1 Tuesday, 4 June 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
7 WITNESS: FREDERICK CRONIG ABRAHAMS [Resumed]
8 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic: [Continued]
9 Q. [Interpretation] Yesterday, we had reached the events in Donje
10 Obrinje that you had described. In Gornje Obrinje -- in Gornje Obrinje,
11 you were in contact with KDOM; right?
12 A. The contact with KDOM you're referring to was on that morning, the
13 29th of September. Before we arrived in Gornje Obrinje.
14 Q. Yes. That's what it says on page 7, paragraph 3 of your first
15 statement, that you were informed about this by KDOM, American KDOM, that
16 you got this information from them. And when you came to Gornje Obrinje,
17 did you talk to any of the eyewitnesses?
18 A. Well, first of all, it's not correct that we were informed by
19 KDOM. We confirmed the incident with KDOM. More specifically, I was
20 informed of an unconfirmed report on the 28th of September that killings
21 might have taken place in Gornje Obrinje village. And on the 29th, before
22 travelling into Drenica where an offensive was still taking place, myself
23 and my colleagues -- my colleague, together with a journalist from The New
24 York Times, went to the KDOM office to ask two questions. One, whether
25 something had happened in Gornje Obrinje, and they said yes without
1 providing details; and secondly, which road we might take to best avoid
2 land-mines, because in the last day or two, I believe the 26th, a Canadian
3 KDOM vehicle had struck a land-mine. And indeed on -- I believe the 29th
4 or the 30th, an ICRC vehicle also hit a land-mine, and we wanted to be
5 sure that this didn't happen to us.
6 Q. Yes. But my question was whether you then talked to some of the
7 eyewitnesses in Gornje Obrinje.
8 A. Yes, of course. We spoke with every possible person that was in
9 some way helpful to understanding the case. I'm sorry, are you referring
10 to KDOM specifically?
11 Q. No. I had asked you previously about KDOM, and I quoted your
12 statement of the 28th of September. The second question I put to you now
13 was whether you had talked to any of the eyewitnesses. My understanding
14 is that you had talked to eyewitnesses; right?
15 So -- see, in your statement on page 7, that is the first
16 statement you gave, it says: "Some of the people who told us what had
17 happened in their view escaped when the police came. They had not been
18 eyewitnesses of the event."
19 That is to say that, over here, you state that you had talked to
20 persons who had not been eyewitnesses of the event. So it's not that you
21 saw the event take place or the people you talked to.
22 So you did not talk to any of the eyewitnesses who had actually
23 seen the event take place. Let me remind you. It is the penultimate
24 paragraph on page 7. "They were not eyewitnesses of this event." That's
25 what you say.
1 A. That's correct. There were no -- nobody saw the killings
2 directly, but we spoke with the individuals who experienced and witnessed
3 the circumstances around the killings, who could explain for us what
4 happened prior to that moment and after that moment. So we were able to
5 reconstruct the incident.
6 Q. Yes, but on the basis of what you said you could reconstruct, you
7 mentioned yesterday that in that fighting around Gornje Obrinje, 14
8 policemen had died. Doesn't that show, beyond any doubt, that this was
9 serious, heavy fighting?
10 A. Without any doubt, there was fighting in and around Gornje
11 Obrinje. As I mentioned yesterday, the KLA had a base in the nearby
12 village of Likovac. However, none of that, in our opinion and based on
13 the facts, was relevant to the killings of the Delijaj family. There were
14 21 members of the family killed. Fourteen of them were in the forest.
15 That I mentioned yesterday. And they were all women and children --
16 Q. You've explained that. Let's not waste time with this. Let's not
17 waste time with this. You've explained that. I'm trying to clarify one
18 particular point with you, and that is that, quite simply, without any
19 proof, without any conversations with the direct eyewitnesses of this
20 event - and this event involved the killing of 14 policemen - you
21 explained this event as a crime committed by the Serb police; isn't that
23 A. All of the facts have led us to that conclusion, yes.
24 Q. But I could not establish what kind of facts you had, because you
25 were talking to people who were not eyewitnesses, as you can see, and you
1 are drawing conclusions nevertheless.
2 Can you make any comment with regard to this: My associates got
3 by e-mail a letter from George Tintor from New York, a compatriot of
4 yours. Can you make a comment with regard to what he says here:
5 [In English] "[Previous translation continues] ... that Abrahams
6 was working hand in glove with NATO propagandists to smear the Serbs.
7 Abrahams made his statement to CNN just four days after the bombing began
8 and only a day after the US government began its atrocity/genocide
9 propaganda blitz on the Sunday morning news shows in America. Even if
10 Abrahams' allegation were true, it would have been impossible for a person
11 in his position, sitting in New York, to have gathered and verified
12 sufficient evidence in such a short and chaotic period of time to make the
13 claims he made."
14 [Interpretation] He also refers to a letter --
15 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness deal with this. Mr. Milosevic, you
16 are putting matters which the witness should deal with. Remember, you're
17 asking questions. But before you do, tell us, if you would, who this
18 Mr. George Tintor is.
19 THE WITNESS: I'm afraid I'm not familiar with that name, Your
21 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
22 Mr. Milosevic, who is this George Tintor?
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, a compatriot of his, a New
24 Yorker. I wanted to read a letter that he had sent to CNN.
25 JUDGE MAY: No. Let the witness deal with this, insofar as it's
1 of any assistance to the Court: The view of some inhabitant of New York
2 is apparently that you were hand in glove with NATO propagandists to smear
3 the Serbs, and then there's some point here made that even if you were
4 sitting in New York, it would have been impossible for you to have
5 gathered and verified sufficient evidence.
6 So there are two points made by this Mr. Tintor, whoever he may
7 be. You must have the opportunity, since they've been read out, to deal
8 with them.
9 THE WITNESS: Well, regarding the allegation of sitting in New
10 York, I can only stress again what I said yesterday, which is that we
11 conducted our research in the field. This report on the Gornje Obrinje
12 killings was based on more than three weeks of research, as were the other
13 reports. So we were very cautious not to sit in New York and judge the
14 situation from a distance.
15 As for the hand-in-glove conspiracies, you know, again I think the
16 best response is to point to our research, and our reports have been
17 critical of NATO. Our report on NATO even had a different perspective
18 than the ICTY's findings on NATO, the preliminary investigation that the
19 Prosecutor's office conducted, and I believe that we've been balanced in
20 this, in documenting this matter.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. And what do you say to this, to what he wrote in his letter to CNN
23 on that day:
24 [In English] "Abrahams' comments on the situation in Kosovo were
25 shameful. He accuses the Serbs of systematically committing atrocities
1 against the ethnic Albanians, yet his charges are based on no hard
2 evidence but on reports from human rights activists and journalists in
3 Kosovo. Mr. Abrahams fails to mention that these activists and
4 journalists are probably all ethnic Albanian. He uses terms like
5 'pattern,' 'history,' and 'consistent stories' to support his
6 allegation. In general, Mr. Abrahams' presentation seemed too sleek and
7 too well orchestrated to be plausible. It seems that his main purpose was
8 to help the US administration in its desperate attempt to justify the
9 bombing of Serbia. President Clinton knows well that without testimonies
10 like Mr. Abrahams', public support for the bombing would evaporate."
11 [Interpretation] Do you believe that this is true, what George
12 Tintor says, at the time when you were making statements in New York about
13 what was going on in Kosovo? And I am talking --
14 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness deal with it.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right.
16 THE WITNESS: I respect my fellow New Yorkers, but I do not know
17 who this person is. Still, I can respond to his allegations.
18 First of all, I categorically reject the allegation that we
19 accused Serbs of committing atrocities. That is a misrepresentation of
20 our findings. We accused the Serbian and Yugoslav governments, or Serbian
21 and Yugoslav forces, of committing violations, and that is a crucial,
22 crucial distinction I want to make, not to attack the Serbian nation or
23 the Serbian people.
24 Secondly, this report, "Under Orders," has more than 60 pages of
25 footnotes. All of the other reports have a similarly large number of
1 footnotes. And if you look, a large percentage of these footnotes are our
2 interviews in the field. We gave the date and the place of the
4 So it is simply not true that we sit in our offices and concoct or
5 imagine atrocities or use the information from journalists or local human
6 rights activists. Of course we would use their information as a lead or
7 as a confirmation of something we have also documented but not as a
8 primary source.
9 Q. Please --
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, when you cite quotations from
11 persons that are critical of testimony from witnesses, that criticism, in
12 my view, would be more credible and more believable if you knew something
13 more about the person, if you could tell us something more.
14 For example here, George Tintor. He is simply, as the Presiding
15 Judge says, an inhabitant of New York. It would be much more credible,
16 and I think the cross-examination would be much stronger if you had
17 something more to say about the persons whose works you are citing.
18 Here we have Mr. Abrahams. You have criticisms of his testimony.
19 You're entitled to that. But we do know about Mr. Abrahams. What I am
20 suggesting to you is that in future, when you have these quotations, let
21 your researchers tell you a little more about the persons who are making
22 these criticisms.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you for your suggestion. I
24 think that the most important thing here is that the facts that he quotes,
25 that is to say that Mr. George Tintor quotes, are undeniable. They are
2 JUDGE MAY: What facts? What facts, Mr. Milosevic? It was a
3 series of allegations against the witness. No facts at all.
4 Now, Mr. Abrahams, there's a second part of that quotation from
5 Mr. Tintor -- just a moment -- from Mr. Tintor which is probably no longer
6 on the transcript on the screen, but it was this -- and no doubt it's a
7 suggestion which is being adopted by the accused, and you should have a
8 chance to deal with it. The suggestion is that your purpose was to assist
9 the United States administration in justifying their bombing. Now, that
10 is a discussion which is made, and you should have the opportunity to deal
11 with it.
12 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, I -- I reject that allegation. I think
13 our reports have been critical of US foreign policy. We were shouting
14 about human rights violations in Kosovo throughout the 1990s, shouts that
15 were falling on deaf ears in Western capitals. And we then criticised the
16 conduct of the NATO bombing without -- and Human Rights Watch never --
17 never explicitly -- or never called for the bombing. We called for
18 economic and political action, resolute action, to halt the abuses in
19 Kosovo, but I believe our criticisms of the Western governments and NATO
20 are the best response that I can provide to the allegation.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May, when I refer to "facts," I
22 mean the facts that information is second -- the information gathered is
23 secondhand information from so-called activists and from journalists who
24 were involved in the media campaign and the media war against Yugoslavia.
25 So absolutely this kind of credibility cannot be considered seriously.
1 Q. Take another example. Mr. Abrahams, would you like to comment on
2 this? This is a comment from January 29th: [In English] "[Previous
3 translation continues]... categorically rejected Yugoslav government
4 claims that the January 15th attack on Racak were either Kosovo Liberation
5 Army soldiers killed in combat or civilians caught in crossfire."
6 [Interpretation] You are talking about some kind of a detailed
7 investigation of yours. How is that possible?
8 JUDGE MAY: What are you quoting from? Can you tell us that?
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I am quoting a report of Human
10 Rights Watch: "Investigation Finds Yugoslav Forces Guilty of War Crimes
11 in Racak, Kosovo." I'm quoting their very own report.
12 JUDGE MAY: Just indicate -- just indicate which report it is and
13 we can find it.
14 Mr. Abrahams, can you help us? A reference to the 29th of
16 THE WITNESS: Yes. It's in this report, Your Honour, on page 76.
17 JUDGE MAY: Is this Exhibit 198, is that right, "A Week of Terror
18 in Drenica"?
19 THE WITNESS: That's correct.
20 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. Page 76.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. I don't know whether that's it. I quoted what it says here. So
23 you and your activists and your journalists, you give yourselves the right
24 to say that you have carried out a detailed investigation. And it says
25 here: [In English] "The investigation, the organisation, accused
1 organisation," it means Human Rights Watch, "accused Serbian Special
2 Police forces and the Yugoslav army of indiscriminately attacking
3 civilians, torturing detainees, and committing summary executions. The
4 evidence suggests that government forces had direct order to kill village
5 inhabitants over the age of 15."
6 [Interpretation] Please, where did you get this kind of evidence
7 from? Everything that came up afterwards in connection with Racak showed
8 that this was a deception that was organised by William Walker. And this
9 is not true, and that indeed it was members of the KLA who were killed.
10 A. This report - and I believe you're quoting the press release to
11 the report - was based on our field research. As I mentioned yesterday, a
12 Human Rights Watch consultant named Gordana Igric spent one week
13 researching in and around Racak and wrote this report based on her work in
14 the field.
15 Q. So my question is the following: Do you think that Human Rights
16 Watch, by using journalists and activists, could have obtained for itself
17 the right to speak about assessments, to say whether it was a crime or
18 not, whether there was guilt involved, guilt on whose part, et cetera?
19 A. No. We would not base our findings on the work of journalists or
20 activists. We base our findings on our research in the field.
21 Q. Yesterday, you said, when I asked you about how Human Rights Watch
22 was financed, you said that every donation over $5.000 is specially
23 registered. And it contributes to a substantial budget, doesn't it?
24 A. That's correct.
25 Q. Yes. And do you agree that a person has to be pretty rich, quite
1 rich, in order to be able to give donations of over $5.000 to an
2 organisation of this kind?
3 A. Either quite rich or very concerned about the issues.
4 Q. Doesn't it seem to you that this organisation is actually an
5 organisation that is financed by the rich and it helps the rich put the
6 poor under their own control, that that is the core of this organisation
7 that does this under the guise of human rights protection? That is to say
8 that the rich finance this organisation in order to have the poor put
9 under their control.
10 A. No, I don't believe that's the case.
11 Q. Do you think that this is a new type of colonialism and --
12 JUDGE MAY: No. This is taking this well beyond the bounds of
13 possible cross-examination. Now, ask some other questions,
14 Mr. Milosevic.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Now, linked to you yourself, Mr. Abrahams, how come that you as an
18 American, as a New Yorker, as a man who deals in the field of human rights
19 in the organisation called Human Rights Watch, that you take greater care
20 of the human rights of Albanians in Yugoslavia than you do about human
21 rights of Americans in America?
22 JUDGE MAY: Irrelevant. Yes, next question.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Do you have any information as to how many homeless there are, how
25 many hungry people there are in America, how many of the coloured
1 population --
2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, we said you had an hour. If you waste
3 time with irrelevant questions like this, the cross-examination will be
4 brought to an end now. Now, it's a matter for you whether you want to
5 continue with proper questions or irrelevant questions. If you go on with
6 irrelevant questions, the examination will be brought to a close.
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May, we are dealing here with
8 credibility and the purpose of the organisation Human Rights Watch. It is
9 not an irrelevant question, but a pertinent, relevant one.
10 JUDGE MAY: It is quite irrelevant. Do you want to ask more
11 questions or do you want to bring this to a close?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have a great deal of other
13 questions, Mr. May, to ask.
14 JUDGE MAY: Well, go on with them.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. You spoke about Orahovac. Do you know that -- the KLA, you say,
17 attempted to take control of Orahovac. How many Serbs, inhabitants of
18 Orahovac, therefore civilians, disappeared in those two days while the KLA
19 was in control of Orahovac? Page 12, paragraph 3, there you yourself say
20 that 40 Serb civilians went missing during those two days.
21 A. Yes, that's correct. The KLA did briefly take Orahovac, and 85
22 Serbs, civilians, were taken into detention. But after a few days, if my
23 memory serves me correctly, I believe 45 of them were released, and 35 of
24 them remained in custody. And these 35 people are still missing today,
25 and my personal opinion is that they are probably no longer alive. And
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 this is one of the most serious incidents from 1998.
2 Q. Well, there you have it. They didn't kill 40, but 35 Serb
3 civilians in those two days. And you claim and say that in the fighting
4 in Orahovac, 42 persons were killed of Albanian ethnicity. So in the
5 fighting, 42 members of the KLA were killed and 40 Serb civilians
6 disappeared, and you yourself say that they were probably killed because
7 nothing is known of their fate until the present day.
8 Why do you equate the victims that lost their lives in fighting
9 with the civilians that were abducted and later killed without any chance
10 of life? Why now, in that specific case, where we have an attack by the
11 KLA on Orahovac and the killing of civilians on one side and members of
12 the KLA on the other side, a terrorist organisation, you lay the blame at
13 the door of the government forces, as you call them, that is to say, the
14 army and the police of Yugoslavia? Who attacked whom on that occasion?
15 A. As I said, I believe the KLA attempted to take control of
16 Orahovac, starting from the town of Malisevo, which they controlled at
17 that time. I do not believe that we are trying to equate these abuses,
18 and we quite clearly condemn the abductions and what I would call the
19 disappearances of the 35 Serbian civilians.
20 Q. I agree that you're not trying to equate this. On the contrary,
21 you hold the blame with the Yugoslav authorities, the authorities of
22 Serbia. So you're not equating this in any way.
23 But let's go back to your own claims with respect to Gornje
24 Obrinje, where you say that 14 policemen were killed and that there was
25 heavy fighting, and your conclusion was that the Serb forces, as you refer
1 to them, responded disproportionately. What, in your opinion, would be
2 considered proportionate? How many policemen would have had to have been
3 killed for you to have considered it to be proportional?
4 A. Look, the number of victims among armed forces, whether it's 14 or
5 1.400, does not justify the targeting or the killing of one civilian. And
6 I am thoroughly and completely convinced that the members of the Delijaj
7 family were not combatants. They were hiding in the woods, they appeared
8 to have been shot in the head, and I found no evidence to suggest that
9 they were involved in military activities.
10 Q. But you didn't find any evidence either of who they were killed
11 by, from whose fire power; isn't that right?
12 A. Our conclusion was Serbian forces, which is admittedly somewhat
13 vague because we were -- we did not find the evidence to point the finger
14 directly at the special police forces or the anti-terrorist units. And
15 again, we will not make an allegation, a strong allegation, without such
17 Q. So you base your claims on the fact that they were Albanians who
18 were killed, and when it was Albanians who were killed, they must have
19 been killed by Serbs. That is your - how shall I put it? - method of
20 reaching conclusions.
21 Now, do you know how many Albanian terrorists of the KLA killed
22 Albanians in 1998 and 1999? Do you know how many Albanians were killed?
23 A. Well, first of all, I reject the assertion that we assume
24 anything. On the contrary; we, if anything, we assume that a violation
25 has not taken place. We try to find all the evidence to disprove our
1 concern and conduct our investigations with this critical approach in
3 Regarding your question on Albanian victims, in other words,
4 Albanian-on-Albanian violence, I do not have a precise figure, but it is
5 certain that ethnic Albanians were killed, intimidated, physically
6 abused. Mostly these are individuals who were considered to be
7 collaborators with the Serbian state. I am not justifying; I'm explaining
8 the logic. And so this was definitely a problem, and we have reported on
9 that in our report after the NATO bombing in August 1999, the report
10 called "Abuses Against Serbs and Roma in the New Kosovo." There's a
11 section that documents Albanian-on-Albanian crimes.
12 Q. Yes, but as to the victims on the Serb side, you spoke about that
13 after June 1999, that is to say, about these mass crimes. And when you
14 say that they killed ethnic Albanians who were considered collaborators,
15 in a state in which they lived, do you, with your criteria of human
16 rights, accept -- can you accept, for example, that postmen or foresters
17 or physicians working in state hospitals, only because they work for the
18 state authorities in hospitals, forestry reserves, and so on, can be
19 killed just like that, with justified political reasons, saying that they
20 collaborated by carrying on with their profession and doing their job in
21 the country and state they lived in? What kind of criteria are these?
22 Can you accept those? Are they acceptable criteria?
23 A. Well, first of all, it's not true that we only reported on Serbian
24 abuses after the NATO bombing. Our report from 1998 includes an entire
25 chapter on violations by the KLA. We issued other statements as well
1 about the abduction of Serbian journalists and so on.
2 Regarding your question, absolutely not. We don't accept this.
3 Albanians who chose to work for the state, who even chose to work for the
4 police, they have that right. They're citizens of Yugoslavia. And we
5 condemn the violations against them, and we did so.
6 Q. Well, all right. You've just said this in rhetorical fashion.
7 You have come here to testify for alleged war crimes. Did you give
8 testimony about war crimes of the KLA and their leaders, committed by
9 them, in view of the experience you've gained and in view of the fact that
10 you yourself said yesterday that they did commit crimes? Did you make
11 that kind of testimony, referring to their crimes?
12 A. All the information that we published on that issue was given to
13 the Prosecutor's office.
14 Q. That means you treated both sides in completely the same way; is
15 that right?
16 A. I don't understand the question. In what respect?
17 Q. Well, in the sense of elementary morals and ethics, in the sense
18 of accusing the legal forces fighting against terrorism and with respect
19 to the crimes perpetrated by the terrorist groups in Yugoslavia.
20 A. I believe we made honest efforts to be as objective as possible.
21 Q. In the article that you were looking at yesterday, dated the 5th
22 of August, 1998, you wrote the following, words to this effect, and I'm
23 quoting you:
24 "Washington is missing the point that there will be no stability
25 in the Balkans for as long as Milosevic is in power."
1 Now, this stability, does that mean that there will be no
2 occupation? What I mean is that one of the previous witnesses, Paddy
3 Ashdown, who is now an occupying chief in Bosnia-Herzegovina --
4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, first of all, you're supposed to be
5 asking questions, let me remind you. Secondly, we don't want abuse of any
6 sort of anybody here. Now, what's the question?
7 Perhaps, Mr. Abrahams, we can allow you to deal with the
8 quotation. I don't know if you remember it.
9 THE WITNESS: I think I do, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MAY: Would you like to explain that?
11 THE WITNESS: Absolutely. Yes, I wrote this in Op. Ed. That was
12 published in the International Herald Tribune, and I stand 100 per cent
13 behind my words. It was my personal opinion and the opinion of the
14 organisation that the Balkans would remain instable while Milosevic
15 remained in power. And this was not a political view that we then sought
16 to back up or to buttress by finding the facts. This was a conclusion
17 that we reached based on our research in the field, that there was a cycle
18 of violence, a cycle of abuse; there was a continued reluctance to resolve
19 conflicts in a peaceful manner; there was a tendency to antagonise and
20 provoke; there was even, if you indulge a political -- I mean, the opinion
21 that conflict was used for political means. So based on that, we
22 concluded -- or I concluded this line, that stability was impossible as
23 long as that government remained in power.
24 Q. And do you differentiate between cause and effect?
25 A. Can you -- can you clarify the question? In general or in this
1 instance here?
2 Q. Yes. First I mean in general terms. Do you make a difference
3 between cause and effect?
4 A. Yes, I do.
5 Q. How, then, was there nothing of what you have spoken about until
6 the start of the violent criminal behaviour precisely at the beginning of
7 1998 and in 1999? How come up until then? The government was in power up
8 until. Then, it had been in power for a full ten years up until that
9 time. How, then, that there was nothing? It was testimony only when the
10 terrorist attacks began and the killings of policemen, postmen, foresters,
11 civilians and so on. Suddenly this government became a sort of criminal
12 government which was committing crimes in protecting its citizens from
13 crimes in terrorism.
14 A. Kosovo was an extremely violent place for the past decade, and our
15 reports throughout the 1990s document a series and a pattern of abuses and
16 violations. So it's not true that criticisms only came in 1998. We were
17 reporting on these violations prior to the armed conflict and intensified
18 our reporting when the abuses themselves became more intense.
19 Q. Well, all right. You yourself, in your report, spoke about the
20 exodus of Serbs in the 1970s and 1980s and so on. Now, how come this
21 exodus took place, and what happened, in fact, with all that? Did you
22 think about these things? Did you collect information, facts and figures
23 about that? Who exerted violence against whom? Why this exodus of Serbs
24 in those years? At least, what you referred to.
25 A. Yes. Human Rights Watch has addressed that issue, albeit in a
1 historical way because we were not conducting research in the field at
2 that time, but we did conclude that there was some discrimination against
3 the Serbian population of Kosovo in the '80s, in the 1980s. However, we
4 also concluded that this discrimination was nowhere near the extent or
5 intensity of the claims made in Belgrade. I'm referring most specifically
6 to the infamous memorandum of the Academy of Science, which said that
7 genocide was being committed in Kosovo against Serbs. We always believed
8 that this was a gross exaggeration. And while problems did exist, it did
9 not reach that level by any means. And in fact, we also concluded that
10 many Serbs left Kosovo for economic reasons. Kosovo was the poorest
11 region, the poorest province of former Yugoslavia and that this poverty
12 had a very negative effect on inter-ethnic relations and particularly that
13 many Serbs left in order to seek a better life.
14 Q. All right. If you say in the memorandum put out by the Academy of
15 Science, which is the highest scientific institution in Serbia, that they
16 exaggerated, what about -- did your Human Rights Watch go to visit the
17 Academy of Science and ask for an explanation, the arguments put forward,
18 and therefore to publicize this and to test it according to your criteria,
19 that perhaps it wasn't exaggeration? Perhaps they were observations based
20 on facts. Did you do that or did you not?
21 A. Our research in Kosovo began in 1990.
22 Q. You say, on page 3 of your second statement, that is to say that
23 you claim that most of the reports of the Human Rights Watch refer to the
24 abuse of human rights or war crimes which were perpetrated, as you say, by
25 the Serb or Yugoslav authorities because they express an intensity of
1 violation in the field, on the ground. You wrote words to that effect.
2 Do you not feel it to be too obvious and -- that there is too much
3 compatibility between your statement and this false indictment that was
4 raised here? Even when we come to the order in which all these things
5 were set out. You analysed the indictment. You said this yourself. You
6 wrote the statement yourself. So what I'm asking you now is: Do you not
7 seem to feel that this coincidence between the indictment and your
8 statement is very great?
9 A. Well, first of all, it's not correct that I analysed the
10 indictment. I conducted research --
11 Q. Well, that's what you wrote.
12 A. The -- the correct answer is that I conducted research for the
13 Kosovo case.
14 As for the similarities, as you stated, I can only say that the
15 facts led us to our conclusions, the facts as we researched them in the
17 Q. Well, don't you feel that it is precisely these arguments
18 presented by you, as indeed the argumentation of the indictment is, in
19 essence, as is this trial; that is to say that the main goal is to justify
20 the crimes perpetrated by NATO against a sovereign country? Yes or no.
21 JUDGE MAY: We have been over this. It is not for the witness to
22 comment on the purpose of the trial. He is merely here to give evidence.
23 You have made these allegations about justification of the NATO bombing as
24 a reason for his evidence. He's given you his answer. He says it's
25 completely untrue. Now, there's no point going over it again.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Do you claim that it is untrue that your statements were
3 made-to-order, commissioned?
4 A. Yes, I claim that this is untrue.
5 Q. When you say that you did research into the exodus of the Serbs,
6 that issue and other issues and questions in the elaboration of your
7 research, did you cooperate with anybody from Serbia except for the lady
8 that you mentioned?
9 A. Yes. We were in touch with various organisations based in Serbia,
10 some of which I have -- for which I have a very high respect. There are
11 in Serbia some very high-quality human rights organisations that worked in
12 very difficult conditions. I can mention the humanitarian law centre,
13 Fond Za Humanitarno Pravo, the Helsinki Committee, the Belgrade Circle and
14 the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights,
15 among others. And we were -- we were cooperating with many of these
16 organisations and individuals.
17 Q. Do you think that some of those individuals were also activists in
18 the role of self-deprecation and self-accusation of Serbia?
19 A. I can't speak to their personal psyches or the role they played in
20 society other than that I considered many of them to be high-level
21 professionals who worked at great risk to report objectively, something
22 that was not easy to do.
23 Q. You say that the Serbs, on the 24th of March, 1987, in Kosovo
24 Polje demonstrated because they were maltreated by the Albanians. Is that
25 correct? What kind of abuse and maltreatment was it, in fact?
1 A. I'm sorry, could you just repeat the question? I just didn't
2 catch it precisely.
3 Q. You said that the Serbs, in 1987 in Kosovo Polje, demonstrated
4 because they were mistreated by the Albanians. What kind of mistreatment
5 was this? You said you established that. What kind of mistreatment did
6 you establish?
7 A. Yes. There was a degree of discrimination and maltreatment by the
8 local authorities against Serbs. Primarily, this was what I would call
9 a -- sort of ongoing harassment. But this was not a broad pattern of
10 abuse. It was not an extreme abuse, in my opinion. The Serbian community
11 in Kosovo, I think, felt itself very isolated. It was far from Belgrade,
12 far from the heart of Serbia, the geographic centre of Serbia, and they
13 were a minority within Kosovo. So this caused various pressures and was,
14 in my opinion, the motivation for the demonstration to which you are
16 Q. Well, all right. Do you consider it to be logical that in Serbia
17 Serbs should feel themselves to be a minority and should accept being
18 mistreated in the kind of way that you have just explained them to have
19 been mistreated? And let me add this: Do you consider that this was just
20 some sort of -- what did you call them? Benign forms of mistreatment, I
21 think you said. Harassment when they included rapes and killings and
22 various other crimes of that nature. Yes or no. Arson as well.
23 A. I will not belittle any violation of any sort. And the citizens
24 of Yugoslavia had a right to be protected from these violations. The
25 government should -- should pursue all measures to guarantee these
1 protections, absolutely.
2 Q. Where's the problem, then?
3 JUDGE MAY: What problem?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The problem when the government
5 undertakes measures to protect the citizens from terror, persecution, et
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Why, then, is the government, for doing this as a legitimate act,
9 accused of almost carrying out a crime? Not almost but accused of a
11 A. Well, look, the problem is not that the government acted. Again,
12 as I said yesterday, the problem is how the government acted. The
13 government has the right to protect the rights of its citizens. Of course
14 the government is obliged to do that. The government has a right to
15 respond to an armed insurgency. But the government does not have a right
16 to violate its own laws, to violate international norms when pursuing
17 those actions, and that is our criticism of what happened in Kosovo.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. Let me ask you something, please, because you say that all of
20 these are violations committed by the government. You are a New Yorker.
21 How many killings and rapes, for example, are committed every day in New
23 JUDGE MAY: Don't answer that.
24 Yes. Now, Mr. Milosevic, the time is now coming to a close for
25 your cross-examination. If you have another relevant question, you can
1 most certainly ask it.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have many more relevant questions,
3 Mr. May, and I truly do not understand why you are restricting my time,
4 even with regard to this witness, who is a live witness, not one of those
5 famous "bis" witnesses. Why are you restricting my time?
6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, we are not going to argue about this
7 now. Your time is restricted for reasons that you know, because the time
8 in the case is limited, but more seriously, because of the amount of time
9 that you spend on irrelevancies and arguing with witnesses and repetition,
10 and we've just been having examples of it. Now, you can ask two more
11 questions of this witness.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's not that I've been arguing with
13 the witness. I haven't noticed that. That must be your impression.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. You wrote, on page 6, in paragraph 6, that the Assembly of Kosovo,
16 on the 2nd of July, 1990, proclaimed Kosovo an independent constituent
17 element of Yugoslavia. As a researcher, did you ever read the
18 constitution of Yugoslavia?
19 A. I read the relevant sections that pertained to human rights
21 Q. Well, if you've read it, on the basis of what can some kind of an
22 assembly of Albanian separatists be given the status of the parliament of
23 Kosovo, where not only Albanians live, but also Serbs, Roma, Gorani, and
24 many other ethnic groups? Don't you know that this was an illegal
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. We -- the organisation Human Rights Watch never took a position
2 claiming that it was legal or illegal. We stated it as a historical fact
3 that this had taken place.
4 Q. In this text that we've been quoting, you said that a message
5 should be sent to dictators that their violence and lack of respect for
6 human lives will not be tolerated, that they should not hope for that,
7 because the international community will not allow this, only for the
8 purposes of territorial integrity. Do you know that the question of
9 territorial integrity of states is the governing principle of
10 international law, respect for the territorial integrity of every
11 country? Do you know that?
12 A. I know that territorial integrity is a crucial principle in
13 international affairs, but our job as an organisation was to document and
14 report on violations of the law, violations of domestic and international
15 law, and in the case of Kosovo we argued that these violations were
17 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, I'm bringing that to a close. You have
18 now had the hour you were entitled to.
19 Do the amici have any questions?
20 MR. WLADIMIROFF: Yes, Your Honour.
21 Questioned by Mr. Wladimiroff:
22 Q. Mr. Abrahams, the Court has ruled on previous occasions that
23 investigators are not allowed to testify about their assessment of events
24 by passing to the Court their summaries or interpretations of what others
25 have said or witnessed, so it seems to make sense to be very accurate on
1 what you say what you witnessed and actually what is your assessment what
2 others may have witnessed. In your evidence, you say repeatedly "our
3 conclusion," "we found" or "we did not find," "we believe," "we reported,"
4 we this, we that. So what I'm going to do is ask you a few questions
5 about the exhibits that have been tendered.
6 Let's start with Exhibit 145, that is, the book "Under Orders."
7 You have not written all parts of that book, have you?
8 A. No.
9 Q. Can you tell the Court which chapters are written by you?
10 A. The book was primarily written by myself and Benjamin Ward,
11 another researcher. Would you like to know chapter by chapter?
12 Q. Please. Only those written by you.
13 A. By me. I wrote the executive summary, the background, Forces of
14 the Conflict, parts of the overview, I believe about half of it.
15 Q. Would you specify?
16 A. Which parts? Yes. I wrote the part on the killings, death toll,
17 targeted killings, arbitrary arrests, contamination of water wells, and
18 land mines.
19 Q. Right. And please, do go on with the other chapters.
20 A. I wrote the chapter on Djakovica, on Istok, on Orahovac, Pec, the
21 Prizren-Djakovica road, Suva Reka, Vucitrn, the statistical chapter, and
22 some parts of the abuses after June 12th, but that was mostly done by Mr.
24 Q. Right.
25 A. And work of the War Crimes Tribunal, and the legal standards I
1 did, in cooperation with our legal office at Human Rights Watch.
2 Q. Now, looking at those paragraphs you wrote yourself, were these
3 writings the results of what you witnessed by your own fact-finding or
4 were you summarising, editing, evaluating the work of others?
5 A. Which sections are you referring to? Because there are some
7 Q. Well, you told the Court which chapters have been written by you.
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And I'm asking you now which parts of these chapters you wrote
10 were written on the basis of what you witnessed, or were these chapters
11 written on the basis of what other people witnessed and you summarised
12 their reports, evaluated their reports, or edited their reports, and you
13 passed the information, through your book, to the Court?
14 A. It's a combination. Whenever possible, we visited the
15 violation --
16 Q. Mr. Abrahams, please do not say "we." I'm asking you questions.
17 A. Me. Sorry. Yes. I visited a number of the crime scenes, such as
18 Cuska village, Velika Krusa village, Bela Crkva. Otherwise, the findings
19 are based on our interviews.
20 Q. What do you mean by "our interviews"?
21 A. Excuse me. By my interviews. The sections that I wrote were
22 based primarily on the interviews that I conducted. However, there were
23 some -- a few sections -- for example, I recall the village Belanica, or
24 Gornja Studime, that were researched by other individuals, and I collected
25 their notes and wrote the section in consultation with them. There are
1 two or three villages like that. Otherwise, I did the research myself.
2 Q. Thank you. Let's elaborate that for a moment. When you write
3 about the work that has been done by others, do you summarise what they
4 have? Do you interview these people? Do you evaluate their reports? How
5 does the process work?
6 A. The process works like this: We are in touch during the research
7 and discussing the preliminary findings and the approach to the work, but
8 most of the communication is afterwards. All of the interviews are typed
9 up and reviewed carefully by myself and then written up, in consultation
10 with the researcher who did them. This was the case -- I believe it was
11 in the three villages that I mentioned: Belanica, Gornja Studime, and
12 Trnje also. Those were three cases that were researched by someone else.
13 Q. When you say "writing up," does that mean you summarise what you
14 have read or you evaluate what you have read or you interpreted what you
15 have read?
16 A. I would say that I wrote up their findings. That's the best way I
17 know how to express it.
18 Q. Meaning you adopt their conclusions?
19 A. No. We stated the findings that they had obtained through
20 interviews in the field. "They." It's one person I'm referring to.
21 Q. Now, let's go through the exhibits, then, and start with 188,
22 which is your report on Serbia and Montenegro.
23 MR. WLADIMIROFF: May the witness be given that exhibit, please.
24 MR. NICE: Your Honour, while that's being located and handed to
25 the witness, it may just be worth observing with the premise that
1 Mr. Wladimiroff is advancing, the premise that investigators are not
2 allowed to testify about their assessment of events, it's possibly to
3 overstate findings of the Court so far, which has been to the effect that
4 investigators of the OTP are not allowed to summarise materials of others,
5 because of course the Court has expressly allowed for both this document
6 and also other documents from the OSCE.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes, that's absolutely right.
8 MR. WLADIMIROFF: Thank you.
9 Q. On page 40 of that exhibit, you will find the acknowledgment.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Am I right in thinking that you took a part in this report by
12 doing fact-finding missions yourself, and you also took a part in this
13 report by writing and editing the findings of others?
14 A. This report is based on a three-week mission I conducted in
15 Kosovo, travelling around through the various villages of the province,
16 and the findings are based on that research. I would have to look through
17 the report to be precise on answering your question, but I can state
18 unequivocally that secondary sources, reports from other organisations, I
19 believe -- you know, these reports were perhaps cited, but the crux of our
20 findings was the research that we did ourselves.
21 Q. When you say "we," you mean --
22 A. Me. Excuse me. Me.
23 Q. Right. Thank you. Let's go to Exhibit 190. There you will find
24 the acknowledgment on page 29. Again, the same question: What was your
25 participation in this report: fact-finding, writing about the work of
1 others, or a mixture?
2 A. This report was based on research that I conducted over a two-week
3 period in Serbia, to interview the -- essentially, the victims and the
4 witnesses of police abuse after the election of 1996.
5 Q. Thank you. Let's move on to Exhibit 191. There the
6 acknowledgment you can find on page -- where was it again? Perhaps you
7 could help us. Well, actually --
8 A. It's in the very beginning.
9 Q. The very beginning, yes. I've got it in front of me. Written by
10 you, but was it also based on what you witnessed?
11 A. This report is -- primarily is based on my research in Kosovo.
12 Q. And by "your research," you mean you've spoken to the people
13 yourself, you've been there on the spot, or is it you summarise or pass
14 through what others actually have done on the ground?
15 A. Primarily this was based on our research in the field, but as I
16 said, there are cases when we cited the work of others.
17 Q. If you say "our" and "we" --
18 A. I apologise. I'm used to institutional affiliation.
19 Q. Sure.
20 A. That, yes, is based on my research. But as I said, we do
21 occasionally cite the work of others. When we do cite the work of others,
22 we are explicit in that. We give the reference, we provide the source.
23 Q. If you say "sources of others," do you mean people not working
24 within Human Rights Watch?
25 A. That's correct. For example, another organisation.
1 Q. My questions are related more specifically to reports or findings
2 or what was witnessed by those who work within Human Rights Watch and
3 whose report you have seen. Have you seen all the events or have you
4 relied on what has been seen by others working within Human Rights Watch?
5 A. Yes. The findings that we present as our own are based on
6 our research in the field.
7 Q. What you do you mean by "our"?
8 A. I'm sorry. Based on my research in the field, or the research of
9 my colleagues, but ...
10 Q. Right.
11 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Abrahams, could you clarify the additional
12 research which is mentioned on the same page and done by Mr. Bouckaert and
13 some other people.
14 THE WITNESS: Yes. In this report there is research conducted by
15 colleagues. Peter Bouckaert is a researcher who worked on specifically
16 the Gornje Obrinje and Golubovac case, which are included in the appendix,
17 yes, the appendix of this report.
18 Would you like me to explain the other individuals, Your Honour?
19 JUDGE KWON: That's enough.
20 MR. WLADIMIROFF:
21 Q. Thank you.
22 A. They're colleagues of Human Rights Watch.
23 Q. Let's move on to Exhibit 198, please. That's the other booklet.
24 Again, I'll ask you to look at the page dealing with acknowledgement,
25 which is almost the same place as in the previous book.
1 Here it says that on three field missions. These were done by
2 you, conducted by you. What about the other admissions or were there no
3 other missions that are reported in this report? And may I draw your
4 attention to the Racak report.
5 A. This report on Gornje Obrinje and Golubovac is based on three
6 missions, was three missions conducted by myself and Mr. Bouckaert, but
7 you are correct.
8 MR. NICE: Excuse me. There's a problem with the transcript. I
9 don't know if the Chamber is suffering the same problem, and I don't know
10 if it's going to come back, so I just thought I'd mention it.
11 JUDGE MAY: Can we have any assistance on that?
13 THE WITNESS: Yes. This book is based on the three field
14 missions. But you are correct; the appendix, which includes the report on
15 Racak, was based on a fourth mission, so the acknowledgments are slightly
16 inaccurate in that regard. That mission to Racak was conducted in the end
17 of January 1999.
18 MR. WLADIMIROFF:
19 Q. Did you investigate Racak yourself?
20 A. No. No, I did not.
21 Q. Have you been in Racak?
22 A. No, I have not.
23 Q. Let's move on, then, to Exhibit 200. Would you please explain to
24 the Court whether this is written on the basis of your own experience,
25 what you witnessed, or is this a report written on the basis of what
1 others did, not you?
2 A. This report was researched by another person who was working for
3 Human Rights Watch.
4 Q. Thank you. 201. That's the report about "Abuses Against Serbs
5 and Roma in the New Kosovo." I may draw your attention to page 18. Were
6 you involved in this report?
7 A. Yes, I was.
8 Q. And what was the part you took in this report?
9 A. This report was primarily researched and written by Benjamin Ward,
10 a researcher at Human Rights Watch. I contributed to the research.
11 Particularly I recall conducting research among the Roma population. And
12 I also assisted in the writing essentially as an editor for the report.
13 Q. Right. Thank you. 202, please, which is the report on "Kosovo:
14 Rape as a Weapon of 'Ethnic Cleansing.'" And here may I draw your
15 attention to page 38. The acknowledgement indicates that you edited this
16 report. Question: What was your part in writing or researching the
18 A. The -- the primary research was conducted by Martina Vandenberg
19 with assistance from Joanne Mariner. My role was as a -- let's say
20 advisory partner. Mrs. Vandenberg came to Kosovo in August 1999 when I
21 was also there conducting research, and we spent a considerable amount of
22 time together discussing this report, strategising on ways to conduct the
23 research. And I also assisted her in some of the research. I recall that
24 I did an interview with a doctor in Djakovica, for example. But the
25 interviews with women were obviously conducted by Ms. Vandenberg herself
1 and Ms. Mariner.
2 Q. Thank you. Let's proceed then to Exhibit 204, which is the report
3 on "Detentions and Abuse in Kosovo." The same question: What was your
4 part in this report?
5 A. I was the sole researcher and writer of this report.
6 Q. Right. Thank you. We move on to 206 -- excuse me, 205, which is
7 the yellow booklet. Page IX. What was your part in this book?
8 A. Do we have the same?
9 Q. We do have the same.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Roman IX?
12 A. Oh, Roman IX. Sorry.
13 Q. Sorry. Excuse me.
14 A. I was not working at Human Rights Watch during this time.
15 Q. Right. Thank you very much. Finally, Exhibit 206, "Civilian
16 Deaths in the NATO Air Campaign." There I draw your attention to page
17 79 -- 78, that is. Could you tell the Court what your part in this report
19 A. Uh-huh. I conducted the research related to Kosovo of the 90
20 incidents of NATO bombings that caused civilian casualties. Approximately
21 one-third of those incidents were in Kosovo itself. I did some of the
22 research. For example, Dubrava Prison or on the road outside Djakovica, I
23 did the research for that. Mr. Arkin and Mr. Ivanisevic did the research
24 that was in -- outside of Kosovo, in other parts of Yugoslavia.
25 Q. Thank you. Finally, two questions: There were two sets of
1 letters tendered by the Prosecution. One is Exhibit 189. Just very
2 quickly I'll show them to you. These were letters that you drafted
3 yourself and were sent by yourself; is that right?
4 A. That's correct.
5 Q. All right. The other set was Exhibit 192. Were these letters
6 drafted by you and sent by you?
7 A. Yes, they were.
8 Q. But signed by someone else.
9 A. They were signed by my director, but I drafted them and sent
11 Q. And you also checked on these letters, whether there was any
12 response or not?
13 A. That's correct.
14 Q. Thank you. That's all I ask. You have been very helpful.
15 MR. NICE: Probably about five to ten minutes.
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes. It would be more convenient, if we can, to
18 Re-examined by Mr. Nice:
19 Q. Mr. Abrahams, the other researchers you've been dealing with in
20 answer to questions from Mr. Wladimiroff, are they likely to be available
21 and contactable should he want to make contact with them?
22 A. Absolutely.
23 Q. You'll help with that, will you, so he can track them down, if
24 necessary, in case the suggestion is that any of them become witnesses?
25 A. Yes, of course I can do that.
1 Q. As to your reports, various reports, some of them -- we can see
2 many of them were prepared and sent to various addresses well before there
3 was any question of bombing of Serbia or Kosovo; is that correct?
4 A. That is correct.
5 Q. In respect of that period of time when these earlier reports were
6 being published and sent to different people, was there any suggestion of
7 explicable bias levied against Human Rights Watch by the accused or any of
8 the organs of government with which he was associated?
9 A. I'm not aware of any direct accusations levelled at us directly
10 from the government. Certainly there were responses in the press
11 questioning our objectivity from commentators and other individuals.
12 Q. Just so that we can have the flavour, what sort of allegations of
13 bias were levied against Human Rights Watch, and how, if at all, did Human
14 Rights Watch respond to those allegations whatever they may have been?
15 A. Well, it's interesting that in the Balkans we've been accused of
16 being anti-Macedonian, anti-Albanian, anti-Serbian, anti-Croatian, and in
17 this case, we were accused of being anti-Serbian.
18 Q. Any reason given for it? I mean any explicable reason suggested
19 by the accused that you were hand in glove with NATO now, I think, but all
20 that could have been a possibility. Any other explicable reason given or
21 was it just an allegation of bias?
22 A. I can only assume that it stemmed from a displeasure with our
24 MR. NICE: Your Honours, so far as George Tintor is concerned, the
25 author of the document, we've done our research while the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 cross-examination has been going on because the witness was unable to help
2 us with anything about him. He, I think, checks -- he checks out to a
3 website called antiwar.com and regularly writes letters to newspapers on
4 the Serbian cause.
5 Q. It's been suggested that Human Rights Watch is supported only by
6 the rich. Do you have support from people with less than $5.000 to give?
7 A. Absolutely.
8 Q. Do students support you? Do young people support you?
9 A. Yes. Five thousand dollars is the amount above which donations
10 are reported in the annual report. But of course many contributions below
11 that amount also arrive. I can recall even envelopes with pocket change
12 coming into the office.
13 Q. "Under Orders." You've been asked about the amount that you wrote
14 and the amount written by others in some detail. Where there were
15 interviews of other researchers, did you review that material yourself?
16 A. Yes, in-depth.
17 Q. At the stage of preparing for publication of the book, did you
18 review the chapters prepared by your colleague? Did he review the
19 chapters prepared by you?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Were you able to contribute by way of suggesting corrections where
22 things were, in your judgement, in need of correction or reconsideration?
23 A. Yes. This was very much a collaborative project.
24 Q. You tell us that Human Rights Watch was aware of discrimination
25 against Serbs in the 1980s. Can you help us with whether that's
1 published -- whether that's covered in any of your reports or was that
2 really too early to be touched on in any of the reports that you've drawn
3 to our attention?
4 A. That period is covered in the background sections of some
5 reports. Most concretely in the "Under Orders" report. It's in the
6 chapter on background.
7 Q. One matter of detail that you may be able to help us with: We've
8 heard evidence -- I don't know if you can help us one way or the other
9 about it. We've heard evidence of a time when Kosovo Albanians were
10 losing their government jobs or their jobs in the banking sector and
11 matters of that sort, to be replaced by incoming Serbs. Have you any
12 knowledge of that? Have you dealt with that in any of your reports?
13 A. Yes. My work personally deals with that issue tangentially. The
14 only report was the 1996 report where I talk about discrimination. We
15 document discrimination in education and employment. But prior to me, I
16 believe this report "Open Wounds" is the most exhaustive documentation of
17 the period you are -- you are referring to.
18 Q. Exhibit 205. And does that cover, do you recall, this process
19 whereby Serbs were incoming and taking advantage of dismissed Albanians'
20 jobs? And if you don't remember, just say so and we'll check it out.
21 A. I don't know. It documents the discrimination in various sectors
22 of the society.
23 Q. What matter of detail, please. Can you take Exhibit 198, which is
24 the -- that coloured one. At page 76.
25 As you explained to the Chamber, the accused's quotation was from
1 the press release from the 29th of January of 1999 in relation to the
2 events in Racak, and the accused took you to a passage which was the
3 second paragraph, where the press release referred to indiscriminate
4 attacking of civilians, torturing of detainees, and summary executions,
5 and you were asked how that was supportable.
6 Would you please now take Exhibit 200, which is the short report
7 prepared by a colleague and to which you did not contribute. I mention
8 this simply because, in this Chamber, we're not in a position to explore
9 all events in Racak, having to focus on a limited number because of the
10 scale of the incident.
11 If we -- if you have this report of your colleague, we can see on
12 page 2, at the foot of the page, your colleague sets out on the basis of
13 live interviews or interviews with survivors that she had conducted, and
14 she sets out the number of interviews, at the foot of the page Torture,
15 and she goes on there to say what happened in the yard of Sadik Osmani.
16 That goes over on the top of the next page where she sets out in detail,
17 and I'll allow the Chamber perhaps to read it for themselves, if they have
18 it, to save time. She sets out an account of what happened to boys in the
19 yard. And then in the third paragraph, people were searched for weapons,
20 boys were taken out, and the way they were dealt with and so on.
21 So was there material contained in this report to justify the
22 allegations of torture and all the other allegations contained in the
23 press release?
24 A. This report is based on one week's research in and around Racak by
25 Human Rights Watch.
1 Q. But it was with surviving witnesses, and it was, as it were, close
2 to the events at the time?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. Thank you. A matter of geography next which we can deal with in
5 the same exhibit, because the Judges expressed an interest in the
6 geography of Drenica specifically. If we look at the front of the
7 document, there's a map which shows the location of Gornje Obrinje,
8 Golubovac, and Plocica.
9 MR. NICE: It's not a page number. It's immediately after the
10 index. So sorry. The map looks like that. The Chamber will find these
11 places marked in our exhibit, the road atlas, as it were, at page 6. And
12 it's in this square here, the bottom left-hand square of the right-hand
13 page, and you can see the three places, Plocica, Golubovac, and Gornje
14 Obrinje just in the square above. So that's where they're located.
15 Q. The only description in your work that I've been able to find of
16 Drenica can be found in Exhibit 191 at page 18. It's a short quotation
17 where you describe or the authors describe Drenica as a hilly region in
18 Central Kosovo. Are you able to assist the Chamber at all with the
19 borders of the area known as Drenica or is it as general as that?
20 A. Drenica is a region, not a municipality. So I'm not -- I'm not
21 aware of the precise borders. But generally speaking, Drenica stretches
22 from Kormnjan [phoen] near Glogovac - approximately I'm speaking - north
23 to Srbica, and it's bordered on the east by the Cicavica Mountains,
24 stretching west probably 30 or 40 kilometres in the direction of Pec.
25 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nice, I think I noticed Drenica on page 156 in
1 "Under Orders."
2 MR. NICE: Thank you very much, yes.
3 THE WITNESS: That's correct, yes.
4 MR. NICE: Previously left in my room today, but I'll get the
5 Court's copy. Thank you very much.
6 THE WITNESS: Yes. It comprises -- Drenica stretches between the
7 two municipalities of Srbica and Glogovac.
8 MR. NICE:
9 Q. I'm sorry not to have pointed that out to you earlier. I think I
10 have two more questions, one relating again to Exhibit 198 about which you
11 were questioned extensively by the accused.
12 At the time of the publication of this report in February, had the
13 bombing started or not?
14 A. No, the bombing had not started.
15 Q. The whole book was prepared and published before the bombing that
16 it said it supported had even started.
17 A. That's correct.
18 Q. You were criticised yesterday, I think, for your failure to
19 produce photographs of damage done by KLA and NATO. You said such
20 photographs existed and had been considered by you. Do you want to tell
21 us either, (a), in which report we should look to find them, or do you
22 have a raw supply that you'll provide if they're relevant and if the
23 Chamber wants to see them?
24 A. Yes. In brief, the photographs of KLA violations are included in
25 "Under Orders," in the chapter "Abuses After June 12th." I believe there
1 are also -- I can give page references if --
2 Q. Just in general, so we know --
3 A. Yes. In addition, there are photographs of KLA abuses on page 50
4 in the background chapter. There are two photographs in there. And
5 regarding NATO, the -- the report on Civilian Deaths in the NATO Campaign
6 has a series of photographs, more than a dozen, I believe, of damage
7 caused by NATO bombs. And some of these -- those photographs are
8 reproduced in "Under Orders."
9 Q. Thank you very much.
10 MR. NICE: Nothing else.
11 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Abrahams, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
12 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it.
13 THE ACCUSED: Mr. May, I have an objection.
14 JUDGE MAY: You are free to go.
15 Yes, quickly, what is it?
16 THE ACCUSED: I have objection.
17 JUDGE MAY: Yes, quickly, what is it?
18 THE ACCUSED: Very quickly. [Interpretation] You did not allow me
19 to get to my objections, having objected and questioned to all these
20 exhibits which are mere publications and all -- and as I do, I challenge
21 all these photographs. They cannot be exhibits of any kind. They have no
22 probative value, nothing to authenticate them, nothing to prove who these
23 people were, nothing to show whether they are even citizens of Yugoslavia,
24 who these Albanians are, who the dead bodies were, who killed them. And
25 the witness was not in Orahovac when the fighting went on, nor was he in
1 Prekaze on the 5th of March, 1998, nor was he in Racak on the 15th of
2 January, 1999, nor was he in Likosane and Cirez in the days in which he is
3 talking about, nor was he in Suva Reka, Gornje Obrinje when what happened
4 there took place --
5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, I'm going to stop you. We have
6 admitted -- we have admitted his report. We have admitted his
7 photographs. He has identified the places where he says they were taken.
8 We have admitted them. Now, what weight we place upon them will be a
9 matter for us.
10 Now, we're going to adjourn.
11 Mr. Abrahams, as I say, thank you very much for coming. You are
12 free to go.
13 There is one additional matter - apologies to the interpreters for
14 keeping them - and that is that tomorrow and Wednesday, we will sit at
15 9.30. We have the court for the afternoon, and we will go until just
16 after 4.00.
17 MR. NICE: Thank you. I will make adjustments to the witness list
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I should have said tomorrow and Thursday.
20 We will adjourn now for 20 minutes.
21 [The witness withdrew]
22 --- Recess taken at 10.46 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 11.09 a.m.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
25 MR. NICE: Your Honour, before we return to K12, a few necessary
1 administrative matters.
2 First of all, Mr. Walker of OSCE has been contacted, and I'm
3 expecting to speak to him later this morning and hopeful that we can call
4 him next week. In order to call him next week, we would need leave in
5 respect of late service of the B/C/S version of his second statement. The
6 second statement has been served on the accused the second we got it, I
7 think, in English, but, as the Chamber knows, there's a considerable
8 backlog of translation. Nothing much we can do about that. And he hasn't
9 yet had the B/C/S version. I would ask that we have leave to timetable
10 Mr. Walker for next week, notwithstanding that. We will do -- if so, we
11 will do whatever we can to prioritise or add priority to the translation
12 of his statement, but it seems to us that the Chamber would probably be
13 assisted by having as much of the Racak evidence at a similar time rather
14 than divided by a long tract of time.
15 JUDGE MAY: Is the translation available yet?
16 MR. NICE: Not yet. We don't yet know when it's going to be
17 available. We've been simultaneously, I think, pressing that and trying
18 to make contact with Mr. Walker. Ms. Graham is about to give me a note.
19 The accused had it in English on the 26th of March. It should
20 already have come back. So presumably it's only a few days away in
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Well, perhaps you could deal with that at least
23 by the weekend so that he has a chance to read it.
24 MR. NICE: Certainly, Your Honour. Yes. We're expecting perhaps
25 to get the ambassador, if he's available, to travel on the Sunday. Thank
1 you for that.
2 The second point, for information of the accused: We have finally
3 received, through the authorities, Marinkovic's report on Racak. It's in
4 Serbian and, indeed, I think, in Cyrillic. That's being translated and of
5 course will be made available as soon as it can be. I dare say the
6 accused already has access to it himself from other sources.
7 I mention it at this stage, though, for this reason: There's a
8 videotape that is part of the judge's report. It covers various things,
9 including some footage of General Drewienkiewicz, who we've seen, and
10 footage of the arms allegedly found in the course of the inquiry. I may
11 wish to put this video to a witness I'm calling tomorrow, and I will
12 attempt to provide a copy of the video to the accused and to the amici and
13 to the Court today so that they have some advance chance of looking at it.
14 There are some other outstanding matters that I realise are
15 slipping in time. I don't need to deal with them in detail, simply to say
16 that there were some outstanding newspapers, some outstanding unresolved
17 exhibits, and one way or another, Ms. Graham and I and your staff will
18 ensure that we aren't letting things slip too much so that we forget them.
19 Can I turn to the three witnesses of whom you expressed some
20 concerns yesterday? Mehmeti Agron was originally a 92 bis witness, and it
21 was in those circumstances that the original order, January order, of the
22 11th of January, I think, which referred to witness statements of
23 witnesses to be called in person to be disclosed, was not thought to apply
24 to him or other witnesses of the same category. In the event, service of
25 B/C/S versions of his ICTY statement and interview occurred after the
1 trial commenced, but all disclosure was completed on the 25th of January.
2 That's, in fact, before the trial commenced. It was actually before. So
3 all service was completed on the 25th of January.
4 Avdyli, the same situation applies, and he again was, from the
5 beginning, a 92 bis witness. His statements in English were disclosed on
6 the 25th of January, two of the three of them disclosed in B/C/S at that
7 time, the third disclosed, when available, on the 3rd of May. And then
8 there were additional non-ICTY statements which were disclosed on the 23rd
9 of April. So we would respectfully submit that we are in compliance, so
10 far as those witnesses are concerned, although Ms. Graham helpfully
11 reminds me that for Mehmeti, it was only the English statements that were
12 served in advance of the trial; the B/C/S came a little later. There's no
13 prejudice to the accused.
14 The third witness, Agim Jemini, is a witness who we've always
15 intended to call live, and therefore we do need leave to do so. He's a
16 witness who provides evidence of overheard radio communications from the
17 loft in which he was hiding, and it seemed that that evidence would serve
18 a particular purpose, not just crime base, but it had literally a higher
19 significance because of what he was able to overhear. The decision made
20 to call him was being made at the same time as decisions were being made
21 to reduce, wherever possible, the witness list. His ICTY statements were
22 first disclosed in English on the 1st of February, so that was before the
23 trial started; the B/C/S versions on the 15th of March; and there was a
24 second statement in English served on the 13th of February. But again,
25 all a long time ago, and his name has been on the list, so notification of
1 our intent to call him has always been provided, although we haven't
2 formally applied for an amendment to the list. He's here. He's a witness
3 who, in our respectful submission --
4 [Trial Chamber deliberates]
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We shall allow him to be called.
6 MR. NICE: Thank you very much. Your Honour --
7 JUDGE MAY: Before you move from that, there's a Mr. Elshani. Are
8 you proposing to call him? He's at the bottom of the list, described as
9 "may not be called."
10 MR. NICE: No. Elshani we have cut from the list.
11 Your Honour, as to 92 bis rulings, the Chamber has not yet ruled
12 on either Mehmeti, the next witness, I think --
13 JUDGE MAY: I have a distinct recollection that we have done.
14 MR. NICE: In which case, it's our oversight.
15 JUDGE MAY: On all those down certainly as far as Hendrie is
17 MR. NICE: Very well. Well, then if it's permitted for them to be
18 given by 92 bis, that's all I --
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
20 MR. NICE: -- we need know. I'm grateful. There's K7 tomorrow,
21 and I'm not sure what the view was on him. He may fall into a different
23 JUDGE MAY: No, I don't think we have yet dealt with K7.
24 MR. NICE: We are preparing for him fully today, he being in a
25 different category, and we will, of course, simply abide the announcement
1 of the decision.
2 Your Honour, that brings me to one point. We recall Your Honour
3 limiting the -- announcing a limitation to 45 minutes of cross-examination
4 for the accused in respect of crime-base 92 bis witnesses, but it may be
5 that the accused had yet to have an opportunity to address the Chamber on
6 that point, and it may have been that was reserved for discussion.
7 That apart, I come back to the witness who started off yesterday,
8 K12, and would invite the Chamber to allow us to go into private session
9 just for a couple of minutes.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
11 [Private session]
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
12 Pages 6192 to 6195 – redacted – private session.
11 [Open session]
12 MR. NICE: The reasons for private session were entirely limited
13 and as I explained.
14 WITNESS: WITNESS K12
15 [Witness answered through interpreter]
16 JUDGE MAY: Witness, K12, you are now back here. You'll remember
17 that you have taken a declaration to tell the truth, and counsel will ask
18 you some questions.
19 Examined by Mr. Nice: [Continued]
20 Q. K12, I asked you yesterday about whether you had done national
21 service. Do you remember answering that question? You said you had
23 A. Is he asking me something? Is he asking me to confirm something?
24 What is this?
25 Q. Did you do national service in Yugoslavia?
1 A. I did do my military service, and I think I said that yesterday.
2 Please tell him, tell the Judge that I have had enough of this
3 psychological processing for two days now, and I've been confused even
4 more and more. I cannot testify on anyone's behalf today, and leave me
5 alone. I'll go crazy this way. And --
6 JUDGE MAY: Witness -- Witness K12. You must understand your
7 position. You are in front of a court of law which has summoned you to
8 give evidence. You have declined to do so. We have considered our powers
9 in relation to this, and they are these: that we may, in the exercise of
10 our powers, hold in contempt those who knowingly and wilfully interfere
11 with the administration of justice, and that includes any person who,
12 being a witness before a Chamber, perversely refuses or fails to answer a
14 Now, you should understand that we have a power to hold you in
15 contempt for refusing to answer the questions which have been properly
16 asked by the Prosecutor.
17 Now, are you going to answer the questions or not?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If they think I'm guilty of
19 something, then they can put me into prison. If they don't understand why
20 I cannot testify, then I can't explain it any better than this. I've
21 tried to explain this, but if I cannot, I cannot. And if they should
22 think I should go to prison, I'll go to prison, and I'll sit there for as
23 long as it takes. I have more problems now than if I were in prison. So
24 just put me in prison, then.
25 JUDGE MAY: Very well. You are refusing to answer the questions
1 of the Court. We make a finding that you are in contempt of this Tribunal
2 as a result of your refusal to answer questions. We direct the Prosecutor
3 to initiate proceedings against you. We will order the Registrar, if you
4 make an application, to provide counsel for you. You will return to this
5 Tribunal to be dealt, when your explanation or explanations of counsel
6 will be considered, and we will decide what is an appropriate punishment
7 for this contempt.
8 Meanwhile, you will remain on the list of witnesses as a witness
9 who is listed to give evidence. Should you change your mind and decide to
10 give evidence, you should notify the Prosecutor, and you will be called.
11 Meanwhile, you'll be notified of a date for you to appear here again to be
12 dealt with for your contempt.
13 The Court will now rise for five minutes before continuing with
14 the next witness.
15 MR. NICE: Your Honour, might it be --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I have understood this.
17 MR. NICE: Might it be prudent to identify a first return date for
18 the witness and for those who have to know about his return to the court
19 on the basis that if we cannot meet that first return date for any reason,
20 we will adjourn it?
21 JUDGE MAY: Very well. A month. Twenty-eight days.
22 MR. NICE: We will find the date and the calendar and agree with
23 the Registrar.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Twenty-eight days. The Court will adjourn for
25 five minutes.
1 --- Break taken at 11.39 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 11.48 a.m.
3 [The witness entered court]
4 THE ACCUSED: Mr. May, I have an objection before we start.
5 JUDGE MAY: We're going to hear this particular -- does it relate
6 to this witness?
7 THE ACCUSED: No. This has to do with what was going on a short
8 while ago. I have a very serious objection.
9 JUDGE MAY: We'll hear the witness. We'll hear any objection at
10 the end of the day.
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Can I know who the witness is?
13 JUDGE MAY: In a moment.
14 Just read out the declaration, if you would.
15 Somebody check the declaration is in the right language.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
17 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes. If you'd like to take a seat.
19 WITNESS: AGRON MEHMETI
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 JUDGE MAY: Would you begin with your full name, please.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Me?
23 Examined by Ms. Romano:
24 Q. Yes.
25 A. Agron Mehmeti.
1 Q. Mr. Mehmeti, where were you born?
2 A. In the village of Recak.
3 Q. And when were you born?
4 A. 15th of July, 1976.
5 Q. Are you a Kosovar Albanian?
6 A. Yes. I am an Albanian of Kosova.
7 Q. And do you work as a coordinator for the Mother Theresa Society?
8 A. I have done. At the moment, I'm out of work.
9 Q. Mr. Mehmeti, you gave two statements for the Office of the
10 Prosecutor. One on 12 December 1999, and the second one on 24th of
11 August, 2001; is that correct?
12 A. The first is correct. Could you explain the second one again to
13 me, if possible?
14 Q. On the 24th of August, 2001.
15 A. Yes, that's right.
16 Q. And you attended a meeting on the 6th of February, 2002, where
17 were present an office of this Tribunal -- a presiding officer for this
18 Tribunal, and at that opportunity, the two statements were read out for
19 you, and you were provided also with a copy in the Albanian language; is
20 that correct?
21 A. Yes. This was sometime at the beginning of February.
22 Q. And you had the opportunity to review the content of the two
23 statements and ascertain that they were true and correct?
24 A. They were accurate, and if -- I do have some slight explanations
25 to make, if the Court will permit me.
1 Q. Yes. We will do it in the proper manner.
2 MS. ROMANO: The Prosecution would like to submit the two
3 statements into evidence.
4 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 207.
5 MS. ROMANO: The summary of the witness statement is the
6 following: The witness states that there were unprovoked attacks on the
7 village of Racak by Serb forces in the latter part of 1998. During this
8 time, there was shelling and there were several houses damaged or
10 On 14 June 1998, a Serb policeman was killed in Caraleva, which
11 led to a crackdown on the Kosovo Albanian population who were no longer
12 able to travel to Stimlje.
13 On 25 July 1998, there was a Serb offensive on the village of
14 Zborce, about six kilometres away. The village of Racak was then
15 attacked. The witness evacuated his family to another village, during
16 which they were shot at by Serb forces.
17 On 23 August 1998, the Serb police and army started firing at the
18 village of Racak. The villagers took refuge in Shukri Hajrizi's basement
19 but were later removed by the police. The head of each household was
20 taken away by the police and their houses were searched. Around 80 houses
21 were set on fire.
22 On 15 January 1999, the witness's uncle, Bajram, woke him as he
23 had heard explosions in the village. The witness then heard gunfire. He
24 went to take shelter in Idriz Hajrizi's house next door. There were other
25 people seeking refuge there, some of whom decided to flee in the vehicles
1 of Veshta. En route, they were fired on. The witness's cousin Elham was
2 injured in the leg. Bajram was shot in the head, and Hanemshah were shot
3 in the chest. Both Bajram and Hanemshah died. The survivors took refuge
4 in a house until dark, when they went to retrieve the bodies of the
6 The following day, the witness learned that there had been a
7 massacre in the village.
8 Can I have the witness shown the Racak binder, tab 7. There are a
9 series of photos in this tab. I would like the witness to be shown --
10 it's in the middle of the tab. It's crime location 3, scene 7. The ERN
11 number is K0214950.
12 I will start with photo number 1. It's the following sheet.
13 Mr. Usher, if you can put this photo on the ELMO for the witness.
14 Q. Witness, very briefly, can you explain to the Court what is in the
15 photo, what you can see.
16 A. The photograph is of the village of Recak, and this is the lower
17 neighbourhood, round the village mosque.
18 Q. And can you show where you were or where happened -- where Bajram
19 and Hanemshah died or where did you took -- did you take refuge?
20 A. The houses where we took shelter are not visible on this
21 photograph. I think I need another photograph.
22 MS. ROMANO: Can we move to photograph number 6.
23 THE ACCUSED: I have objection.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes?
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Are these photographs which were
1 taken by Kelly? Because I can see the crime scene denotes "Crime Scene 1"
2 and "Crime Scene 2." Those are Kelly's photographs, are they? And I
3 understood that the witness was rejected. So how can we be using his
5 JUDGE MAY: The photographs have been admitted. The binders have
6 been admitted. The fact that it says "Crime Scene" on it is totally
9 THE WITNESS: Yes, okay. [Interpretation] This is in order. This
10 photograph relates to me.
11 MS. ROMANO:
12 Q. But, Witness, before -- before we check -- we change already to
13 photo 6. Can you --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
15 MS. ROMANO:
16 Q. Witness, can you explain to the Court what is in the photo 6, what
17 is in this photo?
18 A. Yes, I can explain, if the Court will allow me to make a short
20 Q. Very briefly.
21 A. This is -- this photograph was no doubt taken after the war,
22 because I can see a change here. This pipe was not here, placed in the
23 stream, was not there. It was put there in the year 2000 or 2001.
24 Q. Witness, I'm sorry. What I want you to tell the Court is what is
25 this location? What does this location refer to during 1999? The changes
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 are not relevant.
2 A. Yes. Only the pipe wasn't here -- there at the time, that iron
3 pipe for -- to carry water.
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Tell us what happened in relation to that scene.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This is the place where my uncle
6 Bajram was killed. He was -- and my uncle's daughter Hanemshah was also
7 shot dead. And then Hani Mehmeti was also wounded. Makfire Hajrizi was
8 also wounded. This stream, we all jumped into this stream with the
9 exception of Bajram. Hanemshah was able to walk for about five or six
10 metres, and -- and while jumping into the stream, this is where Makfire
11 Hajrizi was wounded.
12 MS. ROMANO:
13 Q. Thank you, Witness. And are the two persons that you mentioned,
14 Hanemshah and Bajram, are the persons in photos 8 and 9?
15 A. I don't see the photographs, but no doubt they are.
16 Q. The usher will provide you.
17 A. Thank you. Yes, this is Hanemshah, 22 years old, Bajram's
18 daughter. And this is Bajram, 54 years old. If you wish, I can explain
19 when these photographs were taken.
20 Q. No. That's not -- that's not necessary, Witness. I just would
21 like you to go back.
22 MS. ROMANO: If the usher can put again photo number 1.
23 Q. And I just would like you, if you can, show to the Court in that
24 big photo where it's located. Where did it happen? Can you see in this
1 A. It's not in this photograph.
2 Q. Then photo number 2.
3 A. No. No. No.
4 Q. Is Idriz Hajrizi's house over there?
5 A. What I can see here are the houses of the mosque neighbourhood.
6 Q. Thank you, Witness. Witness, when you gave the second statement
7 to the Court, you were -- investigator Kelly, Barney Kelly, provided you
8 with several photos of unidentified bodies, and you identified one by
9 one. Do you remember that?
10 A. All these massacred people from the village of Recak whom I
11 identified, I'm able today to identify them again today, if the Court
12 wishes, by their first and second names and their dates of birth. And I
13 could say two or three sentences about each person.
14 Q. No, Witness. It's not necessary. I just want you to confirm if
15 the photos that I will show you right now are the photos that were shown
16 to you and that's the ones you made the identification. And I --
17 MS. ROMANO: Those photos are not in the Racak binder, and I have
18 copies here, but I will need the colour copy back again to produce more
19 colour copies. These are the colour ones.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Prosecutor, if you allow me --
21 JUDGE MAY: No. No. If you will just allow me.
22 I don't think we need to go through all this evidence. We have
23 the binders.
24 MS. ROMANO: No, Your Honour. I just said they're not in the
1 JUDGE MAY: All right. Well, very, very quickly, please.
2 MS. ROMANO: I will not go through the identification. The
3 identification has already been made in the statement. I just want the
4 witness to confirm that these are the photos that were shown to him at the
6 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Would you just look at the photographs for
7 that purpose.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This person I see here, RA170 --
9 MS. ROMANO:
10 Q. You don't need -- you have already done the identification. You
11 just need to tell the Court if you have seen these photos before.
12 A. Yes. Can I go through them?
13 Q. No. You have already. Thank you. You've done this. It's not
14 necessary. Thank you very much.
15 A. Prosecutor, if -- it's not clear to me when we saw the photographs
16 of where we set off on the 15th January and when we left the Hajrizi
17 house. May I see them now?
18 JUDGE MAY: Let the Prosecutor decide what is relevant. We are
19 having to adopt here, because of the shortage of time, rather abbreviated
20 procedures. We're grateful to you for coming to give evidence, but I'm
21 afraid we can't hear every detail.
22 Ms. Romano, is there anything else?
23 MS. ROMANO: No. I just think that he was confused with the first
24 map, with the first big photo, because previously, in proofing, he
25 identified that map as the house, so I think he was a little bit
1 confused. But that's not a big issue. I think we can proceed.
2 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
3 MS. ROMANO: So no further questions.
4 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, you've heard us say that we intend, for
5 witnesses who deal with the various crimes under Rule 92 bis, their
6 statements having been admitted, that we are intending to restrict your
7 cross-examination to three quarters of an hour. The reason is that we've
8 had experience of your cross-examination now over the last few weeks. A
9 great deal of time is taken up with repetition and argument and sometimes
10 irrelevancies. Now, do you want to say something about that, as to why we
11 shouldn't restrict you in that way?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, yes, I do. Because you're
13 referring to experience, experience from the previous cross-examination,
14 then you could draw from that experience just one conclusion, and that is
15 the following: that there was one hour of cross-examination which was,
16 without a doubt, insufficient, because for all witnesses that I
17 cross-examined, within a limited time of one hour, you interrupted me,
18 leaving many questions not asked. And so now, instead of increasing my
19 time for cross-examination, based on what you have learnt from that
20 experience, you are shortening the period at the request of the opposite
21 side, that has trouble with time and sticking to timetables, so that the
22 problems of the opposite side you are solving by restricting my
23 cross-examination and limiting my time. So I continue to object to my
24 time being curtailed and I continue to demand that it be -- that I be
25 given at least one hour, which even that I consider to be insufficient.
1 And you were able to see yourself that when I did not have many questions
2 to ask witnesses, I would cross-examine them for quite a lot less than one
3 hour, so I did not avail myself of that one hour you accorded me.
4 JUDGE MAY: I will deal with this matter and those issues which
5 you raise.
6 First of all, there is no truth in your suggestion that this rule
7 was made at the application of the Prosecution. It was not. It was
8 purely based on the time which you've wasted in your cross-examination.
9 And the reason that you are interrupted, and will be if you continue, is
10 because you ask either lengthy, repetitious, or argumentative or
11 irrelevant questions. If you do that, you will be interrupted; if you
12 don't, you won't be. Having had the experience of the last few weeks,
13 when, I think out of the 67 witnesses, 66 that we've heard, I doubt if
14 there are more than two or three that you haven't taken up any moment or
15 any time that you are allowed, but two or three, if that, have gone
16 short. So for those reasons, we shall restrict you to three quarters of
17 an hour from now on for these witnesses.
18 Yes. Well, it may be convenient now, in fact, to take the break
19 before we begin the cross-examination. We'll break now for a quarter of
20 an hour.
21 Mr. Mehmeti, you are giving evidence. Don't speak to anybody
22 during the break, please, about it until it's over.
23 We'll be back at half past.
24 --- Recess taken at 12.13 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 12.32 p.m.
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
2 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
3 Q. [Interpretation] First let's begin with the questions that were
4 linked to the oral --
5 JUDGE MAY: We don't need the binder any more.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. You said a moment ago the unjustified attacks on Racak in 1998.
8 Is it true that nobody got killed in those attacks?
9 A. In 1998, nobody was killed in Recak.
10 Q. And is it true that the police went searching for weapons during
11 what those -- as you call them, unjustified attacks?
12 A. I don't know whether the police were looking for weapons. They
13 came on the 23rd of August, 1998, and burned 80 houses in our village and
14 took two people with them.
15 Q. And with respect to what you said, that on the 14th of June, 1998,
16 a policeman was killed, do you consider that it was unjustified for the
17 police to come searching for weapons and to seek out the killer of the
19 A. The policeman was not killed in Recak, and I don't know what kind
20 of a question this is.
21 Q. Well, a moment ago, you yourself said that on the 14th of June,
22 1998, a policeman was killed.
23 A. I said that it was suspected that he was killed, but he wasn't
24 killed in Recak.
25 Q. But he was killed somewhere round Racak; is that right?
1 A. It is suspected that he was killed in Caraleva.
2 Q. You said that the consequence of this was that the police was
3 present and that you couldn't travel to Stimlje. Why weren't you able to
4 travel to Stimlje?
5 A. No. No. The police were there before, but there was a policeman
6 killed, if indeed he was killed. There was a post block at -- there was a
7 checkpoint and there was the army that was sited at the Pishat of Shtime,
8 and there was no way we could get to Shtime. I don't see any point in
9 going through these.
10 Q. Well, you could pass through the checkpoint. Were you able to
11 pass through the checkpoint or not?
12 A. No. To go to Shtime, no. There was a checkpoint at the
13 crossroads, but I didn't have any reason to put myself in any danger.
14 They -- there was no reason why I should put myself at risk in this way.
15 Q. All right. Now, you described the 15th of January by saying the
16 following, and I want to ask you whether this is correct: You said that
17 your uncle heard some firing, some shots, and that he fled to Hajrizi's
18 house, and that some citizens were running, that one person was wounded in
19 the leg, another in the head, and a third in the chest. That's how you
20 described this whole event. And then you said that you heard later that
21 there had been a massacre in the village.
22 Now, is that what you said or not?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I could ask you to ask
24 for the accused not to put such long questions, because I must give
25 detailed explanations.
1 JUDGE MAY: What is it that you don't understand?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand, but if I have to
3 answer such very long questions, it will take me a long time.
4 JUDGE MAY: Just answer as best you can. We will get on more
5 quickly if you'll just answer and don't get into arguments.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Excuse me, but I don't know how to
7 answer in brief to such long questions.
8 JUDGE MAY: Ask the witness another question, please,
9 Mr. Milosevic.
10 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. You say in your first statement that your profession at the time
12 when you made the statement was a coordinator for the Mother Theresa
13 Society, and a moment ago, in response to a question asked by Ms. Romano,
14 you said that you no longer worked for Mother Theresa. When did you cease
15 working for her?
16 A. I still have the badge of the Mother Theresa association here, if
17 the Court needs to see it. I used to be a worker for the association, but
18 at the moment, their association is not working because the emergency in
19 our village has now passed and there is no aid -- no need for aid of this
21 Q. All right. Now, in addition to that, you said that you replaced
22 the priest. Are you still his replacement?
23 A. No. No, no, no. We Muslims don't have priests. We have an imam
24 called a hoxhe, and I take his place at some times when he's not there.
25 And I must -- and I must say here that I wish to see the transcript in
1 Albanian. I've got it here in English.
2 JUDGE MAY: You can't have it.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Is that what you're doing now too?
5 JUDGE MAY: The transcript is only in English.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. You said in your statement, on page 1, in your first statement,
9 you said the problem of Albanians in Kosovo became worse with the killing
10 in the village of Prekaze, and they forced the Albanians to take on a
11 peaceful action.
12 Now, are you aware -- do you know that in 1998, a great wave of
13 terrorism started? Yes or no.
14 A. I don't understand this phrase "wave of terrorism," unless you're
15 talking about your own police and army that committed acts of terrorism
16 against the Albanian population. I can see no other meaning for this
18 Q. I'm asking you about the terrorist operations of the KLA, which
19 were numerous in 1998 and in which many people were killed, both Serbs and
20 Albanians and other ethnic groups, soldiers and policemen. Is that
21 correct or not?
22 A. For me, the KLA is a liberation army, and I don't understand the
23 phraseology you're using.
24 Q. What the KLA did, is that what you refer to by saying that it was
25 a peaceful action?
1 A. No, no, no. I'm talking about the civilian population which went
2 in for peaceful demonstrations in the town of Shtime for 54 days on end.
3 This is not an act of terrorism. We went out and protested.
4 Q. I asked you about the KLA, and you said the Albanians were taking
5 on peaceful actions.
6 JUDGE MAY: You're at cross-purposes. Just ask another question.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. You link that up with the events in Prekaz. How far is your
9 village of Racak from Prekaz?
10 A. I can't say exactly in kilometres because Prekaz is in the north
11 of Kosova and Recak is in the central southern portion.
12 Q. Well, it's about 70 kilometres. That's right, isn't it, if you go
13 via Pristina and Mitrovica?
14 A. No, no, no. I don't know exactly, but it's -- it's a long way and
15 in an entirely different municipality. No doubt in Skenderaj
17 Q. And in the course of 1998 in the village of Racak and in the
18 Stimlje municipality, were there any incidents, situations in which there
19 were incidents of any kind?
20 A. What I call incidents are the arrival of the Serbian police and
21 army on 23rd of August when they burnt houses and expelled us from the
22 places where we were. I don't know what else you could call an incident,
23 burning people's houses merely because they're Albanians.
24 Q. All right. Now, as a moment ago you questioned the killing of the
25 policeman, you write in your first statement, on page 2, and I quote:
1 "On the 14th of June, a Serb policeman was killed, and after that
2 we were not able to go to Shtime."
3 Is that right or not?
4 A. Not only that the Serbian police was killed. That's not the only
5 reason. Even before it was suspected that the Serbian policeman was
6 killed, the road was blocked and we were unable to go to Shtime for
7 protests or even to buy our groceries, and this was what the police did.
8 And if you're interested in evidence about whether the Serbian policeman
9 was killed or not, I can provide some details and evidence.
10 Q. All right. In the next paragraph, you say: "It seems that a
11 policeman was killed in Crnoljevo." Are you describing the same killing
12 when you say that? Do you have in mind the same killing, the same murder,
13 or another killing?
14 A. No. This is the claim, that there was a policeman killed there.
15 On the basis of information that we had and heard on the television and
16 were transmitted in Serbian, or it was sometimes translated into Albanian,
17 it is thought that there was an incident at Caraleva where a Serbian
18 policeman was killed, but I wasn't there in Caraleva, so I can't exactly
19 tell you whether it happened or not.
20 Q. When you say that on the 25th of July, 1998 an attack was launched
21 on the village of Zborce, my question to you is: Why were you in danger,
22 when you say in your statement that that village is about six kilometres
23 away from Racak?
24 A. It's six kilometres from Recak. And from the Pishat of Shtime and
25 Cesta and Podja e Geshtenjeve, they shelled the village of Zborc from
1 these positions and also shelled Recak and other villages of Shtime
2 municipality. We saw them shelling Zborc. We were not a thousand metres
3 away from them. How should we not be afraid? Because in this kind of
4 threat, we were unable to stay in the village. Think of the noise.
5 Q. You say:
6 "They shot at us from a hill. They did not hit us. But I do not
7 think that they were intending to hit any one of us but rather to frighten
8 the fleeing refugees."
9 Do you still stand by what you said there?
10 A. Yes. This might be true. But just a moment, please. Please.
11 Someone who is firing, this is an attempt at murder. I don't know how
12 somebody can be -- with armoured vehicles. Is there anywhere in the world
13 can it be allowed for this sort of thing to happen and people not be
15 Q. Of the 2.300 inhabitants of Racak, how many of them were KLA?
16 A. Recak had 2.370 inhabitants. These were civilians. I don't know
17 exactly how many were soldiers of the KLA, and I have no authority to
18 speak on this. No doubt a witness will come who may be able to tell you
20 Q. All right. But roughly speaking. Tell us roughly. Give us a
21 rough estimate. You don't know exactly, but you have an idea, I assume,
22 of how many, approximately.
23 A. I can't even really give you an idea, because I wasn't involved in
24 the KLA and I didn't have lists, so I can't give you an exact figure.
25 Q. But you say in your first statement, on page 2, for the period
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 after the killing of the policeman on the 14th of June, and I'm quoting
2 you: "The KLA was gradually coming into prominence and engaged the
3 Serbs." So you do have an idea about this. Explain the meaning of that
4 observation of yours, if you do not have an idea about it, as you now
6 A. The KLA, based on media reports of the time - that is what I
7 relied on - it wasn't the liberation army of Recak or Shtime. It was
8 called the Kosova Liberation Army, so it covered the whole territory of
10 Q. And then you go on to say, after this, after saying the KLA was
11 gradually coming into prominence, you go on to say that that is why the
12 Serbs took energetic measures and carried out an aggression. Is that the
13 point of your explanation, that the Serbs reacted to the activities of the
14 KLA? Is that right or not? Yes or no.
15 A. No, I can't have a yes or no answer to this, because I don't have
16 a brief answer to give if the Serbian police and army took measures
17 against the KLA, because -- and the orders came from yourself, from the
18 accused to attack the village of Recak.
19 Q. But you said that because the KLA was gradually coming into
20 prominence and engaged the Serbs, that that was why the Serbs took
21 energetic measures and carried out an aggression. So what I'm asking you
22 is: Is it true or not that the forces of the police reacted to the
23 activities of the KLA? Is that so or not?
24 A. I do not know. The KLA on a territory-wide Kosova. I do not mean
25 the KLA in a village, in a neighbourhood, or something.
1 Q. Well, that means your village too, and that's why I'm asking you:
2 How many were there in your village?
3 A. There were no soldiers of the Kosova Liberation Army in my
4 village. As I said earlier, I can only reply here regarding civilians who
5 I lived with in my village. If you've got any questions on those, I can
6 provide an answer.
7 Q. And do you know how long the trenches are, the trenches that the
8 members of the KLA had dug and used in the village of Zborce that you're
9 referring to?
10 A. No, I do not know. I haven't been there to see the trenches. But
11 it's six kilometres away from Recak. I haven't been there to see them.
12 Q. But a minute ago you said that you were watching the activities of
13 the police from a distance of one kilometre.
14 A. Pishat e Shtime is about a kilometre away, and as I put it
15 earlier, it's fifty metres to a thousand metres away, north-west of
16 Shtime, and from there, the village of Zborc was being shelled at. And I
17 have -- I've seen the APCs, the Prikolica, and the Pragas shelling out.
18 I've seen the shells coming out of there, but I haven't seen where they
19 landed. It's quite a big difference between the two.
20 Q. When you say that there were about three to four hundred people
21 left in the village - I'm quoting you:
22 "I had to keep the good name of my family, just like other men did
23 at the time. They stayed behind in the village to protect their
25 So 300, 400 men remained to protect their property. What does
1 that mean?
2 A. There were not only men who remained behind. There were also some
3 other families who were not scared as much, and some stayed behind. In my
4 statement, I said they stayed to look after their animals. And I cannot
5 even understand this. It's absurd, as far as I'm concerned, to be evicted
6 from my own property just because of ethnicity, because of being an
8 Q. But you said yourself that you remained to tend to the cattle, the
9 crops, that you were sending your family vegetables from the vegetable
10 garden, et cetera. So what you say, is that proof of the fact that nobody
11 impeded these everyday activities of yours and of the other men who had
12 stayed behind in the village? Isn't that telling proof of this?
13 A. Unless were they not inhibited. I just cannot understand that. I
14 did not say that. The threats were there, and it's only after the war
15 that I have been able to come to terms with the whole wave of threats
16 coming from the shells from your Serbian police and army. I mean, the
17 threats, of course, were unable to prevent the growth of tomatoes and
18 other groceries, other plants, because water comes of its own accord. All
19 I had to do was take 15 minutes and go and tend to them. Maybe I'm wrong,
20 but I don't think you can stop the growth of vegetables, because if you
21 had that possibility, you would probably have taken it.
22 Q. In your statement, you said that during that period, that is to
23 say the summer of 1998, the police was shelling the hills although they
24 did not enter the village. My question is the following: Why was the
25 police shelling the hills?
1 A. I think that you've got the wrong address. I think I should ask
2 this question to you because you gave the orders, and you should know why
3 the hills were coming under attack, and I don't know.
4 Q. And were there any KLA strongholds in these hills?
5 A. Which village do you mean?
6 Q. I'm referring to hills.
7 A. I do not understand which hills. Recak borders on Shtime.
8 Q. These are your words. This is what you said. "The police were
9 shelling the hills, although they did not enter the village."
10 A. No. They did not enter the village before 23rd of August, 1998.
11 They were shelling over Recak and the houses in the neighbourhood. There
12 were seven or eight cases, which have not been mentioned in that
13 statement, of houses that came under attack by mortars.
14 Q. All right. After searching the houses, in this same period the
15 policemen told you not to go into the woods, and they repeated the same
16 thing to you before they left the village. Is that right or is that not
18 A. What period of time are you referring to? What is the date? the
19 month? the year?
20 Q. I'm referring to the period that you referred to in your
21 statement. You said that when you wanted to leave the village to go into
22 town - I'm quoting what you said - that you did not have to go anywhere
23 because they would protect you. Is that right or is that not right?
24 A. Serbian police to protect us? Is that what you mean?
25 Q. That's what you wrote in your statement. You said: "We didn't
1 have to go anywhere because they would protect us." That's what they said
2 to you. That is in your statement.
3 A. No, no.
4 JUDGE MAY: Where is this, Mr. Milosevic?
5 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Unfortunately, I haven't got the
6 statement here with me, but it is certainly contained in it.
7 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour. Page 4, last
8 paragraph in the English version.
9 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Serbs were willing ...
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. How do you explain this, that, "the policemen called Bozha and
13 Mira --" I'm quoting your words -- "were very well known and notorious in
14 the town of Stimlje," when in your first statement, on page 3, you say:
15 "One of the Roma wanted to attack us, but Mira said to him not to touch
16 us, and that Mira stopped nudging us along with his rifle butt
17 immediately." Isn't that right? That means that he protected you.
18 A. I think the names were confused. Mira, somebody else. Bozha,
19 some -- another policeman. There are-- was another policeman. There were
20 others. There was Sasa, Ceta. And I'm referring to the 23rd of August,
21 1998. They were wearing bandannas. He had the red armband. Mira had a
22 red armband on his arm. And other policemen were just pushing us with the
23 butts of their rifles, and Mira asked them not to do it. I think it was a
24 game of theirs to play with us in a way that did not mean anything to me.
25 They were all the same to me.
1 Q. And did you know Nazmi Luri or Olluri, an Albanian?
2 A. Where is he from?
3 Q. He was killed by the KLA between the villages of Zborce and
4 Balince at a place called Kodra Gorance. He was only three years older
5 than you. He was born in 1973. Do you know about that?
6 A. No. No. Do not try and compare who is of the same age as I am.
7 Bozha and Mira. You shouldn't try and compare your terrorists to myself.
8 JUDGE MAY: Just try and concentrate on the questions, if you
9 would, Mr. Mehmeti. We'll get on more quickly. You were asked if you
10 knew an Albanian who was killed. Do you know that man or not?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. This person does not come from
12 Recak. This name doesn't exist. I'm not aware of this case.
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Do you know Xheladin [as interpreted] Fehmi from Racak, born in
15 1954, who was abducted by the KLA on the 2th of December, 1998? An
16 Albanian woman, Abazovi Fatime, born in 1958, reported the abduction to
17 the MUP, to the police. This is a man from Racak. Do you know him?
18 JUDGE MAY: One at a time, yes.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, if you permit me on the
20 first question, I can provide an answer.
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. First of all, did you know Xheladin [as interpreted] Fehmi from
25 A. [Previous translation continues]... answer the question. Do you
1 mean Fehmi Xheladini?
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. Yes, I know him.
4 Q. Do you know that he was abducted by the KLA on the 28th of
5 December, 1998?
6 A. No, he was not taken by anyone. I do not know where he was as a
7 refugee at that time. After June the 12th, 1999, as everybody else from
8 Recak, he came to seek humanitarian aid at my humanitarian society in
9 Recak. In fact, today I don't know where he is, but I saw him a week ago
10 at his own -- in his own house -- or, rather, outside his house.
11 Q. And do you know that his abduction was reported to the police, to
12 the SUP, by Fatime Abazovi, an Albanian woman?
13 A. There is no Fatime Abazovi in the village of Recak. This name
14 does not exist. This information is wrong.
15 Q. Did you hear that on the 10th of January, Svetislav Perzic, a
16 policeman, was killed near Racak on the 10th of January, 1999?
17 A. Did you say the 11th of January?
18 Q. On the 10th of January.
19 A. No. I'm not aware of any policeman having been killed. There was
20 even -- no shooting at all during that period, because I think the
21 alleged -- the accord with Holbrooke that you yourself signed was in
23 Q. Yes. On the 11th of January -- well, this is what it says on
24 page 5 of your statement. You said to your uncle -- you said to your
25 uncle that your cousin Vehbi should be taken to Godance because "then it
1 will be easier for us to run away if they attack us;" is that right? Did
2 you already know about the police action then, and they had encircled the
3 village in order to catch the killer of the policeman?
4 A. I cannot understand why do -- you did not refer to January the
5 9th, not January the 11th, and I can't understand why you didn't read
6 that. It was on that particular day that Serbian police came and stayed
7 there, and that was the reason why I asked for Vhebi to leave the village,
8 so that myself and my uncle could leave at very short notice in case
9 anything happened like what happened on January the 15th by your own
10 forces, at the hands of your own forces.
11 Q. All right. In the second statement, dated the 24th of August, on
12 page 1 you explain that you took the investigator of The Hague Tribunal to
13 show him, I quote what you said, that "the investigator should see the
14 significant sites in Racak where people were killed on the 15th of
15 January, 1999." My question is the following: Did you mark these sites
16 without having seen any one of these killings personally? Yes or no.
17 A. No. The sites -- I showed Barney Kelly the sites where me --
18 where I was present when my relatives were killed, where my uncle and
19 her [sic] daughter. Whilst on other sites, what I showed Mr. Kelly was
20 what had been told by other people, as was the case of Sahide Metushi, who
21 was killed by your own police. And her body's -- her body disappeared and
22 is still missing. The grave is still empty and the whole village of Recak
23 is looking for that.
24 And I have a question to you: If you know where that body is, can
25 you please tell us?
1 Q. In connection with that, I'm asking you -- it's precisely in
2 connection with that that I'm asking you. I quote: "Shabani said to me
3 that his mother had told him that she had seen the body lying there.
4 Until the present day, the body hadn't been found."
5 So you hadn't seen any of this. And Shabani told you that his
6 mother had seen this; is that right?
7 A. Yes, that's correct. I was about 200 metres away from the site of
8 the killing. Now, I can call her missing. It is correct that that was
9 related by Shabani's mother. To be more precise, the mother of Rame
11 Q. And is it correct that you showed the investigator the sites where
12 Nazmi Nuha was allegedly killed? And this was on the basis of stories
13 told by other villagers, but you hadn't seen it either?
14 A. No. The alleged killing of Nazmi, I saw him elsewhere, not where
15 he was killed. He was an elderly gentleman, unmarried, had no children.
16 He was about 80 years of age. In my briefcase, I have got the exact date
17 of birth, if the Court would need that. And he was massacred by the
18 police. The police, the army, the paramilitaries; I don't know.
19 Q. My question was related to the fact that you had not seen this
20 yourself. You heard stories about it. This is based on the stories told
21 by other villagers; right?
22 A. Yes. I have not witnessed this myself. I did not see the killing
23 of Nazmi Nuha because I did not go alongside the policemen to see who they
24 were killing.
25 Q. Thank you, but let us move on. And did you state the following in
1 relation to Asllani, that the Serbs killed him on the 15th of January, but
2 you do not know where, that somebody told you about this but you do not
3 remember who it was that told you about it. Is that right or is that not
5 A. No, I cannot remember who he was. I know he was killed. Mustafe
6 Asllani, Mustafe Beqe Asllani, was killed. And he was a mentally retarded
7 person. It's probably not in my statement. I did not say he was
8 handicapped or mentally retarded. The word "mentally" is not there.
9 Q. I am just quoting your statement. And did you then describe the
10 death of Halit Shaqiri [Realtime transcript read in error "Halil"] and
11 Avdyl Demaj in your statement? And did you present to the investigator
12 two versions of their killings and then you said, "I'm not sure which
13 story is true"? Is that right or is that not right?
14 A. Yes, that's correct. I was not with Halit when he was killed. He
15 was with his own uncle, Avdyl Demaj. They were killed in Shtime. I do
16 not have the exact date, but I think it's 14th of April, 1999. I don't
17 know what time this occurred. There were two versions given of this
18 event. Whether it was the first or the second, I don't know. And that
19 was all based on the information that I got from the family of Halit
20 Shaqiri. I was more interested in obtaining information, given he came
21 from Recak.
22 I see a mistake here on the monitor. It's not "Halil," it's
23 "Halit" with a "T".
24 Q. From whom did you learn about both versions regardless of which
25 one is correct and which one is incorrect or whether any one of them is
1 correct? Who told you about these two versions?
2 A. The family of Halit Shaqiri. The two versions are fairly
3 similar. It's either the first or the second version that applies, and
4 that shows that Serbian police killed these people.
5 Q. Tell me, is it correct when you talk about the killing of Hasan
6 Beqiri you actually talk about secondhand knowledge? It is something that
7 you had not seen for yourself either. It's something that somebody told
8 you about as well; isn't that right?
9 A. The translation is not reaching my headset. I can't hear you. I
10 can hear it now.
11 I haven't seen Hasan Beqiri being killed on the site where he
12 was. His body was brought to the village of Petrova, and I -- and I
13 buried him with my own hands alongside some other inhabitants of Recak.
14 Q. All right. And is it correct that this story about his death is
15 something that you heard about from a young man? And in your second
16 statement, you say, I quote: "But I don't know his name." You heard
17 about this from someone whose name you do not know; is that right?
18 A. I've now found out his name, after giving the statement to
19 Barney. If required, I can give you the name.
20 Q. Yes. But again, you heard about this from a person whose name you
21 did not know then, but you hadn't seen this yourself either; is that
23 A. I didn't see Hasan -- I didn't see a Serbian policeman killing
24 Hasan. I saw him killing someone from the village of Dramjak. I
25 took -- I saw Hasan from the village of Petrova and I buried him with my
1 own hands, alongside some other inhabitants of Recak. Hasan -- the place
2 where Hasan was killed is Caravik, near Petrova.
3 Q. And was he perhaps killed in the fighting between the KLA and the
4 police? How do you know whose fire killed him, and how do you know anyway
5 whose fire killed the persons that you are mentioning? How do you know
6 about this when you hadn't seen any of it?
7 A. I can refer you to Arben's information, and he told me that he
8 heard the policemen talking in Serbian, and they both fired, and they
9 struck Hasan in the stomach, while Arben managed to survive this murder.
10 I buried Hasan in Petrova, and on the 30th of August, I exhumed him, and
11 we buried him and two others in the cemetery of those who were massacred
12 in Recak.
13 Q. What does it mean, "heard the Serb policeman"? What did he hear
14 when he heard the Serb policeman?
15 A. Not the policeman, but the policemen. Arben heard them talking
16 Serbian, and no doubt they were swearing, and they fired. And these
17 people went to see the column of refugees to see where to send the
18 paramilitaries and to see whether to send the refugees in the direction of
19 Albania or to Macedonia. That's why they went there.
20 Q. So he heard them, but that had nothing to do with any kind of
21 killing. He heard their conversation; right?
22 A. I don't know whether you are trying not to understand me or not.
23 These were young people. These were 15- or 16-year-old boys. I have the
24 details here in my bag. And they wouldn't know Serbian very well, and I
25 don't think that they went up to him to offer them sweeties.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, your time is now up.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have one more question to ask.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. You said, and this is on page 03045489: The house in which Avdyl
5 was located was destroyed. You say the Serbs set fire to the house, and
6 you say: "I did not see his body, but while I was carrying the box, I
7 thought I was carrying an empty box." Is that what you say? Is that what
8 you say in your statement?
9 A. Avdyl Sejdiu was an aged person, 99 years old, very, very worn
10 out, and he didn't weigh any more than 40 kilogrammes. Yet your forces
11 burned his house, with him inside it, in the village of Greme. And his
12 family went and fetched the body, the skeleton, and when I lifted his
13 coffin, it was like lifting an empty coffin, even though the bones were in
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation] All right. Thank you very much.
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Tapuskovic.
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please, Mr. Tapuskovic.
18 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [No interpretation]
19 JUDGE MAY: I take it you haven't got any questions.
20 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
21 JUDGE MAY: Re-examination?
22 MS. ROMANO: Just two matters, Your Honour.
23 Re-examined by Ms. Romano:
24 Q. Witness, in order to clarify the record, and it's also your
25 statement, but can you mention the names of the persons you yourself saw
1 being killed?
2 A. I saw two people killed one metre from me. That's Bajram Mehmeti,
3 54 years old; and Hanemshah Mehmeti, 22 years old.
4 Q. Have you seen the bodies of the other people, the other people
5 killed on 15 January, that day or the day after?
6 A. The 42 civilians who were massacred on the 15th of January,
7 between 7.00 in the morning and 5.00 in the afternoon.
8 Q. You saw their bodies?
9 A. Yes, the next day, apart from a few that evening.
10 Q. And you saw them where?
11 A. What bodies are you asking about now? There were 24 massacred on
12 the hill of Bebush.
13 Q. And you saw them in the hill?
14 A. Yes, on Saturday, when the distinguished Ambassador William Walker
16 MS. ROMANO: Your Honour, I'm sorry, but I will have to go back to
17 the binder, just in order to -- in fairness to the witness, because the
18 first photo that was shown to him was a wrong photo.
19 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
20 MS. ROMANO: So I would ask the usher to show on tab 7 photo
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Quite right.
23 MS. ROMANO:
24 Q. Can you tell us what happened and what is that location?
25 A. Yes. This is Idriz Hajrizi's house here. That's my uncle's
1 house, the house of Bajram Mehmeti. And here, in another yard, is my
2 house. We were sheltered in Idriz Hajrizi's house, and at 10.25, Hasan
3 Balalli came and said that the police and the army were entering the
4 village. So we went out of this house and went along this road, this
5 lane. And here Elhami was wounded. And my cousin Hanemshah shouted,
6 shouted to my uncle, and said that Elhami was wounded. And my uncle
7 arrived. And here the arrow shows where my uncle was hit by a bullet from
8 Bebush hill. And he fell very near me and closed his eyes. And his
9 daughter shouted again and said -- and the paramilitaries of the accused
10 hit her in the chest. And then Arben, Arben Hajrizi, first jumped into
11 this stream, and the others after him, and Makfire Hajrizi was wounded
12 while jumping into the stream. Hanemshah, five or six meters, she was
13 able to walk a short distance, and Ramiz Hajrizi helped her, and here she
14 died and was left here until the evening, when the firing stopped. And we
15 were sheltering here, in what you might call a larder.
16 JUDGE MAY: We have read all this. Thank you, Mr. Mehmeti.
17 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Mehmeti, you just said that bullets were from
18 Bebush hill. Was it right?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That's right. But they also came
20 from the main road and from Cesta, from three directions. And on the
21 basis of the wounds suffered by my uncle, you can tell that he was hit by
22 a bullet that came from Bebush.
23 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
24 MS. ROMANO: Thank you. No further questions.
25 JUDGE MAY: Thank you, Mr. Mehmeti. That concludes your
1 evidence. Thank you for coming to the Tribunal to give it. You're free
2 to go.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, may I, for half a
4 minute ...
5 JUDGE MAY: I'm afraid not. Our Rules don't permit statements
6 from witnesses. We are much under pressure of time. But thank you very
7 much for coming.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, in the name of the
9 village of Recak and everybody there. May I now go and leave him here in
10 the place where he deserves to be.
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Ryneveld.
12 MR. RYNEVELD: Thank you, Your Honour. The Prosecution next calls
13 Xhemajl Beqiri.
14 [The witness withdrew]
15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Ryneveld, if - while we're waiting for this
16 witness - if you would pass on the message as to Witness K7. I don't know
17 if you're dealing with him or somebody else, but whoever. We've had a
18 brief look at his statement, and he doesn't appear to be suitable for Rule
19 92 bis. But we'll hear evidence in due course about it or we'll consider
21 MR. RYNEVELD: Thank you. So in light of that ruling, the
22 Prosecution will call him as a live witness, then.
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
24 MR. RYNEVELD: Thank you. Your Honours, while we're waiting for
25 the following witness to be brought in: In view of Your Honour's
1 clarification that the documents that are in the exhibit binders have been
2 admitted into evidence, I do not propose to take the next witness and take
3 up further Court time with -- back to the Racak binders. I'm just going
4 to have him -- I'm just going to read out a summary and have the
5 attachments properly identified in the statements, available for the Court
6 to look at at the Court's leisure, if that meets with your approval.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
8 MR. RYNEVELD: Thank you.
9 [The witness entered court]
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes. If you'd like to take the oath.
11 WITNESS: XHEMAJL BEQIRI
12 [Witness answered through interpreter]
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
14 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes. If you'd like to take a seat, Mr. Beqiri.
16 Examined by Mr. Ryneveld:
17 Q. Mr. Beqiri, could you please tell the Court your full name.
18 A. Xhemajl Beqiri, from the village of Recak.
19 Q. And do I understand, sir, that you've lived in Racak all of your
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. You're 48 years old and you are of Kosovo Albanian ethnicity; is
23 that correct?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Are you married?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. How many children do you have?
3 A. Five.
4 Q. Do I understand, sir, that you have formerly been a farmer, but in
5 the last few years your occupation has been a taxi driver?
6 A. I used to be a taxi driver, yes. Now I'm a farmer again.
7 Q. All right. Thank you very much.
8 MR. RYNEVELD: Your Honours, I propose to read in a very brief
9 summary, if I may.
10 Your Honour, according -- well, actually, I should ask a couple of
11 other questions.
12 Q. Now, sir, on the 7th of December, 1999, did you give a statement
13 to investigators of the ICTY in regard to the incidents that occurred in
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And then in February of this year, on the 6th of February, did you
17 appear before a presiding officer of this Tribunal and confirm, in a
18 solemn declaration, that the statement you gave was true to the best of
19 your knowledge, information, and belief?
20 A. Yes.
21 MR. RYNEVELD: Might that statement at this time be marked as an
22 exhibit in these proceedings, Your Honour?
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
24 MR. RYNEVELD: And if Madam Clerk wants to give it an exhibit
25 number, then I propose to read while that's happening.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 208.
2 MR. RYNEVELD: Thank you.
3 Your Honours, according to the statement which is just being
4 distributed, prior to the January 15th, 1999 attack on the village of
5 Racak, Racak had previously been the subject of various attacks by Serb
6 forces. Now, on the 15th of January, the witness describes in a statement
7 that at about 6.45 a.m., he woke to the sound of a blast in the village.
8 He says he realised that the Serbs were attacking, and he and his family
9 them climbed a hill to escape. There were refugees from Blinc in Racak,
10 because their houses had already been burned the month previously. He
11 describes in his statement Serb police coming in APCs and Pragas. He then
12 identifies, via photographs which are marked as attachments to his
13 statement, the type of artillery that the Serbs used on that day, and
14 those again are available to Your Honours.
15 Now, while apparently watching this artillery by the use of
16 binoculars, watching the artillery coming towards the village, he noted
17 that he got a bullet through his cap that he was wearing at the time.
18 During the course of this attack, his relatives - Rame, Zenel, and Riza
19 Beqiri - shot and killed, and Zyher and Fetije Beqiri, his mother and
20 daughter, were shot and injured. He took refuge in Hysni Emini's house,
21 where other villagers were also present. He describes in his statement
22 that Esmet Emini came into the house with a gunshot wound to his hand and
23 stated that the Serbs had killed Esmet's brother Ajet in front of his
24 house. This witness could hear the sound of gunfire and people screaming
25 outside. He describes that Serb police arrived and ordered them out into
1 the street, whereupon he saw the bodies of his 54-year-old cousin Bajram
2 Mehmeti and his 20-some-odd-year-old daughter Hanemshah lying on the
3 road. Two of the witness's nephews, Beqe and Mehrem, were apparently in
4 the KLA. Mehrem did not join the KLA until after the 15th of January
5 incident, when his father Riza and brother Halim had been killed.
6 He notes that there were regular police officers there that he
7 recognised, but he was not able to name them by name, other than two. One
8 was Bozo and one was Cvetko, last name unknown, who ordered them to line
9 up in the street and insulted them. The men were then separated from the
10 women. The Serb police accused the men of being KLA soldiers who had been
11 shooting at them and threatened that they would be shot, and then they
12 shot at one of the villagers, narrowly missing him.
13 The men were ordered to go up a hill, but instead they walked
14 towards the Berisha stream, but Serb police came from another direction
15 and fired on them. They ran for cover and, fortunately, escaped injury.
16 In an attachment to his statement, he identifies various shoulder patches
17 that were worn by the police that he saw.
18 He and his cousin brought the bodies of Riza, Zenel, and Halim
19 back to the house of Shefqet and later moved them to the mosque, where
20 about 40 other bodies had been collected. He later learned about 24
21 bodies having been located in the ravine on the day that William Walker
22 from the OSCE arrived. He claims that there were a total of about 40
24 Then he describes for you that on the 17th of January, two days
25 after the assault, he and his family left the village for Luzha, which is
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 two to three kilometres from Racak, and then describes how in the ensuing
2 weeks they travelled to other villages, along with the other refugees.
3 He states in his statement that there was no KLA presence in Racak
4 on the day of the massacre. He explained in proofing that there was no
5 KLA in his neighbourhood of Racak. Your Honours should know that Racak
6 consists of various neighbourhoods. I think they are referred to as
7 mahallas. He believes that the KLA came to Racak after the attack. He
8 also heard that the Serbian investigating judge was permitted to visit
9 Racak by the KLA, provided she was not accompanied by the Serbian police.
10 He indicates that he was told that Serb police came to the village on the
11 18th of the 1st of 1999 and forcibly took the bodies to the Pristina
12 morgue. He was told that most of the bodies were given back to the
13 villagers about a month later, and he returned to Racak to participate in
14 the funeral. He indicated that he remained in Kosovo throughout the
16 That is a brief summary of the statement that Your Honours have
17 been provided with, and he's now available for cross-examination. Thank
19 JUDGE MAY: Cross-examination in the morning, Mr. Milosevic.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The objection that you said you
21 would allow me to state regarding K12 at the end of today's day, what
22 about that?
23 JUDGE MAY: It is not a matter for you. This was a procedure
24 which the Court adopted. It had no bearing on any intervention on your
25 part. What is it you want to say?
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I wish to take note of several
2 facts. First, without a doubt, the witness K12 took the oath, the solemn
3 declaration. Secondly, it is without doubt that he did start his
4 testimony, because in the few minutes that he spoke, he answered several
5 questions, and then that testimony of his was interrupted. According to
6 your own Rules - and you draw everybody's attention to them - when a
7 testimony starts and it is interrupted, the opposite side, or anybody
8 else, cannot communicate with the witness, which in this case was not a
9 provision that was respected, and I'd like to draw your attention to that
10 and object to it.
11 Secondly, he stated here, into the microphone, that for two days
12 they processed him. Now, I should like to remind you that there is an
13 international convention which guarantees that statements cannot be
14 extorted from witnesses. And what he meant by "two days of processing," I
15 consider it your business to ascertain. That's all that I have to say.
16 JUDGE MAY: The Prosecution are entitled, and the parties are
17 entitled here, before a witness gives evidence, to speak to them and, if
18 necessary, to take a further statement from them. So there was no
19 irregularity there.
20 Secondly, a party may, with the Court's leave, speak to a witness
21 during the course of his evidence if it's necessary. In this case, the
22 Prosecution were allowed to speak to the witness because he was refusing
23 to give evidence.
24 So there is nothing in your objection. No rules were breached.
25 Now, we'll adjourn now.
1 Mr. Beqiri, could you be back, please, at 9.00 tomorrow morning -
2 I'm sorry, I'm reminded it is 9.30 tomorrow - to give your evidence.
3 Thank you very much. And could you remember not to speak to anybody
4 during the adjournment, and that does include members of the Prosecution
5 team, and not to speak about your evidence until it's over.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Right.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.42 p.m.,
8 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 5th day
9 of June, 2002, at 9.30 a.m.