Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 7601

1 Monday, 12 November 2007

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 [The witness entered court]

5 --- Upon commencing at 9.04 a.m.

6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.

7 May I remind you, sir, that the affirmation you made still

8 applies.

9 Mr. Mettraux.


11 [Witness answered through interpreter]

12 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you, Your Honour, and good morning.

13 Cross-examination by Mr. Mettraux: [Continued]

14 Q. Good morning, Mr. Ostreni.

15 A. Good morning, Mr. Mettraux.

16 Q. Do you remember, Mr. Ostreni, on Friday, when we left off, I was

17 asking you a question about an incident that took place near the village

18 of Vejce on the 28th of April, 2001? Do you recall that?

19 A. Yes, I recall that.

20 Q. And do you recall asking me -- asking you whether you could recall

21 a number of condemnations, in particular by the US administration, in

22 relation to this incident? Do you recall those questions?

23 A. Yes, you asked me about this.

24 Q. I'd like to show you a document, Mr. Ostreni.

25 MR. METTRAUX: It is Rule 65 ter 1D956, please.

Page 7602

1 Q. Mr. Ostreni, the document that will appear on your screen is a

2 press statement issued by the deputy spokesman of the United States

3 Department of State, State Department, and it's dated the 28th of April of

4 2001. I will read the relevant passage to you.

5 It says this: "The United States condemns the attack by armed

6 ethnic Albanian extremists today on Macedonia security forces, which

7 resulted in the death of eight Macedonian soldiers. We extend our

8 condolences to the families of those that were killed.

9 "The United States calls upon all political parties and groups in

10 Macedonia to join in condemning the senseless act of violence and to

11 continue the process of political dialogue in which they are engaged."

12 Mr. Ostreni, my question is this: Do you recall having received

13 information to the effect that this attack in Vejce had been condemned in

14 those terms by the US State Department?

15 A. At that time, we followed, to the extent we could, what was going

16 on, on the political scene; but I believe that it is important to describe

17 the situation in general, in which this territory found itself at that

18 time. I'm not denying that the United States said what they said, as

19 you're putting it, but it is important to explain that this happened in

20 the combat area of 112 Brigade, and after the MX operation, when the

21 police forces started to vandalize and terrorise the population in that

22 area.

23 Unfortunately, on the 2nd of April, a 16-year-old young man was

24 killed. He was from the village of Selci. He was killed by the police

25 forces. As for this vandalism that I mentioned, I would call on Fakti

Page 7603

1 newspaper of 5th April where a statement was issued and concerns were

2 raised regarding the situation with the Albanians living in that area.

3 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...

4 A. So the units of that brigade then had a clash with the units of

5 the Macedonian army and; as a consequence of that, what happened,

6 happened.

7 Q. Thank you, Mr. Ostreni. I'll ask you if, it you can to try to

8 respond to the question as shortly as you can; and if you feel have you to

9 explain it further, by all means.

10 There's another document that I would like to show you,

11 Mr. Ostreni, in relation to this matter.

12 MR. METTRAUX: It's Exhibit 1D231.

13 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is a transcript of a press briefing. It is,

14 again, from the same origin. It comes from the State Department of the

15 United States of America, and this one is dated the 30th of April of 2001.

16 MR. METTRAUX: I'd ask the registry to go to page 1D00-78 -- 7189,

17 please.

18 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is a part of the press briefing of the State

19 Department, which is devoted to the situation in Macedonia, and the

20 department spokesman of the State Department is being asked questions

21 about the incident in Vejce.

22 He said this: "We did issue a statement on Saturday, soundly

23 condemning the attack on Macedonian security forces by armed ethnic

24 Albanian extremists, and that statement obviously still stands."

25 MR. METTRAUX: It's a bit further down the page, please. Thank

Page 7604

1 you. It start with the word: "Well, I will just point ..."

2 Q. The spokesman, Mr. Ostreni, goes on to say this: "This was an

3 ambush by extremists that resulted in the death of eight Macedonian

4 soldiers. We want to extend our condolences to the families of those

5 eight who were killed and the entire country of Macedonia."

6 Then, in the next paragraph, the spokesman of the State Department

7 says this: "We noted or have discussed that there has been a strong

8 condemnation of that barbarous attack by the Macedonian Albanian political

9 leader, Arben Xhaferi." We have encouraged other ethnic Albanian leaders

10 to condemn this extremist violence, as well."

11 And, then, in the next paragraph, he says this: "We very much

12 support the necessary steps Macedonia is taking to prevent armed

13 extremists from disrupting interethnic cooperation and dialogue which has

14 been taking place in Macedonia over the last few weeks. I think it should

15 be said that such violence and terrorist activity greatly harms the

16 interests of the ethnic Albanians in Macedonia and throughout the region,

17 and those that are perpetrating this type of violence should realise it."

18 My question is again, Mr. Ostreni, the same: Were you aware of

19 the condemnations in the terms that I have read out to you, barbarous

20 attack, extremist violence, and terrorist activity, which were used at the

21 time to condemn the attack in Vejce? Were you aware of that?

22 A. The text you just read was interpreted to me into Albanian. I

23 don't know if it is the way you're putting it, because it is not written

24 in a language that I understand; but, however, I will trust you and I will

25 answer you the following: We were, at that time, acting exclusively

Page 7605

1 against the police and military forces of the Republic of Macedonia.

2 We were in a war situation, and that's why our clashes with the

3 armed forces of the government of the Republic of Macedonia at that time

4 were called by our population as just and as clashes directed at creating

5 the conditions for changing the constitution and for securing all rights

6 for the Albanians, as mentioned in communique number 6 and in the

7 memorandum.

8 So I'm not denying that this could have been said by the United

9 States of America, but I cannot claim this with full certainty because I

10 cannot follow the text in English as I would if it were in Albanian.

11 Q. I'm grateful for that, Mr. Ostreni. But the clarification I'm

12 seeking from you is whether at the time, in the year 2001, and more

13 specifically in the month of April or May of 2001, you were aware of these

14 condemnations of your attack by the US government.

15 A. At that time, we were following what the US ambassador to the

16 Republic of Macedonia was saying, what the ambassador of the United

17 Kingdom to the Republic of Macedonia was saying, amongst others. He, in a

18 way, explained the constitution of the Republic as a source of the clashes

19 between the Albanians and the government.

20 He said, in a diplomatic way - but this is how I understood it -

21 due to the preamble, that excluded the Albanians and defined the state

22 only as one nation state of the Macedonian, ethnic Macedonians; and

23 amongst other things, he said that he would have been offended had he been

24 an Albanian living in the Republic of Macedonia.

25 So there are many changes, transformation of views, on the

Page 7606

1 situation in Macedonia before these events. It was promoted as an oasis

2 of peace, in the decision making centres in the US, in NATO, and the

3 European Union, and so on.

4 I apologise, but I would like to add that at that time congressmen

5 from the state, four of them, addressed the president of the Republic of

6 Macedonia through a letter, asking and demanding that the rights of the

7 Albanians were secured.

8 What you calling negative, as far as the activities of Albanians

9 are concerned, there are many articles published in Albanian newspapers

10 saying that the Albanians should get their elementary rights and freedoms.

11 Q. Well, thank you for that, Mr. Ostreni. I think you still haven't

12 answered the question; and, simply, as a matter of clarification, did you

13 or did you not -- were you or were you not aware, in late April or early

14 May of 2001, of the condemnations by the US government of your attack -

15 and let's keep it at that at this point - in Vejce?

16 Were you aware of this? Yes or no.

17 A. I don't remember. Of course, there were -- there was a great flow

18 of information at that time. Maybe I was aware. But since the six years

19 have passed, it is difficult for me to remember all the details regarding

20 issues that you are questioning me about.

21 Q. And can you recall perhaps that two days after the attack by your

22 organisation in Vejce, your organisation was listed by the State

23 Department in a document called, Patterns of Global Terrorism, where you

24 were being condemned for not only attacking government forces, as it says,

25 but for "harassing and detaining civilians and indiscriminately firing at

Page 7607

1 civilian centres."

2 Do you recall this document or the fact that you were so listed?

3 A. I don't know which document you're referring to. Maybe you should

4 give me the title of this document.

5 Q. I will show it to you, Mr. Ostreni.

6 MR. METTRAUX: This is Rule 65 ter 1D887, please.

7 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is the excerpt of a document which come from the

8 US Department of State. It is called, Patterns of Global Terrorism. It's

9 dated April the 30th, 2001, and it's released by the office of the

10 coordinator for counterterrorism.

11 I will read to you the section of document which is relevant here.

12 MR. METTRAUX: If the registry could scroll down, very much. It

13 starts with the word, "In south-eastern Europe."

14 I will read it out to you. It says this: "In south-eastern

15 Europe, groups of ethnic Albanians have conducted armed attacks against

16 government forces in southern Serbia and in Macedonia since 1999. One

17 group in southern Serbia called itself the Liberation Army of Presevo,

18 Medvedja, and Bujanovac. One group in Macedonia calls itself the National

19 Liberation Army, NLA.

20 "Both groups include members who fought to with the Kosovo

21 Liberation Army in 1998/1999, and have used their wartime connections to

22 obtain funding and weapons from Kosovo and elsewhere. The PMBLA has, on

23 occasion, harassed and detained civilians travelling through areas it

24 controls. Both the PMBLA and the NLA have fired indiscriminately upon

25 civilian centres.

Page 7608

1 "In the same region, ethnic Albanian assailants carried out a

2 terrorist attack against a bus in Kosovo on 16 February 2001, killing at

3 least seven civilians and wounding 43 others."

4 Before I ask you this, Mr. Ostreni, there was a similar document

5 in 2002 which related to the period of 2001. My question is: Are you

6 aware of these documents or the fact that you were so listed by the State

7 Department in those terms?

8 A. No, I was not aware. For me, it is important that the National

9 Liberation Army was not on the list of terrorist organisation.

10 Q. Well, let me just wrap things up briefly with regard to the Vejce

11 incident.

12 I'll ask whether you are aware that the Presidency of the EU

13 called your attack in Vejce a vicious attack. Are you aware of that?

14 A. No, I'm not, but they did not call it a terrorist attack. It was

15 part of the war. The war is ugly because people lose their lives, but

16 these people were armed, uniformed, and they were tasked to fight against

17 the forces of the National Liberation Army. This would be my answer.

18 Q. And so the answer is, No, you were not aware of the EU

19 condemnation in terms of vicious attack. Is that correct?

20 A. No, I don't remember being aware of that.

21 Q. Do you recall NATO calling this attack a cowardly act of

22 extremists. Do you recall that?

23 A. I don't remember.

24 Q. Do you recall France calling the attack a terrorist act?

25 A. I don't recall that. I wasn't able to follow everything that you

Page 7609

1 mention. I had work to do on a daily basis.

2 Q. Do you recall the EU Commissioner for External relations, Chris

3 Patten at the time, calling it a senseless act of murder? Do you recall

4 that?

5 A. No.

6 Q. And are you aware of the fact, Mr. Ostreni, that the murders in

7 Vejce are one of the basis upon which the Macedonian authorities had

8 investigated the leadership of your organisation, including yourself? Are

9 you aware of that?

10 A. No, I'm not informed. I didn't receive any document. I know that

11 the Macedonian authorities have not issued any indictment or pressed any

12 charges against the person who killed the 16-year-old and against those

13 who terrorised the population in that part. They -- their stance was

14 anti-Albanian, and they would only inform of cases alleged that were

15 committed by the National Liberation Army.

16 As I mentioned, there were other cases where the perpetrators were

17 the other side, as a case of killing the pizzeria and the above mentioned

18 case.

19 Q. And you are not aware that the incident in Vejce is one of the

20 cases that were sent by the local prosecutor to the Prosecutor of this

21 Tribunal for investigation. Are you aware of that?

22 A. No, I'm not aware of that.

23 Q. And I have a general proposition for you, Mr. Ostreni.

24 Would you agree that if the crimes that I've described to last

25 week and briefly this morning have, in fact, that been committed as they

Page 7610

1 have been put to you, this would suggest that the orders which you said

2 you gave or, more specifically, Mr. Ahmeti, you said, gave to respect

3 humanitarian law and not to commit any crimes would have been

4 disregarded? Do you agree with that?

5 A. No. I don't agree with that, because these are clashes between

6 the NLA, its members, and the members of the armed forces of the army and

7 the police. This did not start on the 28th of April but much earlier, in

8 February, and it was ongoing.

9 The operation in Tetovo was carried out on the 25th and continued

10 through to 26th; then, the MX operation, MX-1, takes hold on the 28th in

11 Kumanova, and this was within that ongoing war between the armed forces of

12 the Republic of Macedonia and the NLA. There was no individual case here,

13 but it was part of the ongoing war.

14 Q. So your evidence, Mr. Ostreni, is that at no time during the

15 crisis in 2001 did you become aware of any crime having been committed by

16 any member of your organisation. Is that correct?

17 A. That's correct. I was not aware if it happened the way you're

18 putting it.

19 Q. I'd like to ask you another question, Mr. Ostreni. You've -- do

20 you remember indicating to the Office of the Prosecutor that you had

21 requested -- you or Mr. Ahmeti had requested the so-called brigades to

22 keep lists of personnel or members which then should be submitted to the

23 Main Staff? Do you recall saying them that?

24 A. I recall, but by leave of Their Honours, I would like to explain

25 something.

Page 7611

1 Honoured counsel, from the very beginning, you are referring to

2 the NLA as the so-called NLA. Now you also refer to the brigades as the

3 so-called brigades. I would like to point out that the competent organs

4 in the Republic of Macedonia did not use this term.

5 Just to inform the Trial Chamber and yourself, Mr. Counsel, after

6 the war, the Association of War Veterans of the NLA was established.

7 This association was registered on the 5th of May 2002 at the Tetovo

8 Court; and later on, it was adopted by the constitutional court.

9 So these are the brigades of the NLA and the NLA, and not the

10 brigades of the so-called NLA, as you're referring to it.

11 So the competent authorities adopted this term by the mere fact

12 that the Association of War Veterans of the NLA was created and registered

13 at the Tetovo Court.

14 Q. I'll grateful for that, Mr. Ostreni, and I'll repeat the

15 question: Were you -- or is it correct that you or Mr. Ahmeti had issued

16 an order that the so-called brigades of your organisation should keep

17 lists of personnel or members that they should provide to the Main Staff.

18 Do you recall that?

19 A. I didn't issue such an order, and was not entitled to give such

20 orders. I organised things so that the administration and records are

21 well organised and all documents collected in the General Staff. However,

22 this did not happen, and the documents remained at the brigade levels.

23 Q. I will read to you a short passenger, a short statement that you

24 made to the Office of the Prosecutor during proofing.

25 You said this: "After the Ohrid Agreement, the commander of the

Page 7612

1 brigades should have kept the records and submitted them to the General

2 Staff. However, the brigade commander didn't do it, as far as I know,

3 with the exception of the 116, as the conditions were not adequate. I

4 think I sent the brigade commanders an order to submit the records to the

5 General Staff."

6 Do you recall telling that to the Office of the Prosecutor?

7 A. Yes, I remember. I didn't say records, but I said we must prepare

8 the archives, to hand it over to the General Staff. In the case of

9 Brigade 116, the commander passed by and handed over them.

10 Q. An aside from the commander of that brigade, the others didn't

11 provide those documents to the so-called Main Staff. Is that correct?

12 A. Yes, that's correct. The documents remained there because we were

13 busy handing over the weapons and taking care of all the documents related

14 to it. So they remained at brigade levels.

15 Q. And do you recall that you also indicated, both to my colleague

16 from the Prosecution and also in one of the documents that was shown to

17 you, that the individuals who were to join your organisation should take a

18 military oath, which you said was an important part of your organisation?

19 And my question is: Did you ever verify whether people joining

20 your organisation were, in fact, taking such oath at the time of joining?

21 A. I didn't see it personally, because they were obliged to act in

22 that way. When voluntaries came and reported to brigades, there was a

23 small training centre where they took the oath, and I believe they did do

24 so.

25 Q. So just to clarify this, you did not verify whether the order,

Page 7613

1 which was given in that regard, was, in fact, complied with. You simply

2 believe it was. Is that correct?

3 A. At that time that I worked, the NLA front extended to over 200

4 kilometres. It was impossible for me because I had to leave my post, to

5 see how things were developing on the ground. Therefore, I could only

6 talk with people on the phone, get information from them, and talk with

7 people who passed by the General Staff who informed us of the situation,

8 and so on.

9 Q. And that would be the same, Mr. Ostreni, in regard to training,

10 which you said had to take place with new recruits. Is that correct?

11 A. The training at the NLA was a specific one. Part of it took place

12 in the training centre of the brigades, then the person was included in

13 the reservists of the brigade. Gradually, then they were transferred to

14 the first front line, and then other brigades were formed.

15 So the soldier wasn't sent immediately to the front line, because

16 he wasn't trained for that, hadn't done the military service. So our

17 training was, how to say, small-scale training, simple training. It

18 didn't have the necessary expertise and equipment to train them. So they

19 learned as they were fighting and participating in the events this will

20 you this became good fighter.

21 Then from Brigade 112 was formed 115 Brigade, which as for Radusa;

22 from 112 Brigade, 116 Brigade was formed; from 113 Brigade, 114 was

23 formed, and so on. I tried, as our possibilities were, to prevent the

24 newly joined soldiers to be sent immediately to the front line, but let

25 them get used to developments for a while and then send them to the front.

Page 7614

1 This is how training was done. So first he was acquainted with

2 the weapon, taught how to line up, how to wear the uniform, how to --

3 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... the question was much

4 narrower in scope. The question was about you and whether you were being

5 able to ensure that the order, which you had given that training should

6 take place, was actually enforced with all new recruits.

7 My question is: Were you able to do so; or, as in the case, of

8 the military oath, you simply assumed that your orders were being

9 followed?

10 A. We had proof of that, because Mr. Ali Ahmeti toured the brigades,

11 followed up the situation. There was a training centre in Brodec, in the

12 meadows there,. When I saw there myself later, I saw what was going on.

13 So all the brigades had received instructions to train new recruits, to

14 give them the elementary train.

15 Q. Is it correct that you told the Office of the Prosecutor that your

16 organisation had a military-like sort of discipline? Do you recall saying

17 that, or something to that effect?

18 A. Yes, I recall that. We always tried to apply military discipline,

19 in order for us to keep the situation under control, the NLA units along

20 with them.

21 Q. Did you have any courtrooms in the NLA, Mr. Ostreni?

22 A. No. We couldn't have a courtroom, because we didn't have the laws

23 to try people. We didn't have the persons trained to do that.

24 Q. Do you have judges or prosecutors in the NLA?

25 A. No. We had ordinary soldiers who might have graduated for law,

Page 7615

1 but not judges and prosecutors as such.

2 Q. Ant is it correct that, although you had a group that was referred

3 to as a military police, it actually never functioned at the military --

4 as a military police and did not perform any specific tasks that military

5 police would normally perform? Is that correct?

6 A. That is true. From the war experience in Kosova, they tried to

7 form that unit called military police; but the way we organised the

8 formation, they became part of the units.

9 Q. And you explained, I think, to my colleague that there wasn't

10 really a need for any structure or institutionalisation of disciplinary

11 matters, since you said were not informed of any breach of discipline in

12 the NLA in the year 2001. Is that correct?

13 A. It is correct that I was not directly informed by the brigades.

14 It is correct that our rules were provided disciplinary measures to be

15 taken by the brigade.

16 Q. Well, let's turn to a different topic, Mr. Ostreni, which is the

17 issue of the strategy and method which were used by your organisation

18 during this year.

19 Is it correct that understand that you told the Office of the

20 Prosecutor that the method and strategies which you and other members of

21 the organisation used were those of a regular military organisation? Is

22 that your evidence?

23 A. Yes, that is my evidence; namely, that we tried, as much as we

24 could, to attain the level of regular military discipline.

25 Q. Well, I'm putting to you something quite different, Mr. Ostreni,

Page 7616

1 and I will ask you whether you agree or disagree with me.

2 I'm putting to you that the strategy of your organisation

3 consisted in attacking soft or easier targets, such as police stations or

4 convoy, with a view to trigger a disproportionate reaction on the part of

5 the authority that would you in turn use for propaganda purposes to

6 increase the support of your organisation. Do you agree with that?

7 A. I will hear what you are going to put to me.

8 Q. Well, can you first, perhaps, simply answer whether you agree or

9 disagree with that proposition.

10 A. The fighting was regulated or is regulated everywhere by rules,

11 and we used the most suitable rules given the level of the NLA. Finally,

12 on the 1st of May, Units 113 came out in well known positions, and then we

13 come to the stage of the different use of force. We haven't used anything

14 that is not foreseen in military rules.

15 Q. And is it correct that your strategy, all through the year 2001,

16 Mr. Ostreni, was, in fact, and almost exclusively to attack soft targets

17 in hit-and-run fashion, to trigger a disproportionate reaction by the

18 Macedonian authorities, with a view to use this overreaction for

19 propaganda purposes? Do you agree that was your strategy?

20 A. No, that is not true. It may have happened somewhere incidently;

21 but, in general, we have operated through obvious actions on front line.

22 More, we have been involved in an active defence, rather than retreats or

23 such hit-and-run attacks, as you say.

24 As I am saying, we have been engaged more in an active defence

25 because we believed that it was the best tactic at the time of the

Page 7617

1 development of the brigades, since we were supposed to be engaged in a

2 general military operation afterwards.

3 Q. And as far as methods are concerned, methods which were used by

4 your organisation in 2001, do you agree that they consisted almost

5 exclusively in the commission of crimes and terrorist actions, with a view

6 to force the authorities and the international community to negotiate with

7 you? Do you agree with that?

8 A. I do not agree with this. There was an internal strive in

9 Macedonia between the Albanians and the government. This army was

10 introduced as a National Liberation Army. This was done because of the

11 violation of the rights and freedoms of Albanians and the demonstration of

12 force by the Macedonian government prior to 1991; and, especially more so

13 after 1991, with intervention and demonstration of police force in a

14 village off Struke called Ladoliste [phoen]; then in Bit Pazar; then the

15 destruction of the university building in Tetovo, founded and financed by

16 the Albanian population; then prevention of development in the pedagogical

17 faculty; and, finally, the brutal acts by the police in Gostivar.

18 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Ostreni, let's stick with

19 2001; and at this stage, I'm asking you -- I'll ask you the question a bit

20 differently, if that helps.

21 Do you agree that the commission of crimes or terrorist attacks by

22 members of your organisation was not just an accident but that it was, in

23 fact, the method chosen by your organisation to conduct your activities

24 against the Macedonian state? Do you agree with that?

25 A. No, I do not agree with that. We didn't act on an individual

Page 7618

1 basis. People were involved in units, and the goal was not a terrorist

2 attack but an uprising carried out through this NLA, which was in the

3 phase of development, and had to confront the forces of the government of

4 the Republic of Macedonia.

5 MR. METTRAUX: Can the witness please be shown what is Exhibit

6 1D227, please.

7 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is an article called: "Will Macedonia be next?"

8 This comes from a military review called Jane's Intelligence Digest, and

9 it is dated the 2nd of February of 2001. I'd like to read a passage to

10 from the last page of that article.

11 MR. METTRAUX: That's 1D00-6055. The paragraph starts with the

12 words, "At present." That's the second paragraph.

13 Q. The magazine, Mr. Ostreni, said the following: "At present, KLA

14 terrorism in Macedonia is still a relatively minor issue, just as it was

15 in Kosovo from 1995 to 1998. The KLA started its activities by attacking

16 Serbian police patrols. However, the ultimate aim is to provoke the

17 authorities into making a military response which will serve to unite the

18 ethnic Albanian minority in western Macedonia."

19 Mr. Ostreni, do you agree with this analysis of Jane's Digest, to

20 the effect that the aim of those hit-and-run attacks that your

21 organisation was organised at the time was to trigger a disproportionate

22 military response by the Macedonian authorities? Do you agree with that?

23 A. No, I do not agree with that. I do not, because our brigades

24 developed from smaller groups into squads, platoons, battalions, and so

25 on, and we tried not to organise hit-and-run attacks, but, as I said, an

Page 7619

1 active defence in order to defend ourselves in case of attacks and

2 gradually expand the territory under our control by increasing the number

3 of your units with new volunteers.

4 Q. Let's see another evaluation then, this time from the month of May

5 2001.

6 MR. METTRAUX: This is Exhibit 1D232, please.

7 Q. Mr. Ostreni, the documents that I'm about to show you is a

8 compilation, if you wish, of reports or press reports by an organisation

9 called the Balkan Human Rights. It is prepared, I believe, by the

10 Euro-Balkan Institute.

11 MR. METTRAUX: And I would ask the registry to turn to third page

12 of that document, which is 1D00-6272. If it could be scrolled down a

13 little bit, and a bit more, please. Thank you.

14 Q. Mr. Ostreni, there is a section of that document which starts with

15 the title, "Rebels are causing civilian casualties," and I would like to

16 read it to you.

17 It says this: "A senior NATO officially claimed that the rebels

18 were trying to lure the Macedonian army into causing civilian casualties

19 that they could then exploit for propaganda purposes." And then there is

20 a quote, which says: "Let's face it," said the senior western European

21 NATO officer. And there is a quote again: "KLA saw what the results were

22 when the Serbs killed 45 Kosovars at Racak, and they are thinking of the

23 propaganda value of something like that being made to happen in

24 Macedonia."

25 Then the text goes on to say: "Other NATO officials and

Page 7620

1 Macedonian defence sources fear that the thousands of civilians trapped

2 against their will in villages under constant bombardment north of Tetovo,

3 just ten miles from Kosovo border, are being held by NLA rebels partly

4 as 'human shields' and partly because the Macedonian forces would be

5 almost certain to kill civilians if they launch a ground assaulted."

6 Mr. Ostreni, focussing perhaps more specifically on Kumanovo, were

7 you aware at all that members of your organisation would actually use or

8 keep civilians for the purpose of using the eventual or possibly death or

9 injury for propaganda purposes? Is that information which you had in your

10 possession at the time?

11 A. This was a media war waged in all the media outlets of the

12 Republic of Macedonia, where the government brought constant pressure to

13 prove that the NLA members are using the civilian population as human

14 shield.

15 At that time I, too, stated that they should go and talk directly

16 to the population and find out for themselves what they think about the

17 situation, because the citizens there, women, children, elderly people,

18 had their sons, fathers, or brothers, husbands, in the ranks of the NLA

19 that was operating in that area. It is not possible, theoretically or

20 practically speaking, that someone who has at home the wife, mother,

21 sister, children, or father, to use them as human shields and protect

22 himself by so doing.

23 I said then, and I'm saying now, that the war in the Republic of

24 Macedonia was waged for the -- for the protection or for winning human

25 rights and freedoms of the people. What sense would it have if we killed

Page 7621

1 children, women, elderly people, and then enjoyed our rights and freedoms

2 at that expense?

3 Third, if the NLA committed such an act, it would certainly not

4 have the support of the Albanian population, as it did almost 100 per

5 cent.

6 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...

7 A. Apparently, you have more information from Macedonian language

8 newspapers. If you look at the Albanian language newspapers, you will see

9 there statements issued by chairman of municipalities who worked and lived

10 in that area, and none of them had declared that the NLA has used them as

11 human shields and forced them to remain there.

12 In a television programme --

13 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... just stay with me for a

14 second. The question is about the strategy of the NLA, and my question is

15 a simple one.

16 Do you agree or disagree with the proposition that the strategy of

17 your organisation was to provoke a repressive military response by the

18 Macedonian authorities? Do you agree or not?

19 A. I agree with the fact that the NLA and its strategy was to

20 pressure the government of the Republic of Macedonia, to reconcile with

21 the granting of the freedoms and rights to the Albanian citizens in this

22 republic, beginning with the amendment of the preamble to the

23 constitution, and so on.

24 Q. So, in answer to my question, you do not agree with the

25 proposition that the strategy of your organisation was to provoke a

Page 7622

1 repressive military response and to gain support from that response from

2 the population? Is that correct?

3 A. Yes. There are a number of communiques that the Prosecution

4 submitted here, whereby we demand that the war come to an end and give

5 priority to dialogue to the solution of the crisis.

6 MR. METTRAUX: Can the witness please be shown what is Exhibit

7 1D228, please.

8 Q. Mr. Ostreni, do you know who Ambassador Pardew is?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. And do you agree that that Mr. or Ambassador Pardew was involved

11 during the crisis period with the negotiation of the, among other things,

12 the Ohrid Framework Agreement? Is that correct?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And, Mr. Ostreni, just looking at the document in front of you,

15 there is a passage that I want to show you, to familiarise yourself with

16 this. This is a record of a hearing before the Committee on Foreign

17 Relations of the United States Senate, and it relates to the crisis in

18 Macedonia, in particular, and it is dated the 13 June 2001.

19 MR. METTRAUX: I would like to the registry to please turn to page

20 1D00-6292.

21 Q. Mr. Ostreni, Ambassador Pardew appeared before the Senate

22 committee on that occasion and, he was asked a number of questions

23 pertaining to the crisis in Macedonia. One of the question that he was

24 asked was about the strategy of your or the ways of your organisation, and

25 he said this.

Page 7623

1 MR. METTRAUX: This is the second full paragraph on that page, and

2 it starts with the word: "Its strategy."

3 Q. Mr. Pardew said this: "Its strategy is the same strategy that we

4 encountered in Serbia; that is, to provoke a repressive military and to

5 gain support from that response from the population."

6 So, in view of your response, Mr. Ostreni, before, I suppose you

7 will disagree with the assessment of Ambassador Pardew, that it was your

8 strategy to provoke repressive military response and to gain support for

9 that response from the population. Is that correct?

10 A. No. Our strategy was to bring pressure to bear on the government

11 to sit down with us and make political changes or amendments to the

12 constitution and other laws, in order to provide Albanians with their

13 human rights and freedoms. Albanians, who were exempted from power when

14 Macedonia, had officially declared that it was a state of only of the

15 Macedonians. We have lived there. We live there, and we will live there.

16 Therefore, we wish to be part of the government and have the right, equal

17 rights, with the Macedonian citizens there.

18 Q. But do you agree, Mr. Ostreni, that at all stages in 2001, from

19 the beginning of the year to the end of the year, there were several

20 ethnic Albanians who were members of the government? Is that correct?

21 A. Your Honour, in the Balkans, in the former Yugoslavia, it was a

22 tradition that the chairman of the Presidency of Yugoslavia be one of them

23 be Albanian. There were Albanians in position. There were also some

24 Albanians who had official positions in Macedonia, but it doesn't mean

25 that Albanians, in general, enjoy their rights and freedoms. This fact

Page 7624

1 cannot be taken as a fact to prove that Albanians had these rights and

2 freedoms.

3 When there were Albanians, we had, for example, 180 policemen who

4 were Albanians out of 10.000 policemen. We were very little represented

5 in all areas. Our language was not an official language. Our rights to

6 using our national symbols were restricted. Our education, we could only

7 have two per cent of Albanians attending universities. In the academy of

8 science, there wasn't any member who was Albanian.

9 So that was a policy that wanted to show to Europe and the world,

10 just as it did during the time when Yugoslavia was in place, to show as if

11 Albanians are in leadership, when in reality the population, in general,

12 were not duly represented to all the government associations and

13 institutions.

14 Q. But, surely, you will agree, Mr. Ostreni, that as of the middle of

15 May 2001, all major political parties that represented the interests of

16 the Albanian community were, in fact, part of the government. Do you

17 agree with that?

18 A. I agree that an extended coalition government was formed, part of

19 which were also political parties, with which the NLA had assigned the

20 Prizren agreement.

21 Q. And you didn't stop your attacks on civilian population and state

22 authorities after the grand coalition was formed. Is that correct?

23 A. At that time, we were being attacked. On the 25th of May, there

24 was a powerful operation in Vaksince launched, and I have the impression

25 that this is an agreement with the accord of Pande Petreski and the Serb

Page 7625

1 general who had who intervene with their forces to restore the five

2 kilometre border belt controlled by the NATO forces.

3 At that time, on the 25th of May, they wanted to celebrate Tito's

4 birthday, and they undertook this Vaksince operation which ensued in

5 severe fighting. So it was not -- we were not in a position to stop it.

6 They were a larger force than us. They had to stop their operation and

7 start negotiations for realising the demands of the Albanians.

8 I have the impression, however, that at that time the government,

9 unfortunately, at a parliamentary session, where the extended coalition

10 government was formed, in one of the three or four points, it aimed at the

11 abolition on the NLA, but it was termed in other terms. So, at the time,

12 for us, it was impossible, as I said, to undertake an operation. On the

13 contrary, we were the ones who were attacked.

14 MR. METTRAUX: Ms. Regue is on her feet.

15 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.

16 MS. REGUE: Yes, Your Honour. I was simply going to point out

17 that my colleague, within the question, he put at the time same level the

18 attacks against civilian population and attacks against the state

19 authorities. So I believe that should have been distinguished from

20 putting the questions, because we are talking about two issues.

21 JUDGE PARKER: I'm not sure that that troubled the answer at all.


23 Q. Mr. Ostreni, let's go back, then, to the issue of strategy, what

24 you say was the strategy of your organisation, and I'd lake to show you

25 yet another document about that.

Page 7626

1 MR. METTRAUX: This is Exhibit P485, please.

2 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is - or this will be, in any case - a document

3 that was prepared by the military security service of the army of the

4 Republic of Macedonia. It was provided to us by the Office of the

5 Prosecutor, and I would like to show what you is at page 1D00-9148.

6 This is a part, Mr. Ostreni, as you will see that discusses

7 various aspects of the NLA, its strategy, its capabilities, and its

8 weaknesses. I will go through those with you.

9 I think there is a Macedonian version on the ride of your screen,

10 Mr. Ostreni, if that assists.

11 First, I will read to you what this document says about the

12 strategy of your organisation. It says this: "To attract and to maintain

13 international attention and intervention, partition and dissemination of

14 the army of the Republic of Macedonia, abuse of the oversensitivity of

15 Slavs to guerilla warfare, engagement of NATO, and maintaining of the

16 engagement; and, secondly, to take over control of the undefended

17 territory and protection of the same with minimum losses to avoid close

18 combat, to force the government of the Republic of Macedonia to

19 negotiate."

20 Mr. Ostreni, do you think that this is a pretty fair assessment of

21 the strategy of your organisation in the year 2001?

22 A. I would like to read it in myself. Once again, could you please

23 point out the paragraph. Is it the subtitle: The NLA strategy?

24 Q. Yes, that's correct. That would be the first highlighted

25 subheading in the Macedonian version, which is at the top of your screen.

Page 7627

1 A. This is an attempt to carry out an analysis. It is quite normal

2 for the NLA to try and attract the attention of the government in order to

3 try and negotiations. At the same time, it sought the engagement of NATO

4 and international decision making centres, in order to facilitate a

5 solution to the problems in Macedonia.

6 The same, more or less, was stated by the International Crisis

7 Group, in a document published on 9th of April. This was published at the

8 time in Flaka and Fakti newspapers.

9 Q. But is it correct, Mr. Ostreni, that your way to attract attention

10 in 2001 was by committing crimes or terrorist acts or by trying to trigger

11 an overreaction by the Macedonian authorities? Is that correct?

12 A. Honourable counsel, by committing crimes or other acts, as you

13 describe them, you cannot attract the international community and make

14 them assist you. You would achieve the opposite effect. That's why we

15 were very careful not to commit any acts that would resemble terrorist

16 acts.

17 Our main goal was to be open and to be very clear and precise on

18 what our demands were as a National Liberation Army, so that the

19 international community was clear, too, on our demands.

20 That's why, in our communique number 6, in our memorandum, as well

21 as in other communiques, we regularly sought international assistance in

22 resolving this issue.

23 Q. Isn't the truth, Mr. Ostreni, that what you sought to achieve was

24 to create fear in the population and thus pressure the government to

25 negotiate with you?

Page 7628

1 I'll going to ask you with perhaps one example: Are you aware of

2 a commander from your organisation, a man known as Hoxha, threatening to

3 bomb Skopje? Are you aware of those threats?

4 A. Yes. In a very difficult psychological situation, it is true that

5 Hoxha issued such a statement. But immediately afterwards, Hoxha in his

6 statement said that he would carry out that thing in order -- if he

7 received an order from the General Staff of the National Liberation Army.

8 That's why the journalists asked me that what the order of the

9 General Staff would be at that time. I told the journalist that it would

10 be the just order.

11 So, in other words, nothing would happen and equipments would not

12 be used. It is questionable whether Hoxha had that or not, but that's

13 what he stated. But my reply was that the order of the General Staff

14 would be just, an order that would be in compliance with the norms and

15 law, and that would avoid any damage caused to Skopje.

16 Q. Are you aware of similar threats being made by a man called Dren

17 Korabi? Are you aware of any threats, public threats, being made by this

18 person?

19 A. Could you please define this "threat" that he made.

20 Q. Well, were you aware, for instance, that Mr. Korabi had suggested

21 that civilians should be expelled from certain areas? Is that something

22 that you are aware of?

23 A. No. I was not aware of this, and I really don't believe that

24 Dreni stated something like this. But to answer your question, I was not

25 aware of that.

Page 7629

1 Q. Are you aware, perhaps, that members of your organisations on a

2 number of occasions tried to kill civilians-- I'm sorry, politicians,

3 ministers, for instance, that were in the government in Macedonia at that

4 time?

5 A. In which time-period, please? Is it the same time-period from

6 16th of February up to the mobilisation of the NLA, or is it outside this

7 time-frame?

8 Q. Are you aware, for instance, of an attack on the convoy of the

9 Minister of the Interior at the time, Mr. Boskoski, on 29th or 30th of

10 July, in the area near Lavce [phoen]? Are you aware of this attack?

11 A. No, I'm not.

12 Q. Are you aware, perhaps, of an attack in the month of March 2001,

13 again against the convoy of Mr. Boskoski, which also carried the deputy

14 Minister of the Interior, an Albanian called Refet Elmazi? Are you aware

15 that your organisation, or members thereof, attacked this convoy?

16 Perhaps to assist you, it was in the location called Brest.

17 A. I know that there were complications at Brest at that time because

18 the persons in question were sent there to establish police stations, and

19 those who undertook that operation did not find that idea very suitable.

20 Q. But you must be aware, however, Mr. Ostreni, that the attack, in

21 fact, took place and that the convoy was attacked. Is that correct?

22 A. Yes.

23 MR. METTRAUX: And going back for a minute to Exhibit P485, I

24 would like to show another part of that document to Mr. Ostreni.

25 This would be the second header on that same page in the

Page 7630

1 Macedonian version, and it reads: "NLA capabilities." For the English

2 version, this would be towards the bottom of the page.

3 If the registry could scroll down a little bit more, thank you,

4 and enlarge, perhaps, the bottom paragraph. Thank you.

5 Q. Mr. Ostreni, I will read it out to you. The document say this is

6 about the NLA capabilities: "First ambush, attack on weak targets

7 (patrols that wander off, lightly armed soldiers, and police);

8 breakthrough (attack) (attack on significant infrastructure targets)

9 special activities units; diversion and sabotage (attacks on positions of

10 the army of Republic of Macedonia/Ministry of Internal Affairs, with light

11 weapons and disturbing fire); mining (the use of anti-tank and

12 anti-personnel mines with hidden fire), (protection of lateral sides)."

13 Do you agree, Mr. Ostreni, that at the time, in 2001, those were

14 some of the capabilities - we will call them that - that were used and

15 employed by your organisation to carry out its attacks?

16 A. Not all of them. You are asking me for a series of activities.

17 You can ask me one by one, and then I will give you my reply. But as you

18 are putting it, all collectively for sabotage activities, mine planting,

19 that was not our capability.

20 Q. Thank you. Well, I'll put, in particular perhaps, the last one to

21 you. Is it correct or do you recall telling this to the Prosecution: "We

22 did not have anti-tank mines. I sent my instructions not to use mines,

23 because it is prohibited also by international law. However, I cannot

24 exclude the possibility that some units had them."

25 Do you recall that this is in your statement -- or the proofing

Page 7631

1 note, I apologise, -- in the statement to the Office of the Prosecutor?

2 Do you recall telling them that as far as you knew, the NLA did not have

3 any tank mines or didn't use any such thing, do you recall that, or mines?

4 A. Yes.

5 Q. And is it your evidence that at no time, during the crisis in 2001

6 up to the Ohrid Framework Agreement, you did not become aware of the fact

7 that your organisation possessed mines and actually used them? Is that

8 your evidence?

9 A. I was made aware only when, without our authorisation, in the

10 116th Brigade, the commander of the brigade, Tahir Sinani, lost his life,

11 together with four others, while preparing an explosion material. I was

12 made aware of this after the event happened, when they reported to me the

13 death of these five persons.

14 Q. Do you think that a high-ranking officer, whose troops would

15 possess several thousands of mines and who would not know about it, could

16 be said to be in control of his troops?

17 A. I believe that this was at the responsibility of the brigades. I

18 never gave any instructions to procure the brigades with explosive

19 materials. I only give instructions for equipment, for clothing, for

20 weapons, and other quarter master materials.

21 Q. Isn't the truth, Mr. Ostreni, that you are pulling away, so to

22 say, from the fact that your organisation not only possessed thousands of

23 such items, but also used them, because now is to say that the NLA was an

24 army and the use of illegal means, such as mines, would go contrary to

25 that picture? Do you agree with that?

Page 7632

1 A. No. I agree with the following: I gave instructions not to use

2 such material, and I never gave instructions for them to be procured with

3 mines and other ordnance, because people who were members of the NLA were

4 not familiar with mines. There were no prepared person who would give

5 such instructions on how to use mines.

6 MR. METTRAUX: Can the witness please be shown what is Exhibit

7 1D260, please.

8 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is another article. It comes from another

9 military magazine, from the same publishing house. It's Jane's Defence

10 Weekly, and it is dated 29 August 2001.

11 MR. METTRAUX: And if the registry could please scroll down to the

12 second half of the document.

13 Q. There is a piece, Mr. Ostreni, called: How many weapons in

14 Macedonia? There is just one item that I would like to bring to your

15 attention. It is on the column on the right-hand side which says:

16 "Estimates of NLA arms holdings."

17 If you scroll down the list of weapons, which Jane's estimated

18 your organisation possessed, the last-but-one item is "land-mine," which

19 they estimated at more than 5.000 land-mines in possession of your

20 organisation, and the footnote suggests that they were both anti-personnel

21 and anti-tank mines.

22 Do you know of any such stocks being held by your organisation,

23 stocks of land-mines, that is?

24 A. I don't understand English very well. I see that it is an

25 assessment. I know that in the end, when the weapons were handed over,

Page 7633

1 certain explosive devices were handed over, but 5.000 is too much.

2 That would mean that every soldier of the NLA would have been

3 equipped with one, because, as I already explained, together with the

4 logistics, with the doctors, the nurses, we were 5.000. It was impossible

5 for to us secure so many mines when we were lacking ammunition, so that's

6 why it somehow sounds unbelievable to me.

7 Q. Well, setting perhaps aside the number of the estimate, as you

8 indicated, Mr. Ostreni, you were part of the Operation Essential Harvest

9 at the end of the crisis; and, during that operation, your organisation,

10 the NLA, gave up more than a thousand mines and grenades. Is that

11 correct?

12 A. I don't have the records before me. As I said, they probably were

13 handed over, but this was at a brigade level, and I'm very happy to they

14 handed over them. I didn't maintain those records. The records were made

15 by the organs at the brigade level. Maybe there are mines that were

16 connected on other territories as well.

17 Q. But when you said: "We did not have anti-tank mines, and I sent

18 my instruction not to use mines because they were prohibited by

19 international law," Mr. Ostreni, you knew that to be false. Is that

20 correct?

21 A. That is not correct. My instructions were for such explosive

22 materials not to be procured. Of course, it is possible that breaches

23 were made, but I'm just telling what I did, what my instructions were.

24 MR. METTRAUX: Can the witness please be shown Exhibit P493,

25 please.

Page 7634

1 I see the time, Your Honour. Would that be a convenient time.

2 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. We will have the first break now. We

3 resume at 11.00.

4 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.

5 --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.

6 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux.

7 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you, Your Honour.

8 Q. Mr. Ostreni, before we go back to the NATO documents which I wish

9 to show you, I'd like to show you another document first.

10 MR. METTRAUX: This is Rule 65 ter 778.19. Thank you. I believe

11 there is a Macedonian version for, Mr. Ostreni, at R062-6 -- yes. Thank

12 you very much.

13 Q. Mr. Ostreni, do you recognise this document?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. Is it correct that this document is, in fact, a record of the

16 weapons which were collected after the operation called Essential

17 Harvest? Is that correct?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. And is that a document which you gave to the Office of the

20 Prosecutor?

21 A. Yes, yes. I got it from NATO.

22 Q. And is it correct that in this document, Mr. Ostreni, under number

23 6, it records the fact that the NLA after -- or in the course of the

24 Operation Essential Harvest provided NATO with 1045 mines and grenades?

25 Is that correct?

Page 7635

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. So, in fact, Mr. Ostreni, you were aware that your organisation

3 had possessed quite a number of such items; namely, mines. Is that

4 correct?

5 A. In my language, we call mine also 60-millimetre, 80-millimetres

6 grenades. So we had all these materials.

7 Q. Including anti-tank mines, is that correct?

8 MS. REGUE: Your Honours.

9 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.

10 MS. REGUE: Maybe also the date when this document was given to

11 the witness would be relevant in order to assess his knowledge.

12 JUDGE PARKER: Indeed. I would point out that in our experience,

13 Mr. Mettraux, grenades covers the traditional small hand-held grenades and

14 also the forms of explosives used by mortars of various calibres --

15 [Overlapping Speakers]

16 MR. METTRAUX: -- documents after that, Your Honour, for that

17 reason --

18 JUDGE PARKER: -- and then mines are quite a different --

19 MR. METTRAUX: I think I may assist with the second document, Your

20 Honour.

21 Q. But simply to pick up on the suggestion of my colleague,

22 Mr. Ostreni, do you recall when you received that particular document from

23 NATO?

24 A. After the end of the Essential Harvest operation, after the

25 weapons and the ammunition were surrendered by the NLA.

Page 7636

1 Q. And do you recall that among these weapons and ammunition

2 surrendered by your organisation were a variety of mines? Do you recall

3 that?

4 A. I don't recall it. In the part of the process where I

5 participated, I saw Kalashnikovs, various rifles, anti-aircraft

6 machine-gun, and so on; 82-, 60-millimetre; I saw that there were mines

7 for these kind of weapons and hand-held grenades.

8 Q. Well, perhaps can I assist you a bit here.

9 MR. METTRAUX: Could the witness please be shown what is Exhibit

10 P493, please. Thank you.

11 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is a document that was in front of you a moment

12 ago, and it is a package prepared by NATO about information relating to

13 various parts of the NLA.

14 MR. METTRAUX: I'd like the registry to turn please to page

15 R042-0361-03, please.

16 Q. There's a passage, Mr. Ostreni, which is in the last-but-one

17 paragraph of that document, or in that page in any case, which starts with

18 the word, "The NLA," and then I would like to read the last sentence after

19 that document to you.

20 It says this: "Besides the standard small arms, grenades, and

21 mines, the NLA is also thought to possess [indiscernible], 120 mortars,

22 and 75-millimetre recoilless rifles.

23 MR. METTRAUX: Then, if we can turn to a few pages later, it's

24 R042- --

25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Excuse me. If you keep reading

Page 7637

1 this, I will forget. There are no such weapons like 75-millimetres, as

2 you are saying.


4 Q. Thank you for that. I'll ask you -- I want to show you the other

5 part, and then I can ask you about the arsenal.

6 MR. METTRAUX: It is R042-0361-39.

7 Q. It's the same document, Mr. Ostreni, a few pages down the road.

8 Thank you.

9 And the picture is, unfortunately, not clear at all, but it says

10 this -- the next says this: "A variety of mines and RPGs were handed in.

11 Anti-tank weapons include M-80, RPG-22, MBUST, and RBR-M 79. M-57, RPG-2,

12 RPG-7 were also handed in with vast quantities of ordinance."

13 Were you aware after, or at some stage during 2001, or at least

14 after the Operation Essential Harvest, that a variety of mine and RPGs,

15 such as those which are listed here, were handed by members of your

16 organisation.

17 A. Yes. I accept the table that I submitted to the Prosecutors after

18 getting it from NATO, which listed the weapons and the ammunition that we

19 handed in. What you are putting to me, it's in English, and I can't have

20 a very proper understanding of them, but I cannot exclude the fact that we

21 had RPG, mortars, ammunitions for them, and so on. Whatever we handed in,

22 we had already grenades.

23 Q. But also, Mr. Ostreni, you knew at the time not only that your

24 organisation possessed mines, but surely you knew that they were using

25 them to, for instance, blow up convoys. Do you agree with that?

Page 7638

1 A. No, I didn't know that. I cannot rule out the possibility that

2 there were such weapons, but I didn't know that they had it, that they had

3 mines during all the time the war lasted until we handed in the weapons.

4 Q. Well, let me show a document perhaps.

5 MR. METTRAUX: It is Exhibit 1D230.

6 I apologise, Your Honour, this is Exhibit 1D116, please.

7 Q. I apologise to you, Mr. Ostreni. This is a document which we have

8 already seen or which will appear in a second on your screen.

9 MR. METTRAUX: This is -- I believe it should be Exhibit 1D16, and

10 this appears to be 1D116. Thank you.

11 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is a document that we have already seen

12 together, parts of it in any case, and this is a summary of a report that

13 the author of that document is preparing.

14 MR. METTRAUX: And if the registry could scroll down to the bottom

15 of the page, please.

16 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is the same document which listed what the

17 author says are allegations with regard to alleged human rights violations

18 by the ethnic Albanian armed groups; and under number nine, it says

19 this: "Use of mines.

20 "The ethnic Albanian armed group is the only warring party known

21 to have used mines at all, is using anti-tank mines routinely, and is

22 suspected is also having placed anti-personnel mines."

23 Mr. Ostreni, were you aware of any of that happening within your

24 organisation, the NLA, the use of anti-tank mines -- the routine use of

25 anti-tank mines and also the suspected use of anti- personnel mines? Were

Page 7639

1 you aware of that?

2 A. I'm not aware of that. I know that anti-tank mines, RPG 2, 7,

3 were used. Zoljas were also used against tanks, but it is not true that I

4 gave instructions to them to use mines. I'm not aware of this.

5 Q. But you agree now that you knew that such weapons were being used.

6 Is that correct?

7 A. It is not correct. I had no information that they were used, and

8 I don't know even now that they were.

9 Q. Isn't the truth, Mr. Ostreni, that until the very end of the

10 crisis, your organisation continued to be condemned for its use of such

11 weapons? You must have become aware of that. Is that correct?

12 A. I wasn't aware of that. Even now, what are you putting to me is

13 in English, and I'm not familiar with English.

14 Q. Well, I'd like to show you another document then.

15 MR. METTRAUX: It is Exhibit 1D15, please.

16 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is another document that is a statement by the

17 president of the Security Council of the United Nations, and it relates to

18 the situation in the former Republic of Macedonia. It's dated the 13

19 August 2001, and, in effect, it greets the signing of the Ohrid Framework

20 Agreement by Macedonian political parties.

21 I would like to read to you...

22 MR. METTRAUX: With the help of the registry, if we could scroll

23 down a bit.

24 Q. ... a paragraph in the middle of the document that starts with the

25 word, "The council calls again." What the president the Security Council

Page 7640

1 said at the time is this: "It reiterates its call to all who have contact

2 with the extremist groups to make clear to them that they have no support

3 from any quarter in the international community.

4 "The council condemns the ongoing violence by extremists and calls

5 on all parties to respect the cease-fire. The crowns rejects any attempt

6 to use violence, including the use of land-mine, to undermine the

7 framework agreement, which has been negotiated by the democratically

8 elected political leadership of the former Yugoslav Republic of

9 Macedonia."

10 Mr. Ostreni, were you aware of this call made by the Security

11 Council to its president, to your organisation in particular, to stop

12 violence and also the rejection by the Security Council of the use of

13 land-mines? Were you aware of that?

14 A. Which date is it?

15 Q. It's the 13, 1-3, of August, Mr. Ostreni. This is a document that

16 was issued after the signing at midday, we believe, of the Ohrid Framework

17 Agreement.

18 MS. REGUE: Your Honour, just briefly, I believe that the text

19 reads, "rejects any attempt to use violence."

20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.

21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I continue?

22 At this time, beginning from 5th of July onwards, until the Ohrid

23 Framework Agreement was signed, there were constant provocations by the

24 government forces; and in my impression, the tendency was to prevent us

25 from reaching to the phase of the Ohrid Agreement.

Page 7641


2 Q. I'm grateful for that --

3 A. At the time of the cease-fire, the government forces were

4 reorganised; and contrary to point 7, letter V of the agreement on the

5 cease-fire, they redeployed their forces and brought up Brigade 8, from

6 Veles, to Radusa, Zeden, and so on. And then on the 5th of August,

7 through the media, an order was published by the supreme commander,

8 namely, the head of the state, whereby an operation was ordered to be

9 carried out in Tetovo along the road Tetovo-Zids [phoen].

10 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... Mr. Ostreni, my question was

11 at this stage --

12 A. [No interpretation]

13 Q. -- Mr. Ostreni, the question at this stage was limited to the

14 statement made by the president of the Security Council on the 30 -- 13th,

15 I apologise, of August of 2001. It was a call to all those who have

16 contact with extremist groups to make clear to them that they have no

17 support from any quarter of the international community, a condemnation of

18 ongoing violence by extremists, and also a rejection of any attempt to use

19 violence, including the use of land-mines.

20 My question is whether you were aware at that time of the call

21 made by the Security Council in those terms.

22 A. I was aware. But the way I understood, it was that the

23 provocations were carried out by the Armed Forces of the Republic of

24 Macedonia, because, at that time, the NLA was content with the signing of

25 the Ohrid Framework Agreement. And after the 13th, but even before that

Page 7642

1 date, it was not interested in causing any turbulence or falling prey to

2 provocations that might hinder the signing of the Ohrid Framework

3 Agreement.

4 So, in light of a number of occurrences, which I wanted to throw

5 light on but you didn't allow me to go on, this is the way we understood

6 that instruction or statement by the head of the Security Council.

7 Q. But, in fact, what the Security Council was condemning,

8 Mr. Ostreni, was, in particular, related to two recent attacks by your

9 organisation: One in Karpalak which resulted in the death of eight or

10 nine members of the security forces, and one in or near an area called

11 Ljubotenski Bacila.

12 Do you agree that is what the Security Council was referring to

13 there?

14 A. I don't know which it is referring to. It's not in Albanian for

15 me to read it, so I cannot answer to the question you are putting to me.

16 Q. But what you know for a fact - and you've tried to disassociated

17 yourself from the attack in Karpalak by saying that it had been carried

18 out without consulting with you - but you know for a fact that members of

19 your organisation carried out the attack in Karpalak with a view to

20 exercise revenge for the killing of one of your members, Mr. Teli, in

21 Skopje. Is that correct?

22 A. No, it is it not correct. We didn't organise our actions as acts

23 of revenge. Our goal was to reach to the phase of the Ohrid Agreement,

24 and nothing more than that.

25 Q. But, in fact, you knew exactly what was going on in the time in

Page 7643

1 the area of Matejce, Ljuboten, and Ljubotenski Bacila, because you were in

2 phone contact at the time with Mr. Bushi. Is that correct?

3 A. I was in phone contact with Mr. Bushi. He was in Nikustak. That

4 is where his command was based, and I don't have any other information.

5 Q. And I'd like to read to you, perhaps to help refresh your memory,

6 what you told the Prosecution in that regard, and that relates in

7 particular, Mr. Ostreni, to the 12th of August of 2001.

8 You are recorded as saying the following: "On 12 August 2001, I

9 had a conversation with Nazim Bushi to see what he could do with regard to

10 Ljuboten events, but I ordered him not to pass the line that we gave to

11 NATO as the line of the cease-fire.

12 "I told Bushi that the villagers of Ljuboten should be sheltered

13 in their basements. I also told Bushi that he had a right to act against

14 the Macedonian security forces only if they crossed the cease-fire line.

15 I think that Bushi took some actions, but I do not think that Bushi passed

16 the cease-fire line."

17 Do you recall saying that to the Office of the Prosecutor?

18 A. Yes, that's correct.

19 Q. And is it correct that you knew and understood at that time that

20 your communication between members of your organisation were or might be

21 intercepted by the Macedonian authorises? Were you aware of that fact?

22 A. I wasn't aware that I was being intercepted.

23 Q. In any case, when you told Mr. Bushi that you thought that

24 villagers should remain sheltered, you knew and understood that he would

25 be capable of transmitting this information into the village. Is that

Page 7644

1 correct?

2 A. Yes, he was on that side. I was very far away, and it was normal

3 for me to give an instruction, if he had any links with the villagers, to

4 tell them to take shelter to prevent them from becoming killed during the

5 exchange of -- during what was going on in the village at that time.

6 Q. But the reason you were confident that Mr. Bushi would be able to

7 pass on your suggestion is because you knew you had members of your

8 organisation in the village at the time. Is that correct, Mr. Ostreni?

9 A. No, that is not correct. I didn't have any information that there

10 were NLA members there. He informed me that the village is being shelled

11 and that the villagers are in danger. I gave this instruction. I told

12 him, "Tell them, if I can, to find shelter in the basements," because the

13 main concern for me was for him -- to tell him not cross the cease-fire

14 line because one day after we had to sign the Ohrid Agreement. Therefore,

15 we had to protect ourselves from any provocation that might be incurred.

16 Q. Well, one thing you told Mr. Bushi as well, in addition to

17 suggesting that civilians should stay in the basement, is you told him at

18 that time the fighters, the members of the NLA, should go out and resist

19 the Macedonian authorities. Is that correct?

20 A. I told him, "Do what you can with your brigade without crossing

21 the cease -- cease-fire line that I had informed NATO of."

22 MR. METTRAUX: Can the witness please be shown what is Rule 65 ter

23 808, please.

24 Q. Mr. Ostreni, did you become aware of the fact that the transcript

25 or record of your conversation with Mr. Bushi on that day were published

Page 7645

1 in the newspaper in Macedonian? Did you become aware of that fact?

2 A. I have seen this newspaper.

3 Q. And if I can draw your attention to a section early on in the

4 text, it records the following. At 8.20, it says: "Fazli Veliu told Gzim

5 Ostreni that Ljuboten village was being shelled with all weapons

6 available. Ostreni repeated to Veliu that villagers should stay in the

7 cellars and that ONA members should come out and return fire."

8 Do you recall reading that in that article?

9 A. I read there article a long time ago. I don't remember that was

10 published in it, but what I know is there were attempts to systemize the

11 conversations with respect to the events in Ljuboten.

12 Q. And you understood also that this information, which was reprinted

13 in the newspaper, would have come from a source within the Macedonian

14 authorities. Is that correct?

15 A. They themselves said that they were the authority who published

16 this article.

17 MR. METTRAUX: Well, can the witness please be shown what is

18 Exhibit 1D, please.

19 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is a document which comes from the

20 administration for security and counter-intelligence within the Ministry

21 of Interior, the UBK, or sometimes known as the DBK, and it's entitled,

22 "Assessment of the high level of the violated security situation in the

23 village of Ljuboten and the surroundings." It is dated the 14th of August

24 of 2001.

25 MR. METTRAUX: If the registry could turn to the third page,

Page 7646

1 please, that is 1D00-5401.

2 Q. In this document, Mr. Ostreni, there's -- at the fourth paragraph,

3 it starts with the word, "On 12 August 2001," and I will read the passage

4 to you.

5 It says this: "On 12 August 2001, with regard to the situation in

6 Ljuboten village, Gzim Ostreni informed Fazli Veliu that the villagers

7 should stay in the basements and 'NLA members should go out and respond to

8 the Macedonian security forces.'"

9 Is it correct, Mr. Ostreni, that this is, in fact, the

10 instructions, as you called them, that you gave both do Mr. Veliu and to

11 Mr. Bushi on the 12th of August of 2001?

12 A. I will repeat myself again. I spoke with the person who was

13 competent person for me, Mr. Bushi. What I spoke with him can be

14 summarized in the following: The villagers shall be informed to shelter

15 themselves from the fire coming from the police and the army, because I

16 was surprised by that attack, and that he himself should do what he can,

17 but without crossing the cease-fire line that we provided the NATO with.

18 This is the official document of the organ that was our enemy at

19 the time, and it can be the way they have put it down.

20 Q. But isn't the truth, Mr. Ostreni, that at the time you knew that

21 you had several members of your organisation inside the village, and that

22 you instructed other members of your group to ask those persons to go out

23 and respond to the Macedonian security forces? Is this correct what you

24 did?

25 A. This is not true. It is not true that I knew that there were

Page 7647

1 this. I don't know to this date. What I think is that there weren't any

2 there, because those that belonged to the brigade should have been with

3 the brigade, the 113 or 114, that was above there.

4 As for Ljuboten as a toponym, as a village, as a location, I

5 became aware of that when the attack was launched on this village. There

6 were other villages, and there was no reason for me to separate Ljuboten

7 from those other villages.

8 As far as I know, I didn't give instructions to anyone to enter

9 that village, and I don't know that there were any NLA members there.

10 Q. Do you recall, Mr. Ostreni, indicating that there were a number of

11 areas in the country where you say you had members of your organisation

12 that were, if you want, unactivated or ready to be activated but had not

13 yet been including in your home town of Debar?

14 Do you remember making those markings, three markings on the map?

15 A. Yes. And if there were any positions in this part, I would have

16 marked them as well. I marked the locations where the forces were at a

17 state of readiness, not mobilised, but who were following the situation

18 closely. But since the cease-fire agreement was in force since 6 July,

19 there was no reason for these forces to be activated for many reasons.

20 First of all, we were waiting for the agreement to continue with

21 the cease-fire, then for political agreement to be signed; and, secondly,

22 if you apply new forces, you need to feed them. You need to equip them

23 with the necessary equipment, and our capacities at that time were sort of

24 limited.

25 Q. Isn't it correct, Mr. Ostreni, that you had similar sleeping cells

Page 7648

1 in the villages in the area of Skopje?

2 A. You're speaking of many square kilometres. I cannot answer to a

3 question like this. There are plane villages in the area of Skopje. The

4 area of Skopje is a large area. It consists of 600 or 700.000

5 inhabitants.

6 Q. Perhaps I will ask you this, then: Are you aware of any village

7 in the immediate surroundings of Skopje where the NLA was present though

8 not activated, as was the case in the three locations which you marked on

9 the map?

10 A. No. Only those that I marked were there.

11 MR. METTRAUX: Can the witness please be shown Rule 65 ter 1D1044,

12 please.

13 Q. Mr. Ostreni, unfortunately, this is, again, a document in English

14 only. This is a document that was provided to us by an embassy here. It

15 is dated the 27th of June of 2001, and it talks of your organisation, the

16 NLA, and I will come back to the document on a couple of occasions.

17 But at this stage, I would like you to focus on point C of that

18 document, and it says the following: "The Skopje operational zone

19 includes Skopje's immediate surroundings. NLA groups hide out in

20 predominantly Albanian villages surrounding Skopje."

21 So, in view of your evidence, Mr. Ostreni, you would suggest that

22 this is an inaccurate or misinformed analysis of the situation. Is that

23 correct?

24 A. I don't know what this means. We were supported by all Albanian

25 citizens; and in my task that I gave to Mr. Bushi earlier, in filling in

Page 7649

1 his brigade, as it was going to be used on the road to Vejce, to have

2 soldiers on the part from Kashiaga [phoen], Zelenikova, and so on.

3 We did not work on creating cells. The NLA did not have any party

4 the. It was a patriotic organisation.

5 Q. So, in answer to my question, your evidence is that this document

6 is wrong and that NLA groups did not, in fact, hide out in predominantly

7 Albanian villages surrounding Skopje. Is that correct?

8 A. What I'm saying is that they did not go there to erect positions,

9 to get organised. We all -- at all times, we acted openly. I will repeat

10 it again. I'm handicapped here. I don't understand English.

11 You're just reading item C to me; and just based on this item, I

12 cannot understand the entire document. Just supposing that you are aware

13 of the entire document, I cannot give my assessment whether it is a proper

14 assessment presented in this document or not.

15 Q. Well, perhaps putting aside the document for a minute, I'll ask

16 you a more general question.

17 Are you aware of any NLA groups or members of the NLA hiding out

18 in predominantly Albanian villages in the area surrounding Skopje?

19 A. No. It wasn't necessary. They had their own brigades. They had

20 their own positions. We didn't need people to go in hiding. We needed

21 people who acted openly, who would go openly to their position, and who

22 would enforce the brigade so that the agreement is reached as soon as

23 possible. We didn't need to act in that way.

24 Q. Isn't it correct, Mr. Ostreni, that you were actually kept in

25 touch with Mr. Bushi, Nazim Bushi, during the activities of the 12th of

Page 7650

1 August, and that you continued giving him instructions during that

2 operation? Do you recall that?

3 A. I cannot deny that Bushi was the commander of the newly formed

4 brigade. It was near the area where an attack was being carried out

5 against a village, and it is quite normal that I spoke with Bushi at that

6 time and that I gave him the instructions that I mentioned earlier, to

7 advise the villagers to take shelter, and what was more important, not to

8 cross the cease-fire line.

9 Q. Do you recall also telling Mr. Bushi that he should kill the

10 members of the Macedonian security forces if he could?

11 A. No, it wasn't necessary. If they entered the territory of Bushi's

12 brigade, it was his own right, because in that case, they would have

13 violated the cease-fire line. And in defending his own brigade, Bushi

14 would have been obliged to open fire. If it wasn't like this, then the

15 security forces would have gone there freely, would have collected the

16 weapons, the war would have ended, and the Harvest operation wouldn't have

17 happened.

18 So this question seems sort of illogical to me. These cease-fire

19 lines were given to NATO. Whoever breaks the line, then the other party

20 should defend itself. So, if the forces had crossed into the territory

21 that was the NLA territory, according to the cease-fire line, then there

22 was need for me to say to Bushi what he should do. He knew that he had to

23 defend himself.

24 MR. METTRAUX: Can the witness please be shown Rule 65 ter 1D808,

25 once again.

Page 7651

1 Q. Isn't the situation, Mr. Ostreni, that rather than trying to keep

2 to the lines of cease-fire, as you call them, what you and your

3 organisation were trying to trigger is an incident that would make it

4 impossible for the legitimate political parties to sign the agreement in

5 Ohrid that Monday, that these attempts by your organisation took the form

6 of a mine attack in Ljubotenski Bacila in -- on the 10 of August, and also

7 the sending of mortar fire onto Macedonian positions around the village of

8 Ljuboten? Is it correct?

9 A. I don't know. I have no detailed information or knowledge about

10 this. You are saying at the same time opening of fire, planting of mines.

11 MR. METTRAUX: Can the registry please turn to the next page,

12 please.

13 Q. This is again, Mr. Ostreni, the press article, the newspaper

14 article, which reflects a number of conversations that allegedly took

15 place during the 12th of August 2001, and I'd like to draw your attention

16 to one that is recorded at 10.54 hours.

17 It's a conversation that is said to have taken place between

18 yourself and Mr. Bushi, and it says the following: "Gzim Ostreni asked

19 Nazim Bushi about how the work was going. Bushi told him that he had

20 moved the units closer and that he was waiting for information in order to

21 make a decision.

22 "Gzim Ostreni told Nazim Bushi that he should have a good decision

23 for any situation and to kill the members of Macedonian security forces

24 if he could. Take the artillery directed on Skopje and 'burn it down'.

25 "Nazim Bushi told Ostreni that he was at position 120 near Skopje,

Page 7652

1 from which he could fire directly at the city and the refinery. Then,

2 Gzim Ostreni suggested Nazim Bushi carry out a counterattack against

3 Macedonian security forces; that is, to respond with a battery against a

4 battery and inform him of that."

5 Do you recall having had that conversation with Mr. Bushi on the

6 morning of the 12th of August of 2001?

7 A. I recall talking to Bushi, and I already gave you my reply. It is

8 quite illogical what is stated here for Bushi do burn down Skopje. Skopje

9 ask a big city. There was no reason for Bushi to burn down Skopje. If he

10 had the equipment, if he had the capabilities, he would have attacked the

11 forces that were attacking Ljuboten. So that's why I think this is

12 illogical.

13 I gave you my conclusions. I will repeat it again. What I told

14 him was to advise the Ljuboten villagers to take shelter, not to become

15 prey from the attack, to shelter from the forces and the fire, and to

16 undertake what he could regarding this matter but not to cross the

17 cease-fire line. Any other development of what we spoke was along those

18 lines. It is illogical for me to say to Bushi, "Burn down Skopje at

19 12.00."

20 I apologise, but you force me to use another expression. If Bushi

21 was with the NATO forces, then it would have been possible; but with his

22 units equipped with Kalashnikov, that is impossible. So had I told him

23 anything along those lines, then it would have been, "Burn down those who

24 are attacked Ljuboten." It had nothing to do with Skopje.

25 Q. And do you recall giving him that very instruction; namely, to

Page 7653

1 initiate a counter attack against the Macedonian security forces and to

2 notify you? Do you recall telling him that?

3 A. I told him to do whatever he could, because he was there. He

4 could assess the situation. So my instructions were for him to do

5 whatever he could, to protect those villages, but, again, not to cross the

6 cease-fire line, because for us it was very important to reach the signing

7 of the Ohrid Agreement.

8 MR. METTRAUX: Can the witness please be shown Exhibit 1D160,

9 again, and if we could please turn to third page of that document. That

10 is page 1D00-5401, and if the registry could focus on the last-but-one

11 paragraph on that page, which starts word, "At the same time."

12 Q. Mr. Ostreni, there should be a Macedonian version on your side, on

13 the right side of the screen, and I will read that passage to you. It is

14 within this rather chunky paragraph. I think it is it also the

15 last-but-one in your version.

16 It says --

17 A. Could you just enlarge it a little bit.


19 Q. If you could find -- I believe it would be the last sentence in

20 that last-paragraph-but-one, it starts with the word in English, "On the

21 other hand, Nazim Bushi."

22 Can you see that?

23 A. [No verbal response]

24 Q. It says this: "On the other hand, Nazim Bushi got an information

25 from Gzim Ostreni, to undertake a counterattack against the Macedonian

Page 7654

1 security forces; actually, to respond with a battery to a battery; and

2 then, accordingly, to provide accurate information back to Gzim Ostreni."

3 Do you recall making that suggestion to Mr. Bushi on the 12th of

4 August of 2001, to undertake a counterattack against the Macedonian

5 security forces, to respond with a battery to a battery, and then to

6 report to you? Do you recall that?

7 A. No.

8 Q. Is it correct, Mr. Ostreni, that what you were trying to do, both

9 in Ljubotenski Bacila and in Ljuboten, was to create incidents that could

10 then be exploited by your organisation for propaganda purposes? Is that

11 correct that's what you were up to?

12 A. No, this is not true. It is quite the contrary. You're just

13 putting to me fragments of documents, and you are moving away from what

14 with a was going on in the terrain as of 5th of August. If you analyse

15 the entire activities ongoing at the time, you will see that the provoking

16 side were the government forces, regardless of whether they were acting in

17 coordination or in agreement or not, the police and the army.

18 You are putting to me assessments, documents prepared by the state

19 security service, and we know how they prepare such reports.

20 Q. Well, perhaps I will show you another type of documents then.

21 I will go back to the issue of your tactics and methods which you

22 used during that period, and I have already gone through the issue of

23 land-mines.

24 Is it correct that you also used other type of explosives, such as

25 thermal battery, which are known as, I think, SA-7B, which are a weapon

Page 7655

1 generally favoured by terrorist organisations? Are you aware of your

2 organisation using those?

3 A. This is the first time I hear this word. I never heard it before.

4 I apologise, so I'm not familiar with it.

5 Q. Well, perhaps I will show you a document.

6 MR. METTRAUX: That's Rule 65 ter 1D868, please.

7 MS. REGUE: Your Honour.

8 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.

9 MS. REGUE: In the question of my colleague, I think that there

10 again several questions. First, he is asking whether this sort of weapon

11 was used; and, then, secondly, he is also implying that this weapon is

12 favoured by terrorist organisation. So I will ask that the two questions

13 be put in one. It should be split, so the witness has a chance to answer

14 both.

15 MR. METTRAUX: They will be split, naturally, in the document,

16 Your Honour. Thank you.

17 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is a document that the Defence of Mr. Boskoski

18 has received from an embassy here in The Hague, and the document is dated

19 the 5th of June of 2001. It relates, obviously, to Macedonia, and the

20 subject of that document is,"Macedonian government has evidence of ethnic

21 Albanian extremists terrorist-type explosive devices."

22 The summary of the document is this, and I will read it out to you

23 where it says --

24 MR. METTRAUX: It's further down the page, please. Thank you.

25 Q. It says: "The Macedonian Ministry of Interior has conducted an

Page 7656

1 investigation on terrorist-type electronic explosive devices discovered in

2 the Tetovo area in late March 2001. The study has not been made public."

3 MR. METTRAUX: If we could to turn to the next page, please.

4 Q. It says this: "Argument that these devices found by the

5 Macedonian security forces would give credence to the government's

6 assertion that the Albanian insurgents are 'terrorists.'"

7 The next paragraph says: "The concealment of this study and the

8 evidence it contains of terrorist-type explosive devices is surprising,

9 since it would reinforce the Macedonian government's argument that the

10 Albanian insurgents are terrorists.

11 "Nevertheless, it is yet another indication that the Macedonian

12 government is reluctant to make public the seriousness of the threat from

13 ethnic Albanian extremists. Perhaps it is the fear of worrying the

14 general public or indecisiveness on how to proceed with the information,

15 but it is interesting to note that the government has also not yet

16 informed the Macedonian public of the SA-7B capability of the insurgents."

17 Mr. Ostreni, you have indicated that you don't know the -- or I

18 understand you to say that you don't know the name that SA-7B capability,

19 but were you aware of your organisation using, or at least having in its

20 possession, terrorist-type explosive devices? Is it something that you

21 knew at the time?

22 MS. REGUE: Again Your Honours, Mr. Mettraux is assuming

23 terrorist-type explosive divisions, so he should -- well, first he should

24 ask the witness whether he knows which is a terrorist-type explosive

25 devices, because it --

Page 7657

1 MR. METTRAUX: I have use the terminology of the document, Your

2 Honour.

3 JUDGE PARKER: The document is reporting, at best, second-hand or

4 something worse, and it is speaking of a terrorist-type of explosive. I

5 have difficulty with the notion that something would be specifically for

6 terrorists and not used in general military applications, but you are

7 simply using this document as fact.

8 MR. METTRAUX: I was trying to --

9 JUDGE PARKER: I think what you need, as Ms. Regue suggests, is to

10 see if the this witness knows anything of this type of armament, and,

11 secondly, wether it is one of the terrorist type, rather than any other,

12 et cetera; otherwise, we're not getting anywhere with this document.

13 MR. METTRAUX: I will try to stick to the language used, Your

14 Honour, but I will proceed in that way.

15 Q. Mr. Ostreni, were you aware of your organisation using any type of

16 explosive devices against targets?

17 A. Your Honour, I am a military man, and I'm not trained in using

18 such weapons, first. Second, such a letter can be written by anyone, even

19 today.

20 So as this question you're putting to me, what does this letter

21 mean, at the time the security bodies assisted, did everything they could

22 to totally compromise the NLA with claim being that it was a terrorist

23 organisation, that it would be included in the list of such organisations,

24 that it lose the trust and confidence of the population and the

25 international community, and so on.

Page 7658

1 So the answer to your question is that I have no information about

2 that.

3 Q. Well, thank you for that. Do you recall also indicating to the

4 Prosecution during proofing that, as far as could you tell, the NLA did

5 not conduct any guerilla attacks? Do you recall saying that?

6 A. I said that the NLA never engaged in a guerrilla warfare. I

7 didn't understand the question. Maybe you could repeat it please.

8 Q. Yes. I will read out the passage from the proofing notes. That

9 may assist you, Mr. Ostreni.

10 It's paragraph 2 of your proofing notes of 2nd November of 2007,

11 and you have been recorded as saying: "We did not conduct any guerilla

12 attacks."

13 Can you recall saying that to the Office of the Prosecutor?

14 A. Yes, and that's true. I did say that the NLA did not carry out

15 any such attacks that you are putting to me. My statement speaks about

16 the time that I was familiar with the NLA and when I was there, was a

17 member of it.

18 Q. But isn't the fact that it was -- actually the way the

19 organisation had been structured and prepared is precisely to conduct that

20 sort of activities? Isn't that correct?

21 A. No. The brigades didn't carry out any such attacks. One

22 battalion of the brigade, as we saw it, had 630 persons. Two battalions

23 comprised quite a large number of people. So you can not hide such large

24 number of people who insisted on the brigades growing up and bringing

25 greater pressure to bear on the government in order for to us come to the

Page 7659

1 signing of the agreement and the meeting of the demands of the NLA

2 expressed in communique number 6 and the memorandum.

3 That was our goal, and that was an inspiration to the NLA to rally

4 around that objective, the volunteers, and to carry out its duties.

5 Q. Let me show you a document that I showed you a moment ago.

6 MR. METTRAUX: This is Rule 65 ter 1D1044, 1D1044.

7 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is the same document that I've shown to you a

8 moment ago. This is, again, a -- the same document that we received from

9 an embassy here in The Hague. It's dated the 27th of June of 2001, and

10 there's a paragraph that I wish to read to you.

11 It's paragraph 2 of that document towards the end of the page, and

12 it says the following: "NLA infrastructure is designed and best suited

13 for independent guerilla tactics, a loose organisational structure, low

14 interdependency on other NLA groups and commanders. Individual commanders

15 have authority to establish new fighting groups and to evolve fighter

16 structure to meet the military retirement.

17 "NLA brigades have similar structure to UCK structure; NLA

18 fighters are divided into independent operational zones; local commanders

19 have decision making authority; and individual commanders have autonomy in

20 planning of attacks within their operational zones."

21 Do you agree that this -- or would you agree that this corresponds

22 to the way in which the NLA, the National Liberation Army, was structured

23 and organised at least as late as 27th of June, 2007? Do you agree with

24 that?

25 A. No. This is a reflection based on the way the UCK was organised

Page 7660

1 in Kosova, but this is contrary to the organisation of the NLA in

2 Macedonia.

3 In Kosova, it was possible to organise the KLA in -- based on

4 zones, because in Kosova the percentage of the Albanian population is much

5 higher than in Macedonia. If we, in Macedonia, had organised ourselves

6 based on zones or areas, for example, like the Kumanovo, Shkupt, Tetova,

7 Gostivar, Debar, Kercove, Struke areas, then we would be faced with the

8 unpleasant situation, because in this way, we would contribute to a

9 conflict east/west and result in something which we didn't want; that is,

10 a decision or the partition of Macedonia.

11 For this reason, our underlying concept as NLA was not to act on

12 basis of zones as territories, but to act on the basis of brigades that

13 are mobile, can go to this place, so that place can withdraw in case of

14 difficulties, and are not linked with the zones or the areas.

15 So if we were to implement the concept of our military tactic, the

16 brigades would pass, for example, to the eastern area. Still, they

17 wouldn't be linked with the territories. The territories would continue

18 to be governed by local authorities, like in the communes in the north of

19 Lipkov or in our other communes like Sipkovica and others.

20 So, we did not claim to divide or partition Macedonia. We simply

21 intended on making pressure on the government to force it to -- to amend

22 the constitution and meet the demands of the NLA. So, such an assessment

23 as the one you presented here is contrary to the very idea and go of the

24 NLA in the Republic of Macedonia.

25 I need a little more time to make another observation. The

Page 7661

1 democratic distribution of the population of the Republic of Macedonia is

2 such that --

3 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...

4 A. -- Albanians live most on the western part, and the Macedonians

5 are mostly living in the eastern part.

6 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... not go into the demographics

7 at the stage, and if we can stay for the time being with the methods and

8 tactics of the organisation of which you are a member.

9 Isn't that correct that the brigade structure, which you've

10 referred to many, many times, was, in fact, just an, to put it that way,

11 an army of paper, and that the real way in which the organisation was

12 functioning was with hit-and-run tactics and, as the previously document

13 showed, with method -- or indicated with methods of guerrilla warfare? Is

14 that correct?

15 A. I think it is simply one assessment. The way the NLA operated, I

16 already explained. It was an army in the process of growing. It had

17 positions which were known to others. It engaged in an active defence,

18 formed new brigades, and pressured, as I said, the government in order to

19 fulfil the demand for which we went into that uprising.

20 MR. METTRAUX: Well, let's look at Exhibit P493 then.

21 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is, again the same so-called NATO package, a

22 briefing, in fact.

23 MR. METTRAUX: I would like the registry to turn to page 3 of that

24 document. That would be R042-0361-03.

25 Q. And, Mr. Ostreni, that page relates, in particular, to the NLA in

Page 7662

1 the Tetovo area, and in particular to the 112 Brigade.

2 MR. METTRAUX: And if the registry could enlarge the last

3 paragraph on that page, please.

4 Q. Mr. Ostreni, I think there will be an version for you in the

5 Macedonian language. That will be the last paragraph on that page, and it

6 starts with the words: "The mode of operation for the brigade."

7 Can you see that?

8 A. The last or the penultimate paragraph?

9 Q. It should be the last paragraph, and I will read it to you.

10 It says this: "The MO, method of operation, for the brigade is

11 reportedly one of hit-and-run tactics, as seen during a number of

12 successful ambushes conducted by the rebels. These guerrilla and covert

13 cells using clandestine and/or 'terrorist' methods largely favoured by

14 LKCK and AKSH groups are predominantly found within the Tetovo area."

15 Is it correct, Mr. Ostreni, that almost all of your attacks on

16 security forces of the Macedonian authorities were hit-and-run tactics or,

17 as they are called later, clandestine and/or terrorist methods? Is it the

18 two tactics which you were using at the time?

19 MS. REGUE: Your Honour.

20 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.

21 MS. REGUE: Sorry to interrupt again, but I will refer to the

22 second point, which is a broad statement: "later clandestine and

23 terrorist methods." I think that this -- my colleague is taking the words

24 from the document, and I think it is a larger, broad concept.

25 JUDGE PARKER: A lot of the problem, Mr. Mettraux, is that this

Page 7663

1 document is not evidence. You seem to be putting it to the witness as

2 though its content is the facts. If the witness doesn't accept its

3 content, or unless it becomes part of the evidence in the case during your

4 case or through something else, it is of no evidentiary value.

5 This particular one, though - am I right --

6 MR. METTRAUX: It is admitted Your Honour.

7 JUDGE PARKER: -- is in evidence, but on what basis.

8 MR. METTRAUX: It was a document tendered by the Office of the

9 Prosecutor. It was, I believe, shown to a couple or three witnesses as we

10 recall, But I will put it in such a way, Your Honour --

11 JUDGE PARKER: We move on to the problem that a number of

12 propositions are put in a sentence or a paragraph, and you are putting

13 then that whole paragraph to the witness as though it is the fact. It

14 just has to be broken up into several elements to see what part, if any,

15 the witness can agree with.

16 MR. METTRAUX: I'll do so, Your Honour.

17 Q. Mr. Ostreni, focussing, perhaps first of all, on the first

18 sentence that I read to you, and I will read to you again. That may

19 assist you.

20 It says: "The method for operation for the brigade, that would be

21 the 112 Brigade, "is reportedly one of hit-and-run tactics as seen during

22 a number of successful ambushes conducted by the rebels."

23 Do you agree, Mr. Ostreni, with the suggestion that that a

24 hit-and-run tactics was with the one pursued and followed by the 112

25 Brigade, or not?

Page 7664

1 A. No, it's not right. But whoever has made the assessment or

2 written the letter is not certain of what he is saying, and he based it on

3 the recounts. He is not claiming that it is so. He is providing

4 information that in Macedonian it says, [Macedonian spoken]. That is on

5 what he heard, or learned from someone else.

6 So I can't take -- accept that. The original document in

7 Macedonian says as I am saying. So the person -- the author is not

8 certain, so I do not accept either the document or whatever you are

9 putting to me. We were always in positions.

10 Q. Returning to the second sentence of this paragraph, it says

11 this: "These guerilla and covert cells using clandestine

12 and/or'terrorist' methods largely favoured by the LKCK and AKSH groups are

13 predominantly found within the Tetovo area."

14 Are you aware of any guerilla -- or rather, of any terrorist

15 methods or clandestine methods being used by any members of your

16 organisation in the area of Tetovo?

17 A. No, no. I don't agree with that. I want, again, to reiterate

18 that the author, who has written this, says according to what he had

19 heard. It is not that he is saying this with certainty. I do not agree

20 with what you are saying about the way we acted, but the document itself

21 also doesn't say so.

22 Q. Do you recall also telling the Office of the Prosecutor, and I

23 quote: "As far as I know, the NLA forces did not conduct any terrorist

24 attack."

25 Do you remember saying that?

Page 7665

1 A. Yes, I recall.

2 Q. And are you aware, however, that a large section of the

3 international community called your organisation -- or rather, its

4 activities as terrorist acts? Are you aware of that?

5 A. No. I don't know that it called it such. But I know that, from

6 Resolution 90/20 of the European Commission, the term used with reference

7 to us was Albanian "armed formations or groups," and this is said also by

8 Lord Robertson in an interview given to a group of journalists on the 22nd

9 of May, in which he expresses his personal view, and then he expresses

10 also the view of the institution he represented, saying that: We call

11 these groups "armed units or formations." That is the word he used.

12 So until the international community obtained more precise

13 information on the NLA, its goals and its ambitions, they started

14 gradually to adjust their stand toward it and the terms they used with

15 reference to it.

16 MR. METTRAUX: Could the witness please be shown Rule 65 ter

17 1D889.

18 Q. Mr. Ostreni, in the middle of May of 2001, were you aware that the

19 Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the states which are part of the

20 South-East European Cooperation Process, including Macedonia and Albania,

21 for instance, characterise your actions as terrorist acts? Are you aware

22 of that?

23 A. No, no, I am not. I don't know that. They also came to

24 Macedonia, held meetings; and, of course, they wanted to express their

25 support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Macedonia, giving

Page 7666

1 priority to the stop of the fighting and the establishment of dialogue.

2 Q. Well, the document that is in front of you, Mr. Ostreni, is a

3 joint statement of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the South-East

4 European Cooperation Process, and the date of that document is 16 of May

5 2001. It was adopted in Albania, in Tirana, on that day.

6 MR. METTRAUX: And if the registry could turn to the next page,

7 please, and if we could go to the bottom of the page, please. Thank you.

8 Q. There's a passage that I would wish to read to you, Mr. Ostreni.

9 This is the last paragraph on the page which concerns the situation in

10 Macedonia, and specifically at the time in Tetovo and the Kumanovo areas.

11 This is what the Ministers of Foreign Affairs said: "Ministers

12 expressed their deep concern on recent developments in Tetovo and Kumanovo

13 areas. They strongly condemned the terrorist acts threatening the

14 security and stability of the country, as well as of the region as a

15 whole.

16 "They called on the ethnic Albanian extremist groups to cease such

17 actions, including armed violence, release the hostages, lay down their

18 weapons, and withdraw immediately. They expressed their full support and

19 respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the indurability

20 of the borders of the ..."

21 MR. METTRAUX: If we could turn to the next page.

22 Q. "... of the borders of the country."

23 Then it goes on to say: "They welcomed the establishment of a

24 broad coalition government for national unity. They expressed their full

25 support to its efforts to end the violence in an appropriate manner

Page 7667

1 consistent with the Rule of Law."

2 Mr. Ostreni, are you able to explain why the Foreign Ministers of

3 all the states in the south-eastern part of Europe in and around Macedonia

4 would refer to your actions as terrorist acts and to your organisation as

5 ethnic Albanian extremists groups?

6 A. Which date is this document?

7 Q. This would be the 16, 1-6, of May, 2001. It comes from Albania,

8 Tirana.

9 A. I cannot read this document because it is not in Albanian or in

10 Macedonian. This other languages I am familiar with are Albanian, and

11 Serbo-Croatian, and Macedonian.

12 Q. Well, is it correct, Mr. Ostreni, that you suggest in your

13 evidence in chief that the view of the international community and the

14 position of the international community towards your organisation changed

15 after the events of Aracinovo, and that, if I understand you properly, the

16 international community came to accept the NLA as a serious negotiating

17 partner? Is that correct?

18 A. I will say how I said it, and what my idea is. The case of

19 Haracino was a specific case for us, by means of which we might indicate

20 to the international community that the NLA has a hierarchy and chain of

21 responsibilities, and that we can abide by the agreements. We will sign

22 both with the international factor or with the government or the Republic

23 of Macedonia.

24 That was why it was very important for it to proceed well, and

25 this was the first case, I think, of importance for us to have an

Page 7668

1 agreement, in which the international community, through NATO, contacted

2 Mr. Ali Ahmeti to implement an agreement for the withdrawal or forces of

3 Brigade 113 from Haracino.

4 We were very committed to documenting through our concrete actions

5 that we would abide by our words.

6 Q. But is it correct, however, Mr. Ostreni, that the view and opinion

7 of the international community towards your organisation never changed,

8 not during the operation in Aracinovo and not after you had been evacuated

9 from the village? Is that correct?

10 A. You are asking me about the international stance. I didn't have

11 any embassies or any representatives at that time to know for sure whether

12 it had changed or not. After the case of Haracino, we have the letter of

13 the late President Trajkovski addressed to NATO, to resolve the crisis in

14 Macedonia through political means. That was a very significant change

15 which foresaw also a law on amnesty for the members of the NLA. This was

16 significant.

17 As to what are you saying, I don't know. I saw the consequences.

18 The consequences were good because they aimed at stopping the war, on the

19 condition that the demands of Albanians - I'm not saying the demands of

20 the NLA because that represented the demands of the people - be fulfilled;

21 but not only the demands of the Albanians, but also the Romas, the Turks,

22 and other minorities, because if we were allowed to use our national flag,

23 for example, the Turk minority or the Roma minority might also use their

24 own respective national flags.

25 I don't know if I gave you an answer to the question you posed to

Page 7669

1 me, but I didn't have the possibility draw a conclusion on the stand of

2 the international media at the time.

3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mettraux, it is time for our second break.

4 We resume at 1.00.

5 --- Recess taken at 12.31 p.m.

6 --- On resuming at 1.01 p.m.

7 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Mettraux.

8 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you, Your Honour.

9 Q. Mr. Ostreni, is it correct that rather than improving, the view

10 that the international community took of your organisation, after the

11 events of Aracinovo, in fact, got worse? Is that correct?

12 A. No, that's not correct. On the contrary, regular contacts began

13 between NATO representatives, namely, Mr. Peter Feith, and us.

14 MR. METTRAUX: Can the witness please be shown what is Rule 65 ter

15 1D438, please.

16 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is or this will be a statement of the Russian

17 Foreign Ministry's official spokesman in the situation in Macedonia, and

18 it's dated 26th of June of 2001, one day after the evacuation of the NLA

19 from Aracinovo.

20 This is what the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia

21 said: "Tensions in that country are not becoming less intense. It

22 happens for the very same reason: Terrorists continue their destructive

23 activities and certain circles put forward political demands, the

24 realisation of which could lead to actual disintegration of the state."

25 Then, in the next paragraph, it says: "A way out of the current

Page 7670

1 situation needs to be sought by putting an end to terrorist armed action

2 in the first place, the disarmaments of terrorists, and the disbandment of

3 the illegal armed groups, as well as by continuing political dialogue by

4 the lawful elected representatives of the Albanian population."

5 Were you aware, Mr. Ostreni, of this rather strong condemnation of

6 your organisation by the Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs?

7 A. Yes. But this was the policy of the Russian Minister and probably

8 his state, a permanent stance including other countries that were

9 militarily assisting the Macedonian forces in their warfare against the

10 NLA. We have the Ukranian uniform --

11 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Helicopters,

12 ammunition, and so on.

13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This statement does not surprise

14 me.

15 However, what the minister is stating here, we had first to agree

16 on our political demands, then the issue of handing over weapons, to whom

17 we shall hand over weapons. All this these things were done on our part.

18 These statements, I don't think that they had a good aim as far as the

19 Albanian people in Macedonia were concerned.

20 Q. But is it correct that two days after you were evacuated from

21 Aracinovo, the president, through his press secretary, who is press

22 secretary of the United States, condemned your activities in terms of

23 terrorist violence? Are you aware of that?

24 A. No, I wasn't aware of that. All the states were at work. The

25 situation was moving towards the signing of the agreement. The conditions

Page 7671

1 to put an end to the war were being created, and the situation was moving

2 towards the signing of the agreement and the demobilisation of the NLA.

3 All this was brought to the signing of the Ohrid Agreement.

4 MR. METTRAUX: Well, could the witness please be shown what is

5 Rule 65 ter 1D715, please.

6 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is a document. It's a statement by the press

7 secretary of the White House or the president of the United States,

8 George W. Bush, and it's dated 27th of June, 2001.

9 I would like to read to you a number of passages of that document,

10 and it first says this.

11 This is the first paragraph of this the document: "The United

12 States has joined with its European alleys and other countries of the

13 United Nations in strongly condemning the terrorist violence perpetrated

14 by armed extremists determined to destabilize the democratic multi-ethnic

15 government of Macedonia.

16 "Their violent tactics threaten US and international efforts to

17 promote regional peace and stability, and pose a potential danger to US

18 military forces and other Americans supporting peacekeeping efforts."

19 So do you agree, Mr. Ostreni, that not only Russia, but at least

20 the United States, was attempting your activities in terms of terrorist

21 violence and suggesting that your tactics, violent tactics, were

22 threatening the US and international efforts to promote peace and

23 stability? Do you agree with that?

24 A. The text uses the word -- or the Republic of Macedonia is defined

25 as a democratic state. I believe that the United States of America were

Page 7672

1 not justly informed by the competent authorities in Macedonia, who told

2 them that real democracy was going on in Macedonia. This was not true.

3 Had such a democracy had been in place, there would not have been any need

4 for clashes or for an Ohrid Framework Agreement.

5 I believe that, at that time, all the information in possession of

6 the United States and other states were that Macedonia, as promoted by the

7 president before the late President Trajkovski, is oasis of peace.

8 If Macedonia was such an oasis, I would have -- we would have

9 condemned such an uprising. That would be an adventure in conditions of

10 full democracy, but the reality shows a situation otherwise. That's why

11 we had the Ohrid Framework Agreement was also promoted by representatives

12 of the United States, and we do thank you them for that.

13 Q. We'll come to the Ohrid Framework Agreement in a minute; but at

14 this stage, let's stick with this document.

15 The president, or the press secretary on behalf of the president,

16 then goes on to say this: "As the president stated in Europe, we must

17 face down extremists in Macedonia and elsewhere who seek to use violence

18 to redraw borders or subvert the democratic process."

19 Is it your evidence, Mr. Ostreni, that the American president,

20 through his secretary, was also misinformed of the fact that you were

21 using violence to redraw borders and subverting the democratic process?

22 A. The National Liberation Army never ever wanted to change the

23 borders. It disarmed, it turned into a political party, and everybody

24 were committed, including the Association of War Veterans, towards

25 safeguarding the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of

Page 7673

1 Macedonia, and for co-existence between all equal citizens.

2 We wanted a state that would guarantee all its citizens equal

3 rights. This was what I wanted to the say, and you can find proof of this

4 at any time. The NLA never wanted the borders to change. On the

5 contrary, it was against the proposal of the academy of science for the

6 partition of the Republic of Macedonia.

7 Q. And are you aware that at the time, Mr. Ostreni, when you said the

8 profile of your organisation was improving, after you pulled out of

9 Aracinovo on the 25th of June, the president of the United States, in

10 fact, took a number of measures against your organisation and yourself

11 personally? Are you aware of that?

12 A. Yes, I'm aware of that. And, at the same time, I would like to

13 extend my gratitude to the president, who have rightfully assessed my

14 activities; and now, as a result, I can still visit the United States and

15 visit my family, my daughter.

16 Q. Well, is it correct that in June of 2007 [sic], in particular on

17 the 27th of June of 2001, 2001 - I apologise - you were regarded as an

18 individual who actively obstruct the implementation of, in this case,

19 Security Council Resolution 1244, and who otherwise seek to undermine

20 peace and stability in the region? Was it the basis on which restrictions

21 were placed on you and other colleagues from your organisation?

22 A. That is true. I was on the so-called black list of the United

23 States of America; but, as I already stated, thanks to the president and

24 the competent organ that assessed positively my activities, I was removed

25 from that list and I'm no longer in it.

Page 7674

1 Q. But is it correct that the situation for your organisation over

2 the next few weeks did not exactly improve; and, for instance, are you

3 aware that on the 10th of July 2001, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

4 passed a resolution, referring to your actions as "acts of terrorism."

5 Are you aware of that?

6 A. No, I'm not.

7 Q. Are aware that a week later, on the 17th of July, the Council of

8 the European Union was referring to you as terrorists and was imposing

9 travel restrictions on members of your organisation, including, I believe,

10 yourself? Were you aware of that?

11 A. I am aware of the fact that I was on the black list of the

12 honoured president, Mr. Bush. Maybe I was on other black lists. But for

13 me, it was important to act pursuant to the moral knowns and laws and to

14 be committed to achieving progress.

15 So they, later on, assessed my activities, and they saw that I was

16 moving towards the right path and removed me from these lists.

17 Q. But the reality is that the in course of the year 2001, you were

18 never regarded by any party, prior to the Ohrid Framework Agreement, as a

19 valid negotiating partner. Is that correct?

20 A. They assessed this issue. I had the political representative

21 superior to me, who was, at the same time, the supreme commander. He was

22 holding political meetings.

23 Q. But is it correct, for instance, to take an example, Mr. Ostreni,

24 you referred a number of times to a cease-fire -- what you referred to as

25 a cease-fire agreement dated the 5th of July of 2001.

Page 7675

1 But, rather than being agreement, Mr. Ostreni, is that correct

2 that this was, in fact, an unilateral decision, or an unilateral order in

3 the case of the Macedonia army, ceasing firing on that date? Is that

4 correct?

5 A. No. We agreed, too, with NATO and respected that cease-fire as

6 our 6. A fact as a proof to this is that on the 5th, I provided NATO with

7 location of our positions. This proves that we were in contact with NATO.

8 Mr. Ali Ahmeti was in direct contact with that. I was Chief of Staff.

9 I provided for their requests, and all I can say is that that we abided by

10 this cease-fire agreement.

11 Q. Well, we will come, in a minute, to the abidance part.

12 MR. METTRAUX: But could the witness please be shown Rule 65 ter

13 317, please. The Macedonian version would be at N001-4731.

14 Q. Mr. Ostreni, what I am about to show you, in Macedonian as well,

15 is the order by General Petrovski, Pande Petrovski, the Chief of Staff of

16 the army at the time. It's dated the 5th of July, 2001, and I'd like to

17 read to you the first full paragraph of that document.

18 It says this: "Based on the plan and the programme for overcoming

19 the crisis in Republic of Macedonia brought by the president of Republic

20 of Macedonia, as well as the letter for the decree of the government of

21 the Republic of Macedonia for reaching general, unconditional, and

22 permanent cease-fire signed by the Chief of Staff of the army, General

23 Pande Petrovski, and the head of the police department within the Ministry

24 of Interior, General Risto Galevski, and sent to Mr. Feith, NATO

25 representative, for overcoming the crisis in Republic of Macedonia."

Page 7676

1 Then General Petrovski says: "I am ordering," and he is

2 essentially ordering a cease-fire.

3 MR. METTRAUX: If we can turn to the next page, and go to the top

4 of the page, please.

5 Q. He then signs it.

6 MR. METTRAUX: And if we can go to the bottom of the page on the

7 Macedonian version, you will have the same.

8 Q. Is this correct, Mr. Ostreni, that the cease-fire that was ordered

9 by the Macedonian authority was not a cease-fire that had been negotiated

10 with you or anyone else, but one that was issued unilaterally by the

11 authorities? Is that correct?

12 A. The mediator between the NLA and the authorities that you mention

13 was Peter Feith at the time; and on the basis of this, the coordination of

14 work regarding cease-fire was carried out.

15 Q. But you agree, for one, that the Macedonia authorities never

16 negotiated or dealt with you in relation to that cease-fire. Is that

17 correct?

18 A. We didn't have direct negotiations. The negotiations in case of

19 Haracin and in case of this cease-fire were carried out through

20 mediators. In this case, it was NATO in the role of the mediator between

21 us and the security forces of the Macedonian state.

22 Q. And you said, I believe a moment ago, that the NLA respected the

23 cease-fire. Do you recall saying that?

24 A. Yes.

25 MR. METTRAUX: Could the witness please be what is shown what is

Page 7677

1 Rule 65 ter 1D1042.

2 Q. Sir, this is another document that was given to us by an embassy

3 here in The Hague, and it's dated the 10th of July of 2001. That's about

4 five days after the cease-fire was declared.

5 The subject is, "Albanian separatism crisis, situation in Tetovo

6 and environs on 5, 6, July, 2001, as cease-fire goes into effect."

7 MR. METTRAUX: If the registry could please turn to the next page.

8 Q. I'd like to read to you the part that starts with the subheading,

9 "Comments," where it says that someone "wonders," we don't the name,

10 "wonders at the motivation of the NLA insurgents for the indiscriminate

11 nature of their pre-cease-fire mortar attacks on Tetovo.

12 "In view of the number of civilian structures hit, the number of

13 civilian casualties, and the attempted interdiction of the highway

14 Jazince, it would seem to be an attempt on the part of the NLA insurgent

15 to claim pre-cease-fire control the entire Tetovo area."

16 First, let me stop here. Were you a aware, Mr. Ostreni, or were

17 you made away by your chain of command in any way, about these activities

18 of pre-cease-fire mortar attacks on Tetovo.

19 A. Before the cease-fire, you're saying. But can you determine the

20 frame -- time-frame that you're asking me about, because even 2000 falls

21 within in this period prior to cease-fire.

22 Q. Well, the previous page, Mr. Ostreni, says that it's relates to

23 the situation in Tetovo and environs, as it is called, on the 5th and 6th

24 of July, of 2001.

25 A. 5 and 6 of July are dates when we working towards a cease-fire

Page 7678

1 agreement, and you brought up not the cease-fire agreement, but the order

2 by Petrovski addressed to his troops. Our aim at that time was not to

3 carry out attacks. We were fully committed to establishing cease-fire.

4 I don't know how well you are informed, Your Honours. At that

5 time, in the area of Tetovo, there are also paramilitaries operating in

6 the village --

7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The interpreter didn't

8 catch name of the village.

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So from this perspective, to speak

10 in theoretical terms, excluding the situation in the terrain, it seems

11 illogical.

12 On the 5th, I worked the entire day with the NATO general to see

13 how things will work, whether the positions will remain where they were,

14 work on preparing the maps so that Mr. Feith could discuss them with the

15 opposing side, and contribute to signing this cease-fire agreement.

16 The 6th is the first day of the cease-fire, and our mentality does

17 not allow for breaking the Besa. If you promise that you will hold to

18 that cease-fire, you will hold to it. You will not break it the next day.

19 Q. Well, what about the pre-cease-fire activities which are mentioned

20 to you, which had the effect of impacting on civilian structures and

21 injuring or killing a number of civilians? Were you aware of that fact on

22 the 5th of -- or 6th of July, 2001?

23 A. No, I was not. I do not have any facts to prove that the NLA

24 killed civilians on the 5th or prior to that date.

25 Q. I'll just go on reading the document. It say this is: "In

Page 7679

1 addition, increasing concerned with the 'hard-core' and ruthless nature of

2 one or more of the NLA insurgent cells operating to the north and

3 north-west of Tetovo. It is in this area that the ambush and executions

4 of eight security forces personnel took place on 28 April 2001. The

5 attack on the ambulance as part of a relief convoy that took place on 15

6 May 2001."

7 I'll stop here for a second. We've already discussed the attack

8 of the 28th of April near Vejce. But are aware that an ambulance was

9 attacked on the 15th of May, 2001 in that same general area of Tetovo?

10 Did you become aware of that incident?

11 A. On the 15th of May?

12 Q. Yes.

13 A. No. I wasn't aware of that.

14 Q. Then it refers to the cleansing and subsequent looting of all of

15 the villages north of Tetovo.

16 Did you receive any information to suggest that this was

17 happening?

18 A. No. I received information on the action by police and the army

19 in those villages on the 2nd of April, when the 16-year-old young man was

20 killed, and I would kindly direct you to reading what the media has

21 written and what Fakti newspaper wrote on the 5th of April.

22 They say that the army and the police have committed vandal acts

23 in that region and that measures should be taken, but I have no

24 information whether the measures were actually taken. That reports speaks

25 about the very bad conduct of the army and the police, and then a sports

Page 7680

1 centre in Popova Shapka, Kodra e Diellit. It was destroyed by the on

2 forces deployed there. There are documents to that effect. You can see

3 documents on the material damage caused to that centre.

4 Therefore, I want to say that it was not the NLA that looted,

5 because it couldn't loot its own people, the people who fed it, who

6 sheltered it.

7 Q. And then the document refers to an incident which we already

8 discussed. It says: "The shooting to death of the Macedonian villager

9 who refused to leave his home in Brezno. (The NLA insurgents who were

10 present in Brezno when the villager was shot were all wearing

11 balaclavas.)"

12 You indicated, I believe, already that you were not aware of this

13 incident. Is that correct?

14 A. No, I was not aware of that. If that occurred, I didn't know of

15 it.

16 Q. And then the document goes on to say: "And, finally, the

17 indiscriminate bombardment of Tetovo speculates that Ali Ahmeti may not be

18 firmly in control of this renegade cell or cells, and continued cease-fire

19 violations from this group can be expected."

20 Were you aware at the time, in the early days of July 2001, of any

21 factions or group within your organisation that were out of control of

22 Mr. Ahmeti?

23 A. No, I didn't have any such information. I only know that

24 government forces at that time brought the 8th Brigade, who were preparing

25 and stationed the artillery means, were preparing for further actions. I

Page 7681

1 think that now we should refer to what the late Pande Petrovski says in

2 his book, that the paramilitaries at the police forces insisted on

3 committing provocations, and then inviting the army to support them in an

4 unlawful way. This is explicitly written by Pande Petrovski himself, who

5 at the time was Chief of General Staff of the army of Macedonia.

6 For you to understand this better, if Their Honours like it, you

7 may refer to the document on the resignation of the late Pande Petrovski

8 from his position as Chief of the General Staff of the Macedonian army on

9 the 9th of August. He recounts the reasons for his resignation there.

10 Q. I'm grateful for that Mr. Ostreni, and I'll ask you another

11 question about the other agreement to which you've referred on a number of

12 occasion, the Ohrid Framework Agreement.

13 Is that correct that the democratically-elected parties of

14 Macedonia, whether representing the interests of ethnic Albanians, ethnic

15 Macedonians, or both, refused to negotiate that agreement with you and

16 actually considered the agreement a way to isolate you? Are you aware of

17 that fact?

18 A. It is true that the side representing the political parties and

19 the Macedonian government aimed at isolating the NLA and preventing it

20 from participating in the talks on the preparation of the Ohrid Agreement.

21 But as we said earlier, there was a previous agreement signed

22 between the political leader of the NLA and the political -- Albanian

23 political parties, the agreement that foresaw all the demands of the NLA,

24 because the political parties were of the same mind, that these demands

25 represented the wishes and demands of the entire Albanian population.

Page 7682

1 After this agreement, there was a number of agreement that started

2 to be made, describing the political leaders as bad persons for having

3 negotiated and signed agreement with the NLA, but this did not prevent

4 them from continuing their work and to prepare the agreement. I can say

5 that they were in contact -- contacts -- in continuous contact with the

6 political leaders of the NLA.

7 The NLA did not insist that it participate in negotiations, by all

8 means, because for that, for the NLA it was important that negotiations

9 start and that they come to the phase of signing a political agreement,

10 including the demands of the NLA, put an end to the war and realise the

11 objective of the Albanian people in the Republic of Macedonia in 2001.

12 For this reason, it is very normal that part that in the body that

13 worked for preparing and coming to this political agreement, Ohrid

14 Agreement, where the political parties forming the broad coalition

15 government, along with political leaders who constantly consulted Ali

16 Ahmeti, the political representative of the NLA.

17 Q. But, in fact, Mr. Ostreni, far from being a document that reflects

18 your interests and the interests of your organisation, the instrument, the

19 Ohrid Framework Agreement that was adopted by the competent and

20 democratically elected party, was a direct and specific rejection of your

21 actions and the very existence of your group. Is that correct?

22 A. It is not correct. It was a wartime. The situation was tense.

23 All feared and an interethnic war. For the sake of -- for the sake of the

24 vanity of someone to take part in that, it was not proper that we insist

25 on being member in the round table where this issue would be discussed,

Page 7683

1 because by so doing we would continue the situation of chaos and

2 uncertainty.

3 Therefore, for us, it was sufficient to have the Prizren agreement

4 and what we had done so far, in order for the objectives of the NLA to be

5 realised. This is how we saw it, and this is how we worked.

6 Q. Well, let me show you two documents, Mr. Ostreni.

7 MR. METTRAUX: The first one is Rule 65 ter 1D705. It's

8 1D00-6237.

9 Q. Mr. Ostreni, this is a -- the record of a meeting at the general

10 assembly of the United Nations on the 12th of November of 2001, and

11 there's a number of people and representatives of their states that made a

12 statement before the General Assembly.

13 The one I would like to show is the one by the Foreign Minister of

14 the Republic of Macedonia on that occasion.

15 MR. METTRAUX: That would be further down on that page, please.

16 Q. First, there is a summary, and I will go back, afterwards, to the

17 more specific statement.

18 The Foreign Minister said this, and it says: "The Foreign

19 Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia said that eight

20 months ago, her country had been exposed to violent terrorist attacks

21 under the cloak of a struggle for minority and human rights by the

22 so-called National Liberation Army, which sought to realise one aim: The

23 division of Macedonia and the changing of the region's borders."

24 MR. METTRAUX: And then if we turn to page 1D00-6245. The actual

25 record would be at the bottom of the page, please. Thank you.

Page 7684

1 Q. The actual record of what the Minister of Foreign Affairs said,

2 Ms. Ilinka Mitreva, is being given. We can see at the bottom of the page

3 the start of her statement.

4 MR. METTRAUX: And if we can turn to the next page, please. Thank

5 you.

6 Q. There's a paragraph starting with the word: "For the past ten

7 years."

8 This is what she told the General Assembly: "For the past ten

9 years, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, a factor for stability

10 in the Balkans, has developed a democratic society. Our interethnic

11 relations were held up as an example and applauded by the region.

12 "Then, eight months ago, Macedonia was exposed to violent

13 terrorist attacks threatening to undermine all our achievements. Under

14 the cloak of the struggle for minority and human rights, the so-called

15 National Liberation Army, whose structure, command, control, and logistics

16 of Kosovo provenance, set out to realise one aim: The division of

17 Macedonia and the changing of the region's borders."

18 And then in the next paragraph, she says this: "Our response to

19 these attacks was military, political, and diplomatic. The framework

20 agreement of the 13 August of this year, signed by the leaders of the four

21 main political parties, is as a result of our strong commitment to finding

22 a political solution to the crisis as the best way to defend our country

23 and undermine the goals of the terrorists.

24 "But let me reiterate that we will also defend our country by

25 other means, if necessary. The cost of terrorism for Macedonia has been

Page 7685

1 high, loss of lives, destroyed homes, thousands of refugees, and

2 internally displaced persons."

3 Do you agree, Mr. Ostreni, that what the represent of the then

4 multi-ethnic government of Republic of Macedonia was saying, still in

5 November 2001, is that the Ohrid Framework Agreement had been aimed at

6 undermining the goals of your organisation and not as a way to give

7 reality to them? Do you agree with that?

8 A. I cannot agree with that, because, first, six years have passed in

9 that time, and the agreement is still being implemented, also because

10 Macedonia was not partitioned, and also because has Macedonia been a

11 democratic country, the war wouldn't have taken place.

12 Not only we as NLA, but all the world, believes that things can be

13 resolved in a democratic way. If a state were about 33 per cent, if we

14 included the Roma and other non-Albanian and non-Macedonian citizens, so

15 if a state leaves out 33 per cent of its population from the constitution

16 and does not describe this percentage as a constituent element of the

17 constitution, if it deprives the large part of that percentage from the

18 right to education, doesn't have its language an official language, bans

19 the use of its national symbols, and incriminates them, as the case was in

20 Gostivar, for raising the Albanian flag, then the lady here doesn't speak

21 really about the real situation in Macedonia.

22 This lady is still in coalition with the Democratic Union for

23 Integration. The party that followed the NLA saw so that this very lady

24 is in coalition with this other party that I mentioned.

25 Q. Do you agree, Mr. Ostreni, that this was not just the view of the

Page 7686

1 Macedonian government at that time; but contrary to what you claim, the

2 Ohrid Framework Agreement was not agreement to put an end to what you

3 would wish to believe was an armed conflict but was, in fact, a way to

4 avert one? Do you agree with that?

5 A. No, I do not agree with that. This was something used to put an

6 end to the war and to build a democratic Macedonia. The reason for -- the

7 Ohrid Agreement resulted in the amendment of the constitution, which

8 stipulates some freedoms and rights for the Albanian population, but this

9 does not apply only to the Albanian population but to the other minorities

10 living in the Republic of Macedonia, like the Roma, the Turks, and others

11 who make up all the together about 33 per cent of the overall population

12 of Macedonia.

13 That was a good solution that had it been implemented, a

14 democratic state will be built and no internal strifes and clashes will

15 ensue.

16 MR. METTRAUX: I see the time, Your Honour.

17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.

18 We adjourn and we continue tomorrow at 9.00 a.m.

19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,

20 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 13th day of

21 November, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.