Tribunal Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

Page 2582

1 Friday, 28 January 2005

2 [Open session]

3 [The accused entered court]

4 --- Upon commencing at 9.05 a.m.

5 MR. BLACK: Good morning, Your Honours.

6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, Mr. Nicholls.

7 MR. BLACK: Mr. Black.

8 JUDGE PARKER: I'm going to get enough exposure in time.

9 MR. BLACK: We try to rotate often enough to keep it confusing.

10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, I do beg your pardon.

11 MR. BLACK: With your permission I call the next witness, Mr.

12 Fadil Kastrati.

13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.

14 [The witness entered court]

15 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, sir. Would you be good enough to

16 read aloud the affirmation that is on the card given to you now.

17 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]

18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down.

19 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, I didn't receive the English translation

20 on that.

21 JUDGE PARKER: Let's hope the matter is now remedied.

22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will

23 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

24 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.

25 Now, Mr. Black is going to ask you some questions.

Page 2583

1 Yes, Mr. Black.

2 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.


4 [Witness answered through interpreter]

5 Examined by Mr. Black:

6 Q. Good morning, Mr. Kastrati.

7 A. Good morning.

8 Q. Can you understand me all right?

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. I'm sorry we kept you waiting yesterday and you didn't begin

11 until today, but we'll try to move on as quickly as I can.

12 A. No problem.

13 Q. Before we begin let me say that if at any time you don't

14 understand one of my questions, just please tell me and I'll try to state

15 it more clearly. Do you understand that?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. In a moment I'll ask you some questions about your personal

18 background and about events in 1998, but before I do that I just want to

19 ask you some preliminary questions. Do you understand that?

20 A. Yes.

21 Q. Before coming to The Hague to testify today, did you attend an

22 interview with a Prosecution investigator on 19 February 2004?

23 A. I don't remember the date.

24 Q. But do you remember attending an interview with an investigator

25 from this Prosecution?

Page 2584

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And at a interview did you answer the questions of your own free

3 will?

4 A. I've answered the questions out of my own free will.

5 THE INTERPRETER: We have some technical problems, sorry.

6 MR. BLACK: Of course.

7 Q. Please explain and we'll try to figure those out.

8 MR. BLACK: I'm sorry. Perhaps the problem was with the

9 interpreters and not the witness.

10 [Technical difficulty]

11 JUDGE PARKER: It seems we may be able to --

12 THE INTERPRETER: Could we please ask the witness to speak, to

13 check just if we can hear him properly.

14 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please indicate again your name, please.

15 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]

16 JUDGE PARKER: What is your name?

17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My name is Fadil.

18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. That was just to test your microphone.

19 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.

20 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Black.


22 Q. Witness, I'm sorry for the technical difficulties. If we could

23 just continue. I was about to ask you if in your interview with the

24 Prosecution investigator you answered the questions truthfully.

25 A. I've always tried to tell the truth.

Page 2585

1 Q. And have you met with representatives of the Prosecution on any

2 other occasion before you travelled here to The Hague this week?

3 A. Yes. They came to my house in Lipjan.

4 Q. And did they discuss your testimony or another issue? Just

5 please tell us what was talked about on that occasion.

6 A. Do you refer now to our meeting in Lipjan or when they came to my

7 house?

8 Q. I just would like to know if you've discussed your evidence with

9 investigators other than to make the travel arrangements to bring you to

10 The Hague and those sort of details.

11 A. We discussed my time in the war and some other everyday things.

12 Q. And was this the interview in February 2004 or was this a

13 different occasion?

14 A. It was -- now I don't remember whether it was February or another

15 month. For me it wasn't a big deal. But this is when they came and

16 asked me those questions.

17 Q. Okay. And did this just happen on one occasion?

18 A. It happened just on one occasion when I was questioned in Lipjan.

19 And after that they came one or two more times to my house, asked me

20 whether I was in danger, and I told them that I was not in danger and

21 that there was no one that could put me in danger.

22 Q. Okay. And just before I move on -- and you and I met on

23 Wednesday for a couple of hours to discuss your testimony. Is that

24 right?

25 A. This Wednesday here?

Page 2586

1 Q. Yes, that's right. Not yesterday but the day before.

2 A. That's how it was, yes.

3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kastrati. Now I'll move on to a few questions

4 about your personal background. Is your full name Fadil Kastrati?

5 A. Yes.

6 Q. And your father's name is Nazmi?

7 A. Yes, that's correct.

8 Q. Were you born on the 3rd of April, 1967, in the village of

9 Vershec now called Blinaje?

10 A. I was born on the 3rd of April, 1967, in the village of Vershec

11 now called Blinaje.

12 Q. And that is in the Lipjan municipality in Kosovo. Is that

13 correct?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. And you are Albanian; am I right?

16 A. Yes.

17 Q. Mr. Kastrati, please tell us how many years of education you

18 received.

19 A. I've completed nine years of education.

20 Q. And did you perform military service with the Yugoslav army in

21 1988?

22 A. I have not finished it -- I did not finish it. I just served two

23 months.

24 Q. Can you explain why that was?

25 A. They would be able to give you a better explanation because I

Page 2587

1 want to complete my military service, but they said to me, no, that's

2 enough for you.

3 [Prosecution counsel confer]


5 Q. Mr. Kastrati, after your military service with the Yugoslav army,

6 did you ever live or work outside of Kosovo?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. And just tell the Judges briefly when that was.

9 A. I worked in Germany sometime in 1993.

10 Q. And had you worked in Croatia for a time as well, maybe that was

11 before your military service?

12 A. Yes, I worked in Croatia sometime between 1983 and 1985.

13 Q. Mr. Kastrati, did you also work as a taxi driver in Kosovo?

14 A. I worked as a taxi driver before the war and I still do the same

15 thing now after the war.

16 Q. In the time before the war, did you ever -- as a taxi driver, did

17 you ever have any problems with the Serb authorities?

18 A. Yes, I had problems.

19 Q. Could you please briefly explain to the Trial Chamber the

20 circumstances of those problems.

21 A. Yes, I can explain. When I worked as a taxi driver, I don't

22 remember the exact year when it happened, but I know that some things

23 that I remember very clearly happened. The Serbs were just looking to

24 close all the roads for us. There was no open road for us that they

25 would allow us to use. They would stop the buses and did not let the

Page 2588

1 pupils go to school, so we were forced to take the pupils to school with

2 our vans. A person called Stola, I will never forget this name, he

3 cursed me in Albanian and ordered me not to transport any passengers. He

4 ordered me to go and get my documents. I knew that they were going to

5 behave badly, but I had no other choice but to go and get my documents.

6 When I went for the documents at their office, they beat me till I lost

7 consciousness, till I was no longer aware what was going on with me. One

8 grabbed me by the hair and hit me on the car, and the others were also

9 hitting me without stopping. I found myself in the hospital. I don't

10 know who brought me there.

11 Q. What kind of injuries did you receive from this beating?

12 A. I had brutal injuries. My body suffered more injuries, my face

13 as well. After several -- after few days I again started to drive, and

14 the same persons behaved badly again, their colleagues as well. They

15 seized my documents. At that time there was an Albanian who was a

16 policeman and who worked with them; his name was Fatmir. With my

17 friends, we were deliberating whether to call on this Fatmir or not. We

18 thought that since he was Albanian he would be able to help us. But he

19 did not help us. And eventually when we got our documents back, they

20 just threw them at us and they did not beat us on that occasion. It's

21 then when I told my friends, Let's get out of here because there is --

22 there are no conditions for us to work here any longer.

23 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kastrati. Now I want to turn your attention to

24 the year 1998. When did you first hear about the Kosovo Liberation Army?

25 A. For the first time I heard about the KLA when the Prekaz battle

Page 2589












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13 English transcripts.













Page 2590

1 took place with Adem Jashari.

2 Q. Do you remember when that was approximately?

3 A. Approximately in March, I think.

4 Q. And what was your reaction when you heard about what happened to

5 Adem Jashari?

6 A. My interest was to find out about the war more and more because I

7 was anxious to grab the arm and the weapon and join the liberators of

8 Kosova.

9 Q. Did you join the KLA at that time?

10 A. At that time I did not join because I didn't know anyone. I

11 wanted to join the KLA but I did not join it at that time. I joined it a

12 bit later.

13 Q. When did you join the KLA?

14 A. I joined the KLA on the 9th of May, 1998.

15 Q. And I'd like you to explain to the Trial Chamber what happened on

16 the 9th of May, 1998, that led you to join the KLA.

17 A. If you could please repeat your question. I don't understand it.

18 Q. Of course. Just tell the Judges what happened on the 9th of May,

19 1998.

20 A. Do you mean what happened in combat or what happened that made me

21 join the war?

22 Q. Let's start with what made you join the war.

23 A. As I mentioned earlier, I had a great wish to join. This was a

24 discussion amongst several friends, regardless of where to join, we just

25 wanted to join. On 9th of May some friends of mine came. One of them

Page 2591

1 had some connections with a person who knew where the combat was going

2 on. And on the 9th of May there was combat in Lapusnik and we joined the

3 combat, and that's how it happened.

4 Q. How did you learn about the combat in Lapusnik?

5 A. We live nearby. As the crow flies it's about 5 kilometres, not

6 more than that. In a way we gave our word that we will join the war when

7 it comes to it. So we joined it when the war came and we gave our

8 contribution as much as we could.

9 Q. You mentioned that you live very near to Lapusnik. But were you

10 told that there was combat there or did you find out in some other way?

11 A. A friend of the two friends that I went with came. His name is

12 Ymer Alushani. He sent some persons who I didn't know who took us and

13 asked us whether we wanted to join, because they knew that we wanted to

14 join. So they asked us and we said yes, we will join the war and --

15 regardless of whether we will die or not.

16 Q. Please tell the Judges who Ymer Alushani was.

17 A. Ymer Alushani was a fighter and a very brave person. I didn't

18 know him from before. I can say that I first met him in the beginning of

19 the war. He was a very brave man, a very brave fighter.

20 Q. And who are the other two friends that you mentioned?

21 A. The other two friends are from my village. Their names are Fadil

22 and Islam, Fadil Qadraku and Islam Qadraku. They are not my friends,

23 they are just my co-villagers. We call ourselves between us uncles, but

24 we don't know whether we have any family relationships. They did have

25 some connections with the war, so I wanted to join the war and regardless

Page 2592

1 of who the person was who had connections, it didn't matter to me. I

2 just wanted to join.

3 Q. And you told us that you went with those two people to join the

4 war. Where did you go?

5 A. That's how it was. We went to the house of Ymer Alushani, and

6 later we set off for Lapusnik at the rock location and that's where we

7 took up our positions.

8 Q. Do you remember what time of day it was when you arrived in

9 Lapusnik at this rock location?

10 A. When I arrived at Lapusnik, it wasn't daytime, it was night.

11 During the day there had been fighting, but personally I didn't get to --

12 arrive for that fighting during the day. I arrived there just before

13 dusk.

14 Q. How did you though there had been fighting during the day?

15 A. As I said, firing could be heard; I didn't know from where. But

16 I just knew that there was fighting going on. And when the friends came

17 and informed us, that's when I set off myself.

18 Q. When you set off for Lapusnik, were you armed?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. What kind of weapons did you have?

21 A. At that time I had a rifle.

22 Q. What about your friends, did they have weapons?

23 A. Yes, they had weapons, too. One had an automatic rifle and the

24 other a rifle. I don't know exactly, but I think it was a rifle.

25 Q. You mentioned that you took up positions at the rock location in

Page 2593

1 Lapusnik. Could you describe where that is in Lapusnik, perhaps in

2 relation to any main roads in the area.

3 A. Yes. The Komorane-Peja road is nearby. And there on the top

4 there's a rock. The Serb forces were positioned there, and in combat

5 with the KLA they had to withdraw. And then I don't know where they went

6 to.

7 Q. Just to be clear, which side of the Komorane-Peja road were you

8 on?

9 A. On the left side.

10 Q. Is that the left side -- if you're travelling in which direction?

11 A. When you come from Komorane and in the direction of Peja, it's on

12 the left side.

13 Q. Why did you take up positions at the rock? Why did you choose

14 that place?

15 A. I did not choose it. My friends chose it. It was a position

16 from where you could clearly see the Serb positions; that's why I

17 positioned there and that's why I stayed there.

18 Q. Which friends were with you -- who was with you at that time when

19 you arrived at the rock?

20 A. At that time with me were Ymer Alushani, Islam Qadraku, and some

21 others whose names I didn't know because I didn't know them at all.

22 Q. Were there other soldiers -- were there other KLA soldiers in

23 Lapusnik when you arrived besides those you've just mentioned?

24 A. Yes, of course there were.

25 Q. Can you estimate about how many there were on that first day?

Page 2594

1 A. Approximately on that day there were about 20. I have seen this

2 much. Maybe there were more in the mountains, but I don't know them.

3 Q. Did that number change in the following days?

4 A. Yes. It grew every day bigger and bigger.

5 Q. Okay. What did you do when you arrived at the rock location?

6 A. On the first day, so it's the 10th of May, during the day there

7 was no fighting, no combat. We were just observing the area to see

8 whether Serb forces were coming into our direction. Our aim was not to

9 allow them to approach our population. Sometime in the evening, the

10 Serbs were firing at our direction with heavy weapons and I don't know

11 what else.

12 Q. When the Serbs fired at you with heavy weapons, what did you do?

13 A. When they were firing at us, we were taking positions so that

14 they could not reach us, hit us.

15 Q. And in the following days, what did you do there?

16 A. We were surveying the terrain. And when there was combat,

17 although we wanted to fight and we were ready to fight, we could just

18 give the maximum that we could.

19 Q. Did you participate in any fighting during those first few days?

20 A. I tried to take part at all times, but sometimes it wasn't

21 possible.

22 Q. I understand that. You say that you "gave the maximum that we

23 could."

24 What were you able to do?

25 A. Well, they were firing at us and we were responding to that fire.

Page 2595

1 We were trying to hit them; now maybe we have, but we couldn't see it

2 from the distance. The fact is that we did fire at them as they did fire

3 at us.

4 Q. Okay. Mr. Kastrati, other than Ymer Alushani, Fadil Qadraku, and

5 Islam Qadraku, do you remember any of the other people you saw in

6 Lapusnik on those first few days?

7 A. I don't remember seeing a person who I knew. There were many

8 soldiers from the area, but I don't think I knew any of them. Because,

9 for example, if you were now soldiers of the KLA, I don't know them.

10 That's the same thing, I didn't know anyone there either.

11 Q. But was there anyone that you saw that stood out to you in the

12 first day or two that you were there?

13 A. Yes. I saw on the first day when Fehmi Lladrovci the commander

14 was, and I took my oath before this man, before this great man. I was

15 sincere in my wish to fight. And when I encountered such commanders,

16 such great men, this wish grew bigger.

17 Q. You say you took an oath before Fehmi Lladrovci. Can you

18 describe how that happened?

19 A. Yes. When we took the oath, it was several of us, some friends

20 of mine who I mentioned earlier and for whom that I said I didn't know.

21 He addressed us with the words, now, sons, you have come here to fight.

22 It's better that you go home because this is a big war and it requires

23 boldness. But as for myself, when I heard these words this just

24 encouraged me more and more. He was fighting together with his wife, so

25 what can I say more about this great man?

Page 2596

1 Q. Do you remember where this happened, where you took this oath?

2 A. It was in Lapusnik in a house where we were.

3 Q. Can you describe the house at all?

4 A. I don't know how to describe it. Orally perhaps?

5 Q. Yes. I was just wondering if you remember how many floors it

6 had, if it was old or new, any details that you remember.

7 A. It was a house. I can't call it either old or new. It was one

8 floor. It was near the road that leads to the rock location.

9 Q. Did you ever go to this house on other locations besides the time

10 when you took the oath?

11 A. I went to this house on one more occasion.

12 Q. What did you do on that occasion?

13 A. I didn't do anything. I just wanted to meet the commander. I

14 was in Blinaje and I did not find him there, and then I just returned

15 home.

16 Q. Perhaps we'll get to that in a moment. Do you know if the -- if

17 any other soldiers used this house or went to this house?

18 A. Yes, of course there were other soldiers there as well.

19 Q. Well, I mean on other occasions besides that oath ceremony. Did

20 other soldiers use that house on other occasions?

21 A. No, no. There weren't any.

22 Q. Okay --

23 A. Maybe there were, but I haven't seen any.

24 Q. You told us that when you first arrived in Lapusnik you went to

25 the rock. Did you go to other places in those first few days that you

Page 2597












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Page 2598

1 were there?

2 A. Besides the rock -- so the first two days, I spent them at the

3 rock. And later on, we came a little bit downhill towards the Komorane

4 road where it was a little bit more flat. We stayed there for another

5 two nights.

6 Q. And what did you do at that location?

7 A. The same as at the rock. We observed and then when there was

8 fighting, we fought. But at that time there was no fighting; we only

9 observed, we only surveyed the area.

10 Q. Were there any fortifications of any kind in Lapusnik? By that I

11 mean were there any trenches, any bunkers, anything like that?

12 A. There were bunkers. There were bunkers. The villagers helped us

13 and we helped the villagers. Those where we had our positions and we

14 could keep watch on the enemy from those positions.

15 Q. With the help of the usher at this time, Mr. Kastrati, I'm going

16 to show you a sketch.

17 MR. BLACK: Your Honours and for the record, this bears the ERN

18 U007-9681.

19 Q. Mr. Kastrati, if you could look to your left and just take a

20 moment to look at this sketch that I've given you. Mr. Kastrati, have

21 you seen this sketch before?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. And can you orient yourself all right there? For instance, can

24 you see where the Komorane-Peja road is on that sketch?

25 THE INTERPRETER: Could we ask the witness to keep closer to the

Page 2599

1 microphone. We can't hear him.

2 MR. BLACK: And also perhaps on our monitors if the audio/visual

3 booth could zoom out so we can see more of this sketch.

4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is this one here I think.


6 Q. Okay. And you see there's a place where five roads come

7 together. Do you see that spot there, Mr. Kastrati?

8 A. Yes. The one here you mean?

9 Q. Yes. What I'd like you to do -- and actually I'll ask the usher

10 to give you a pen. Do you see the rock position that you've mentioned on

11 that sketch?

12 A. Yes, I can see it.

13 Q. And could you put a number 1 by that, please.

14 A. [Witness complies]

15 Q. Thank you. And you mentioned another place that you went and

16 spent the second and third day. Can you find that place on the sketch?

17 A. Yes.

18 Q. Please put a number 2 at that place.

19 A. [Witness complies]

20 Q. Mr. Kastrati, you can see that on this sketch there's the word I

21 believe "position." Do you see that?

22 A. Yes, I see it.

23 Q. Do you know who wrote that?

24 A. It's me. I -- it looks like my handwriting.

25 Q. And did you write that at the interview with the Prosecution

Page 2600

1 investigator, do you remember?

2 A. Of course, yes.

3 Q. Now, you've mentioned another location, the house, where you had

4 the oath with Fehmi Lladrovci. Can you find that place on the sketch.

5 A. It's approximately here, somewhere here.

6 Q. Can you please put a number 3 at that location.

7 A. [Witness complies]

8 Q. Thank you very much?

9 MR. BLACK: I think we're finished with this sketch. If it could

10 be given an exhibit number.

11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're most welcome.

12 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, it will be received.


14 MR. BLACK: And now again with the assistance of the usher, I'd

15 like to hand the witness an aerial photograph.

16 Q. This is image 8 from Prosecution Exhibit P1, but the red markings

17 that are in the maps booklet have been taken off. Mr. Kastrati, again

18 I'd like you to just take a moment again to look at that photograph. Do

19 you recognise the area depicted in the photograph?

20 A. I don't know Lapusnik, the village, very well, but I remember the

21 roads where I went. And I told you this yesterday as well.

22 Q. Okay. Could you show the Judges any of the roads that you went

23 that you remember.

24 A. Yes. This road you can see here. I think it's the asphalted

25 road, Pristina-Peja. But the road I took with my friends or sometimes on

Page 2601

1 my own. It's this one here. And this part here is called Komorane

2 Nalte. I went here to Kishna Reka, Nekovce, and arrived here and moved

3 up here. There were bunkers here and positions. We called this road Te

4 Vllecat.

5 Q. Can you find on that photograph the place that you said you went

6 on the second and third days.

7 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreters are having a problem with

8 microphones again.

9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Even yesterday I told you I

10 couldn't figure out exactly where it was, but I think it was here.


12 Q. Okay.

13 A. There are many roads. I'm not so sure about it.

14 Q. It's a bit confusing. But can you find on this map near the

15 middle the place where the five roads come together?

16 A. I'll try. I don't know if I'll be able to.

17 Q. It's fine. Just see if you will be able to.

18 A. I think somewhere here, but I'm not sure.

19 [Prosecution counsel confer]

20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean the five roads, the four

21 positions, the four positions? Yes.


23 Q. Yes exactly. Can you point to that location again?

24 A. Okay, okay. Because I was thinking about something else. It's

25 here.

Page 2602

1 Q. Could you put a number 2 at that location, please.

2 A. [Witness complies]

3 Q. Thank you. And before we move on I forgot to ask you to, if you

4 could, show the Judges with the pen again the route that you took going

5 to Lapusnik that you showed us just a minute ago. If you could mark that

6 on the photograph, please.

7 A. You mean the road I took? Would you like me to write a number or

8 show you which route I took?

9 Q. I'd like you to put a number 1 next to the route, and then with

10 the pen just draw the route that you followed.

11 A. [Witness complies]

12 Q. Okay. Thank you very much.

13 A. Not at all.

14 Q. Now, I know that you've said that you're having a little trouble

15 with the photo, and that's understandable. Can you find on here the

16 house where you took the oath before Fehmi Lladrovci? Just see if you

17 can.

18 A. I tried earlier to find it. I don't know the village very well;

19 that's why it's a little bit of a problem for me. But in the sketch you

20 showed me earlier it was easier for me to find it. So I'll tell you

21 approximately because I don't know where exactly it is.

22 Q. Okay. Tell us approximately, if you can. If you can't, that's

23 fine, just say so.

24 A. I think it was somewhere here. If the rock is here, somewhere

25 here, the house should be here.

Page 2603

1 Q. Okay. Could you put a number 3 there, please, about where you

2 think it was.

3 A. I think it is here but I'm not sure. I'm looking at the roads

4 here that lead to the rock. It might be here, but as I said I'm not

5 sure.

6 Q. Okay. Thank you very much for your assistance.

7 MR. BLACK: Your Honours, if we could have an exhibit number for

8 this photograph.

9 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, that will be received.



12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kastrati. I'd like to keep your attention focused

13 still just on those first few days you were in Lapusnik. You said that

14 you arrived in Lapusnik with some friends, Ymer Alushani, Fadil Qadraku,

15 and Islam Qadraku. Did you see them again during those first few days?

16 A. The first day I saw them and I saw them now and again.

17 Q. And --

18 A. But I did not meet them during the war.

19 Q. You say you saw them now and again. Do you mean also on those

20 first few days that you were in Lapusnik?

21 A. Yes. I mean the first days, that's when I saw them occasionally.

22 Q. Okay. Do you remember what they were doing those times that you

23 saw them?

24 A. Well, just like any other soldier. They were doing the same

25 thing, defending the people and caused damage to the enemy as much as

Page 2604

1 possible. That is what they were doing.

2 Q. Okay. Were you in Lapusnik still on the 12th of May, 1998, do

3 you remember?

4 A. I'm not sure.

5 Q. Do you remember attending any other meetings besides the oath

6 that you told us about in front of Fehmi Lladrovci while you were in

7 Lapusnik?

8 A. No, I never had any meetings, and I was not interested to go to

9 meetings. I just wanted to go to war to fight. I don't know whether

10 there were any meetings.

11 Q. Okay. We've been focused on the first few days, but at some

12 point did you leave Lapusnik?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. How did that come about? Why did you leave?

15 A. I did not want to leave, but Commander Fehmi Lladrovci, he said

16 that it's better for you to go and observe, keep watch on the village

17 where I lived, Blinaje, how many enemy forces go in there and how many

18 get out. And that's why I went there and kept watch there. And when

19 there was fighting, when I could I went to Lapusnik.

20 Q. And did Commander Fehmi Lladrovci tell you this personally, that

21 it was better for you to go to Blinaje and monitor enemy forces?

22 A. Yes.

23 Q. Was anyone with him when he told you that or was he alone, do you

24 remember?

25 A. I was alone when he said those words to me. And later he gave me

Page 2605












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Page 2606

1 a soldier, Islami, he was a co-fighter. And he gave me that soldier

2 because he knew people who dealt in guns. And when we were able we

3 brought guns and weapons. He knew where he got those weapons. When we

4 could, we brought those guns to the soldiers, to Lapusnik.

5 Q. Okay. Just to be clear, is that the same Islam you mentioned

6 before?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Do you remember how many days after you arrived in Lapusnik it

9 was that you went back to Blinaje?

10 A. Approximately three or four days later.

11 Q. And what did you do in Blinaje?

12 A. When I went to Blinaje, I stayed at home so that other people

13 would not know that I was involved in the war because it was dangerous

14 for my family. I went up a mountain. I could see them and they could

15 not see me. They might have seen me, but I was a civilian and they did

16 not know what I was doing. And I -- when there were forces that came to

17 that place, I had to wait to see whether they were -- would stay there or

18 leave. Sometimes they would stay. And when they did that, in the

19 evening I took my car and went to Lapusnik to Fehmi Lladrovci and told

20 him about it.

21 Q. Okay. Just to be -- to have a clear record, you say that you

22 could see them and they could not see you. Who was they? Who do you

23 mean by "they"?

24 A. By "they" I mean the Serbs. We called them Shkji or Serbs as you

25 call them.

Page 2607

1 Q. When was the first time that you took your car and went to

2 Lapusnik to tell Fehmi Lladrovci about what you'd seen?

3 A. I can't remember the exact date, but approximately two or three

4 days after.

5 Q. Okay. And what happened on that occasion? Describe it for me,

6 please, when you arrived in Lapusnik I mean.

7 A. When I went to Lapusnik, there was not heavy fighting there, only

8 sporadic fighting. I did not meet the commander, so I had to join the

9 fighting. And then I met Commander Fehmi Lladrovci and he said, It's

10 okay. There's been a car -- an APC with policemen, but they have left.

11 So it's okay. But we will come to that area, we will.

12 Q. Did you speak with Fehmi Lladrovci in person on this occasion?

13 A. Yes. On this occasion, yes. And I remember it very clearly that

14 on this occasion I spoke to Commander Fehmi Lladrovci.

15 Q. Do you remember where you spoke with him?

16 A. It was near the first positions where the bunkers were, in the

17 mountain -- on the mountain somewhere.

18 Q. Did you go to Lapusnik to report on any other occasions?

19 A. There was another occasion, maybe two, I'm not sure. But I could

20 not meet Fehmi Lladrovci on those occasions.

21 Q. Please tell us what happened on those occasions.

22 A. The other occasions -- when I was in Blinaje, I told you earlier

23 the -- they had their own purposes when they provoked us, I mean the

24 Serbs. They came there with two APCs. They came and some of them tied

25 handkerchiefs on their heads and kept their guns very obvious for the

Page 2608

1 people to see and get scared. Sometimes one of the APCs stopped there

2 and the other one left. Sometimes both of them stayed in the village

3 overnight and left the next day, the next morning. These were the things

4 that I had to report to the commander. But when I went to meet him,

5 sometimes he was not there; I was not able to meet him.

6 Q. What did you do if you were not able to meet the commander?

7 A. When I could not meet the commander, I had to meet Ymer Alushani

8 because he said to me, Nobody has to know about these things that I'm

9 telling you. If I'm not here, you tell those things to Ymer Alushani.

10 So I had to meet Ymer Alushani. And that day I met Ymer Alushani and I

11 told him about the things that happened in the village of Blinaje.

12 Q. Do you remember where you met with Ymer Alushani on this

13 occasion?

14 A. I met Ymer Alushani somewhere near those five roads where they

15 meet. Those were the positions. I did not ask him where he was because

16 it was not my duty or task to ask him where he was. I asked one of the

17 soldiers, Is the commander here? And he said, No. And then I asked

18 about Ymer Alushani. And I said, Is Voglushi here? And he said, Well,

19 I'll go and fetch him for you. The soldier went and fetched Voglushi.

20 And I explained to him everything that had happened in Blinaje.

21 Q. Okay. Just to be clear, is Ymer Alushani and Voglushi the same

22 person?

23 A. Yes, the same person. It was his nickname; Voglushi was his

24 nickname.

25 Q. Okay. And other than Ymer Alushani, I asked you before if you'd

Page 2609

1 seen the other friends that you arrived with, if you'd seen them in the

2 first days at Lapusnik. Did you see those friends on any of these

3 occasions that you returned to Lapusnik?

4 A. I did not see them.

5 Q. Mr. Kastrati, when you first went from Lapusnik to Blinaje, were

6 there other KLA soldiers in Blinaje besides you?

7 A. There was one other soldier, but I don't know what his tasks

8 were, what the commander had told him. He was in the part -- he was in

9 the lower part of the asphalted road; I was in the upper part. He did

10 not need to come to my part and I did not need to go to his part. Each

11 of us had their own tasks that -- assigned by the commander. I never

12 asked him what your tasks are and he never asked me.

13 Q. Okay. You've mentioned an asphalted road. Could you tell us

14 more specifically which road you mean. I just wasn't clear on that.

15 A. The road that goes from the rock to Blinaje --

16 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction, Magure to Blinaje.

17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] My house is on the right side of

18 the road and his house is on the left side of the road. The road is

19 Magure to Blinaje.


21 Q. Okay. Thank you. And who was this other person? Do you know

22 his name?

23 A. Islami.

24 Q. And this is the same Islam that you'd mentioned before. Correct?

25 A. Yes.

Page 2610

1 Q. Okay. Was there ever a time when the KLA established a larger

2 presence, when more KLA soldiers came to Blinaje?

3 A. Could you repeat it again, please.

4 Q. Of course. Did the KLA eventually establish a larger present in

5 Blinaje?

6 A. Later there were more soldiers, but I did not tell them that I

7 was a soldier as well. I was a normal villager for them. After a week I

8 asked the people in Lapusnik to go to Blinaje because I knew the area and

9 I could do more in Blinaje than I could in Lapusnik.

10 Q. And were you allowed to go to Blinaje?

11 A. Yes.

12 Q. Who gave you permission to go to Blinaje?

13 A. I went to Lapusnik for a week or two, because in January the army

14 was in Blinaje. I met Ymer Alushani in Lapusnik, and I said to him,

15 Fehmi Lladrovci is not here so I can't meet him. But who is the person

16 responsible here that can let me go to Blinaje? I know the area very

17 well, I know the people, and I can do more there than here. And he said,

18 Well, I'll go and ask somebody about this.

19 Q. Who did he go and ask, do you know?

20 A. Now I know, but at that time I didn't. His name was commander.

21 That's how we called him. And we did not ask about each other,

22 especially the soldiers did not ask -- were not allowed to ask who that

23 person was. When commander -- the name "commander" was mentioned, we

24 respected that commander, whoever that person was.

25 Q. Okay. But this commander in particular, do you know who that

Page 2611

1 was? Do you his name or his nickname?

2 A. Now I know who the commander was that allowed me to go to

3 Blinaje; it was Commander Qerqizi. And he said, You soldier, you must

4 help us here. It would be better if you helped us here, but no problem.

5 And I told him, Yes, I can stay here but I know the area there better,

6 Commander. At that time I called him "commander," I did not know his

7 nickname or name.

8 Q. And when was that you spoke with Commander Qerqiz?

9 A. This was approximately two months later, two months from the time

10 I got involved in the war.

11 Q. So two months after the 9th of May. Is that right?

12 A. Yes, approximately.

13 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, I don't know when you'd like to take a

14 break. This is a fine or I can continue if you prefer.

15 JUDGE PARKER: Another 10 to 12 minutes.

16 MR. BLACK: Thank you very much.

17 Q. Mr. Kastrati, then -- were you then allowed to transfer to

18 Blinaje?

19 A. Yes. I was allowed by the commander and I had a great wish to go

20 to the part of the world where I lived, because I knew the terrain better

21 there.

22 Q. How many soldiers were based in Blinaje when you transferred

23 there?

24 A. When I went to Blinaje, in the beginning there were approximately

25 30 or 40 of them. I'm not sure.

Page 2612

1 Q. And did that number change while you were there?

2 A. Yes.

3 Q. How did it change?

4 A. I can easily say that the number grew every day, but I did not

5 know how many soldiers there were and how many came. But there were many

6 soldiers; that I know.

7 Q. And when you transferred to Blinaje, who was in command there?

8 A. When I went to Blinaje, the commander at the time was a

9 co-villager of mine; his nickname was Dardani. And my brother and his

10 friend was Commander Blini. And I asked them to become a soldier with

11 them, with their troops. They laughed a little bit and they said, Okay,

12 of course, but you cannot go and fight; you're not brave enough. And I

13 said, Well, I would like to try. And they said, Okay, you can join then.

14 Q. Do you know what the positions of Dardan and Blini were? And by

15 that I mean their titles or their ranks.

16 A. At that time and up until the end I can say I did not know what

17 their rank was, but the soldiers said "commander." And when the word

18 "commander" was mentioned there was respect for those people and there

19 was discipline. It was not up to me to ask what their rank is and who

20 you are.

21 Q. Perhaps I didn't ask my question very clearly. Do you know what

22 their responsibilities were? Let's take Dardan. Do you know what his

23 responsibilities were?

24 A. I did understand the question well and I said he was a commander

25 to me. He was a commander of the group of soldiers that were there,

Page 2613












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Page 2614

1 while Commander Blini, he explained it to me but I was not very clear.

2 He said he was the commander of the operational zone. And I asked him,

3 What is this operational, what does that mean? And he laughed and he

4 said, You don't understand things. And I said, Well, I don't understand

5 things, that's true, but I know how to fight against the enemy and I know

6 how to defend my population, my people. He said that my task was to --

7 because he was also an officer in the 7th Army, he had experience, he had

8 experience of trenches and bunkers. And that's where he worked and he

9 had that responsibility. And the villagers, we -- all the villagers

10 helped him. We tried to face up to the enemy as much as we could.

11 Q. Mr. Kastrati, the translation that we got said Blini was the

12 commander of the operational zone, but then you say operational -- did

13 you mean operational zone or operations?

14 A. I say he was an operational commander.

15 Q. Okay. Thank you.

16 A. I would like to add -- I don't know what this means, the word

17 means, but when we were at home sometimes we talked to each other and he

18 told me -- he tried to explain, but I don't know what these words mean.

19 Q. That's okay. Do you know who was the commander above Dardan and

20 Blini?

21 A. I think it was Shukri Buja. I used to think that, but there was

22 a Commander Luani as well. Both of them were commanders. I don't know

23 what their activities were, what their positions were. As I said, I

24 respected everybody who was called a commander. And if any of those

25 commander -- any of those commanders would tell me to go to the Serbian

Page 2615

1 checkpoint, I would go to the Serbian checkpoint without any doubt.

2 Q. Do you know who was the commander above Shukri Buja and Commander

3 Luan?

4 A. I said it earlier. At that time I did not know, but now you know

5 and I know.

6 Q. And who is that -- who was it?

7 A. It's the gentleman over there, Fatmir Limaj.

8 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, the next topic is a little bit longer.

9 Perhaps this is a good time for a break.

10 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. We will adjourn until 10 minutes to

11 the hour.

12 --- Recess taken at 10.26 a.m.

13 --- On resuming at 10.52 a.m.

14 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Black.

15 MR. BLACK: Thank you, Your Honour.

16 Q. Mr. Kastrati, just before the break you told us that Fatmir Limaj

17 was the commander above Shukri Buja and Commander Luani. How did you

18 learn that Fatmir Limaj was their commander?

19 A. I learned this by listening to you and to many of my friends. I

20 learned that he was the commander of the brigade. At that time, the name

21 "brigade" was not mentioned; nothing was mentioned at that time. At that

22 time only the Kosovo Liberation Army was mentioned as a term.

23 Q. Have you ever personally met Fatmir Limaj?

24 A. Before the war or after the war or during the war?

25 Q. At any time.

Page 2616

1 A. I met him once during the war. I knew that it was him -- in

2 fact, in the beginning I didn't know who he was. But later I found out

3 that it was Commander Celiku.

4 Q. Okay. Please tell us what happened on that occasion.

5 A. Shall I go a little bit back in time or refer to the occasion

6 when I met Commander Celiku?

7 Q. You can go a little back in time if it's necessary to explain it.

8 A. When I was at the positions in Blinaje, at that time it was

9 necessary to remain with one unit. But as soldiers we were very tired,

10 and in the meantime we were assisted by the villagers. Their hunting

11 rifles would occasionally replace our weapons. In this way they helped

12 us to prevent any Serb from coming to our direction. In the meantime,

13 one of the villagers looked to me as a person who was trying to disturb

14 the peace and order. As the Serbs were very close to our location, I

15 said to this co-villager not to speak in a loud voice. And he replied,

16 This is not your business. If you are now carrying a gun, it doesn't

17 mean that you are something to me. And I said to him, Of course I know

18 that I'm not something for you, but you should keep your voice down. And

19 I said, Shut up, because if you continue you will have to go home then.

20 And then he said to me, No, you cannot take my weapon. These are the

21 words that we exchanged. I thought that he was crossing the limit, since

22 the enemy was very close, and I thought that he was causing a damage and

23 risk for us and for the villagers. There was a meeting held in our

24 village. I did not take part in this meeting and I don't remember when

25 it was held. This person raised this issue during the meeting with

Page 2617

1 Commander Shukri Buja. And how this issue reached Commander Celiku I

2 don't know, whether he reported it in person or the other reported it,

3 but I know that it became known. There were many other soldiers there.

4 Nobody had ranks and nobody knew who was a commander.

5 To my misfortune, Mr. -- Commander Celiku came and he asked me,

6 Are you Fadil Kastrati? I replied, Yes, that's me. He said to me, You,

7 sir, have to be unarmed. It was very difficult for me when I heard these

8 words. I'm very sorry, but I very -- I was very cross at him. But now

9 I'm convinced that he was right and I have a deep respect for him and for

10 any other soldier of the KLA. I asked him, Is it possible for you,

11 commander, not to unarm me because I took up this weapon with a great

12 will and wish. There are just a scarce number of KLA members here, and

13 there's no need for you to unarm me. He said to me, It's not up to you

14 to speak. I know when I should unarm you or when I should not unarm you.

15 You disturbed the order in the village and the discipline here. I said

16 to him, No, I did not cause a disturbance, but I just reminded that

17 person that he should not speak too loud because it can be -- it can harm

18 our soldiers. Commander Celiku said to me, You have to be unarmed

19 because there are regulations and discipline in the ranks of the KLA.

20 And for that discipline, we have to act this way. And if we allow these

21 small mistakes to take place, it's better that you don't have a weapon.

22 And this was it. He did not proceed with this matter.

23 I met my brother there. I said to him, Baca Gani, please help me

24 with the commander because I don't know him. If he unarmed me I don't

25 know where to go. 15 days were too long for me to wait. I don't know

Page 2618

1 whether he went to speak with the commander or not. I asked him to make

2 a plea with the commander to allow me to fight at least during fightings

3 and combat. So he allowed me to take the weapon and fight during

4 fighting. And when the fighting seized, I was supposed to leave the

5 weapons at the positions and go home. At that time I did not say this to

6 him, and now he is able to hear it. Commander Dardan and Commander Blini

7 did not tell him, Mr. Commander, I did not remain unarmed for 15 days but

8 just for nine days because my brother, his friend, and our co-villager,

9 they did not tell the commander but they gave me back my weapon after

10 nine days. When I got my weapon back, I just don't know how to describe

11 this event; it was a great thing for me to be able to face the enemy

12 again.

13 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kastrati. Do you remember when the Lapusnik gorge

14 was re-taken by the Serbs at the end of July 1998?

15 A. I remember, although I was not there, I was in Blinaje. But I

16 heard that the Lapusnik gorge was overtaken by the Serb forces.

17 Q. This time when you met Commander Celiku, Fatmir Limaj, was that

18 before or after the Lapusnik gorge was overtaken by the Serb forces?

19 A. This happened before, before the Lapusnik gorge was overtaken by

20 the Serb forces.

21 Q. Do you remember how long before?

22 A. I don't know exactly. I can say that it was approximately a

23 month or a month and a half. I did not take dates down. I was not

24 interested in dates. My -- I was mainly preoccupied with fighting. I

25 wanted to be a good KLA soldier.

Page 2619

1 Q. Do you know where Fatmir Limaj was based during this time when

2 you saw him?

3 A. No, I don't.

4 Q. Did you ever have any dealings with Fatmir Limaj after this

5 incident?

6 A. No, I didn't have any dealings with him, but it is possible that

7 we were in a fighting together and that I did not recognise him. And to

8 tell you the truth, I was very cross at him at that time and I didn't

9 want to see him.

10 Q. Do you remember when you learned that his real name was Fatmir

11 Limaj?

12 A. Yes.

13 Q. When was that?

14 A. At the time when he unarmed me I learned his name as Commander

15 Celiku, and for me it was a great name. But I will say again that at

16 that time after this I did not want to see him, I was thinking, maybe I

17 again did a mistake and maybe he will unarm me again.

18 Q. Do you remember when you learned that his name was Fatmir Limaj?

19 A. Yes.

20 Q. And when was that?

21 A. Sometime when the liberation army were -- when members of the

22 liberation army came to The Hague, and that's when it was brought up that

23 Commander Celiku's name was Fatmir Limaj.

24 Q. Okay. You've told that you were in Lapusnik for a few days

25 around the 9th of May, 1998, and that you visited on a couple of

Page 2620

1 occasions after that. Did you ever hear of a camp or a place in Lapusnik

2 were people were held by the KLA?

3 A. No, I never heard of it. I heard about prisons, but not for this

4 one.

5 Q. What did you hear about other prisons?

6 A. I heard that there were prisons at the police station in Magure,

7 in Lipjan, and that they were all covered in the blood of the Albanians.

8 I was myself in one of them. I didn't hear of a prison in Lapusnik where

9 you think. I don't know that there was one there.

10 Q. And just to be clear, these other prisons you've mentioned, were

11 those Serb prisons?

12 A. Yes, of course.

13 Q. But did you ever hear about the KLA arresting or detaining

14 anyone, Serbs or Albanians, in May, June, or July of 1998?

15 A. Please, I mentioned it before but I will repeat it again. I

16 never heard that there was a prison in those parts that you're

17 mentioning. My preoccupation was to fight, and I think that those

18 participants in the war, they dealt with combat and not with arrests and

19 imprisonments. I say this with full responsibility because we Albanians

20 have been in prison always. My father, my grandfather, great-

21 grandfathers, to this date. So we did not have to deal ourselves with

22 such matters. Our duty was to support our people and not to arrest them.

23 I never heard that there was a prison.

24 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kastrati. I have no further questions for you at

25 this time.

Page 2621












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Page 2622

1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Black.

2 Mr. Khan.

3 MR. KHAN: I'm grateful.

4 Cross-examined by Mr. Khan:

5 Q. Mr. Kastrati, my name is Karim Khan and I represent Mr. Fatmir

6 Limaj. I have a few questions for you, but hopefully I will not be too

7 long. You say that you joined the KLA after the battle of Prekaz. Just

8 to be clear, that was after the killing of Adem Jashari. That's correct,

9 isn't it?

10 A. Yes, that's correct.

11 Q. And it was after Adem Jashari was killed that you realised that

12 war was inevitable. Is that right?

13 A. Yes.

14 Q. And when you went to Lapusnik by the rock on the 9th of May,

15 1998, you had come from your home and you were in civilian clothes. Is

16 that correct?

17 A. Yes, that's how it was.

18 Q. And apart from two months of national service, you had no

19 military experience at all, did you?

20 A. No, I didn't. But during that time I learned a lot.

21 Q. Were you forced to join the KLA?

22 A. No.

23 Q. Did Ymer Alushani threaten you at all that if you didn't join the

24 KLA something bad would happen?

25 A. No, not at all. On the contrary, he would hug me.

Page 2623

1 Q. And whilst you were by the rock and whilst you were around

2 Lapusnik, you say that the overall commander was Fehmi Lladrovci. Isn't

3 that right?

4 A. I heard, as I mentioned earlier, I heard him just as a commander.

5 And now I realise that it was Fehmi Lladrovci, although he did introduce

6 himself while we, the army, were present there in a guest-room.

7 Q. Yes. But who did you think was more important, Fehmi Lladrovci

8 or Ymer Alushani? Who was the higher --

9 A. For the moment I thought it was Ymer Alushani, but later I

10 realised that Lladrovci was a real man, although Ymer Alushani was not a

11 man either.

12 Q. And whilst you were in Lapusnik, who was trying to organise

13 things?

14 A. I said this before; I will repeat it. In the beginning of the

15 war, during the first day when I myself didn't know how things will

16 proceed from there, it seemed that it was Ymer Alushani together with 10

17 to 15 other persons. And in the meantime that day, Fehmi Lladrovci, the

18 commander, came. So that's how it was.

19 Q. And you say that the Serbs opened fire with heavy weapons in

20 Lapusnik. Do you know what type of heavy weapons were used or not?

21 A. You are referring to the first day, right?

22 Q. Yes.

23 A. When we discussed with the soldiers, they were saying that they

24 were anti-aircraft weapons. I don't know how exactly they called them,

25 but I know that they had a big range. And for the moment I thought that

Page 2624

1 they were firing at us from tanks and that they had the intention to kill

2 us and that I would get killed on the first day. But luckily I didn't

3 get killed.

4 Q. And in fact you were fighting the Serb police, weren't you?

5 A. Yes, against the Serb police and the Serb military -- army. They

6 were fighting against us, and we responded to that fire as much as we

7 could to our own means.

8 Q. And you say that you went to Lapusnik two or three times --

9 A. Yes.

10 Q. -- to report. And that was to report to Fehmi Lladrovci. Is

11 that right?

12 A. Yes, that's how it was.

13 Q. And besides those two or three times that you went to Lapusnik to

14 report, you also say you went there on other occasions to take guns with

15 Islami. Is that correct?

16 A. Yes. I did not take the weapons with Islam there. I usually

17 would take the weapons myself because, to my opinion, it was better to

18 get killed myself in case I was ambushed by the Serbs. He would find

19 persons he knew who had weapons. And as for bringing them, I would bring

20 them myself.

21 Q. And can I ask, where did you take these weapons in Lapusnik?

22 Where did you actually hand them over?

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. Sorry. Perhaps I wasn't clear. You took some weapons to

25 Lapusnik. Is that right?

Page 2625

1 A. Yes.

2 Q. And these weapons Islam Qadraku -- sorry, and Islam Qadraku gave

3 you these weapons. Is that right?

4 A. He did not give me the weapons. He knew people who were dealing

5 with weapons, and he spoke with them. I would wait in a cafeteria or

6 somewhere so that nobody would find out I was a member, because I would

7 at that case say goodbye to this life. I would wait at a tea shop. And

8 when he would finish business, he will say, Go with this person, take a

9 weapon or two. Then I would take the weapon. Once I was with him and I

10 suffered with -- from the police forces because of this. So I said to

11 him that he should give me a person who we could trust so that I had no

12 other problems. I was forced to take my wife with me so that I would not

13 make the Serbs suspicious. On two or three occasions I went with my

14 wife. I had weapons with me, and the Serbs didn't stop me.

15 Q. Who did you give these weapons to in Lapusnik?

16 A. Yes. I gave these weapons to Ymer Alushani, and I said to him,

17 This weapon was bought. I don't know where Islam took it, but I'm the

18 person who brought it to your door. And he would reply, Thank you very

19 much. You have just armed another soldier of the KLA.

20 Q. And during all these trips to Lapusnik, you never became aware of

21 any place where people were being kept, where people were being detained.

22 That's correct, isn't it?

23 A. I don't understand you. On the road to Lapusnik?

24 Q. Well, despite these trips to Lapusnik and despite being involved

25 in the KLA, you never heard that there was a prison in Lapusnik, did you?

Page 2626

1 A. I had no chance to hear such words, as I mentioned before.

2 Q. And --

3 A. Because I would just leave the weapon there and would not stay

4 there any longer. Maybe all together 10, 15 minutes I would stay there

5 and then leave for Blinaje.

6 Q. Yes. And it's fair, isn't it, that in your dealings with

7 commanders at Lapusnik you dealt with Fehmi Lladrovci, Ymer Alushani, and

8 then on one occasion Isak Musliu. You never dealt with Fatmir Limaj, did

9 you?

10 A. That's how it was because I had no chance to meet Fatmir Limaj

11 there and I don't remember meeting Isak Musliu. Maybe we took part in

12 the same fighting and I didn't know. As I said before, we were not

13 allowed to ask amongst ourself who was who.

14 Q. And in fact you never heard about Commander Celiku until July

15 1998. Isn't that right?

16 A. That's how it was. When I returned to Blinaje and when he

17 unarmed me, it's then that I knew him as Commander Celiku.

18 Q. Your overriding concern was to be involved in the battle and in

19 the actions against the Serbs. Isn't that correct? What was what you

20 wanted more than anything else?

21 A. Yes, that's how it was. And I was never known for other things.

22 They were always known for such things to occupy us and to keep us under

23 their control.

24 Q. And you listened to anybody who was called commander, didn't you?

25 A. It's not clear to me, anybody. What do you mean?

Page 2627

1 Q. You say that you learned Fatmir Limaj was a commander by

2 listening to Mr. Black and other people, is that right? That he was a

3 commander of a brigade. You learned that from Mr. Black and other

4 people?

5 A. Who is Mr. Black? I don't know.

6 Q. Mr. Black is the gentleman that was asking you questions. Did

7 you mean it when you said that you learnt that Mr. Limaj was a commander

8 of a brigade because you learnt it from Mr. Black and other people in

9 Kosova?

10 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, could we read what exactly he said

11 because I believe he said "speaking to me and his friends." I'd like to

12 have the language that the witness actually used.

13 MR. KHAN: Well, Your Honour, I can move on. I'm not belabouring

14 the point. It's neither here nor there, to be honest.

15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. You're encouraged to move on.

16 MR. KHAN:

17 Q. You heard, you say, that Shukri -- Fatmir Limaj, Commander

18 Celiku, was a superior of Shukri Buja. You heard that, you say?

19 A. I did not say -- I'm sorry, Mr. Black, for not remembering your

20 name, but I said that I heard about Fatmir Limaj when those who were

21 senior to us soldiers, including here Fatmir Limaj and Thaqi and many

22 others, not to mention them by name, but it's then when I knew that

23 Fatmir Limaj was Celiku. I can say that it was within this time frame.

24 Q. And are you aware that Fatmir Limaj became the commander of the

25 121st Brigade in August 1998? Are you aware of that?

Page 2628

1 A. I don't know what happened in August or in any other months, but

2 I know that he was commander of the 121st Brigade at the time that I

3 referred to. For me, it wasn't a big deal who became commander and at

4 what time.

5 Q. You said you had some difficulties in understanding the attempts

6 to organise the KLA. For example you didn't understand Commander Blini

7 when he was describing that he was an operational commander. You were

8 quite candid about that, weren't you?

9 A. Yes, of course.

10 Q. Are you aware that Fatmir Limaj was never at any time the

11 commander or the superior of Shukri Buja? Would you agree with me that

12 that's the case?

13 A. Can you repeat the question, please.

14 Q. You have no direct basis for saying that Mr. Limaj was ever the

15 superior commander of Shukri Buja, do you? He was never a superior of

16 Shukri Buja, he never gave orders to Shukri Buja, did he, to your

17 knowledge?

18 A. To my knowledge, he did not give orders to Shukri Buja or to

19 someone else. But I also know that someone gave someone else orders at

20 that time. As I said before, I didn't deal with such matters as to who

21 was giving orders to whom. I knew that perhaps there was a great man

22 leading the KLA and who would lead us the way to freedom and who would

23 bring freedom to the entire population of Kosova. And I would like to

24 add, if I'm allowed to --

25 Q. Please.

Page 2629












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13 English transcripts.













Page 2630

1 A. -- I'm very sad to see these gentlemen here because I respected

2 them and I don't think they dealt with such things. Thank you.

3 Q. Are you aware that later on in the conflict Shukri Buja was the

4 commander in the Nerodime zone after August of 1998? Are you aware of

5 that?

6 A. I heard from my friends when the combat was going on in Nerodime

7 zone, I heard about Shukri Buja being the commander there. I had not

8 been for such a long time in Blinaje, and then my friends told me he went

9 to the zone where he operated.

10 Q. And in fact I think that Shukri Buja became involved in the

11 Nerodime zone sometime before August 1998. Can you comment on that or

12 you don't know?

13 A. Sorry, am I to be mistaken here? Although I've taken the oath

14 here to speak the truth and for me the truth is to speak of things that

15 I've seen and things that I know. As for Shukri Buja, what he did there,

16 I don't know because I wasn't there.

17 Q. Are you aware that after August Mr. Limaj's responsibilities

18 after August 1998, his responsibilities were focused in the Pastrik zone,

19 a different zone? Are you aware of that or you can't comment?

20 A. I have no comment on this. I don't know.

21 Q. Yes. And you say that when you met Mr. Limaj in your village,

22 your gun -- your weapon -- let me put it again. It's very badly put.

23 You say when you met Mr. Limaj in your village he told you not to hold a

24 weapon for 15 days. Is that correct?

25 A. Yes, but I did not know that he was this person. I just knew

Page 2631

1 that a commander was disarming me; that's how it was.

2 Q. And could that meeting in fact have taken place at the end of

3 July 1998?

4 A. I don't know when it happened. As I said earlier, it was a week

5 or two after my return to Blinaje. I can't say for sure, but it was

6 around this time when I returned to Blinaje.

7 Q. And I think you say that despite the order or the instruction

8 that you were to put your weapon down for 15 days, you in fact, unknown

9 to Mr. Limaj, were given your weapon back after nine days. Is that

10 correct?

11 A. Yes, that's how it was.

12 Q. Yes, if you could wait there; I'm very grateful?

13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Khan.

14 Mr. Guy-Smith.

15 MR. GUY-SMITH: No questions, Your Honour.

16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.

17 Mr. Topolski.

18 MR. TOPOLSKI: Just a few.

19 Cross-examined by Mr. Topolski:

20 Q. Mr. Kastrati, I represent Isak Musliu, who you would have known

21 only by the name of Qerqiz. All right. A few questions for you. First

22 of all, geography. I wonder, could you have the map back, please, and

23 could you have map 5 in front of you. Let's have it on the ELMO, if we

24 may, because I want you to see if you can identify where your village is

25 on the map.

Page 2632

1 MR. TOPOLSKI: Perhaps the right way up might help -- mind you,

2 it might as well as be upside down for all I can see on this screen.

3 Q. Now, I think, Mr. Kastrati, that Blinaje itself is not marked on

4 this map. It may be, but I can't find it. If it isn't marked on this

5 map, would you be good enough to take the pointer and point to a place

6 that is closest to Blinaje for us?

7 A. Here is Magure and I can't see Blinaje. It's here -- yeah, yeah,

8 it's here. It's -- Vershec is written here.

9 Q. Vershec, yes. Vershec is Blinaje. Good.

10 A. Yes, it's Blinaje.

11 Q. Thank you. That's now very clear.

12 You joined -- you don't need that anymore. You joined on the 9th

13 of May, and is it the case that you and I think one or two others got

14 yourselves from your own village to Lapusnik? I want to ask you: Did

15 you drive there? Did you get a translation of what I just asked you?

16 A. No.

17 Q. Right. Well, I'll ask it again and see if you get a translation.

18 On the 9th of May you joined up. I'm asking you about your journey from

19 Blinaje to Lapusnik. Did you go by car or some other method of travel?

20 A. Yeah, by car.

21 Q. By car.

22 A. Sorry. Up to Leletiq village, now called Rreze, we went there on

23 foot. And a little bit further we met with Ymer Alushani and with some

24 others who I never saw again. We got in the car and went there.

25 Q. At a moment you regarded yourself, did you, Mr. Kastrati, as a

Page 2633

1 member of the KLA? That is what you were. Is that right?

2 A. I can't describe that moment. When I found myself by the rock, I

3 realised that my dream came true. After all the tortures I had suffered

4 together with the entire population, I realised that my dream came true.

5 Q. I wonder if we could just paint a picture for the Court of that

6 moment, in the hope that that might in due course help the Court

7 understand what happened in those months, weeks. Do you understand? As

8 you stood on that rock, that rock that looks over the Peja-Pristina road

9 down on the Serbs, were you wearing a uniform?

10 A. [No interpretation]

11 Q. Did there come a time when you ever received a uniform?

12 A. There came a time that I made, tailored, a uniform for myself. I

13 bought material from the tents that Serbs used during the war. I bought

14 that material and I had it tailored in my house. At that time, not many

15 had uniforms.

16 Q. As you stood at that rock overlooking at Serbs and that road, did

17 you have a weapon?

18 THE INTERPRETER: Can the witness speak closer to the microphone,

19 please.


21 Q. Move closer to the microphone, Mr. Kastrati, the interpreters are

22 having difficulty hearing you.

23 A. Yes.

24 Q. How long had you had that weapon for before the 9th of May?

25 A. At home? You mean how long I kept it at home?

Page 2634

1 Q. Yes.

2 A. I don't remember exactly. Maybe five to six months. A year at

3 the most.

4 Q. What kind of -- sorry to interrupt you. What kind of weapon was

5 it?

6 A. It was a rifle.

7 Q. A hunting rifle?

8 A. A hunting rifle it was.

9 Q. Did it have a telescopic sight?

10 A. I don't understand.

11 Q. Was it just simply a rifle or did it have anything to be attached

12 to the rifle to make it easier to see a target from a long distance?

13 A. Now I understand. It wasn't an ordinary rifle.

14 Q. So did it or did it not have a telescopic sight? Were you able

15 to see targets close-up that were in fact a long way away?

16 A. I understand the question, but it didn't have such a thing. It

17 was a rifle, a simple rifle.

18 Q. How much ammunition did you have?

19 A. I don't know exactly. I had enough, maybe not that enough, but

20 enough to fight and kill the Serbs.

21 Q. I want to ask you about numbers. When you got to Lapusnik on the

22 9th of May at dusk, you told the gentleman over there, who's Mr. Black,

23 that there were about 20 other KLA soldiers in Lapusnik by the time you

24 got there. I just want you to just think about that number for a moment.

25 The reason I ask you that is because when you were interviewed by the

Page 2635

1 investigators for this Tribunal, you told them it was about 12 or 13

2 soldiers. It's page 32 of the text of your interview. Now, this may

3 matter for the early days, so I want to try and be accurate about it.

4 12 or 13 or 20? What do you say about the number of men with you

5 fighting or prepared to fight on the 9th of May in Lapusnik?

6 A. I said that at that time those things that I've experienced

7 myself, I can tell the truth about this. On that day it was about 12 or

8 13, but after a day or two it would have been 20 or even more. This is

9 again an approximate figure.

10 Q. I understand. I understand.

11 After three or four days you were to leave Lapusnik and then only

12 come back for brief visits. Now, have I understood your evidence

13 correctly?

14 A. Yes.

15 Q. The conversation that led you to leaving Lapusnik was with

16 Commander Fehmi, who said it was better for you to go and be an observer

17 back at your own village. That's what you've told us a little while ago.

18 Is that right?

19 A. I did not escape, but there was a need for someone to be in

20 Blinaje. And Commander Fehmi appointed me there and appointed me as the

21 person to carry out the tasks there.

22 Q. It was dangerous, you told us, for even members of your family to

23 know that by now you joined the KLA. Is that right, Mr. Kastrati? It

24 would have been dangerous for them to know even the fact that you'd

25 joined the KLA at that time?

Page 2636

1 A. That's how it was.

2 Q. And so when you got back to Blinaje - again so the Tribunal can

3 understand really how it was on the ground in those days - when you got

4 to Blinaje you went back to civilian clothes and you blended in with your

5 village, is that what your evidence is, but at the same time keeping your

6 eyes open for the Serbs. Is that what was happening?

7 A. Yes.

8 Q. Indeed more than that, when more KLA soldiers came to Blinaje, do

9 I understand your evidence correctly, you did not even tell them that you

10 were now with the KLA. You were as you put it, page 26, line 4 of the

11 transcript this morning, my note, a normal villager. So you did not even

12 tell other KLA men that you were with the KLA back in Blinaje. Is that

13 the case, Mr. Kastrati?

14 A. You understood it very well. That's how it was.

15 Q. Good. Now, I want to see if I've understood how things changed.

16 Did there come a time as the months wore on and as the summer wore on in

17 1998 that you were able to be more free about being a member of the KLA,

18 speak more openly about it and so on?

19 A. To say to whom?

20 Q. Well, you were starting to wear a home-made, do-it-yourself

21 uniform, for example. When did you wear a uniform so people could see

22 you wearing the uniform of the KLA?

23 A. I tailored this uniform at home after I returned to Blinaje.

24 Q. Were you prepared and able to be more open about being a fighter

25 in the KLA later on that summer, after the fall of Lapusnik, say, in late

Page 2637












12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and

13 English transcripts.













Page 2638

1 July and August? Were you able to be more open about it then?

2 A. Of course. At that time I was in Blinaje after Lapusnik fell.

3 Q. Because of course in August, brigades were formed, weren't they?

4 A. I don't remember that time when the brigades were formed. As I

5 mentioned earlier, my wish was to be a sincere fighter and nothing else

6 interested me.

7 Q. I understand that. Did you join a brigade? Did you become a

8 member of a brigade?

9 A. When? At what time?

10 Q. Well, I'm suggesting they weren't formed until August, so it

11 would have had to have been after August of 1998. Did you become a

12 member of a brigade?

13 A. When I joined the war I realise now that the 121st Brigade

14 comprised that territory as well. And I mentioned it again here. I

15 didn't -- I wasn't interested to know which number the brigade had. My

16 main concern was to join the war and to fight with my brothers together.

17 Q. Did you fight in the KLA until the end of the war?

18 A. Yes.

19 Q. The deputy commander of the 121st Brigade was Qerqiz. Do you

20 remember that?

21 A. I don't know. Absolutely not.

22 Q. Let's stay with him just for a moment. You had a conversation

23 with Qerqiz back in Lapusnik when Commander Qerqiz, as you've described

24 him, had a conversation with you about whether you should stay in

25 Lapusnik or go back to Blinaje. Do you remember telling us about this

Page 2639

1 conversation?

2 A. Yes, yes.

3 Q. You told us that it was about two months after the 9th of May

4 approximately.

5 A. Approximately, yes. That's how it was.

6 Q. I don't dispute for one moment that that conversation occurred,

7 and I don't dispute for one moment it may well have occurred when you

8 said it did. I just want to ask you one thing about Commander Qerqiz.

9 Did you ever hear or did you ever become aware that by the end of May of

10 1998 he had become commander of one unit in Lapusnik called Celiku 3?

11 Now, did you hear that from him or anybody else while in Lapusnik?

12 A. I heard from someone else that it was Celiku 3. Then I didn't

13 know who Qerqizi was or who someone else was, but what I knew was that a

14 person there would be a brave person.

15 Q. And again, my last question and it simply relates to the early

16 period of your membership of the KLA. So we're now still in May and June

17 time. When it was necessary for you to report, for example, to Fehmi,

18 Commander Fehmi, about the situation in Blinaje, do we understand that

19 you would physically have to go and see him and speak with him? Was that

20 the situation?

21 A. I went there to see him in person. Only on one occasion I had

22 the opportunity to see him. And the other two or three times, I did not

23 meet him.

24 Q. Does it follow from that answer that you had no access to a radio

25 or other means of communication other than physically going and seeing

Page 2640

1 him or someone on his behalf? Was that the position?

2 A. If I had a radio, as you mentioned, it would have been much

3 easier for me. At that time the conditions and the circumstances were

4 difficult, and for me it was necessary to go there physically and to

5 speak to him and discuss things that had occurred in Blinaje.

6 Q. Thank you for your patience. I'm very grateful. That's all I

7 ask.

8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Topolski.

9 Yes, Mr. Black.

10 MR. BLACK: I have nothing further, Your Honour.

11 JUDGE PARKER: Very well.

12 Mr. Kastrati, you'll be pleased to know that that is all the

13 questions that are to be asked of you. That completes your evidence, so

14 you are now free to leave and go back to your home. Thank you very much

15 for your assistance. You may now go. Thank you.

16 [The witness withdrew]

17 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Black.

18 MR. BLACK: Your Honour, the next witness is prepared to start on

19 Monday at 2.15. We had had indications also from the Defence that we

20 thought they would like an early day and we didn't realise it would

21 finish so quickly.

22 JUDGE PARKER: Case management by counsel isn't the best

23 approach.

24 MR. GUY-SMITH: Oh, at this point I'm willing to work as late as

25 you want.

Page 2641

1 JUDGE PARKER: There are some matters upon which we would like

2 some submissions, Mr. Guy-Smith. Perhaps you'd like to put them.

3 I think in the spirit of the day, we will this time just quietly accept

4 the situation and adjourn now until Monday at 2.15. In the meantime, if

5 Mr. Guy-Smith can think of some submissions he'd like to put, we could

6 receive them in writing.

7 MR. GUY-SMITH: I'll do my best.

8 JUDGE PARKER: We look forward to the next witness on Monday.

9 Thank you.

10 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 11.55 a.m.,

11 to be reconvened on Monday, the 31st day of

12 January, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.