1 Monday, 2 September 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
6 MR. NICE: Your Honour, arising from the rulings recently received
7 and from one or two other events, there are a few comparatively minor, or
8 indeed very minor, administrative matters I'd like to raise. Looking at
9 the number of them and realising that for one I'd like to have a draft
10 motion available for you to consider, a motion that brings us up-to-date
11 with witnesses, may I address you a little later this morning, at the
12 beginning or end of one of the breaks?
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
14 MR. NICE: I was going to deal with it now, but I think it
15 probably better if I deal with it later.
16 JUDGE MAY: While it's in my mind, let me mention something which
17 we've been considering; the timetable. If we finish this part earlier
18 than we'd thought, and it appears we may, then we'd be minded to bring
19 forward Bosnia and Croatia.
20 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm grateful for that confirmation of a
21 position you had articulated earlier. My best estimate at the moment is
22 that we probably will finish next Monday or Tuesday and I'm working on the
23 basis, as you had indicated earlier, that the start of Croatia would be a
24 fortnight from the end date.
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Very well. We'll have the witness, please.
1 May we have the senior legal officer.
2 [Trial Chamber and senior legal officer confer]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.
5 WITNESS: BEHAR HAXHIAVDIJA
6 [Witness answered through interpreter]
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
8 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
9 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take at seat.
10 MR. SAXON: Your Honours, in the interest of assisting the members
11 of the public who may not speak Albanian, I've provided a piece of paper
12 with the correct spelling of the witness's name.
13 Examined by Mr. Saxon:
14 Q. Sir, is your name Behar Haxhiavdija?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. And, Mr. Haxhiavdija, were you born on the 24th of June, 1960, in
17 the town of Gjakove in Kosovo?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And are you the son of Mr. Ismet Haxhiavdija?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. On the 15th of April, 1999, did you provide a statement to a
22 representative of the Office of the Prosecutor about the events that you
23 witnessed and experienced in Kosovo in 1999?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. On the 7th of May in the year 2001, did you provide an additional
1 statement to a representative of the Office of the Prosecutor about the
2 events that you witnessed and experienced in Kosovo in 1999?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. On the 17th of January this year, 2002, in the country where you
5 now reside, were you provided with copies of the statements that you
6 previously made to the Office of the Prosecutor in a language that you
7 understand in the presence of a member of the Office of the Prosecutor and
8 a person qualified to witness your declaration?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. On that occasion, did you confirm that the copies of your
11 statement were true and accurate?
12 A. Yes.
13 MR. SAXON: Your Honours, at this time I will ask that the
14 statements of Mr. Haxhiavdija be admitted pursuant to Rule 92 bis.
15 However, before numbers are assigned, I would ask Your Honours that we go
16 into private session very briefly to discuss a matter related to a
17 protected witness.
18 [Private session]
18 [Open session]
19 THE REGISTRAR: Okay. We're now in open session.
20 The original version will be marked number -- Prosecutor's Exhibit
21 303, under seal. The redacted -- the first redacted version will be
22 Prosecutor's Exhibit 303A, under seal, and the public redacted version
23 will be 303B.
24 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honours.
25 Your Honours, Behar Haxhiavdija is a 42-year-old Kosovo Albanian
1 Muslim man who, prior to the events of 1999, was a manager of a wine
2 factory in the municipality of Gjakove. On the evening of 1 April 1999,
3 Mr. Haxhiavdija, his wife, and three small children were staying at the
4 compound of Mr. Haxhiavdija's brother-in-law, Mr. Lulezim Vejsa, which is
5 located at 157 Milos Gilic Street. Other family members sought shelter in
6 the same compound. There was a pool hall with a basement in this
7 compound, and at night the women and children slept in this basement. The
8 men kept watch and slept in the house.
9 The men had devised a plan to escape from the compound in case
10 Serb forces tried to break in. It was believed that while Serb forces
11 might attack Kosovo Albanian males, they would not harm women and
12 children. So Mr. Haxhiavdija, his brother-in-law Lulezim Vejsa, and Mr.
13 Hani Hoxha had an escape route planned, if necessary.
14 On the night of 1st April, there were 21 people sleeping in the
15 basement. All were women and children with the exception of Hysen Gashi,
16 a man who was mentally ill. Just after midnight, Mr. Haxhiavdija heard
17 the sound of rifling action of a firearm; the distinctive metallic sound
18 that is made when a person moves the action of the rifle to send a bullet
19 into the chamber of a weapon. Mr. Haxhiavdija returned to the house and
20 woke up his brother-in-law. They heard a voice say in the Serbian
21 language, "Open the door," and then they heard a vehicle trying to push
22 through the gate.
23 Mr. Haxhiavdija and Lulezim Vejsa passed through their escape
24 route and left the compound. They spent the rest of the night hiding in
25 another home. They could hear the sound of gunfire and explosions and
1 could see that houses were burning.
2 In the morning of 2nd of April, Mr. Haxhiavdija returned to the
3 Vejsa compound and found it full of burning rubble. He learned that
4 members of the Serb police had killed his wife and three children as well
5 as other members of his extended family who had taken shelter in the
6 basement the night before. Later that day, Mr. Haxhiavdija joined a
7 convoy and went to Albania.
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
9 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
10 Q. [Interpretation] You gave two statements to different
11 investigators, one on the 15th of April, 1999, and the second two years
12 later on May 7th, 2001; is that right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. I assume -- or I'm asking you whether your first statement is more
15 complete and closer to the truth, in view of the fact that you gave it
16 immediately after the events that you are talking about.
17 A. Both are the same, in fact, with a small change, because the
18 second statement was given after quite a long period, and it may have been
19 that things were forgotten or just fall from my memory.
20 Q. Did your father give a statement to the investigators two days
21 after your second statement, on the 9th of May, 2001, to the same
22 investigator that you gave your statement to? Is that right?
23 A. Could you repeat the question, please?
24 Q. Is it true that your father gave a statement two days after your
25 second statement, on the 9th of May, 2001, to the same investigator?
1 A. Yes, as far as I know.
2 Q. Where were you on the 2nd of April, 1999, around midnight?
3 A. I was in Lulezim Vejsa's house, my brother-in-law. He's my wife's
4 brother. That's where I was at that time.
5 Q. In your first statement, you claim that you were on guard, that
6 you were watching and waiting. Who was keeping watch?
7 A. We were almost all there. We were awake, and we were keeping
8 watch for anything that might happen.
9 Q. In your second statement, you say that around midnight, you came
10 out of the house in order to check what was happening in the
11 neighbourhood, to check over the wall. So could you please tell me what
12 is true; were you keeping watch or did you go out in order to look over
13 the wall to see what was happening in the neighbourhood? What is the true
15 A. It's the same truth. I -- from the yard, in fact, I heard a
16 rifle, the sound made by an automatic rifle. So whether on guard in the
17 yard or on guard in the house, it's really the same. It's all the same
19 Q. On page 1, in passage two of your first statement, you said that
20 you heard a noise as if somebody was trying to break through the gate with
21 a car. Is this true?
22 A. Yes. That happened after I heard the automatic rifle being
23 filled. And then I was in a room -- went to a room to inform Hani and
24 Lulezim that something was happening, and then they broke the gate.
25 Q. In your first statement, you said that you heard the noise of
1 somebody trying to break through the gates with the cars. In your second
2 statement, you say that you heard the sound of a weapon being loaded, and
3 then, once you came into the house, you heard somebody say in Serbian,
4 "Open the door." What was it you actually heard? Could you describe to
5 me, please, what you heard.
6 A. As I said, as soon as I heard the weapon being loaded, I went to
7 the room and then the gate was broken in. In fact, the car only tried to
8 break down the gate.
9 Q. Which house were you in at that time?
10 A. We were in the house of Lulezim Vejsa. It's a yard in which there
11 are two houses. One is -- one has a basement, and the other one is an
12 ordinary house where we sat during the day. And we've lived there all our
14 Q. Who was there with you in the house?
15 A. Besides the 21 members of our family in the basement, myself, Hani
16 Hoxha, and Lulezim Vejsa were in the ordinary house.
17 Q. And the women and children, at the time when you were fleeing the
18 house, they were in another house, in the other house, in the basement,
19 when you were escaping from the first house where you were. Did I
20 understand you correctly?
21 A. Could you repeat the question, please?
22 Q. Where were the women and children at the time when you were
23 escaping from the house?
24 A. They were in the basement of the other house.
25 Q. Mr. Haxhiavdija, in your first statement you say that you escaped
1 from the house together with Lulezim and Hani Hoxha.
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. You escaped through holes in the wall which had been prepared in
4 advance. Is this right?
5 A. Yes, that's right.
6 Q. In your second statement, however, on page 3, in paragraph 5, you
7 say something else. You claim that you escaped through the window of
8 Lulezim's bedroom and then you jumped over the wall and went to another
9 house. What is true?
10 A. It's the same truth. It's the same version. I went in and then
11 we jumped over the wall -- through the bedroom and over the wall, and went
12 on. And the wall was -- had -- was partially destroyed, which we had
13 prepared to make our escape.
14 Q. In your first statement, you say that Hani was walking behind you
15 and Lulezim, but in your second statement you say that you didn't see Hani
16 again until the morning. Was he with you or was he not with you?
17 A. It's not true. After we fled, Hani remained somewhere behind us,
18 whereas Lulezim and I were always together.
19 Q. Very well. You say that you hid in a nearby house. How far is
20 that house from the house that you escaped from?
21 A. About 500 metres.
22 Q. So it was half a kilometre away that you went. Something is not
23 clear to me here. You say in your statement that you passed through
24 several courtyards and hid in a house that wasn't inhabited, but a little
25 while ago, you said, "In a nearby house," and now you're saying it was a
1 house that was half a kilometre away from the house you escaped from.
2 What is actually correct?
3 A. This is a consistent truth. There's nothing to be disputed here.
4 To go through 500 metres, you have to cross several yards.
5 Q. Since you were in a nearby house, as you say, did you hear
6 anything in the course of that night before you returned to your own
7 house? Because you say in the first statement that in the morning, you
8 came back to your house and you found that it was burnt. What did you
9 hear during the night about what was happening?
10 A. I didn't hear anything. But we noticed that -- because the night
11 was very dark, we noticed that some houses were burning.
12 Q. You say in your second statement something a little different.
13 Awhile ago you said what I just quoted to you, that in the morning you
14 came back to your house and found it was burnt. In the second statement:
15 "While I was approaching, I saw that Vejsa's house was burning or that
16 smoke was coming from it."
17 Could you please answer: In which house were your wife and
19 A. They were sleeping in the basement. From the basement, according
20 to the witness statement, the statement of the witness who experienced the
21 incident, they say they took them from the basement and took them to the
22 house, to the house where Lulezim and I had been staying, that is, to the
23 ordinary house.
24 Q. All right. You are referring to the statement given by this
25 (redacted); right? Tell me, since you did not answer me --
1 MR. SAXON: Your Honour --
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, it will be redacted. No need to refer to that
3 statement. You know that. Yes. Just deal with the witness -- what the
4 witness found.
5 Where did you find your wife and children, or where did you see
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. No. I'm asking you --
9 JUDGE MAY: Don't interrupt for a moment, please. Let the witness
10 give his account.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, according to the
12 statement of the person who survived, I found them at the very place where
13 he told me they were, just as he described. They had been killed on the
14 doorstep. My mother-in-law, my wife, my son. Whereas the other persons
15 were executed in the other room.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. So if I understand your statement correctly, they were -- I asked
18 you in which house were your -- were the women in children, in your house
19 or in Vejsa's house?
20 A. In the Vejsas' house.
21 Q. In your first statement, when you were describing your return, you
22 say, "It wasn't the house that mattered. I was concerned about my family
24 Are you talking about your house or Vejsa's house?
25 A. I am talking about the Vejsas' house, because at that moment, it
1 wasn't important whose house it was. The important thing was to -- for
2 people to survive, the people who were left there to survive.
3 Q. Yes. But I would like to have some things clarified here, because
4 in the second statement you say: "I entered Vejsa's house that was full
5 of rubble, that was still on fire." So what is correct? Whose house was
6 on fire? Whose house did you enter? On the basis of what you've just
7 said, it's Vejsa's house; right?
8 A. But these houses are within the same yard. Everything we are
9 discussing about the event in question happened in the same yard. In
10 fact, the basement where the family was in, the place -- the basement
11 where they slept was only three metres away from the house where they used
12 to live during the day, the ordinary house. I am speaking about the house
13 of Lulezim Vejsa, which is a property -- unified property, so to say.
14 Q. In your second statement, you say that on that occasion, you
15 talked to (redacted), who said to you that the Serb policemen entered the
16 cellar, killed your nearest and dearest, and then set the place on fire;
17 is that correct?
18 A. Could you please repeat that?
19 Q. I say that in your second statement, on page 4, paragraph 1, you
20 say that when you talked to (redacted), who said to you that the Serb
21 policemen came into the cellar, killed your nearest and dearest, and then
22 torched the house. Is that correct?
23 JUDGE MAY: Let's go into private session.
24 [Private session]
23 [Open session]
24 THE REGISTRAR: We're in public session now, Your Honours.
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Saxon.
1 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, if Mr. Milosevic chooses to use as his
2 line of cross-examination this testing of the minute details of the
3 witness's statements, that is Mr. Milosevic's prerogative. However, the
4 Prosecution would only ask that it be done accurately.
5 The last question of the accused was this: "You said that,
6 according to a particular person, that the Serb police came to the
7 basement, killed your nearest and dearest, and then burned the house."
8 That is not what that paragraph, which is the first paragraph on page 4 of
9 Mr. Haxhiavdija's second statement, reflects. What that paragraph says
10 was: "He told me Serb police had come to the basement, taken them to the
11 house and killed them." Thank you.
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes. You must take care, Mr. Milosevic, to put what
13 the statement says.
14 Mr. Haxhiavdija, you've heard what counsel has read out; that you
15 talked to somebody, he told you he'd been in that basement with all the
16 others, "He told me Serb police had come to the basement, taken them to
17 the house and killed them." Is that what he told you?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
19 JUDGE MAY: And when he referred to coming to the basement, so we
20 can follow it, which basement was he referring to as you understood it?
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the family was sleeping
22 in the basement there. According to the witness, they came, woke my
23 family up, took all of them and sent them to the house, the ordinary house
24 where they lived during the day, and that's where they executed them.
25 JUDGE MAY: And the house is the house that's referred to as
1 Vejsa's house; is that right?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. It's the property of the Vejsa
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Please, in relation to this objection, I am quoting what I
6 mentioned a minute ago only to show to you that the quotation was quite
7 precise. It says here: "Then I talked to --" and then this person whose
8 name is redacted. "He had been in that basement with all the others. He
9 told me Serb policemen had come to the basement, taken them to the house,
10 and killed them. He told me that the policemen had killed another woman,"
11 et cetera. But the passage I quoted was an exact quotation. So we've
12 established that.
13 Now I'm moving on to your first statement. This had been the
14 second statement.
15 In the first statement, you do not mention this person at all, the
16 person that we do not refer to in public session by name. You say that
17 your former neighbour, whose name is redacted, two days upon your arrival
18 in Tirana -- that is to say, two days upon your arrival in Tirana, told
19 you who killed your family and how.
20 Now, which version is correct, Mr. Haxhiavdija?
21 A. Both are true. Both of them have to do with the same event. But
22 first of all, because I was so angry and sad about what had happened, I
23 went there in order to confirm the events. But some days later, we met in
24 Tirana and there details were given about who committed all these crimes.
25 Q. In your first statement, on page 3, in paragraph 6, "According to
1 what he said to me --" you're referring to the neighbour you met in Tirana
2 -- "I think that the following had happened." So according to what this
3 neighbour had told you in Tirana, you think that the following had
4 happened. And then you explain: "The Serb police and civilians took the
5 members of my family out of the basement of Lulezim Vejsa, my wife's
6 brother. They shot them and then they torched the house. Some used
7 revolvers, others used automatic weapons. One of the children, Sihana
8 Vejsa, six years old, was taken all the way to the cupboard where he was
9 burned and killed." Then there's something that's redacted that is
10 omitted, and then this person said, "One of the policemen had said,
11 'You've killed enough. Let's go on.'" And then again you say: "I think
12 they were all in uniform. Almost a year before that, when it all started,
13 all the men, all Serb men wore uniforms or were given uniforms," et
15 So the conclusion as to what had happened and how is something
16 that you draw on the basis of what your former neighbour said to you; is
17 that right?
18 A. The truth is what I described very well. I do not know what kind
19 of interpretation you're having, but as far as I see, you're having --
20 you're getting a different interpretation of things.
21 I told you, on the 2nd of April I met Dreni -- I met the person
22 who survived and was wounded. He told me how the events had happened, how
23 it came about when my kids were killed and then when they killed a young
24 woman and an old woman and everybody else. However, the statement was as
25 you said; he recognised the people, he saw them wearing uniforms.
1 However, when he came to bigger details, also considering that he was
2 unable to speak because he was bleeding and he needed help, he needed
3 medical assistance, I ran to see whether I could do something for him.
4 Correction: I ran for look for medical help.
5 Some days later, we met in Tirana and he gave more details. He
6 also identified the persons who had committed this criminal act.
7 Q. All right. Please tell me, is what you say in your first
8 statement correct, namely that that person whose name we do not mention
9 now, together with all the others who had been killed, was allegedly in
10 the basement and that is how he told you about all of this? Was he in the
12 A. He was with all the other members of the family who slept in the
13 basement. From there, they were sent to that house and were executed.
14 Q. All right. Did he tell you how come he survived?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. How did he then manage to survive if they took people out of the
17 basement or shot them there, killed them there? How did he manage to
19 A. He was wounded in his left hand. Apparently he was lucky and
20 survived. You can ask that to him whenever you come face-to-face to him,
21 if you will get a chance to.
22 Q. All right. In your first statement, on page 3 you mention the
23 names of several persons as persons who were standing, drunk, that night
24 by the house where your nearest and dearest were; is that correct?
25 A. This is true, based on the statement that was given to me by
1 another person, a person who actually lives in front of the Vejsas' house
2 and could observe from his house whatever was happening.
3 Q. All right. If I understood this correctly, you are inferring this
4 on the basis of the fact that there was a cafe across the street and that
5 there were beer bottles on the window sill or something like that; is that
7 A. But there are plenty of coffee bars. However, none of them was
8 open because of the curfew. In fact, the whole town was paralysed. No
9 one could open any shops or anything. So they only took things or just
10 had things with them, things they needed.
11 Q. All right. Do you think that it is sufficient, on the basis of
12 the fact that somebody is, for example, nearby drinking beer and the fact
13 that this person left a beer bottle on a window sill, is that enough to
14 infer that it was the same people who walked into your house, killed your
15 family, et cetera?
16 A. Yes, it's true, because they saw the people, and whoever was out
17 there was identified.
18 Q. Who identified them? Was it the same person that you keep
19 referring to all the time or was it somebody else who identified them? He
20 told you that in Tirana; is that right?
21 A. The person who told that to me in Tirana told me who had been
22 there that night, referring to the persons who had committed the crime on
23 my family.
24 Q. All of that is one and the same person that you keep quoting,
1 A. No. It's not the same person. The other person, I told you, used
2 to live in the front of the Vejsas' house, and he identified the persons
3 who were there who were in front of the shop that night and who entered
4 the house and committed the crime.
5 Q. That means that that person had seen those other persons in front
6 of the coffee bar. But that doesn't mean that those persons had killed
7 someone. As far as I understand things, these persons were drinking beer;
8 is that right?
9 JUDGE MAY: This is going to be -- just a moment,
10 Mr. Haxhiavdija.
11 Mr. Milosevic, this is something we're going to have to decide.
12 What we have is the witness's evidence on the point. He's given us --
13 he's told us what he has been told.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Very well. But in your second statement, on page 4, paragraph 9,
16 you blame the mayor of Djakovica, Stojanovic, directly for the death of
17 your wife and children. Why are you accusing him now? Was he perhaps
18 seen by some of your witnesses too? Was he also seen going there to kill
19 your family?
20 A. No, he was not seen killing them, but he is - how do I put this?
21 - the mastermind of these things or, rather, the person who allowed these
22 things to happen in the town.
23 Q. So on the basis of the fact that a murder occurred in town, it is
24 your assessment that the mayor, the president of the municipality, is
25 responsible; is that right?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. All right. When you came to the Vejsa house, did you see the
3 killed persons?
4 A. I could not observe dead people -- correction, killed people,
5 because nothing was left. When I went there, I could only see some parts
6 and bits the flesh, what was left of the burned bodies and killed bodies.
7 Q. All right. Did you see Hysen Gashi's body, for example, that
8 morning when you returned to the house?
9 A. I also saw Hysen Gashi, observed Hysen Gashi.
10 Q. What did Hysen Gashi's body look like?
11 A. Only the body of Hysen Gashi was slightly more preserved than the
12 others, but the other ones were unable to be identified. In Hysen Gashi's
13 body, only the left part of the body was identifiable as a dead body. But
14 otherwise, the feet, legs, and the arms were completely burned, even the
16 Q. All right, Mr. Haxhiavdija. What you describe - namely the
17 rubble, then the body of Hysen Gashi was a charred body; right? - could
18 that have been done by a bomb, all of that?
19 A. Not in any way, because the Vejsas' is -- in fact, the roof is
20 almost adjacent to a Serbian house and not even the smallest window of
21 this other house was broken.
22 Q. That is not proof. I'm asking you about the house that you saw
23 where your family had lost their lives. Could that house have been hit by
24 a bomb?
25 A. No. Because as I said, this Serbian house is only half a metre
1 away from the Vejsas' house, and this house suffered no damage at all.
2 And the walls of the houses -- the walls of the house were damaged by
3 flame too.
4 Q. When you entered the house, did the house have a roof?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Does that lead you to the assumption that perhaps it had been hit
7 by a bomb?
8 A. No. No way.
9 Q. And that is exclusively on the basis of the fact that the adjacent
10 house had not been damaged?
11 A. That's one way of showing this. But as I said, the walls of the
12 house were still untouched, apart from one that fell in and the things
13 that were burned.
14 Q. Is it correct that Djakovica was bombed incessantly as of the 24th
15 of March, 1999?
16 A. No, not at all. I experienced this time, and the first NATO bomb
17 was dropped on the barracks, and after that there was no other bombing.
18 On the 2nd of April, I then went to Albanian territory, to the Republic of
20 Q. All right. Do you claim that there was no bombing except for
21 once, only one time when the barracks were targeted? Is it your claim
22 that Djakovica was not bombed; is that right?
23 A. As long as I was there, according to what I experienced, I only
24 saw this one bombing, and I don't know about any others.
25 Q. When did you leave Djakovica? The 3rd of April; is that right?
1 A. On the 2nd of April.
2 Q. All right. Let us just be very precise. You claim that there was
3 no bombing between the 24th of March until the 2nd of April. No bombing
4 whatsoever except that one bomb that fell on the barracks.
5 A. As far as I know, and as I said, we only saw the bomb on the
6 barracks and I noticed no other explosions, large explosions, of any
8 Q. Very well. The way in which your family was killed or the fact
9 that you say that this was committed by Serbs, police officers and
10 civilians, do you base your conclusion exclusively on this witness whose
11 name is not mentioned, and you have no other elements in order to base
12 your claim on how your family was killed?
13 A. No. The witness identified who was there, who was in the house
14 and when they got them out of the basement.
15 Q. All right. That's this one witness on whose evidence you rely on
16 and whose name was redacted.
17 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, this is all a matter of argument. Now,
18 you have one minute left, so time for one last question.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
20 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Haxhiavdija --
21 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
22 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Haxhiavdija, there is no need to repeat this
23 argument. We've heard your evidence. The accused has one more question
24 to ask you.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. All right. Could you please tell me the following: You worked as
2 a director of a company in Djakovica, and you were treated as a prominent
3 citizen throughout the time until the war. What could have been the
4 motive for anybody to break into your house and to come and murder your
5 family? Did you ever think about that in order to determine who was it
6 who committed that?
7 A. You have the criminals in Serbia. You can find out yourself very
8 easily. I have no reason to do so.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Have the amicus any questions?
10 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
11 Questioned by Mr. Tapuskovic:
12 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Behar, a little while ago you heard
13 Prosecutor Saxon, in reading the brief resume of what you stated, said
14 that you told them that that night you heard explosions. Is this true?
15 A. Could you repeat the question, please?
16 Q. Did you hear any explosions that night, the way that Mr. Saxon
17 said awhile ago, how you stated that? Perhaps you said that to them.
18 There is no mention of this in your statement, but Mr. Saxon read out
19 awhile ago something relating to this, that perhaps in conversations with
20 them you told them that you heard explosions in the course of that night.
21 Did you hear explosions or did you not?
22 A. As far as I am aware, Mr. Saxon didn't say that there had been any
23 explosion, and I said that there were no explosions at all that night
24 except that I saw flames rising from the house where I had been staying.
25 Q. I have to repeat that I did hear Mr. Saxon say that. However, I
1 don't insist on that.
2 JUDGE MAY: No. It merely confuses the witness.
3 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Judge May, I have no
4 intention of confusing the witness. In his statement, in his first
5 statement, dated the 15th of April, 1999, the witness said that NATO began
6 their air attacks and that this went on for five or six nights.
7 Q. So for five or six nights in a row, as you said, NATO bombed
8 Djakovica. This is in paragraph 2 of your first statement.
9 A. As far as I know, the bombing started on the 24th, not on the 15th
10 of April, as you said. But as I said, I only heard --
11 Q. I didn't say the 15th of April. You gave your statement on the
12 15th of April, 1999, and you said that NATO started the bombing, and when
13 the bombing started, they bombed for five or six nights in a row. It's in
14 paragraph 2 of your first statement.
15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Tapuskovic, what are you trying to achieve by the
16 cross-examination, please? Could you just explain to us what it is you
18 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, awhile ago, in
19 response to Mr. Milosevic's questions, he said there was only one bomb
20 that was dropped, and his father also said that bombs were dropped five or
21 six nights in a row, and in his statement he said that not only one bomb
22 was dropped but the bombing went on for five or six nights in a row.
23 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Can you help us, Mr. Haxhiavdija, about
24 that? Which of those accounts is right?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. The bombing started in
1 general, but after the bombing started, the terror intensified every
2 night. And I don't know what my father said because I wasn't close to my
3 father there. But on the 24th I only heard that one bomb. There may be
4 other bombs that fell outside the city which we didn't hear at all.
5 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. So I can conclude, then, that you only heard one bomb and nothing
8 A. That's right.
9 Q. And then in your second statement, of May 7th 2001 - in the
10 English version this is on page 2, the last paragraph - you also said that
11 the bombing started a week before April 1st. And in the last sentence,
12 you said that during the day, nobody went down to the basement during the
13 day. You were in your family houses, and at night you went down to the
14 basement in Vejsa's house to sleep. Was this done because NATO bombing
15 was conducted generally at night? It was a well-known fact that NATO
16 bombs were dropped only at night, and that this is why you went down to
17 the basement.
18 A. No. No, that was not the reason. But all the beds were down
19 there to sleep at night, whereas during the day, we spent the time in the
20 ordinary house, living reasonably normally.
21 Q. How far is the Vejsa house from your house, and was the basement
22 in your house suitable for you to be able to spend the night there?
23 A. My house didn't have a cellar.
24 Q. And if you can answer just this one more question: Were you able
25 to look into the basement of Vejsa's house after everything that had
1 happened to the house?
2 A. No, because I wasn't there at all.
3 Q. The house was knocked down?
4 A. The house was demolished totally, including the roof and all the
5 contents. They were all burned entirely.
6 Q. One more thing: Awhile ago you said that you went inside the
7 house. No?
8 A. I went into the yard.
9 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. Thank you, Your
11 Re-examined by Mr. Saxon:
12 Q. Mr. Haxhiavdija, why did you originally decide to bring your
13 family to your brother-in-law's house, Mr. Vejsa's house, on Milos Gilic
15 A. Because my house is an old one, built about 50 or 60 years ago,
16 and it wasn't really safe because it didn't have a cellar. And we thought
17 that people from Cabrat might come and attack our house, and we didn't
18 feel safe so we decided to go to the Vejsas'.
19 Q. When you say "people from Cabrat," could you be more specific,
20 please? Who are you referring to?
21 A. I'm talking about the police and the army who had positioned their
22 heavy artillery on the Cabrat Hill.
23 Q. When you say "the army," you're referring to the Serb army?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. And is your house located close to Cabrat Hill?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. All right. Mr. Milosevic suggested that your brother-in-law's
3 house was struck by bombs, that NATO bombs had struck the area on the 2nd
4 of April. I'd like to show you a photograph, if I may.
5 MR. SAXON: And I'd like to ask the usher's assistance to
6 distribute the photograph, please. There should be enough copies. And a
7 copy could please be placed on the ELMO so that everyone can look on.
8 Place it on the ELMO. That's good. Thank you.
9 Mr. Haxhiavdija -- can we raise up the projector just a bit so we
10 get a slightly higher view? Just a bit, please. That's fine.
11 Q. Mr. Haxhiavdija, do you recognise this photograph?
12 A. Yes. It's Milos Gilic Street.
13 Q. Can you pick up a pen or a pointer, please, and point to the
14 compound of your brother-in-law, Mr. Vejsa, where your family and others
15 had taken shelter on the 1st of April.
16 A. The family were sheltering in this building, which was strong and
17 built of strong materials. Here was the cellar. It was from here that
18 the people were taken and brought to this house here.
19 Q. Was that your brother-in-law's house, Mr. Vejsa's house?
20 A. Yes. This is -- this is the entire property of the Vejsa family,
21 from these four corners.
22 Q. Could you please pick up a pen, or if there is no pen there you
23 can take my pen, and write the letter -- write an arrow and the letter
24 "B," pointing to the basement where the women and children had taken
1 A. This was the basement. And this was the house where people lived
2 normally during the day.
3 Q. Can you put the letter "H," which would stand for "house" in
4 English, by that spot, please.
5 A. [Marks]
6 Q. Thank you. Mr. Haxhiavdija, would this photo depict the Milos
7 Gilic Street neighbourhood before the war in 1999 or after?
8 A. This shows the street after the war, or after the events that
10 Q. All right. Mr. Haxhiavdija, I know that a number of your
11 relatives lived in that house on Milos Gilic Street. Did you have
12 occasion to visit that house from time to time before the war?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did you know the -- did you get to know, at least by sight, the
15 neighbours who lived on that street besides your brother-in-law and his
17 A. Yes. I knew some of them. I recognised some of them.
18 Q. And did you know the ethnicity of some of the neighbours who lived
19 on that street?
20 A. Yes. There were Romanies, there were Serbs, and Montenegrins, and
22 Q. Okay, could you place your pointer on your brother-in-law's
23 compound, please.
24 A. [Indicates]
25 Q. There is a house that appears to be undamaged directly behind the
1 compound of the Vejsa family. Do you see that house? It's directly
2 behind the house where you were.
3 A. [Indicates]
4 Q. Do you know the ethnicity of the family who lived in that house?
5 A. They were Albanians. In fact, two people from that house slept in
6 our house, and one of them was killed in the massacre.
7 Q. All right. Mr. Haxhiavdija, moving one house to the right of that
8 compound, Mr. Vejsa's house, we see another house that apparently is
9 undamaged. Could you place your pen on that house to the right, please.
10 A. [Indicates]
11 Q. Do you know the ethnicity of the family who lived in that house?
12 A. Yes, there were Serbs here.
13 Q. Can we go one house to the right, please. Who lived in that next
14 house to the right? Was it a Serb family, an Albanian family, or other?
15 A. They were Romanies here, as far as I know.
16 Q. And the house to the right of that, do you know whether that was a
17 Serb family or an ethnic Albanian family or other?
18 A. This here is the house of the person who survived the incident.
19 Q. So that would be an Albanian family?
20 A. That's an Albanian house.
21 Q. And the house to the right of that?
22 A. This one is a Serbian house.
23 Q. All right. Mr. Haxhiavdija, can we go, please, to the homes that
24 are across the street from Lulezim Vejsa's house. We see a lot of damage
25 there. Do you see those homes?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. The homes that are directly across the street from
3 Mr. Vejsa's house. What was the ethnicity of those three homes where we
4 see a lot of damage, the ethnicity of the families who lived there?
5 A. They were Albanian houses here and here.
6 Q. To the best of your knowledge, were any of the houses that were
7 damaged on that street, did any of them belong to Serb families?
8 A. No. Those houses have remained undamaged down to the present day.
9 Q. So if Mr. Milosevic is correct that this damage was caused by NATO
10 bombing, somehow the NATO bombing only damaged homes inhabited by
11 Albanians; would that be correct?
12 A. That's what he seems to think.
13 MR. SAXON: Thank you. I have no further questions.
14 Just for the record, Your Honour, this photo is also in evidence
15 in the Milos Gilic Street binder, which is Exhibit 160, tab 2.
16 JUDGE MAY: It may be -- just a moment. It may be convenient to
17 give it another number so it can be attached to this witness's evidence.
18 MR. SAXON: Thank you, Your Honour.
19 THE REGISTRAR: This will be marked Prosecutor's Exhibit 304.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic?
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Regarding these new facts, I would say these new facts which Mr.
23 Saxon is trying to interpret in the wrong way here, Mr. Haxhiavdija --
24 JUDGE MAY: If you want to ask some further questions, you better
25 ask permission first. You can't just launched into a further examination.
1 You can ask, since this photograph wasn't produced, you can ask
2 questions for two minutes about it, but no more.
3 Further cross-examination by Mr. Milosevic:
4 Q. [Interpretation] You indicated the house where the basement was
5 where the members of your family were hiding. As we can see, that house
6 is untouched. It wasn't burned. It wasn't demolished. Is that true or
8 A. It shows that there was no bombing.
9 Q. So there was bombing there.
10 A. There was no bombing.
11 JUDGE MAY: That's not what the witness has said.
12 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
13 Q. Please. I am just saying that the house where the basement was
14 was not burned. You said that the house with the basement and where your
15 relatives were killed was all under -- in rubble and that it was burned.
16 Here we see that the house is standing and that it wasn't set on fire.
17 A. This house was built of very strong materials, and there was not a
18 thing to burn in it except the basement where the beds and other things
19 for the night were put. That was burnt.
20 Q. But I am not disputing the possibility that the house was burned.
21 I am doubting your claim that you came and found charred bodies in the
22 house. Now in the photograph we see that the house was not burnt. It
23 hasn't been damaged at all.
24 JUDGE MAY: You are misrepresenting the evidence, Mr. Milosevic.
25 The evidence which the witness gave was that the bodies were not in the
1 house with the basement. They had been taken from there and taken to the
2 house which he's identified, which we can see destroyed, to the right in
3 the same compound. Now, that is the damaged building.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. May. We'll check the
5 transcript, but this is so.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Is it evident in the houses that have been demolished that all the
8 walls are white, there are no traces of a fire except for this one up here
9 on the corner, so it's probably then the effect of bombardment and not of
10 any burning. Had they been set on fire, the walls would be black or at
11 least there would be traces of fire on them.
12 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness -- let the witness deal with that.
13 What is suggested is that you can't see the trace of fire, so this damage
14 which we can see in the photograph, 304, must be the result of bombing.
15 Now, this will be the last question. Mr. Haxhiavdija, can you
16 deal with that, please?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But you can see the traces. Of
18 course you can. You can see the burning. If you come closer, you will
19 see that all the walls are burned and damaged.
20 JUDGE MAY: He may have been referring -- the accused may have
21 been referring to the houses which are lower down in the photograph. If
22 you look to the house to the right there, it looks as though there's
23 burning there. But I'm not -- no, I'm not going to go on because it will
24 be a matter for us.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Please. Just because Mr. Saxon
1 tried to manipulate with the fact and to come out with an assumption of
2 how the Albanian houses and not Serbian houses were burned and destroyed.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Please, could you mark on this photograph all the houses that are
5 Serb houses. I would like to keep this in order to check this.
6 Regardless of the fact if they were destroyed or not. Could you please
7 indicate all the Serb houses. How many of them did you mark?
8 JUDGE MAY: He's marked them on the overhead. And while you're at
9 it, perhaps, Mr. Haxhiavdija, you would mark the Albanian houses with an
10 "A", please.
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. So how many Serb houses did you mark, please?
13 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. Just let him finish.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. What about these houses here that are left untouched? Are they
16 all Serbian or Albanian? And what was the percentage of the Serb
17 population in Djakovica, Mr. Haxhiavdija?
18 JUDGE MAY: Now, we are going to bring this to an end, otherwise
19 we shall never finish.
20 Could you just mark the Albanian houses, please.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And these with "A" are Albanians,
22 and with "S" are Serbian houses, and "R" means a Romany house.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 So as we can see, more Albanian houses are left standing than Serbian
25 houses, even in this part that was destroyed. And these destroyed houses
1 that you can see, which ones --
2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, eventually your examination must to
3 come to an end. It cannot go on forever. You've been given more time.
4 The witness has marked on the map the various things, and there's no point
6 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Saxon, I wonder if you can help us with when and
7 by whom this picture was taken.
8 MR. SAXON: This picture was taken, Your Honour, I believe by one
9 of the investigators working for the OTP. I do not have the exact date.
10 Excuse me, Your Honour.
11 [Prosecution counsel confer]
12 MR. SAXON: It was taken by representatives of the FBI, the
13 Federal Bureau of Investigation from the United States. We don't have the
14 date handy at this time, but we can get it for you.
15 JUDGE KWON: I would appreciate that. Please get the date.
16 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Haxhiavdija, at the end of it all there's a simple
17 matter of fact. During the night on your family were killed, did a bomb
18 fall on Milos Gilic Street, on any of the houses?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no bomb fell, but there was
21 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. That concludes your evidence. Thank you
22 for coming to the Tribunal to give it. You are now free to go.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
24 [The witness withdrew]
25 JUDGE MAY: We will adjourn now for 20 minutes.
1 --- Recess taken at 10.32 a.m.
2 --- On resuming at 11.02 a.m.
3 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Saxon, we have been reflecting on the last
4 witness, and we're concerned about the photograph production at the last
5 minute. And thinking about it, of course acknowledging that it is easier
6 to deal with these things with hindsight than beforehand, it really would
7 have been better, we think, if the photograph had been produced early on.
8 Now, we know it's part of the material which was part of the binder, and
9 therefore it was disclosed and anybody could have had it, but given the
10 amount of material in this case, anyone can be forgiven for not
11 immediately connecting everything up. So acknowledging too the
12 limitations of time which you're under, if there is a case in which there
13 may be an issue of that sort, it would be helpful to have the exhibit at
14 the beginning rather than the end. And that's not only in the interests
15 of fairness, so that the accused can have it, decide to take instructions
16 on it, it's also in the interests of our following the case.
17 MR. SAXON: Very well, Your Honour. And with regard to that same
18 exhibit, 304, Judge Kwon asked me to provide the date and source of the
19 photograph. This photograph was taken by the FBI War Crimes Task Force
20 when this body was conducting investigations in Kosova, between the 24th
21 of June, 1999 and the 29th of June, 1999. So the photo was taken during
22 that period.
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
24 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honour, the marked copy of the photograph
25 will be given Prosecutor's Exhibit 304A. And a clarification for witness
1 Haxhiavdija's statement; 303A will be under seal.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
3 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, the Prosecution will now call Mr. Izet
4 Krasniqi. While we're waiting, Your Honours, Mr. Krasniqi's evidence will
5 be relevant to page 06 of the Kosovo atlas.
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.
8 WITNESS: IZET KRASNIQI
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
11 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
12 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
13 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, with the Trial Chamber's permission, I
14 have Mr. Krasniqi's name spelled correctly. If that could be exhibited
15 or, excuse me, displayed on the ELMO, please.
16 Examined by Mr. Saxon:
17 Q. Sir, is your name Izet Krasniqi?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Mr. Krasniqi, were you born on the 1st of March, 1942, in the
20 village of Studime e Poshtme in Kosovo?
21 A. That's correct. That's correct. True.
22 Q. And is that village located in the municipality of Vushtrri, to
23 the east of the town of Vushtrri?
24 A. Yes, correct.
25 Q. Mr. Krasniqi, on the 30th of March, 2000, did you provide a
1 statement to representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor about the
2 events that you witnessed and experienced in Kosova in 1999?
3 A. Yes, that's true.
4 Q. On the 11th of October, 2001, did you provide an additional
5 statement to a member of the Office of the Prosecutor about the events
6 that you witnessed and experienced in Kosova in 1999?
7 A. Yes, correct.
8 Q. On the 2nd of February of this year, 2002, in Kosova, were you
9 provided with copies of the statements that you previously gave to the
10 Office of the Prosecutor in a language that you understand in the presence
11 of a member of the Office of the Prosecutor and a presiding officer
12 appointed by the Registry?
13 A. Yes, true. The statement was read to me by the investigators of
14 the Tribunal, but copies were not given to me.
15 Q. All right. But did you confirm that the copies that were read to
16 you were true and correct?
17 A. Yes, that's true.
18 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, at this time I would ask that the
19 statements of Mr. Krasniqi be distributed but that they not be marked for
20 admission yet because I have a question or two that I have to discuss with
21 this witness regarding one of his statements.
22 Q. Mr. Krasniqi, recently in conversations with me here in The Hague,
23 did you observe some mistakes in the statement that you provided on the
24 30th of March, 2000?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. In the first full paragraph on page 5 of the English version of
2 your statement of 30 March 2000, and also on page 5 of the Serbian
3 version, you describe how thousands of displaced people had gathered in
4 the village of Studime e Eperme on the 2nd of May, 1999, when Serb forces
5 broke through KLA resistance.
6 In the last sentence of that paragraph, you say that: "We decided
7 to stay even though we had no reliable information from the KLA."
8 Is that last sentence correct?
9 A. Yes. We had no sure information, and we couldn't even believe
10 what was happening to us. As far as the Serb forces were concerned, we
11 didn't know whether they were going to fight with the KLA or whether there
12 was something worse that could happen to the population, the innocent
13 population, unarmed population which was being misplaced from one place to
15 Q. Mr. Krasniqi, what if anything did members of the KLA say to the
16 people that were gathered in Studime e Eperme at that time?
17 A. The KLA advised us that since we were unarmed people, we should
18 just stick to the convoy we were in because if the Serb forces would come
19 along, it was expected that they might attack us. But we were the
20 innocent people, and if they were a fair, normal army, then they wouldn't
21 attack us. So we had to stay in the convoy so as to prevent what happened
22 to us from happening.
23 But before the Serb forces came, we gathered, a group of people
24 gathered. We discussed amongst ourselves, and we decided that on the 2nd
25 of May, around 3.00 -- the following persons were present in that
1 gathering: Bajram Mulaku --
2 Q. Mr. Krasniqi, did the KLA say anything else to you and the group
3 you were with before you joined the convoy on the 2nd of May? Just yes or
4 no, please.
5 A. The army advised us, since we were not armed and we were innocent,
6 they said if they want to attack someone, they will come and look for the
7 KLA. They told us, "You are the innocent, unarmed population. We will
8 just create a corridor for you through which you will pass," as opposed to
9 the difficulties we went through.
10 Q. All right. Mr. Krasniqi, on page 8 of the English version of the
11 same statement, it's also page 8 of the Serbian version, in the middle of
12 the page, you say that you remained in Albania until the 1st of September,
13 when you were able to return to Kosova. Is that sentence correct?
14 A. I corrected it. Not 1st of September, but it was on 1st of August
15 that I returned from Albania.
16 Q. Very well.
17 MR. SAXON: Your Honours, with those corrections, I would offer
18 the statement of Mr. Krasniqi into evidence under Rule 92 bis.
19 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
20 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the original will be marked
21 Prosecutor's Exhibit 305, under seal, and the public redacted version will
22 be 305A.
23 MR. SAXON: Your Honours, Izet Krasniqi, a Kosovo Albanian Muslim,
24 was born and previously resided in the village of Studime e Poshtme in the
25 Vushtrri municipality. His house in the village was burned down in 1999.
1 By the 26th of March, 1999, it became too dangerous in the
2 village, so the witness went with his wife and son to stay with relatives
3 in the town of Vushtrri. Whilst Mr. Krasniqi stayed in Vushtrri, Serb
4 paramilitary burned houses and the main mosque in the centre of the town.
5 On or about the 5th or 6th of April, 1999, Serbian paramilitary evicted
6 Mr. Krasniqi and his relatives from Vushtrri, giving them five minutes to
7 leave. His relatives left for Macedonia, but the witness returned with
8 his family to his village of Studime e Poshtme.
9 Mr. Krasniqi describes Serb paramilitaries setting up a base
10 around the 15th of April, 1999, on a hill close to and overlooking his
11 village. These forces had tanks, mortars, and automatic weapons. Mortar
12 and sniper fire was directed at Mr. Krasniqi's village and homes were
13 damaged. On the 20th of April, 1999, a woman and her daughter were shot
14 by snipers. Mr. Krasniqi describes daily shelling of Studime e Poshtme
15 and alleges that people were killed by snipers, including a woman and
16 daughter. One day, Mr. Krasniqi and his family fled their home due to
17 heavy shelling. That day, Mr. Krasniqi's home was completely destroyed.
18 Eventually, about 10.000 displaced persons were gathered in and
19 around Studime e Poshtme. After paramilitaries shot several persons, the
20 refugees decided to go higher in the mountains, to the village of Studime
21 e Eperme, for safety. Mr. Krasniqi and his family arrived there on his
22 tractor early in the morning of 20 April. There was a KLA presence in
23 Studime e Eperme, but on 1 May 1999, word arrived that Serb forces had
24 broken through the KLA resistance. Eventually, about 25.000 displaced
25 persons gathered in Studime e Eperme. As the Serb forces advanced, the
1 KLA soldiers left the area.
2 Around 7.00 p.m. on the 2nd of May, as Serb forces approached from
3 the north, west, and east, the refugees formed a convoy of tractors and
4 trailers four to five kilometres long that began to move toward Studime e
5 Poshtme to the south. Serb forces fired at the convoy, and Mr. Krasniqi's
6 wife was wounded in the leg. While Mr. Krasniqi tried to help her, Serb
7 forces on foot and in tanks and Pinzgauers caught up with his part of the
8 convoy. Mr. Krasniqi was forced to turn over 300 Deutschmarks to one
9 paramilitary and another paramilitary struck him on the head with the
10 barrel of his gun.
11 Mr. Krasniqi became separated from his wife and continued to drive
12 his tractor in the convoy. At one moment, Mr. Krasniqi saw a Serb
13 paramilitary in a Pinzgauer vehicle aiming a grenade launcher at him. The
14 grenade hit Mr. Krasniqi's tractor and exploded. Mr. Krasniqi was thrown
15 to the ground and suffered wounds to his forehead and left shoulder and
16 his left arm was broken. Eventually, he crawled into a covered trailer
17 being pulled by another tractor. At around 11.00 p.m., Mr. Krasniqi
18 reached the agricultural cooperative outside of the town of Vushtrri.
19 The next morning, Serb paramilitaries ordered all of the men
20 between 18 and 60 to gather on one side of the compound. Mr. Krasniqi
21 remained inside the trailer. The paramilitaries forced the Kosovo
22 Albanian men to stand with their hands on their heads and shout "Slobo"
23 and "Draskovic." Two large trucks arrived and the men were forced to
24 climb into them and were taken away.
25 The paramilitaries told the remaining Kosovo Albanians to get back
1 onto their trailers and drive onto the main road. Mr. Krasniqi rode in
2 the trailer as it passed through Mitrovica and was stopped at roadblocks
3 in Skenderaj, Istok, Klina, and Xerxe. At each roadblock, Serb
4 paramilitaries forced the people on each tractor to turn over at least 100
5 Deutschmarks. The driver of Mr. Krasniqi's tractor was beaten at these
6 roadblocks. At the Albanian border crossing at Morina in the Gjakove
7 municipality, a Serb policeman and a Serb soldier questioned the occupants
8 of Mr. Krasniqi's trailer. The Serb forces took all of the identity cards
9 and passports from the Kosovo Albanians before allowing them to cross the
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
12 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
13 Q. [Interpretation] You stated in your first statement that you
14 always worked in the administration and that from 1998, you worked in the
15 accounting service of the Obilic thermoelectric power plant; is that
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Tell me, how many Albanians were employed at the Obilic
19 thermoelectric power plant?
20 A. The former electrical plant, since 19 --
21 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Krasniqi, what are you reading from?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The events that we went through but
23 also some database from our past which I have jotted down regarding
24 workers and employees which the accused asked about.
25 In 1990, there were 11.000 Albanian --
12 Blank pages inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French
13 and English transcripts. Pages 9355 to 9368.
1 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment. You're giving evidence here, and the
2 normal rule is that witnesses don't give evidence from notes but, of
3 course, from their recollection. But you say you have a note, do you, as
4 to those who were employed in the power plant? You've got a note about
5 that, have you?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I have notes in general about
7 the thermoelectric power plant.
8 JUDGE MAY: You can use those notes, but apart from that, would
9 you not use them unless there's a specific point you want to refresh your
10 memory on. Yes. Now, give us the answer.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Clear. In the thermoelectric power
12 plant, 70 per cent of the employees were Albanian, which, generally
13 speaking, in Kosova at the time, 90 per cent of the population was
14 Albanian, and we deserved to have 70 per cent of Albanian employees in the
16 JUDGE MAY: That's another point. If you would just concentrate
17 on the questions and just give the answers, we'll get on more quickly.
18 Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. And what was the total number of employees at the thermoelectric
21 power plants at Obilic?
22 A. In total, up until violence started, their number was around
24 Q. All right. So thousands and thousands of Albanians worked at the
25 thermoelectric power plants in Obilic all the way up to the war. Isn't
1 that right, Mr. Krasniqi?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And do you remember when the members of the KLA, during 1998,
4 abducted a group of workers employed at the thermoelectric power plant,
5 and they were going to work at the pit at Belacevac?
6 A. Of which nationality are you referring to?
7 Q. They abducted a group of Serbs, workers who were working in the
8 pit, in the Belacevac pit. If you remember their names, they were Dragan
9 Vukomirovic, Zoran Anicic, Petar Acancic, Dusan Acancic, Miroslav
10 Trifunovic, Sebera Sabic [phoen], Bozidar Lencic, and Marijan Buha. Of
11 course, in Belacevac, for the most part it was Albanians who were employed
12 there, but the persons abducted were Serbs. They were workers who were
13 going to do their shift in the pits. That was in 1998.
14 A. I remember what you're talking about. I do not remember the names
15 and surnames. I remember the kidnapping, but I do not know who they were
16 kidnapped by, and I do not know why they were kidnapped. But Serb forces
17 were conducting large operations, wide operations in Kosovo, and all the
18 kidnappings and the killings and everything happened because of them and
19 by them. The accused knows that very well as far as they are concerned,
20 as far as everything is concerned in Kosovo. However, the bottom line is
21 I do not know who kidnapped them.
22 Q. And do you remember, perhaps, that the kidnapping of these workers
23 was the first incident in the area and that this could not have been
24 caused by any operations of the Serb forces, as you had put it? Do you
25 remember that, Mr. Krasniqi?
1 A. Since 1990, when violent measures also included the
2 thermoelectrical plant, discrimination within the administration reached
3 high levels, and Lazar Ecevic, Milan Vujakovic, and a person by the name
4 of Sokrat, who was Roman, were also conducting discrimination, so to say.
5 He also worked in the Serb administration, who kept discriminating
6 Albanians, kicking them out of their jobs and violating their employment
7 rights and their rights to -- their right to exist, merely because they
8 had the power and the administration in their hands. While we Albanians,
9 we loved working. Even though economically speaking we were not very well
10 off, however, the desire to survive and to work honestly. Regardless of
11 all these, we underwent killing and execution and
13 137 employees --
14 JUDGE MAY: Now, we must keep these within bounds. Can you answer
15 the questions as shortly as possible.
16 Mr. Milosevic, we will not be assisted by political argument,
17 which these sort of questions lead to. Yes.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. What kind of discrimination are you speaking about, Mr. Krasniqi?
20 When we stated a few minutes ago that thousands and thousands of Albanians
21 worked at the thermoelectric power plants in Obilic only. You're even
22 talking about killings and I don't know what all. What kind of
23 discrimination are you talking about?
24 A. It was discrimination. People were sacked. When the war started
25 on a large scale, the Albanians suffered in comparison with the structure
1 of the Serbian population. This was outright discrimination. It was
3 Q. All right, Mr. Krasniqi. These are rather general statements that
4 are refuted by facts. And do you know about the fate of these kidnapped
5 workers who were also going to their work peacefully, going to work in the
6 mine? And their fate remains unknown. Nothing is known about them up to
7 the present day.
8 A. I don't know what happened to them. I don't know.
9 Q. And did you hear that, after the kidnapping, they were transferred
10 to the KLA prison in Likovac in Drenica?
11 A. I don't know about prisons because the KLA didn't have prisons.
12 Q. You claim that the KLA did not have any prisons; is that right?
13 A. I don't know of the KLA having any prisons.
14 Q. So what do you think? Through the efforts of the Verification
15 Mission of the OSCE, where were soldiers who had been kidnapped released
16 from, for example, or journalists who had been released? The negotiations
17 on their release took days. Where were they released from?
18 JUDGE MAY: There is no point arguing about this. He says he
19 doesn't know. He says the KLA didn't have any prisons. Now, you can
20 produce your evidence on the point in due course, but there's no point
21 arguing with him about it. Let's move on.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. All right.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. And do you know that in that period, during 1998 in particular,
25 there were many breakdowns and many attacks at various stations in Obilic,
1 then also transmission lines were broken, machinery was stopped, bombs
2 were planted. There were sabotages, et cetera. Do you know about that?
3 Because you were employed there all the time.
4 A. At that time, I don't know of there being breakdowns, as you
5 claim. And even if there were, it was all in the hands of the Serbian
6 administration. We were not able to conduct any sabotage or cause any
8 Q. That was well known in the public. Even the newspapers wrote
9 about this, carried pictures. This was on television. So you don't
10 remember any of this; right?
11 A. I said, as I said before, Your Honours, that we had no authority
12 to cause -- or we didn't have powers to cause sabotage or breakdowns in
13 the Kosovar power network. And after the Serbian authorities took
14 management into their hands, we were mainly -- we were merely manual
15 workers, and we only had jobs that Serbs didn't like doing. So we were
16 not in any position to cause any breakdowns because of this
18 Q. All right. Mr. Krasniqi, you say that you yourself worked in the
19 administration. So you personally were not a manual labourer; is that
20 right? Why are you speaking in the first person plural when referring to
21 manual labourers when you obviously were not a manual labourer?
22 A. I wasn't a manual labourer, but the job where I worked before the
23 war, in the archives, was taken away from me and a Serb took my place.
24 But he didn't like the work at the desk, and so he didn't want to accept
25 the job, and so he -- he liked to keep on the move and go out, and so I
1 had to do this job that he didn't want.
2 Q. All right. And what about the rest of these 70 per cent of the
3 employed persons there who were Albanians? Did they all take jobs that
4 Serbs didn't like and didn't want to do?
5 A. Once again, I must repeat, Your Honour, that until the imposed
6 measures in 1990, it was up until then we were 70 per cent Albanians. But
7 after then, Albanians were sacked and replaced but Serbs, and there were
8 only a few of us left. After 1998, in December, we -- there were only a
9 few workers left. For instance, in the conveyer belts, in cleaning, jobs
10 which the Serbs wouldn't do. So there were only a few workers left, and
11 subject to discrimination, with very low wages, and no trade unions
12 because the trade unions only defended Serbian interests, and Serbs had
13 all kinds of bonuses in food, and whereas we were forced to contribute to
14 this trade union against our will. We had no responsibilities, we had no
15 authorities, and all the specialised staff were dismissed and the
16 management of the power station was assumed by Serbs.
17 Q. Oh, please, let us not waste time, Mr. Krasniqi. Let's not
18 discuss trade unions and things now.
19 Are you claiming that Serbs were paid more for the same work, more
20 than Albanians? Is that perhaps your claim?
21 A. Indeed it was true.
22 Q. All right. Thank you. After all, there is information about
23 this, figures, lists, et cetera, also the employees themselves. So it's
24 pointless wasting time.
25 You said in your first statement, I am quoting it: "In the school
1 in Gornja Studimlja in the municipality of Vucitrn, from January 1999
2 there was a KLA platoon that was stationed there consisting of about 30
3 soldiers," as you call them. "As far as I know, this number remained
4 unchanged throughout the war."
5 Why was there a platoon of KLA in the school in Gornja Studimlja
6 from January onwards?
7 A. This is true. In Studime e Eperme, there was a military unit of
8 about 30 soldiers who had some kind of weapons but is in no way comparable
9 with the weaponry of the Serb forces. But they were defending their own
10 people, their own land, their territory against the attacks of Serbian
11 forces. But as we know, our army was not a match, even though it had the
12 willpower and it had the idealism. The Serbian forces had the weapons.
13 JUDGE MAY: Just try and concentrate on answering the questions,
14 Mr. Krasniqi, if you would.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. Is this the elementary school Remzi Sylejmani?
17 A. That's right. Remzi Sylejmani. Which school do you mean?
18 Q. The one where this KLA unit was, the one that you referred to.
19 A. Yes. That's what it's been called since the war.
20 Q. Was Musa Terbunja the commander of this unit?
21 A. Yes, that's true.
22 Q. You say that from January 1999 onwards, you helped the KLA with
23 their supplies of fuel, clothing, et cetera. So you worked as a kind of
24 supplier of theirs; is that right?
25 A. That's true that we indeed helped our army, the KLA, with petrol,
1 with food, clothes, to the extent that we could. And if we had had more,
2 we would have helped more, because Serbian terror was strangling our
4 Q. All right. All right. Tell me, where were you bringing this and
5 how were you bringing it?
6 A. We obtained this aid, and the oil products, we bought them and
7 kept them at home and then took them up to the army in its positions.
8 Q. Where were the positions to which you took that to?
9 A. The position was up there in Studime e Eperme where the army was,
10 and the positions were taken according to their judgement, according to
11 what they decided.
12 Q. How many of them were there then when you went to their positions?
13 A. I would hand these things over at the school in Studime e Eperme.
14 And there were 30 of them there, but some of them had gone out to scout
15 out the terrain, and no doubt they had their own programme, and according
16 to the officers of the KLA who were leading that unit.
17 Q. And tell me, do you -- do you know the members of the staff of
18 that unit? Besides Terbunja -- there was Terbunja Bajram, Ismet Terbunja,
19 Bunjako Kusit [phoen], Popova Nexhit, Janush Gashi, and some others.
20 A. I wasn't there. I wasn't active in the KLA in order to know all
21 their names, but they were there to defend their people and to scout out
22 the terrain and to protect their -- our land, and so we helped them in any
23 way that we could, according to our resources. That's my answer.
24 Q. Yes. All right. I understand your explanation. But can you
25 please tell me, in your first statement, you say that they decided to take
1 wounded Hasan to the field hospital in the Cecelija village but he died on
2 the way, and someone else was wounded in both legs, and he was also taken
3 to Cecelija. In which fighting were this Hasan and his father wounded,
4 and these others, that you were taking to the hospital in Cecelija?
5 Where did this fighting take place? Was this near the school in Studimlja
6 or was it somewhere else?
7 A. This happened on the 16th of April in a house where Serbian
8 forces, and I won't go into the burning of the house, and they went to the
9 house of Sadik Veshica and they threw him out of the house and took over
10 the horses, but the Serbs made no bones about throwing him out. And
11 unfortunately, it was a tragedy in Sadik's family, and Sadik was seriously
12 wounded in the leg and his son Hasan was wounded while getting into an
13 orange-coloured Mercedes to leave the house - not in the leg but in the
14 back - hit by Serbian forces and Hasan's brother was killed by a sniper in
15 his own yard. And the most terrible thing that happened there was when
16 Sadik's grandson was killed, who was 18 years old, and he was killed by
17 500 or 600 metres from the house. And he was so young and --
18 Q. Very well, Mr. Krasniqi. Could you be a little bit briefer,
20 JUDGE MAY: Just concentrate -- I know there's much you want to
21 tell us, Mr. Krasniqi, we understand that. But you must understand too
22 that we have only a limited time. We have got your statement, so we have
23 got your evidence in front of us. If you would just concentrate on
24 answering the questions. And if there is some further explanation
25 necessary, you could give it in due course or indeed at the end, when Mr.
1 Saxon will be able to ask you some more questions.
2 Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Mr. Krasniqi, do you know how many members of the KLA took part in
5 the fighting that you mention where these people were wounded?
6 A. There were none. No member of the KLA participated in that
7 fighting that day. There was population -- there was normal people there,
8 civilians, and the KLA had done that in order not to cause any victims.
9 Q. And did the KLA members take them to the field hospital?
10 A. It's not true. It was the people. The people heard it. And I
11 was there myself.
12 Q. All right. If they were not the KLA and if they were not taken by
13 the members of the KLA, why were they not taken to the city hospital in
14 Vucitrn instead to the KLA field hospital?
15 A. No, not -- there were no doctors at the time at the state-owned
16 hospital. We needed a safe place. Only Sadik Veshica and Hasan who was
17 sent to Cesinice [phoen], and he was being treated by the KLA doctors.
18 Q. All right, I understand that they wanted to go to a safe place.
19 Is that because both Hasan and his father were members of the KLA? Is
20 that right, Mr. Krasniqi? That is why they needed to go to a safe place.
21 A. Not true, because Sadik, with his sons, was at the KLA. They were
22 not. They were at home that day. They were wearing normal civilian
23 clothes, as always, but they were never with the KLA.
24 Q. The question of clothes is not relevant here, but how can you
25 tell, or are you saying that there were no doctors in the hospital in
1 Vucitrn and that is why they were not taken to Vucitrn, that there were no
2 doctors in the city hospital in Vucitrn?
3 A. No. It's true that we didn't have any trust in -- in the Vushtrri
4 hospitals because they were all staffed by Serbian doctors, and we didn't
5 dare to take our people there and --
6 Q. But you did go for treatment to Serbian doctors, as far as I know.
7 And could you please tell me, who were the doctors at the KLA field
8 hospital in Cecelija? Did Dr. Shukri Gerxhaliu work there? Do you
9 remember that?
10 A. Yes. Dr. Shukri Gerxhaliu was thrown out of the health centre in
11 Vushtrri rather before this incident and was involved as a doctor in
12 helping the wounded civilians and soldiers in the field hospital in
14 Q. Dr. Agim Peqi [phoen] also worked there; isn't that right?
15 A. There were several doctors working there, to help the civilian
16 population and the army, as normal.
17 Q. All right. And who commanded the KLA unit in Cecelija where this
18 hospital was?
19 A. I said before. I will repeat it again. Your Honours, I only know
20 of the checkpoint in Studime e Eperme, because myself, I was not
21 activated, I was not engaged in these activities of the KLA.
22 Q. And was Gani Imeri the commander of those headquarters which also
23 covered the villages of Kurilivo, Slakovac and Meljanica, besides
24 Cecelija? Do you remember that?
25 A. Your Honour and Prosecutors, I said very clearly --
1 JUDGE MAY: He doesn't know, Mr. Milosevic. There's no point
2 going on about it.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Did you perhaps meet the commander of that terrorist group, Gani
5 Imeri, who -- whose characteristic was that one of his legs was shorter
6 than the other?
7 JUDGE MAY: He doesn't know. Do you know this gentleman -- just a
9 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
10 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, just wait a moment.
11 Do you know this gentleman who was mentioned or not?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said I only know -- I only knew
13 the soldiers in Studime e Eperme. And what you call Albanian terrorists,
14 the KLA were not terrorists. And this is your comment. Because the KLA
15 didn't go to Serbia and Belgrade --
16 JUDGE MAY: Mr. -- Mr. Krasniqi, I'm -- I must stop you. This is
17 all a matter of argument. Mr. Krasniqi, this is all a matter of argument.
18 We've heard plenty of evidence, and we will have to make our minds up
19 about it in due course. Now, I know that you may feel provoked by the way
20 in which the accused puts his questions. Do not be provoked. Just answer
21 them patiently.
22 Yes, Mr. Milosevic. Don't -- there's no point putting any more
23 questions to him about the membership of the KLA. He doesn't know. He's
24 told you.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Do you know that some of them are in prison now and they've been
2 arrested by the UNMIK police because of illicit actions?
3 JUDGE MAY: No. You know you're not to ask those questions. Now,
4 unless you ask a relevant question in the next five to ten minutes, you're
5 going to be stopped.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Do you know that in the village of Pasoma, close to your village,
8 there was also a KLA unit which numbered over 100 members and which was
9 commanded by Ali Januzi? Do you know that?
10 A. I know that the fighters of the KLA were born out of the bosom of
11 the people because of the terror in Kosova which was carried out by you.
12 JUDGE MAY: The answer, I think, is no. Now, have you got any
13 other questions on the witness's evidence? He's given evidence about the
14 attack on the convoy. If you challenge that, Mr. Milosevic, you should do
15 so now in the five to ten minutes remaining.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, I do dispute it, but it says
17 here in his statement --
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. You say in your statement that you sheltered in Gornja Studimlja
20 and that the village was bombed. And I'm quoting you, that the village
21 was bombed because the KLA was stationed there. Is this right? And then
22 you say, on the same page: "The KLA told us that we were safe for the
23 moment." So you were directly with a KLA unit in this village, in Gornja
24 Studimlja; is that right?
25 A. Which Studimlja are we talking about, because there are two
2 Q. We're talking about Gornja Studimlja. You're saying Gornja
3 Studimlja was bombed because the KLA was stationed there. That's what you
4 said in your statement. So to complete the picture that you were talking
5 about, that changed a little bit. We were -- you were talking about the
6 presence of the KLA in that area of yours. You were talking about
7 contacts with them. They told you to stay, to go, and so on. You spoke
8 about how tanks were deployed, where they were deployed, the artillery,
9 that fighting was conducted with the KLA on the Cicavica mountain. So in
10 this context, you were leaving. Does that mean that you were fleeing the
11 conflicts, which were intense, the conflicts between the KLA and the army
12 and the police? Is this true or not?
13 A. No. As for the conflict between the KLA and the police, at that
14 certain period, there was no conflict between the two parties, but the
15 Serb forces were shelling the villages and were expelling Albanians from
16 their homes.
17 Q. Mr. Krasniqi, you yourself in the statement talk about how some
18 artillery weapons fired into the woods in Cicavica, that you don't know
19 what it is that they hit. Do you know that there were KLA units on
20 Cicavica as well as large groups of terrorists of the KLA? You yourself
21 talked about this fighting.
22 A. Yes, that's true that at this checkpoint there were two tanks
23 positioned in the direction of Cicavica, and they had a point that was
24 visible to them. And regardless of whether there were KLA forces there or
25 not, up to the village of Svinjare, because the Serbs, in the beginning,
1 with their forces and heavy weaponry, they were shelling the villages in
2 order to expel Albanians from their homes and to cause ethnic cleansing
3 and to force them out to Albania.
4 Q. Very well. Mr. Krasniqi, you yourself state in one place that
5 Serb forces, as you say, broke the resistance of the KLA and that you were
6 withdrawing. So the KLA was engaged in fighting with our army and the
7 police, and its resistance was broken, which means that they did fight.
8 Is that so or isn't it? What else does it mean, the things that you're
9 explaining? What else can they mean?
10 A. Yes, it's true that the KLA position in Kacanol, which was in the
11 operational zone of Llap, and Bellanice was in the operational zone of
12 Shala, and Serbian forces came and took these points. But I wasn't there,
13 and I don't know what happened there because this is 20 kilometres away.
14 And I never went to scout out the area above Studime e Eperme, and I
15 wasn't a member of the KLA forces, so I have no information about what
16 kind of fighting took place between Serbian forces and the KLA in these
17 two operational zones. But I know that Serbian forces came and took
18 vengeance on the population, because when --
19 JUDGE MAY: Time is limited. Yes.
20 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. And in your direction from Bajgora, you yourself talk about a zone
22 of operations. Did the forces from Bajgora withdraw, as well as from
23 Cecelija and other villages? Were they withdrawing from there together
24 with the civilian population, together with you?
25 A. Your Honours, I mentioned -- I clearly mentioned that in Bajgora,
1 in Meljanica, I was not in these locations. I only have a broader
2 geographical knowledge regarding these places from before the war. But as
3 for the Serb forces and their efforts to fight these points --
4 checkpoints, I don't have a clue. I don't have an idea.
5 Q. Did members of the KLA, while they were withdrawing, intermingle
6 with the civilians? Is this true or not?
7 A. Your Honour, I said before that the KLA forces withdrew in the
8 direction of Samadrexha, which is 15 kilometres away, when they came under
9 pressure from Serbian forces, but not a single member of the KLA was with
10 the population because they wanted to save the population and make a clear
11 distinction from them. And these members of the population were shot at
12 close range of one metre, one from one house, one from another family, and
13 their average age was --
14 JUDGE MAY: Now, that's a separate point.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. All right. Did you yourself describe in your statement that while
17 you were fleeing when our forces broke down the resistance of the KLA,
18 panic broke out and large numbers of civilians were on the move. You even
19 described an event where a tractor overturned and three people were killed
20 in this accident. How many such cases were there with civilians being
21 injured in the panic where tractors overturned or there were car accidents
22 and things like that? Do you know about any cases like that? You
23 described one such event as an eyewitness.
24 A. Yes. I know certain cases because I was present there. I
25 mentioned that before the attack, at about 3.00, I met with Shaban and
1 with other persons because the panic was there. They were young men, they
2 were young women, and they all had the feeling that something bad was
3 going to happen. And we all talked with Bajram and Shaban, and myself
4 with Bajram Muqiqi. We decided to hand them over the white flag and to
5 surrender so that they would open a corridor for us and prevent the worst.
6 And that night, nobody died from accidents, from turnovers of tractors.
7 They all died from execution, from massacres. And I also mentioned and I
8 will mention it again that there were 109 victims in this night.
9 JUDGE MAY: We must concentrate on the questions.
10 Yes, Mr. Milosevic. Your time is coming up. You've got two or
11 three more questions.
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have a few questions, quite a
13 number of questions, actually, Mr. May.
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. Mr. Krasniqi, you yourself were hurt when a tractor turned over;
16 isn't that true?
17 A. No. The truth is what I already said. And the notes that you
18 have are not correct. When I arrived there, the Serb forces arrived with
19 Pinzgauers and a Serb soldier approached us and asked us, "What are you
20 doing here?" I told them that my wife was sick and that I was helping
21 her. And then they said, like, "There is no wife here. There is nothing
22 you can do here."
23 Q. Just one moment. I'm asking you specifically.
24 JUDGE MAY: The question is how were you injured. You can tell us
25 that. Just briefly, just briefly.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May, I'm quoting the witness.
2 "At the moment of impact, I opened the door, attempting to get out, to
3 jump out."
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. How is it that in the dark, you, in the middle of a column --
6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, let him answer.
7 How did you come to injure yourself? Just tell us very briefly,
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The issue of myself being wounded is
10 as it is described. And that soldier told me, "You don't know what a
11 wedding party we will have here today."
12 JUDGE MAY: Can you please tell us how you were injured. Now, if
13 you cannot do that, we must simply ignore your evidence.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] To put it shortly, I was wounded
15 when they shot a rifle grenade from the Pinzgauer, from a 25 to 30-metre
16 distance. And I noticed when the soldier sitting at the Pinzgauer fired
17 the rifle grenade. Then with my left hand, I turned the steering wheel,
18 and with my right hand, I opened the door and I jumped. And at that
19 moment, it exploded and it wounded me.
20 And before the wounding, before I fell down, one soldier asked for
21 money, and he hit me on the head while my arm was broken because of the
22 rifle grenade. And I also have a picture, please, that all this was
23 committed or could come only from the Serb forces.
24 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Yes, Mr. Milosevic. You've got five
25 minutes, you have five minutes more. Five minutes more with this witness.
1 It means that you will have had very nearly an hour.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well, Mr. May.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. So it happened so that you saw in the dark how a member of some
5 paramilitary force, as you say, at the precise moment when he fired, you
6 opened the door, and while this bullet was flying towards you as he fired
7 it, you jumped out and that's how you were hurt there when the vehicle
8 blew up. Is that what you're saying?
9 A. Although this question is not very clear, I explained clearly that
10 the soldier fired with a rocket grenade from a Pinzgauer, firing either at
11 the first tractor or the second, where I was. And he saw me, and he fired
12 his rocket grenade. And I have these wounds. And you can find this
13 testified by the medical authorities in Tirana. And this is quite clear.
14 And the accused is only asking questions to suit himself, and the truth is
15 that 109 people fell victim to Serbian terror and were shot by the army.
16 Q. Who did you see being killed by, as you say, Serb terror that
17 night? What was -- what was it that you personally saw, which murders?
18 A. I saw victims. I saw after -- I saw near the tractor -- and
19 Serbian forces stopped us and told us not to turn on the lights, but I saw
20 people dead there, people who suffered this fate.
21 Q. And they told you not to turn any lights on so that you would not
22 be visible and so that you would not be hit from the air. That's why you
23 didn't put any lights on. How do you know who killed those people? How
24 were those people killed? Except for those three who you saw whose
25 tractor overturned and that's how they were killed. You didn't describe
1 any other individual deaths here in your statement except for that.
2 A. On the 2nd of May, the execution began at 9.00 by the Serb forces.
3 The Serb forces arrived from the left side, from the direction of
4 Samadrexha, Vucitrn, and came through the sector of Shala, from the north,
5 and they had their weapons there. They could kill whomever they chose.
6 They had the weaponry. And we were innocent. And they had no reason not
7 to obey because they would kill them. They would take their money.
8 JUDGE MAY: What you were asked is did you see anybody else
9 killed. If so, could you tell us very briefly about that.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before I was wounded, I saw two
11 people who were executed on the opposite side, at about four or five
12 metres from the tractor. But I didn't see it clearly.
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. What did you see? Did you see them lying on the ground?
15 A. They were lying on the ground and their limbs were distorted.
16 Q. But you didn't see who killed them. You only saw two dead people
17 on the ground; isn't that right?
18 A. Your Honours, I will repeat this once again. The Serbs demolished
19 a lot, and they were very close. They were there with us on the opposite
20 side. They were looting. They were killing. They were -- they
21 outnumbered us. They were in large numbers.
22 Q. Very well. You say that the soldiers and the police officers were
23 armed, and this is not in dispute. Policemen and soldiers carry weapons.
24 Were the members of the KLA armed or not? In these events that you're
25 describing, were members of the KLA armed or not?
1 A. This is getting interesting, what the accused is saying. I
2 mentioned before that the KLA soldiers left in the direction of Samadrexha
3 and Dumnica because or for the safety of the population, and it is more
4 than true that there was not a single armed KLA soldier amongst the
6 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, your time is up.
7 Mr. Tapuskovic, have you any questions for this witness?
8 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, thank you. I have
9 three things that I would like to clarify with Mr. Krasniqi.
10 Questioned by Mr. Tapuskovic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] The first is you said several times, during
12 earlier questioning as well as today, that Serb forces had defeated the
13 members of the KLA and that panic had broken out. Could you please tell
14 me, while they were being defeated, were there any casualties among the
15 KLA or not?
16 A. The question is not clear to me, please.
17 Q. If Serbian forces broke down the resistance of the KLA, as you
18 said, probably there was fighting there. And was there any loss of life
19 among the members of the KLA during that fighting or not?
20 A. Please, which incident are you talking about?
21 Q. At the time when you were in Gornja Studimlja with 10.000 people,
22 and then this group later grew to 25.000 people. In your statement, on
23 page 5, paragraph 2, you explained this in detail, and you repeated twice
24 there what I have just told you. So on that occasion, were there any
25 casualties among the members of the KLA?
1 A. Are we talking about the 2nd of May or an event before that?
2 Please go to the essence of the issue.
3 Q. Please. You have your statement here. This is on page 2.
4 JUDGE MAY: We cannot waste time. Do you know of any KLA
5 casualties ? Just yes or no, Mr. Krasniqi, please.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, there were no victims
7 amongst the KLA.
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes. There's your answer.
9 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] That is all I wanted to hear, yes
10 or no, Your Honours.
11 Q. Mr. Krasniqi's second statement -- in his second statement, he
12 makes a correction. Mr. Krasniqi, you say that all of this happened when
13 the Serb forces came above your village. There were -- this didn't happen
14 on the 15th of March, but it should state the 15th of April. Is this
16 A. That's correct.
17 Q. Those forces who were there as you described it, were they wearing
18 the uniforms or the insignia of the MUP, as you said?
19 A. On 14th of April, they came up to the school, the MUP itself with
20 the MUP insignia. They recorded the school, they filmed the school in
21 Studime e Eperme. The building was abandoned. There were no pupils in
22 the school.
23 Q. Mr. Krasniqi, I'm just interested in whether they were wearing
24 police uniforms.
25 A. They had. They had the police uniforms, the MUP uniforms.
1 Q. And then on the 15th of April, the tanks arrived. Were these
2 tanks manned by soldiers or policemen?
3 A. Those tanks the MUP -- were directed by MUP up to the checkpoint
4 in Rashica, and an excavator of orange colour opened or dug up a hole, and
5 they continued to shell in the direction of Studime e Eperme.
6 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Krasniqi. I'm interested in the
7 following: Today in response to Mr. Saxon's question, before in your
8 statement you said that these forces that took positions above your
9 village were paramilitary units. Were they paramilitaries or were they
10 soldiers and policemen?
11 A. They were soldiers, policemen, and paramilitaries. There were a
12 lot of reservists mobilised at that time, and they all gathered together
13 and they shelled houses and caused casualties. And we were quite unable
14 to move or travel in any way.
15 Q. That's why I'm asking all of this. In your second statement, you
16 say that the tank guns were pointed at Cicavica and that the shooting took
17 place only at Cicavica on the 18th and 19th of April, 1999 -- 18th and
18 20th of April, 1999. And then on the 24th and 25th of April, the shooting
19 took place against Gornja Studimlja, where there was only the KLA. The
20 KLA was in the school in Gornja Studimlja, and it is only these directions
21 that were targeted during those days, towards the hills. And then after
22 that, you say towards the end, on the 17th or 18th, there was shooting
23 directed at your village but there were no casualties. Is that right?
24 This is how I would like to end my questions. Is that what you said?
25 A. That's true, yes, that they fired at the village of Studimlja
1 where both the population and the people were. But the school where the
2 KLA was was a very low position. It was surrounded by hills, both there
3 in Cecelia. But nevertheless, they shelled the roofs of various houses
4 and various buildings there.
5 Q. However, it was where the KLA was.
6 A. Please. Where the KLA was, yes.
7 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
8 JUDGE MAY: Any re-examination?
9 MR. SAXON: No, Your Honour.
10 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Krasniqi, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
11 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are now free to
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And I would like to thank
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice. We ought to be brief because there is
16 a break due.
17 MR. NICE: I'm in entirely in Your Honours' hands. I should think
18 I have got about five, or perhaps a little more, minutes, partly in closed
19 session, of issues to raise. One of the things I was going to do was, to
20 at least give you the chance of having a courtesy copy of the motion that
21 brings us up to date - I don't know how long it takes for motions once
22 filed, as this one has been this morning, to reach you. It occurred to me
23 it might be helpful for you to have this before the break. They were not
24 in --
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [No translation]
1 JUDGE MAY: Could the witness withdraw, please.
2 [The witness withdrew]
3 MR. NICE: If I provide this before the break, come and deal with
4 this shortly after the break, would that be convenient?
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes, indeed.
6 MR. NICE: Perhaps I can also -- can I actually in forecast of
7 what I -- in forecast of what I'll say later, can I, if you have the files
8 immediately at hand, alert you to pages -- official page numbers of the
9 transcript 669, 670, and 673. It touches on the witness Kevin Curtis, and
10 there's just one thing I wanted to say about that, and it may help if you
11 have an opportunity to look at those pages. And also -- no. The other
12 matter, I must deal with it in closed session so I'll leave it to after
13 the break.
14 JUDGE MAY: You're not going to return to Mr. Curtis, are you?
15 MR. NICE: Something I just want to --
16 JUDGE MAY: Very well. We will adjourn now. Twenty minutes.
17 --- Recess taken at 12.25 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 12.50 p.m.
19 [Private session]
12 Page 9394 redacted, private session.
12 Page 9395 redacted, private session.
12 Page 9396 redacted, private session.
9 [Open session]
10 MR. NICE: And, Your Honour, it does indeed relate very briefly to
11 Mr. Curtis. Sorry. The other matter, Your Honour, does relate very
12 briefly to Mr. Curtis. I'm not going to press the issue, but I was simply
13 aware that in the filing we made, we hadn't perhaps drawn to your
14 attention our understanding of the history as well as we might have done,
15 which is revealed at the pages that I identified. I don't know whether
16 you've had the chance to look at them in the short break. Probably not.
17 But at pages 669, 670, and more materially 673, the amici offered no
18 objection in principle to evidence about the means of investigation and
19 Your Honour, in giving the ruling, indicated that the means of
20 investigation, if of assistance to us, might have been available for
21 evidence and I said we didn't intend to call the officer on that topic at
22 this stage.
23 My concern - and again perhaps this wasn't fully expressed in the
24 motion - is not only that Mr. Curtis is, as it were, to borrow a domestic
25 analogy, the officer in the case who would typically deal with the arrest
1 and just those formal matters but he is the witness who would be able to
2 deal not only with what happened to the Prosecutor Louise Arbour, which
3 might otherwise not be before the Court and of some significance because
4 it shows an obstructive disposition on the part, it would be said, of the
5 accused at a time when he shouldn't have been, but also he's in a position
6 to deal with the very broad allegations that have been made periodically
7 by the accused about the investigation and the investigators.
8 Now, I know, of course, that allegations made by the accused
9 unsubstantiated by evidence amount to nothing more than that, but he's
10 been making the allegations from time to time. I'm afraid I haven't got
11 my finger on one of the particular ones, but the Court will have them in
12 mind. And because the integrity of the investigation and the -- to some
13 degree the integrity of the witnesses whose statements were produced in
14 that investigation has been attacked, it seemed to us it would be
15 appropriate to call or to seek to call Mr. Curtis, only briefly, but
16 really in his role as officer in the case.
17 He would, of course, also, although you've clearly had an
18 opportunity to consider this and thus far rejected it, he would be able to
19 deal with the arrest of the accused and to deal with the fact that the man
20 was given his rights at all material times.
21 And since it was our shortcoming for not perhaps having spelt
22 those matters out -- my shortcoming for not having spelt those matters out
23 sufficiently clearly, I draw them to your attention.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Those matters, Mr. Nice, if I recall, were the
25 subject of an earlier motion by the accused, and I think in large part
1 were disposed of by the decision of the Chamber.
2 MR. NICE: Your Honour, yes, that's why I drew to your attention
3 the particular pages of the ruling. The first motion was much more
4 focused on the whole business of summarising evidence, which is now
5 being looked at and reviewed elsewhere, and perhaps these particular parts
6 of the witness statement weren't focused on as much, and in any event, the
7 final decision of the Chamber expressed by His Honour Judge May on that
8 occasion, the Chamber being constituted as it was, appeared, to us, to
9 allow for our calling the witness on the issue of the investigation should
10 we so judge it, I at the time saying that we put the matter back for later
12 A small point but, in that narrow way, something I'd like you to
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE MAY: We'll consider that matter.
16 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm much obliged. Mr. Saxon will call the
17 next witness. I forecast it will take until the end of the morning. Even
18 if it doesn't, I think that there will only be a small amount of time left
19 and it may be the Chamber will not call the next witness until tomorrow.
20 JUDGE MAY: While the witness is being called - if the usher would
21 be kind enough to get the witness - there's another -- after this one,
22 there is another 92 bis witness, I take it.
23 MR. NICE: Yes. Liri Loshi.
24 JUDGE MAY: There is then Mr. Golubovic; is that right?
25 MR. NICE: Yes.
1 JUDGE MAY: There is then the general.
2 MR. NICE: Yes.
3 JUDGE MAY: How long is it anticipated he will take in chief?
4 MR. NICE: Well, of course, it's possible simply to tender him
5 with his report, but I forecast probably half an hour with him in direct
6 examination in order to set a few --
7 JUDGE MAY: And when can he be here?
8 MR. NICE: He's here now and he will be available tomorrow and
9 into the following day.
10 JUDGE MAY: K41 you said on Thursday.
11 MR. NICE: Yes.
12 JUDGE MAY: The next one, Mr. Stijovic, we have to make a decision
14 MR. NICE: Yes.
15 JUDGE MAY: And at that leaves Mr. Coo. In relation to that,
16 there is an argument outstanding. We need to programme a time to hear the
17 argument. The amici having put in a paper, the accused should be allowed
18 to address us on that. We need to find time for it.
19 MR. NICE: Can I respectfully suggest that the way to deal with
20 the argument, and I think we've responded to it already, might be simply
21 at the beginning of his evidence and to go through the challenged
22 passages, to get him, perhaps, indeed -- or to explain through him the
23 answer that there may be to those objections.
24 JUDGE MAY: Very well.
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness take the declaration.
2 WITNESS: MEHDI GERGURI
3 [Witness answered through interpreter]
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
5 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
6 JUDGE MAY: If you'd like to take a seat.
7 Examined by Mr. Saxon:
8 Q. Sir, is your name Mehdi Gerguri?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Mr. Gerguri, were you born on the 10th of November, 1957?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Were you born in the village of Studime e Eperme in the
13 municipality of Vushtrri in Kosovo?
14 A. Yes.
15 MR. SAXON: If I can say parenthetically for Your Honours, this
16 witness again will deal with events around page 6 in the Kosovo atlas.
17 Q. Mr. Gerguri, is Studime e Eperme about six kilometres to the
18 northeast of the town of Vushtrri?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. On the 27th of February, 2000, did you provide a statement to a
21 representative of the Office of the Prosecutor about the events that you
22 witnessed and experienced in Kosovo in 1999?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. On the 9th of October, 2001, did you provide another statement to
25 a representative of the Office of the Prosecutor about the events that you
1 witnessed and experienced in Kosovo in 1999?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. On the 12th of March this year, 2002, in Vushtrri in Kosova, were
4 you provided with copies of the statements that you gave in 2000 and 2001
5 in a language that you understand and in the presence of a representative
6 of the Office of the Prosecutor and a presiding officer appointed by the
7 Registrar of this Tribunal?
8 A. No, I didn't receive a copy.
9 Q. Did you have the opportunity on that date to look at the copies of
10 the statements that you had previously given to the Office of the
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And on that date, did you confirm that copies of your prior
14 statements were true and accurate?
15 A. Yes.
16 MR. SAXON: Your Honour, at this time I would offer the statement
17 of Mr. Gerguri for admission under Rule 92 bis.
18 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, this will be marked Prosecutor's
19 Exhibit -- the original will be marked Prosecutor's Exhibit 306, under
20 seal, and the redacted version will be 306A.
21 MR. SAXON: Your Honours, Mehdi Gerguri is a Kosovo Albanian
22 Muslim. He describes how in February 1999, Serb forces began shelling his
23 village Studime e Eperme. Many residents left the village and went to the
24 town of Vushtrri, but Mr. Gerguri stayed with some of his relatives.
25 There were around 50 to 60 KLA soldiers in the village, armed with light
1 weapons and one heavy machine-gun.
2 In April 1999, many Kosovo Albanians displaced from the town of
3 Vushtrri, Studime e Poshtme and other villages sought shelter in Studime e
4 Eperme. Late in the afternoon of the 2nd of May, 1999, Serb
5 paramilitaries approached Studime e Eperme from the north. As the Serbs
6 advanced, they forced people from other villages to move towards
7 Studime e Eperme. Eventually, a convoy of 20.000 to 25.000 people jammed
8 the road leading from Studime e Eperme to Studime e Poshtme and on to the
9 town of Vushtrri. Mr. Gerguri and his relatives joined the convoy at
10 about 6.30 p.m.
11 Mr. Gerguri was told that two KLA soldiers who were present in
12 Studime e Eperme on the 2nd of May, 1999, threw their weapons away,
13 changed into civilian clothes, and joined the convoy with their families.
14 These two KLA soldiers were not from the village of Studime e Eperme.
15 By 8.00 p.m., the convoy had stopped moving and it was dark. Serb
16 forces caught up with the convoy and began burning some tractors. As the
17 Serb paramilitaries walked along the convoy, they extorted money and beat
18 people. After Mr. Gerguri drove on a bit further, a second group of
19 paramilitaries in armoured vehicles attacked his part of the convoy. A
20 man in a car in front of Mr. Gerguri's tractor got out and began to run
21 away and was shot by one of the paramilitaries. Another paramilitary came
22 up to Mr. Gerguri, carrying a torch, and demanded Deutschmarks. After
23 Mr. Gerguri gave the man 300 Deutschmarks, the man walked away a short
24 distance, picked up a machine-gun and shot Mr. Gerguri in the arm and
25 side. Mr. Gerguri recognised the man who shot him as a policeman who
1 previously worked in the town of Vushtrri. Paramilitaries brought another
2 refugee close to where Mr. Gerguri lay wounded and shot the man dead.
3 After this group of paramilitaries moved on, Mr. Gerguri's family
4 picked him up and carried him a short distance from the road. The
5 following morning, Mr. Gerguri's relatives found him and brought him back
6 to the village of Studime e Eperme. Shortly thereafter, Mr. Gerguri's
7 wounded arm became gangrenous. On the 5th, Dr. Shukri Gerxhaliu amputated
8 Mr. Gerguri's arm in a KLA field hospital in the village of Slakovac.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
10 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] In your statement, you said that: "In February
12 1999, the Serb army started shelling our village because this area was
13 under KLA control." Is that correct?
14 A. Yes, that's true.
15 Q. Where were the members of this terrorist group of the KLA
16 stationed in your village?
17 A. In our village, they were at the school. The army was at the
19 Q. Is this the elementary school of Remzi Sylejmani?
20 A. Yes, in the village of Studime. There were 50 -- 55 or 56
21 soldiers, no more.
22 Q. 55 or 56, is that what you said? All right.
23 In your statement, you say: "It was very dangerous to stay in our
24 village, so almost all families left."
25 Tell me, what kind of activities did the KLA engage in in that
1 area in respect of attacking the army, police? And generally speaking,
2 what kind of activities was it engaged in?
3 A. That question is not clear to me. Can you shorten the question a
4 bit because it's very long.
5 Q. Do you know in which fighting with the army and the police this
6 unit of the KLA that you described took part in, that unit that you
7 describe as consisting of 55 or 56 men?
8 A. The KLA didn't fight because there were a lot of civilians there,
9 and the KLA left two hours before the offensive against the village of
11 Q. So they escaped before the army and the police came; right?
12 A. They went away, I wanted to say.
13 Q. And you say in your statement: "Neither I nor any member of my
14 family were active members of the KLA." Could you explain this to me?
15 What does "active member" mean?
16 A. We weren't soldiers. I wasn't in uniform. I helped the army with
17 food and so forth, but I was never uniformed.
18 Q. Well, over here, many witnesses said that a large number of the
19 KLA did not have uniforms at all, even up to the end of the war. Is that
20 correct or is that not correct?
21 A. No, it's not true.
22 Q. Do you claim that all members of the KLA wore uniforms?
23 A. Those who were dressed in uniform did have a uniform, but those
24 who were not did not.
25 Q. Very logical. Tell me, please, you say: "I helped by providing
1 food" - you already explained that - "food and other supplies. And during
2 the night, I was on watch duty." What kind of weapon did you use while
3 you were keeping watch during the night?
4 A. There were probably four or five automatic guns, but there were
5 not much weapons around at the time.
6 Q. All right. You personally, which weapons did you use when you
7 kept watch? You didn't use five rifles. What kind of rifle did you use
8 while you were keeping watch?
9 A. A .45 rifle.
10 Q. And who engaged you for this watch duty and also for providing
11 food and other supplies for the KLA?
12 A. Nobody. It was my own free will.
13 Q. And where did you bring them, all these supplies that you provided
14 them with?
15 A. Down to the school.
16 Q. Was Musaj Terbunja the commander of that unit?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Were these persons members of the staff, the headquarters of that
19 unit: Bajram Terbunja, Ismet Terbunja, Bajram Bunjako, Mexhi Bunjako,
20 Asaj Popova [phoen], Janush Gashi, Gerguri Ekrem. And number 8 is your
21 name, Mehdi Gerguri. Is this correct, Mr. Gerguri, or is it not correct?
22 A. Ekrem Gerguri was not in uniform. The others were in uniform.
23 Q. You were the only one who did not wear a uniform; you only carried
24 a rifle. Is that right?
25 A. When I went out on sentry duty for two hours during the night, I
1 had a gun with me. But I wasn't uniformed, and this was only when I went
2 out on guard duty.
3 Q. And this list that I just read out to you where your name also
4 figures as members of the staff of that unit, is it your claim that you
5 were not a member of the staff of that unit?
6 A. I wasn't mobilised, and I didn't stay at headquarters. I stayed
7 at home.
8 Q. Is your father's name Abdulah?
9 A. [In Serbian] Yes.
10 Q. Here it says: "Gerguri, Mehdi. Father's name, Abdulah." That's
11 what it says on this list. All right. You've said that it wasn't you,
12 you were not a member of the staff.
13 A. No, I wasn't.
14 Q. All right. And do you know all the others whose names I read out
15 to you?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Tell me, in connection with what you said at the beginning -- at
18 the beginning of the war in Gornja Studimlja, there were only seven or
19 eight combatants but this number went up to 50 or 60. That is what you
20 referred to a few minutes ago when you said 55 or 56. And you also say
21 that the KLA only had light weapons, Kalashnikovs, and one heavy
22 machine-gun. Is that right?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you know all of these 50 or 60 members of the KLA from your
1 A. No.
2 Q. How many of them do you know? You know all the ones that I
3 mentioned to you. And out of these 50 or 60, how many did you know
5 A. I do not know all of them except for five, six, or maybe seven of
7 Q. Well, here on the first list, there are seven of them and then you
8 are number eight. All right. As for the police in Kosovska Mitrovica, on
9 the 15th of May, 1999, you stated that these persons that you mention as
10 members of the KLA, that you saw them in camouflage uniforms and armed
11 with automatic rifles and that they were digging trenches there, inter
12 alia. Is that correct or is that not correct?
13 A. The question is not clear to me.
14 Q. Were you in our police on the 15th of May, 1999, in Kosovska
15 Mitrovica? Were you being questioned there?
16 A. No, I wasn't.
17 Q. So you were not there. And do you know anything about trenches in
18 your village and who had dug them?
19 A. The people did.
20 Q. Did members of the KLA work there as well and also other villagers
21 who were not members of the KLA? For example, did you personally
22 participate in the digging of these trenches?
23 A. Yes, I participated. I helped.
24 Q. All right. That means that you were with this unit. You dug
25 trenches. You were on guard duty during the night with a rifle. But you
1 claim that you're not a member of the KLA; is that right?
2 A. I was not mobilised.
3 Q. All right. Were all the rest mobilised?
4 A. No. I said only five or six people had KLA uniforms; the others
6 Q. All right. But that's a different question altogether, whether
7 somebody wore a uniform, and it's quite different as to the question
8 whether they had all been mobilised.
9 A. No, they weren't.
10 Q. So the rest had not been mobilised either, just like you?
11 A. There were only volunteers, people who came of their own free
13 Q. All right. And you came of your own free will too, didn't you?
14 A. Yes, by my own free will.
15 Q. You said that the members of the KLA were beyond the reach of the
16 Serb positions, and they could not respond with gunfire. On the basis of
17 what did you conclude that they were well out of range of the Serb
18 positions and were unable to return fire?
19 A. They didn't try to fire on the Serbian positions because they were
20 a long way a way. Where they were in Rashica, it was about three
21 kilometres away.
22 Q. All right. And when did the fighting take place, then, between
23 that unit of yours and our army or police? At that moment, they were far
24 away, so when did the fighting actually take place?
25 A. There was shelling from the Serbian side.
1 Q. Does that mean that it is your claim that the KLA did not shoot at
3 A. The KLA did not fire.
4 Q. All right. Tell me, in your statement, already on the first page
5 in paragraph 5, you say: "In April 1999, quite a few people from Donja
6 Studimlja escaped to Gornja Studimlja because of the shelling." What kind
7 of shelling are you referring to?
8 A. From the shelling by the Serbs. They were firing.
9 Q. All right. A few minutes ago at the very outset, you answered
10 that, "The Serb army shelled our village because this area was under KLA
11 control." That's what you said; right?
12 A. It was under their control.
13 Q. Well, the fact that our forces were shooting, doesn't that mean
14 that there was fighting between our forces and the KLA forces and that
15 this was part of the fighting?
16 A. No, because the KLA did not fire. They were a long way away.
17 Q. All right. And do you know that in April 1999, NATO aeroplanes
18 bombed the villages around Vucitrn, Gornji Stanovci, Velika Reka
19 Smrkovnica and other villages? Do you know about that?
20 A. No.
21 Q. Do you remember an event when a NATO bomb fell in the Cakaj
22 neighbourhood and that a crater which was created was over five metres
23 wide and 1.5 metres deep?
24 A. No, I don't remember.
25 Q. Do you remember when the Velika Reka village was hit, which is
1 across from Gornji Stanovci, after which the villagers had to leave the
2 village and go towards Cecelija at the top of Shala? So this was after
3 NATO bombing. They had to flee from their village. Do you remember that?
4 A. No, I don't remember. I know that NATO only -- I know that it
5 struck Samadrexha and Lazovic, but I don't know about any other incidents.
6 Q. And do you say that on the 2nd of May, 1999, around 1700 hours,
7 Serb paramilitary formations came from the north. They passed through the
8 villages of Skrovna, Bozhlan, Gumniste, and Pasoma. This is in the
9 municipality of Vucitrn. And people were leaving their homes at that
10 time. Is that so or isn't it?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. Could you please tell me, then, as they were approaching you,
13 actually from the direction of Bajgora, Pasoma, Cecilia and other places
14 that are to the north from you, whether at that time KLA units were
15 withdrawing together with the civilian population. Is that the case or
17 A. No. The KLA left, withdrew, while the population joined the
19 Q. So the villagers joined the convoy of the KLA fighters who were
20 withdrawing. Is that true?
21 A. No. The KLA did not join the convoy. Only the population did.
22 Q. All right. So this convoy coincides with Izet Krasniqi, the
23 previous witness, who said that this withdrawal began when, at the
24 beginning of May, our forces broke down the resistance of the KLA.
25 Was there panic, significant panic then among the population?
1 A. No, there was no panic.
2 Q. And how many members of the KLA joined this convoy of civilians
3 who were withdrawing after the defeat of the KLA?
4 A. Only two were in the convoy, and they were without weapons and
5 without uniforms.
6 Q. How many people were in the convoy altogether?
7 A. To my opinion, there were between 20.000 and 25.000 people in the
8 convoy, and the convoy could have been even larger.
9 Q. All right. How can you, Mr. Gerguri, know that only two members
10 of the KLA joined these 20.000 to 25.000 people and not more? There was
11 this movement and withdrawal after the resistance of the KLA was broken to
12 the north of you.
13 A. To my knowledge, there were only two of them, and these two were
14 not armed, and they were dressed in civilian dress.
15 Q. All right. It is well known that they threw away their weapons
16 and took off their uniforms when they were fleeing, but who organised the
17 movement of the convoy? Was the movement of the convoy organised by the
19 A. No.
20 Q. Who organised this movement of 20.000 to 25.000 people?
21 A. The movement was organised in itself.
22 Q. By itself. All right. And do you know that there was a KLA
23 headquarters in Cecelija which covered the villages of Kurilovo, Slakovac
24 and Meljanica?
25 A. No. I wasn't there. I was only in my village. I haven't been to
1 Cecelia, I haven't been to Sllakofc, I haven't been to these other
3 Q. Did you hear of the name Gani Imeri?
4 A. I've heard this name but I do not know this person.
5 Q. And what did you hear? What do you know about Gani Imeri?
6 A. I've heard that he was commander.
7 Q. So he was a commander of the Cecelija, Kurilovo, Slakovac and
8 Meljanica unit, the one that you didn't hear about and that you don't know
9 anything about; is that right?
10 A. I don't know anything else. I can only say things I know about
11 the village of Studime.
12 Q. Do you know that in the village of Pasoma, which is close to your
13 village, there was another terrorist KLA unit which numbered over 100
14 soldiers and which was commanded by Ali Januzi?
15 A. I don't know.
16 Q. And have you heard the name Ali Januzi before?
17 A. No.
18 Q. All right. Since you don't know anything about that, then I
19 assume that there is no point in reading out to you the names of the
20 members of that unit.
21 In your statement, on page 2, you say that the road between Gornji
22 and Donja Studimlja was completely crammed with cars, tractors, freight
23 vehicles, families that were walking towards Vucitrn, between 20.000 and
24 25.000 people, and you moved for 16 hours -- until 16 hours. Why were you
25 moving only until 16 hours?
1 A. Because the Serb forces entered and we were forced to leave our
3 Q. All right. In your statement, in the corrections that you made in
4 the second statement, as far as I understand - this is on page 3 - you
5 say: "I did not personally see any armoured vehicles in the column, which
6 is incorrectly stated in my previous statement." And then you say:
7 "Since it was dark, I don't remember seeing a single blue MUP vehicle. I
8 don't remember seeing camouflage blue uniforms of the MUP. I did not see
9 any regular VJ being involved in the killings in the convoy massacre."
10 You're speaking about the massacre in the column. "They were stationed in
11 Gornja Studimlja prior to the convoy being formed. I don't know where the
12 army, Yugoslav army, went after being stationed in Gornji -- in Donja
14 So you didn't see the police. You didn't see the army. You claim
15 that somebody attacked the convoy. Who attacked the convoy, Mr. Gerguri?
16 A. The Serb forces attacked the convoy. There were paramilitaries in
17 civilian uniforms. The police who shot at me, he was wearing a police
18 uniform. And two soldiers, they were dressed in a uniform as well.
19 Q. How can I connect that to what I read to you a little while ago
20 from your statement, that you did not see any police officers in blue
21 camouflage uniforms, that there were no soldiers, but now you are stating
22 the opposite of what it says here. Can you explain something of that to
23 me? I was only quoting you. I didn't --
24 JUDGE MAY: To be fair to the witness, what you've just quoted
25 refers to camouflage. So I'm not sure there really is any inconsistency.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was driving the tractor when the
2 convoy was stopped by the Serb paramilitaries, and the police came off the
3 armoured personnel carrier and came straight to my tractor, pointed his
4 torch in the direction of my eyes, and ordered me to get off.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. All right, Mr. Gerguri. So the police came out of the armoured
7 vehicle and pointed a flashlight towards you. And here you say: "I
8 personally did not see any armoured vehicles in the convoy, and this has
9 been incorrectly stated in my previous statement." And then in
10 parentheses, it says, "(as in the original)." So, please, can you tell
11 me, did you or did you not see any APCs? You gave corrections here but
12 now you're coming back to the story about the APC and the police officer
13 who came out of the vehicle. And here I read something to you from your
14 statement on page 3, that, "I did not see a single APC, which was
15 incorrectly stated in my previous statement." So can you please explain
16 that Mr. Gerguri?
17 A. The truth is that there was an APC, and when he pointed the torch
18 in my direction and ordered me to get off, he asked for money. I gave him
19 300 Deutschmarks. Then the policeman went back to the APC and took the
20 weapon from there, and I heard when he prepared the weapon. I heard the
21 sound. There were four civilians with masks. There were also two
22 soldiers wearing uniforms, and they had gun --
23 Q. All right, Mr. Gerguri. I am quoting to you this event that you
24 said: "One of the members of the paramilitary formations was carrying a
25 pistol and a flashlight. He came to the tractor, shined the flashlight on
1 me and ordered me to get off the tractor. I had 300 German marks and I
2 gave them to him." Then he said, "Turn around," and then you said that he
3 went to get a machine-gun in order to kill you; is that right? So then he
4 went to get the machine-gun to kill you; is that right?
5 A. That's right. He fired in a burst of four bullets; two in my hand
6 and two in my body, and I have the scars today.
7 Q. And can you explain to me, Mr. Gerguri, why did he go if he wanted
8 to kill you? Why did he go to get a machine-gun when you yourself said
9 that he was carrying a pistol in his hand? If he wanted to, couldn't he
10 have killed you?
11 A. Perhaps he thought that the machine-gun had more bullets and that
12 he wouldn't be able to kill me with a pistol.
13 JUDGE MAY: We're going to adjourn now, Mr. Milosevic, it's time.
14 Now, have you more questions for this witness?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] May I say, Mr. May, there is no need
16 to hold this witness over for tomorrow. Everything is quite clear. I
17 have no further questions for him and we can finish with him, please.
18 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
19 Questioned by Mr. Tapuskovic:
20 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
21 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] [No interpretation]
22 A. That's not clear to me. Could you repeat it again, please.
23 Q. [Interpretation] Awhile ago, in response Mr. Slobodan Milosevic's
24 questions, you said that the villages Samodreza and Lazovici were hit by
25 NATO bombs. Did I understand you correctly?
1 A. Yes. NATO bombed the positions where the Serbs were, the army,
2 where it was stationed at Lazovic, not at Samadrexha which is two
3 kilometres away.
4 Q. Was the actual village Lazovici hit or not?
5 A. No. There were only three bombs that fell. One fell on the
6 asphalt road and the others on houses, but it was only -- they fell
7 together; it was only one attack.
8 Q. Civilian houses.
9 A. Yes.
10 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
11 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Saxon.
12 MR. SAXON: Given the hour, Your Honour, I have a few questions
13 for this witness. I don't believe he has plans to fly back to his home
14 today. Could he simply come back tomorrow morning? Otherwise, I'll take
15 about five minutes.
16 JUDGE MAY: We will have to adjourn.
17 Mr. Gerguri, could you come back, please, for a few minutes'
18 questioning tomorrow, 9.00. Could you remember not to speak to anybody
19 about your evidence meanwhile, and that includes the members of the
21 We will adjourn now. Nine o'clock tomorrow morning.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 3rd day of
24 September, 2002, at 9.00 a.m.