Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 3917

 1                           Tuesday, 5 May 2009

 2                           [Open session]

 3                           [The accused entered court]

 4                           --- Upon commencing at 2.06 p.m.

 5             JUDGE PARKER:  Good afternoon.

 6             Ms. Kravetz.

 7             MS. KRAVETZ:  Good afternoon, Your Honours.  Before the next

 8     witness is brought in, I wanted to just update Your Honours on our

 9     witness scheduling this week.  We were just informed by

10     Victims and Witnesses Unit -- it's actually right before the court

11     hearing started today that Mr. Brakovic is no longer in hospital.

12     Happily his health condition has improved, and we have been told that he

13     may be available to testify immediately after Mr. Abrahams concludes his

14     testimony.  However, I should point out that we have not yet been able to

15     speak to him.  We will do that this afternoon in the course of the

16     afternoon, so I will be able -- in a position to give you a more -- or

17     confirm what will happen at the end of the afternoon.

18             JUDGE PARKER:  Thank you for that.  We are glad for the witness,

19     and we are glad that it offers us the prospect of dealing with that

20     witness before the end of the week as well.

21             MS. KRAVETZ:  I also --

22             JUDGE PARKER:  Depending on the progress with Mr. Abrahams.

23             MS. KRAVETZ:  I also wanted to add, Your Honours, that the two

24     crime base witnesses that we have brought forward in the event that

25     Mr. Brakovic was not going to be available this week, and these are

Page 3918

 1     Ms. Hajrizi and Mr. Latifi.  We have been able to obtain visas for them

 2     and their travel arrangements have been secured.  So in the event that

 3     Mr. Brakovic is not well enough to testify once Mr. Abrahams concludes

 4     his testimony, we will proceed on Thursday with the evidence of

 5     Ms. Hajrizi.  But again, this is something we will only be able to

 6     confirm at the end of the testimony.

 7             JUDGE PARKER:  Thank you very much.

 8             Perhaps now Mr. Abrahams can be brought in.

 9             Mr. Djurdjic.

10             MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I believe that before

11     the witness is brought in, I would like to deal with some remarks and

12     proposals regarding the testimony of Mr. Fred Abrahams.

13             The Defence would like to object to some portions of

14     Mr. Abrahams's statements because it believes that these are irrelevant,

15     unreliable, or inappropriate for a fact witness.  The Defence would like

16     to emphasize that Mr. Abrahams was called here as a fact witness, not as

17     an expert in any field; and that is why we object to the portions of his

18     statement where he, for all intents and purposes, acts as an expert

19     witness.  Had he been called here as an expert witness, we would have to

20     operate in accordance with the Rule 94 bis of the

21     Rules of Procedure and Evidence the Defence contends.

22             The Defence would like to object to Exhibit P386 tendered into

23     evidence by the Prosecution, and that is a report entitled:  "Rape as a

24     form of Ethnic Cleansing."  We assume on the basis of an analysis of the

25     previous transcripts of this witness and his statements that this

Page 3919

 1     document was tendered into evidence to indicate that the Serbian

 2     authorities were aware of what was going on in Kosovo and Metohija, that

 3     they had been receiving reports, but bearing in mind that this report was

 4     published in May --

 5             THE INTERPRETER:  Interpreter's correction:  March.

 6             MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] -- 2000 and the indictment covers

 7     the period up until the 20th of June, 1999, we believe that this is

 8     irrelevant since this notice, even if it were indeed sent, was late.  It

 9     was after the relevant period.  The contents of the exhibit show that

10     this report was published in the year 2000, and we would therefore like

11     to move that this exhibit not be admitted into evidence because of its

12     irrelevance.  We would like to do that now.

13             I believe that we have several problems with Exhibit P2228.  This

14     is a number of statements --

15             JUDGE PARKER:  Can you help me just grasp a little more clearly

16     what is your point of the irrelevance of the Exhibit P386?  You've

17     mentioned that it was written some time after the indictment period, but

18     it's a report looking retrospectively at events, so it's not altogether

19     clear to me what is the basis of your objection.

20             MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, bearing in mind all

21     the materials that the Defence has gone through and the situation that

22     was in place until this trial here today, and in light of the facts that

23     I've presented already, to wit, that this material is not based on the

24     direct knowledge of the witness, that he himself did not take part in the

25     taking of the statements from the persons who are listed in this

Page 3920

 1     report - quite the opposite is the case, other people did that - and the

 2     Prosecution has been using this to prove that the Serbian authorities had

 3     been informed but in an irrelevant period because this was published

 4     after the period that is relevant for the indictment.  Any such notice is

 5     completely irrelevant for the proceedings.  It does not have any effect,

 6     Your Honour.

 7             JUDGE PARKER:  [Microphone not activated]

 8             THE INTERPRETER:  Microphone, please.

 9             JUDGE PARKER:  -- the witness is basing his views upon statements

10     taken from persons by somebody other than the witness himself.  I'm still

11     not quite clear what it is you're saying about the date of the report.

12     Why is the date determinative of its admissibility?

13             MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, this exhibit has been

14     used by the Prosecution to indicate that the Yugoslav authorities had

15     been informed about the crimes being committed in Kosovo and Metohija in

16     the relevant period and even before the relevant period in the course of

17     1998 and 1999.  This witness took part in some research projects in 1998

18     and in 1999; however, this notice, or rather, the witness claims that his

19     organisation sent those reports to the governments, including the Serbian

20     government, through its web site, and this notice in this form was

21     available only in the year 2000, after the war ended.  It was sent to the

22     Serbian government or the FRY government, and that is why I believe that

23     any such notice actually came too late.  It was post festum, so they

24     failed to notify the authorities promptly.  And of course after such

25     reports were received, after the war ended, criminal proceedings were

Page 3921

 1     instituted in a number of cases.  This was not done in the period

 2     relevant for the indictment.  We have several pieces of evidence

 3     regarding this reporting.  I think it is in 1998.  And I will deal with

 4     them in the cross-examination naturally.

 5             JUDGE PARKER:  Thank you for that, Mr. Djurdjic.  I believe I now

 6     see the point you are wanting to make.  That is, that insofar as this

 7     report could be relied on by the Prosecution to prove knowledge by the

 8     Serbian governmental authorities.  The report was not communicated to

 9     them until after the indictment period.  Thank you.

10             MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Furthermore, Your Honour, I would

11     like to say something about P2228.  It is a compendium of statements

12     taken under 92 bis from this witness, and these are statements from 1999

13     and -- yes, yes, Your Honour, 65 ter, P2228, they have only been tendered

14     into evidence, so thank you for your correction.  We have three

15     statements here.  First of all, those statements taken under 92 bis have

16     not been admitted into evidence in the Milutinovic case in their

17     entirety, only selected passages were admitted, in accordance with the

18     objections that were raised.  And this Defence would like to object to

19     this exhibit for the following reasons:  First of all, in e-court there

20     is a page of the statement missing; it has been redacted, and it should

21     be there.  This probably happened due to a clerical error.

22             We also have the following objections:  The statements in the

23     portions that have not been admitted so far are based on hearsay evidence

24     on the one hand; and on the other hand, they contain inappropriate

25     conclusions made by a fact witness, not an expert witness.  This is in

Page 3922

 1     particular the case with the 1999 statement which contains summaries

 2     based on the statements of witnesses who were not eye-witnesses.

 3             Then we also have statements of persons that are summarised and

 4     we have no way of checking whether this person actually did say that.

 5     Here I'm talking about primarily about the statement of

 6     Mr. Bosko Drobnjak.  And I think that those portions of the statements

 7     are inadmissible.

 8             In the portions that have not been admitted into evidence in the

 9     Milutinovic case, we have some inappropriate conclusions about -- which

10     are inappropriate for a fact witness.  He gives his testimony in a manner

11     which would be appropriate for an expert witness who is an expert in

12     history, and we believe that he should provide sources that he's basing

13     his views on.  This would in particular be the case if he were an expert

14     witness.  He has not done so, yet he has made certain conclusions.

15             Furthermore, we believe that Witness Abrahams is not an impartial

16     observer, and we believe that the reports that he himself drafted,

17     inter alia, are based on selective data and that his reports and his

18     evidence, his statements, could have been influenced by his relationship

19     with the OTP of this Tribunal.

20             It is quite obvious that the conclusions were not made on the

21     basis of all the information available; and on the other hand, we don't

22     know the sources that the historical conclusions are based on.  And these

23     are conclusions that only the Trial Chamber can actually present in the

24     judgement, agreeing with them or disagreeing with them.  But it is up to

25     this Trial Chamber to make these kind of conclusions in the judgement at

Page 3923

 1     the end of the whole trial.

 2             And I would like to now highlight the most blatant parts of the

 3     statement, that pertains to the 1974 constitution and the assessments

 4     made by the witness about the political processes in the 1970s, 1980s,

 5     and 1990s.  Primarily, this witness was not a direct observer of these

 6     events, and he is not an expert witness.  And had he been called here as

 7     an expert witness, he would have had to give us his sources for his

 8     expert conclusions.  And now we have conclusions made by a fact witness,

 9     conclusions about the events that he did not participate in, and that is

10     why we believe that those portions of his statements are inadmissible.

11             Furthermore, the witness has not listed sources where his

12     allegations or claims can be verified.  Having studied the material, the

13     Human Rights Watch had a comprehensive study, a historical study, that

14     covered the period from 1990 to 1995 - that was their first report - so

15     it was done at the time when the witness was not an official of that

16     organisation at all.  He did not take part in the research.  And if he

17     actually gave his statement on the basis of this report, we believe that

18     this was not proper, and that is why we also think that those portions of

19     his statement should not be admitted into evidence.

20             And finally, the witness has made conclusions on the basis of

21     rumours, unverified rumours, and facts and sources that are not quoted.

22     So those are our reasons to object to the admission of the statements.

23             Furthermore, the Defence moves that 65 ter Exhibit P438 not be

24     admitted into evidence.  I think that we're now going back to the

25     problems that we had with the materials that were tendered through

Page 3924

 1     Mr. Neill Wright, and this Chamber has already ruled on that issue.  This

 2     exhibit is a report of the Human Rights Watch organisation entitled:

 3     "Under Orders," and it is based on statements of persons who might -- and

 4     those statements can be qualified as hearsay.  It is impossible to verify

 5     the claims, and it is unreliable evidence of the facts.  On the other

 6     hand, the Defence is unable to cross-examine any of the witnesses that

 7     have provided the statements.

 8             And I would like to add, in none of the statements, unlike the

 9     statements that are taken in order to be used in the current proceedings,

10     did -- were the witnesses warned that they should make their statements

11     to the best of their knowledge and recollections.  We -- I don't even

12     know what the statements look like.  Were they audio recorded?  Were they

13     handwritten?  Were they typed up and then signed by the persons giving

14     those statements, or was it done by the persons -- by the interviewer?

15     We don't know what shape or form those statements are.  And I would like

16     to say, furthermore, that in this exhibit, even if we're talking only

17     about the crime base - and there is also the management structure, the

18     command and control, information from 1991, and the historical

19     context - so even if we're talking only about the crime base, I believe

20     that this is inadmissible primarily because those statements were taken

21     in close collaboration with the Prosecution of this Tribunal in a

22     selective manner, not on the basis of any random sampling.

23             And the witness will explain to us how they actually selected the

24     persons that they wanted to interview, how and why those statements were

25     taken, to what end.  But I believe that the reason that I have already

Page 3925

 1     put forward for my objection is a valid one.

 2             In particular, if we bear in mind that Mr. Abrahams has had

 3     contact with the OTP since 1998, since his stay in Albania.  His first

 4     statement was given in March 1999 before the attack on the

 5     Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia was launched, I think it was

 6     the 15th or the 13th of March, that was the date of the first statement.

 7     And we will ascertain the ways in which the cooperation between the

 8     witness, his organisation on the one hand, and the Prosecution on the

 9     other hand, proceeded.  But one thing is for sure:  The witness ...

10                           [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]

11             MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] -- that in 2000 and 2001 the

12     witness was employed by the OTP of this Tribunal, he worked as an

13     investigator; and in at least two cases, he worked as an investigator

14     taking statements from witnesses.  Unfortunately, one of the statements

15     was admitted, I think, under 94 -- Rule 94, and we have yet to hear the

16     evidence of another -- of the other witness.

17             And this report contains completely inappropriate conclusions for

18     a fact witness, and those conclusions pertain to the criminal

19     responsibility of the accused, chain of command, and the structure in the

20     FRY, the functioning of the MUP and the Yugoslav Army.  So he is making

21     conclusions that only the Trial Chamber is entitled to make in its

22     judgement.  Again, the sources for such conclusions are not reliable, in

23     fact they're unknown, and some are based on interviews with some persons.

24             We believe -- let me go back to the total of six statements made

25     between February 1998 until the end of June 1999, all of the reports that

Page 3926

 1     pertain to that period are based on the statements of a total of 600

 2     persons selected according to the criteria known only to the organisation

 3     that the witness worked for.  He actually interviewed very few of those

 4     people in Albania and in Kosovo and Metohija.  This is where he

 5     interviewed those alleged victims.

 6             We believe that, for aforementioned reasons, the Defence is

 7     entitled under the Rules of Procedure and Evidence to move that this

 8     exhibit not be admitted into evidence.  Let me just add as regards P2228

 9     that -- or, in fact, there is no reason for me to do that now.  If we'll

10     have to do it, we'll do it at an appropriate time.  Thank you,

11     Your Honours, for giving me the time to present our objections.

12             JUDGE PARKER:  Thank you, Mr. Djurdjic.

13             Ms. Kravetz.

14             MS. KRAVETZ:  Thank you, Your Honours.  I will try my best to

15     address all the long list of objections that have just been raised by my

16     learned colleague.

17             Starting by Exhibit 02228, which is the 92 bis package for this

18     witness.  I would -- which my learned colleague has objected, indicating

19     that there are some inappropriate conclusions that pertain to an expert

20     witness rather than a fact witness.  This is, in fact, an inaccurate

21     representation of the evidence that's in that statement, and this -- the

22     conclusions and the observations that are made in the statement or the

23     different statements by Mr. Abrahams are, in fact, based on his personal

24     observation, his long history of work in the region, and his intensive

25     interviews conducted with survivors and eye-witnesses to the events he

Page 3927

 1     describes.  So I disagree with my colleague in that respect.

 2             It is accurate that some of the evidence or statements that

 3     Mr. Abrahams makes in his series of statements is based on hearsay

 4     evidence.  Our position is that hearsay evidence is admissible, and it is

 5     for the Chamber to determine the weight it will attach to some of his

 6     conclusions in his statements that are based on hearsay evidence.

 7             I also want to correct my learned colleague with regard to the

 8     Neill Wright decision.  He had indicated that we are in a situation

 9     similar to the Neill Wright decision.  I want to remind Your Honours that

10     Your Honours, in the Neill Wright decision with respect to attachment 4,

11     did not find that attachment inadmissible because it contained portions

12     of hearsay evidence; but the ruling of Your Honours was that the witness

13     should be cross-examined on those portions and should provide evidence on

14     how that information was obtained and how those reports were compiled.

15             So the general statement made by my colleague is, first of all,

16     not accurate; and we're in a different situation here where the witness

17     will explain and already does so in his various statements the

18     methodology used to obtain the information and will describe his work and

19     research trips to the region.

20             With regard to the allegations made with respect to his

21     impartiality or lack thereof and his cooperation with the

22     Office of the Prosecution in the past, we submit that this is a matter

23     that is -- should be addressed in cross-examination.  My learned

24     colleague will have the opportunity to put that to Mr. Abrahams and --

25     during his cross-examination.

Page 3928

 1             As regards the statements that are made in his various statements

 2     with regard to the political background of the Kosovo conflict, again, it

 3     is our submission that this is -- these conclusions that are in his

 4     statements and these observations are based on his many years of work in

 5     the area and what he has been able to learn and observe during his time

 6     working in the region.

 7             So I would submit that Your Honours postpone the decision on this

 8     selection of statements, that is 02228, until after having heard the

 9     evidence of the witness and having allowed my learned colleague the

10     opportunity to cross-examine on the issues that concern him.

11             With regard to Exhibit 0386, this is a report on rape as a weapon

12     of ethnic cleansing, my -- the submissions of my learned colleague are

13     inaccurate in this respect.  The witness indicates in his statement of

14     July 2006 - and this is at paragraph 5, and this is

15     Exhibit 65 ter 02227 - that he was involved in the -- in preparation of

16     this report and conducted interviews that later were included in the --

17     in the report itself.  And he was personally involved in the research

18     for -- in the research of this report.

19             My learned colleague raised the observation as to the notice if

20     we were -- he's presuming we were tendering this for the purpose of

21     notice and indicated that this report had been published or made

22     published after the time-period of the indictment.  We're, in fact,

23     offering this report - and I again will ask Your Honours to postpone the

24     decision of this report until after hearing the witness - but we're

25     offering this report for the purpose of proving -- I'm sorry, I'm losing

Page 3929

 1     his voice -- for proving the general statements that are made within the

 2     report by the witness based on his interviews he conducted and what he

 3     was able to learn on the issue of sexual violence perpetrated against

 4     Kosovo Albanian women by forces of the FRY and Serbia.

 5             So I would again request Your Honours to postpone a decision of

 6     the admissibility of this exhibit until after having heard the testimony

 7     of the witness on this issue.

 8             Now, with regard to "Under Orders" which is 65 ter 00438, my

 9     learned colleague has made some lengthy objections with regard to this

10     exhibit.  I would like to point out at the outset that we are not

11     intending to tender the entire report.  We have prepared extracts of the

12     report which have been uploaded under Exhibit 65 ter 00438.01, and we

13     have notified the Defence of this.  We are only intending to tender the

14     portions of the report which the witness not only personally drafted but

15     he also was himself involved in researching and in conducting interviews

16     with survivors and eye-witnesses.  So although these portions of the

17     report do contain hearsay, again it is our position that this is

18     first-hand hearsay, these portions of the report are relevant to the

19     charges of the indictment, they corroborate evidence that has been heard

20     or will be heard with respect to our crime base, and referred or contain

21     the witness's personal observations during his research trips to Kosovo.

22             So those are my submissions.  I may have forgotten one or two

23     points, and if Your Honours need me to state a position on another point

24     raised by my learned colleague that I may have omitted, I'm happy to do

25     so.

Page 3930

 1             JUDGE PARKER:  Thank you, Ms. Kravetz.

 2             Mr. Djurdjic.

 3             MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] I apologise, Your Honours.  Should

 4     the Chamber decide to postpone its decision until after the testimony of

 5     the witness, we are prepared to provide our arguments in writing should

 6     the Chamber believe that to be useful.  Thank you.

 7             JUDGE PARKER:  Thank you.

 8                           [Trial Chamber confers]

 9             JUDGE PARKER:  The Chamber is of the view that it would not be

10     able to do -- give proper consideration to all the matters raised in

11     Mr. Djurdjic's lengthy and careful submission in an extempore decision

12     today.  The practical course in the Chamber's view will be to hear the

13     evidence offered but to decide later, in view of its consideration of the

14     objections raised and the response made by Ms. Kravetz, what parts, if

15     any, will be admitted of the evidence to which objection is made.  If it

16     becomes our view that some parts or all parts that are subject of

17     objection should not be received, of course we would put that evidence

18     aside and it would not form part of the basis of our deliberation.

19             So on that basis then, the objection being noted and being in due

20     course the subject of our decision, we will proceed to hear the evidence

21     that is offered in the meantime.

22             MS. KRAVETZ:  And, Your Honour, I would like to add that if it

23     was the wish of Your Honours, we are also happy to make written

24     submissions in this respect with regard to the different exhibits.

25             JUDGE PARKER:  We're grateful for that and Mr. Djurdjic's offer,

Page 3931

 1     Ms. Kravetz, but we think we've had pretty detailed submissions, and we

 2     don't see that we need to trouble you to go through the process of

 3     putting it all down again in writing.  Thank you.

 4                           [The witness entered court]

 5             JUDGE PARKER:  Good afternoon.

 6             THE WITNESS:  Good afternoon.

 7             JUDGE PARKER:  We apologise for having kept you.  There was some

 8     significant issues raised which we needed to deal with.

 9             Would you please read aloud the affirmation on the card that is

10     shown to you.

11             THE WITNESS:  I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the

12     whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

13                           WITNESS:  FREDERICK CRONIG ABRAHAMS

14             JUDGE PARKER:  Thank you very much.  Please sit down.

15             Ms. Kravetz.

16             MS. KRAVETZ:  Thank you, Your Honours.

17                           Examination by Ms. Kravetz:

18        Q.   Good afternoon, Witness.  Could you please state your full name

19     for the record.

20        A.   Frederick Cronig Abrahams.

21        Q.   When and where were you born, Mr. Abrahams?

22        A.   In New York City, US, November 2, 1967.

23        Q.   And what is your present occupation?

24        A.   I am a senior researcher with the organisation

25     Human Rights Watch, although currently on a six-month leave as of

Page 3932

 1     May 1st.

 2        Q.   And very briefly, what is Human Rights Watch?

 3        A.   Human Rights Watch is a non-governmental organisation that

 4     documents and publicises human rights violations around the world.  We

 5     accept no government funds, and we do research in more than 70 countries

 6     without regard for any political orientation or in support or against of

 7     any religious, ethnic, or other group.  And my work in particular is now

 8     documenting violations in crisis areas and particularly armed conflict.

 9        Q.   Sir, since we're both speaking the same language today, I'm going

10     to ask you just to pause between question and answer so your answers can

11     be recorded appropriately by the court reporter today.

12             Since when have you been employed by Human Rights Watch?

13        A.   I began my full-time employment in 1995.

14        Q.   And during your time with Human Rights Watch, have you had the

15     opportunity to cover events in the former Yugoslavia?

16        A.   Yes, extensively.

17        Q.   And have you specifically had the opportunity to work on -- and

18     cover events in the province of Kosovo?

19        A.   Yes, also extensively.

20        Q.   Since when has your work been focused on events in the former

21     Yugoslavia, specifically on Kosovo province, if you recall?

22        A.   Well, my first work in the Balkan region was in Albania in 19 --

23     from 1995 to 1997.  I first visited Kosovo in the summer of 1995, but my

24     first human rights investigations there were in 1996, summer, I believe

25     July.  And from that time until 2000, I undertook multiple missions - I

Page 3933

 1     would have to count to be precise - but approximately ten, to document

 2     violations of human rights and also violations of international

 3     humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict.

 4        Q.   And in relation to your work with Human Rights Watch in Kosovo,

 5     did you provide several statements to the Office of the Prosecution of

 6     this Tribunal, one dated March 1999, a second dated January 2002, and a

 7     third one dated May 2002?

 8        A.   Yes, that's correct.

 9        Q.   Before coming to court today, did you have the opportunity to

10     review these statements?

11        A.   Yes, ma'am, I did.

12        Q.   And having had the opportunity to review the statements, are you

13     satisfied that the information contained in these statements is true and

14     accurate to the best of your knowledge and belief?

15        A.   Yes, I am.

16             MS. KRAVETZ:  Your Honours, I note you're deferring the decision

17     on the tendering of Exhibit 02228, but I wish to submit it to

18     Your Honours for admission at this point.

19             JUDGE PARKER:  That will be marked for identification.

20             THE REGISTRAR: [Interpretation] That will be assigned P00738 MFI,

21     Your Honours.

22             MS. KRAVETZ:

23        Q.   Mr. Abrahams, did you provide a further statement to the

24     Office of the Prosecution in July 2006?

25        A.   Yes, I believe I did.  I don't remember the precise date.

Page 3934

 1        Q.   Have you recently had the opportunity to review that statement?

 2        A.   Yes, I have, yes.

 3        Q.   And are you satisfied that the information contained in the

 4     statement is true and accurate to the best of your knowledge and belief?

 5        A.   Yes, I am.

 6             MS. KRAVETZ:  Your Honours, this is 65 ter 02227, and I seek to

 7     tender that into evidence at this stage.

 8             JUDGE PARKER:  It will be marked.

 9             THE REGISTRAR:  And that will be assigned P00739 MFI,

10     Your Honours.

11             MS. KRAVETZ:  Your Honours, I believe my learned colleague's

12     objections - and I may be wrong here - concerned only the first exhibit

13     but not 0227 -- 02227.  So I don't know if --

14             JUDGE PARKER:  Is there objection to the document 65 ter P2227,

15     Mr. Djurdjic?

16             MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] No, Your Honour.  My

17     learned friend, Ms. Kravetz, is fully right.

18             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be assigned P00739, Your Honours.

19             MS. KRAVETZ:  Thank you.

20        Q.   Mr. Abrahams, did you also testify previously in this Tribunal in

21     the case of Milutinovic et al.?

22        A.   Yes, I did.

23        Q.   Before coming to court today, have you had the chance to read

24     over the transcript of your previous testimony?

25        A.   Yes, I have.

Page 3935

 1        Q.   And if you were asked the same questions today as you were asked

 2     during that previous court testimony, would you provide the same answers?

 3        A.   To the best of my ability, yes, I would.

 4             MS. KRAVETZ:  Your Honours, this is 65 ter 05187, and I seek to

 5     tender that into evidence at this stage.

 6             JUDGE PARKER:  I don't believe this is subject to objection, in

 7     which event, it will be received.

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be assigned P00740, Your Honours.

 9             MS. KRAVETZ:  Thank you.

10        Q.   Mr. Abrahams, before turning to your work for Human Rights Watch

11     in Kosovo, I would like to ask you some general questions about the work

12     of the organisation in the region.  In your statement - and this is at

13     page 10 of 02228, which has been marked for identification - you indicate

14     that Human Rights Watch began reporting about human rights violations in

15     Kosovo in 1990.  And you say that between 1990 and October 2001 there

16     were approximately 16 reports published by Human Rights Watch in addition

17     to over a hundred briefing reports, press release, and advocacy papers.

18             Could you explain to the Court the methodology used by

19     Human Rights Watch in documenting human rights violations in this region.

20        A.   Well, the -- the fundamental methodology which applies to this

21     region, I mean Kosovo, the Balkans, and every country where we work, is

22     to conduct field investigations.  So researchers like myself who are

23     trained in conducting these types of investigations conduct what we call

24     missions, which means going to the country or region in question and

25     interviewing the witnesses or victims of human rights or IHL,

Page 3936

 1     humanitarian law, violations.  We also try to get information and, if

 2     possible, interview perpetrators.  We visit the scenes of the alleged

 3     violations.  We collect corroborative material or material that -- that

 4     will shed light on the -- the allegations, whether it's to prove it or

 5     disprove it, such as court records, medical reports, autopsy reports.

 6     And then also secondary sources, when they can shed lights on angles or

 7     perspectives.  So we would never rely on secondary sources solely, but we

 8     would use them to tell a fuller picture of a case in question.

 9             So it's these field research missions that form the crux of our

10     methodology.

11        Q.   And how do you document or record the information that is

12     collected during these field missions?

13        A.   Most usually it is written, in written form, notes.

14     Increasingly -- on occasion and increasingly with the digital age, my

15     colleagues have recorded interviews; but usually when recordings are

16     taken then written notes are also taken in case there is a battery -- a

17     malfunction or a battery dies.  And these notes form the -- the essence

18     of our reports.  We go back and use them.  In a way, they're witness

19     statements and -- we call them -- in Human Rights Watch we call them

20     testimony.  And it's very important, whenever possible, we conduct these

21     interviews in a one-on-one setting, so we identify the witness or the

22     victim or the person who has information, and we try to speak with them

23     in private.  We are trained not to use leading questions, but the

24     interviews are more in the form of open narrative so individuals can tell

25     us information that they wish.  And of course we ask questions to focus

Page 3937

 1     them but to avoid leading questions.

 2             And lastly, we seek to get complete pictures so we would never

 3     publish a report or make an accusation based on one witness.  We would

 4     require multiple witnesses whose statements were corroborative, and that

 5     means sometimes going into great detail, so these interviews can take a

 6     long time, they can be many hours and sometimes multiple visits to get

 7     very precise specifics that can be checked and help us determine the

 8     veracity of the person's statement.

 9        Q.   Now, you've spoken about the reports that are prepared by

10     Human Rights Watch when these field research missions are conducted.  I'm

11     interested in the reports that were prepared with regard to events in

12     Kosovo and would like to know if you could explain a little the procedure

13     followed by Human Rights Watch to disseminate reports that it produces

14     after conducting these sort of investigations.

15        A.   Our reports are widely disseminated to a variety of institutions

16     and individuals and organisations.  They go to the media, this is a very

17     important recipient of our work; they go to international organisations,

18     both non-governmental organisations and international organisations like

19     the United Nations; and they go to governments, they go widely to

20     governments that are following the issue about which the report is --

21     about the violations that the report is documenting, but also to the

22     government that -- that is implicated in these violations or that we're

23     accusing is -- the officials from that government have committed these

24     violations.  And the same goes for armed groups because we research in

25     particular -- in areas of conflict, we -- you have international

Page 3938

 1     conflicts, where we'll look at both -- two or more governments that are

 2     involved or the armed forces of those governments, but we will also

 3     examine armed groups.  In the Kosovo case, the Kosovo Liberation Army is

 4     the example, but all over the world we'll look at these armed groups as

 5     well and try our best to disseminate, make sure that they get our reports

 6     and our statements.

 7             Usually the reports are disseminated through multiple means.

 8     There's the printed version, whereby the physical reports are sent via

 9     post.  During the time in question, that was done.  It's done much less

10     today because of the prevalence of the internet, but back then it was

11     done on a standard basis.  We also distributed our press releases by fax,

12     and every report would have a press release announcing the report; and

13     also by e-mail.  And by 1996 -- I think by 1996 we had instituted a

14     distribution system by e-mail so that every statement and every report

15     was distributed in that -- in that manner.

16        Q.   And if we're concentrating specifically on Kosovo, you spoke

17     about dissemination of reports to governments you thought were implicated

18     in the human rights violations you had documented.  In the case of

19     Kosovo, if you are looking at violations that you believe were committed

20     by entities that belonged to either the Serbian or Yugoslav government,

21     would these reports have been sent to authorities in those governments or

22     institutions within those governments?

23        A.   Yes, they would.  I can only speak to the period in which I was

24     working on these issues, which was from 1995 and with Kosovo from 1996,

25     and we did undertake efforts to make sure that all of our statements and

Page 3939

 1     reports -- anything we produced publicly was distributed to the relevant

 2     officials on the Serbian and the Yugoslav level.

 3        Q.   Now, you spoke about dissemination via e-mail.  How was this

 4     carried out with respect to Yugoslav and Serbian authorities?

 5        A.   We maintained a list, a distribution list, for each country in

 6     which we worked, and at that time, you know, that included all the

 7     countries of the Balkans and specifically the Yugoslav list was -- was

 8     maintained so that everyone on that list would receive our -- receive our

 9     product.

10        Q.   And -- so was this list regularly updated?  I mean, if a person

11     changed position and a new person was appointed, would that be -- would

12     your mailing list be updated to reflect those changes?

13        A.   Yes, they would.  The list was constantly being refined, updated,

14     and adapted as necessary.

15        Q.   And with respect to Serbian authorities, did this list include

16     representatives of the Ministry of Interior, the Serbian Ministry of

17     Interior, MUP?

18        A.   Yes, it did.  The Serbian Ministry of Interior as well as the

19     Yugoslav Ministry of Interior were on the list.

20        Q.   Do you recall which other entities of the Serbian government

21     would have been included in your mailing list?

22        A.   The Yugoslav Army was on our list, the Presidencies, I believe,

23     Serbian and Yugoslav Presidencies were on it -- the list -- at least some

24     of the lists because the mailing lists and the e-mail lists might not

25     always have been exactly the same.  The Ministries of Justice on the

Page 3940

 1     republican and federal level.  That's it, interior, justice, the army,

 2     and the Presidencies, if -- to the best of my recollection.

 3        Q.   Thank you.  Now I want to turn to your work in Kosovo during

 4     1998.  Did you -- you have spoken about different research missions that

 5     you conducted in the region.  Did you conduct any research missions to

 6     Kosovo in 1998?

 7        A.   Yes, I did.

 8        Q.   When was the first mission that you conducted to the -- to Kosovo

 9     on that year?

10        A.   The first mission was in May of 1998, I believe it extended into

11     June, about three weeks long, May/June 1998.

12        Q.   What was the purpose of that mission?

13        A.   At that point, hostilities had erupted, had begun, between

14     Serbian and Yugoslav forces on one side and KLA on the other side.  There

15     had been a series of violent incidents involving -- in which civilians

16     had been killed and increasing reports of serious violations of both

17     human rights and international humanitarian law.  So we wanted to

18     investigate those allegations, and to do so required going into the

19     field, as we call it, to conduct this research.

20        Q.   And did you conduct your research in any specific area of Kosovo?

21        A.   Yes, we ended up focusing on a couple of areas but a primary

22     focus was on the region of central Kosovo that's known as Drenica.  It

23     encompasses two municipalities, I believe it's Glogovac and Srbica

24     municipalities.  This was one of the areas which -- in which the KLA was

25     very active.  Some people call it the cradle of the KLA where it began,

Page 3941

 1     and there had been some very violent incidents there in which large

 2     numbers of civilians were killed in at least three villages that I'm

 3     aware of.  So we went there to investigate the circumstances around those

 4     civilian deaths.  That was the primary focus.

 5             I believe I also spent time in the other area that was heavily

 6     affected, which is the western areas of Kosovo, particularly between Pec

 7     and Djakovica, the area of Decan, there was also a lot of fighting in

 8     that area and allegations of serious violations.

 9        Q.   Now, you mentioned that there were three villages where there had

10     been civilian death and that you had investigated.  Do you recall the

11     names of those villages?

12        A.   Yes, in Drenica the three most prominent cases were Prekaz,

13     Likosane, and Cirez.  There were different -- Likosane and Cirez are

14     neighbouring villages and that might be considered one incident.  I

15     believe it was March 20 -- February 28/March 1, and I believe 20 people

16     we considered to be civilians were killed in those two villages,

17     including ten members of one family that we believed were -- were

18     executed, members of the Ahmeti family, based on eye-witnesses who told

19     us what happened.

20             And in Prekaz was another story.  There were two incidents in

21     Prekaz, one in January and one in March -- I think it was March 5th.  And

22     the March 5th incident was the most serious.  There was increasingly

23     well-known KLA member named Adem Jashari who had had numerous

24     altercations with the police; he was definitely engaged in militant

25     activity and the security forces surrounded his compound, besieged it,

Page 3942

 1     and there were in the end I believe it's 58 members of his family were

 2     killed.  I believe Jashari and some of his family members were also

 3     fighting back, but in the end 58 members of his family died except --

 4     there was one survivor, one 11-year-old girl named Besarta.

 5             But I did not conduct in-depth investigations into the Prekaz

 6     incident.  I focused more on Likosane and Cirez.  And in that case we

 7     determined that there had been some KLA attacks and some policemen had

 8     been killed, and then the response led to the high number of civilian

 9     deaths, I believe it was more than 25.  I remember four brothers of one

10     family and a pregnant woman I remember in particular Rukija Nebija who

11     were killed in those attacks.

12        Q.   And during this research mission, were you working alone or were

13     other colleagues of Human Rights Watch working with you during this

14     investigation?

15        A.   On that mission, on that investigation, I worked alone.

16        Q.   Did you prepare a report in -- with regard to your findings

17     during this investigation?

18        A.   Yes, I did.

19        Q.   Do you recall the name of that report?

20        A.   It's called "Humanitarian Law Violations in Kosovo," and it's

21     based on that research mission and directly after I travelled to northern

22     Albania, because in the western area there were at least 10.000 ethnic

23     Albanians who had fled Kosovo into -- across the mountains into Albania,

24     so I interviewed them in northern Albania and that also formed a

25     substantial basis for our conclusions in that report.

Page 3943

 1        Q.   And were you solely involved in the drafting of this report or

 2     did other persons at Human Rights Watch collaborate in the drafting of

 3     this report?

 4        A.   I was the sole drafter, but all of our reports, this one as well

 5     as every other, go through a rigorous review process.  They're reviewed

 6     first within the geographic division, in this case it's the Europe and

 7     Central Asia division; they're reviewed by our programme office; and

 8     they're reviewed by our legal office.  So this report, like all others,

 9     went through that process.

10        Q.   Do you recall when this report was made public by

11     Human Rights Watch?

12        A.   I'm afraid I don't exactly.  It would have been probably the end

13     of 1998 if I'm not mistaken, latter month, October 1998 perhaps.  I'm

14     sorry I don't recall exactly.

15        Q.   And we had spoken earlier about the dissemination of reports.

16     Would this report have been disseminated according to the general

17     procedure of Human Rights Watch, that is, via mailing list to the

18     different authorities and to the media?

19        A.   Yes, this report would have been disseminated in the same manner.

20             MS. KRAVETZ:  Your Honours, this report is Exhibit 00437, and I

21     seek to tender it at this stage.

22             JUDGE PARKER:  It will be received.

23             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be P00741, Your Honours.

24             MS. KRAVETZ:

25        Q.   Just very briefly, Mr. Abrahams, when preparing this report, did

Page 3944

 1     you try to obtain information from the Serbian authorities as to what had

 2     occurred in the Drenica region?

 3        A.   Yes, I did, yes.

 4        Q.   How did you try to obtain this information?

 5        A.   During the mission, I requested and received a meeting with a

 6     Serbian official in Pristina, Kosovo capital.  He was the local

 7     representative of the Ministry of Information by the name of

 8     Bosko Drobnjak.  And I had a discussion with Mr. Drobnjak in which I

 9     presented some of our concerns.  I gave him a list of ethnic Albanians

10     who had gone missing, I believe that had at least 12 names on it.  He

11     replied by saying this was the government's legitimate fight against what

12     he called terrorism, and it was not within his competency to give me an

13     answer about the missing persons as well as some of the other questions I

14     had about the behaviour of the Serbian and Yugoslav security forces.

15             So when I returned to New York, I prepared a series of letters

16     which we sent from New York via fax to the relevant authorities in Serbia

17     and Yugoslavia in which we asked questions and solicited their response

18     to the various allegations we had heard in Kosovo -- I had heard during

19     the research mission.

20             MS. KRAVETZ:  I would like to have Exhibit 65 ter 00542 brought

21     up on the screen.

22        Q.   This document will appear on the screen before you, Mr. Abrahams.

23     I don't know if you have the document.  There.

24             MS. KRAVETZ:  I would like just for the English to be displayed

25     for the witness, please.  Just the English.

Page 3945

 1        Q.   Do you recognise that document, Mr. Abrahams?

 2        A.   Yes, I do.

 3        Q.   Can you explain what it is, this document.

 4        A.   This is the letter that I referenced earlier, namely, our

 5     questions to Minister Stojiljkovic, the Minister of Interior of the

 6     Republic of Serbia.  These are the questions that I sent after the

 7     research mission in May and June.

 8             MS. KRAVETZ:  I'm unfortunately having a problem with my e-court

 9     system.  It seems to be crashing quite frequently, but we'll try to

10     continue like this --

11             JUDGE PARKER:  I'm told that all systems are presently disabled

12     in all courtrooms.

13             MS. KRAVETZ:  Okay.  Well, glad to know it's not just me.

14             So if we could scroll down this document.

15        Q.   We see that this letter was sent by Ms. Holly Cartner.  Could you

16     tell us who that was?

17        A.   Holly Cartner was and still is the director of the Europe and

18     Central Asia division, at Human Rights Watch, my boss at the time.

19        Q.   Now did you receive any response to this letter sent to

20     Mr. Stojiljkovic in July 1998?

21        A.   No, we did not.

22        Q.   And I notice that in the letter you are asking about information

23     on policemen who may have died, and you're also asking about information

24     about abuses committed by government authorities, and you indicate in the

25     last question:

Page 3946

 1             "Have any policemen been disciplined or criminally charged for

 2     exceeding the legal limits while performing their duties in Kosovo ..."

 3             Was it usually the case that when conducting your investigation

 4     you tried to investigate violations committed by all sides in a conflict?

 5        A.   More than just tried.  That was explicitly our mandate, to

 6     investigate violations by all parties to the conflict, not just in the

 7     Kosovo case but in every armed conflict that we -- in which we work; and

 8     now I've worked in many.  So we were definitely interested to know about

 9     attacks on members of the police as well as the army and to hear about

10     allegations of violations committed by the KLA.

11        Q.   And just to understand, was it the general practice of

12     Human Rights Watch to try to obtain the position of the authorities you

13     thought were -- might be implicated in the abuses that you were observing

14     on the ground, or is this an exceptional case that you were sending

15     letters to government authorities in Serbia?

16        A.   No, we endeavoured to obtain the views of the government side or

17     of the forces we were -- we believed might have committed these

18     violations.

19        Q.   Would that have been the case for each one of the research

20     missions that you conducted in Kosovo during the time that you were

21     working there?

22        A.   To the best of our ability, we made these requests, yes.

23             MS. KRAVETZ:  Could we please have -- oh, I would seek to tender

24     this exhibit into evidence before we move to the next one.  This is --

25             JUDGE PARKER:  It will be received.

Page 3947

 1             MS. KRAVETZ:  Could we please have 65 ter -- oh, I'm sorry.

 2             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be assigned P00742, Your Honours.

 3             MS. KRAVETZ:  Could we now please have 65 ter 00544 up on the

 4     screen.  And if we could display the second page of that exhibit only in

 5     the English for the witness, please.

 6        Q.   Do you recognise this document, Mr. Abrahams?

 7        A.   Yes.  This is a version of the same letter that we submitted

 8     after my mission to the Yugoslav Army.

 9        Q.   With the different letters that you sent out when you were

10     conducting this research contain essentially the same questions or did

11     you change or modify the requests for information depending on the entity

12     you were addressing these letters?

13        A.   We modified the questions depending on the entity; in this case,

14     to specifically ask about incidents or information involving the VJ, the

15     Vojska Jugoslavije.

16        Q.   And this would have been a letter that was sent within the

17     context of the same research that we have been talking about conducted

18     with respect to the Drenica region?

19        A.   That's correct.

20             MS. KRAVETZ:  I seek to tender this exhibit at this stage.  This

21     is 65 ter 00544.

22             JUDGE PARKER:  It will be received.

23             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be assigned P00743, Your Honours.

24             MS. KRAVETZ:  Your Honours, there are a series of these letters,

25     there are seven in total, which are referred to in the exhibit that I

Page 3948

 1     have already tendered, the 65 ter 2227, and they are described or

 2     explained at pages 2 to 3 of these exhibits.  I'm not -- I do not wish to

 3     go -- show the witness each one of these letters, but as they are

 4     contained within that statement that has already been admitted by

 5     Your Honours, I would seek to tender the whole -- the remaining five

 6     letters which are described in that statement.

 7             JUDGE PARKER:  The five will be received.

 8             MS. KRAVETZ:  So I will call out each one of the 65 ter numbers

 9     so they get assigned an exhibit number.  The first one is 00540.

10             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be assigned P00744, Your Honours.

11             MS. KRAVETZ:  00541.

12             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be assigned P00745.

13             MS. KRAVETZ:  00543.

14             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be P00746.

15             MS. KRAVETZ:  00545.

16             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be assigned P00747.

17             MS. KRAVETZ:  And the last one is 00546.

18             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be assigned P00748.

19             MS. KRAVETZ:  Your Honours, I'm going to be moving to a different

20     topic now.  I think -- I don't know if this is an appropriate moment for

21     the break.  I know we're five minutes early --

22             JUDGE PARKER:  Perhaps that will be a convenient time.  We will

23     adjourn for the half-hour and resume at five minutes to 4.00.

24                           --- Recess taken at 3.24 p.m.

25                           --- On resuming at 3.59 p.m.

Page 3949

 1             JUDGE PARKER:  Ms. Kravetz.

 2             MS. KRAVETZ:  Thank you, Your Honour.

 3        Q.   Mr. Abrahams, before the break we were talking about your

 4     research missions to Kosovo in 1998, and I would like now to ask you some

 5     questions about a report that you referred to in your statement of

 6     July 2006 and also in your previous statements, and this is at paragraph

 7     19 of P739.  And this is a report called "A Week of Terror in Drenica"

 8     which you say you co-authored with a colleague.  Could you tell us what

 9     this report was about?

10        A.   I returned to Kosovo in September 1998, and during that time the

11     Serbian and Yugoslav forces were on a military offensive to rout the KLA

12     from territory that the Albanian fighters had -- had taken control of.

13     And we heard of an incident - I believe I learned of it on

14     September 28th - an incident in the Drenica region in which a large

15     number of people from one family had reportedly been killed, civilians.

16     So my colleague and I travelled to this village.  The offensive -- the

17     government offensive had stopped at that time.  I believe it stopped on

18     the 26th of September.  And we succeeded to reach the village.  It was a

19     place called Obrinje, Gornje Obrinje to be precise.  And when we arrived

20     there, we witnessed the villagers taking from a wooded area the bodies of

21     civilians who had been killed.  There were -- when we arrived they were

22     carrying out three individuals, all of them children, on a kind of

23     makeshift stretcher and there were other bodies in a wooded area just

24     outside the village.  I believe it was seven bodies of women and children

25     in total.  And they were burying them in a nearby field.  14 members of

Page 3950

 1     that family, it's the Delijaj family were killed, and we saw the bodies

 2     of the seven plus the three they were taking out.

 3             So we began an investigation that day which lasted for about

 4     three weeks.  We ended up returning -- my colleague and I left Kosovo and

 5     then returned again in November to complete the investigation.  And our

 6     findings were produced in this -- in this report that you mentioned

 7     "A week of terror in Drenica."

 8        Q.   You spoke about a colleague of yours who was involved in this

 9     investigation.  Can you please indicate what was his name or her name?

10        A.   Peter Bouckaert.

11        Q.   You said you learned of this incident in the village on

12     September 28th, do you recall -- yes, before I move to my question could

13     you please spell out the last name of your colleague.

14        A.   B-o-u-c-k-a-e-r-t.

15        Q.   Thank you.  Now you said that you had learned of this incident on

16     September 28th.  Do you recall from whom you had -- you learned about it,

17     you initially heard about this incident?

18        A.   I initially heard about it from some -- from an ethnic Albanian

19     friend who was a journalist in Pristina, worked for the newspaper

20     "Koha Ditore," and he didn't know the details but told me that something

21     had happened in this village of Gornje Obrinje.  So based on that

22     information, we decided to take a look.

23        Q.   Now, you told us that your research lasted for about three weeks.

24     Could you briefly explain the methodology that you used during this

25     research that you conducted into this incident.

Page 3951

 1        A.   Well, in this case, we were ourselves ocular witnesses, not to

 2     the killing itself, in that sense no; but we saw the bodies as they lay

 3     there.  And that formed on important part of our results because the

 4     wounds were consistent with the testimony we collected, and I can go into

 5     detail about what we saw on the bodies if you -- if that's helpful.  But

 6     the investigation then involved the in-depth interviews with the people

 7     we believed had information about the incident.  That means the family

 8     members of those affected plus others who lived in the village of Obrinje

 9     and in the general area.

10             There was another incident in the nearby village of Golubovac

11     where 14 men were executed.  That also was part of that report.  So we

12     interviewed a large number.  I would have to look at the report to tell

13     you exactly how many people we interviewed.  All of the interviews are

14     in -- are footnoted, the name if appropriate -- I mean if the person

15     doesn't request anonymity, the date and place of the interview, and also

16     my notes to tell you how many people.  But we interviewed definitely more

17     than two dozen people, for sure more than two dozen, who had some

18     information about this incident.

19             We also looked at official statements from the

20     Serbian and Yugoslav government.  In this case there had been fighting in

21     the village of Obrinje between the KLA and Serbian forces.  There had

22     been fighting in the Drenica area in general.  And some Serbian policemen

23     had been killed.  And their names were made public by the government.  So

24     we included those details, the fact that there are had been fighting in

25     the area is very relevant to trying -- to determining whether there had

Page 3952

 1     been a violation or not.  And all of that taken together was -- was used

 2     to help us reach our conclusions.

 3        Q.   You said that you interviewed about two dozen people who could

 4     provide information of this incident.  Did you interview each person

 5     separately?

 6        A.   I would have to refer to my notes to tell you whether each and

 7     every individual was interviewed in a one-on-one setting, but by all

 8     means that is our aim.  We strive to do that at every time and it is for

 9     the most part possible.  We make -- we take great efforts to ensure that

10     atmosphere, but there are times when it's not possible.  And so I can't

11     testify that every single interview was in that setting, but the vast and

12     overwhelming majority of them definitely were.

13        Q.   And what did these persons that you interviewed in Gornje Obrinje

14     tell you about what had happened there?

15        A.   They testified that -- that there had been fighting in the area

16     and that the KLA had been -- had established a base in the nearby village

17     called Likovac, but the Serbian forces perhaps with -- also with

18     participation of the Yugoslav Army had surrounded the area.  There was

19     shelling of the area.  And civilians, mostly women and children, had fled

20     the village of Obrinje and tried to take shelter in a forested area,

21     maybe a kilometre away from the village.  And that's the -- that's the

22     area where we found the bodies later.  Other members of the family and

23     villagers, not just the Delijaj family, fled in other directions.  Some

24     of them tried to hide in the village itself and a few of those people

25     were found killed.  Mostly those were older members of the family who

Page 3953

 1     were -- apparently they were too old to flee on foot.

 2             And then they testified about returning on the 28th, I think, if

 3     not the 27th, returning to the area and finding the bodies of their

 4     relatives in this -- in this wooded area and in other parts of the

 5     village.  There was -- in one case there was an eye-witness to killings.

 6     It happened, I believe, I would have to -- the Hysenaj family, it was a

 7     woman from the Hysenaj family within another part of the Obrinje village.

 8     She witnessed what she said were the police interrogating and she claimed

 9     killing three older residents who had stayed behind.  This was also in

10     the Obrinje village but not members of the Delijaj family, another

11     family.  I would have to check the report to give you the names of those

12     victims, but it's recorded.

13             And that corroborated what we found, I should add.  When we

14     entered the village on the 29th, we saw those bodies, three bodies, it

15     was, I believe, two elderly men and an elderly woman, and we saw their

16     bodies lying there and -- but then proceeded on to the Delijaj family,

17     which were the bodies we found in the forest.  And then in the subsequent

18     interviews, we learned how those three people had been killed.

19        Q.   And with respect to these bodies that you were able to observe

20     yourself, what sort of wounds were you able to observe on the bodies, if

21     any?

22        A.   I took the closest look at the seven bodies that were in a kind

23     of gully, and it was a dry -- sort of a dry stream bed.  They were -- I

24     believe it was two children and five adults, and most of them, not all,

25     but most had wounds to the head.  One of them had been pregnant.  That I

Page 3954

 1     was -- that I didn't recognise myself.  I was told that by the victim's

 2     husband.  And some of them showed signs of mutilation.  What was --

 3     looked to me like possible knife wounds.  One man who was not in the

 4     gully, he was a little bit towards -- on the path, more towards --

 5     towards the village, he was an elderly gentleman who was named

 6     Piazit [phoen] Delijaj, his throat had been slit.

 7        Q.   You referred to also having had access to official statements of

 8     Yugoslav and Serbian authorities.  Can you explain what sort of entity

 9     had issued those statements and what was contained in those statements

10     that you had access to?

11        A.   Regarding this incident?

12        Q.   Yes, regarding this incident, if you recall.

13        A.   To the best of my knowledge, the statements were released by what

14     was called the media centre - I think it was called the Serbian media

15     centre, but maybe it was just called the media centre - which had been

16     established in Pristina with a base at the Hotel Grand, which was the

17     main hotel in Pristina, and it was never officially linked to the state,

18     to the government; but it was everyone's understanding that it was a

19     government-run or in the very least government-supported press centre.

20             And they released statements regularly about attacks on police

21     and army, and in this case they did the same, releasing at least one

22     statement with the names of some of the policemen.  I believe some of

23     them were reservists and others were regular police who had been killed

24     in and around Obrinje in the fighting that preceded the incident to which

25     I referred.

Page 3955

 1        Q.   Now, did you or your colleague take photographs at the location

 2     that you visited, at Gornje Obrinje?

 3        A.   Yes, we did.

 4             MS. KRAVETZ:  Can we please have 65 ter 00642 up on the screen.

 5        Q.   Do you recognise the photograph that is before you on your

 6     screen?

 7        A.   Yes, I do.

 8        Q.   Can you tell us what is depicted there.

 9        A.   These are two children from the Delijaj family being taken from

10     this forested area to the nearby open field for burial.  I think I

11     mentioned a makeshift stretcher and that would be this basically two

12     pieces of wood with a fabric in between.  This photograph was taken by my

13     colleague, Peter Bouckaert, while I was present.

14        Q.   Thank you.

15             MS. KRAVETZ:  Your Honours, I would like to tender this

16     photograph, it's 65 ter 00642.

17             JUDGE PARKER:  It will be -- they will be received.  One

18     photograph, it will be received.

19             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be assigned P00749, Your Honours.

20             MS. KRAVETZ:  Could we now move to 65 ter 00653, if that could be

21     displayed for the witness.

22        Q.   Could you please comment on the photograph that's put up on the

23     screen before you.

24        A.   This is one of the Delijaj family members, a woman, as we found

25     her in this so-called gully in -- outside the village of Obrinje, taken

Page 3956

 1     by my colleague, Peter Bouckaert.

 2        Q.   And this would have been, again, a photograph taken during the

 3     course of the same visit to Gornje Obrinje?

 4        A.   That's correct.  These are one of the seven bodies that we saw,

 5     that I saw, in the gully.

 6             MS. KRAVETZ:  Your Honours, I seek to tender this exhibit, 00653.

 7             JUDGE PARKER:  It will be received.

 8             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be assigned P00750, Your Honours.

 9             MS. KRAVETZ:  If we could now see 00679, please.

10        Q.   Do you recognise this photograph, Mr. Abrahams?

11        A.   Yes, I do.

12        Q.   Can you tell us what is depicted on this photograph?

13        A.   This is one of the Delijaj children as we found him in the gully

14     outside of Obrinje on September 29th.

15        Q.   And do you recall who took this photograph?

16        A.   Peter Bouckaert.

17        Q.   You have spoken about having seen seven bodies.  Do you recall

18     how many of those bodies were bodies of women or children?

19        A.   I don't recall precisely.  I believe two of the bodies were

20     children and five were women, but my recollection is a little hazy after

21     all of these years.  It is presented in the report, though.

22        Q.   Thank you.

23             MS. KRAVETZ:  If we could -- I seek to tender that before I move

24     to the next photograph, this is 00679.

25             JUDGE PARKER:  It will be received.

Page 3957

 1             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be assigned P00751, Your Honours.

 2             MS. KRAVETZ:  If we could now move to 00702, please.

 3        Q.   Do you recognise this photograph, Mr. Abrahams?

 4        A.   Yes.

 5        Q.   Could you tell us what is depicted on this photograph.

 6        A.   This photograph was taken in a village called Plocica, which is

 7     in the Drenica region just a few kilometres north of the Pristina-Pec

 8     road.  We entered the village on September 26th and just after the

 9     Serbian and Yugoslav offensive had stopped.  We actually observed a large

10     convoy of military vehicles leaving the region -- leaving this area.  And

11     when we entered Plocica, the villagers were just returning.  They had

12     been hiding in the forest.  And we asked them what happened.  And in

13     interviews they told us that their area had been -- had come under attack

14     from shelling and that police forces had entered the village so they fled

15     into the nearby forest.

16             And when they returned they found their village in this

17     condition.  The village had been heavily destroyed, and it appeared to us

18     as if it had been -- large sections of the civilian infrastructure had

19     been purposely set on fire.  I say that because the homes -- this

20     photograph is a good example.  The homes were burning - this was still on

21     fire - from the inside.  The walls were still standing.  There were no

22     burn marks on the exterior walls, but the inside of the structures were

23     burning.  I recall seeing at least three haystacks that had been

24     individually burned, which suggested to me that they had been set on

25     fire.  There was a long briar fence that had been burned, and I also

Page 3958

 1     found at least one benzine bottle of -- I mean, a plastic bottle that

 2     smelled of benzine.  I also recall finding in a field near to this home a

 3     box of empty ammunition and probably a mortar -- probably mortars -- a

 4     box that held mortars.

 5             This particular -- this particular structure was a food

 6     warehouse, and inside the house were melons and sacks of flour that were

 7     on fire.  I believe this gentleman is the owner of the house.  I'm not

 8     sure exactly who he is, but this was taken by a man named Wade Goddard

 9     who was a photographer for the New York Times; he was travelling with us.

10             I should add one additional recollection were the farm animals.

11     I remember seeing three burned sheep in the village and also a cow and

12     the cow had been shot, had been shot in the head, which was -- after that

13     I subsequently in the region saw many cows, at least ten cows that had

14     been also killed in this way but not in Plocica.

15        Q.   And did you -- were you able to observe any evidence that there

16     had been fighting in Plocica before you -- your team arrived?

17        A.   No.  We were not able -- did not see any evidence of hostilities.

18     By that I mean we found no bullet casings.  The only weaponry we found

19     was the box of mortar fire, which incidentally I should say had Cyrillic

20     writing on the outside of the box.  So we took it to mean it was

21     Yugoslav Army equipment, perhaps police.  But we didn't find any bullet

22     casings.  We didn't find any marks on the structures that would indicate

23     fighting, such as impact marks of bullets or other forms of ammunition.

24             And we found no signs of defensive positions or other, let's say,

25     physical signs of the KLA's presence, bunkers or berms or anything that

Page 3959

 1     they might have prepared, which we did see in other villages where the

 2     KLA had been fighting.

 3             MS. KRAVETZ:  Your Honour, I see that my learned colleague is on

 4     his fight.

 5             JUDGE PARKER:  Mr. Djurdjic.

 6             MR. DJURDJIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, it appears to me that

 7     now we have gone beyond testifying about facts.  We have now gone into

 8     conclusions that would more properly be reached by a military expert.

 9             JUDGE PARKER:  The only evidence so far is that there were no

10     signs of presence of fighters, bunkers, or berms, which is a military

11     emplacement.  That seems to be within the competence of the observation

12     of any person, Mr. Djurdjic.

13             So carry on, please, Ms. Kravetz.

14             MS. KRAVETZ:  Thank you, Your Honour.

15        Q.   Now, is the damage we see here on the photograph and what you

16     have described as a barn consistent with the damage that you were able to

17     observe on other civilian property in the village of Plocica?

18        A.   Yes, it's wholly consistent.

19        Q.   Thank you.

20             MS. KRAVETZ:  Your Honours, I seek to tender this photograph into

21     evidence it's 65 ter 00702.

22             JUDGE PARKER:  It will be received.

23                           [Trial Chamber and Registrar confer]

24             THE REGISTRAR:  That will be assigned P00752, Your Honours.

25             MS. KRAVETZ:

Page 3960

 1        Q.   Now, we were talking about your investigation into the incident

 2     in the killing in the village of Gornje Obrinje and the report that you

 3     and your colleague drafted.  Do you recall when that report was made

 4     public, "A Week of Terror in Drenica"?

 5        A.   I believe it was February 1999.

 6        Q.   And again, we had been speaking earlier about dissemination of

 7     reports.  Would this report have also been sent to both Serbian and

 8     Yugoslav authorities in accordance with your usual procedure?

 9        A.   Yes, it would have, yes.

10        Q.   Do you know if it was also disseminated to the press, if it was

11     sent -- copies were sent to the press at the time when it was released?

12        A.   Definitely, and I should add that this incident also received

13     widespread international media attention.  I mentioned the photographer

14     from the New York Times.  We were also accompanied, we were travelling

15     with, a journalist from the New York Times, Jane Perlez, and she wrote a

16     front-page article in the New York Times about this very incident with

17     photographs of the victims.  So this -- this Gornje Obrinje case received

18     widespread coverage, as did our subsequent report.

19        Q.   And do you recall approximately when this article would have been

20     published in the New York Times?  I mean, was this when you were still

21     investigating or after you had concluded your three-week mission in the

22     region?

23        A.   No, the article would have been published just days after the

24     journalist and photographer had visited the scene, so the -- I don't know

25     the precise date, but it would have been September 30th, maybe the

Page 3961

 1     beginning of October.

 2        Q.   Thank you.

 3             MS. KRAVETZ:  Your Honours, I seek to tender the report into

 4     evidence this is 65 ter 00441.

 5             JUDGE PARKER:  It will be received.

 6             THE REGISTRAR:  And that will be assigned P00753, Your Honours.

 7             MS. KRAVETZ:

 8        Q.   Mr. Abrahams, I would like now -- I would like to move to your

 9     work in Kosovo in 1999.  Did you return to Kosovo in early 1999 to

10     conduct an additional investigative research mission in the region?

11        A.   I visited Kosovo four times in 1998 to conduct research, and then

12     again in February of 1999.

13        Q.   And what was the purpose of your visit -- your mission to Kosovo

14     in February 1999?

15        A.   It was to continue our investigations about IHL violations,

16     international humanitarian law, and in particular the focus of my

17     research was to be the alleged destruction of civilian property in -- in

18     parts of Kosovo.  We began that research, but because the NATO

19     bombardment of Yugoslavia began on March 24th, we never concluded the

20     research and never published a report with our findings.

21        Q.   And on that occasion, were you on your own conducting this

22     investigation or were you with other colleagues from Human Rights Watch?

23        A.   In February I was with a colleague, yes.

24        Q.   Did you take any photographs of what you were able to observe

25     during this February mission?

Page 3962

 1        A.   Yes, I did.

 2        Q.   And do you recall if you were specifically in any area of the

 3     province?  I mean, was your research focused on any specific area of the

 4     province or did you tour different municipalities?

 5        A.   We toured extensively, but I recall focusing on the western area,

 6     particularly around the city of Pec, and also in and around Suva Reka.

 7        Q.   And why did you decide to focus on that area in western Kosovo

 8     and Suva Reka?

 9        A.   In that area we had been receiving the most consistent and

10     credible allegations of serious violations.

11        Q.   And serious violations by whom, by which of the parties to the

12     fighting?

13        A.   By both -- by both of the parties.

14        Q.   And from whom had you been receiving these allegations?

15        A.   From a long list of sources.  They were coming from other human

16     rights organisations, both local and international, they were coming from

17     the media, they were coming from local authorities, they were coming from

18     the network of individuals in Kosovo that I had developed, people we

19     trusted to tell us about what was going on.

20             MS. KRAVETZ:  If we could have Exhibit 00700 up on the screen and

21     I would like to have page 5 displayed for the witness.  Yes, this is the

22     65 ter -- yes.

23        Q.   Do you recognise the image that's -- the photograph that's up on

24     the screen, Mr. Abrahams?

25        A.   Yes, I believe this is a photo of the village called Lodja just

Page 3963

 1     outside of Pec.

 2        Q.   And who took this photograph, if you recall?

 3        A.   I did.

 4        Q.   And would this have been a photograph taken during this mission

 5     that you were describing in February 1999?

 6        A.   Yes, that's correct.

 7        Q.   And were you able to obtain any information as to what had

 8     happened there?  We see houses without roofs and that have been burnt?

 9        A.   Well, I first visited Lodja in September of 1998 -- or better

10     said, I tried to visit Lodja.  At that time, it was occupied by the

11     Serbian police.  We saw them in uniform, and they denied us access to the

12     village.  I should say that even prior to that the KLA had definitely

13     been in the village, I believe in July; but when I arrived in September,

14     the police were there.  They didn't let us in.

15             This -- when I returned then in February of 1999 and took this

16     photograph, they had left.  We were able to enter the village.  And

17     that's when we observed and photographed the destruction that's depicted

18     here.

19             MS. KRAVETZ:  If we could turn to page 7 of this same exhibit.

20        Q.   Do you recognise this photograph?

21        A.   Yes.

22        Q.   Could you tell us what is depicted there?

23        A.   These are private homes, typical Albanian homes, just outside of

24     Suva Reka.  I don't recall the exact name of the district, but within a

25     few kilometres of Suva Reka.

Page 3964

 1        Q.   And do you recall who took this photograph?

 2        A.   I did.

 3        Q.   Would this have also been a photograph taken during your same

 4     February mission that you have been speaking about?

 5        A.   That's correct, yes.

 6        Q.   And were you able to obtain information as to who had burned

 7     these homes, what had happened in this area?

 8        A.   Witnesses claimed that Serbian forces had burned these homes.  I

 9     don't, at this point, recall the details of those incidents.  What was

10     clear to me is that they had been burned from inside.  Again, the lack

11     of -- the absence of the roof -- the wooden roofs that had been burned

12     and very limited scarring, burn marks, on the exterior, only when the

13     fire appeared to have come out from a window.

14             MS. KRAVETZ:  If we could look at page 8 of this same exhibit.

15        Q.   Do you recognise this photograph?

16        A.   I do, but I'm afraid I'm not certain where -- what village it was

17     taken.  I believe in the Drenica area, probably Obrinje, but I'm not

18     certain.

19        Q.   And can you explain what is depicted here on the photograph?

20        A.   It was -- it's a destroyed mosque, that's for sure, and I

21     remember seeing a number of these in the Drenica area, but I don't recall

22     the precise village.  I'm sorry.

23        Q.   That's fine.  And would this have also been a photograph taken by

24     you?

25        A.   Yes, definitely.

Page 3965

 1             MS. KRAVETZ:  If we could look at page 10 of this same exhibit.

 2        Q.   And again, Mr. Abrahams, if you could explain what is depicted on

 3     this photograph.

 4        A.   These -- this is also a mosque with substantial destruction to

 5     the roof and minaret, again in the Drenica region.  I could easily figure

 6     out which village by looking back at my reports and notes, but sitting

 7     here I'm not certain which village it was taken in.

 8        Q.   And were you able to obtain any information while you were there

 9     as to how this mosque had been damaged and by whom?

10        A.   Local residents told us that it had been damaged by Serbian

11     forces, but I do not recall the specifics of that allegation.

12        Q.   Okay.

13             MS. KRAVETZ:  If we could turn to the next page, page 11.

14        Q.   Would this be a photograph of the same mosque we saw earlier?

15        A.   That's correct, it's the same mosque as the previous photograph.

16        Q.   Thank you.

17             MS. KRAVETZ:  Your Honours, I seek to tender this exhibit into

18     evidence.  There are additional photographs to this exhibit that I have

19     not shown to the witness.  The exhibit is 65 ter 00700.  The photographs

20     I have not shown to the witness are described or explained in his

21     statement, these are page 12 and 13 of the statement of May 2002.

22             JUDGE PARKER:  I understand you seek to tender five photographs;

23     is that right?

24             MS. KRAVETZ:  Yes, the photographs that I have shown to the

25     witness.

Page 3966

 1             JUDGE PARKER:  They will be received.

 2             THE REGISTRAR:  Photographs under page 5, 7, 8, and 10,

 3     Your Honours, and 11 will be assigned P00754.

 4             MS. KRAVETZ:

 5        Q.   Mr. Abrahams, I now want to move to the period of the NATO

 6     bombing.  Could you please tell us how Human Rights Watch coordinated the

 7     coverage of the NATO bombing in 1999.

 8        A.   When the bombing began, we mobilised a team of researchers to the

 9     border areas with Kosovo.  The international media and monitors from the

10     OSCE were leaving, either on their own or being expelled, Kosovo.  So

11     entering the province was not an option for us, either legally, meaning

12     we wouldn't be allowed in, and also for our security.  So we sent

13     researchers to the area of northern Albania and Macedonia where they were

14     interviewing ethnic Albanian refugees who were leaving and, as they told

15     us, being expelled from Kosovo.

16             I stayed in New York for the initial period to coordinate the

17     project.  We sent our first researcher to north Albania within a few

18     days, I believe it was three days after the start of the bombing so that

19     would be around March 27th or 8th, and we had a researcher present in

20     both cases for the full extent of the NATO campaign, which I believe

21     lasted 78 days.  I myself went in April to northern Albania, spent a few

22     weeks up there interviewing the refugees coming into the area of Kukes,

23     the town, and in the north; and then I went to Macedonia to do the same.

24     In both places, large refugee camps had been established.  So we

25     interviewed refugees as they came across the border immediately and also

Page 3967

 1     then in the camps where they were being sheltered.

 2        Q.   Now, you spoke about interviewing refugees as they were crossing

 3     the border into northern Albania, into Kukes.  Do you recall what they

 4     were saying or what reasons they were giving for having left their homes

 5     and crossed over into northern Albania based on the interviews you

 6     conducted and what you were able to hear from these persons?

 7        A.   The interview subjects uniformly told us that they had left their

 8     homes because they had been forcibly expelled by security forces from

 9     either Serbia or Yugoslavia, meaning the army.  Some of them left out of

10     fear of expulsion, in other words, maybe they were not directly forced

11     out of their villages but all the neighbouring villages had been and they

12     got the message and left before they themselves were evicted.

13             In many cases, these interviewees talked of killings in their

14     home villages that typically -- a typical example would be that the area

15     was surrounded and security forces separated the men from the women.  The

16     women were told to leave the area and sent to the border district where

17     they had to cross out of Kosovo, and the men were kept behind, searched,

18     interrogated.  But in a disturbing number of cases, in villages that I

19     could mention and which we reported, these men were -- were executed and

20     there are some specific examples where that took place.  Along the way, a

21     lot of these people told us that they were harassed and robbed.

22     Actually, theft and looting was more the exception than the norm that

23     people had their wedding rings taken, their money, and other valuables by

24     police, army, and also paramilitary units that were operating at that

25     time.

Page 3968

 1             They also spoke about something we called identity cleansing,

 2     which is that along the way, and especially on the border, they were

 3     stripped of their identity documents.  Sometimes cars had their licence

 4     plates removed, and people were forced to enter into Albania or Macedonia

 5     without any personal documentation.  We interpreted this as a -- as an

 6     attempt to limit or restrict or prevent -- prevent their return to

 7     Kosovo.  But I won't speculate on the motivation but simply the fact that

 8     many people said their documents had been taken by state security forces.

 9        Q.   Now, were these persons that you were interviewing as they were

10     crossing the border into Kukes, were they coming from area particular

11     area of Kosovo or were they coming from different municipalities across

12     the province?

13        A.   They came from a wide geographic area, but predominantly they

14     came from the western areas of Kosovo, this would be anywhere from

15     Djakovica, north to Pec, even north-west of that -- actually north-east

16     of that, Istok area, Suva Reka area.  In general, the people who went

17     south to Macedonia were from the eastern parts of Kosovo, from Pristina,

18     Lipljan, Vucitrn, and those areas.

19        Q.   Now, you spoke about cases where the interviewees would tell you

20     about killings that happened in their villages and you said that there

21     was some specific examples that came to mind.  Now, could you -- do you

22     recall any of those examples that you heard while you were conducting

23     these interviews at the border?

24        A.   Yes, I do.  One of the very serious cases I recall is -- happened

25     in the village of Bela Crkva, where the men were separated from the women

Page 3969

 1     and children and held in a kind of stream bed, where forces opened fire

 2     on them.  We interviewed multiple witnesses, not just to the shooting but

 3     also to the incident as a whole, in other words, woman who said they had

 4     been separated from their men plus the men who had -- had been present,

 5     and we interviewed some survivors.  In Bela Crkva I remember very vividly

 6     one survivor who testified about bodies falling on top of him, and he

 7     himself had been hit by a bullet.  We took him to see a doctor and indeed

 8     he had a bullet, if I remember correctly, it was lodged in his shoulder.

 9     And 30-some odd people died in Bela Crkva.

10             I remember quite well the testimony we got from villagers from a

11     place called Meja.  In that village they said that possibly up to 300

12     people had been -- had been killed, and that was a very interesting case

13     because -- if you want I can go -- I don't know if details are of service

14     to you.

15        Q.   Yes, you can briefly explain, yes.

16        A.   Okay.  The Meja case was interesting because we first heard news

17     of it in the morning as women crossed into Albania without their men, and

18     we asked, Well, why are you coming alone, just women and children.  And

19     they said, We come from this area around Meja, and they separated us from

20     our husbands and sons and fathers.

21             Then in the middle of the day, I believe this was April 27th, in

22     the middle of the day I interviewed women, refugees who said, We came

23     through that same route, through Meja, and we saw men, we witnessed men

24     kneeling by the side of the road in the detention of the police.  And

25     then we interviewed women who came through in the end of the day,

Page 3970

 1     April 27th, who said, We saw an even larger number of people and there

 2     were at least two witnesses who said they saw dead bodies who had been --

 3     were literally piled up and on the side of the road.  And they estimated

 4     that it was 300 bodies.  And I specifically remember asking how they

 5     could do that because when you're afraid are you going to count bodies

 6     and if they're tumbled on top of each other.  And I remember them

 7     describing that they were -- about how large the pile was, but in their

 8     testimony it was 300 people.

 9             And the Meja case stands out in my mind because after the

10     fighting ended we went to Meja and conducted lengthy investigations.  My

11     colleague went there two days after the war ended, so that would be

12     June 14th, and saw a few bodies by the side of the road exactly where the

13     refugees had told us this incident had occurred, as well as remnants of

14     personally identity documents and personal effects.  And then I went to

15     Meja in July and conducted lengthy interviews with villagers from the

16     area, and it turned out that there were about 300 people missing from the

17     village at that time and their testimony was very consistent, and it was

18     very credible, and we -- I was -- I was particularly surprised at the

19     level of corroboration between the witnesses in Kosovo and what we had

20     heard in -- in Albania from the refugees.  I remember that striking me.

21     Of course there are other cases that I can talk about as well.

22        Q.   Can you tell us a little bit about the interviews that you

23     conducted.  I mean, you said you went to Meja and spoke to people who

24     were there about these allegations that you had heard from people

25     streaming out of Kosovo earlier in April 1999.  How were these interviews

Page 3971

 1     conducted?  How long were the interviews in relation to -- now we're

 2     speaking only in relation to this specific incident of Meja.

 3        A.   Well, every interview was different, so I can't tell you that

 4     every single interview was the same way, no, that's not the case.  But in

 5     general, we always strived to have these interviews be conducted in a

 6     one-on-one setting.  They can take a long time, meaning two or three

 7     hours if not more.  We do not ask leading questions.  We try to have them

 8     tell us what they think is important and what is relevant, which includes

 9     the location and activities of the Kosovo Liberation Army or, in this

10     period in question, the NATO forces, which of course were not on the

11     ground but the air -- the air campaign from NATO.  So, you know, whether

12     that's the case for every interview I can't say, but that's certainly the

13     goal to which we -- towards which we strive.

14        Q.   And just to clarify, when were you in Meja conducting this

15     investigation?

16        A.   July 1999.

17        Q.   And for how long did you remain there?

18        A.   I would have to check my notes to be sure, but I was definitely

19     in the Meja area for at least three days.  Because, you know, the

20     incident didn't just occur to the residents of Meja.  There are a series

21     of villages along this valley, and they all came through Meja; and Meja

22     was the location of where the men were separated.  So I visited at least

23     three of those villages along this -- along this -- in this area.  I also

24     spent time in nearby Djakovica.  Definitely I was there at least -- I was

25     there definitely two days, and I believe three days in Djakovica and also

Page 3972

 1     in the nearby village called Kostajnica I think -- I think I'm confusing

 2     that with a certain politician.  I'm sorry, I'm forgetting.  Kosica maybe

 3     is the village, I'm sorry, I'm forgetting the name of that -- of that

 4     village.

 5        Q.   And when you were conducting these investigations into the Meja

 6     incident, how did you go about trying to find persons who were able to

 7     provide information of what had occurred there?

 8        A.   You mean how did we identify the subjects for interview?

 9        Q.   Yes.

10        A.   Well, the first question to ask is:  Who was here at the day in

11     question?  And through that, the local villagers would tell you which

12     individuals or which families were present at that time.  I believe we

13     also had the names of some of the people whom we had interviewed in Kukes

14     from before and would have gone back to see those people.  And through

15     that - these are small, small towns - through that we would have

16     identified people who said they had information to share about the

17     incident in question.  And then we would take those people and sit down

18     with them in quiet and conduct the interview.

19        Q.   When you were there in July, were there residents or the

20     villagers of Meja returning to the area?  I mean, was it easy to locate

21     persons who were able to speak about these events?

22        A.   Yes, it was very easy because by then virtually all, if not all,

23     of the residents had returned to Kosovo.  They came back almost

24     immediately when the NATO campaign stopped.

25        Q.   Now, while you were conducting these interviews in Meja, were you

Page 3973

 1     able to disturb any destruction to civilian property in the village?

 2        A.   In Meja itself?  I'm sorry, I don't -- I don't recall that.

 3        Q.   Okay.  Now, you spoke also about spending some days in Djakovica.

 4     Did you have the opportunity to visit the old district of Djakovica town?

 5        A.   Yes, I did.

 6        Q.   And were you able to observe any sort of destruction to civilian

 7     property in that area?

 8        A.   Yes, in the old town of Djakovica there was extensive destruction

 9     to homes and other civilian objects.

10        Q.   Could you explain what exactly you were able to see during the

11     days that you were there?

12        A.   Most of the destruction I witnessed appeared to have come from

13     fire, meaning it appeared as if the structures had been set on fire from

14     inside.  Again, that's because the walls were still standing and the

15     wooden roofs had been burned as well as the charred remains of the

16     interior of the homes.

17        Q.   Did you also interview persons, residents, of Djakovica to find

18     out what had happened in the town during the period of the conflict?

19        A.   Yes, yes I did.

20        Q.   And do you recall just generally what -- what sort of accounts

21     people told of what had occurred there?

22        A.   Well, it was a chaotic scene because the town is fairly large,

23     more than 150.000 people and lots of different incidents.  But in

24     general, Djakovica was one of the cities with the highest number of

25     deaths.  I think approximately 200 people died.  And the witnesses told

Page 3974

 1     me that the Serbian security forces and Yugoslav security forces operated

 2     in a very coordinated manner.  In particular, there were two distinct

 3     waves or what appeared to be operations, they said.  One began very

 4     quickly after the NATO bombing started on March 24th and the other began

 5     on May 7th, each lasting for about a week.  And they told me that

 6     security forces went through the city street by street in a systematic

 7     fashion rounding up individuals and expelling them from the city.

 8             There also appeared to have been an attempt to target some of the

 9     more prominent members of Djakovica, such as lawyers and doctors and

10     politicians because a number of these individuals had been killed and

11     witnesses told me that they had been taken into custody and -- and killed

12     in the custody of security forces.

13        Q.   Now, you spoke about hearing accounts of killings in the town of

14     Djakovica.  Is there any specific incident that you yourself investigated

15     that sticks out in your mind that occurred in this town during the period

16     we're speaking about in 1999?

17        A.   Yes, the incident that stands out most vividly in my memory

18     happened on a street called Milos Gilic Street.  There was an operation,

19     what appeared to be a police operation according to the witnesses, to

20     sweep through the street.  And this was on the night of April 1st going

21     into April 2nd.  And a number of killings of civilians took place on that

22     street but in particular it was one house, the address was

23     163 Milos Gilic Street in which 20 individuals from five different

24     families had gathered, including, if memory serves me well, 12 children

25     under the age of 16.  And I interviewed two witnesses who saw security

Page 3975

 1     forces they claimed were police enter into this house.  One of them

 2     talked about hearing shots and screams.  And the 20 people in this house

 3     were killed and the inside of the house was set on fire.  And I

 4     subsequently interviewed a member of the Gjakove city public works.  I

 5     remember his name was Faton Polashku [phoen], and the authorities --

 6     Serbian authorities had allowed him to work with his team to collect

 7     bodies throughout Djakovica during the time.  And he told me that he

 8     entered the house at 163 Milos Gilic Street and retrieved the bodies, 20

 9     bodies he said, which had been burned beyond recognition.

10             I should add, this is not directly relevant to this incident but

11     mentioning Faton Polashku reminds me, that he also testified to me that

12     there had been many bodies buried in the Djakovica cemetery during this

13     time and that at some point those bodies had been removed by Serbian

14     forces.  I interviewed separately and one-on-one a member of his staff

15     who testified to the same.  Neither of these men saw the removal

16     themselves, but they had buried the bodies there and then the next

17     day - this would have been I think it was in May, I would have to check

18     the testimony to know exactly what time, I'm not certain on the

19     day - that they came to the cemetery and saw that more than 70 bodies had

20     been removed.  And I visited the cemetery, Djakovica cemetery, in July

21     and observed the dug-up earth in the cemetery and clear track marks from

22     what looked like heavy machinery in the area where both of these men told

23     me the bodies had been taken from.

24        Q.   And would these have been bodies of persons who had been killed

25     during this offensive that you were describing during which a large

Page 3976

 1     number of persons were killed in Djakovica or had they been buried before

 2     this clean-up operation or sweep operation you spoke about took place?

 3        A.   These were bodies of people who had been killed after March 24th

 4     when the NATO bombing began, had been buried by this crew, and then they

 5     were removed.

 6        Q.   And would these have been bodies of civilians or would these have

 7     been bodies of persons who were engaged in some sort of fighting or

 8     combat with security forces, based on what you were told?

 9        A.   Based on what I was told, the vast majority of them were

10     civilians.  I cannot exclude that some of them may have been fighters and

11     there was also some fighting that did occur within Djakovica town.  So

12     some of those people may have been combatants.  I can't testify that they

13     were all civilians.

14        Q.   Thank you.  Mr. Abrahams, I think we have to stop for today

15     because this is all the time we have, so we will have to continue

16     tomorrow morning.

17             JUDGE PARKER:  Very well.  If that's a convenient moment, we will

18     adjourn for the day and we resume tomorrow in the morning.

19             We must ask you to wait overnight, Mr. Abrahams, to continue at

20     9.00.  The court officers will give you further assistance and directions

21     before you leave tonight.

22             We now adjourn.

23                           --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 5.00 p.m.,

24                           to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 6th day of

25                           May, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.