1 Monday, 25 May 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.19 p.m.
5 [The witness entered court]
6 MR. STAMP: I see, Your Honours, that the next witness is being
7 brought into court. I should indicate that he is Milazim Thaqi.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Stamp.
9 Good afternoon, Mr. Thaqi.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please read aloud the affirmation on the
12 card that is shown to you.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I solemnly declare that I
14 shall speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
15 WITNESS: MILAZIM THAQI
16 [Witness answered through interpreter]
17 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Please sit down.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome. Thank you.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Stamp.
20 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours.
21 Examination by Mr. Stamp:
22 Q. Mr. Thaqi, could you start by introducing yourself, by telling us
23 your full name and date of birth.
24 A. My name is Milazim Thaqi. I was born on the 14th of July, 1946
25 Q. In 1998 and 1999 where did you live?
1 A. During the year 1998 and 1999, I used to live in the village of
3 Q. And that is in Kosovo and Metohija?
4 A. Yes, it belongs to the municipality of Skenderaj
5 Q. Now, did you live with your family there at that time?
6 A. Yes, I did.
7 Q. How many family members were there that you lived with?
8 A. At the time, there were seven of us living in Broje. The others
9 lived abroad.
10 Q. You had a wife and children, I take it, living with you at the
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. What were the ages of the children, approximately?
14 A. From 15 and under.
15 Q. Now, I'd like you to tell us briefly about the prevailing
16 conditions in the area of your village in 1998, 1998. Did you and your
17 family remain living in your village in that year all the time?
18 A. From March the 5th, 1998, we spent a whole month, that is, me and
19 my family, including my mother who was ill; the others, however, went
20 away to the direction of Vojnik. They went because there were Serbian
21 forces about 500 [as interpreted] metres away from where we used to live.
22 Q. Could you just tell us again what happened in 1998 leading to the
23 movement of yourself and your family from where you lived.
24 A. On March the 5th Serbian police and army forces came aboard tanks
25 and other vehicles and they forced us to abandon our village.
1 Q. How did they force you? What happened that caused you to abandon
2 your village?
3 A. I never came into contact with them, but they came and installed
4 themselves about 50 metres away from our house, they beat up certain
5 other people who they met, which means that the rest of us were afraid
6 that the same would befall us.
7 Q. Did they come 50 metres away from your house or 500 metres?
8 A. 50 metres away from my house. There were lots of them. They
9 shot and so on.
10 Q. So just tell us who left your village.
11 A. The entire village left on that particular day.
12 Q. And about when did your family return to the village?
13 A. We returned on June the 20th.
14 Q. Very well. Now I would like to take you to the year 1999 and the
15 period immediately after the commencement of the NATO intervention into
16 Kosovo. At the time of the NATO intervention, where were you and your
17 family living?
18 A. The day that NATO arrived in Kosova I was in my house in the
19 village of Broje, that is on the 24th of March. Two days later we left
20 the village and went to Izbice.
21 Q. Who left the village and went to Izbica two days later?
22 A. The whole village. I just can't say their names. Everybody
23 went. The place was left empty.
24 Q. How about your family, how many members of your family left?
25 A. All of us, all seven of us, with a tractor.
1 Q. Why did your family, yourself, and the other villagers abandon
2 your village?
3 A. Why? Because we saw what massacres they'd carried out in Racak,
4 Prekaze, Likoshan, Qirez, and so on and so forth. I can't enumerate them
5 all here.
6 Q. Well, in just two sentences explain to me what you mean by what
7 massacres they carried out. And just tell me who carried out these
8 massacres, and what do you mean by massacre?
9 A. I'm talking about crimes committed by the Yugoslav police and
10 army, including the paramilitaries.
11 Q. And how did you come to learn about these crimes?
12 A. How we came to learn about them? After the Racak massacre and
13 the one in Qirez and Prekaze. I went and saw the places. I saw them
14 with my own eyes.
15 Q. Now, on the 26th of March when you left or prior to that day,
16 were there Serbian forces or Yugoslav forces in the vicinity of your
18 A. Yeah, all the time, yes.
19 Q. Prior to the time you left, were there
20 Kosovo Verification Mission members there verifying the conduct of the
21 Serb authorities? Can you recall that?
22 A. They used to be there, yes, but I think they left before Serbian
23 forces came.
24 Q. And the massacres that you -- you are speaking about, can you
25 remember when, approximately when, they took place?
1 A. Yes. The Racak massacre occurred on January the 15th; Qirez and
2 Likoshan on the 28th of February; on March the 5th, it's Prekaze, and I'm
3 talking about 1998.
4 Q. Just to clarify, the Racak massacre of January 15th; Cirez and
5 Likosane on the 28th of February, is that 1998 or 1999?
6 A. 1998.
7 Q. Did the Racak massacre occur in the same year of the NATO
8 intervention or a different year?
9 A. No, no. It happened on January the 15th, 1998, whilst the NATO
10 intervention came on the 24th of March, 1999.
11 Q. And the -- what you described as the massacres in Cirez and
12 Likosane on the 28th of February, do you recall if that was 1998 or 1999?
13 A. The Racak massacre and the one in Prekaze and Qirez all occurred
14 in 1998.
15 Q. Very well. Now, after the NATO intervention commenced on the
16 24th of March, 1999, were there any movements of Serbian or Yugoslav
17 forces in the vicinity of your village?
18 A. The whole area was occupied, including my village and the
19 adjoining village and so on and so forth. The Yugoslav and Serbian
20 police and army were installed there all over the place.
21 Q. When were they installed there?
22 A. They were in my village, in Broje; and Jashanice; there were
23 others in Rakinice and in the surrounding areas. I didn't see them.
24 Q. Yes. At around or about when did these forces arrive in the
25 vicinity of your village and Jashanice?
1 A. They reached Jashanice on the 25th of March, after the NATO
2 attacks; on the 26th they reached Broje, Turicevc, and other villages.
3 Q. When you left your village on the 26th of March, did you come in
4 contact with any of these forces that had arrived there?
5 A. No, because they had not reached that point yet. We left before
6 they were able to come.
7 Q. Now, earlier you told us that you arrived with other villagers in
8 the -- in Izbica --
9 A. Izbice.
10 Q. Izbica. Thank you very much. Could you just tell us, the people
11 who travelled from your village to Izbica, what was the composition of
12 the group of people? And I'm talking about -- ages and sex of the people
13 who travelled with you to Izbica.
14 A. I can say that there were people who were, for instance, up to
15 103 years of age, the elderly; there were young people amongst them;
16 there were people of 50 or 30; there were women who had children of 5 or
17 6 months, i.e., there were people from across the age factor.
18 Q. When you arrived in the area of Izbica, where did you go to?
19 A. When we arrived in Izbice, I went to Gani Rama's house in Izbice,
20 and that's where I stayed.
21 Q. How about the larger group of villagers from Izbica, where did
22 they go to?
23 A. On the 27th, before the massacre, they left in the course of the
24 night on tractors and all other vehicles to the village of Tushille
25 which was considered to be out of danger.
1 Q. When you arrived at --
2 A. No, I didn't. I stayed in Izbice.
3 Q. Okay. When you arrived at Izbica, did you see people there in
4 the area of Izbica --
5 A. Izbice.
6 Q. Izbice, sorry again. Did you see people gathered there anywhere
7 in the vicinity of Izbice?
8 A. Oh, yes, a lot. I didn't count them, but there were certainly
9 between 10.000 and 12.000 including women, children, everyone.
10 Q. Where were the people gathered?
11 A. Most of them slept out in the open, on board tractors; some
12 others went in houses if there was enough space inside. However, at
13 about 8.00 in the morning everybody was asked to gather outside to be in
14 a way together in anticipation of any kind of massacre.
15 Q. 8.00 on which morning? Tell me the date of that morning, please.
16 A. It was on the 27th. It was a Saturday, and it rained during that
17 night. So this was the morning of the 27th.
18 Q. Now, the people who were gathered outside, from which villages
19 were they or did they come from?
20 A. I can say that they came from 15 or 20 of the surrounding
21 villages, and they all converged there. There were all kinds of people.
22 There were groups of four to five families, of ten families together, and
23 so on and so forth.
24 Q. Can you remember some of the main villages that they came from?
25 A. Yes. They came from Gllareve, Jashanice, Likoc, Tejice, from
1 Kline in Skenderaj municipality, Broje, Vojnik, Turiqevc, the
2 lower Kopiliq, and so on and so forth. There were lots of them.
3 Q. Now, while you were gathered in the vicinity of Izbica, could you
4 at any time observe or see what if anything was happening in the
5 surrounding villages?
6 A. No, there's nothing, just noise -- the noises. Because it's --
7 that -- it's at a lower altitude. There were hills all around and that's
8 where we were. We knew nothing about it. We saw armed people but that's
10 Q. What sort of noises were you hearing?
11 A. The noise of tanks, of lorries.
12 Q. And after you arrived at Izbica, could you see or did you manage
13 to see into any of the villages that you mentioned?
14 A. Yes, yes, there were.
15 Q. I'll just repeat the question. Did you manage to see into any of
16 the villages from which the people had arrived while you were at Izbica?
17 A. Yes. Do you want me to mention them?
18 Q. I want you to tell us if you saw anything in these villages and
19 what you saw.
20 A. We saw nothing during the journey; however, when we arrived we
21 found Hasan who came from Gllareve and who had survived that massacre.
22 There were people from Vojnik, someone called Sheremet Krasniqi,
23 Musli Kotorri, there were many, many people. I can't recall their names
24 at this moment.
25 Q. What -- while you were at Izbica, what happened to these villages
1 that the people had left?
2 A. They came from their own villages. The village of Izbice
3 was a bit freer. And in terms of staying they used to tell us that
4 Serbian forces had not done anything wrong in there.
5 Q. That's in Izbica, but do you know if anything happened in the
6 villages from which these people left to go to Izbica after they had
8 A. Yes, of course. In Jashanice where the check-point was there
9 were forces that had come from all sides, Serb forces.
10 Q. Did these villages remain intact or were they damaged in any way?
11 A. All of them were levelled to the ground. The houses were all
13 Q. Did you observe this while you were in Izbica?
14 A. After we escaped death, I saw this with my own eyes because we
15 proceeded on foot when we survived.
16 Q. Okay. Very well. I'd like to show you a map of the area just to
17 get us oriented, and I'd like you to just point out where these villages
19 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, with your leave, could I put on the
20 screen P615. And I want -- if we could find page 11. I think it's
21 page 16, let's try 16 because -- and it is the page after that. I'm so
22 sorry. And if we could just zoom in a little bit to the top or let's --
23 to the top and a little to the right. And perhaps if we scroll down a
24 little bit. Please stop there.
25 Q. Can you locate Izbica on the map as it is, Mr. Thaqi?
1 A. I cannot see it very well. Here is Broje. I can't see it
2 really. Turiqevc, Broje, Vojnik, Izbice, here it is.
3 Q. Let's start with your village, Broje, could you mark that with a
4 1 or with a 1 just below it.
5 A. Here is number 1.
6 MR. STAMP: Could you help him to hold that pen properly,
7 Mr. Usher, so he could mark it. No, I don't think he's holding the pen
8 properly. If you could help him to hold the pen. Yes, thank you.
9 THE WITNESS: [Marks]
10 [Interpretation] You're welcome.
11 MR. STAMP:
12 Q. And could you put a number 2 on Izbica. That is where you
13 travelled to.
14 A. Number 2, right?
15 Q. Yes. And if we could identify some of the surrounding villages.
16 You'll see Vojnik?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Could you put a number 3 under that village.
19 A. Here is Vojnik. Klladernice, lower Kopiliq number 4, here number
20 5 --
21 Q. Yes, you're going too fast. Lower -- or Gornje Obilic you marked
22 a number 4 under it, you were there --
23 A. No, it's not Obilic but Kopiliq. There are two Kopiliqs: Upper
24 and lower Kopiliq. And here is Turiqevc, number 6.
25 Q. And could you mark a number 7 for Belice?
1 A. Kopiliq.
2 Q. No, no, maybe I have the pronunciation wrong. Belice or Belica.
3 A. No, no. Here is Kopiliq i Ulet or lower Kopiliq, it's near
5 Q. Stop there, stop there, Mr. Thaqi. You see where you have Izbica
7 A. Yes, Vojnik.
8 Q. Now, just above Izbica to the left do you see a village there
9 looking like Belice. Maybe I have the pronunciation wrong.
10 A. Belice.
11 Q. Thank you. Did refugees also leave from that village to go
12 towards Izbica?
13 A. This village was inhabited by Serbs. The Serbs from Belice,
14 Polan, Leqina, and Peje were the ones who did what they did in the
15 surrounding area.
16 Q. Yes, but what I'm asking is did the Serbs from that village or
17 from Polane, were they part of the refugee group, were they forced out of
18 their villages?
19 A. They didn't leave their villages. They joined the Serb forces
20 and the paramilitaries that were there.
21 Q. And the villages you've marked with a number 4 or number 5, were
22 people forced out of those villages or people from those villages joined
23 the refugees that went to Izbica?
24 A. Yes, from all these villages they came to Izbice. They also came
25 from other villages, many other villages.
1 Q. Okay. Thank you.
2 A. You're welcome.
3 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, could I tender this and ask that it be
4 received --
5 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
6 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours.
7 THE REGISTRAR: And that will be assigned P00819, Your Honours.
8 MR. STAMP: Thank you, sir.
9 Q. Could you describe the place where you and the other villagers
10 gathered together in Izbica when you were told to come out into the open?
11 A. Shall I do it with a pen?
12 Q. No. Just tell us the -- the place where you gathered. Was it an
13 open field or was it in a particular area of Izbica?
14 A. It was an open field, a meadow, that's where we all gathered.
15 People, tractors, horse-drawn carts, the cemetery is nearby the location
16 where we were all gathered. It was in the middle of the village.
17 Q. Thank you.
18 MR. STAMP: Could the witness be shown P002 -- sorry,
19 65 number 00244. This is a document, Your Honours, which had been
20 premarked, I should indicate that to the Court. I have been trying to
21 find an unmarked copy. I don't know if we received in our possession an
22 unmarked copy of this. Is it -- of this aerial photograph, but I will
23 not ask him anything about the markings. Could the -- could this be
24 expanded as much as possible or is that as far as it could go? Very
1 Q. Witness, I'm going to ask you to ignore those markings and
2 just -- if we have a blue pen --
3 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djordjevic.
4 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I should only like to ask
5 Mr. Stamp to give us the source for this photograph if possible, who made
6 it, and any other details.
7 JUDGE PARKER: It's already an exhibit, Mr. Djordjevic. Can we
8 be reminded of any of those matters, Mr. Stamp?
9 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, I don't think it is yet an exhibit.
10 This is a document that the OTP received from one of the agencies that
11 went into Kosovo in 1999, an aerial photograph of many of the places. On
12 some of these documents we are able to locate unmarked copies. This is
13 one that was marked, and we haven't been able to find an unmarked copy.
14 JUDGE PARKER: I see. Thank you.
15 So you don't have any specific knowledge at the moment of the
16 date of the photography or who it was that took the photograph?
17 MR. STAMP: Not specific --
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
19 MR. STAMP: Not specifically. I could just add, Your Honours,
20 that I will just ask the witness to identify certain places and if the
21 photograph depicts his memory of certain basic areas.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
23 The witness is going to be asked, Mr. Djordjevic, whether he can
24 identify what is shown in this photograph. If not, it goes nowhere.
25 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, first of all I
1 wanted to say that this is certainly not an exhibit, as my colleague
2 Mr. Stamp has just said; and second, I see some lines here, I see mark A,
3 B, C, I see mark D, and E, and perhaps F. So this is already marked and
4 I would not be very happy if this should be used for something that the
5 witness would be asked to mark now.
6 JUDGE PARKER: We heard from Mr. Stamp, Mr. Djordjevic, that he
7 cannot find an unmarked copy, and he does not propose to ask the witness
8 anything about the markings that do appear on it. And we -- I think we
9 should proceed with the questioning and see whether there is any problem
10 presented by the existing marks.
11 Thank you, Mr. Stamp.
12 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours.
13 Q. Could I ask you, Mr. Thaqi, are you able to identify the area
14 that this aerial photograph depicts?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Which area is that?
17 A. This is Izbice village.
18 Q. Can you -- or may I ask you this: Can you identify places on
19 this picture as it is or would you prefer if it was oriented differently,
20 if it was turned, if it was reversed, and turned upside down?
21 A. It would be better if you turn it upside down.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Did you mean upside down or merely 90 degrees?
23 MR. STAMP: 180 degrees, Your Honours.
24 JUDGE PARKER: It needs to be turned another quarter.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It's okay like this.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
2 MR. STAMP:
3 Q. What part of Izbica is that?
4 A. This is the road coming from Vojnik, and we were gathered here,
5 in this field, in this meadow, which is in the middle of the village.
6 Q. Very well. I'd like you to just put an X in the middle of the
7 meadow as you see it where you and the other people were gathered.
8 Small X.
9 A. [Marks]
10 Q. Now, on the morning of the 28th of March, 1999, at about 9.30,
11 where were you and the other villagers gathered?
12 A. On the 28th of March, we were all here on both sides of the road
13 in this open field. People from all the villages nearby that had
14 gathered there with all their belongings, tractors, and other vehicles.
15 Q. That morning while you were there, did anything happen to the
16 people there?
17 A. That morning we had some breakfast, if you can call it so, some
18 ate, some didn't, before 9.00. At around 9.30 the Serb forces came and
19 separated us from the women and the children.
20 Q. Okay. I'd like you to take it step by step. The first Serbian
21 forces that you saw arrive there, how many were there?
22 A. I didn't count them, but they were about 80 if not more, there in
23 the field.
24 Q. When the Serb forces first approached the people in the village,
25 where did you first see them?
1 A. I first saw them after we had breakfast. They set a haystack on
2 fire near a pear tree, and I went closer to them just to hear what they
3 were saying. They were asking for money. They asked for
4 1.000 Deutschemarks if we wanted our houses and tractors safe. I only
5 had 30 Deutschemarks on me, and that's what I gave them.
6 Q. Do you -- what language did they speak in?
7 A. Serbian, all of them.
8 Q. You understand Serbian? Do you speak Serbian?
9 A. I understand Serbian because I served in the Yugoslav Army in the
11 Q. Okay. When you saw the Serbian forces set fire to the pear tree,
12 how many of them did you see there doing that?
13 A. There were three of them.
14 Q. How were they dressed?
15 A. They had police clothes.
16 Q. Describe that a little bit more for me. What colour and if any
17 patterns were there?
18 A. The colour of the Yugoslav police uniforms.
19 Q. Any particular pattern in the colour?
20 A. Some had camouflage uniforms.
21 Q. The three men that you saw in the Serbian police uniform, were
22 they armed with weapons; and if so, what type of weapons?
23 A. Yes, they had automatic guns, weapons, and also had hand-grenades
24 on their belts, knives, ammunition belts.
25 Q. And I'm just asking you for the time being in relation to those
1 three. What was the colour of the uniforms they wore?
2 A. The colour of the Yugoslav police uniforms, one of them I think
3 had a camouflage uniform and the others that sort of uniform.
4 Q. Can you name the colour?
5 A. You see here where the forest is -- I'm not touching it, no, I
6 just want to show you the colour. I'm not touching it.
7 Q. Are you able to tell me in a word what colour?
8 A. If I'm to describe the colour with a word, it's a sort of green
9 colour. I don't know how you call it, blue/green.
10 Q. You mentioned earlier that there were also at some point in time
11 80 other policemen in the vicinity of the meadow where these people were
12 gathered. Firstly, were these policemen also armed, and what were the
13 weapons they had?
14 A. The three policemen came first. Some five minutes later the
15 others came, as if they just cropped out from earth. That's how suddenly
16 they came out. Some of them had automatic weapons, some had
17 machine-guns, some had hand-grenades, knives, all sorts of weapons they
19 Q. Can you describe how the men were dressed?
20 A. The police had the uniform I described earlier, this blue/green
21 uniform. There were soldiers who had Yugoslav uniforms, and some had
22 paramilitary uniforms. They had black scarves on their heads.
23 Q. When you say soldiers had Yugoslav uniforms, can you describe
24 further to me further what you saw them wearing which caused you to say
25 they had Yugoslav uniforms. Just describe what you saw them wearing.
1 A. Because they were familiar to me.
2 Q. Yes. Describe the uniform, please.
3 A. It was the colour of the grass, the army uniform, that is. The
4 others, the paramilitaries, had a similar uniform but with a patterned --
5 with mixture of colours, a camouflaged pattern.
6 Q. When you say "paramilitaries," what do you mean?
7 A. They were paramilitaries, they were not regular soldiers. They
8 called them Chetniks or something like that.
9 Q. And apart from the black scarves you said they wore on their
10 heads, did you notice that helped you to distinguish them or identify
12 A. No, only that they had knives and other kinds of weaponry.
13 Q. Are you able to say whether or not there were more soldiers at
14 the time outside of the meadows in the woodland around Izbica?
15 A. There were many soldiers around the hills. As to their numbers,
16 I can't say. But we -- we were not able to see anything. We were able
17 to see, you know, the tracks made by the lorries and so on and so forth,
18 but there must have been lots of them.
19 Q. Very well. That morning when you saw these 80-plus policemen,
20 some soldiers, paramilitaries, could you just tell us what if anything
21 they did or said to the people gathered in the field.
22 A. There in the field we were separated from the women and the
23 children, and they told the women and the children to raise [Realtime
24 transcript read in error "brace"] their three fingers, they kept
25 shouting, whilst they -- to the rest of us they put us in groups of four
1 one by one, they insulted us and told us to remove our hats, and they
2 kept asking, Where is America
3 them come and take you out of this situation. And they did this three
4 times in a row.
5 Q. You said we were separated from the women and the children. How
6 many men were separated from the women and the children approximately?
7 A. Roughly there were 157 altogether.
8 Q. And what generally in a ballpark sense were the ages of these
10 A. Yes, yes. The men ranged from 86 years of age to around 47, 45
11 and above, 50s, in their 50s, 60s.
12 Q. You said they told the women and children to -- and I think
13 there's a -- excuse me, Mr. Thaqi.
14 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, I think there's a mistake -- I see a
15 mistake in the transcript at line 17, page 18. It says to "brace their
16 three fingers." I think it should be "raise their three fingers."
17 Q. Mr. Thaqi, you said they told the women and the children to raise
18 their three fingers. What did that signify?
19 A. This sign indicates that this is Serbia. That is the reason shy
20 some raised their fingers, some didn't.
21 Q. And did they tell the women and the children what would happen to
22 them or where they were going to?
23 A. They told them to raise their three fingers and that they would
24 all be sent to Albania
25 Q. And when you said in respect to the men that they put you in
1 groups, did they let you remain standing, or did they put you in another
2 position when they put you in groups?
3 A. They asked us to sit four -- in groups of four, one behind the
4 other, on the side of the road.
5 Q. Now, if you could get back to the document we have in front of
6 you. Could you mark with a number 1 the area where you and the men were
7 put to sit on the side of the road.
8 A. Yes, it's here.
9 Q. Thank you. Now, you said that their -- they told you to take off
10 your hats and throw them down. Is that the type of hat that you're
11 presently wearing in court?
12 A. Yes, this one.
13 Q. What is it called?
14 A. In Albanian it is called "Plis," it's a skull cap. There were
15 others who had black hats. They all had to take them off.
16 Q. And is this a traditional headwear of Albanian men, of
17 Kosovo Albanian men?
18 A. This is part of the national costume. It only belongs to
20 Q. Did any of these policemen do anything to you in particular while
21 you sat there on the ground?
22 A. No, no, they didn't say anything. They told some people, You
23 belong to the KLA, to some others they didn't say anything, but they kept
24 insulting us all the time.
25 Q. And generally, do you remember the nature, the general nature, of
1 these insults?
2 A. They told you do so and so to your mother to all the Albanians.
3 One of them kicked me, one of the policemen, before I was made to sit.
4 Q. Did these policemen or did these men gathered there appear to
5 have a leader?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. Could you describe him and tell us what he was doing? Start by
8 describing him. Let's go step by step.
9 A. Yes. He was wearing a soldier's uniform. He was of medium
10 height, 1.65 centimetres -- metres. He was -- his face was longish. His
11 nose was a bit crooked. He had two radios.
12 Q. What was the colour of his uniform?
13 A. It was the green grass colour of the army.
14 Q. And did he use the radios while he was there?
15 A. Yes, he did.
16 Q. Can you just describe to us, if you can, what he did while he was
17 there, in particular what he did to cause you to determine that he was
18 the leader?
19 A. He was their leader because he kept issuing orders to the others.
20 Q. Was he armed?
21 A. Yes, yes, fully armed, up to the teeth as they say.
22 Q. I'm speaking about that one particular person who you said was
23 the leader. Was he armed? With what? Or what was he armed with? What
24 weapon did he have?
25 A. He had a pistol, a knife, the two communications equipment,
1 bombs, and so on.
2 Q. Did you notice whether or not he had insignia, an insignia or
3 insignias on his sleeve or sleeves?
4 A. I was not brave enough to look him right in the eye, but I think
5 he had that insignia on the right arm.
6 Q. Did he do anything in respect to the group of Albanian refugees
7 that were gathered there? Or did he give any instructions in relation to
8 what was to be done to the group?
9 A. No, no. It was only the police who went in the midst of the
10 women folk and kept looking for men to separate them, but I did not see
11 him at that stage. He only issued the orders afterwards.
12 Q. Okay. Tell us what orders he issued in respect to the Albanian
13 folk that were there.
14 A. Not to the Albanians --
15 Q. Sorry --
16 A. -- but to the army and the police.
17 Q. Go on, tell us what he told them to do, please.
18 A. He told them in Serbian, Everybody knows their own duty, you know
19 what you have to do, and you have to start immediately. This is what I
20 was able to hear myself because they were right next to me.
21 Q. When he told them that they knew their duty and they were to
22 start immediately, what happened after that?
23 A. We were just in the middle of the road, seated. One of them told
24 us to stand and so he pointed from this point to that point, all of you
25 have got to stand up, which we did. And we proceeded to the left and
1 upwards in the middle of the field, and he said that we were to be sent
2 towards Peje, the others towards Kline. We kept asking how on earth?
3 How can we go up into the mountains with no buses, nothing whatsoever?
4 Q. So when this person or one of these men spoke to you, did you do
5 anything after you stood up?
6 A. He issued orders to us. We did not speak to him. We stood up in
7 rows of four. He said, No, you should go two abreast. So we went two
8 abreast and proceeded upwards in the direction of the mountain.
9 Q. Did all of the men who had been seated there, where you showed
10 us, go with you or were the men separated?
11 A. No. The first group -- in fact, I wasn't brave enough even to
12 look. I just turned very briefly, my head very briefly, because he kept
13 the automatic gun trained on us. So I was with the first group. There
14 were 33 of us.
15 Q. And where did the first group go to?
16 A. The first group was sent alongside the mountain near a water
17 creek; and he shouted to us in Serbian to stop, which we did; and he
18 said, Turn left, and we did. He ordered us to kneel, which we did, then
19 he started shooting. I lay prostrate onto the ground and to this day, I
20 don't know how it occurred, but there were two corpses on top of me, and
21 I stayed underneath for 40 minutes --
22 Q. Very well. Thank you. Just a minute. I'd like you to go back
23 if we could --
24 MR. STAMP: Mr. Usher, if we could go back to the aerial
1 Q. -- and put a 2, if you can identify the place where your group
2 of, approximately, I think you said, 33 men were taken.
3 A. Yes, okay. Number 2, okay.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djordjevic.
5 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] The letter A -- or is it a 1?
6 In any case, it comes at the end of the line where we also have an A. So
7 now we're in the situation that I tried to indicate at the outset. If
8 you have a look at it, the end of the line where the A stands is
9 precisely along the same line where the witness put the -- had put the
11 JUDGE PARKER: I quite agree, and if you are concerned that one
12 is guiding the other that should be dealt with in cross-examination.
13 Yes, Mr. Stamp.
14 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours.
15 Q. How many members of the Serbian forces that were at the field
16 that day went with your group of men to the area where this shooting
17 occurred? And I'm just asking you about how many you saw going there
18 with you.
19 A. There was one single person who had a machine-gun of
20 100 millimetres, and he sent us to the foot of the mountain. There were
21 33 of us. Three of us survived and live to this day; the others all
23 Q. This person who sent you to the foot of the mountain, was he
24 policeman, soldier, or paramilitary? That is the one you just described
25 with the 100-millimetre machine-gun.
1 A. This one had the same uniform which was the green grass colour
2 but it was in camouflage.
3 Q. Can you say whether or not he was a policeman, soldier, or
5 A. It looked like a policeman to me. I wasn't brave enough to look
6 him right in the eye.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Are you saying a policeman but in a green grass
8 colour uniform?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It was like the grass, the colour
10 of the grass, but in camouflage.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
12 MR. STAMP:
13 Q. When he started shooting -- well, tell us, in which direction did
14 he fire, and about how long did the shooting last?
15 A. He turned his back towards us. I don't think it lasted more than
16 half a minute.
17 Q. Sorry. You said -- I just see here -- you said he turned his
18 back towards you. That is the interpretation I have. Could I just ask
19 you again. When he fired, did he fire in your direction?
20 A. He told us to stop in Serbian, turn to the -- turn left, kneel,
21 which we did. Before we were able to kneel, he started shooting with his
23 Q. When he started shooting, were you facing him, was your side to
24 him, or was your back to him at the time when he started shooting?
25 A. We had our backs, we were facing the creek, the mountain.
1 Q. What happened to you and the other men during the course of the
2 shooting and immediately after? Just describe to us in your own words
3 what happened.
4 A. He was still there waiting, and he spoke in Serbian and he said,
5 This one is still breathing. And he shouted some abuse. I thought it
6 was meant for me, but he shot with a pistol in the direction of someone
7 over there, I don't know who it was. After that, he left and the second
8 group arrived near a pear tree. I was able to hear the shooting because
9 we were about 20 to 25 metres away, but they were not able to see us
10 because it was a hilly terrain.
11 Q. You said that when he started fighting you lay prostrate and
12 there were two corpses on top of you and you stayed underneath for
13 40 minutes. Do you know who lay on top of you, the corpses?
14 A. Yes, of course, it was Uke Uka Thaqi from Broje. The whole of
15 his -- of the top of his head had been blown off. His brains were all
16 over me, some of them in my pocket; and the other one was
17 Isuf Zezeqa Shala.
18 Q. And you said you heard shooting in the vicinity or from the
19 direction of the pear tree while you lay there. Is that correct? Do I
20 understand you correctly?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. How long did you lay there?
23 A. 40 minutes. The third group was brought about 20 metres away
24 from where I was. They killed everyone with the exception of one single
25 person, Hajzir Kotorri, who stood up walking in the direction of the
1 mountain. However, there were others who were in the tractor road in the
2 middle of the mountain who told him to stop in Serbian, he did not, and
3 so he was shot straight away.
4 Q. Okay. Thank you. You are telling us about shooting of other
5 men. Did you actually see this while you were lying under the other two
6 men, or did you hear about this later on?
7 A. When I was lying prostrate, I dared not lift my head; however,
8 40 minutes later Demush Behrami died and he shouted as he did so, I did
9 the same; and then Sheqir, who came from Kotor, touched me and asked who
10 I was, I said I'm Milazim from Broje. At some distance Qallapeki did not
11 speak to us at all, and I ask him at one moment whether he was able to
12 climb the mountain --
13 Q. Just a minute, Mr. Thaqi, I don't think you are focusing on what
14 I'm asking you. The other shootings that you mentioned of other groups,
15 did you see the shooting at the time while you laid there or did you
16 discover about that later on?
17 A. I did not see them with my own eyes. I only heard the shooting
18 because I dared not get up --
19 Q. Okay. Thank you.
20 A. I only saw it later because we were the ones to bury them.
21 Q. Okay. We will get to that later.
22 A. You're welcome.
23 Q. Okay. For the time being, let's stick to what you actually saw
24 and heard.
25 A. Okay.
1 Q. You said as you laid there Demush Behrami died and then --
2 A. Demush Behrami from Izbice.
3 Q. And Sheqir touched you and asked you who you were. Sheqir what?
4 What was Sheqir's --
5 A. Sheqir Kotorri and Jetish Qallapeki, they were the two who
6 survived and who live to this day.
7 Q. Okay. After you lay there, did you, Sheqir, and the other one go
8 anywhere? Did you get up and leave?
9 A. We crawled on the side of the mountain. This is a tractor road
10 in there -- in fact, there were members of the army or paramilitaries or
11 the police. I did not see them; however, we heard them. So we stopped
12 for about ten minutes, after which they set off in the direction of the
13 village of Turjan which they set fire to. When we crossed the road, we
14 saw them wearing Yugoslav Army boots. They dropped empty Marlboro
15 cigarette boxes --
16 Q. Thank you. You crawled on the side of the mountain you said.
17 Could we return to the photograph, and I'd like you to place an arrow
18 showing us the direction that you travelled yourself and the two other
19 men to escape.
20 A. Okay.
21 Q. Look at -- sorry, look at the aerial photograph, identify the
22 area you travelled to escape, and just put an arrow to show us what was
23 the path you took to escape.
24 A. We went uphill in this direction.
25 MR. STAMP: I think the witness, Your Honours, for the record,
1 drew something like an arrow pointing towards the bottom part of the map
2 where there is a dark green area of foliage.
3 JUDGE PARKER: It is commencing close to the number 2, I would
4 add for the transcript.
5 We have gone over time, Mr. Stamp.
6 MR. STAMP: Yes, Your Honour.
7 JUDGE PARKER: We will need to have our first break now.
8 MR. STAMP: Could the map -- could the aerial photograph as
9 marked --
10 JUDGE PARKER: That's what I was leading to, yes.
11 MR. STAMP: Thank you.
12 JUDGE PARKER: The map -- the aerial photograph that has been
13 marked will be received.
14 THE REGISTRAR: And that will be assigned P00820, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE PARKER: And I would mention we have received it subject to
16 our assessment in due course of the premarking and its consequence, if
17 any, for the evidence of the witness.
18 We will have our first break now and resume at 20 minutes past
20 --- Recess taken at 3.49 p.m.
21 [Witness stands down]
22 --- On resuming at 4.26 p.m.
23 JUDGE PARKER: My apologies. I was delayed on another matter.
24 MR. STAMP: Maybe as we adjourn I could indicate that with us in
25 court is a new intern, Ms. Yordanka Nedyalkova.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down, Mr. Thaqi.
2 Yes, Mr. Stamp.
3 MR. STAMP: Thank you, Your Honours.
4 Q. Before you left, Mr. Thaqi, you indicated to us that you escaped
5 with two other men into the hills adjacent to where the shooting
6 occurred, but we didn't get the names of the men fully. Could you just
7 tell us their names --
8 JUDGE PARKER: I thought we did.
9 MR. STAMP: I think we got the first name of one with the village
10 where he's from.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I can give the names.
12 MR. STAMP: Yes, yes, we did, Your Honour. It was corrected
13 after the last time I saw the transcript.
14 Q. About what time of the day did you and these two men escape into
15 the woods?
16 A. Yes, after surviving, we had a chat amongst ourselves. I told
17 Sheqir, You get up and lead us because Izbica and Vojnik are adjacent to
18 each other and I told him that he knew the area better. And he said he
19 did not know even where he was. I only know that I'm talking to
20 yourself, which means that I was then in the lead.
21 Q. What hour of the day was this?
22 A. When we had reached almost half the height of the mountain it was
23 about 11.15 a.m.
24 Q. While you were in the mountains, did you meet up with other
25 survivors who were among the men in the field that day?
1 A. No, we didn't meet anyone else but Jetish got lost there in the
2 mountains, whilst me and Sheqir stayed together until 7.00 p.m. with no
3 food whatsoever. And then we reached his village, the village of Vojnik
4 on foot, and the village was in flames.
5 Q. Did you see anybody in the village of Vojnik
6 A. No, no one. After 11.00 p.m.
7 went to check who it was. So it turned out that there were two elderly
8 women - I can't remember their names now - but they were able to
9 recognise us, and they invited us to stay but we didn't. We returned to
10 Sheqir's house, in fact, outside in the courtyard because the house was
11 in flames.
12 Q. Does Vojnik have a school?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. When you arrived at Vojnik that day, did you see anyone in the
15 school-yard or in the vicinity of the school?
16 A. In the morning, an elderly woman who we called Halla Aza turned
17 out, and I asked her for some water because we were covered in blood.
18 And I said, May I have some water to wash my face because were the Serbs
19 to see us they'd cut us to pieces with knives, being shot at would have
20 been much, much easier. So we washed our faces, and at that stage we
21 were able to see the police and the army installed in the yard to the
22 school, and there were tanks in the vicinity as well.
23 Q. While you were in the mountains, did you make any observations of
24 the villages in the area around Izbica? Could you look into those
25 villages and see the condition of those villages?
1 A. We were in a valley in the mountains, so all we were able to see
2 was the smoke. We saw the black smoke billowing out of the village of
3 Turjan. That's all we were able to see because we were in some kind of
5 Q. Did you --
6 MR. STAMP: Or could we bring up 65 ter number 05260.
7 Q. Did you, Mr. Thaqi, prepare a list of those persons, those men,
8 in your group that you can recall who were killed on the morning of the
9 28th of March?
10 A. Yes, I did. I wrote a list of the people I was able to
11 recognise. In the first group there were 10 or 11 whose names I didn't
12 know because they came from some other villages.
13 Q. When you say the first group, you mean that group of 33 that you
14 were with?
15 A. Yes, that's the first group.
16 Q. And is that the list of persons that you knew who were killed in
17 your group?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. I'd like you, with the leave of the Court, to read out the names
20 of those persons you remember were killed into the record starting from
21 number 1.
22 A. Yes. Regje Qelaj, Leqin.
23 Q. When you say "Leqin" which is at the end, is that the village
24 that he's from?
25 A. Yes, that's right.
1 Q. So for these names at the end of the names you put -- or after
2 the surnames, I should say, you put the village that the person is from
3 or was from?
4 A. Yes, that's correct.
5 Q. Just to be also clear, the first name you have there as -- is a C
6 with a diacritic, is that spelled sometimes in the Albanian language with
7 a Q?
8 A. I -- I'm not sure? I'm not sure which are the Qs.
9 Q. Speaking about the first name.
10 A. Yes. Yes, I think that's the way we write it, with a Q.
11 Q. What's the next name?
12 A. Bel Durako, Broje.
13 Q. And the next one?
14 A. Uke Uka Thaqi, Broje.
15 Q. Now, the person you have here as Uke Uka Thaqi from your village
16 of Broje, I think you mentioned earlier that he was one of the persons
17 who died on top of you?
18 A. Yes. It was Uka and Isuf.
19 Q. In respect to Uka, is he related to you?
20 A. He is one of my next-door neighbours. We spent the night
21 together that night.
22 Q. Is he related to you? Is he a relative of yours?
23 A. Yes, very close.
24 Q. What is the relationship?
25 A. My uncle.
1 Q. Is he sometimes referred to as Uke Uka?
2 A. No. Uke Uka Thaqi, U-k.
3 Q. The question is: Is it that sometimes his surname Thaqi is not
4 used to refer to him, just Uke Uka, and excuse my pronunciation.
5 A. Yes, that's correct, without the Thaqi.
6 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, I may just indicate to the Court that
7 I'm just trying to clarify this name -- the names here with some of the
8 names in the schedules to the indictment.
9 Q. Could you go to number 4, please.
10 A. Isuf Zeqa Shala, Broje.
11 Q. And number 5.
12 A. Hajriz -- no, Hazir Hoti, Jashanice.
13 Q. Number 6.
14 A. Qerime Hoti, Jashanice.
15 Q. I see here it is written in the transcript with a Q for Qerime
16 but you have put the C with a diacritic. Is that the same thing, it's
17 interchangeable, the C and the Q here?
18 A. It's the same, yes.
19 Q. Thank you. Number 7.
20 A. Demush Behrami, Izbice.
21 Q. Number 8.
22 A. Mehmet Bajruku, Izbice.
23 Q. Number 9.
24 A. Sokol Duraku, Broje.
25 Q. Number 10.
1 A. Tahir Hoti, Jashanice.
2 Q. Number 11.
3 A. Hajriz Shala, Broje.
4 Q. Number 12.
5 A. Halit Haliti, Broje.
6 Q. Number 13.
7 A. Avdulla Duraku, Broje.
8 Q. 14.
9 A. Muhamet Behrami, Izbice.
10 Q. Number 15.
11 A. Muharrem Osmani, Izbice.
12 Q. Number 16.
13 A. Azem Osmani, Izbice.
14 Q. Were Muharrem Osmani and Azem Osmani related?
15 A. They were three brothers. All three of them were killed. I did
16 not write Hetem Osmani who belonged to the other group and who was
17 disabled and who was also killed.
18 Q. When you same Hetem Osmani, I think you said Hetem, H-e-t-e-m,
19 Osmani belonged to another group, he was --
20 A. H, with an H, he was in another group.
21 Q. Yes. Was that another group from among the men who were gathered
22 in the field that day?
23 A. Yes, we were all in the same place.
24 Q. Yes. But when you say "another group," what do you mean? And
25 I'm talking about Hetem. In which group or which other group was he?
1 A. Hetem was called when he was on his own. I did not see him, but
2 this is what was described to me. They said that they had completed
3 massacred him.
4 Q. Well, tell us what happened to him.
5 A. He was disabled. He was not able to walk. He had to use
6 crutches. And from what I know, and I'm relating here what was told to
7 me, they stabbed him with a knife and he used to shriek and he stopped
8 shrieking only when the knife was pulled out. That's what some people
9 who happened to be there told me. I did not see it with my own eyes.
10 Q. Did that happen on the same morning, on the 28th of March, 1999
11 A. Yes, a bit later. He was caught when he was on his own but on
12 the same day.
13 Q. Okay. Number 17 on your list, if you could have a look at that.
14 A. Brahim Kotorri, Vojnik.
15 Q. And number 18.
16 A. Nuradin Behrami, Izbice.
17 Q. And thank you for the list. I see that you have put in another
18 column to the far right of the list --
19 A. You're welcome.
20 Q. Yes. Okay. I see you have put in a column to the far right of
21 the list some numbers. What do these numbers designate?
22 A. What village.
23 Q. Yes. For example, if you look at number 1 you have a
24 number 83 --
25 A. Forgive me, yes. That shows the age from what I was able to
1 know. Some were 71, 64, 74, 54, 71, 57, 44, 63, 71, 67, 52, 56, 75, 72,
2 70, and 73, and the three of us who survived.
3 Q. Yes.
4 MR. STAMP: Could we move on to page 2 of that.
5 Q. Could you tell us what this is all about. Could you just read
6 what you have written here.
7 A. Yes. "And the three of us who survived, Milazim Thaqi, Broje, 53
8 years of age, that is me; Sheqir Kotorri, Vojnik, 65; and Jetish
9 Qallapeku, Shtupel, 63."
10 Q. Thank you.
11 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, I ask that this be received in evidence
12 and given an exhibit number.
13 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
14 THE REGISTRAR: That will be assigned P00821, Your Honours.
15 MR. STAMP:
16 Q. Mr. Thaqi, did you eventually return to the vicinity of Izbica
17 where the killings occurred?
18 A. After three days, I was very unhappy, very sad, but we went back
19 to bury these people that were killed. Only two we didn't bury that
20 night. And we spent the night by the side of the grave.
21 Q. Now, when you went back, the Serbs -- the Serbian army and
22 police -- I withdraw that.
23 When you went back, the police and members of the Yugoslav Army,
24 were they still there, or had they left the area?
25 A. After the massacre they left. Within four hours, all of them
1 left. But I spent two days in Turiqevc. The third day I went to Kopiliq
2 because I hadn't eaten anything for three days. And then a guy from
3 Izbice came and said they are going to bury them today. And I said to
4 him, How come, the Serbs are there? And he said, No, they left. That's
5 how I came to go there and bury the victims. The KLA helped us and their
6 family members, civilians as they were.
7 Q. Can you recall about how many victims were buried?
8 A. Yes. That day we buried approximately 145 victims. Two, as I
9 said, we couldn't bury that day; we buried them on the next day, early
11 Q. Were all the victims buried by your group or were some taken away
12 by their families?
13 A. Some families took their relatives and buried them elsewhere. I
14 don't know how many of them.
15 Q. Now, while you were present at the burial, did you meet with
16 other survivors from the remaining group of men or from the group of men
17 who were killed that day?
18 A. That day, after we buried the victims, I met Jetish Qallapeki. I
19 had some bread and some cheese with me, and he said, I haven't eaten
20 anything for three days. So I gave him my bread and cheese, and I
21 offered to bring him some water, but I warned him not to eat too much for
22 fear he would suffer because of not having eaten for three days.
23 Q. Maybe I should get right to the point. Did you discover what
24 happened to the men that remained after your group of 33 were taken to
25 the edge of the woods?
1 A. We saw everything ourselves when we went to the place of the
2 event. Only 20 were not yet buried, and we started to carry them in
3 groups and to bury them.
4 Q. So what had happened to these men? Did you discover what had
5 happened to the remainder of the men that your group of 33 left behind?
6 How did they die?
7 A. Just like us, they too were brought there in groups. How many in
8 each group I don't know because they were all dead. I didn't have a
9 chance to meet them. But I heard the shots, and we found the corpses
10 there, and we counted them.
11 Q. Do you know Liri Loshi, Dr. Liri Loshi?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did you see him there that day during the burial?
14 A. I saw him that day and Thaqi -- [indiscernible] Thaqi had a
15 camera, and he filmed everything that was taking place.
16 Q. Well, when you said "filmed everything that was taking place,"
17 did they film the bodies of the dead men?
18 A. Where I was, we had already carried the corpses by the time, and
19 I told them what had happened.
20 Q. Can you recall if they filmed the bodies of the men who were
22 A. Yes, yes, I remember.
23 Q. And you just said you showed them what had happened.
24 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, could we look briefly at a videotape
25 which is already in evidence. This is P00288. And I'd just like to show
1 the witness a small part, two minutes of it or less than two minutes of
2 it, a clip from minute 40.54 seconds.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I -- the person with the cap is
5 [Video-clip played]
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I still have the clothes that I had
7 at the time.
8 MR. STAMP:
9 Q. And what are you doing there?
10 A. Here I'm telling them where I was lying on the ground, and that
11 tree there, I -- at that tree there there was someone who tried to flee,
12 but he was killed and he died there. And here where I am telling them
13 at -- that at this place where all the corpses -- and that the person who
14 shot us was 7 or 8 metres away in the meadow. Here we found the
16 Q. And what are you showing them now as you crawl on the tape?
17 A. I'm telling them how we left. We mounted this area and that near
18 the oak tree was the corpse and that we fled in the direction of the
19 mountain. That the police and the army, they were round the hill.
20 Q. Thank you very much.
21 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, I think we could stop there.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
23 MR. STAMP:
24 Q. When you and the other 33 men were taken off in a group to be
25 shot, were the women and children still in the meadow or had they been
1 sent away?
2 A. The women and the children, we were sitting on the meadow and the
3 women and the children were asked to raise their three fingers and they
4 killed -- they shot a horse in the presence of the children.
5 Q. Very well. Now, the women and the children, did they remain in
6 the meadow that day or were they sent away? Did they leave?
7 A. They sent the women and the children immediately in some other
8 direction, in the direction of Albania
9 were the last in the group and they said that, We saw you when they took
10 you to that place.
11 Q. These are the two elderly women you met in Vojnik?
12 A. That's right.
13 Q. I see. Your wife and children left in the direction of Albania
14 with the other refugees?
15 A. My wife and my children, that group from Izbice, went through
16 Broje, Jashanice, Kline, Valjak, Gllogjan, to the church in Gllogjan
17 which I don't know where it is. And they were told, Go back because the
18 war is over so you can go back home. So they were on the run for seven
19 days without eating anything. My daughter had young baby.
20 Q. Were you reunited with them -- well, I suppose you were. When
21 were you reunited with them?
22 A. After 17 days I think we joined each other in Tushille.
23 Q. Where is that?
24 A. Tushille is above Kopiliq, lower Kopiliq, between Laushe and
25 Kopiliq i Ulet, lower Kopiliq. It is on the right side. And there were
1 many refugees who took shelter there.
2 Q. Did you return to your village of Broje
3 A. We didn't dare go back to Broje, not until the war was over, when
4 NATO came, God help us.
5 Q. When did you return to your home village?
6 A. We returned to Broje on the 14th of June. We didn't find
7 anything intact. The village was razed to the ground. There was no
8 place we could sleep or stay in. Only some cherry trees were left. On
9 the next day I was trying to do something in what had remained of my
10 home, and two BBC
11 went to Izbice. They saw themselves what had happened. They have
12 levelled the grave-site --
13 Q. Yes. We are going to come to that, but -- well, let's get to it.
14 You returned in mid-June to the area where you had buried these bodies, I
15 take it, with the BBC
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. And described what was the condition of the grave-sites where you
18 and the other Albanians had buried the dead men?
19 A. The place was levelled out, and I found an arm which they had
20 excavated and also a leg and some wooden planks where we had written the
21 names and last names of the victims. They were turned upside down and
22 buried in the ground.
23 Q. Apart from the leg and the arm, did you find any other bodies or
24 body parts of the men you had buried?
25 A. No. To tell you the truth, no. Maybe there were some others,
1 but where we looked we didn't find any other body parts. We only found
2 those wooden planks that I mentioned buried in the grounds, and I got one
3 of them and showed it to those journalists.
4 Q. And when you say that the place where you had buried the men was
5 levelled out, could you just elaborate a little bit on that and tell us
6 what you mean when you say it was levelled out.
7 A. By this I want to say that -- they said initially, the Serbs,
8 that Izbice village does not exist --
9 Q. One minute, one minute --
10 A. That what happened in Izbice is not true.
11 Q. What was the condition of the ground where the people were
12 buried. Why is it that you say it was levelled out?
13 A. The site seemed like it was dug with something. It was not only
14 me there. The two journalists were there with me, and they saw it with
15 their own eyes.
16 Q. And did you notice anything about the area apart from the
17 appearance that it had been dug? Could you observe when you went there
18 that there were graves there?
19 A. I didn't observe anything else.
20 Q. Okay. I'd like to return to the -- to what you said just now,
21 that initially someone wanted to say that what happened in Izbica is not
22 true. What do you mean by that? That persons wanted to say that what
23 happened there was not true?
24 A. I meant that Belgrade
25 what happened in Izbice, because they wanted to destroy all traces of
1 what happened.
2 Q. And from what you saw at the grave-site when you went there in
3 mid-June, was that conclusion consistent with a view that they wanted to
4 destroy all traces?
5 A. Can you repeat the question, please?
6 Q. Did you see anything at the grave-site when you went there in
7 mid-June that was consistent with the -- with any intention to destroy
8 all traces?
9 A. This is what they said.
10 Q. And what did you see at the grave-site, if anything, that might
11 have been consistent with that intention? I'm just asking you now to
12 tell us and describe what you say, if anything, at the grave-site in
13 mid-June that indicated that to you.
14 A. When we went back, there were no graves at all. But afterwards,
15 the KFOR returned the corpses in batches from Batanice; and I went there
16 to help in the burial in Vushtrri and another village whose names -- name
17 I don't remember now. It is a live document.
18 Q. Let's return to the incident on the 25th -- sorry, on the 28th,
19 the massacres in the morning, briefly. I'd like you to look at a chart
20 and tell me if you can identify any of the patterns you see there.
21 MR. STAMP: Could we bring up 65 ter number 02375.
22 Q. And while it is being brought up, could I ask you, Mr. Thaqi,
23 whether or not you noticed if the uniform that the commander wore, the
24 person who told the other men that they knew what their duty was, whether
25 it was a plain uniform or if it had a pattern.
1 A. It was a uniform with patterns like this one here.
2 Q. There are four of them one there. Top right, top left, bottom
3 right, bottom left? Which one?
4 A. This one, the top right. This one here, the top right.
5 Q. Just to make sure that we have it very clear, could you just put
6 a number --
7 A. -- the police one, but this other one.
8 Q. Yes. Could you just put a 1 beside the uniform you say that the
9 commander wore, a number 1.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thanks. The shooter, the man who escorted you to the hill --
12 edge of the woods and opened up with the machine-gun on the group of men,
13 do you see any pattern like the one he was wearing there?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Which one is it? Don't draw, just tell us first. Just tell us
16 which one it is first.
17 A. Under the 1 that I marked earlier.
18 Q. And you said you also saw an initial three men who asked for
19 money and who burned a haystack. Do you see any uniform like the one
20 that they were wearing?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Which one is it?
23 A. The first, here.
24 Q. Could you put a number 2 there, please.
25 A. [Marks]
1 Q. The uniform in number 2, how many men from the Serbian forces
2 approximately were attired in that uniform at the field that morning?
3 A. I didn't count them, but I would say about 25 or so dressed in --
4 as policemen.
5 Q. And I take it from what you just said that number 2 is a police
6 camouflage pattern?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. What colour do you call this, number 2?
9 A. We call it like -- I don't know how to say, like blue.
10 THE INTERPRETER: In Albanian we call it yellow.
11 MR. STAMP: Can I ask -- I'm not sure if that was from the
12 witness or if the interpreter is trying to assist us.
13 THE INTERPRETER: The witness mentioned the word "yellow" in
14 Albanian, but by "yellow" they mean sometimes green, sometimes blue.
15 That's why we hesitate. Say "yellow," maybe you can ask him.
16 MR. STAMP:
17 Q. I'll just ask you again, Mr. Thaqi, number 2, what colour do you
18 call that camouflage pattern?
19 A. We call it like yellow, like green, grass green. How can I say
21 Q. I'm going to ask you that again because you have said two or
22 three things. That's what I am getting on the interpretation. What do
23 you call this colour, the wording you use to call this colour?
24 A. Like "e verdhe" which in English means like yellow, or like green
25 grass green.
1 Q. I see.
2 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, as he had marked this, could it be
3 given an exhibit number -- no, no, it's not in evidence just yet. So
4 could this document be received in evidence and given an exhibit number?
5 JUDGE PARKER: The witness also identified a third of the four
6 colour patterns. I believe he said it was the one underneath the one
7 numbered 1.
8 MR. STAMP: Yes, Your Honours.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Do you want that marked, perhaps, with a number 3
10 or are you happy to leave it as is?
11 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, I'll be guided and ask him to mark that
13 Q. The -- well, before you mark it, may I just make it clear where
14 we are going now. Can you recall in your mind carefully the pattern of
15 the uniform that the shooter was wearing, Mr. Thaqi?
16 A. Yes, I remember, it is this colour.
17 Q. Which one is it now?
18 A. The one under number 1.
19 Q. Could you put a number 3 there, please.
20 A. [Marks]
21 Q. Thank you very much.
22 MR. STAMP: Your Honours, I don't know if there's anything else
23 we could do with this document.
24 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
25 THE REGISTRAR: That will be assigned P00822, Your Honours.
1 MR. STAMP: Could we bring up in e-court P316.
2 Q. And while -- before we bring it up, can I ask you, Witness, did
3 some of the policemen you saw in the blue -- sorry, sorry, I withdraw
4 that because it might be interpreted in a different way.
5 Did some of the men you saw in the camouflage uniform that you
6 marked number 2, did they have insignias on their shoulders?
7 A. Yes, they did have badges on which "milicija" was written.
8 MR. STAMP: Could we have a look at P316.
9 Q. I think you -- there is someone here in this picture that I think
10 you can see in uniform. Do you see the badge on the shoulder of --
11 A. Yes, I do.
12 Q. Can you recall seeing this insignia or badge on the shoulder
13 there that day?
14 A. Yes, yes.
15 Q. And the uniform -- the jacket, do you recall that pattern?
16 A. Yes, the same. It's this kind of mixture, the police, the army.
17 MR. STAMP: Could we bring up a little closer if we can,
18 Mr. Usher, the vest that the police officer is wearing.
19 Q. If you look carefully at the pattern of the pockets at the bottom
20 part of this vest, and I'd like you to recall the number 1 you marked on
21 the chart before, can you perceive a difference between this pattern of
22 camouflage that this policeman is wearing and the pattern of camouflage
23 that the leader or commander was wearing?
24 A. Yes. This one here, the vest.
25 Q. What is it? Tell us what you can say about it in relation to the
2 A. This pattern was in use within the Yugoslav Army as well as the
3 police on that particular day.
4 Q. And you showed us and marked number 1 in the previous chart as
5 the pattern that the commander was wearing. Do you see a difference
6 between this pattern here on the vest and the pattern that you showed us?
7 Do you see a difference is the question, or are they the same?
8 A. They look the same to me in this vest, that is.
9 Q. Thank you. Can you -- do you see the top right pocket of this
10 vest, there's something written on it. Can you read that?
11 A. I think it's written "milicija."
12 Q. And that is for which of the armed forces, which of the armed
13 organisations does "milicija" refer to?
14 A. What forces? It belongs to the police forces of Serbia
15 [Prosecution counsel confer]
16 MR. STAMP: Thank you very much, Your Honours. I have completed
17 the examination-in-chief. May it please you.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Stamp.
19 Is that a convenient time, do you think, to have a break now,
20 Mr. Djordjevic; or would you like to commence?
21 MR. DJORDJEVIC: I agree with you.
22 JUDGE PARKER: We will have the second break now and resume at
24 --- Recess taken at 5.30 p.m.
25 --- On resuming at 6.00 p.m.
1 JUDGE PARKER: There are some questions for you now from
2 Mr. Djordjevic.
3 Yes, Mr. Djordjevic.
4 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
5 Cross-examination by Mr. Djordjevic:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Mr. Thaqi. My name is
7 Dragoljub Djordjevic. I appear on behalf of the accused in this case. I
8 have a few questions to put to you in order to clarify some matters that
9 you have mentioned today and previously concerning the Izbica events.
10 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, with your leave,
11 given that something is unclear to the Defence, and we believe it to be
12 important in this case, I wanted to show a few different samples of
13 colours to the witness in order for him to explain for him what colours
14 those are, and I will have a few samples that I would like to put to him.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
16 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
17 Q. Mr. Thaqi, could you please look in my direction. Have a look at
18 the piece of paper I'm holding in my hand and tell me what colour it is
19 to you.
20 A. We call it "yellow," "e verdhe."
21 Q. Green -- yellow, yellow. Would you also say that this is blue?
22 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The witness answered in
23 B/C/S saying:
24 THE WITNESS: [B/C/S Interpretation] Yes, blue.
25 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I will mark this with a 1.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
2 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask my assistant
3 to hand it over to you.
4 Q. What colour this, Mr. Thaqi?
5 A. [Albanian Interpretation] It's red.
6 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I will mark it with a 2,
7 Your Honour.
8 Q. What colour is this, Mr. Thaqi?
9 A. It's like a grass colour.
10 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I will mark it with a 3,
11 Your Honour.
12 Q. To conclude, what colour is this, Mr. Thaqi?
13 A. It looks white to me.
14 Q. You can have a look up close, and I will mark it with a 4.
15 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Let's place that on the ELMO,
17 Q. I would kindly ask you to repeat starting with 1 through to 2, 3,
18 and 4 and tell me what colours those are.
19 A. The one here is "e verdhe," "yellow," as we call it.
20 Q. That's the number 1?
21 A. Number 2 is red.
22 Q. What about the number 3?
23 A. Grass colour.
24 Q. Number 4?
25 A. White.
1 Q. I will ask you again about the paper number 1, the one you called
2 "e verdhe" in Albanian. Do you also recognise that to be blue, what we
3 call blue or perhaps not?
4 A. We call it "e verdhe."
5 Q. Yellow. Since you said that the colour on the paper number 4 is
6 white, I will try to do that exercise again. I will ask the usher to
7 hand it over to you, and I would like to ask you what colour this piece
8 of paper to you is. I would also like to ask the usher to replace the
9 new sample with the old one, or rather, the other way around.
10 A. This is different than number 4.
11 Q. I do agree that it is a bit of a -- it is a stronger colour.
12 A. It's called "zelena" in Serbian.
13 Q. Is there a word in the Albanian language for that colour, the
14 paper number 4?
15 A. Yes. It's similar to this one, to the off-white one.
16 Q. Do you know the Serbian word for the colour number 1?
17 A. In Serbian it's called "zelena."
18 Q. So both the 1 and the 4 are green?
19 A. No.
20 Q. I will not press this any further.
21 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I will kindly ask the Chamber to
22 have these samples admitted into evidence.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Before we do, the first number 4 which is, I
24 believe, an off-white and the second number 4 I would suggest that the
25 second be marked 4A so that it can be distinguished. We should have all
2 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] You're right, Your Honour.
3 JUDGE PARKER: The five samples will be received.
4 THE REGISTRAR: And they will be assigned D00121, Your Honours.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
6 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
7 Q. Mr. Thaqi, at the beginning of your testimony today you talked
8 about the reasons why you and members of your family as well as your
9 co-villagers left on the 25th or the 26th of March for Izbica, leaving
10 your village, every last person did that. When asked by my learned
11 colleague, Mr. Stamp, you cited massacres as the reason in Cirez,
12 Likosane, Prekaz, and you said that those massacres took place in 1998.
13 I will ask you again briefly whether you remember when those, as you term
14 them, massacres took place in 1998, what month?
15 A. You're going too fast for me. Are you asking me about the month
16 when these occurred?
17 Q. That is correct, Mr. Thaqi.
18 A. The massacre in Qirez happened on the 28th of February, 1998
19 Q. Was there a massacre in Likovac or Likosane?
20 A. Yes, in Likoshan, yes. 28 persons, to what I know, were
21 massacred there, not in L ikoc.
22 Q. Would you agree with me if I said that the clashes that broke out
23 in February 1998 were a direct consequence of the murder of two policemen
24 on board a transport vehicle, the make was Lada, and that another two
25 were wounded? Would you agree with me if I said that? It was an
1 operation conducted by the Serbian police in order to save their
2 colleagues who had been attacked by the KLA, two of which had been killed
3 and two wounded.
4 A. Please, if one can tell the counsel to speak in shorter
5 sentences, otherwise I'm not able to understand them. He speaks in long
6 sentences, and I cannot remember everything he's putting into them.
7 Q. Do you know that in February two policemen were killed, two Serb
8 policemen; another two were seriously injured as they were riding in a
9 transport Lada vehicle in Cirez and Likosane? Do you know of that event
10 from February 1998?
11 A. I didn't hear about that. I heard that there was fighting. I
12 know nothing else about it, and we went to bury the people that were
13 massacred there.
14 Q. Therefore, you will agree with me that there was fighting. Thank
15 you. Another thing that I'm interested in is this: Did you testify in
16 the case against the former Serbian President, late Mr. Milosevic?
17 A. Yes, I did.
18 Q. On page 7146, line 10, when asked how many thousands of people
19 approximately were at the meadow in Izbica you said "approximately 15 to
21 If I put to you that one of the survivors, Mustafa Dragaj, said
22 that there were some 3.000 of us, and if I put to you that you, yourself,
23 said today there were between 10 and 12.000 of us, what would be the
24 exact number, the 3.000 referred to by Mr. Mustafa Dragaj; or between 10
25 and 12.000, as you said today; or 15 to 16.000 people as you put it a
1 number of years ago in your testimony against the accused
2 Slobodan Milosevic?
3 A. I didn't count them, neither did Mustafa count the people who
4 were there. But most probably there were about 14 to 16.000 there. I
5 wasn't a policeman or a soldier to count all of them. Some left, some
6 remained there; how many left, that I don't know.
7 Q. Out of the 14 to 16.000 people, as you said, can you tell me what
8 was their make-up in terms of gender, age, approximately?
9 A. As I said then, there were children of the age of 8 months,
10 1 year, up to elderly of the age of 100 and more.
11 Q. You have already stated that. I'm asking you now to tell us how
12 many males were there in terms of percentage and how many women?
13 A. 157, 160 altogether. Three of us survived. Nine survived there
14 on the other side. So 12 of us survived. Now you make the math how many
15 of us were men.
16 Q. Are you trying to tell me that the rest were all women? And out
17 of the total number of people on that meadow there were some 160 men?
18 A. Yes. 160 men altogether, an old man Regje Duraku was killed as
19 he was leaving Izbice. He was killed near the graveyard in Izbice.
20 Q. Where were the fathers, husbands, and brothers of those women,
21 those tens of thousands of women or 15.000, where were they at that
23 A. That I don't know. People were all out in the open, in the
24 mountains. Some of the men were abroad. I don't know where all of them
1 Q. My next question for you, Mr. Thaqi, is this: You said that on
2 that meadow in Izbica there were people from around 15 villages gathered
3 there. Would you agree with me that there were 15.000 women and children
4 in that village, and out of the men there were only the 157 of you? Am I
5 correct in saying that?
6 A. I didn't count how many people were there. It was impossible to
7 count all of them there; but as far as men are concerned, we were about
8 160, as I said.
9 Q. Thank you, Mr. Thaqi. My next question: Why did all of them
10 gather in Izbica from all of the 15 villages? Why not a different
11 location? What was the reason for them to all go to Izbica?
12 A. Well, the rumour amongst the population was that that was the
13 safest area and that's why all the people came exactly there from all
14 these different villages.
15 Q. Do all of those villages fall within the municipality of Srbica
16 or were there some people from other villages as well?
17 A. There were people from Kline municipality as well and from
18 Skenderaj municipality, from these two municipalities.
19 Q. Were there some people from Josanica, for example?
20 A. Yes, there were. Some were killed, some from Jashanice.
21 Q. Is that a third municipality, I mean does the village of Josanica
22 fall within a third, another municipality?
23 A. It's in Kline municipality. It's not a third municipality. Only
24 these two municipalities that I mentioned, Kline and Skenderaj.
25 Q. You would agree with me that that event in which the inhabitants
1 of 15 villages all gathered in Izbica had to be the result of an
2 agreement. Do you know who it was who decided that all of those people
3 should go to Izbica out of the 15 villages, since as you testified
4 yourself, people did not move about much due to danger?
5 A. That I don't know. The rumour amongst the population, as I said,
6 was that that was the safest area, and that's why we went there.
7 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask for the map
8 of Kosovo showing Izbica to be put on the screen. I believe it is P819
9 on which I think the witness marked Izbica, Belanica, and some other
10 villages. Could we also please zoom in on the part around Srbica
11 municipality in the upper left-hand side corner. I think the map should
12 be turned around. Actually, it's in the middle of the map, from
13 Skenderaj to the east. Thank you.
14 Q. Could you please mark Izbica on the map. You will be assisted by
15 the usher.
16 A. If you can wait for a moment, I cannot see it very well. Here is
18 Q. Will you mark it with 1, please.
19 A. Yes, this is Izbice. Can you please enlarge it a little bit
21 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please help
22 because the witness has still not made a mark.
23 Q. Here, you can see it a little better now.
24 A. Yes, Izbice, number 1; Vojnik is here; Turiqevc is a little bit
25 lower; Kopiliq; Broje; and Tushille.
1 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] May I ask the witness now to use
2 the same pencil that he used to mark Izbica to mark one by one the
3 villages he sees here from which he knows people came to Izbica for
4 safety, to say the name of each village before marking it. One of these
5 is probably Vojnik. To the best of his recollection.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I begin?
7 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Yes, go ahead.
9 A. Here is my village, Broje. Shall I underline it?
10 Q. No, no, no. Put a number 2 on it.
11 A. I will mark then Vojnik with number 2. It's closer to Izbice.
12 Q. All right.
13 A. That's number 2.
14 Q. Were there any refugees from Turicevac? Can you see Turicevac if
15 you can?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. If you can, put number 3 there.
18 A. [Marks]
19 Q. Can you see your village?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Mark it with the next number, 4.
22 A. [Marks]
23 Q. Tell me, can you see any other villages from which you know
24 people came to Istok or north of Skenderaj, that is, Srbica or other
25 places as refugees.
1 A. I cannot see Kline here. I cannot see Kline, Kline municipality.
2 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Could the usher please, or
3 rather, could, the Legal Officer expand the picture so we can see Kline,
4 zoom out a little or maybe scroll down --
5 JUDGE PARKER: Can't move, Mr. Djordjevic. We lose it if we
7 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Oh, I see.
8 Q. Can you now tell us then whether there were any refugees from
9 Klina without marking it or maybe villages around Klina that you know
11 A. Yes, there were people from Gllareve, but I cannot see Gllareve
12 here on the map, and from Jashanice village which is also in Kline
13 municipality. And from Rexheve village as well.
14 Q. Can you see Josanica?
15 A. I think it's here, but I cannot see it very well.
16 Q. All right. I will tender this exhibit as it is. I will not ask
17 for a new map. Thank you for this.
18 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
19 THE REGISTRAR: And that, Your Honours, will be assigned D122.
20 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Mr. Thaqi, do you know who Bislim Zyrapi was?
22 A. No, I don't.
23 Q. Would you agree with me if I said that all the younger men from
24 these villages and from the environs of Srbica did indeed flee but not to
25 Izbica. It was three days before this unfortunate event. And none of
1 them were with you, including the son of Mustafa Draga, who also said
2 that his son went into the mountains, his younger son, and some people
3 from the same village talked about it.
4 A. I don't understand you when you go on for a long time. If you
5 can make your questions shorter.
6 Q. I'll try to rephrase to make the question easier. Is it the case
7 that younger people, younger men, such as the son of Mustafa Draga, went
8 into the mountains three days prior to the 28th, that is, around the
9 25th of March? That's why they were not in that meadow.
10 A. I don't know anything about Mustafa's son.
11 Q. And concerning the younger people who were not there with you?
12 A. They were in the mountains, yes.
13 Q. Was that something that was agreed with the KLA?
14 A. What kind of agreement with the KLA? What for?
15 Q. I will tell you that in his testimony, Bislim Zyrapi said that
16 the KLA took care of the people, and accordingly the people agreed with
17 the KLA when they would move and seek shelter elsewhere and that they,
18 although poorly armed, were protecting their people.
19 That's why I'm asking you. Is it the case that people moved from
20 your village after that had been agreed with or ordered by the KLA?
21 A. No, I don't know anything about what you're saying. To what I
22 know, there was no agreement whatsoever with the KLA. We decided to
23 leave, ourselves. And again, please, if you can put shorter questions to
25 Q. Tell me, at that time - that means the beginning of 1999 - did
1 you know that the KLA existed, I mean you personally?
2 A. Yes, of course.
3 Q. Do you know the name of the KLA commander in the area where you
5 A. I don't know.
6 Q. Do you know who Shaban Dragaj is?
7 A. I've heard of him, but I didn't see him at the time. I know him
8 by sight; but at the time, I didn't see him.
9 Q. Where is he from?
10 A. He is from Leqin village, but I think he lives in Mitrovica or in
11 Prishtina somewhere.
12 Q. Have you just heard of him or do you know him?
13 A. I just heard of him.
14 Q. Would you be so kind as to tell us all exactly what you heard of
15 Shaban Dragaj?
16 A. Nothing special. They called him commander. I didn't hear
17 anything else about him.
18 Q. Who did you hear that from?
19 A. From the people.
20 Q. Why did they call him commander?
21 A. Because perhaps he was a KLA leader or something like that. I
22 don't know these things.
23 Q. So you did hear that he was a commander. And now tell me,
24 Mr. Thaqi, do you know the distance between his native village and
1 A. I don't know -- I know where Leqin is, but I don't know the
2 distance between the two.
3 Q. Thank you. You said in your testimony earlier today - and you
4 mentioned that also in certain statements to which I will come back
5 later - that you had seen Serb forces coming from the direction of
6 Josanica; correct?
7 A. This we saw in early March, in 1998; they came again in 1999 but
8 then we left. We didn't see that with our own eyes, but we heard that
9 they were coming from Kline and we left the village.
10 Q. That's right, Mr. Thaqi, that's exactly the event I'm asking you
11 about. So you heard. You did not see Serbian forces coming from
13 A. I didn't see this with my own eyes. My house is in a valley and
14 the villagers who live in the upper part of the village had seen them
15 coming from that direction; and as I said, we left.
16 Q. The villagers who saw that, who told you that the Serbian forces
17 were coming, did they also tell you that there was shooting and there was
18 some combat as the Serbian forces were arriving between them and members
19 of the KLA?
20 A. The bullets were coming from the direction of Jashanice towards
21 Broje, and we could hear the gun-fire ourselves.
22 Q. From Broje, not from your house but from the mountain, can you
23 see Josanica with the naked eye?
24 A. You can see the mill on the hill -- you can see it from the mill
25 on the hill; but from the village where the houses are, you cannot see
2 Q. Are there any settlements between Josanica and your village,
4 A. Jashanice borders Broje. There are no villages between the two.
5 Q. I'll agree with you on that. What is the distance between the
6 centre of your village and the centre of Josanica?
7 A. Approximately some 3 kilometres.
8 Q. Given that we've agreed there are no settlements between Broje
9 and Josanica, can you guess the reason for the fierce shooting that your
10 villagers and you heard? What could be the reason?
11 A. That I don't know.
12 Q. Do you know that there was fighting between the KLA and the
13 Serbian forces in that area on that occasion, that particular occasion?
14 A. I personally don't know that, but even there was -- even if there
15 was fighting, we were in our own homes and they came to us and attacked
17 Q. Do you know who Refki Thaqi and Elmi Thaqi are?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Are you related to them?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. How are you related to them?
22 A. Close, close relatives.
23 Q. Do they live far from you? How far are their houses from yours?
24 A. About 150 metres.
25 Q. At the time when all the villagers left Broje, were they also in
1 the village, Refki and Elmi Thaqi?
2 A. These two left the village and went to Albania and they had given
3 a false statement.
4 Q. You know that they gave certain statements, to whom? Who kind of
5 false statement did they make?
6 A. When I was here for the second time, I was asked if I knew
7 Refki and Elmi, and then they said that this is what they said, and I
8 denied what they said. I told them that that all what they said was a
10 Q. Do you remember what exactly they said?
11 A. I don't remember what they had said.
12 Q. Would you agree with me if I tell you they said in their
13 statements, both of them, that they had seen Serbian forces come from the
14 direction of Josanica. On that point your statements agree. You say you
15 heard of it, and they say they saw it; but that involved, they say, great
16 clashes with the Kosovo Liberation Army. Did they lie about that?
17 A. Most probably they lied about that. Personally I didn't see the
18 fighting, and that's why I'm saying I didn't see any fighting.
19 Q. In other words, you don't know but you know that they lied about
20 this, do you? Do you know that they lied when they said they had seen
21 Serbian forces coming from the direction of Josanica which involved
22 fighting with the KLA? I'm asking you about this second part.
23 A. I don't know if they lied or not. I assume that they didn't see
24 this kind of fighting. They had given these statements in Albania.
25 Q. Tell me, do Refki and Elmi Thaqi live today in your village? Are
1 they alive?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Thank you.
4 A. [Previous translation continues]... alive.
5 Q. And tell me, Mr. Thaqi, did Refki and Elmi lie when they said
6 that members of the KLA and the KLA commander for that area of Kosovo,
7 the one you said you heard of as the commander, Shaban Draga, on the
8 24th of March, around 11.00 p.m.
9 leave and they did leave on the 25th of March around 3.00 a.m.
10 Did they lie about that? Were you in Izbica at all on the
11 24th of March, that is, four days before the 28th?
12 A. I was at home on the 24th of March. On the 25th I was again at
13 home. On the 24th the NATO bombing started. On the 26th, that was a
14 Friday, we left early in the morning. As to the direction they took,
15 that I don't know.
16 Q. So you don't know whether their statement is true about this
17 because you were not in Izbica at the time; will you agree with me?
18 A. What I'm saying is that on the 26th of March we went to Izbice.
19 It was a Friday. I saw them later in Izbice, and after that I didn't see
20 them anymore. They gave this statement some years later on, somewhere in
22 Q. I'll tell you, Mr. Thaqi, that they made their statement on the
23 30th of April, 1999, which is only two or three days after this massacre;
24 and also on the 2nd May, 1999. But I have to go back away on this topic
25 when you said, Oh, I know about them, they gave false statements. Since
1 I understood you have no direct knowledge about any of these things, then
2 what did they lie about? Why did you say they had given false statements
3 when you know nothing about it? If you do know something, tell us.
4 A. They stated that the KLA was fighting in Izbice, not in
5 Jashanice, but in Izbice, and that is a lie. There was no KLA in Izbice
6 on that day when the massacre occurred.
7 JUDGE PARKER: This seems to be a subject that you will be
8 exploring for a little while, Mr. Djordjevic. I've been looking for a
9 convenient break. This is probably it and we'll resume tomorrow at 9.00.
10 Mr. Thaqi, we must finish for the day now but we continue
11 tomorrow at 9.00 in the morning, and we'll continue your evidence
12 tomorrow morning. A court officer will give you further instructions
13 overnight. So we look forward to seeing you again in the morning at
14 9.00, and we adjourn now for the evening.
15 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.59 p.m.
16 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 26th day of
17 May, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.