstinate or what? If I say I cannot cooperate in
16 that sense, then I can't. Don't ask me 100 times. I tell you, I'm not
17 going to lose my nerves here and keep drinking water and whatever. I
19 JUDGE MAY: You're here to tell the truth. You should bear that
20 in mind.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, but the truth, the truth is
22 that I cannot testify, and there is no other truth but that.
23 [Trial Chamber confers]
24 JUDGE KWON: Mr. K12, could you kindly give me the reason to the
25 Court why you can't give the -- your testimony again?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I should -- does this suit you: Do
2 you want -- do you want me to give additional explanations and jeopardise
3 other people in the process? Is this in line with your regulations? Tell
4 me that first.
5 JUDGE KWON: We have no idea what's happening to you or to your
6 family. So could you kindly give me some rough information about that?
7 Mr. K12, you gave witness statements to the Prosecution on all
8 your days, and you were given this kind of protection in which your
9 identity will not be open to the public, and there are lot more -- some
10 protective measures taken.
11 Can we take a look at the magazine? Could it be on the ELMO.
12 No. Ah, yes. The Judges, the Chamber will take a look first.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 JUDGE MAY: Witness K12, we will hand your magazine back.
15 Mr. Nice, I don't think at the moment it's worth taking this
16 matter any further unless there are further questions you think it's worth
17 asking. It doesn't sound like it.
18 MR. NICE: No. There's obviously an application I might in due
19 course make.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
21 MR. NICE: And then there are considerations the Chamber might in
22 due course itself have to give to a reluctant witness. I have to say that
23 the -- today's attitude is not entirely unprecedented in a history that's
24 been changeable. But if, notwithstanding the fact that he started to give
25 evidence and bearing in mind that he hasn't given any evidence of
1 substance, if we may have leave to speak to him, may his testimony be
2 adjourned, and we will keep a note of what passes between us? Not
3 necessarily on the basis that all of it will be available to the accused
4 because there may be things said that won't be available, but we will keep
5 a note of what passes and revert.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. But when -- how would that coincide with
7 the application that you might make? There might be -- the one might not
8 be consistent with the other.
9 MR. NICE: Well, yes. I simply won't touch in those discussions
10 on the application that I might make to the Chamber. I'll simply deal in
11 these discussions, or Ms. Romano, will, if I am for the time being dealing
12 with another witness, on willingness and on the other issues that I raised
13 a few minutes ago but not on the application that I will be making.
14 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment.
15 Witness K12, we're going to adjourn your evidence, which means
16 this: That you're to speak to a member of the Prosecution. You are to
17 review your position, your duty to tell the truth. Also, you should
18 carefully consider your position generally.
19 Very well. The matter is adjourned. You may leave now.
20 Yes. Let the witness go.
21 [The witness stood down]
22 MR. NICE: Your Honour, when we come to the morning break, and
23 they're typically 20 minutes, I might conceivably ask for just a few
24 minutes more if I'm engaged in a discussion with the witness, but I'll try
25 and keep it to 20 minutes. There may, of course, be nothing for me to
2 Right. The next witness is --
3 JUDGE MAY: What is it, Mr. Milosevic?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Awhile ago, Mr. Nice explained that
5 this K12 started to testify and then you let him go. I think that I have
6 the right to cross-examine him, at least in relation to -- this is a false
7 witness. This behaviour confirms that.
8 JUDGE MAY: He gave no evidence upon which you could
9 cross-examine. That's why you didn't cross-examine.
11 MR. NICE: The next witness is Fred Abrahams, and as the Court
12 knows, his evidence will be in fully open session, but as the Court knows,
13 there's an objection from the accused about him and it may be appropriate
14 to hear the objection first. But before -- perhaps it might help Mr.
15 Milosevic and the Chamber to know that the scope of the evidence to be
16 called by that witness is narrower than might appear from the statement.
17 As I explained on Friday, I have no interest in exploring matters of
18 recent history with that witness. I'll just find the summary. I am
19 concerned to explore one or two matters with him that happened in 1998,
20 and of course to deal with the way in which the various reports that he
21 produced were served on the organs of Yugoslav and Serbian authority at
22 the time and indeed on the accused himself. The Chamber may also, it may
23 be, want to hear from him in any event on the means of preparation of the
24 exhibit under orders which is now an exhibit in this case. But I
25 understand that there is a widespread objection based on Mr. Abrahams'
1 work for the Office of the Prosecutor.
2 JUDGE MAY: Just so we can follow this, we have in front of us a
3 summary described as direct.
4 MR. NICE: Yes.
5 JUDGE MAY: Is that it?
6 MR. NICE: That's it.
7 JUDGE MAY: That's what you would produce?
8 MR. NICE: Yes.
9 JUDGE MAY: Now, Mr. Milosevic, you have addressed us on the topic
10 of this witness. You've objected to him. Your objection has been that
11 during two periods, the witness worked for the Office of the Prosecutor,
12 specifically that he worked on this particular indictment. And he said in
13 one statement - I have it - statement of the 24th of January of this year:
14 "I've worked for two short periods as a consultant for the Office of the
15 Prosecutor, from April to June 2000 and again in August 2001. I conducted
16 research and provided analysis for the Kosovo indictment against Slobodan
17 Milosevic et al."
18 So your objection is that he worked on this particular indictment.
19 But it may be -- the point is this -- that he may have done, and obviously
20 that's a matter which you can cross-examine about and it may go to weight,
21 but the question is whether it should prevent him giving evidence about
22 totally different matters or about, rather, the matters which he saw and
23 heard in Kosovo.
24 Yes. If you'd like to address us.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I would like to say that it's all
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the same to me what you are going to decide, but you have it stated quite
2 clearly here that from April to June 2000 and yet again in August 2001, as
3 he said, carried out investigations and conducted an analysis for the
4 indictment on Kosovo against Slobodan Milosevic. In other words, Abrahams
5 wrote the indictment. And yet again we encounter the Prosecutor's desire
6 to be both the Prosecutor and to be the witness, to put the questions and
7 to answer the questions. Again, this is one of the closest associates of
8 the OTP in writing the indictment, and this is the author of that book of
9 Human Rights Watch, which was also used as one of the main means for the
11 I particularly emphasised that we can see that, apart from these
12 dates that are written down here, he says in his statement from April to
13 June 2000 and in August 2001, so even apart from these dates that he
14 mentioned, he -- he worked during those days for the OTP. But in November
15 2001, he also spoke to Ibrahim Rugova in the capacity of investigator. He
16 concealed that. It's not that he disclosed it. He concealed it. And the
17 question is: How many other activities he has concealed in relation to
18 this false indictment. And also all the other things he did.
19 JUDGE MAY: The answer to that is that you can cross-examine him
20 about that. It's a matter which goes to the weight, not whether he should
21 be allowed to give evidence at all.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have been saying that it is so
23 obvious his direct participation in writing the indictment that his entire
24 statement is practically identical to the indictment. That's what I've
25 been referring to. So this statement is supposed to serve for propaganda
1 purposes for the Prosecution for the indictment. As far as I am
2 concerned, you can have anybody you want testify. But I just want to
3 point out what kind of things the other side resorts to when they are
4 trying to do whatever they can in support of their indictment. This man
5 did not take part in anything that is relevant.
6 [Trial Chamber confers]
7 JUDGE MAY: We'll admit this statement. The objection is namely
8 that for the period which I mentioned, the short period that he worked for
9 -- the witness worked for the Office of the Prosecutor and the fact that
10 he worked on this particular indictment does not make his evidence
11 inadmissible. It may be the subject of cross-examination. The accused
12 can ask witnesses -- questions about it of the witness, but it cannot stop
13 him giving evidence. That would be quite wrong.
14 MR. NICE: Thank you very much. I've asked the witness to come
15 in. I've asked him to come straight down to court. I hope he will be
16 outside the door. And, Your Honour, I will try to take his evidence
17 shortly so far as I can. I recognise that we are already in a stage of
18 the trial where there is evidence that is potentially repetitive of what's
19 gone before, and I always try and excise what is repetitive unless it's
20 been plainly put in issue so much by the accused that it would seem to
21 merit repetition.
22 Your Honour, I think the witness's statements were subject to the
23 92 bis procedure. I've worked on the basis that he's not going to be
24 acceptable under those provisions, and I don't know if the Chamber had
25 made any decision, but --
1 JUDGE MAY: No. Let us take him as a live witness. I think it's
2 a much matter way to deal with it.
3 While we're waiting, so that we may know what is happening, the
4 next witnesses --
5 MR. NICE: Are crime-base witnesses, the remaining crime-base
6 witnesses for Racak.
7 JUDGE MAY: I have a note here that in the cases of Mehmeti,
8 Jemini, Elshani and Avdyli, the statements were served after the 11th of
9 February. Therefore, I think technically leave is required.
10 MR. NICE: Yes, Your Honour. I'm very grateful to you for
11 reminding me of that. I know Ms. Graham was going to give me a note this
12 morning. Time hasn't yet allowed me to pick up on the position. I think
13 it's less unsatisfactory than the Court may fear, but I'll deal with it.
14 [The witness entered court]
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.
16 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
17 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes. If you'd like to take a seat.
19 WITNESS: FREDERICK CRONIG ABRAHAMS
20 Examined by Mr. Nice:
21 Q. Your full name, please.
22 A. Frederick Cronig Abrahams.
23 Q. Mr. Abrahams, I'm going to ask you this morning to be as concise
24 in your evidence-in-chief as you can. It may be difficult where you want
25 to give a longer answer to be entirely responsive to the shorter format
1 that my questions will suggest but I would ask you to bear in mind the
2 overall interests of the trial in acheiving brevity.
3 With leave of the Court, I will just lay, by leading questions,
4 your background. You have a Bachelor's degree from Washington University,
5 a Master's in international affairs from Columbia University's School of
6 International and Public Affairs, concentrating in Eastern Europe. Did
7 you in due course work for Helsinki Citizens Assembly in Prague between
8 1990 and 1992?
9 A. Yes, that is correct.
10 Q. If you sit forward, then you'll find that the microphones will
11 pick you up.
12 Did you work in Albania at the media training centre of the Soros
13 foundation between 1993 and 1994; following that, five years' work with
14 Human Rights Watch as a researcher and later senior researcher, covering
15 South Balkans with responsibility for Albania, Macedonia, and Kosovo?
16 A. Yes, I did.
17 Q. Before we come to your work for the Office of the Prosecutor, have
18 you, as a result of your time in Albania, learned the language?
19 A. Yes, I have.
20 Q. Sufficient for conversation but, in your judgement, not for such
21 exercises as taking witness statements and matters of that sort?
22 A. I can conduct rudimentary interviews in the Albanian language.
23 Q. You've worked for the Office of the Prosecutor once or more than
25 A. On two occasions.
1 Q. The first?
2 A. First occasion was April, May, and June 2000. The second was in
3 the month of August 2001.
4 Q. By what job title did you go when working for the Office of the
6 A. Research analyst was my title.
7 Q. Were you also involved in interviewing potential witnesses and in
8 the taking of witness statements?
9 A. Yes, I was.
10 Q. And have you left your job at Human Rights Watch save for
11 returning for consultancy work, and are you currently engaged in writing a
12 book about Albania?
13 A. I left Human Rights Watch in March 2000 before beginning the
14 period here at the Tribunal, and I am currently an occasional consultant.
15 I've done one consultancy for them since leaving as a full-time employee.
16 Q. And you are writing the book to which I referred?
17 A. Yes. I'm currently writing a book about Albania's transition from
19 Q. Human Rights Watch is a non-governmental organisation. In a
20 sentence, what does it do?
21 A. Human Rights Watch monitors and reports on human rights violations
22 around the world. It's a non-governmental organisation that reports
23 without regard for religious, ethnic, or political affiliation, and by
24 mandate we do not accept any government funds.
25 Q. Have your reports included reports on the United States of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 A. Yes. Human Rights Watch is very active in reporting about human
3 rights violations in the United States.
4 Q. If we turn to paragraph 6 of your summary - that's for the
5 assistance of the Court, don't turn to it for yourself - can you list some
6 of the other countries of which human rights has written critical reports?
7 A. Well, the list is quite long. I think in almost all countries of
8 the world the organisation has been active as well as documenting abuses
9 by non-state actors. In the Balkans, the organisation has a long history.
10 We have issued reports critical of every government in the region;
11 Albania, Macedonia, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania. The list is long.
12 Q. How about NATO following the bombing in 1999?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. What was the approach in a report of Human Rights Watch to that?
15 A. Well, the organisation has been critical of NATO in a number of
16 respects. First, we --
17 Q. That's enough, I think, to say that you've been critical of them.
18 The detail, if it's relevant, can be adduced later.
19 So far as narrowing the focus to the former Yugoslavia and the
20 documentation of abuses, by what sectors of the former Yugoslavia have --
21 in respect of what sectors of the former Yugoslavia by ethnicity have
22 critical observations or reports been made?
23 A. I would say no government or ethnic group or -- I wouldn't say we
24 criticise ethnic groups, but there has been no force of any of the
25 conflicts in the former Yugoslavia that has been spared our critique. We
1 have published critical reports of Serbian and Yugoslav government forces,
2 of Croatian government forces, Bosnian government forces, as well as the
3 Kosovo Liberation Army.
4 Q. It may be that I will end up -- because you and I speak the same
5 language -- in this part of your examination I'm going too fast and I must
6 leave a gap between question and answer.
7 Paragraph 5. Human rights methodology, please. Very shortly.
8 Chamber will be familiar with the general proposition, but we just need on
9 the record what the methodology is.
10 A. The primary source for the -- of information for the organisation
11 is fieldwork. That is interviews with the victims and witnesses of abuse.
12 We conduct interviews with these people, lengthy, in-depth interviews in a
13 one-on-one setting whenever possible, and we search for corroborative
14 evidence. If someone has had a legal -- is alleging a legal violation, we
15 ask for court records. If they are alleging physical abuse recently, we
16 ask to see scars or bruises. We also collect documents from medical --
17 medical records, government reports, and so on. Whenever possible, we
18 also try to visit crime scenes or the sites of alleged violations, and we
19 also try to get information from alleged perpetrators.
20 Q. Paragraph 7. When did Human Rights Watch first start working in
21 and in respect of Kosovo?
22 A. The work in Kosovo began in 1990.
23 Q. Between then and 2001, how many reports on the area did Human
24 Rights Watch produce?
25 A. I believe Human Rights Watch produced 16 reports on Kosovo in that
2 Q. To whom were those reports published in addition to being
3 published perhaps for general consumption?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Hard copy form or even on e-mail.
6 A. The reports are issued publicly and are available on the website,
7 although I believe that started in the mid-1990s. But our reports are
8 also sent to the alleged perpetrators. In this case, all of our reports
9 were sent to the Serbian and Yugoslav authorities.
10 Q. How did you achieve that?
11 A. There are three primary methods. One is a mailing list, by post,
12 that the reports are sent by the mail.
13 Q. And would that be -- you say -- you speak of Serbia and
14 Yugoslavia. Would that be sent to an address in Serbia, as it might be?
15 A. Yes, it would. Yes.
16 Q. Is that the only way that you'd attempt to contact the
18 A. No. In addition to a mailing list, Human Rights Watch maintains a
19 fax list, as well as an e-mail list, and I am very -- I -- I know for a
20 fact that all of our reports were sent to the accused using all three
21 methods. I personally remember adding his e-mail address to the -- to the
22 e-mail list.
23 Q. He had, at the time, a personal e-mail address?
24 A. Yes. I remember it: email@example.com.
25 Q. Did you make use of the embassies of these countries as mailboxes
1 in any way?
2 A. I don't understand that question.
3 Q. Well, the embassies of the Serbian --
4 A. Yes, our reports were also sent to the Yugoslav embassy in
6 Q. Your first trip to Kosovo was in what year?
7 A. The first trip was in summer 1995, but my first research mission
8 was summer 1996, July.
9 Q. As a result of that mission, what report was prepared?
10 A. I researched and wrote a report entitled "Persecution Persists,"
11 which documented a number of issues but primarily the police abuse
12 inflicted by Serbian authorities against ethnic Albanian population.
13 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm not going to deal with the
14 distribution of these reports individually.
15 Q. It's always the same method, is it?
16 A. That's correct, always the same, yes.
17 MR. NICE: Your Honour, these reports are essentially for
18 reference. I'm not going to take time going through them in detail at the
19 moment. They may, of course, become significant either at this stage or
20 at later stages of the trial, given what we now know about where they were
22 Q. But this report, Mr. Abrahams, unless there's a particular passage
23 that you can recall as being an apt and extremely concise summary of the
24 report, I'll get to you summarise it verbally from where you are. This
25 report concerned abuses of the type you've spoken of. Any particular
1 passage on the summary that you'd like to put on the overhead projector
2 for us? If not --
3 A. Uh-huh. Well, I mean, I'm not prepared to have selected one
5 Q. No. It's probably my mistake in respect of this report. Just
6 tell us then its overall effect and we can look at it over one of the
7 intervals, one of the breaks, and see if there's any need to put --
8 A. Yes. Very briefly, the report documents what we considered to be
9 a pattern of discrimination in education, employment, health care,
10 however, the focus of the report is the police abuse. We documented
11 numerous cases of excessive violence by the police, including some deaths
12 in detention.
13 Q. Thank you.
14 MR. NICE: May that be given an exhibit number.
15 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 188.
16 MR. NICE: Thank you.
17 Q. Following your mission to Kosovo, did you request meetings with
18 government ministries?
19 A. After this trip, yes, I did. I requested meetings with various
20 ministries. I recall the Serbian and Yugoslav Ministries of the Interior
21 as well as the Ministry of Human Rights. And I had a very difficult time
22 getting meetings with these people. I finally succeeded to get a meeting
23 with the Serbian Deputy Minister of Information but I do recall that I had
24 to essentially occupy his office for two hours until he came back and had
25 to meet me.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Now, you have produced to us - and we'll be in a position to
2 produce as a single exhibit after the break rather than now, unless you
3 can do it now - the correspondence that you sent to various ministers and
4 people in authority at that time; is that right?
5 A. That's correct.
6 MR. NICE: Your Honour, they are listed on the summary. I'm going
7 to have them put together as a single exhibit and we'll produce them when
8 they've been further --
9 JUDGE MAY: We will give it a number now so it remains
10 chronological. It will be number 189; is that right?
11 MR. NICE: Thank you. I'm not going to ask the witness to deal
12 with the matters between paragraphs 12 and 17 save for paragraph 16.
13 Q. Mr. Abrahams, we've heard about the educational agreement and
14 electoral matters and that sort of thing, but one thing we haven't heard
15 about is pyramid schemes. Just tell, if you can, from your own knowledge
16 and experience, in a sentence or so what part, if any, they played in the
17 developing history.
18 A. Well, the collapse of the pyramid schemes in early 1997 led to a
19 -- really a dissolution of the state in Albania by March 1997 and the
20 resultant anarchy had a direct impact on Kosovo, specifically the
21 distribution of arms, the fact that perhaps 700.000 small arms were either
22 distributed or looted in Albania. This provided the KLA with a source of
23 weapons that it previously had been denied.
24 Q. And in your judgement and experience, did this lead to a change in
25 the size of the KLA?
1 A. I think this was a contributing factor but certainly not the
2 defining factor that caused the KLA's rapid explosion.
3 Q. Can you then tell us, please, next about the report "Discouraging
5 A. This was a report focusing on police violence inside Serbia,
6 essentially Belgrade but a few other cities. In November 1997, there were
7 elections in Serbia and the opposition parties won 14 of the 18 larger
8 cities. The government tried to block the vote, to annul the vote, and
9 this led to massive protests, 88 days of protests by the opposition and by
10 the student movement in Belgrade, very creative and dramatic
11 demonstrations. I documented the police violence that was inflicted
12 against those protesters. This was violence against peaceful
13 demonstrators as well as some journalists covering the events.
14 Q. Produce that exhibit, please and lay the first page of the summary
15 on the overhead projector. Coming your way, Mr. Abrahams.
16 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 190.
17 MR. NICE: Lay the front page of it on the overhead projector. The
18 usher will help you. The summary. We'll see how the first page of it
19 would appear to anybody reading it at the time.
20 Q. It starts off with an assertion: "The government of the Federal
21 Republic of Yugoslavia has demonstrated a blatant disregard for human
22 rights." It sets out the electoral abuses reporters had found. And then
23 if we just cast our eyes over it without reading the paragraphs, we come
24 towards the bottom of the page, where it says: "In this way, the European
25 Union has rewarded Yugoslav President Milosevic for doing what he was
1 legally obligated to do in the first place, to recognise the elections
2 without regard for the other human rights violations that are taking place
3 in Yugoslavia. Such concessions squander a prime source of leverage that
4 the international community needs in order to press for urgent improvement
5 in Milosevic's human rights record and his compliance with the Dayton
7 "This report deals with the human rights violations that took
8 place in Serbia from November 1996 to September 1997. It does not address
9 violations in the November 1996 elections itself or the government's
10 attempt to change the results since these issues were covered by the OSCE.
11 Nor does it address other serious human rights abuses in Yugoslavia, such
12 as the ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, Muslims in Sandzak, or ethnic
13 Hungarians in Vojvodina."
14 So that's the scope and summary.
15 A. Yes. I should just say I believe I said before that the elections
16 were in the end of 1997. Obviously I meant November 1996.
17 MR. NICE: Have we already got an exhibit number for that?
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
19 MR. NICE: Thank you.
20 Q. In which case, can we go then to your work in 1998, which led to a
21 report, "Humanitarian Law Violations in Kosovo," which documented abuses
22 both by Serbs and Albanians so that, by the time of this report, there was
23 material for you to be critical of Albanians already.
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. While that report is being gathered up ready for production, a
1 word or so about Drenica, please, and what this report covered.
2 A. Well, this report covers a quite spectrum of violations committed
3 by both sides in the conflict, but one of the most egregious violations
4 occurred in the Drenica valley in February and March 1998. The most
5 notorious incident was the attack on the Jashari compound in the village
6 of Prekaz in which more than 50 people lost their lives, the entire
7 Jashari family save for the 11-year-old girl named Besarte. And we
8 documented indiscriminate attacks and excessive force in that incident.
9 We also looked at the violence on February 28th and March 1st in
10 the villages of Likosane and Cirez. For example, the execution of the ten
11 members of the Ahmeti family, the killing of a pregnant woman named Rukije
12 Nebiu --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Slow down, please.
14 A. -- and on and on. I would just add that I believe those incidents
15 in Drenica were extremely important for the conflict because they
16 radicalised the Albanian population. Up until that point, the KLA was
17 still a disorganised and somewhat mysterious organisation. After the
18 Drenica killings, I believe it was clear that a peaceful resolution to the
19 conflict was no longer available. It -- as I said, it pushed Albanians
20 over the edge.
21 The report has other issues as well I can --
22 Q. Yes. A word -- a word about the area around Decan and your
23 interviewing of refugees in Northern Albania, please.
24 A. Yes, the report --
25 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nice and Mr. Abrahams, you are being asked to
1 slow down.
2 MR. NICE: My apologies.
3 THE WITNESS: Sorry.
4 This report also documents what we call the first major government
5 offensive in Kosovo. That was in May 1998 along the border with Albania,
6 around the town of Decan. And definitely the KLA was active in this
7 region. Definitely the KLA was bringing arms and supplies from Northern
8 Albania. And in my estimation, although I'm not a military expert, the
9 government, the Serbian and Yugoslav government attempted to create a
10 cordon sanataire, in other words, clearing the border. And in the
11 process, many violations of international humanitarian law were committed.
12 I interviewed individuals from that area in Kosovo, and I also
13 went to Northern Albania. There were approximately 15.000 refugees in
14 Northern Albania. An estimated 30.000 people also went to Montenegro,
15 according to UNHCR. And we interviewed these individuals in Albania, and
16 we documented a series of violations such as forced expulsions, the
17 destruction of civilian property, indiscriminate attacks that severely
18 impacted civilians.
19 Q. Very well. Because the report can largely speak for itself --
20 A. I'm sorry.
21 Q. -- I'll ask you to deal with two things. We can see that this is
22 now in a booklet form as opposed to just paper form. We can see on the
23 back of it - and I'd like you to put the reverse of it on the overhead
24 projector, please, or I'll get the usher to do so - we can see your
25 website is referred to. Although it was in booklet form, was it possible
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 for you to send the entire document to other people's e-mail addresses?
2 A. The entire document, no, but the summary, or to be more precise,
3 the press release announcing the release of the report was sent by e-mail.
4 Q. The booklet itself or the book itself, was that sent to the
5 various post boxes, as it were, that you've already referred to?
6 A. Yes, it was, yes.
7 Q. And anybody picking this one up, looking at the back of it, and I
8 think its publication date is actually given as October 1998 or
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. The back of it reads that [as read]: "The report documents
12 serious breaches of international humanitarian law, the rules of war
13 committed in Kosovo from February to early September 1998." But it goes
14 on to make this point [as read]: "The vast majority of these abuses were
15 committed by Yugoslav and Serbian government forces under the command of
16 Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Since February, government troops
17 have systematically destroyed civilian property, attacked humanitarian aid
18 workers and committed extrajudicial executions, all of which are
19 violations of the rules of law."
20 But in the next paragraph, it says [as read]: "The Albanian
21 insurgency, known as the UCK or KLA, has also violated the laws of war by
22 taking civilians hostages and committing some summary executions."
23 So that right at that stage, you were reporting on both sides.
24 A. That's correct.
25 JUDGE MAY: Exhibit number, please.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 191.
2 MR. NICE:
3 Q. And you returned to Kosovo in September and December for further
4 research; is that right?
5 A. That's correct.
6 Q. But in your trip there in June, had you contacted the secretary
7 for information in Kosovo, the one person I think you had been able to
8 speak to?
9 A. Yes. During my research in June, I conducted an interview with
10 Mr. Bosko Drobnjak who was representative of the Ministry of Information
11 in Pristina.
12 Q. His attitude at that time?
13 A. Mr. Drobnjak essentially defended the government position. He
14 claimed that the police were fighting terrorists and that their actions
15 were justified. I think the two main points of our conversation were
16 regarding the blockage of humanitarian aid. At that time, the government
17 had blocked the delivery -- had sometimes blocked the delivery of
18 humanitarian aid, both local organisations like the Mother Theresa Society
19 but also international organisations. And when I asked him about this, he
20 claimed that some humanitarian organisations were assisting the terrorists
21 by helping deliver them supplies.
22 Q. Pausing there for one minute before we move on to the next topic.
23 You, of course, had direct knowledge of what Human Rights was doing. Did
24 you also see quite a lot of other non-governmental organisations that were
25 present there at the time?
1 A. Of course. In 1998, there were many, many organisations operating
2 in Kosovo.
3 Q. Is an allegation that NGOs assist one side or other to some
4 conflict that they're involved with, is that an unprecedented allegation
5 or is it made from time to time around the world?
6 A. Oh, I believe it's not unprecedented, but it was the first time I
7 heard it used in Kosovo.
8 Q. As an allegation, is it something that you have to take seriously
9 in order to assess the independence either of your own organisation or of
10 other organisations with which you may have contacts?
11 A. Yes, we would take it very seriously. The one point is that the
12 government never articulated its concrete allegation. They never
13 mentioned an organisation or an incident. And as far as I know, nobody,
14 no humanitarian organisation was ever denied the opportunity to work, was
15 never charged criminally or punished in any way for this allegation.
16 Q. In the --
17 A. The --
18 Q. -- course of preparations for the report we've looked at, did you
19 also write letters or send faxes to various Serbian and Yugoslav ministers
20 and ministries with a variety of questions?
21 A. Yes. The first was with Mr. Drobnjak in 1998. I submitted to him
22 a list of ethnic Albanians who were missing and asked him for information.
23 He told me that this was outside of his competency.
24 When I returned to New York, I then sent a series of letters by
25 fax to the relevant authorities. I don't recall precisely, but I do know
1 it was sent to the republican and federal Ministries of the Interior --
2 Q. I'm going to pause you there to save time.
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Did you get any positive response or any response at all from any
5 of this correspondence?
6 A. No. We asked a series of questions and received no response from
7 any of them.
8 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I will have that correspondence
9 consolidated into a single exhibit. It's entirely my oversight that it
10 wasn't in advance done. May it be allocated a provisional number now and
11 I'll produce it after the break.
12 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 192.
13 MR. NICE:
14 Q. Again, in the course of preparation of this report, did you, and I
15 think you had a colleague Peter Bouchkaert, did you witness anything
16 yourself at firsthand? Just yes or no.
17 A. Yes, we did.
18 Q. I want you to just simply take us to really the major incident or
19 incidents because the Judges really have heard a lot of evidence over this
20 period and we needn't take small matters.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. The biggest issue, incident that you saw yourself.
23 A. The most serious incident was the killings of September 26th in
24 the village of Gornje Obrinje in the Drenica valley. Twenty-one members
25 of the family Delijaj were killed.
1 Q. In a few sentences, and it may take us up to the break, I don't
2 know, but in a few sentences can you just summarise what you saw,
3 realising that the Chamber and the accused have the detailed material if
4 there is to be challenge or further exploration.
5 A. Well, when Mr. Bouchkaert and I arrived in Gornje Obrinje on
6 September 29th, as we entered the crime scene, three bodies were being
7 carried by wooden stretcher out for burial. One of them was the
8 18-month-old Valmir Delijaj. And in the woods were still seven bodies;
9 five women and two children. All of them appeared to have died from --
10 from head wounds. They were being -- they were in the process of being
11 taken out of the forest for burial.
12 Q. Your investigations by interview revealed what?
13 A. We conducted a very lengthy investigation, and it's clear there
14 was fighting in and around Gornje Obrinje between the KLA and Serbian
15 forces, but it was also very clear to us that the members of the Delijaj
16 family were murdered. It was clear that these were civilians who were
17 hiding in the forest while the fighting was taking place.
18 Q. Thank you very much.
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes. That would be a suitable moment.
20 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I -- whatever happens in respect of the
21 other witness, I will not seek more than the normal break on this
22 occasion. If there's anything arising from him, I'll deal with it on a
23 later occasion.
24 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Abrahams, would you remember, please, during this
25 and any other adjournments there may be during your evidence not to speak
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 to anybody about it until it's over, including members of the Prosecution
3 We will adjourn now for 20 minutes.
4 --- Recess taken at 10.31 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 10.55 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
7 MR. NICE: Your Honour, the position about the exhibits is that
8 Ms. Graham and Mr. Triolo, the case manager in trial support, official
9 chap who do terrific work in this case very sensibly suggested to me on
10 Friday that I put all the exhibits in a folder for you, via e-mail, and
11 it's my mistake entirely for not responding to him and I've made for their
12 lives much more difficult and I do apologise for that. But can we, yes,
13 go back to where we were in Gornje Obrinje. Do we have the photographs?
14 They, of course, have to be produced individually.
15 Q. FA17 relates to what you saw in Gornje Obrinje, I think. Tell us
16 about that.
17 A. As I mentioned, when Mr. Bouchkaert and I entered the forest, the
18 villagers were carrying out three bodies. These are two of those bodies.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 A. Two children.
21 MR. NICE: Exhibit number.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit number 193.
23 MR. NICE:
24 Q. Followed by FA18.
25 MR. NICE: Perhaps that will become Exhibit 194.
1 Q. Word about this when it's on the overhead projector, or word about
2 this, Mr. Abrahams?
3 A. Again, there were seven bodies still in the forest in a small
4 gully. This is one of those seven bodies.
5 Q. In fact, I think, if we look at it, we can actually see two
6 bodies, a body and a head below it, can we not?
7 A. It does appear that way, but to be honest, I'm not certain it is
8 another body. There were seven bodies there, so it is definitely
10 MR. NICE: FA19 to become, if it may, Exhibit 195.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 195.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. That, I think, is the photograph of --
14 A. This is one of the children in the gully. It's perhaps a bit
15 difficult to decipher, but it's --
16 Q. It's a child.
17 A. It's a child.
18 Q. You were there and you photographed or your colleague photographed
19 the child.
20 A. Yes. These photographs were taken by Mr. Bouchkaert, but I was
22 Q. I don't think I'm going to -- yes. Very well. The next Exhibit
23 is FA21. These are bloodstains, I think. Just tell us about their
25 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 196.
1 MR. NICE: 196. Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: On the same day that we visited Gornje Obrinje, we
3 also visited another village nearby called Golubovac, and the villagers
4 told us that 13 men had been executed in a yard in the village. We
5 interviewed a number of the witnesses, we inspected this scene. This is
6 -- we saw a series of bloodstains along the fence where they said the men
7 had been killed. This is one of those bloodstains. We also observed --
8 MR. NICE: And we now need, I think, the next exhibit, which is
9 FA22 - thank you very much - to become Exhibit 197.
10 Q. The area to which you'd been referred by the villagers of
11 Golubovac, and I'll ask you in due course to say how near to or far from
12 the bloodstains you saw this. The significance is pretty obvious, because
13 what we're looking at is shell casings; is that correct?
14 A. Yes. Yes, those are shell casings. They were approximately three
15 to four metres away from the bloodstains, and I would add one important
16 detail: Fourteen men were lined up for execution, thirteen of them were
17 killed. There was a survivor, a gentleman named Selman Morina, who was in
18 hiding, but we found him. My colleague interviewed him. He gave us a
19 very detailed description of how he survived the execution line-up. He
20 was shot three times, once in the leg and two times in the arm.
21 Q. Coming back in the Chamber's summary and in your memory, just one
22 detail about a place called Plocica.
23 A. Plocica.
24 Q. Plocica, I'm so sorry.
25 A. Yes. My colleague and I were driving around Drenica on the main
1 road. In fact, we were with a journalist from The New York Times, Jane
2 Perlez, and her photographer, Wade Goddard. We saw a very large convoy of
3 the Yugoslav army leaving Drenica. It was clearly the army, with heavy
4 weapons and tanks. After they left Drenica, we went in and came into the
5 village of Plocica, which was still on fire. We saw, ourselves, the
6 burning of many civilian structures. I remember seeing a food warehouse
7 with melons and grain that was burning. I remember seeing a cow that had
8 been shot in the head. I remember seeing haystacks that were burned or
9 burning, shouldering haystacks that had clearly been lit purposely on fire
10 because the surrounding area around them was not burning. And very
11 important was that we saw no evidence of fighting in the village. There
12 were no pockmarks, no bullet marks on the outside of the buildings. We
13 saw no trenches to indicate the possible presence of the KLA. We saw no
14 shells in the village. I even remember finding a bottle of empty benzine,
15 a bottle that had had benzine.
16 Q. Do you know how near to or far from that was from any of the
17 scenes of damage or destruction by fire?
18 A. The bottle, you mean?
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. I'm afraid I don't recall, but it was in the village amidst this
22 Q. You actually took some photographs of burnt haystacks and the
23 like, they're available for the accused if he wants to ask about them but
24 we needn't burden the record with them at this stage.
25 Now just, please, finally tell us the report "A Week of Terror in
2 A. "A Week of Terror in Drenica" was our findings from the Gornje
3 Obrinje killings and the Golubovac killings.
4 Q. Again - and I hold it up - was it published in the form of a book?
5 A. Yes, it was.
6 MR. NICE: Introduced, please, as Exhibit --
7 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 198.
8 MR. NICE:
9 Q. Same destination, same post boxes?
10 A. That's correct.
11 Q. Same ability to use e-mail?
12 A. Yes. This report was distributed widely and was also reported
13 widely in the press, including the Yugoslav press.
14 Q. Again, we look at the -- inside the front, this was actually
15 published in February 1999. Was there any advance publication of that
16 because it related to September 1998 matters?
17 A. A little bit. When we were publishing the previous report,
18 "Humanitarian Law Violations in Kosovo," we -- it was after -- it was
19 October that report was published. So we included a summary of our Gornje
20 Obrinje findings as an appendix in that report. But this report here is
21 the more in-depth and complete research.
22 Q. And of course, by the time of this report's actual publication in
23 February, Racak had already occurred.
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. And did you pursue with this report the same piggyback approach
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 that you had done with the previous report and you included a summary of
2 Racak in this report?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. So that there's a report as early as February 1999 actually
5 covering events from September 1998 up to Racak?
6 A. Correct.
7 Q. And indeed, if we look at the back of it, the first thing that
8 somebody might look at if they received this document in their embassy or
9 their office, and it -- the back simply reads as follows [as read]:
10 "During the last week of September 1998, Serbian and Yugoslav government
11 forces ended their summer-long offensive with a brutal campaign in
12 Kosovo's Drenica region. In the face of a UN Security Council resolution
13 calling for an immediate end to abuses against civilians, government
14 forces committed summary executions, indiscriminately attacked civilians,
15 and systematically destroyed civilian property."
16 It then deals with the Delijaj family at their compound in Gornje
17 Obrinje, the events at a nearby compound, the 13 men in Golubovac, and
18 concludes with a reference to Racak.
19 Of course, these reports set out one way or another your
20 methodology, Mr. Abrahams. Would that be right?
21 A. Yes, I believe that's correct.
22 Q. Did you at the time of publishing these reports and sending them
23 to the authorities to whom they were sent, did you receive any criticism
24 of your work, its method, its conclusions?
25 A. We never received a direct criticism, if that's what you're
2 Q. Did you receive denials of any kind that you can recall, from the
3 accused or from any of those in the authorities to whom these reports were
5 A. No, I do not recall receiving denials from the authorities. They
6 might have done so in the press, but I'm not aware of a specific incident.
7 Q. You told us of your return in December 1998. Did that lead to yet
8 a further report called "Detention and Abuse in Kosovo"?
9 A. That's correct.
10 Q. You may not have a copy of that available, but just tell us what
11 the content of that was, in summary.
12 A. This was a brief report looking at abuse in detention.
13 Specifically, there were five individuals in a period of 1998 who had lost
14 their lives as a result of abuse in detention.
15 Q. Did you --
16 A. The report documents due process violations and this violence.
17 Q. The pause is because I'm waiting --
18 A. I apologise. I'm sorry.
19 Q. I have the French around my ears, channel 5, and that's quite a
20 good clue. You can hear the background as to when one can pick up.
21 So that was another report sent in the usual way.
22 February 1999, please. What did you do again?
23 A. In February 1999, I returned to Kosovo to conduct research in
24 general, to stay apprised of the situation, but we were also interested to
25 document the systematic destruction of civilian property. A colleague of
1 mine, a consultant for Human Rights Watch, was conducting research on rape
2 and sexual violence.
3 Q. In light of what happened when NATO started bombing, was it
4 possible for you to complete the research into disruption of civilian
6 A. No. Our priorities changed with the onset of NATO bombing.
7 Q. Did you, however, receive some photographs? We can produce as a
8 collective exhibit, and I'd like your explanation of them, please.
9 These are photographs of bodies and some other photographs. If
10 you'd like to tell us, please, what they amount to, I'd be grateful.
11 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 199.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. You can have them on the overhead projector, and we'll go through
14 them. They're numbered. So it's photograph 1 of Exhibit 199, please. It
15 may be that colour will be of more value, if I can make mine available.
16 They've got colour on the original, but I think it will help if we have
17 these in colour.
18 This photograph, please.
19 A. We obtained photographs of the five individuals who were killed in
20 detention. This is one of those individuals.
21 Q. From whom did you obtain these photographs?
22 A. From a local human rights organisation in Kosovo.
23 Q. If we simply pass through the -- we can see the bruising there.
24 The next photograph, number 2, shows the back of a dead man and what
25 appears to be bruising.
1 The -- for the next photograph, 3, and just out of respect for any
2 relations, can we just place not the head on the photograph, please.
3 Thank you. The bruising there evident.
4 And the fourth photograph, the back of another with bruising and
5 indeed lines across it.
6 Can you now, please, go to photograph number 5. Just tell us
7 about that.
8 A. This is the village of -- this is the village of Lodza, outside of
9 Pec. I believe this photograph was taken in February 1999.
10 Q. The damage self-evident from the photograph. Did you visit this
11 scene yourself?
12 A. Yes, I took this photograph myself.
13 Q. And the -- what we can see on the houses consistent with what kind
14 of damage?
15 A. Lodza is a particular case. I won't go into the details unless
16 requested, but the KLA was present in Lodza, but this was -- there are two
17 times when the village was destroyed. On the second occasion, heavy
18 machinery was used to knock out the pillars of the homes.
19 Q. Actually, to an extent these photographs, although they show
20 damaged property, give a reasonable impression of the compound format of
21 Kosovo Albanian homes, don't they?
22 A. This could be considered typical, yes.
23 Q. Because you've got the large house with the height of wall that
24 typically surrounds a compound, I think. Would that be fair?
25 A. I would consider that fair, yes.
1 Q. The next photograph, please, number 6.
2 A. This is also a home. It was in fact the only home in Lodza that
3 was left standing. Villagers told us that it was used as a base for
4 Serbian forces. And if I'm not mistaken, the graffiti says, "Cafe flat
5 Lodza" on the left. And on the right, if I'm not mistaken, it says,
6 "Roasted pork," which is obviously an offence to those of the Muslim
8 Q. Yes. The damage to -- sorry, I'm going too fast. The damage to
9 this building, no suggestion of fire damage or is there? We can't really
10 tell from the photograph.
11 A. No. I believe this building was not substantially damaged.
12 Q. Thank you. Because the history was that it had been used by the
13 Serb forces?
14 A. That was my understanding, yes.
15 Q. Whereas when we come to the following photograph, number 7, same
16 or different village?
17 A. Now, this is on the road outside of Suva Reka. We took this
18 photograph -- I took this photograph because I thought it explained it.
19 It displayed very clearly the destruction of a private home. Notice the
20 chimneys are still standing, and there are black smoke streaks from the
21 windows. This suggests that these homes were burned from the inside.
22 Q. Number 8, please, and it's significance.
23 A. This is clearly the destruction of a mosque. I must admit that I
24 am not sure in which village this is.
25 Q. Was it a photograph taken by you and your colleague?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes. Yes. Yes.
2 Q. And this is again in February 1999?
3 A. That's correct. Although this photograph might have been taken in
4 December 1998.
5 Q. Very well. We'll put a question mark over that. But in any
6 event, before NATO bombing, because you left, of course, then. Minarets
7 destroyed in the way this one is.
8 A. Without question.
9 Q. Photograph 9.
10 A. Again I'm afraid I'm not entirely certain, but I believe this is a
11 photograph from Gornje Obrinje, September. No. I correct myself. The
12 snow there could not make that possible.
13 Q. Was it one of your photographs?
14 A. Yes, for sure.
15 Q. Destruction of a house. And then --
16 A. My --
17 Q. -- photograph 10 purpose -- and 11, really, purpose obvious.
18 A. Yes. I'm reasonably certain this is the Gornje Obrinje mosque.
19 Q. If we look at photograph 11, we can see some signs of damage on
20 the minaret. Were you able at the time to ascertain more particularly
21 what sort of damage there was there?
22 A. Well, as you can see, the top of the minaret had been destroyed
23 and -- as had the roof, and the inside of the mosque had been -- had been
24 vandalised or gutted.
25 Q. Thank you. Very well. Let's move on, then, to deal with, I
1 think, fleetingly really because of the quantity of material the Judges
2 have from elsewhere, did Human Rights Watch deal with Racak as an
3 individual incident?
4 A. Yes, we did.
5 Q. Not via yourself but by someone else?
6 A. That's correct.
7 Q. Namely?
8 A. It was a Human Rights Watch consultant named Gordana Igric.
9 Q. Do you know how long or short was her inquiry into Racak?
10 A. Yes. Her inquiry lasted approximately one week.
11 Q. Was a report prepared?
12 A. Yes. It was a mini report.
13 Q. So if the people wanted, if people were going to be looking at the
14 material on Racak, there is a short Human Rights Watch report called
15 "Yugoslav Government War Crimes in Racak," which is a sort of paper
16 report --
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. I'm holding it up now. May we just produce that again so it's
19 there for reference, if necessary, as Exhibit --
20 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 200.
21 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm not going to begin to suggest at the
22 moment that we should look at it for its conclusions, given the degree to
23 which we have firsthand information available. It may assist the accused
24 or others in due course.
25 Q. The NATO bombing started, Mr. Abrahams. What did that cause Human
1 Rights Watch workers to do?
2 A. The organisation immediately sent researchers to the region. On
3 March 28th, the first researcher arrived in Macedonia, and the next day,
4 someone arrived in Northern Albania. We had a research presence on the
5 ground throughout the entirety of the bombing campaign with the aim of
6 interviewing refugees as they left Kosovo, or after they left Kosovo, to
7 document the abuses that we believed were taking place.
8 Q. Now, can you give the Chamber any idea of the numbers of people
9 who were interviewed by Human Rights Watch?
10 A. Between March 28, 1999 and December 1999, we interviewed
11 approximately 600 ethnic Albanians in relation to Serbian and Yugoslav
12 crimes. That is the people we interviewed during the bombing campaign and
13 those we interviewed inside Kosovo after the bombing campaign.
14 Q. I'm going to ask you perhaps now to deal fairly comprehensively
15 with the methodology for the book "Under Orders" that was produced, but
16 before I come to that as a discrete topic, we've already heard here from a
17 witness called Patrick Ball, and I think that his work and yours connect
18 in some way, and perhaps you'd just like, in a sentence, to set out the
19 history so we can have it in its context.
20 A. Sure. I was familiar with Patrick's work regarding statistics in
21 human rights and was one of the people who encouraged him to conduct
22 research regarding the Kosovo crisis, which he did.
23 After we had collected 600 interviews, I also realised that Human
24 Rights Watch's data could be of use, that we might also conduct some
25 statistical analysis using our own data. Dr. Ball assisted us by helping
1 to construct the database and conceive of an approach. Beyond that, there
2 were a host of other statisticians and consultants who assisted us with
3 the actual coding of the data as well as the analysis of the data.
4 Q. Right.
5 A. Dr. Ball was not involved in that.
6 Q. Now, we may find, if we look at it in detail, that there are
7 graphs in the book "Under Orders" - for example, at pages 424 and 427 -
8 which have features of similarity to the graphs that were produced by Dr.
9 Ball. In a sentence, is this simply because you were doing the same
10 exercise as Dr. Ball or not?
11 A. The similarity, in my opinion, is a result of the data on the
12 ground. Our graphs stem from the findings of 600 interviews. It's a
13 Human-Rights-Watch-only data set. Dr. Ball's data set was much broader,
14 much, much broader, and we believe the similarities were striking and very
15 powerful in their evidence.
16 Q. With that necessary preliminary explanation, can you give us the
17 methodology for the preparation of the book "Under Orders" and indeed the
18 time scale for its production?
19 A. The methodology is a bit complex so please tell me to skip
20 anything of irrelevance. First, the background sections of the report are
21 based on our research from 1990 until February 1998.
22 Q. Does that include your own published reports and also the balance
23 of the material when you prepared those reports?
24 A. That's correct. We did not conduct fresh research for those
25 background sections.
1 Q. Thank you.
2 A. The bulk of the report "Under Orders" is based on our interviews
3 during the NATO bombing and after the NATO bombing. As I mentioned, 600
4 interviews with ethnic Albanians. This is the crux of the report. There
5 are, however, two other important sections - I consider them very
6 important - which is the research conducted after the NATO bombing. First
7 of all, it is the chapter entitled "Abuses After June 12, 1999" which
8 documents violations and abuses against non-ethnic Albanians, primarily
9 Serbs and Roma.
10 Q. And primarily by whom?
11 A. These are violations committed by ethnic Albanians.
12 Q. Thank you.
13 A. The other chapter is --
14 Q. That can be found at page 453, I think.
15 A. Page 453, yes. The other important chapter is on 437, "The NATO
16 Air Campaign." In August 1999, Human Rights Watch conducted an
17 investigation inside Yugoslavia to determine the civilian impact or the
18 impact on civilians that the NATO bombing had. We issued a report about
19 that. We also -- during the NATO bombing, Human Rights Watch criticised
20 NATO's use of cluster bombs which we consider to be an indiscriminate
21 weapon. And the findings of those two reports are summarised in "Under
22 Orders," that is, our criticisms of NATO.
23 Q. When you speak of the interviews with 600 people, can you give us
24 an idea of the scope of any such interview; its duration, its time
25 constraints, and so on?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. In general, the interviews are lengthy. There may -- there were
2 times certainly when refugees were literally coming across the border in a
3 tractor and there was not time for much more than, "Where are you from?
4 When did you leave, and why did you leave?" But usually the interviews
5 are in-depth, they're lengthy, and they're one-on-one. We always try to
6 conduct our interviews in a one-on-one setting.
7 Q. Your criticism of the KLA or of Kosovo Albanians, was there
8 anything unprecedented in your preparing and publishing a report on this
9 topic? Were you the first people to do it or had others done it before
11 A. Regarding Kosovo, you mean?
12 Q. Yes.
13 A. No, I don't believe we were the first. Other -- I don't recall
14 who was actually the first in documenting these abuses, but certainly
15 other human rights organisations were also active in this direction.
16 Q. Can I then ask you about a different report called "Abuses Against
17 Serbs and Roma in the New Kosovo." When was that published and was that
18 in any sense a breakthrough?
19 A. Immediately after the NATO bombing ended and NATO forces entered
20 Kosovo on June 12th, Human Rights Watch began to monitor abuses by
21 Albanians against non-ethnic Albanians. We issued our first statement, if
22 I'm not mistaken, on June 16th. We issued a number of statements after
23 that, critical of these revenge attacks. And we published a large report
24 in August 1999 which, if I'm not mistaken, was the first such report from
25 a major human rights organisation to criticise and denounce these -- these
1 abuses; specifically harassment, beatings, expulsions, arson --
2 Q. Very well.
3 A. -- and killings. And killings.
4 Q. If we put the front page of this, in line with previous practice,
5 on the overhead projector, you can see how the reader --
6 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit 201.
7 MR. NICE:
8 Q. -- how the reader would see what was likely to be within. It's
9 set out extremely clearly the following: "A wave of arson and looting of
10 Serb and Roma houses throughout Kosovo has ensued since KFOR's entry into
11 the province. Serbs and Roma who remained have been subjected to
12 harassment and intimidation, including severe beatings. Most seriously,
13 there's been a spate of abductions and murders of Serbs since mid-June,
14 including the massacre of 14 Serb farmers on July 23."
15 Same destinations, same post boxes, or did you manage to find
16 anyone who -- so let me break that question into two.
17 Same basic post boxes?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Were you able to send this to anybody representing the Kosovo
20 Albanian side?
21 A. Yes, we were.
22 Q. Namely?
23 A. It was distributed, first of all, to all the media in Kosovo. It
24 was distributed to all the international organisations, to all of the
25 ethnic Albanian political parties, and it was also given to what was at
1 that time called the provisional government of Kosovo. This was a
2 government established for a brief period of time. And I personally
3 delivered a batch of these reports to that office.
4 Q. One other report that I'd like you to deal with in just a little
5 more detail is called "Rape as a Weapon of Ethnic Cleansing." Can you
6 tell us a little bit about that.
7 A. Yes. After -- after the NATO bombing, a series of researchers
8 came into Kosovo. We had a continuous presence. A researcher named
9 Benjamin Ward was in Kosovo almost continuously. But another researcher
10 named Martina Vandenberg, who is an expert on rape and sexual violence,
11 came to Kosovo to conduct investigations. She documented 96 cases of rape
12 or sexual violence against ethnic Albanians committed by Serbian or
13 Yugoslav forces during the period of the armed bombing -- of the NATO,
14 NATO bombing.
15 But I would emphasise, as the report does, that these 96 cases in
16 no way represent the full magnitude of this problem. It was very obvious
17 that the number is larger, primarily on account of the social taboo
18 connected with crimes of this nature.
19 Q. Can you explain, because you've been in Kosovo and speaking the
20 Albanian language to the degree you do, can you explain to the Chamber,
21 possibly even in ways that women, were any to be called, might feel it not
22 possible to do, what the taboo is and what the consequence is of even
23 being discovered to be a victim spoken to by the Office of the Prosecutor?
24 A. Clearly there is a social stigma connected with crimes of this
25 nature to the extent that women, Albanian women, might not be able to find
1 a husband if it's known that they had been a victim of sexual crime. Or
2 in the very least, viewed in a very negative way by the society. It's an
3 unfortunate reality, but it is a traditional place.
4 So it was clear to us that many women did not want to come
5 forward. And those who did wanted -- requested anonymity.
6 Q. The pattern of sexual violence in the course of these events, is
7 there anything that you would like to comment upon? The summary on the
8 front page of this particular report doesn't amount to a summary but the
9 title is, "as a Weapon of Ethnic Cleansing." Could you comment on that,
11 A. Yes. Our conclusion was that sexual violence was not an isolated
12 incident. It occurred in a variety of locations over a period of time.
13 We felt that it was, unfortunately, common practice. Essentially, it took
14 three general forms: Either rapes in private homes, which is when a
15 security force would enter a home and assault a woman; secondly, rapes in
16 flight, meaning as Albanians were leaving Kosovo, they would be stopped
17 and taken out of a convoy, sexually abused; or thirdly, what we've called
18 rapes in detention, where women were actually held in a location and
19 sexually abused. We've documented all three categories of abuse.
20 MR. NICE: Could we have an exhibit number for that.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 202.
22 MR. NICE:
23 Q. Now, the larger report which we've been considering, "Under
24 Orders," wasn't actually published until when?
25 A. October 2001.
1 Q. With these other smaller reports coming out in the meanwhile?
2 A. Yes. And many of those smaller reports are summarised
3 essentially, with some updates, in "Under Orders."
4 Q. The conclusions of "Under Orders," of course can speak for
5 themselves for those who read or refer to the book, but paragraph 46 of
6 the summary, the killings and their part, if any, in the overall
7 operation, how was that regarded?
8 A. Well, first of all, we documented 3.453 killings, but this is
9 based on the 600 interviews. Clearly, this number 3.400 does not
10 represent the total. The killings, in our opinion, very briefly, can be
11 broken into three general categories. One was to expedite the cleansing
12 process, which means a few killings in a village to incite fear and
13 encourage the population to leave. The second category of killings is
14 what we've called targeted killings. These are politicians, human rights
15 activists, prominent individuals in the community. And I would highlight
16 here the killings on March 24th of the human rights lawyer Bajram Kelmendi
17 along with his two sons Kastriat and Kushtrim. Or the murder in April --
18 JUDGE MAY: We've heard evidence about these incidents.
19 THE WITNESS: Okay.
20 MR. NICE:
21 Q. And the third motivation?
22 A. The third motivation would be revenge. And there are cases where
23 the KLA or Albanians killed Serbian forces and, a few days afterwards,
24 there was a large-scale killings that might have been connected with the
25 previous incident.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm not going to deal with 50, 51, 52.
2 We've had evidence of that. Fifty-three of the summary may help.
3 Q. Did you see any geographical -- did you see any points of
4 geographical significance --
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. -- in the abuses?
7 A. In our opinion, the areas hardest hit in Kosovo were the areas
8 where the KLA was most active, and in fact, five municipalities - which
9 are Srbica, Glogovac, Orahovac, Suva Reka, and now I'm forgetting the
10 fifth. Orahovac, Suva Reka, and Djakovica.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 A. Sixty-five per cent of the violations we documented took place in
13 these areas -- in these five municipalities. However, there were clearly
14 serious crimes committed in areas where the KLA was not active. The
15 municipality of Lipljan is a good example, or villages such as Cuska in
16 the Pec municipality. Areas of Istok municipality where KLA activity was
17 minimal but expulsions and killings nevertheless took place.
18 Q. I've dealt already, I think, with the statistical point that I
19 wanted to make. You can be asked further about that, if necessary.
20 As to paragraph 57, "Chain of Command," If you can just help us
21 with that, please. Were you, from your researches - and you're not, as
22 you said, a military expert - were you able to say anything about chains
23 of command?
24 A. We conducted our research using open sources, specifically the
25 magazine Policajac, which is the official journal of Ministry of Interior,
1 Serbian ministry, as well as the magazine Vojska, official publication of
2 the Yugoslav army, and the website of the Serbian MUP. These provided us
3 with a great deal of information that helped us to construct pieces of the
4 chain of command as it related to Kosovo.
5 Q. And your conclusions?
6 A. Well, the conclusions are stated in the report. We've, I believe,
7 accurately reconstructed the chain. The Yugoslav army chain was clearer,
8 was more clear. Specifically, I think we recognised in the Ministry of
9 Interior a divergence from de facto and de jure structures. In other
10 words, the -- the legal structure of the Ministry of Interior is not
11 always how it happened in the field. That was our impression.
12 Q. Turning from --
13 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Abrahams, what is your base in determining the --
14 when you're mentioning the de jure chain of command? Is it based on the
15 interviews you had?
16 THE WITNESS: No. That's based on the public records, the open
17 sources that we collected, such as the magazines, which listed the --
18 occasionally listed the reporting structure.
19 JUDGE KWON: I'm sorry. De facto chain of command, did the open
20 sources include these materials in connection with the de facto command?
21 THE WITNESS: Yes, they did. An example I can provide is the role
22 of Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic, who is not officially in the
23 legal structure but, through media reports and through my work in Kosovo,
24 it was very obvious that he played a prominent role in political
25 negotiations and in Kosovo politics in general. So perhaps that's an
2 JUDGE KWON: Wasn't he the chairman of the cooperation committee
3 with the OSCE?
4 THE WITNESS: I know that he was involved in negotiations. I'm
5 not certain of that position precisely. But speaking about the Serbian
6 chain, he does not have an official place in that structure.
7 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
8 MR. NICE: And the Court can find, can they not, the wiring
9 diagrams, as they're called, for the army and the MUP on pages 68 and 77
10 as you felt able, or you and your co-authors felt able to describe the
12 A. I'm sorry, what is --
13 Q. 68 and 77.
14 A. Yes, what is the question?
15 Q. Do they show the basic structures of the army and the MUP as you
16 and your co-authors felt able to record them?
17 A. Correct, yes.
18 Q. And again, I'm not going to take you through them in detail, but
19 this I do want, and this comes from another source, I think. What
20 did you find, if anything, from your field research about the interaction
21 of the MUP and the army?
22 A. Well, our interviews revealed what we considered to be a very high
23 level of coordination, which means that the army and the police, as well
24 as local militia groups or paramilitaries seems to be acting in
25 cooperation or conjunction with one another. Typically, the army or the
1 special police would surround a village and shell from a distance,
2 followed by the entrance into the village by police as well as local
3 militia. At this point, the separation and interrogation of men would
4 occur as well as lootings and, in some cases, also killings. But it was
5 clear to us that -- that there was a coordination.
6 Of course, there were incidents where coordination was less
7 effective, but that is our overall impression.
8 Q. Paramilitaries, in summary. How did they feature in the 600
9 interviews that you conducted and analysed?
10 A. Well, in our opinion, the paramilitaries in Kosovo were different
11 from previous conflicts in Bosnia or Croatia. Rather than operating
12 independently, or rather than operating as separate groups - for example,
13 Arkan's unit - they were more integrated into the official structures. So
14 they would be integrated into a local police force or the special police,
15 rather than operating as separate units.
16 Q. That leaves me with the two outstanding clips of correspondence
17 and three other exhibits that I ought to produce. Can I deal with the
18 exhibits first and then the correspondence? Paper 4. I said I wouldn't
19 produce the photographs of the haystacks partly because the ones I saw
20 last week were less clear than these, but perhaps we can just trouble you
21 with these for a second.
22 MR. NICE: They will become Exhibit 200 and --
23 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 203.
24 MR. NICE: Thank you.
25 Q. These are, I think, photographs that you've taken yourself and
1 which do depict a reality. Just remind us when they were taken.
2 A. This photograph is --
3 Q. We'll try and get a colour one on the overhead projector for the
4 wider audience to see.
5 A. This is a photograph taken on September, I believe 27th of 1998,
6 of Plocica village. This is the food supply building where we saw melons
7 and flour burning inside.
8 Q. And the whole building seems to have been destroyed; is that
10 A. The building is on fire. I don't know if the photograph shows it,
11 but flames are still inside.
12 Q. Yes, we can see those. And then the second photographs here is
13 the characteristic haystacks in the background.
14 A. This is again Plocica village on the day I mentioned.
15 Q. There's the stacks in the foreground. Yes?
16 A. Yes, that's correct.
17 Q. Thank you very much. I said we didn't have the report "Detentions
18 and Abuse in Kosovo" which was published in December 1998. In fact, we do
19 have it, and perhaps I can just produce that.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 204.
21 MR. NICE:
22 Q. And if we look -- thank you very much. And if we look because
23 it's a paper report and not a printed one in the sense, if we look at the
24 second sheet, Mr. Abrahams, which I'll ask to be placed on the overhead
25 projector so we can see how the media would pick up what this was all
1 about. The report says straight away that [as read]: "Since the armed
2 conflict began in late February 1998, at least 1.200 ethnic Albanians have
3 been charged under Serbian law with terrorism or anti-state activities"
4 and so on. And then the next paragraph [as read]: "Physical abuse and
5 torture of detainees is widespread. Five individuals are known to have
6 died..." and so on, and then it goes on to deal with matters in detail.
8 A. That's correct, yes.
9 Q. Thank you. The last but one report on the same general topic is a
10 much earlier report which we haven't looked at, and it's called "Human
11 Rights Abuses in Kosovo" and is dated 1993, I think.
12 A. March 1993.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 205.
14 MR. NICE:
15 Q. Maybe we can look at the back of this and simply put that on the
16 overhead projector to see what a recipient would make of it. Human Rights
17 Watch as long ago as 1993 was saying this [as read]: "Kosovo is a police
18 state. Police raids on homes and marketplaces occur daily and Serbian
19 authorities have stepped up a drive to push Albanians out of
20 Serbian-populated areas. Heavily armed Serbian police, paramilitary
21 groups, and regular army forces spread their terror. Mass arrests of
22 Albanians on trumped-up charges are commonplace and, in a society run by
23 brute force and intimidation, few prisoners ever receive a fair trial."
24 It goes on to deal with the content of the report.
25 Now, your involvement at that time was, I think, with Human Rights
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Watch nil, wasn't it?
2 A. I was not working at Human Rights Watch.
3 Q. This was prepared by others. Do you know to whom this was
4 published at the time?
5 A. You mean to whom it was distributed?
6 Q. To whom it was distributed and in that way published, yes.
7 A. My understanding is that all reports were sent to the relevant
8 authorities in Belgrade, but not having been present at the organisation
9 at that time, I cannot testify for sure to that effect.
10 MR. NICE: Your Honours, thank you. Exhibit number already given.
11 Thank you.
12 Your Honour, the last report that Mr. Abrahams could produce is
13 the one on "Civilian Deaths in the NATO Air Campaign." That, of course,
14 is not part of our case but it's relevant, but Chamber has expressed an
15 interest in the topic and has allowed the accused to cross-examine on it.
16 It just seems, for completeness, that ought to be produced.
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 206.
19 MR. NICE:
20 Q. Mr. Abrahams, you've told us that you were critical of NATO.
21 Here's the report that was produced. If we go to the -- I think it's the
22 third -- the second sheet, on the reverse side, we come to something
23 called the summary. This is not -- there is not a front or back cover.
24 It deals with the summary. You see: "Summary and Principal Findings,"
25 which is: "Minimising harmed civilians was central to governmental and
1 public consent to NATO's bombing campaign." And then we go on: "From the
2 beginning of Operation Allied Force --" next paragraph --" NATO and allied
3 government military officials stressed their intent to limit casualties."
4 And then third paragraph: "Despite precautions ..." and so on, it then
5 goes on: "Human Rights Watch has conducted a thorough investigation of
6 civilian deaths as a result of NATO action. On the basis of this
7 investigation, Human Rights Watch has found that there were 90 separate
8 incidents involving civilian deaths during the 28-day bombing campaign.
9 Some 500 Yugoslav civilians are known to have died in these incidents."
11 A. Yes, that's correct.
12 Q. You may be asked further questions about this by the accused, but
13 would you be in a position to summarise in a few sentences the effect of
14 this report or is it better to let it speak for itself in due course?
15 A. How do you mean the effect?
16 Q. The effect. Is there anything -- the opinion of Human Rights
17 Watch on the NATO deaths.
18 A. I can only say this: This number, 500, was much lower than the
19 estimates given by the Yugoslav government, but it was also considerably
20 higher than the numbers given by NATO and NATO governments. And I
21 consider this a very good sign of the report's objectivity. I can also
22 say I thought that conducting this report was critical. I that it was
23 necessary to investigate the allegations, the serious allegations against
24 NATO, and that no force in this conflict be left uncritiqued or at least
1 MR. NICE: Very well. Two exhibits, bundles of correspondence,
2 please. The first one in time is Exhibit 189, original and copies.
3 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 207.
4 JUDGE KWON: That is 189.
5 MR. NICE: 189. We've already reserved a number for it.
6 Q. And I think, Mr. Abrahams, you regard one of these letters as
7 containing a mistake by you, which we better identify straight away. We
8 will come to that in a second.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. If we look at the clip of correspondence, this is 1996, we see
11 your sending a letter first to Mr. Mirovic, requesting a meeting with
12 government officials when you're next in Belgrade. You talk about
13 terrorist violence.
14 If we go to the next letter, it's a letter to Minister Jokanovic
15 about recent terrorist violence.
16 The next one to Mrs. Gordana at the Ministry of Human Rights in
17 Yugoslavia. Any reply from her?
18 A. No. I was not granted meetings with any of those individuals.
19 Q. We see the only acknowledgement you received, I think, in the fax
20 sheet that follows. Explain that, please. Sorry. It's not a fax from
21 anybody else.
22 A. I believe it's this.
23 Q. Explain that.
24 A. This, I am so sorry.
25 Q. Beg your pardon? Just explain --
1 A. Is that what you're --
2 Q. Yes. No, the one that says, Sorry about the basketball,
3 congratulations on the silver.
4 A. Yes. After my meeting with Rade Drobac, the Deputy Minister of
5 Information, the ministry promised that they would provide information to
6 me on 16 ethnic Albanians who were missing. I followed up in New York by
7 sending a fax. This is Dragan Milosevic, I believe no relationship to the
8 accused, who worked -- was -- worked in the Ministry of Information. I
9 sent him a fax with my questions, and then this is -- seems comical now,
10 but as a friendly gesture on my cover sheet I said, please, I'm sending
11 you my questions, and at the time, the US basketball team had just beaten
12 the Yugoslav team in the Olympics, so I had --
13 Q. So that was the total of the reply from him. If we come back in
14 the bundle to your letter to him of the 31st of July, the second sheet of
15 it, I think in paragraph 1 you recognise that -- you defended, really,
16 Human Rights Watch's own or your own protocols in the use of terminology.
17 Second sheet. Next page, please. Where it says: "Please update."
18 A. Yes. These are the questions that I submitted to the Ministry of
19 Information. The error and the mistake I believe is in question number --
20 in point number 1. We ask for information on recent terrorist attacks,
21 and I -- I regret using that term in subsequent reports we avoided using
22 that phrase.
23 Q. How does Human Rights Watch adjust its -- or how does it use
24 language consistent with its aim of being objective to all participants --
25 A. Well --
1 Q. -- in any conflict?
2 A. The organisation is very cautious to avoid what we would call
3 politically loaded terms, terms that are imprecise and open for
4 interpretation. "Terrorist" is one of those terms. "Regime" is another
5 term. Or emotional words like -- like -- like perhaps "massacre." Better
6 for the KLA - and what we used in the future - would be "an armed
7 insurgency," "guerilla army" or "a rebel army"; something that is more
8 neutral and descriptive.
9 Q. Second clip of correspondence and the last, therefore, to be dealt
10 with is the 1998 correspondence, already exhibited as --
11 THE REGISTRAR: 192.
12 MR. NICE: 192. Thank you very much.
13 Q. This contains the letters that you sent to the Minister of
14 Justice, Markicevic, on the 20th of July 1998, asking for help. And it's
15 quite interesting to see the questions. You ask about how many ethnic
16 Albanians are currently in police detention, how many have been charged
17 with criminal offences, what are the charges against a particular
18 individual or the whereabouts of certain persons, and you then ask if they
19 can provide evidence of human rights abuses against ethnic Serbs,
20 civilians, police, or VJ soldiers, such as false detentions or killings.
21 Can you just explain the format of the questions you were asking, the
22 strategy, if there's a strategy, behind it all at that time?
23 A. This was in preparation for the report "Humanitarian Law
24 Violations in Kosovo," and we sought to represent the situation as
25 realistically as possible. We sought input from the government on these
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 issues as matters of clarification.
2 Q. So that the first four topics appear to relate to things that may
3 have been suffered by Albanians but the last topic specifically raises the
4 issue of the reverse, of --
5 A. Well --
6 Q. -- problems that may have been caused by ethnic Albanians.
7 A. As the opening sentence states, or the second sentence, I suppose,
8 the report will document abuses by all sides.
9 Q. Yes. Any reply to that letter?
10 A. No reply, no.
11 Q. Nor to the one to the Ministry of Justice on the following page?
12 A. No.
13 Q. Yugoslav Ministry of Justice?
14 A. No.
15 Q. Or to the Serbian Ministry of the Interior?
16 A. No reply.
17 Q. Which is now a differently phrased set of questions but time
18 doesn't justify our going through all of them. To the Secretary of
19 Information, Mr. Goran Matic?
20 A. No reply.
21 Q. There's a fax cover sheet. You wrote actually to the magazine
22 which you've told us was one of your sources of open source information.
23 A. This is a letter to the Yugoslav army.
24 Q. Sorry, it's to the army itself. And this address that you chose,
25 can you tell us about that?
1 A. I don't recall precisely where I obtained this address, but I know
2 that I had a telephone book that I obtained while in Belgrade and most
3 likely I took this address from -- from that telephone book.
4 Q. And finally, the Serbian Secretary for Information and the
5 Yugoslav Ministry of the Interior. Thank you very much.
6 MR. NICE: Those are the only questions I ask of this witness.
7 JUDGE MAY: The case managers were right that a binder would have
8 been helpful.
9 MR. NICE: Yes. Entirely my oversight.
10 JUDGE MAY: I don't suppose one has been prepared at all, has it?
11 MR. NICE: I don't think it has been.
12 JUDGE MAY: No.
13 [Trial Chamber confers]
14 MR. NICE: I shall seek, at some stage, just five minutes to deal
15 with the previous witness, an update on the position. Probably better if
16 I do it after the break rather than before, but I'm in your hands whether
17 then or at the end of the morning.
18 JUDGE MAY: It may be most convenient at the end of the morning
19 rather than interrupt. We'll adjourn now and take the 20-minute break.
20 What would be helpful sometime, speaking for myself, would be an
21 indication of Drenica on the map. It's frequently used and never very
22 clear on the various maps I've seen.
23 MR. NICE: Yes.
24 JUDGE MAY: Not immediately, but at some stage it would be helpful
25 to have it.
1 MR. NICE: I don't think there will be any difficulty in getting
2 this witness to deal with it.
3 JUDGE MAY: No, it may not be the appropriate witness, it may be
4 sensible to get someone who has an overall view. We will adjourn now for
5 20 minutes.
6 --- Recess taken at 12.07 p.m.
7 --- On resuming at 12.27 p.m.
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] You wrote in your statement - that is the second
11 statement you gave - that from April to June 2000, that you worked for the
12 OTP, and then again in August 2001. That is to say, the first time round
13 for three months and the other time for one month. And you also said that
14 you worked on investigations and that you did an analysis for the
15 indictment on Kosovo against me. What did you actually do?
16 A. The question is what did I do while working for the OTP?
17 Q. Well, it says here, as I quoted to you, that you did an analysis
18 for the indictment against me. What does that mean exactly?
19 A. While working for the Prosecutor, I had two tasks. The first was
20 to contact and interview what I would call the political personalities of
21 Kosovo; individuals who were involved in political activity or
22 specifically negotiations of one form or another.
23 The other task was the collection of documents, specifically to
24 collect documents of the Serbian police or Yugoslav army or other relevant
25 documents to help explain the activities of the government in Kosovo.
1 Q. Yes. But what does the word "analysis" mean? You are not talking
2 about collecting facts. You say that you made an analysis. What does
3 that actually mean?
4 A. My job was to identify the political personalities among the
5 Kosovo Albanians who could potentially contribute to this case. So in
6 that regard, a degree of analysis was required to determine whether an
7 individual played a role, what role they played, and if they could somehow
8 contribute. The same goes for the documents, to better understand -- to
9 understand whether a document is relevant requires some analysis.
10 Although I did much less of this, I actually collected everything I could
11 get my hands on and left the analysis to the experts here in the OTP.
12 Q. All right. In view of this activity of yours, do you consider
13 yourself to be one of the co-authors of the indictment?
14 A. No, I do not, in no way.
15 Q. So your cooperation on the analysis and collection of data for the
16 indictment does not qualify you as one of the co-authors of the
18 JUDGE MAY: He's just said that.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right.
20 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. You said that from April to June 2000 and in August 2001 were the
22 only times when you worked for the OTP. However, it can be seen here that
23 you also worked for the Office of the Prosecutor in the capacity of
24 investigator when on the 1st of November and 3rd of November, 2001, which
25 is outside this particular time period that you mentioned as your periods
1 of engagement in the OTP, you conducted interviews with Ibrahim Rugova.
2 Why did you remain silent on that particular engagement for the Office of
3 the Prosecutor, which I believe is not being doubted in any way?
4 A. First of all, I was never an investigator for the Tribunal. I was
5 a research analyst. Secondly, the answer to your question is actually
6 quite simple. When I worked at the Tribunal in August 2001, I ended up
7 leaving The Hague, leaving the job, two days early. I had to return to
8 New York.
9 In October 2001, I was in the region. I was in Kosovo and then I
10 went to Albania for research on my book. And because I had two days left
11 on my contract and the bureaucracy at the Tribunal was concerned about
12 that, and also because I wanted to continue the work that I had started, I
13 offered, while in Kosovo, to assist specifically with the interview with
14 Dr. Rugova.
15 I was the person, together with the investigator Jonathan Sutch
16 who initially contacted Dr. Rugova in August and spoke with him about the
17 possibility of giving a statement. And at the end of October, beginning
18 of November, Dr. Rugova was ready. I was in Kosovo. I had two days on my
19 contract that I promised to fulfil, so I agreed, together with Jonathan
20 Sutch to conduct this interview, in other words, to take the statement
21 that you are referring to.
22 Q. Did you have two contracts with the Office of the Prosecutor, one
23 for this period of three months from April until June and the other one
24 for the month of August?
25 A. Yes, that is correct.
1 Q. How much did they pay you for that?
2 A. It is difficult for me to recall precisely. I had what's known as
3 a GTA contract. I know that my rank was P3. And if I remember correctly,
4 the salary is somewhere between 1.500 and 2.000 dollars a month, but I
5 would have to check my records to be certain of that. The P3 salary, I
6 believe, is public record.
7 Q. All of this that you spoke of today and the documents that you
8 enclosed, these booklets, et cetera, as far as I understood, you did
9 within your activities in the Human Rights Watch organisation; is that
11 A. That is correct.
12 Q. Do you think that this organisation is an impartial, objective
14 A. Yes, I do.
15 Q. And since you mentioned this in your statement, as you spoke of
16 the NATO bombing, is the bombing of civilian targets a crime?
17 A. Human Rights Watch had determined from its research that NATO
18 violated international humanitarian law, and I can explain where and how,
19 if that is of interest. However, the organisation did not conclude that
20 NATO had committed war crimes, and the distinction there, in brief, is the
21 notion of criminal intent. That while the organisation criticised NATO
22 for some of its targeting, we did not have conclusive evidence to prove
23 that NATO specifically and purposefully targeted civilians.
24 Q. So when you have information about targeted hospitals, buses,
25 railroads, you put Aleksinac on the first page - this is a small mining
1 town in the centre of Serbia - do you really not consider these to be
2 civilian targets?
3 A. The issue here is NATO's selection of targets, and whether there
4 was a military legitimacy in these targets. Again, our conclusion was
5 that very serious concerns were raised. We criticised NATO for not taking
6 enough measures to minimise the civilian casualties, not taking enough
7 measures to adequately distinguish between civilian and military targets.
8 And we also criticised the use of cluster bombs, which we consider to be
9 an indiscriminate weapon. I should note that in May, the White House
10 issued a directive stopping the use of cluster bombs, but they were used
11 up to that point.
12 Given that, however, we did not collect enough evidence to
13 convincingly prove that civilian targets were chosen with the specific
14 intent of injuring or killing civilians. And our burden of proof is high.
15 We have the same burden of proof for all of our research, and without
16 having the conclusive evidence, we were not prepared to make the
17 allegations that war crimes were committed.
18 Q. All right. When bearing in mind, for example, that cluster bombs
19 were used to bomb the centre of the city of Nis, does that mean that these
20 are civilian targets and that there cannot be sufficient proof that
21 cluster bombs were thrown in the centre of Nis, near the market, the
22 clinics, the university? Is there a trace of doubt in your mind with
23 regard to this?
24 A. The report Human Rights Watch issued, of which I helped edit but
25 did not research, called on the NATO governments, or called on NATO itself
1 to investigate, to establish a commission to investigate what we
2 considered serious allegations. NATO did not do this. At least, not
3 publicly yet. And the cluster bomb incident in Nis that you mention is,
4 without question, one of the issues -- one of the incidents that deserves
5 further investigation.
6 Q. And the use of depleted uranium, is that a crime?
7 A. I'm not a legal expert. I'm not a lawyer, so I'm hesitant to give
8 a definitive answer to that. Certainly one of the fundamental principles
9 of the Geneva Conventions is minimising the impact war has on civilians.
10 So depleted uranium could perhaps be viewed in that context, but that's a
11 legal argument that I'm not -- I'm not qualified to -- to make.
12 Q. All right, Mr. Abrahams. As far as I can understand this, if I
13 can make the proper conclusion on the basis of what you've said, in
14 response to the question as to whether the targeting of civilian targets
15 is a crime or not, whether the use of cluster bombs is a crime or not,
16 whether the use of depleted uranium is a crime or not, are questions that
17 you cannot give a precise yes or no answer to; is that right?
18 A. No, that's not exactly right. Clearly, many of those issues you
19 mentioned are specific crimes if they are done in full knowledge that they
20 are crimes and if they are done with the aim of arming civilians. And our
21 conclusions did not reach that far.
22 Q. Tell me, then, in response to a question that puts together all
23 the three that I have put to you as examples, the aggression of NATO, is
24 it against the charter of the UN or not?
25 A. I'm --
1 JUDGE MAY: Is that part of your expertise or not?
2 THE WITNESS: It's not, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE MAY: No, Mr. Milosevic, not a question for this witness.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right, Mr. May. That is a very
5 logical reaction.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Tell me, now, we have mentioned a few examples that are
8 characteristic of the NATO aggression. You mentioned in your statement
9 many crimes that were committed by the so-called KLA. In all fairness,
10 the numbers were diminished, but they are still impressive enough, even
11 the ones that you mentioned. You mentioned 250.000 expelled Serbs, you
12 mentioned 1.000 killed persons, you mentioned 1.000 persons who were
13 abducted, although that is far below the actual figure. You did not
14 mention tens of thousands of burned Serb houses or many other things. But
15 at least what you mentioned, do you consider that to be a crime?
16 A. First of all, I would make a brief correction. You mentioned a
17 thousand killed and a thousand missing. In fact, that is the same figure.
18 There are a thousand Serbs and Roma who have gone missing after the NATO
19 intervention, after June 12th, and many of them are feared dead. But I
20 don't want to make 1.000 into 2.000.
21 In answer to your question, yes, we consider those crimes.
22 Q. All right. Now that we bear in mind the crimes that were
23 committed by NATO, and you don't have this spelled out very precisely, and
24 then we have these crimes that were committed by the KLA where you were
25 quite categorical, how come Human Rights Watch or you personally did not
1 accuse the perpetrators of those crimes before this institution, although
2 it is an illegal institution, just as you accuse me, for example, or the
3 Serb army, police, et cetera? How come you omitted to do that?
4 A. On numerous occasions, we called for full accountability. We've
5 called on the Tribunal to investigate in an impartial manner, crimes
6 committed by all sides, we've documented crimes committed by all sides, or
7 violations, and we have called for accountability for the crimes committed
8 by the Kosovo Albanian side.
9 Q. Again you are talking about impartiality and objectiveness. Do
10 you really think that what you have enclosed here now, that -- this that
11 has to do with NATO aggression, where underneath the photograph on page 1,
12 there is a caption saying "Three civilians killed in Aleksinac," and then
13 inside, you say in your statement that 500 were killed, and you know that
14 it is not three civilians, you know it is not 500; you know the figures
15 are much bigger. All have been registered in official documents. Doesn't
16 it seem to you that this is an intentional minimising of the effect of the
17 crime that was committed against my country precisely by your organisation
18 Human Rights Watch?
19 A. I believe that the figures in this report are accurate. They are
20 much less than what the Yugoslav government was saying, and they are also
21 much higher than what NATO admitted. But perhaps the best evidence comes
22 from the Belgrade District Court, because in August 2000, a case was heard
23 in Belgrade against the NATO leaders accusing Clinton, Blair, Wesley
24 Clark, and so on. And in the indictment submitted by the Belgrade
25 prosecutor, the number of civilians killed by NATO is approximately 500.
1 We've compared the document, the indictment, with our report, and a few of
2 the names are different. They have some we don't have, we have some they
3 don't have. But the number is the same.
4 Q. It is my impression that you didn't read those facts and figures
5 properly, but let's leave that to one side. You're, therefore, claiming
6 that Human Rights Watch and the efforts made by the Human Rights Watch
7 were objective ones, impartial ones, and well-intentioned ones; is that
8 right? That would be, as a whole, your approach; right?
9 A. Yes, I do believe that. I believe we made every effort to be as
10 objective as possible.
11 Q. So there are people who are objective and impartial working there;
12 is that right?
13 A. I believe the level of professionalism is very high.
14 Q. All right. When you bear in mind everything that you can take off
15 the site and when you see the composition of the Human Rights Watch
16 organisation, you can see Warren Zimmermann, for example, the former US
17 ambassador who, among other things, is well known for saying to Alija
18 Izetbegovic to reject the Lisbon Agreement.
19 JUDGE MAY: Now, Mr. Milosevic, you've been told before to keep
20 the questions short. Now, what is the question?
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May, as the witness is claiming
22 that the Human Rights Watch is an objective organisation, my question to
23 him is as follows: How can he consider it to be objective when, inside
24 it, the person giving him his job is George Soros, Abramowitz is Thaci's
25 advisor in Rambouillet, within it we have Mr. Zimmerman who advised
1 Izetbegovic to reject the Lisbon Agreement, that is to say people who are
2 profoundly and deeply involved in American policy and politics and who
3 came out in favour of the bombing of Yugoslavia, the aggression against
4 Yugoslavia, in addition to many others.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Now, can you claim this to be true or not?
7 A. I need to make a point of clarification. It is not accurate to
8 say that these individuals like Warren Zimmermann and Morton Abramowitz
9 are in Human Rights Watch. What is accurate is that both of those
10 individuals are members of the advisory committee of the Europe and
11 Central Asia division where I worked. The advisory committee has a
12 specific function, namely, as its name implies, to give advice. They are
13 present as experts in the region who give us input to help prioritise our
14 work, but they do not in any way have an executive function. They are not
15 involved in research, they do not review our findings. And I can state
16 personally through my work that I never had a conversation with either of
17 those individuals. We might add there also Herb Okun, another former US
18 diplomat. I never had a conversation with them about my concrete findings
19 or how to present my concrete findings.
20 I should also stress that, in terms of prioritising our work, we
21 definitely didn't need any expert to tell us that we should concentrate on
22 Kosovo. That was obvious from the facts. And lastly -- well, two quick
23 points: One is these individuals you mentioned are no longer holding
24 official positions. In fact, the advisory committee members are not
25 allowed to hold official positions at the same time.
1 And lastly, regarding Human Rights Watch's objectivity, the best
2 evidence or the strongest argument I can provide is the work. Looking at
3 Kosovo, I've spoken today about the reports we did. Looking at the
4 region, the Balkans, we've documented abuses by all sides in the conflict.
5 I personally began my career in Albania and published three reports that
6 were very critical of the Albanian government. And the organisation as a
7 whole is active in more than 80 countries around the world, including the
8 United States. So I believe the catalogue of reports is evidence enough.
9 Q. But don't you feel that if we take into consideration all this,
10 everything that we've been talking about in this short space of time, that
11 the role of the Human Rights Watch was to produce alibis for interference
12 into the internal affairs of other countries? Just say yes or no.
13 A. No.
14 Q. You said you began your career in Albania and that you were doing
15 research into the violations of rights of the Greek minority. Well, did
16 you draw any arguments there, sufficient argumentation to see the way in
17 which and for how long - let me say for several decades, in fact, and
18 systematically so, in the harshest possible way - rights were violated and
19 the Greek minority in Albania even destroyed. Did you draw these facts
20 and those conclusions?
21 A. My findings were quite different. I did conclude and I did
22 document a series of violations, enough to fill a report. And in fact, my
23 first report for Human Rights Watch was on human rights violations against
24 the Greek minority in Albania. I'm happy to elaborate on the details if
25 the Court deems it relevant, but I did not conclude that those violations
1 were anywhere near as extreme as the violations being committed in Kosovo.
2 There were problems with education, there was a prominent court
3 case, but there wasn't the persistent systematic and ongoing violence that
4 we documented in Kosovo. In no what I could I compare the two.
5 Q. And did violence exist against Kosovo Albanians of the type that
6 you're talking about, that is to say, any kind, any kind of violence
7 before, prior to the terrorists started killing -- their killings after
8 1960 -- 1996, I beg your pardon.
9 A. I'm sorry, you're asking about prior to 1960?
10 THE INTERPRETER: 1996.
11 THE WITNESS: 1996. Sorry.
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. I was saying, was there any kind, not only systematic but any kind
14 of violence, the kind that you're talking about, before the terrorists, in
15 an organised manner, started killing civilians, policemen, foresters, post
16 men, Serbs, Albanians and all the other people in Kosovo? Did any
17 violence exist before that?
18 A. Yes, it did. I believe this report "Under Orders" is a good
19 example of the violence that did exist. It was published in 1993.
20 Q. All right. We'll come to that then later on. But tell me this:
21 Do you know when the indictment was raised, the one that you're testifying
23 A. Do you mean the initial indictment?
24 Q. Against me, yes. When was it raised, the indictment?
25 A. I believe it was in May 1999.
1 Q. Well, you gave your first statement, as far as I can see here from
2 what I have, the information I have, on the 8th of March already in 1999.
3 That is to say, more than two months prior to the raising of the
4 indictment. Isn't that right?
5 A. I'm not clear what you mean by my first statement.
6 Q. Well, this one here, what I've been provided with.
7 A. It says Monday the 8th and Thursday --
8 JUDGE MAY: We have two statements, Mr. Abrahams, from you to the
9 Prosecutor, the first dated between the 8th and the 11th of March. That's
10 the one, no doubt, the accused is referring to. The second one, January
12 THE WITNESS: Okay.
13 JUDGE MAY: Have you got those in front of you?
14 THE WITNESS: I do not, no, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE MAY: Well, perhaps the witness should have them. Yes, Mr.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] My question at this moment does not
18 refer to the contents of the statement itself, Mr. May, but for the moment
19 just to the date, and the date is Monday the 8th and Thursday the 11th of
20 March, 1999. Before the NATO aggression, two weeks before it, and almost
21 two and a half months before the indictment was raised..
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. Did you give the statement then, during those dates, as it says
25 A. Yes, I did.
1 Q. And did you do so upon anybody's suggestion?
2 A. The investigators, Tim Kelly and Dennis Milner, came to New York
3 City and requested I give a statement, which I agreed to do.
4 Q. So the investigators of this institution came to see you already
5 at the beginning of March 1999 to ask you to give a statement for the
6 indictment against me; is that correct?
7 A. They asked me to give a statement - it wasn't clear for what
8 purpose that statement was at the time - but about what I had witnessed in
10 Q. So you therefore gave the statement in New York, did you?
11 A. That's correct.
12 Q. Who did you say you gave it to?
13 A. Tim Kelly.
14 Q. It was just him that was present when you gave your statement, was
16 A. That's correct. There were two investigators who came to New
17 York. Tim Kelly took my statement, and Dennis Milner take the statement
18 of my colleague Peter Bouchkaert.
19 Q. Tell me, although this is not, how shall I say, directly connected
20 or a direct question, but it does have significance: Why did you consider
21 that it was necessary to give your statement in keeping with some sort of
22 rules of theirs which passes silently over the names of all sources which
23 you used to make your statement?
24 A. If I understand the correction, you're referring to the redactions
25 in that initial statement which have now been lifted. Is that what you're
1 referring to?
2 Q. Yes. Yes. That's what I'm asking.
3 A. Yes. The explanation for that is quite simple, in fact. When I
4 conducted interviews in 1998, there were some individuals who requested
5 anonymity. They asked us not to print their names in our reports, not to
6 make them public. The reason was a fear they had of retaliation, a fear
7 that, in my opinion, was not unfounded or was not unjustified. It was a
8 justified fear.
9 Those interviews -- some of the people requested anonymity. And
10 when I gave this statement to Mr. Kelly, I included some of the names of
11 individuals who had asked us for anonymity.
12 Now, in retrospect, I should have not given him those names, but
13 when I realised they were in there, we asked that those names - I believe
14 there were four names - that those names be redacted in order for us to
15 respect the agreement we had made with the witnesses. The trust between
16 the interviewer and the interviewee is critical. And even though I
17 believe the four individuals would now agree to release their names
18 because the fear is gone, I still had to respect the agreement we made
19 with them in 1998.
20 In the end, we contacted all four individuals and asked them
21 specifically if they minded whether their names be included in my
22 statement, and all four of them agreed.
23 Q. That's all right. We needn't hear any more at greater length.
24 But just tell me, when did you ask them that?
25 A. That was on Wednesday of this past week.
1 Q. So for these three years, you clarified it just last week. Now,
2 you had a scholarship by the Soros Foundation, did you not?
3 A. Yes. I received a -- what's called an individual project
4 fellowship for 18 months, to write my book.
5 Q. And how did you win that fellowship?
6 A. Through an application process.
7 Q. Did you sign an agreement of any kind, contract, anything like
8 that regarding the fellowship?
9 A. Yes. I signed a contract once I was awarded the fellowship.
10 Q. And the status of a fellowship holder, in view of that contract,
11 does that imply any obligation on your part with respect to your future
12 activities, your job in the future, that kind of thing?
13 A. The obligation is to use the funds provided by the organisation
14 for the project that -- for the project for which those funds were
16 Q. And for which project did you receive those funds?
17 A. This is to write a book, a journalistic history of Albania's
18 transition from communism.
19 Q. Well, as I understand it, you said during the examination-in-chief
20 that you were working on that book at present. It was an ongoing project,
21 the book about Albania's transition from communism.
22 A. That's correct. I'm still working on the book.
23 Q. Is it true that the Soros Foundation is one of the financiers of
24 this particular institution?
25 A. You mean the Tribunal?
1 Q. Yes.
2 A. As far as I know, the organisation has not funded the Tribunal,
3 but I could be mistaken.
4 Q. Or George Soros. Was your answer no?
5 A. As far as I know, my answer is no.
6 Q. Very well. Now, tell me why the government in Tirana extinguished
7 your student newspaper after its first edition?
8 A. Our project in Albania was to help the journalism students produce
9 a student newspaper. This paper was published. It was called Reporteri,
10 and four days after its initial publication, the government closed it
11 down, the government of Sali Berisha. I believe it was for a number of
12 reasons which I can explain if -- if necessary.
13 Q. All right. And do you know what the budget is of Human Rights
14 Watch, what budget it had at its disposal in 1998 and 1999? And I'm
15 referring to the area of Kosovo, Macedonia, and Albania, the budget for
17 A. It's difficult to say. The entire budget of Human Rights Watch is
18 published annually in the annual report, and I believe that it is broken
19 down into divisions. For example, the Europe and Central Asia division in
20 which I worked.
21 As for the precise funding for Kosovo and Macedonia, I would have
22 to check with my colleagues, because the research team of which I was a
23 part was separate from the administrative team or specifically the
24 fund-raising team. They brought the money in, we spent it.
25 Q. Yes. But you haven't got an approximation of the budget, perhaps,
1 the budget that was placed at the disposal for the organisation for these
2 purposes, a rough estimate?
3 A. I honestly am not prepared to make that estimate because I just
4 don't know. I'm willing to check and that number can be obtained, but I
5 just don't have that figure at my disposal.
6 Q. Well, do you at least know who finances Human Rights Watch?
7 A. In general terms, yes. There are essentially three main funding
8 sources: One is donations from wealthy or concerned individuals; another
9 is foundations. I know -- and these are listed in the annual report, but
10 such as the Ford Foundation, the McArthur Foundation, and the Soros
11 Foundation. And a third source is fund-raising activities, like a film
12 festival, an annual dinner, and similar functions. All funding over
13 $5.000 is listed in the annual report, which is public record.
14 And two points I can make briefly about the funding. One is we do
15 not accept any government money. And we also do not accept money from
16 quasi-governmental organisations. By that, I mean an organisation like
17 the National Endowment for Democracy, which is funded by the United States
18 Congress, or the foundations in Germany affiliated with political parties,
19 Friedrich Ebert, Konrad Adenauer Foundation, and so on.
20 Lastly, funding does not have an impact on our findings. It's
21 only one letter but a wide, wide difference between the two. Funders give
22 money but do not have any say in what we find or how we present our
23 research. There is a -- there is a distinction between the two.
24 Q. You, therefore, claim that somebody finances something without any
25 interest in it whatsoever or possibility of influencing that project. Is
1 that it?
2 A. I would distinguish between interest and influencing. Obviously,
3 our supporters - foundations or individuals - are concerned about human
4 rights and believe it's important for Human Rights Watch to conduct its
5 investigations. But these funders do not have an impact on our findings
6 or how we present our findings.
7 Q. You were, therefore, the first contact person with the
8 representatives of the OTP. That is to say, you had the first contacts
9 with the OTP in New York on the 8th of March, 1999, and it was much later
10 on that you drew up a contact and began working for the OTP. Now, who
11 invited you to work for the OTP?
12 A. I don't recall precisely, but certainly I was in touch with Dennis
13 Milner after he visited New York. Yes, I recall that I also was in touch
14 with other individuals who were working in the OTP who expressed to me --
15 who asked whether I had an interest in contributing -- in working for
16 their office. The concept was that I could assist the OTP based on my
17 knowledge of Kosovo, my knowledge of the issues.
18 Q. Yes, I understand that, but what I didn't understand was who
19 invited you personally? Who called you up personally from the opposite
20 side? Who was it?
21 A. I mean, officially, I was in touch with the admin, administrative
22 officers who sent me -- I had to fill out a form, I think it's called the
23 P11, if I'm not mistaken, and make a formal application and go through
24 those procedures. But specifically who asked me whether I wanted to do
25 it, I don't recall precisely. I know I was in touch with Clint
1 Williamson, who worked in the OTP, and also with Ivana Nisic, who worked
2 in the OTP, and if my memory is correct, it was mostly with those two
3 people that I was discussing the dates for my work, the possible things
4 that I would work on and so forth.
5 Q. Is it correct that in your article published in the Herald Tribune
6 on the 5th of August, as early as the 5th of August, 1998, which is
7 approximately two months before Holbrooke arrived and the Verification
8 Mission was settled in 1998, in August, you wrote the following, and I
9 quote: "The first priority of American policy should be an indictment
10 against Milosevic. For those who are asking themselves whether he can be
11 directly linked up to the crimes in Bosnia and Croatia, a view of the
12 Yugoslav command structure leaves no doubt with respect to his
13 responsibility and accountability for the crimes in Kosovo, which is
14 clearly within the mandate of the Tribunal."
15 Is that one of the sentences you uttered which expresses - how
16 shall I put it? - which anticipates, in fact, a visionary or clairvoyant,
17 if I can use the word, future moves on the part of American policy and
18 politics towards Yugoslavia? And this was in August, published in August
20 A. First of all, I would have to see the text to verify whether that
21 quote is accurate, but I do believe -- I know that I did say those -- I
22 made -- expressed those general -- that general sentiment.
23 As to whether this eventually happened or not, then we all know
24 that it did.
25 Q. I have the original here. [In English]: "The first priority for
1 US policy should be the indictment of Milosevic. For those who question
2 whether he could be linked directly to the crimes in Bosnia and Croatia, a
3 look at the Yugoslav chain of command leaves no doubt as to his
4 responsibility for crimes against humanity in Kosovo, which is clearly
5 within the mandate of the international Tribunal for war crimes in the
6 former Yugoslavia."
7 [Interpretation] There's your article, the 5th of August, 1998.
8 You can have a look at it.
9 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness see the article.
10 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. [In English] That's on the bottom of second page.
12 A. Thank you. Yes, this looks accurate.
13 JUDGE MAY: Any further comment you'd like to make about it now,
14 Mr. Abrahams? Has it affected in any way your evidence to this Tribunal?
15 THE WITNESS: I believe not, Your Honour. Our call for
16 accountability and our support for this Tribunal as an organisation is
17 consistent with our mandate for justice.
18 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, what are you putting directly to
19 the witness on the basis of the views that he expressed in 1998?
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, somehow it seems to me -- how
21 shall I put it? It seems to be too much of a visionary thing in relation
22 to the events that ensued much later, because August 1998 is a point in
23 time when it would be difficult for anyone to think of indictments. You
24 know that in October 1998 an agreement was reached on the Verification
25 Mission, and the Verification Mission started in November 1998 and that it
1 ended after Rambouillet, and then the NATO aggression followed.
2 So I am suggesting that this is part of the machinery that worked
3 in preparing the crime against Yugoslavia. Well, that's clear, at least,
4 if it's not clear to you --
5 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness deal with that. You heard what the
6 suggestion was, Mr. Abrahams.
7 THE WITNESS: Well, I adamantly reject the allegation that no one
8 was talking about indictments in August 1998. Human Rights Watch
9 absolutely was talking about indictments, and so were other human rights
11 As for the visionary nature, the fact that the indictment, arrest,
12 and trial have all occurred should not be attributed to our paragraph. I
13 think the reasons for this process stem from the acts themselves that were
14 committed on the ground.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. All right. If nothing else, if you are rejecting all of this,
17 isn't this article proof that you and your organisation, Soros, Zimmerman,
18 Abramowitz and all the others were the first who started writing the
19 indictment against me, for reasons that are obvious? Is that right or is
20 that not right?
21 A. I believe that's not right. Our job is to document violations.
22 We do that. We do not start with an end result, a conclusion or an aim
23 and then search for the facts that will lead us to that conclusion. We
24 start with research in the field that leads us up to the end.
25 The fact that we called for an investigation, the fact that we've
1 called for justice is thoroughly consistent with our raison d'etre, which
2 is to document and monitor and report on abuses.
3 Q. But precisely this article, this procedure, doesn't it speak of
4 the contrary, that you started from the end and then you started producing
5 elements that would lead to the desired result that your bosses had in
6 mind? Isn't that right?
7 JUDGE MAY: The witness has answered that question.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, let him answer. He's a
9 writer, a researcher.
10 JUDGE MAY: He's given you his answer. He's explained what
11 happened, and he denies this.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right, then. All right. All
13 right, Mr. May. That's fine.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Abrahams, doesn't it seem to you that this concrete work and
16 activity of yours in relation to this criminal persecution that takes
17 place here, illegally in all fairness but you're taking part in it,
18 doesn't that activity of yours make you unsuitable for testifying here?
19 Especially because you are neither an eyewitness nor an expert.
20 JUDGE MAY: The accused is alleging bias of some sort on your
22 THE WITNESS: I don't know how to answer that exactly other than
23 to say that I believe my work at Human Rights Watch was an honest and
24 objective attempt to document the violations that were committed.
25 As for me not being an expert, that I leave to your judgement, but
1 certainly I do consider myself a witness, because as I mentioned in the
2 direct, I had the opportunity to observe some of the crimes firsthand.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. What did you see with your very own eyes? Please. Did you see a
5 single killing with your very own eyes?
6 A. I witnessed the destruction of civilian property. The burning of
7 Plocica is one example. I witnessed looting. On September 29th near the
8 village of Mlecane, I witnessed policemen carrying boxes and personal
9 goods out of a private home. And I witnessed Gornje Obrinje. I did not
10 witness the killings themselves but I did witness the aftermath; as I
11 mentioned, seven bodies lying in the gully. I also recall that the RTS,
12 the Radio Television Serbia, ran a news piece about the Gornje Obrinje
13 killings which I saw, which claimed that the bodies were actually dolls.
14 Well, I can tell you without any hesitation that I was present in that
15 forest, and I will never in my life forget the smell of the bodies that I
17 Q. You are saying that you are objective from every conceivable point
18 of view, and then you brought a photograph of a burned haystack in an
19 Albanian yard, and you did not bring a single photograph of numerous
20 victims of NATO bombings or of massacres committed by the KLA in places
21 such as Klecka or other places that you are aware of.
22 So on the one hand, you bring a picture of a burned haystack, and
23 on the other side, you do not bring a single photograph whatsoever. Is
24 this an illustration of your objectivity?
25 A. Well, it's not true that we have no photographs of KLA crimes or
1 NATO violations. The reports that were presented here today all include
2 photographs of that sort. Perhaps none of them were presented on this
3 machine, and that is a question for the Prosecution. I provided what --
4 what we thought contributed to this case. But I can certainly go through
5 the reports and show you the photographs that show violations by NATO and
6 the KLA.
7 Q. You say that you will never forget your impressions from Gornje
8 Obrinje. I can understand that. All these scenes have to be horrible.
9 But the question is, do you make a distinction between somebody who is
10 defending himself from terrorism or aggression committed by a foreign
11 power, and this takes place in one's own territory, and on the other hand,
12 somebody who is engaged in terrorism or is carrying out an aggression
13 against an independent state that is resolving its own problems and not
14 jeopardising anybody else? Do you draw a distinction of that kind?
15 A. Let me make one thing clear: Human Rights Watch never questioned
16 your government's or any other government's right to confront an armed
17 insurgency within its borders, even through military means. The question
18 is not whether you can confront an insurgency, it's how you confront that
19 insurgency. And our evidence is overwhelming that the forces of the
20 Serbian police and the Yugoslav army did not adequately minimise damage
21 and killing of civilians, and in many cases targeted them.
22 Q. Well, when you were exploring all of this in 1998, since you had
23 freedom of movement and you communicated with everybody, didn't you know
24 at least then -- there's something wrong with their installations.
25 A. Can you please repeat the question.
1 Q. I'm saying that since you were there in 1998 and 1999 until the
2 war --
3 THE ACCUSED: Somebody's using some machinery.
4 JUDGE MAY: We'll send a message to stop them. Meanwhile --
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. So, in 1998, you were there. Did you know at least then about the
7 very precise orders that were given, that even the KLA should not be fired
8 at if that could endanger civilians? Could you find that out at least
9 from your own people who were there and who took part in various
11 A. I'm not aware of that order, no. I have never seen evidence to --
12 Q. Since you've already mentioned Gornje Obrinje, did I hear you well
13 - and I think I did; by all means it's in the transcript too - that in
14 view of this specific case that you're speaking about, that you explicitly
15 concluded that in that place there had been obvious fighting between the
16 KLA and the police? Is that right?
17 A. That's correct. In the fighting --
18 Q. So in Gornje Obrinje, if there had been evident fighting between
19 the KLA and the police, on the basis of what can you claim whose fire
20 killed these civilians? Were they killed by KLA fire or police fire or in
21 an unestablished manner? On the basis of what do you ascribe this, in
22 fighting that was evident and that you established to be evident, how do
23 you ascribe this to an intention of the police forces?
24 A. The answer to that question is in this book, which I can
25 summarise, of course. There was no question that there was fighting. We
1 believe that 14 Serbian policemen were killed in the fighting that took
2 place in and around Gornje Obrinje. We know that the KLA had a regional
3 base in the town of Likovac, and we know that some villagers of Gornje
4 Obrinje were in the KLA. But we also know that 14 members of the Delijaj
5 family, women and children along with one elderly man whose name I believe
6 was Pajazit, were hiding in the forest.
7 We know this by having inspected the site. There was a small
8 makeshift tent with cooking equipment where they were staying, where they
9 were killed, and by interviewing dozens of people in and around the
10 village. And this comes to the question of our methodology, because our
11 job is to determine how these people were killed, assuming that there is a
12 possibility they were killed -- that they were combatants and killed in
13 combat. We have to assume this might be the case and gather the arguments
14 to prove that it isn't. And in our research, which took place in
15 September and again in December, we concluded that these were civilians
16 hiding in the forest who were attacked, who were murdered. I don't know
17 precisely by whom; special police, PJP, SAJ, MUP reservists, I don't know.
18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Abrahams, we must bring this to a close now
19 because we have to finish and vacate the courtroom. That concludes your
20 answer in any event on that matter. We will resume with cross-examination
21 in the morning. Would you be back at 9.00.
22 Mr. Milosevic, we've determined that you have an extra hour to
23 cross-examine this witness tomorrow. So you should tailor your
24 cross-examination accordingly.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] What do you mean an hour when the
1 entire day has been shortened by one hour when he was examined by Mr.
3 JUDGE MAY: He was examined by Mr. Nice. We have determined the
4 length of that examination. If you have an hour tomorrow, it means that
5 you will have the same time but another 20 minutes or so in addition. So
6 you'll have more than the Prosecution.
7 Now, there was one matter, Mr. Nice, that you wanted to raise. In
8 private session?
9 MR. NICE: Yes, please.
10 JUDGE MAY: If you wouldn't mind waiting just a moment, please,
11 Mr. Abrahams.
12 [Private session]
12 Page 6138 – redacted – private session.
12 Very well. We will adjourn now. Nine o'clock tomorrow.
13 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,
14 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 4th day of June,
15 2002, at 9.00 a.m.