1 Thursday, 2 April 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
6 Ms. D'Ascoli -- oh, I do beg your pardon. We have Ms. Gopalan.
7 MS. GOPALAN: Good morning, Your Honours. The next witness is
8 Dr. Shukri Gerxhaliu.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
10 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Your Honours.
11 JUDGE PARKER: It's a pleasure to see you, Mr. Djordjevic.
12 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Me too, to see Your Honours.
13 [Interpretation] We said that whenever there are some
14 administrative issues to be raised that we would do so before this
15 Trial Chamber. We're dealing with the same old problem. I don't think
16 that it cannot be solved, but as time goes by it seems that it is more
17 and more difficult to solve it. It's a technical issue regarding the use
18 of the computer by the accused, using an external hard disk in the
19 UN Detention Unit. We first received assurances that this would be
20 resolved, but it has not yet been solved. That is why my colleague,
21 Mr. Djurdjic, and myself have problems preparing for our defence because
22 of the huge amount of documents that we have to supply to our client on
23 DVDs and CDs, and he cannot -- he cannot find his way around this mass of
24 material using various search engines. He has asked for a number of
25 facilities, but the only way to solve it is for him to be allowed to use
1 an external hard drive, and several accused in the Detention Unit have
2 been using it for a long time, and I can't see why his case is different.
3 I beg you, Your Honours, to give this problem due attention and
4 to take it seriously because we don't have much time.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Can you tell me the accused who are using an
6 external hard drive?
7 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, as far as I can
8 recall, the first external hard drive - and this is to the knowledge of
9 my client - was received by General Perisic, but you have to take that
10 with a pinch of salt. This is what I heard from the client. And several
11 other people have also been using external hard drives. I don't know
12 what the problem is. I've talked to experts in the field and they told
13 me it's a very easy thing to solve.
14 JUDGE PARKER: I would be surprised to learn that external hard
15 drives are available in the Detention Unit because of major security
16 problems in the past from that use, and I think that is the fundamental
17 problem that is in the way of your client's issues. So I have - when
18 this was raised many weeks ago - received a detailed report about the
19 matter and changes were then made to help your client, but they did not
20 go as far as an external hard drive. And the problem there is security.
21 The matter will be raised again, and I will learn whether there
22 is a difference, and I will also inquire whether other accused are having
23 this facility. But if they are, that doesn't automatically mean that
24 your client will because it may be that there are continuing
25 difficulties. The matter will be looked at. We will do our best to
1 ensure that, consistent with security, every facility is available to
2 your client.
3 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, since we're on administrative matters,
5 may I just mention quickly in court that a witness scheduled for next
6 week, K89, has reported to us through the Victims and Witnesses Unit that
7 he has -- without going into his personal details, he has had issues with
8 a member of his family and can't come as scheduled. So he will have to
9 be pulled out of the list for next week. I will, of course, send a
10 written notification to the Chamber and the parties, but I thought I
11 should announce it at the very earliest opportunity. Thank you very
12 much, Your Honours.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you for that, Mr. Stamp. We would assume
14 then that a later witness will be brought forward if there is --
15 MR. STAMP: Yes, Your Honour, we'll make efforts to do that.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
18 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Mr. Djordjevic is kindly
19 asked to switch off his microphone. Thank you.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you for that.
21 Mr. Djordjevic, it's been noted that your microphone is still
22 switched on.
23 [The witness entered court]
24 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, sir.
25 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please read aloud the affirmation on the
2 card that is shown to you now.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
4 I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the whole truth,
5 and nothing but the truth.
6 WITNESS: SHUKRI GERXHALIU
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Please sit down.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Gopalan has some questions for you.
11 Ms. Gopalan.
12 Examination by Ms. Gopalan:
13 Q. Good morning, Dr. Gerxhaliu. Could you please state your full
14 name --
15 A. Good morning.
16 Q. Could you please state your full name.
17 A. My name is Shukri Gerxhaliu.
18 Q. What is your age, Dr. Gerxhaliu?
19 A. 55, about to be 56. I was born in 1953.
20 Q. Thank you. And where were you born, Dr. Gerxhaliu?
21 A. I was born in Studime e Poshteme, in the vicinity of Vushtrri.
22 Q. Thank you. And where do you live now, Dr. Gerxhaliu?
23 A. I still live in my village.
24 Q. Dr. Gerxhaliu, in February 2000 did you provide a statement to
25 the Office of the Prosecutor at the ICTY?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Have you had the chance to review the statement recently?
3 A. Yes, I have.
4 Q. I believe you made a number of corrections to this statement when
5 this was reviewed recently. I will read out to you a number of
6 corrections, and if you could please confirm that they are indeed
7 correct. For your assistance, I will hand you out a copy of your
8 statement that I have here.
9 MS. GOPALAN: May I have the usher's assistance, please.
10 [Prosecution counsel confer]
11 MS. GOPALAN: And the 65 ter number for the statement is 2275,
12 but I proceed to -- I intend to proceed through the statement fairly
13 quickly, to just read out the corrections and obtain the witness's
15 Q. Witness, in paragraph 24 of your statement you said:
16 "From where we were hiding, I saw about ten vehicles coming up
17 the road from Studime e Poshteme ..."
18 Your correction read, that this sentence should read:
19 "From where we were hiding, I saw about ten vehicles coming up
20 from the road from Studime e Poshteme towards Studime e Eperme."
21 The seventh sentence of paragraph 24 reads:
22 "We have no fuel and it is clear up here."
23 This sentence should read:
24 "We have no fuel and it is clear up here. We have mopped up the
25 terrain ..."
1 Is this correction correct, Mr. Gerxhaliu?
2 A. Yes, these corrections are correct. This is how it was, because
3 the convoy came from the direction --
4 Q. Mr. Gerxhaliu, I will just stop you there. We will go into your
5 evidence in a moment. I would like to now move on to the next paragraph,
6 where you made another correction. This is paragraph 25. And the first
7 sentence reads:
8 "When the Serb soldiers had gone, Halil and I walked up towards
9 Studime e Eperme."
10 This sentence should read:
11 "When the Serb policemen and soldiers had gone, Halil and I
12 walked up towards Studime e Eperme."
13 Is that correct?
14 A. Yes, this is correct, because once they left we saw that there
15 was nobody near so we went into hiding.
16 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu. Having made these changes to your
17 statement, are you satisfied that your statement is true and accurate to
18 the best of your knowledge and belief?
19 A. Yes.
20 MS. GOPALAN: Your Honours, I seek to tender the statement into
21 evidence, please.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, thank you. It will be received.
23 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00512, Your Honours.
24 MS. GOPALAN:
25 Q. Dr. Gerxhaliu, did you testify in the case of Milutinovic et al.
1 in August 2006?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Have you recently had the opportunity to review your testimony in
4 that case?
5 A. Yes, I reviewed.
6 Q. Thank you. Dr. Gerxhaliu, you made some changes to your
7 testimony. I will read them out for you. At page 2507, line 14, of your
8 testimony in Milutinovic, you said that the date was incorrectly noted,
9 that the correct date should be the 2nd of May instead of the
10 2nd of April. Is that correct?
11 A. Yes, that's correct.
12 Q. And at page 2520, line 3 of the Milutinovic testimony that you
13 gave, you said that the number of Albanian girls killed was incorrectly
14 noted and that the number should be eight Albanian girls. Is that
16 A. Yes, that's correct, not nine but eight. That was the correct
18 Q. Thank you. And at page 2521, line 9, of the transcript in
19 Milutinovic, you said that the three persons mentioned as my uncle and
20 his sons was incorrectly noted, and that this should be my uncle Xhemajl;
21 his cousin Selatin; and his son Shaban. Is that correct?
22 A. Yes, that's correct. My uncle was called Xhemajl, and his son
23 Selatin, and his son Shaban.
24 Q. Thank you. Dr. Gerxhaliu, having made these corrections to your
25 testimony, if you were asked the same questions today, would you provide
1 the same answers?
2 A. Yes, certainly.
3 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu.
4 MS. GOPALAN: Your Honours, I'd like to tender the witness's
5 transcript in the Milutinovic case, which is 65 ter 5130, into evidence,
7 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
8 THE REGISTRAR: That will be P00513, Your Honours.
9 MS. GOPALAN: I'd now like to read out the witness's in-court
11 The witness is a Kosovo Albanian doctor. He describes events
12 leading up to the convoy killings on the Studime Gorge road on
13 2 May 1999
14 the Rashice area outside the village of Studime
15 municipality. Villagers fled to the hills to escape. Serb forces burned
16 houses in Studime e Poshteme to prevent villagers from returning. On or
17 about 2 May 1999, Serb forces broke through the KLA lines in the northern
18 areas of Meljenica and Llap and advanced south in the direction of the
19 village of Studime
20 The witness estimates that approximately 40.000 refugees formed a
21 convoy and headed down the Studime Gorge road in the direction of Vucitrn
22 town. Serb forces advanced from the north and shelled the convoy. Serb
23 forces also fired from positions in Rashice and Saracak south of the
24 convoy. Some of these refugees in the convoy were killed by the forces,
25 others beaten, and valuables extorted from them. The witness hid and
1 survived the massacre and states that the police units were involved in
2 this operation.
3 That's the end of the in-court summary.
4 Q. Dr. Gerxhaliu, I'd now like to ask you some questions about your
5 statement. In paragraph 5 of your statement --
6 MS. GOPALAN: I'm going to have to stop for a moment. I don't
7 seem to be receiving translation in -- my B/C/S translation does not seem
8 to be coming through. I will continue.
9 Q. Dr. Gerxhaliu, in paragraph 5 of your statement, you speak about
10 the patients whom you treated. Could you tell us, please, who your
11 patients were around about October 1998.
12 A. During October 1998 in the health clinic of Vushtrri, I used to
13 treat all the patients that came there. When I returned in the evening
14 or whenever I had time after work, I used to go to the area controlled
15 under the KLA and treated all the patients irrespective of whether they
16 were KLA members or civilians. I administered help to everyone who
17 needed it --
18 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu. Now, in paragraph 6 of your statement
19 you say that approximately 80 per cent of the Vucitrn municipality was
20 under KLA control.
21 MS. GOPALAN: With the usher's assistance I would like to place
22 0038 on the ELMO. I think it may be easier for the witness to mark the
23 map if it were placed on the ELMO.
24 Q. You also say in your statement at paragraph 6 that the Serbs were
25 stationed at a strategic position in the area of Rashice.
1 [Prosecution counsel confer]
2 MS. GOPALAN:
3 Q. Just a moment, Dr. Gerxhaliu. I'm sorry that there's a slight
5 MS. GOPALAN: If we could zoom in on the area of Vucitrn, and I
6 believe the map needs to be turned. Thank you very much.
7 Q. Dr. Gerxhaliu, I have a few questions to ask you about the map.
8 Could you please mark for us the areas that were under KLA control that
9 you refer to in your statement. A line would do, please.
10 A. I want to say that Rashice is a neighbourhood in
11 Studime e Poshteme. It's situated on a rather higher terrain compared to
12 the others. This is Studime e Poshteme, this is Rashice neighbourhood.
13 Q. And if you could draw for us the line that shows the area of KLA
14 control in that area around Rashice.
15 A. This is Studime e Eperme, this is Studime e Poshteme. It's
16 somewhere here where the division line was. Goes to Saracak e Eperm,
17 then Samadrexhe. The line should be here, in fact.
18 Q. Okay --
19 A. Because Samadrexhe was the check-point of the Serb forces --
20 Q. Dr. Gerxhaliu, let me stop you there, please. So just to
21 clarify, the line that you're referring to is the line towards the top of
22 the page. Could you then cancel off the lines that are not correct.
23 Yes, just cancel it off. You can just -- are you able to cancel off the
24 line, please. Thank you. So based on what you have cancelled, we see
25 one long line running across the page going to Samadrexha. If I could
1 stop you from drawing any more, I have a few more questions before we
2 move on, Dr. Gerxhaliu. Now, this line that you have drawn on this page,
3 where was the area of KLA control, was it above the line or below the
5 A. Above was the area controlled by the KLA, whereas this area under
6 this line was under the control of the Serb forces.
7 Q. Thank you. And could you please mark that line with an A. If
8 you could just place a letter A above the line you have just drawn.
9 A. Here?
10 Q. Yes, please.
11 A. [Marks]
12 Q. Thank you. Now, was there an area of KLA control below the
13 railway tracks that you see on this map?
14 MS. GOPALAN: Perhaps we could move the map up just a little bit,
15 Mr. Usher. Thank you.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, this is the railway line.
17 MS. GOPALAN:
18 Q. Okay. And -- sorry --
19 A. This is the railway line --
20 Q. Thank you. That's fine --
21 A. This area here.
22 Q. And could you now draw a line to show the area of KLA control
23 below the railway line, as you say.
24 A. This is where they were, approximately this must have been the
1 Q. Thank you. And could you place the letter B beside this line.
2 A. [Marks]
3 Q. And to clarify, Dr. Gerxhaliu, was the area of KLA control below
4 this line that you marked B or above this line?
5 A. It was here from Cicavica and all these villages were under the
6 control of the KLA. This part, the railway and all these parts were
7 controlled by the Serb forces.
8 Q. Just to clarify again, Dr. Gerxhaliu, are you saying that the
9 area below the line marked B was controlled by the KLA? And by "below,"
10 I mean to the right.
11 A. Yes --
12 Q. Okay --
13 A. -- from this line, all this area below was under the control of
14 the KLA.
15 Q. And what about the area between the two lines that you have
16 marked, so the area between lines A and B, who controlled that area?
17 A. This zone was controlled by the Serb forces or the
18 former Yugoslav forces.
19 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu.
20 MS. GOPALAN: We will move away from the map for a moment. I
21 will leave it on the ELMO because the witness will be marking it further
23 Q. Dr. Gerxhaliu, if I could take you back to your statement,
24 please. You say that round about 28th and 29th of March, the Serbs
25 launched an offensive from Rashice, and I believe you have marked Rashice
1 on the map with an R. You say many of the local people left the hills to
2 escape the shooting and shelling and the Serbs then burned the houses in
3 Studime e Poshteme to prevent people from returning.
4 Dr. Gerxhaliu, how do you know that these Serbs burned the houses
5 in Studime e Poshteme?
6 A. The day I was still in the town, in the clinic, and we received
7 information that an offensive had been launched. We left work earlier
8 than usual. When I went in the direction of my home, my family members
9 had abandoned the house because villages Begaj and the upper
10 neighbourhood of Rashice were the target of a Serb-launched offensive.
11 The combined Serb forces had entered the place and ordered the villagers
12 to flee, had plundered it of its valuable assets, and had set fire to
13 most of the houses, with the exception of one or two --
14 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu --
15 A. -- and I saw them with my own eyes.
16 Q. -- and could I ask you where -- in which village did you live in
17 Vucitrn municipality?
18 A. I lived in Studime e Poshteme, where I live today. We called the
19 neighbourhood the Gerxhaliu neighbourhood in Studime e Poshteme where I
21 Q. Thank you. I'd now like to take you to the events on the
22 2nd of May, 1999, and this is at paragraph 11 of your statement. In this
23 paragraph you say that you were ordered to leave the area because the
24 Serbs had broken the front line in Llap and Meljenica and that you
25 decided to leave Vucitrn. You set out the planned route that your family
1 took. This again is in paragraph 11, and that a convoy was formed. What
2 I would like you to do now, Dr. Gerxhaliu, is turn back to the map you
3 just marked and show us the direction that the convoy took on the
4 2nd of May.
5 A. On the 2nd of May, we were at Sllakovc. There was one of KLA's
6 field hospitals here, bigger compared to other field hospitals. In the
7 area of Shala --
8 Q. Dr. Gerxhaliu, I apologise, but I will have to stop you. If you
9 could just mark for us the direction that the convoy headed in from
10 Sllakovc that you've just circled.
11 A. From Sllakovc, it headed in the direction of Ceceli, here is
12 Ceceli. From Ceceli we went to Studime e Eperme, here is it, and from
13 there we headed towards Studime e Poshteme. Somewhere here the convoy
15 Q. Thank you very much. If you could perhaps circle the whole route
16 that you have just drawn for us, if you could circle the whole route and
17 I would like you to place the letter C beside that big circle that you
18 are going to draw around that whole route that you have just drawn for
19 us. Yes, just the route that you have drawn for us now, a circle around
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. That's great. And a C beside it.
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. Thank you very much. Now, in paragraph 12 of your statement, if
25 we could turn back to the statement, you say that you set off around 1.00
2 and were shelling in your direction, which was pushing your group south.
3 Could you tell us, Why is it that you stopped at Studime e Eperme at
4 around 3.00 p.m.
5 A. We stopped there because not only from the back where the Serb
6 forces were, but also the forces positioned at the Rashice hill were
7 shelling in the direction of the convoy. There was shooting, there was
8 shelling, so the convoy could not proceed. There was a hill nearby, and
9 you could see very well the terrain from there.
10 Q. Dr. Gerxhaliu, you mentioned that there was shelling from the
11 Rashice hill. Could you place the letter D beside this hill that you
12 referred to, or has that already been marked?
13 A. [No interpretation]
14 Q. No, just the letter D to show the area that the shelling was
15 heading from.
16 A. [Marks]
17 Q. Thank you. And where had the convoy stopped?
18 A. The convoy stopped here near this hill --
19 Q. Can you place --
20 A. -- and they could not see us behind this hill.
21 Q. Thank you. And can you place a letter E just by the hill where
22 the convoy stopped.
23 A. [Marks]
24 Q. Thank you. Now, you also mentioned that there was shelling from
25 the north. Are you able to mark the direction from which you heard or
1 saw the shelling from the north? Is that visible on the map?
2 MS. GOPALAN: Perhaps the map could be moved down a little.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Serb forces had taken up
4 positions in Llap, Podujeve municipality, and Meljenica; and they had
5 also set up positions in a location behind us. They were shooting in the
6 direction of Sllakovc. I was amongst the last tractors of the convoy and
7 there were shrapnels flying all around that place above our heads.
8 MS. GOPALAN:
9 Q. Thank you. Dr. Gerxhaliu, you've just drawn an arrow. Does that
10 arrow show --
11 A. They came from this direction. The arrow shows the direction
12 they came from, from Llap, Podujeve municipality, and from this other
13 place. And they were shooting from these two directions in the direction
14 of Sllakovc.
15 Q. Thank you. Could you just place the alphabet E beside the arrow
16 that you've just drawn.
17 A. I think letter E was placed here.
18 Q. You are right.
19 A. Shall I mark this with E as well?
20 Q. No, please place an F. My apologies.
21 A. [Marks]
22 Q. I'd now like to take you back to your statement, please. You
23 describe, from paragraph 15 onwards, events that you experienced at the
24 convoy. Now you say at paragraph 15 that around 5.00 p.m. a large number
25 of Serb military and paramilitary approached the convoy from the north.
1 Could you tell us what members of these -- of this group did to those in
2 the convoy.
3 A. I was somewhere in the middle of the convoy. They -- I was here
4 at the location marked with E, somewhere in the middle of the convoy.
5 They came from behind. There were combined forces, police, military,
6 paramilitary. They were well coordinated and had all their units there.
7 They approached the tractor three or four times. In the beginning they
8 would ask for Deutschemarks, then when people would run out of money they
9 would start to beat them brutally and ultimately kill them. So group
10 after group they repeated the same pattern.
11 Q. Dr. Gerxhaliu, what happened to your brother-in-law,
12 Halil Basholli?
13 A. Halil Basholli is my wife's brother. He was driving the tractor.
14 They made him get off the tractor, beat him until there was no money left
15 on him. He was brutally beaten. Then when we realised that the other
16 group would come and do the same thing, because the police was a little
17 bit further, the military too, so we decided to get off the tractor and
18 go into hiding. We went to take shelter in the stream.
19 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu. By "we," who do you mean? Who did you
20 take shelter with in the stream?
21 A. Myself, Halil, and two or three other persons. I don't know who
22 they were; but Halil and myself, we took shelter in the stream.
23 Q. Thank you. And in paragraph 21 you speak about leaving the
24 trailer and heading towards the stream and that when you jumped off from
25 the trailer you landed on top of a dead body. You looked down and you
1 saw it was your cousin Haki Gerxhaliu. Dr. Gerxhaliu, could you tell us
2 how Haki Gerxhaliu had been killed?
3 A. Yes, he was dead. At that time when I jumped off the trailer of
4 the tractor, I jumped on his body because his tractor was behind my
5 tractor. There were other bodies, corpses, there, but I recognised his
6 and then I just continued to the left side in the direction of the
8 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu. And before you headed off to the
9 stream, did you see anyone else at the convoy being killed?
10 A. You could hear shooting on all sides. My tractor was
11 semi-covered and in a way you could see only the part behind the tractor,
12 the northern part. Two or three tractors further, someone approached an
13 elderly couple. The man said to him in Serbo-Croatian, Please don't kill
14 my son. He got married today. And they replied, Then we will celebrate
15 together. And in front of their eyes, they executed him. So I still
16 have in my memory these words in B/C/S, Please don't kill my son. He got
17 married today. And then they told him, We will celebrate now, and they
18 executed him. Nexhip and his son was executed together with two or three
19 other persons.
20 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu. I'd now like to take you to
21 paragraph 24 of your statement which speaks about events later in the day
22 when the survivors of the convoy moved on. You say that you saw a number
23 of vehicles heading up the road from Studime e Poshteme. Could you
24 describe those vehicles for us, please.
25 A. There was a mixture of vehicles. Halil and I, as we were hiding
1 in bushes, trying to hide for them not to see us, we heard them talking
2 between themselves. It was a clear night. I recognised them. First it
3 was a Stojadin make, a police car, whereas the other vehicles were APCs.
4 So they said something to the effect of mopping up the terrain. I heard
5 one of the officers reporting, saying, Army, we did mop up the terrain.
6 We've ran out of fuel and we have to go back, and this is what they did.
7 They turned their vehicles and went towards the direction they initially
8 came from.
9 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu. And after these individuals left, you
10 say at paragraph 25 that you and Halil walked up towards
11 Studime e Eperme. When you arrived there, what did you see?
12 A. Studime e Eperme was burning. Smoke was coming out. We could
13 hardly breathe. The whole village was in flames. One could hear the cry
14 of the cattle that were burning alive, horses and other animals. It was
15 a terrible site, to see the whole village in flames. We went through
16 this smoke in an area further up.
17 Q. Thank you. And apart from the animals that were being burned --
18 that were burning and the village being in flames, at paragraph 25 you
19 refer to a number of victims that were mainly men and that there were
20 also five or six women as well. Can you describe the condition these
21 victims were in when you arrived at the village?
22 A. This happened after we rested a while because we were worn out
23 from that long night. On the next day, on the 3rd of May, we returned,
24 went back, to see what had happened, whether someone was still alive.
25 When we went there, I saw on the way -- along the way I saw a lot
1 of corpses, men, women, children, and others. The KLA had taken its
2 positions, and in the morning the KLA had come to collect the corpses and
3 was prepared to bury them. When I went near to the burial place, because
4 they needed any help they could get, there was someone from the military
5 police of the KLA, which was a special unit of the KLA, in uniforms and
6 in their duties. This person gave me a list of the victims. It was an
7 approximate list, and he asked me whether I knew the victims. And in the
8 list I saw also my name written. He said that's me -- he said yeah, You
9 are the doctor, and he crossed out my name from the list and he was happy
10 that I was still alive. Then they told me to go back to Sllakovc, to the
11 hospital which was not completely burned, to continue my work and this is
12 what I did.
13 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu. I'll now take you to paragraph 35 of
14 your statement where you speak about going to Montenegro in early June.
15 You describe passing through a number of check-points and you refer to
16 the check-point in Zvecane as the most problematic check-points. Can you
17 tell us what happened to the identification cards of those travelling
18 with you at this check-point?
19 A. At that check-point, it was very hard for us to cross through it,
20 even though the bus had Serbian licence plates. They didn't have any
21 doubts about that, but when we went there they came into the bus to check
22 us. They told me, You have to pass the paraffin test to see whether I
23 had been carrying any weapons before --
24 Q. Dr. Gerxhaliu, if I could just take you back to my question:
25 What was it that happened to the identification cards at these
2 A. Yes, those documents that were issued in Albanian language by the
3 Ministry of Interior of Kosova then, they tore them up and threw them
5 Q. Thank you very much, Dr. Gerxhaliu. At this stage, I have no
6 further questions for you.
7 MS. GOPALAN: But I would like to tender the map that is on the
8 ELMO into evidence, please, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, the marked version of 65 ter 00038
11 would be assigned P00514.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
13 The Chamber has received the statement and the transcript of the
14 earlier evidence of the doctor.
15 Now, Mr. Djordjevic, do you have some cross-examination?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can I, Your Honour, say a word?
17 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Doctor.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wanted to say that when I came
19 here to testify in the Milosevic and Milutinovic case, in the context of
20 this statement was the event of 31st of May where the family of my cousin
21 Selatin and my uncle Xhemajl were killed. And I wish that this part of
22 my evidence be incorporated in my statement because now I was not asked
23 about that. So I would kindly ask you to include that part of my
24 evidence into my testimony because it was a very bitter event indeed.
25 JUDGE PARKER: You may be a little confused by the procedure we
1 are following, but the whole of your statement and the whole of your
2 evidence in the last trial is now before us. It's been tendered early in
3 your evidence today, and that includes in detail all that you've said
4 about that particular incident, which no doubt is very, very firmly in
5 your mind of the deaths of so many of your family. We have that, we have
6 read it, and we are familiar with it. Because we must hear over 120
7 witnesses, we are therefore receiving these statements and then just
8 supplementing them with some particular observations. Don't think that
9 we haven't your full story before us; we have.
10 So your request has already been met by what Ms. Gopalan has
12 Mr. Djordjevic will now --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djordjevic has some questions for you.
15 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will
16 just need a couple of minutes to get ready.
17 Cross-examination by Mr. Djordjevic:
18 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, sir.
19 A. Good morning.
20 Q. I will be asking you some questions as the Defence counsel of the
21 accused, Djordjevic, in this case in order to get at the truth and to
22 learn everything that you have to tell us. In your statement of the
23 17th of February, 2000 - and you've told us today that you went through
24 it - at page 2, paragraph 2, you note that on the 26th of March, 1999
25 armed Serb paramilitary came to the hospital in Vucitrn where you worked
1 and then the director, also an ethnic Serb, fired you and other Albanian
2 colleagues. Can you tell us, first of all, did you yourself see this
3 Serb paramilitary when he came into the hospital building with your own
4 eyes? That's my first question.
5 A. I want to comment on that a little bit. Yes, I saw him with my
6 own eyes, and that in the cellar of the hospital there was -- there were
7 arms, weapons. It was used as a depot. And there -- on top of the
8 building, there was a 24-hour guard to survey the terrain.
9 That particular day, on the 26th of March, he came there armed
10 and was standing in the corridor. The director, Ranko Milenkovic, said
11 to us to go home. I said, Why should I go home or we go home, what have
12 we done? He said there was an order from above, and he used the Serbian
14 Q. Apart from this oral order from your director, Mr. Milenkovic,
15 were any other explanations given and was there any written document
16 indicating that your employment was terminated? So I'm asking you
17 whether then, or at any point afterwards, you received a decision
18 terminating your employment in that institution?
19 A. No, we didn't receive any documents, any letters, only that oral
20 order, the explanation that there was an order from above to that effect.
21 Q. At what time of day did this armed paramilitary person come to
22 the hospital?
23 A. It was about 10.00 I think. I remember very well that moment.
24 There was an older lady, Serbian lady, waiting at the door for me to
25 visit her.
1 Q. We'll get to that, Doctor, so we'll talk about that later. So at
2 around 10.00.
3 Could you tell me, were you close to him and were you able to see
4 him speak to the director, and did he speak only to the director or
5 perhaps also to you or perhaps some other of your colleagues of Albanian
6 ethnic background?
7 A. That paramilitary stood there in a threatening manner. He didn't
8 utter a word, he simply stood there in the corridor, whoever that
9 paramilitary was. And there were many other paramilitaries, police, army
10 forces from there to the commune. And so there was this guard on top of
11 the building and this depot in the cellar full of weapons. They were
12 brought there earlier. So this person simply stood there on the left
13 side of the corridor leaning against the wall, armed. So when the
14 director said to us, Mr. Milenkovic, that we should leave, of course
15 there was nothing else for us to do. I was the last to leave the
17 Q. Doctor, could you please explain to me, how did you divine that
18 this order from high up came through this armed person? Could it not
19 have been the case that your director received this order by some other
20 means? That's why I asked you whether he spoke to you or any of your
22 A. I cannot assume anything. I simply quote what the director said
23 to me, Mr. Milenkovic. He said, You should leave. We have received
24 orders from above, "odozgo" he said. So after I checked this old woman,
25 I took the stethoscope and we left the hospital together with this
1 elderly woman.
2 Q. Well, the gist of my question is this: Why did you make this
3 conclusion? How did you establish this link between the order from your
4 director, the oral termination of your employment, with the arrival of
5 this person? So can I conclude, then, that you did not see this person
6 speak to your director?
7 A. I don't think there is any room for discussion there, whether the
8 paramilitary talked with the director or not; this I don't know. I only
9 know that he was there, and he was armed; and when the director said to
10 me to leave, I had to obey his words even though I didn't know what he
11 knew. I -- if I failed to obey him, I might have suffered.
12 Q. Thank you. My next question: You say that even before that when
13 this person arrived and while this person was there, the military was
14 present in the hospital, various paramilitaries, the police, it was
15 always as a matter of course. Doctor, how were you able to conclude,
16 then, that this armed person was a paramilitary?
17 MS. GOPALAN: Your Honours.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Gopalan.
19 Just a moment, please, Doctor.
20 MS. GOPALAN: I would just like a reference for the Defence
21 counsel's last question where he says:
22 "You say even before when this person arrived and while this
23 person was there the military was present in the hospital, various
24 paramilitaries, the police, it was all as a matter of course."
25 If I could have a reference --
1 JUDGE PARKER: Where are you gathering that from, Mr. Djordjevic,
2 is the question?
3 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, a little while
4 before I asked this question the witness said that there were quite a few
5 soldiers there, and my question followed one of the answers. You can see
6 it in the transcript, the LiveNote transcript. He said that there was a
7 guard post in the hospital, that there was an ammunition depot in the
8 basement that was guarded, and that they were soldiers and paramilitaries
9 all around the place. And my question followed after his evidence.
10 JUDGE PARKER: I don't have a recollection of most of that having
11 been said, Mr. Djordjevic. I'm sorry, I may have missed it, but --
12 certainly there were arms in the basement and a lookout on the roof, but
13 beyond that I don't think the rest of this was said. Perhaps you
14 might -- if you want to clarify with the witness whether that was the
16 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Very well, lest we should waste
17 our time let me phrase the question in this way:
18 Q. Were there any troops, military troops, around the health care
19 centre, and was there an observation post on the roof of the hospital,
20 were there ammunition and weapons depots in the basement guarded by
21 various troops?
22 A. In the vicinity of the hospital, there was the police academy of
23 the Ministry of Interior of Serbia
24 close by such forces. But, as I said earlier, there was a guard on top
25 for a month or so and there were arms in the basement, but we didn't dare
1 go closer to those places. The Serbs told us, Don't you dare go up to
2 the roof and don't you dare go down to the cellar, to the basement. So
3 we knew that, that there was a lookout 24 hours on top.
4 Q. And did you see what kind of troops, police, and paramilitaries
5 there were, what exactly did you see, Doctor?
6 A. Where? Do you mean there, in the corridor, where the
7 paramilitary was?
8 Q. No, Doctor. You were telling us about places that were out of
9 bounds for you, where the Serbs told you not to go, like for instance the
10 basement. So I'm asking you: Who was on the roof? Do you know that?
11 Who stood guard in the basement? Did you see only those people from the
12 police academy or did you also see members of some other units around the
13 hospital, military police, or something else? That's what I want to
14 clear up.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Gopalan.
16 MS. GOPALAN: I'm sorry, I'm sorry to interrupt again,
17 Your Honours, but there are a number of questions put by the Defence in
18 his last series of questions. I've counted three here at least, and I
19 wonder whether we could clarify for the witness which questions he should
20 be answering.
21 JUDGE PARKER: I think we would move more quickly,
22 Mr. Djordjevic, if you asked one question at a time. It would make it
23 easier for the witness then to respond to that one question. Thank you.
24 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, Your Honour, the
25 reason why I asked this question was to expedite matters. Perhaps the
1 Prosecution believes that the best course of action would be for me not
2 to ask any questions, but that's not possible. And that's why I asked
3 the witness whether he saw anybody else apart from the police. That's
4 what I asked. We're now wasting time, and I expect an answer. So were
5 there any members of the military, paramilitaries, or anybody else in and
6 around the hospital apart from the police? I tried to be as concise as
8 JUDGE PARKER: Your question extended over several subjects. The
9 Chamber is asking you to ask one question at a time so that we can move
10 quickly. If you could deal with your questions that way, the witness
11 will be able to answer more quickly, and we will, I hope, move more
12 speedily. Thank you.
13 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Were there any members -- well, whom did you see around the
15 hospital before this person arrived on that day and after that day,
16 members of what units?
17 A. There was movement on a daily basis. As I said, the hospital is
18 situated between the police academy building and the police station.
19 That's where it is to this day. So these were combined units, military,
20 paramilitary. The police was standing guard duty on the roof, whereas
21 downstairs we didn't go. We didn't know who was guarding the basement.
22 Q. Thank you for your answer. The question that I asked earlier and
23 that has remained unanswered: What led you to conclude that the person
24 who -- whom you saw in a hospital corridor, that person that was armed,
25 that this was a member of a paramilitary unit?
1 A. His appearance. His hair was longer than a usual policeman. He
2 was not shaven, so he did resemble a paramilitary.
3 Q. My next question: Can you tell us if at any point after that you
4 received a written document from your institution, the hospital where you
5 worked, about the termination of your employment. Did you receive any
6 such document, a decision terminating your employment?
7 A. As I said, I was only told orally about the termination of my
8 employment. I never received anything.
9 Q. And please tell me how many Serb doctors were there in the
10 hospital, apart from you and you were an ethnic Albanian?
11 A. There were two Serbian dentists, two Serbian doctors, and some
12 nurses -- about five or six I would say in total, less than ten. Now I
13 don't remember the exact number. Ten years have passed since then.
14 Q. Thank you. Doctor, could you please tell me how many Albanians
15 were there employed in the Vucitrn medical centre apart from you, doctors
16 and nurses and other medical staff?
17 A. I need to elaborate here. In the early 1980s when I got this
18 employment, the structure was the following. 80 per cent of the whole
19 medical staff were Albanians, 20 per cent Serbian. In the 1990s,
20 however, the structure changed 60 to 40, 60 Albanian and 40 per cent
21 Serbian. The Albanians were being removed from their jobs for different
22 reasons. So the structure, the ratio, kept changing. At the time when I
23 was dismissed, it was the -- the ratio was 60 to 40. So there was this
24 constant pressure for this ratio to be changed.
25 The number of Serb employees increased constantly. Serbs were
1 coming as refugees from Bosnia
2 secondary school, they got employment; Albanians on the other side, their
3 diplomas were not valid, they couldn't get employment.
4 Q. Thank you, Doctor. Now my question is: How many doctors,
5 medical doctors, were there? I'm not asking about staff with only
6 secondary education. How many doctors were there, Albanian doctors?
7 A. I would say about 30 in total, doctors and dentists.
8 Q. My next question, Doctor, is: Did you remain on good terms with
9 some of your Serb colleagues, doctors, who worked in the Vucitrn medical
11 A. Yes. Personally I had good relations and cooperation with all
12 doctors, especially with Natalia Tasi, she was from Croatia. She was a
13 diabetic and she couldn't see well, so I always helped her when she was
14 taking the blood pressure of her patients because she could not read it.
15 So in general, my relations were good with all the doctors and
16 especially with Natalia. As I said, she couldn't see well and I helped
17 her while she was taking the blood pressure of the patients.
18 Q. The reason why I ask you this question is because now I want to
19 ask you when was the last time, before you were told not to come back to
20 work, that you received your salary; and do you know what the situation
21 was with the other doctors who were not Albanian and who were not told to
22 leave the Vucitrn medical centre. So when did you receive your last
23 salary and when did they receive their salaries?
24 A. The last salary, I don't remember before the war but after the
25 war, once the war was over, someone brought us the salaries in Serbian
1 Dinars. I have not mentioned this in my statement, but it is true that
2 we received the salaries in Dinars after the war.
3 Q. Thank you, Doctor, for your frank answer. My next question is:
4 Did your colleague, the director -- well, were you on good terms with him
5 before he told you that you were fired?
6 A. Of course. He was stomatologist. He was appointed by the
7 municipality at that post of director. I was in good relations with him.
8 He minded his own business, I minded mine. He was working as a dentist,
9 as I said, so in general we had good relations.
10 Q. This is why I'm asking you this question. So at the time when he
11 told you not to come to work -- or at any point after that, did he tell
12 you the reasons, any reasons, apart from the one that you've shared with
13 us, that he had received the orders to do so from the higher up?
14 A. No other reason. This was the last word. I went downstairs,
15 gave the old Serbian lady, who was my patient, a prescription, and left
16 the building together with her; and I didn't see him afterwards.
17 Q. Thank you, Doctor.
18 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I believe that this
19 is a good time for our technical break, and that is why I would like to
20 make a break in my cross-examination and continue after the break.
21 JUDGE PARKER: If this is a convenient time, Mr. Djordjevic, we
22 will have the first break now. We must do that for our tapes to be
23 rewound, and we will resume at 11.00.
24 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
25 --- On resuming at 11.03 a.m.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djordjevic.
2 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
3 Q. [Interpretation] Doctor, when did you return to Vucitrn from
5 A. Around 17th, 18th, or 19th, I don't remember the exact date,
6 June 1999.
7 Q. Have you stayed there ever since, in Vucitrn, in your hometown?
8 A. Yes, in Studime.
9 Q. Doctor, please tell me how many of your colleagues,
10 non-Albanians, remained in the medical centre after June.
11 A. When I returned in June -- are you talking about doctors?
12 Q. The doctors.
13 A. When I returned after the war, I didn't see any of them there. I
14 heard that they packed their things and left.
15 Q. And what about the other medical staff, non-Albanians I mean?
16 A. There are Roma and Muslims, but no Serbs -- I mean in the medical
17 centre where I work. There are also Turks there, but no Serbs, and
19 Q. Doctor, let's please determine an important difference in your
20 testimony, in your previous statements, and what you've testified about
21 today; and what you've said today differs slightly from the rest. I
22 would like to highlight for your benefit what it's all about and to hear
23 your comments.
24 You said today that on the 26th of May you received an oral
25 termination of your employment and that you never returned to the medical
1 centre. I think it's on page 22 of today's transcript, lines 14 to 21.
2 A. It's not the 26th of May. It's the 26th of March. I don't know
3 if it was your mistake or an interpretation mistake, but it's the
4 26th of March, two days after the beginning of the NATO bombing.
5 Q. If I said "26th of May," then I made the mistake. Thank you for
6 rectifying that. However, in your examination-in-chief by my learned
7 friend Gopalan, answering one of her questions you responded - and that's
8 on page 12 of today's transcript, lines 19 to 25 - that on the
9 28th of March you were still in town, that you were at work in your
10 clinic, that you went home and did not find anybody of your family
11 because they had left their home before that, and then you left north.
12 Could you please clarify and specify what is true, that you -- on
13 the 26th of March you were fired and never went back to clinic, or is it
14 true that on the 28th of March you were still in your clinic and then
15 came back, found nobody, and then left town? Which of the two are true?
16 A. I stated in my statement and in my testimony - I don't know the
17 interpretation you got - but it was impossible for me to go back to the
18 medical centre after the 26th of March because the road was blocked.
19 During these two days, I moved about along the stream, in the mountain,
20 to the KLA hospital in Sllakovc. It was impossible to go back to our
21 house until April.
22 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we call up on the screen,
23 please, today's transcript, page 12, lines 19 to 25; and page 13, lines
24 1 to 9.
25 Q. Doctor, do you read English? Do you understand English?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. So please take a look at this screen at your response to my
3 learned friend from the Prosecution. Please take a look at the
4 transcript. You said that on the 28th you went home from the clinic and
5 this is why I'm asking you whether you made a mistake, given that you
6 repeated now that on the 26th it was the end of your dealings with the
7 hospital. Let us just clarify the situation.
8 A. This is a mistake. After the 26th, two days after the NATO
9 bombing started, we left and we didn't go back to the medical centre.
10 I've already said in the past that this was two days after the NATO
11 bombing began. I moved about in the area I described, but it was
12 impossible for me to go back to the medical centre. How can you possibly
13 go back when you -- your life is threatened?
14 Q. Thank you for your answer, Doctor. My next question is this:
15 We've come to the point where you discussed this elderly woman who was
16 your patient, who you examined, and after which you left the clinic and
17 you said that you never came back. You said that she was your patient.
18 My question is: Had you known that woman from before, the Serb woman?
19 A. She visited the medical centre very often. She had problems with
20 her kidneys and her heart, so she came frequently for a visit, for
21 opinion. On this day she came for a prescription, for a repeat
22 prescription. She wanted to get a new prescription to get her drugs from
23 the pharmacy.
24 Q. Do you know where she lived, Doctor?
25 A. Somewhere in Vushtrri. She was living nearby. I don't know
1 where exactly, but not far from there. I don't know her address, but I
2 know that she lived in the town.
3 Q. And she told you, as you recount in your statement, that you were
4 on the list of 7.000 people in Vucitrn that they intended to kill. Is
5 this piece of information about the 7.000 people to be killed in Vucitrn
6 true? Did you interpret this correctly, 7.000 people in Vucitrn, a list
7 of 7.000 people?
8 A. I gave her the prescription and she thanked me by asking me, Are
9 you scared? And I said, No, I'm not scared. I only did good deeds for
10 everyone. So I believe there will be someone among Serbs who will defend
11 me, and she replied, she said, This is not correct. Be careful. I heard
12 that the meeting was held and you are amongst those 7.000 people,
13 intellectuals, who will be killed and that the whole area will be mopped
14 up and inhabited by refugees from Bosnia
15 So I thanked her back and I became more careful, and I consider
16 that in a way she saved my life. I thanked her in my thoughts many times
17 because I had no other opportunity to meet her again.
18 Q. In paragraph 4 of your statement you said: She said in day-time
19 you treated patients but over-night you would treat KLA. This doesn't
20 sound friendly warning. Could you please explain why she did so, and
21 where did she get this information from?
22 A. This is what she told me. She heard that in a meeting that was
23 held someone had mentioned my name, Dr. Gerxhaliu during the day is like
24 an angel, whereas in the evening he goes to the terrorists to tend to
25 their wounds, and that's why he will be punished, for his activity.
1 Q. In the next paragraph and during your testimony you did say that
2 during night-time you would go to treat KLA wounded and other people in
3 the territory controlled by the KLA. Let me conclude, therefore, then
4 that "they," as you refer to them and she also referred to them as
5 "they," and we believe that these are Serb forces, had information that
6 you were treating KLA soldiers. Am I right in concluding that?
7 A. Of course they did. This is what she confirmed with her words
8 when she warned me, and that's why I became more careful later on.
9 Q. And this is why later on you left Vucitrn because you realised
10 that your life was threatened directly by the Serbs, given that they had
11 obtained information that you were treating what they saw as terrorists
12 of the KLA. Is this the reading of the situation after you received this
13 information from that lady?
14 A. Yes, and that's how it turned out.
15 Q. Thank you, Doctor. My next question is: You said that during
16 the nights you would go to KLA-controlled areas to provide medical
17 assistance to KLA fighters and other people because that population could
18 not come to Vucitrn because they would be killed there. Doctor, please
19 tell us, until the 26th of May, did you have any cases where somebody
20 would come to the medical centre in Vucitrn, coming from KLA-controlled
21 territories, to seek medical assistance and being liquidated or killed
22 before the 26th of May, being killed in the medical centre or around it?
23 JUDGE PARKER: I think you meant to say the 26th of March in
24 that -- you said "May" again.
25 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Mistake. [In English] Thank
1 you, Your Honour.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Before the 26th of March and after
3 that, the Serbian check-points in Dakovce village, which is on the road
4 from Vushtrri to Prishtina, and then in Samadrexha, in the Llazoviq
5 neighbourhood and other check-points, civilians who lived in the area
6 controlled by the KLA and who passed through these check-points were
7 maltreated, some of them might even have been killed. I wasn't able to
8 see everything for myself, but as I stated in my testimony in the
9 Milosevic and Milutinovic trial and today, you will find even nowadays
10 persons who suffered the consequences of the beating and the torture at
11 these check-points. So people were scared to pass through these
12 check-points, and that's why I had to go to them, to treat them.
13 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. Doctor, may I conclude after your answer that you do not have
15 direct knowledge that anybody was murdered at the check-point en route to
16 seek medical assistance, those genuinely sick people who needed to see a
17 doctor in Vucitrn? You do not have any immediate knowledge about that;
18 am I right?
19 A. Personally I don't have such information. People who deal with
20 human rights and freedoms have these records. My main duty and task was
21 to treat those who needed my help.
22 Q. Thank you, Doctor. Would you tell me, please, the medical
23 documentation, the so-called medical charts - I don't know what the
24 appropriate English term is to be clear for everybody in the courtroom -
25 was that preserved in Vucitrn?
1 A. You're referring to the period before the war?
2 Q. No, I'm refer to medical documentation before the
3 24th of March, 1999. Was that preserved?
4 A. When we returned after the war, we didn't find anything.
5 Everything was thrown away and had disappeared. The medical centre that
6 existed before the war was taken over by the internationals. It was
7 rebuilt and turned into a hospital. So we didn't find anything from
8 these medical charts dating back from the period before the war.
9 We found some personal documentation of Serb colleagues like
10 working permits and stuff like that, and we sent them those documents.
11 However, from medical charts we didn't find anything.
12 As you know, I didn't return immediately after Montenegro
13 Kosova, but when I did I saw many papers thrown away, torn apart, so
14 nothing from the personal documentation, medical documentation of our
15 patients had remained there.
16 Q. Do you know the identity of this elderly woman that you -- was
17 your patient and visited you frequently?
18 A. I don't remember her name, but I know how she looked. She wasn't
19 very tall. She was wearing a scarf on her head. I don't remember her
20 name. I had over 80 patients, but I do remember her face. I do remember
21 her health condition, the therapy she needed, and so forth. I also
22 stated in my statement that it's unfortunate that I don't remember her
23 name. I went to Grablje [phoen] village, which is a Serbian village, to
24 look for her to thank her in person, but I didn't find her.
25 Q. Thank you. You touched upon something that was about to be my
1 next question. You said that you did not see her after the war. So she
2 was not from Vucitrn, she was rather from the village of Grablje
3 you for clarifying that --
4 A. No, no, she was from Vushtrri. She was a woman from town. She
5 had always lived in town. Grablje is a village in Vushtrri municipality
6 nearby, but she was from the town itself. She had an apartment or a
7 house, I don't know exactly. As I said, I didn't know her address. I
8 didn't show interest in finding out the address while she was my patient,
9 but she was from the town itself.
10 Q. I asked you this because you mentioned that you went to Grablje
11 with the intention of going there to thank her, and this is why I asked
12 you about that. So she lived in town. That's what we clarified just
13 now. Thank you. I seek some patience from you.
14 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Could we please bring up on the
15 screen Exhibit D002-5233. This is the Serbian version or B/C/S version,
16 and could we please -- could we show -- juxtapose 2 -- D002-5235 in the
17 English language.
18 Q. Do you see this document, Doctor? Please -- do you see the
19 second paragraph which starts with a dash and says:
20 "In the area of responsibility of Kosovska Mitrovica," et cetera,
21 et cetera, can you read the whole paragraph and comment on it, please.
22 A. On which screen is it?
23 Q. I'm not receiving any interpretation.
24 I can see that you're not saying whether you can see it or not.
25 Let me just see what's actually ...
1 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Yes, that's correct.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean the Serbo-Croatian
3 language? 006 --
4 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Yes. It's the same in the English language. So:
6 "In the area of responsibility of Kosovska Mitrovica on the
7 24th of September, 1998, in the afternoon hours, a group of three Siptars
8 from the village of Samodreza
9 tractor to the terrorists in the immediate vicinity of the village of
10 Cecelija in order to convince them to stop with the attacks and to
11 surrender their weapons."
12 Do I have to repeat anything?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. "The terrorists physically abused them, beat them up, destroyed
15 their tractor and made them go back to their village, threatening that
16 they would kill them if they tried the same thing again."
17 Are you familiar with this incident?
18 A. No, I have no information about such an incident. I already said
19 during the Milutinovic et al. trial and now I'm saying: Give me the
20 names of the persons involved, as you are saying, because this falls
21 outside the scope of my statement. I didn't have any time to deal with
22 everything. You might probably ask the Council for Human Rights, they
23 have been following closely -- more closely everything. I am more
24 involved in professional things. If someone came to me to ask for help,
25 I might have known. So I don't have anything to say about something
1 which I don't know. I haven't heard, I haven't seen it.
2 Q. Thank you, Doctor. Now I ask you for your indulgence as we wait
3 for the exhibit that we're going to need to be shown on the screen.
4 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] If we can, perhaps it would be
5 better because I'm not sure I heard from my colleague Mr. Djurdjic that
6 there was a problem with zooming in on this map, it's the document 5244
7 on the 65 ter list -- in fact, I believe it's Exhibit -- it's 0586767 [as
8 interpreted] in fact, but the 65 ter number is 54 -- is 5244. So if
9 there is a problem with this map, if we can't show on this map what I
10 need, then I will ask questions regarding another map that has already
11 been admitted into evidence. It's a Prosecution document. If we could
12 please have that document. Thank you.
13 Q. On the map that the Prosecution showed you, you marked the
14 territory that was under the control of the KLA. This map is now shown
15 to you in its basic format and you can see the railway tracks passing by
17 My question: You said that 80 per cent of the territory was KLA
18 controlled, so I will conclude that this meant all of the territory apart
19 from major communications or roads that were held by the Serbian forces.
20 And now I'm talking about railway tracks. Was it controlled by the KLA
21 anywhere, either to the north-west or to the south-east of Vucitrn
22 because it runs diagonally as we can see on this map? So was any stretch
23 of that railroad controlled by the KLA?
24 A. I already drew a similar line and explained that the railway
25 line, the city, the highway Prishtina-Mitrovice were always under the
1 control of the Serb forces. I didn't hear that the KLA had it under its
2 control. But below it, all these villages, Cicavica and others, above
3 Studime and others, they were settlements; and I think that this
4 20 per cent was controlled by the KLA. As I said, the city and its
5 periphery were under the control of the Yugoslav forces.
6 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Now I would like to ask the
7 Registrar to assist the witness so that he could circle the area
8 controlled by the Serbs with the electronic pen, since apparently it was
9 smaller and it will be easier for the witness to do this on this map.
10 A. I already drew a line. This map is very small. I can't see it
11 properly. I can't find the places where the Serb forces were stationed.
12 I can't see Samadrexha or others. It was here, the line, along this
13 territory under the KLA, and here the other line under the control of the
14 Serb forces.
15 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I kindly ask you to zoom in at
16 the area around Vucitrn to the north up to the village of Velika Kicic
17 and Smrekovnica. And to the south we can see them, we can look at the
18 map as it is now. So the lower bottom of the map where Vucitrn is, if we
19 could zoom in on that.
20 Q. Are you able to see better now?
21 A. I can see it better. From Gojbulja, Mirac [phoen], and here
22 between Pasops [phoen] and Konjic [phoen], wait a little bit, please. I
23 can't find Studime e Poshteme. Maybe it's here. I hope I'm not
25 Q. Yes, Donja Sudimlja is to the right of Vucitrn. So could you
1 please circle the area that was controlled by the Serbian forces.
2 A. Here I think. It's Gornja Sudimlja, Donja Sudimlja --
3 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Could you please zoom in a
4 little bit more.
5 JUDGE PARKER: We can't zoom in now without losing the markings
6 that have been made. We can zoom in and start the markings all over
7 again if you like.
8 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, since this is a
9 problem and this is important for the Defence, I would like to ask you to
10 put this map on the ELMO. It's going to be much more accurate than to do
11 it on the screen.
12 The map is now upside down, perhaps if we could put it so that
13 it's ...
14 Now I would like us to put Vucitrn in the middle of what we see
15 here --
16 MS. GOPALAN: Your Honours, from what I see on the screen, it
17 appears to me that this map has been marked with highlights.
18 JUDGE PARKER: There certainly is marking on the map, yes. It's
19 in black what I see.
20 MS. GOPALAN: As I recall, the version I saw yesterday did not
21 have any markings on it.
22 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Prosecutor is
23 right. The markings in yellow were done by the Defence in order to be
24 able to locate the places that are mentioned in the witness's statement
25 and nothing else. The black markings, I really don't know what that is.
1 I didn't make the markings, but I myself highlighted the place names that
2 were mentioned by the witness.
3 But if we can't do it on this map, we don't have an unmarked copy
4 of the map. Because I want the witness to circle the areas around
5 Vucitrn that were held by the Serbian forces, if it's possible and if the
6 Prosecution does not object, given that we have this problem, the
7 situation. I don't think that it's crucial in any way.
8 JUDGE PARKER: The Chamber will take no notice of the present
9 markings which are in black and yellow. The witness I believe will be
10 marking in red and we can follow his markings on the map if that will
11 help you, Mr. Djordjevic, on the ELMO.
12 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Of course, Your Honour, because
13 the only question that I have regarding this map is for the witness to
14 circle the areas that were controlled by the Serbian forces, nothing
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the first map it was even
17 clearer. Here it's not so clear.
18 [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]
19 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Or perhaps if the witness can
20 put the map in front of him, circle it, and then put it back on the ELMO.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the first map it's easier for
22 me --
23 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djordjevic, we're now going to try and zoom in
24 electronically and get a clearer map.
25 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I agree that the
1 map but without the markings that was already marked by the witness be
2 marked now, and then we can admit it into evidence. So if we could look
3 at the previous map, I don't have the number for it, but Ms. O'Leary will
4 help me, it's P514 but without the markings because the marked map has
5 been admitted into --
6 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues]... strain now,
7 Mr. Djordjevic. I think that will be something that the doctor can see
8 more readily and you may want him to mark that.
9 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I agree that he put
10 markings on this map, that's what I suggested. But if the witness finds
11 it easier to make the markings on a different map, then I agree with that
12 too. But all I want him is to mark the area controlled by the Serbian
13 forces which was 20 per cent of the territory.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's easier for me to do that on
15 the first map, here. I'm trying to do it now here. I'm a doctor, as you
16 know, and I'm not so good at maps, but I'll try.
17 The Serb forces were in Studime, Lower Studime, Saracak,
18 Samadrexha, in Dumnice, lower Dumnice, they were here at Gojbulja,
19 Smrekonica, and this would be the line. This part below was controlled
20 by the Yugoslav Serbian forces. The remainder up to Llap, up to here,
21 was controlled by KLA forces. Here the railway, as I said, was under
22 Serb forces, Pantine below Delak [phoen], below Sitarice, Nevolane,
23 Preluze, I can't see Preluze, it's somewhere here. That would constitute
24 approximately the line that was under KLA, whereas this part here,
25 between these two red lines, was controlled - at least this is what I
1 thought accounting for some 20 per cent more or less, that's my
2 estimation. You might verify it for yourself.
3 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Thank you.
5 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] We won't be needing this map
6 anymore, but I would like to have it tendered -- I would like to tender
7 it into evidence with the markings.
8 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
9 THE REGISTRAR: The markings made in 65 ter 05244,
10 Your Honours --
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The same thing I said to the
12 Prosecutor earlier on.
13 THE REGISTRAR: -- would be assigned D00069, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE PARKER: That is now an exhibit, Mr. Djordjevic.
15 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
16 Q. Was Veskovica also controlled by the KLA?
17 A. Which one?
18 Q. Veskovice -- Veskovce?
19 A. Vesekovc, yes, until the 2nd of May, yes. I'm talking of
20 Vesekovc which is above Sllakovc, Sllakovc, Vesekovc, all that area was.
21 Q. In late March and early April was Svracak also controlled by the
23 A. The two Saracaks were not under the KLA control. There were Serb
24 inhabitants there, and it was under the control of the Serb forces,
25 Saracak e Eperm, Studime, Lower Studime were under their control.
1 Q. And please tell me, in late April did Serbs still hold the
3 A. Yes, I think so, they had under their control Studime and
4 Saracak. There was a Serb check-point that now and again shelled the
5 area along with that Lower Studime. There were always Serb forces in
6 those two positions.
7 Q. Thank you. Thank you. In paragraph 6, it's the same paragraph,
8 you say that many people had gone into the village -- into the mountains
9 to evade gun-fire and shelling. Can you explain to me why these people
10 did not go to Vucitrn in order to avoid gun-fire and shelling? Because
11 as far as I understand there was no shelling and no shooting there.
12 A. The population was driven out of the whole city and gathered in
13 Dardania neighbourhood near the cemetery. There was no room for all of
14 them. Studime Gorge --
15 THE INTERPRETER: Or stream, correction.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- was 2, 3 metres deep and it was
17 a better position for them to go. Whoever wanted to go there wanted --
18 went there because everybody wanted to save their lives. That's why they
19 went there. Some others were driven out, as I said, of their homes and
20 went to the cemetery; and a massacre occurred there on the 22nd of March.
21 THE INTERPRETER: Correction: Of May.
22 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. [Previous translation continues]... when I say that you went into
24 the mountains to work in the field hospitals that the KLA had there?
25 A. Yes, yes, I worked in the KLA hospital.
1 Q. Where were the KLA hospitals at the time?
2 A. When the area was under the KLA control, there was a hospital in
3 Bajgora, Kovacic, but the main one was in Sllakovc, where I spent most of
4 my time. It was a two-storey building. It was -- there was greater
5 space, and we could -- we had the necessary facilities to accommodate the
6 injured, so this is where I worked mostly. It now become a museum
7 hospital even now.
8 Q. Doctor, tell me, what was your role in setting up the health care
9 system for the KLA members in the field? Was there a hierarchy? Were
10 you the only doctor or were there several?
11 A. Sometimes I worked alone. Sometimes colleagues came to help me.
12 From Llap they came to me. Sometimes I went there to help them. There
13 was no hierarchy. We worked on a voluntary basis wanting to provide
14 assistance to whoever needed it. The surgeons came there after the
15 16th of May, they did their job; but when there was no surgeon around, I
16 had to do the work of a gynaecologist, pediatrician, or surgeon. I
17 simply tried to treat all the patients that came there, trying to do my
18 best, without making any distinction whether -- if I had to deal with
19 injured, infected people, simply sick people, elderly sick, children. I
20 tried to help them, to render my contribution under the Hippocratic oath,
21 as you know.
22 Q. Yes, I respect this, but my question has to do with hierarchy and
23 perhaps it wasn't phrased that well. But you will agree with me that
24 providing medical care in wartime, obtaining the resources necessary for
25 the work of you doctors is not so easy. Who was in charge of that? Who
1 decided what would be obtained and where and how this would be organised?
2 A. No, as I said, it was a voluntary work. Whoever could, brought
3 supplies. Someone who came with the family members brought whatever they
4 had. I gave whatever I had. It was a voluntary work. There was --
5 nothing was done on an organised way, but people simply tried to help out
6 in providing assistance to the sick people, to the injured. The
7 population brought medical supplies, medicaments. I found a few when I
8 went there, but we used them.
9 From the Llap Operational Zone which was bordering Serbia
10 sometimes they brought us supplies. They had more supplies than us, and
11 often they -- people from Llap brought us such medical supplies that we
12 needed. I don't know where they found them, they bought them or -- we
13 were lacking them mostly.
14 Q. You called those hospitals KLA field hospitals. Were you a
15 member of the KLA?
16 A. Yes, since I worked there I was a KLA member. I already said
17 this, even in the past.
18 Q. KLA field hospitals, so does this mean that those hospitals were
19 within the then-KLA system? Were they controlled by the
20 Kosovo Liberation Army in their entirety?
21 A. The KLA had one goal: To protect us, to inform us in cases when
22 the front line was broken through. If -- in order for us to get ready
23 and move to some other place, safer place, otherwise we didn't have any
24 other role in our work. As I said, we were doing a voluntary work due to
25 the circumstances that were created by the former regime, everybody tried
1 to do his bit.
2 Q. My next question is this: Given evidence from witnesses we had
3 before, more competent, but since you were a member of the KLA, I ask you
4 this: Was the KLA a well-set-up organisation from the very beginning?
5 A. Look here, as far as organisation and structuring go, they are
6 not part of my work. As I said, I was involved in the logistical part of
7 it, and I focused only on my work. The KLA had its command. There were
8 these zones, operational zones, in the context of the
9 Shale Operational Zone was the place where I worked, and there was the
10 zone from the north, from Studime, Saracak, and above. But there was
11 another brigade, 142, which operated in the southern part of Vushtrri,
12 Cicavica and around it, but we communicated more with Llap.
13 But between 141 and 142 Brigade there was Vushtrri, where the
14 Serb forces were located, which prevented us from communicating
15 directly -- but here in the hospital we didn't have much time to deal
16 with such things because we wanted to have -- to find supplies, to
17 survive, to provide assistance to the injured, to the sick people, and so
19 Q. Doctor, I asked you this, of course being mindful of your
20 location, because of the statement that you provided and still dealing
21 with this in paragraph 11 you said:
22 "On the 2nd of May, 1999, an order came for the KLA to transfer
23 because the Serbs had broken through the front line at Llap and
25 So an order came for the KLA to transfer. Do you know who was
1 the responsible person in the area of responsibility and who could issue
2 such an order from among the KLA commanders?
3 A. This was not an order issued by commanders as such. This was
4 more of an information, a message, conveyed to us by the soldiers in the
5 hospital who told us that the combat position in Meljenica, Majdan, in
6 the Llap and Shale Operational Zones, both in the north-western part and
7 south-eastern part have -- are advancing and we need to evacuate.
8 So this was not an order, this was an information, a message
9 conveyed to us, so that we could move before they got there first. So it
10 took time to remove the wounded, to prepare everything. So I was amongst
11 the last to leave, and just before we left, we had a discussion.
12 KLA was a quite democratic organisation. They wouldn't impose
13 anything on you. They -- my family wanted to come with me, to remain
14 with me, so I was free to remain with my family.
15 Q. I understood very well what you said and understood that you were
16 not ordered by anybody, that you did so because you had received such
17 information. But you say - and I read it out to you and you can see for
18 yourself - in your statement on the 2nd of May, 1999, the order came for
19 the KLA to move, not the hospital, the KLA because the Serbs had broken
20 through the front line in Llap and Meljenica. This is how the English
21 version reads. The Serbian version reads. This is what you stated in
22 2000 of course, but now I'm asking you: Do you remember who the order
23 for the KLA to move came from? Do you know who was the responsible
24 person in the zone of responsibility in that area where you worked in the
25 field hospitals, which brigade? Who was the commander? Or was this
1 something coming from the top level again, this order for the KLA to
3 A. As for the orders coming from military structures, the military
4 personnel knows that better. We were the logistics part. We worked on a
5 voluntary basis. We just received this message, this news, and we acted
6 appropriately. As for the KLA structure, they have their own orders, I
7 don't know what they were. They left in the direction of Dumnice,
8 whereas the convoy left on the right side towards Ceceli. I know that
9 the KLA took with them the wounded KLA members, whereas the civilians
10 took with them their ill family members.
11 The headquarters where the command, the KLA command was, I never
12 visited it. I didn't have time to visit it. I was all the time in the
13 hospital tending to my patients. So I cannot talk about something that I
14 don't know. I can only tell you that the distance between the field
15 hospital and the KLA command was quite big. They had their own military
16 stuff to do, and I had my own stuff to do to look after the patients.
17 Q. Doctor, am I right if I conclude now that what is stated in
18 paragraph 11 was never uttered by you and that you do not know anything
19 about that, that part about the order coming from the KLA to move? Now
20 it's stated in the transcript but now you're saying something else. So
21 am I right in concluding that you do not know anything about the order
22 coming for the KLA to move or do you?
23 A. Listen, it's not an order as an ultimatum. We received this as a
24 message, as an information. The military structure worked pursuant to
25 orders from their command. We were the logistics part. We worked on a
1 voluntary basis and we received this as an information, as a message.
2 They may have well given order to their zone commanders or
3 brigade commanders or unit commanders. That I don't know. As I told
4 you, the command, the zone command, was situated far from the hospital;
5 and I'm not a person who ever liked weapons. So I didn't pay attention
6 to that military part; I only paid attention to my job. I don't know to
7 what extent you understand me. I just want to explain to you that nobody
8 gave me any orders. My work was voluntary work. Had there been any
9 orders, someone would have told me something when I left, and when they
10 left with the wounded I joined my family, my wife and my children, not
11 the KLA and their wounded soldiers.
12 Q. Doctor, please answer my last question. You haven't answered it.
13 Am I right that this portion of your statement in paragraph 11 is
14 incorrect, that you do not have any knowledge about the KLA receiving any
15 order, because it is stated here:
16 "On the 2nd May the order came for the KLA to move," not that you
17 move or your hospital move, but the KLA. Am I right in saying that you
18 do not have any direct knowledge about that and that what is stated here,
19 written here, is incorrect?
20 A. I did say that, but as an order for the military part; as for us,
21 logistics part, there was no need for someone to order us. We were
23 Q. Thank you. This is what I have been asking you all along.
24 Thank you.
25 Then your next question -- sentence in the same paragraph:
1 "The civilians therefore also had to leave ..."
2 Please tell me, Doctor, why did the civilians have to go if they
3 did not take part in the fighting with the Serb forces? Why this -- the
4 civilians therefore also had to go? If the KLA went, why did the
5 civilians have to go?
6 A. Merely because everything that was Albanian was targeted and from
7 what had happened earlier, the massacres that occurred earlier, we were
8 scared and in a way we hoped that we would be able to arrive in
10 civilians left just because of fear, because the Serb forces, when they
11 fought and when they burnt their houses, they didn't fight there in the
12 battle-field where they can be killed, but they retaliated on the
13 civilian population.
14 Q. Could you please answer whether the fighting between the KLA and
15 the Serb forces were an everyday occurrence in this area?
16 A. Firing occurred very often. Now, whether there was just firing
17 or exchange of fire, an expert can explain that. I don't know that. The
18 hospital was very far from the front lines, be those in the north-western
19 part or those in the south-eastern part, and, as I said, as a doctor I
20 was only concerned with my professional work.
21 On the critical night, the Serbian forces did not head towards
22 the direction that the KLA and its soldiers took, that is, the Dumnice
23 direction, but followed the convoy, the direction of the convoy. So
24 those followed us from behind, whereas in front of us we were faced with
25 forces from -- that were earlier positioned in Studime and Saracak. And
1 that's when these massacre occurred, these 118 or 19 people were killed.
2 We were caught like in between a pincer.
3 Q. My next question is: In the territory controlled by the
4 KLA - and you mentioned many villages - which of those villages used to
5 be inhabited by the Serbs? And I'm discussing the period before
6 March 1999.
7 A. Maybe there were Serbs in Samadrexha because the population was
8 mixed there. I think there were Serbs in Samadrexha until later. This
9 is what I heard. I didn't see them for myself, but they didn't have any
10 problems with the KLA until late. The Serb forces had their check-point
11 in Llazoviq neighbourhood, and a little bit further up there were some
12 households where elderly Serb people lived. This is what I heard.
13 Before the war, I visited the area very often, Saracak area, but
14 for the period you're talking about, in Saracak, there was no KLA
15 presence. The Serb forces had their check-point there because there was
16 a Serbian population in this village, in Saracak e Eperm.
17 Q. You said Svracak, Samodreza, were there any other villages
18 controlled by the KLA?
19 A. Saracak was held by the Serb forces. The rest of the villages
20 were predominantly Albanian. They were not mixed.
21 Q. Let me ask you whether in Gornji Svracak and Samodreza are there
22 any Serb houses there, inhabited houses not just houses, but someone
23 living in them.
24 A. Yes, I had several of them as my patients. I had good relations
25 with them. I visited them very often before the war.
1 Q. Do you know how many Serb houses there were in Gornji Svracak?
2 A. About four or five, mainly elderly people lived there. The youth
3 lived in Prishtina and would visit the elderly during the weekends. I
4 mean, they had contact with the elderly people, their sons and nieces and
5 nephews. I didn't see. But as I said, I visited the elderly people very
6 often because they were quite ill. The youth would get employment in
7 Prishtina or in Vushtrri or in other towns and would come in the village
8 only during the weekends. So it was mainly the elderly people who lived
9 in the houses.
10 Q. Doctor, how many Serb houses there were in Samodreza, please?
11 A. Up there in that neighbourhood near Malokve [as interpreted], the
12 neighbourhood, I think there were two or three Serbian households, again
13 elderly people; and the Llazoviq neighbourhood had more Serbian
14 households, about 10 or 12, but I'm not quite certain about the number.
15 The Llazoviq neighbourhood was closer to the town and a check-point was
16 erected there on a hill nearby.
17 Q. Thank you. I'm coming back to this paragraph 11 where you say
18 that civilians had to leave after the KLA positions had fallen in
19 Llap and Meljenica, which would be the Kosovska Mitrovica municipality,
20 if I'm not mistaken, and you said therefore civilians also had to leave.
21 Could you agree with me if I say that in such situations, given the rules
22 of guerilla warfare that the KLA conducted against Serb forces, did
23 civilians and KLA forces move together when they withdrew, and of course
24 then the KLA members then would not be bearing arms?
25 A. That's not at all true. The civilian population left in the
1 direction of Ceceli and proceeded to Studime village. I was amongst
2 these civilians, but I didn't have any uniform. I had the white coat
3 when I worked in the hospital. There was no KLA member amongst the
4 civilians in the convoy. As I said earlier, the KLA and their wounded
5 went towards Dumnice, and I don't know where they positioned themselves.
6 Q. But you were a member of the KLA and you were in that convoy and
7 you were wearing a white coat. Do you know a person by the name of
8 Bislim Zyrapi?
9 A. I didn't know Bislim Zyrapi. I didn't say I was in the convoy
10 wearing the white coat. I said I wore the white coat when I worked in
11 the hospital. I've mentioned in my previous testimony and statements
12 that I was probably the only member of the KLA there. I had my doctor's
13 equipment and bag with me at all times. I didn't see any other member of
14 the KLA in the convoy, and I didn't hear from anybody to have seen a KLA
15 member as part of the convoy. I don't know who Bislim Zyrapi is; my
16 answer to your second question.
17 Q. Do you mean you didn't know him personally or you never heard
18 about Bislim Zyrapi?
19 A. I think I've come across this name in the newspapers or heard it
20 on television, but I don't know the person behind this name. I never met
21 him or saw him.
22 Q. Now it's clearer. Could you tell me, when you read it in the
23 newspapers or wherever, did you know then that he was chief of the
24 Main Staff of the KLA?
25 A. There was no need for me to learn that. I was familiar with the
1 people from the Shala Operational Zone. I knew them before the war,
2 during the war, and after the war. I didn't know anyone from the
3 General Staff. This was of no interest to me. I did not belong to the
4 military part. My job involved human lives, saving them. This name I
5 didn't hear in the operational zone of Shala.
6 Q. As a member of the KLA, did you know of an order that in the case
7 of an offensive or attack by the Serb forces, all forces from the front
8 line were supposed to withdraw together with the civilian population?
9 A. This is the first time I hear of such an order.
10 Q. In your statement on page 3, paragraph 8, and on third paragraph
11 on the fourth page in the Albanian, you say that:
12 "30 to 40.000 people had fled to this area and that there was
13 fighting between the KLA and Serb army almost every day."
14 So based on that, am I right in saying that the civilians had
15 fled to this area to avoid fighting because there was fighting every day,
16 rather they did so pursuant to an order issued by the KLA. Am I right in
17 saying so?
18 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Gopalan.
19 MS. GOPALAN: I'm having a look at the English paragraph 8 and
20 unfortunately I'm not able to find the reference to the paragraph Defence
21 counsel is referring to. I wonder if he would be able to assist.
22 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I said for the English version
23 page 4, paragraph 3. I don't know what's written in the transcript
24 because I'm not following it, my learned colleague -- I mean, the
25 Albanian version. But just a moment, please.
1 MS. GOPALAN: I believe we may have the reference. It is
2 paragraph 10 of the English statement; am I correct?
3 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] That's correct.
4 Q. Doctor, is it necessary for me to repeat my earlier question?
5 A. We didn't discuss this in detail. Order, yes, in terms of the
6 military part. For us it was just a message, just an information, that
7 we received from the soldiers that the positions had fallen to the
8 Serb forces. We as civilians had to leave. I think there were about
9 30.000 or 40.000 people after the war according to the documentation
10 found in the municipality of Vushtrri
11 40.000 refugees. And I believe it is more or less an accurate number
12 because that was a huge convoy, a lot of people. There was no order.
13 Nobody could order me to do anything. We did what we did because of
14 fear, because we panicked, we feared that what had happened to other
15 people would happen to us. There was no other reason.
16 Q. In this paragraph I believe in tenth paragraph in the English and
17 the B/C/S versions, you stated, and I repeat it, that there were around
18 30 to 40.000 civilians. Doctor, I wanted to ask you: Did you ever gave
19 a statement while you were in Montenegro
20 latter part of June in 1999?
21 A. Where? In Ulcinj in Montenegro
22 Q. In Ulcinj in Montenegro
23 statement; and if yes, to whom?
24 A. Yes. It was a female representative of ICRC or
25 International Crisis Group, I don't remember the name of the
1 organisation. This was a woman that interviewed me, and another
2 statement after the war in Studime.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Is that a convenient time, Mr. Djordjevic?
4 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, it would be a convenient
5 time. I'm sorry, I got a bit carried away.
6 JUDGE PARKER: We will have the second break now then and resume
7 at 1.00.
8 Are you able to give an indication of your progress?
9 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Today is my intention to finish my cross-examine
10 definitely and to leave time for the Prosecution if they have any --
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much for that. We'll resume then
12 at 1.00.
13 --- Recess taken at 12.34 p.m.
14 --- On resuming at 1.02 p.m.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djordjevic.
16 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
17 [Interpretation] I would like D002-5212 to be put on our screens,
18 that's the English version, and D002-5200, that's the B/C/S version. I
19 would like us to go to page 2.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Page 2.
21 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] If this is page 2, then ...
22 JUDGE PARKER: Not yet.
23 MR. DJORDJEVIC: That's correct.
24 [Interpretation] We need to go to the next page in B/C/S. No,
25 that page is not correct either. Next page, please. Well, obviously we
1 have a problem with the document. It's the witness's statement from the
2 18th of June, 1999, and it's listed under this number. It's Witness:
3 Shukri Gerxhaliu; Fahrie Gerxhaliu, the wife; and Florie Basholli. The
4 statement was given to Muriel Rodriguez. You can see that on page 2 of
5 this document, I have it here in front of me, but that's not what we're
6 looking at on our screens. And it begins with witness statement incident
7 1-2, 1st of April. What I see here that's it, yes, but it's much further
8 into the document.
9 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I would like to ask you for a
10 moment because obviously there has been a misunderstanding. While we're
11 waiting for the proper document to be displayed on the screen, I would
12 like to ask the witness a question so as not to waste time. We don't
13 have much of it.
14 Q. This is a statement that you gave to the ICJ -- to the ICG, the
15 International Crisis Group to Ms. Muriel on the 6th of June, 1999, in
16 Ulcinj; do you remember that?
17 A. Yes, I remember. It was a lady I think of French nationality. I
18 don't remember her name.
19 Q. After you made the statement, did you look at what you said on
20 that day?
21 A. I didn't read that statement. I simply gave it and went home;
22 but after that, she came back to me and verified the statement again with
24 Q. Thank you. In that statement which we unfortunately don't have
25 on our screens. I have a hard copy here in B/C/S so that I will have to
1 wait for a while before I put to you the controversial part that I would
2 like us to clear up. But let me tell you what this is all about, and I
3 hope that we will soon have it on our screens. You speak about the
4 incident number 1, it's the 2nd of April, and you say at the end of
5 paragraph 1:
6 "On the 2nd of May as we were going up and down from Sudimlja and
7 back -- to Sudimlja and back again, in a field we were surrounded by
8 members of the Serbian forces, the police and the paramilitaries, who
9 came from Saljska Bajgora, Skocna, and Gojbulja."
10 This is an incident that you spoke about a little while ago in
11 your evidence when you said there were 30 to 40.000 refugees. You said
12 around 20.000 civilians on tractors with all family members were getting
13 down from the mountains, lest we should die?
14 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The counsel is kindly
15 asked to slow down when reading.
16 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. "Around 20.000 civilians on tractors with all our family members,
18 we were getting down from the mountains lest we should all starve to
20 Now, could you please explain the difference, the discrepancy in
21 the number of refugees and the reason you provide for the movement of the
22 column. You say here that you were afraid of starving to death, and a
23 little while ago you provided another version. Could you please explain
24 that, and in the meantime I'll look for the document.
25 A. As far as the figure goes, I have always said that there were
1 above 30 or 40.000. I didn't count them of course, but that was my
2 impression of seeing them, and this is what I said to this lady. Maybe
3 she made a mistake. Instead of writing 40.000, she wrote 20.000.
4 Otherwise, I insist on this figure, about 30, 40.000. After the war,
5 Simic was the deputy commander in Vushtrri and he gave the same figure,
6 30, 40.000 deputies --
7 THE INTERPRETER: Correction.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- refugees were gathered in that
9 valley. So I don't think that there is any dilemma in the figure. It
10 may simply be a mistake I think.
11 In the -- in revising the statement, I made many corrections.
12 This is one of them that I should have made but I have missed it. I
13 didn't see it. This was something done by the ICG probably. That's why
14 I'm here to say what I think, and I'm saying again that my impression
15 is -- was and still is that the number was around 40.000. The mistake
16 may be a technical one.
17 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Thank you. Now it's much clearer. Just a moment.
19 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I think the best way to proceed
20 according to my associate would be for me to show the witness the hard
21 copy. If the usher could assist me and show the witness the hard copy
22 that I have because I cannot now find it.
23 [Defence counsel confer]
24 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] We'll wait a while. I wanted to
25 tender this document into evidence, but I can't do it now. So I'll just
1 wait a while. If I can do it, then I will do it; if not, well too bad.
2 We've managed to clear up the controversial part through this witness's
4 Q. The second part of my question was in the protocol it says that
5 you got down from the mountain lest you should starve to death and freeze
6 to death. What was the actual reason? Let's clear this up so that it's
7 clear. Why is it here in the ICG protocol?
8 A. There were several factors accounting for that, first, fear of
9 eventual massacre, which, in fact, occurred. There were -- it was
10 made -- there were no ices or snow and the medicaments, the food supplies
11 were running out, but the main fear -- the main reason was prevailing
12 fear of terror and massacre, which, in fact, happened later, as the case
13 was in Drenice, in other places, where such -- Izbice, Racak, where such
14 incidents occurred. Unfortunately this happened also in Studime.
15 Q. Doctor, when you speak about the trailer where you were in that
16 convoy, where you were hiding, can you explain to us what the trailer
17 looked like -- in fact, let me be more specific. The place where you
18 were on the tractor-trailer, how was it camouflaged? Can you explain
19 that in greater detail. You've talked about it already but do it in more
20 detail. Where were you on the tractor-trailer and what was around you or
21 over you?
22 A. The tractor had a trailer like all the tractors with trailers.
23 There was some hay on the floor of the trailer. My family was there and
24 the family of my spouse. Half the trailer was covered with a kind of
25 nylon that could be extended, but, as it was, it covered half the
1 trailer. And I was sitting in -- under the covered part. My daughter
2 and the others were around me. So whoever came close to the trailer
3 couldn't see me, for I was hiding -- I was hidden among the children and
4 the family members. I'm --
5 THE INTERPRETER: He's quoting in Serbian what the Serb forces
6 asked them to do, that is, to hand over the money.
7 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Was anyone else apart from you under the -- this plastic sheet?
9 A. Only myself because that plastic sheet covered only part of the
10 trailer on both sides and on top. It was myself and my daughter sitting
11 next to me. The others were sitting outside this covered part. Myself
12 and my elder daughter were sitting there. She was in front of me, I was
13 behind her, and, as I said, it was covered by this plastic sheet.
14 Q. Could you please tell me who drove the tractor?
15 A. The brother of my -- of my wife, Halil Bashota.
16 Q. That would be your wife's brother "surak," that's the word we use
17 in Serbian. Apart from your two --
18 A. Yes, my brother-in-law, Halil.
19 Q. Well, in addition to your two daughters, who else was in the
20 trailer in plain sight?
21 A. There were my two sons, the mother of my spouse or my
22 mother-in-law, Halil's children, Halil's sister-in-law, his daughters.
23 The tractor was full with my family members and my in-laws.
24 Q. Were you able to see at all from underneath the plastic sheet?
25 A. At first sight you couldn't see -- couldn't see me, but when they
1 came closer with their flash-lights, I realised that they could see me.
2 That's why I jumped down and left.
3 Q. You misunderstood me. Were you able to see anything as you sat
4 there under that plastic sheet, anything outside of the trailer?
5 A. I could put my head a little bit out of that hidden place --
6 covered place and trying to see what was going on as much as I could see.
7 Q. Thank you. Things that were going on around the trailer, your
8 brother-in-law being beaten up, the fact that money was asked from
9 people, the discussion among the Serb soldiers about who killed how many
10 people and who should be killed, did you hear all that, the conversation,
11 from the immediate vicinity of the trailer, and did you hear the beating
12 up as you sat there under the plastic sheet?
13 A. Yes, I could see and hear what was going on. And then on the
14 next day I saw that Halil was beaten black and blue from the beating up
15 as a result of the sticks being used. Mostly I heard, then I saw what
16 was going on.
17 Q. When you jumped off the trailer you said that you jumped right
18 onto the dead body of your neighbour or relative. Do you know how this
19 man got killed or did you learn later? Did you know at that time what
20 had happened to him?
21 A. No, no. His tractor was next to mine, Haki's tractor, and I
22 could see because his tractor was behind us. When someone said something
23 in Serbo-Croatian and then he got off the tractor, and in the presence of
24 his father, his spouse, his children, all this happened. Only a little
25 distance separated my tractor from his, and he was executed there on the
2 Q. Thank you for this answer as well.
3 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, finally we can see
4 on the screen parts of the statements taken by ICJ's -- ICG's
5 investigators. I would like this page only to be tendered into evidence,
6 both in the English version and the B/C/S version, that portion that I
7 questioned the witness about.
8 JUDGE PARKER: I believe that the whole statement should be
9 tendered if you want it as an exhibit because until its studied we can't
10 be sure whether some other part of it might influence its content in the
11 part that you've referred to. Do you want the whole document as an
13 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] So be it, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
15 THE REGISTRAR: That will be D00070, Your Honours.
16 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 Q. Doctor, please tell me, what do you do today? What is your
18 position, and what has your position been since you returned to the
19 Vucitrn medical centre?
20 A. After I returned to Vushtrri, I continued my job as a doctor of
21 occupational diseases as a result of a training I underwent in Belgrade
22 prior to the war. So I deal mainly with vocational diseases but also
23 other diseases. After the war, I did a training on family medicine
24 taught by some British professors.
25 Q. And finally, Doctor, the last topic very briefly in my
1 cross-examination would be as you said and we heard that you co-operated
2 with the Lap Operational Zone; am I right in saying so?
3 A. I didn't have direct contacts, but there was a person we sent
4 there for medical supplies. They gave us such supplies. They were
5 better supplied than us. They sent these supplies through civilians.
6 Q. Well, what I'm interested in is that whether you know that there
7 was within the framework of the KLA both Territorial Defence and civil
9 A. I simply worked in the hospital where I worked, treating
10 patients. I said up front, and I'm saying now, that when it came to
11 military aspects and organisation, I didn't even have the time to think
12 about it. Most of the time I was working by myself, alone, without any
13 colleagues. So I had to devote all my energies to health problems,
14 epidemiological problems and so on, giving help to those who needed it.
15 Q. In other words, you do not know about the extent -- existence of
16 the Territorial Defence and the civil defence within the framework of the
17 KLA; am I right in saying so?
18 A. Yes, you're right. I showed no interest in those structures.
19 Q. Thank you. Thank you. And my last question: In paragraph 25 of
20 your statement you said that some KLA soldiers helped to bury the dead.
21 Could you please explain me why the KLA was doing so, why didn't the
22 civilians doing that if it weren't for civilians who had lost their lives
23 under certain circumstances? This would be my last question to you.
24 A. Are you referring to 3rd of May or 31st of May?
25 Q. The 3rd of May.
1 A. On the 3rd of May, there were few civilians that had remained
2 there. That's why it was necessary that the KLA soldiers helped them to
3 remove the bodies from the side of the road. They told me to go back to
4 the hospital because there near the hospital in a field about 90 cows had
5 been killed, and I had to organise these soldiers and civilians to remove
6 these cattle to avoid spreading of diseases. So there were, as I said, a
7 few civilians there and that's why the KLA helped them to bury the dead.
8 Q. Were those dead -- were they exclusively civilians or were there
9 any KLA members, do you have direct knowledge of that?
10 A. They were all civilians. I have the pictures here with me if you
11 want to see them, and you can see for yourself that there was no soldier
12 amongst the killed civilians. All were civilians.
13 Q. Doctor, thank you for coming here to clarify certain issues that
14 the Defence thought had to be clarified, and hereby I conclude my
15 cross-examination and I'd like to thank you once more.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Djordjevic.
17 Ms. Gopalan, is there re-examination ?
18 MS. GOPALAN: Yes, there is, Your Honours.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
20 Re-examination by Ms. Gopalan:
21 Q. Dr. Gerxhaliu, I have a few questions for you arising from the
22 Defence cross-examination. You were asked why you left Vucitrn by
23 Defence counsel. This is in page 35, line 24. First, to clarify, where
24 is your home, in which village?
25 A. My home is in Studime e Poshteme village or marked on the map as
1 D. Studime. That's where my house is. Further up from my house is the
2 Rashice neighbourhood where the Serb forces were positioned, whereas my
3 house --
4 Q. Thank you, Dr. --
5 A. -- is in the lower part.
6 Q. And on the 2nd of May, why did you join the convoy?
7 A. We simply joined the convoy hoping that we would survive. We had
8 the paramilitary and military forces that had broken through the two
9 front lines behind us and my wife always wanted all of us to move
10 together so that anything that befell on us would befall on all of us.
11 Q. Thank you. And on that night -- sorry, and on that day, in which
12 direction did the convoy head?
13 A. From Sllakovc in the direction of Ceceli, then from Ceceli turned
14 right in the direction of Studime e Eperme, and from Studime e Eperme
15 towards Studime e Poshteme, where it stopped near a hill. Behind that
16 hill were the Serb forces that were firing every now and then.
17 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu. You were also asked some questions
18 about where the various forces were located. You mentioned that on the
19 critical night the KLA headed in the direction of Dumnice. Could you
20 tell us in which direction is Dumnice? Is it north, south, or east, or
21 west from where you were?
22 A. Dumnice was towards east. We, the convoy, moved towards Ceceli
23 and turned right in the direction of Studime, whereas the KLA went to the
24 left side, towards Dumnice.
25 Q. Thank you. And you also mentioned that there were forces that
1 were following the convoy. Which forces were these?
2 A. These were the Serb forces that had broken through the front line
3 in Shala, up there in Meljenica and in the Llap area. They had joined
4 together the Yugoslav, Serbian, forces. At Sllakovc they were shelling,
5 they were shooting, and we were trying to avoid them and we did up until
6 Studime, where they caught up with us.
7 Q. What were the forces that were located in Studime and Svracak?
8 A. Again, Serb forces, but they had been positioned in Saracak and
9 in Studime from earlier at Rashice hill. So we had behind us forces that
10 had broken the front line on these two places that I mentioned and in
11 front of us the forces that had been positioned earlier.
12 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu. I'll now like to move on to another
13 topic. This is what you saw from the trailer or tractor that you were
14 hidden behind -- sorry, that you were hidden within. Now, you mentioned
15 seeing paramilitaries and certain soldiers extorting money, killing, and
16 beating up people. Did any of these men appear to be searching for
17 anything in the tractors?
18 A. They would just come closer to the tractor, ask for money. Once
19 they got the money, they would continue along the convoy. The next group
20 would come. We thought, at the time, that once we give the money to
21 the -- to one of the groups, we were no longer at risk; but we were
22 delusioned because the next group would shortly -- after arrived they
23 would search the men, they would beat them, and execute them in the
24 presence of their family members just to cause fear and panic among the
25 civilians. That's why more than 118 or 19 people were killed on that
2 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu. And I'd now like to take you to one of
3 the men who was killed that night. You mentioned him in your testimony,
4 that's at line 18, 9, where you say that you heard paramilitaries being
5 asked not to kill their son and that this individual was executed. What
6 I would like to clarify is the names of those whom you saw killed, if you
8 A. Haki was killed next to the trailer of my tractor. About 10
9 metres further was the trailer of Nexhip Bunjaku from Studime e Eperme
10 who was killed. His father Sherif, he had married his son to a woman
11 from another village and had joined the convoy on that day. And this is
12 when I heard the Serbs saying to him in Serbian -- he first said to them
13 in Serbian, Please don't kill my son. He just got married today.
14 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu --
15 A. And then the Serb replied, We will celebrate the wedding now and
16 executed him.
17 Q. Thank you, Dr. Gerxhaliu. I have no further questions for you.
18 A. You're most welcome.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
20 [Trial Chamber confers]
21 Questioned by the Court:
22 JUDGE BAIRD: Doctor, I want to direct your mind to the elderly
23 couple. Now, who approached them? Were they paramilitaries?
24 A. At the time of the execution, it was very difficult to tell; but
25 there were policemen, paramilitaries, and other units that were well
1 coordinated amongst themselves. But the police and the military carried
2 out the most of the atrocities. The military joined them as well, so it
3 was the police and the paramilitaries that carried out most of the
5 JUDGE BAIRD: Thank you.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Doctor, you'll be pleased to learn that that
7 concludes the questions. As I mentioned earlier, we have your full
8 statements and your testimony from the previous trial as well as what
9 you've been able to give to us today in response to the particular
10 questions. And all of that will be considered by us at the appropriate
11 stage of the trial. We would like to thank you for coming yet again to
12 The Hague
13 course, now return to your home and activities. The court officer will
14 show you out, and thank you once again.
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I was, I
16 believe, clear and sincere in my testimony. The wish of my people down
17 there, regardless of their ethnicity, is to render a fair decision.
18 Thank you once again on my behalf and on behalf of my whole family.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Doctor.
20 We now adjourn and we resume at 9.00 in the morning.
21 [The witness withdrew]
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.46 p.m.
23 to be reconvened on Friday, the 3rd day of
24 April, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.