1 Wednesday, 5 June 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.35 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic. You've got the standard three
7 quarters of an hour.
8 WITNESS: XHEMAJL BEQIRI [Resumed]
9 [Witness answered through interpreter]
10 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] In your statement, you say that your family has
12 been living for hundreds of years in the village of Racak. Is that
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Is it also correct that there were families of Serb ethnicity in
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. When did the Serbs live in Racak?
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. I asked when, because --
21 A. As far as I recall, for as long as I remember. They have now left
22 Recak. They started leaving even before. Only one was left behind, as
23 far as I recall.
24 Q. Well, all right. Your compatriot Drita Emini told us that there
25 were no Serb families in Racak.
1 A. In the middle of Petrova, Prishtina, Recak, on the way to these
2 places, there were about three households before, and until the massacre
3 at Recak, they still lived there. There was only one single person living
5 Q. You say that relations with the Serbs were never good. That's
6 what you say in your statement, and there were only three families there
7 in those parts.
8 A. In the area of Shtime, there were -- relations were good until
9 1999. Nobody harassed the Serbs, as far as I can recall.
10 Q. When did they begin harassing the Serbs?
11 JUDGE MAY: That presupposes that there was any harassment.
12 Now, Mr. Beqiri, the question should be in this form: Were the
13 Serbs subject to any harassment?
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Nobody harassed the Serbs. It was
15 the other way around: The Serbs harassed the Albanians.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May, you have clipped my
17 cross-examination. I don't see why you should be asking questions instead
18 of me now.
19 JUDGE MAY: Now, listen. If you ask questions which contain a
20 presupposition which is unfair to the witness, you will be stopped. The
21 question should have been as I put it: Were the Serbs harassed? Or if
22 you want to put it this way: The Serbs were harassed, weren't they?
23 Either way. But you can't ask a question which presupposes an answer
24 which the witness hasn't given. If you do that, you will be stopped.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I hope that that criterion
1 will be applied by you to the opposite side too, that asks only questions
2 of that kind.
3 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Tell me. You said you were a taxi driver and so on. I can see
7 here for four years, you say. Now, where were you registered, as you were
8 a taxi driver in Racak? Where did you pay your taxes? Where did you pay
9 your electricity bills and other dues and the basic things that citizens
10 have to pay?
11 A. I worked as a taxi driver from 1992 to 1994 in the Shtime
12 municipality. That is where I paid my taxes until 1994. In 1994, I gave
13 up work as I could not go on working there.
14 Q. You said that from 1992 to 1996 you worked that way. Now you say
15 1994. Were you in fact working for two or for four years?
16 A. I worked for two years. The rest of the period I gave up because
17 I was not feeling very well, although I continued paying taxes until
18 1996. The police forced me to.
19 Q. All right. Now, as you were an inhabitant of Racak and you were a
20 taxi driver and you moved around, I'm sure you were well aware of the
21 situation in the municipality of Stimlje and in the whole of Racak, in
22 fact. You knew what was going on; is that right?
23 A. I -- I haven't had those powers or their powers, rather. I looked
24 after my family, and you should know these things better.
25 Q. And tell me this: When for the first time in an organised way did
1 the members of the KLA establish themselves in your region?
2 A. I do not know anything on this. I don't know of any area in my
4 Q. Do you know at all how many members of the KLA there were in your
5 parts immediately prior to the war?
6 A. I cannot give you an exact figure. I could go and ask the
7 military chiefs and superiors on this.
8 Q. Can you tell me roughly? I assume you would know roughly.
9 A. I'm sorry to say I was not a member of the KLA.
10 Q. Well, I'm not asking you whether you were a member. All I'm
11 asking you is how many would you say there were in the region? A rough
12 estimate. If you can't answer, just say, "I don't know," and we can move
14 A. I do not know. I was not a military superior.
15 Q. All right. And do you know who Mehmet Mustafa is from Racak?
16 A. There are many Mustafas. I do not know. I do not know this
18 Q. Mehmet Mustafa. Do you have many Mehmet Mustafas in Racak?
19 A. There are many Mehmet Mustafas. There are 300 households in the
20 village, over 2.000 inhabitants, and I do not know.
21 Q. Well, I'm thinking about the Mehmet Mustafa whose house was the
22 headquarters of the KLA in Racak. Were you aware of that?
23 A. No.
24 Q. And do you know who Buja Shukri is?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Who is he, then?
2 A. I saw this person after the war. He is from Bujan. If he's the
3 one that you want, you can call him to appear.
4 Q. All right. Now, do you know who dug trenches around Racak? Did
5 you take part in that trench digging?
6 A. No, I did not take any part. I know I wasn't personally
7 involved. It was the army that did that. And your army was stationed in
8 Recak intermittently or almost all the time after the massacre.
9 Q. I'm asking you about trenches, the trenches that they dug for the
10 KLA, that the KLA dug and civilians from Racak who assisted the KLA. I'm
11 asking you about what other witnesses from Racak have already said. Do
12 you know anything about those trenches yourself?
13 A. I can't say on what they did and what they dug. All I know is
14 that the army dug those trenches at Pisha, the army station, the tanks,
15 the police, and all the forces were stationed there. That is all I know.
16 And I know what happened to Recak on 15th of January. That's all I know.
17 Q. All right. So the KLA and the inhabitants of Racak did not dig
18 trenches and there were none of their trenches in Racak or its environs;
19 is that right? Is that what you're saying?
20 A. At Recak itself, there weren't any. On the hills overlooking it,
21 I don't know.
22 Q. But you didn't see anything of that?
23 A. I couldn't go out because my house was a target from Ceska, and
24 heavy artillery had it within range.
25 Q. All right. So you didn't see anything, any of those trenches or
1 anything else or any KLA activity or any members of the KLA. Did I
2 understand you correctly?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. All right. Now, in your statement, you say: "The Serbs wanted
5 --" and I'm quoting this from your statement, what you said: "The Serbs
6 wanted to expel all the Albanians from Kosovo, and they wanted to bring in
7 people of their own ethnicity from Bosnia, Croatia, and to have them take
8 up residence on our land."
9 Is that what you said?
10 A. Yes.
11 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness finish. Yes. Go on.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] All of them were there. The Serbs
13 of Shtime lived in Recak, and they stayed there until the massacre on
14 January 15th. This happened at a quarter to seven. My brother was killed
15 from a distance of 50 metres. Then they shot at me. It caught my hat.
16 Then they -- they shot one -- my cousins Zenir and Halim of 12 years of
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May, I don't think that this has
19 anything to do with the question I asked him. So would you please bear
20 that in mind, especially in view of the fact that my time is limited and
21 not to be wasted on answers to questions I did not ask.
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes. You put the passage about the Serbs wanting to
23 expel all the Albanians. That's an example.
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Tell me: As you said --
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That is to say, I said that he
2 claimed and he confirmed that the Serbs wanted to bring in their own
3 people from Bosnia, Croatia, et cetera, but he's not giving an example of
4 that, Mr. May.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Now, tell me, please: Did the Serbs from Bosnia and Croatia ever
7 try and ever -- try to settle or come to Racak? Do you know anything
8 about that?
9 A. Yes, they came to Recak, on the hills overlooking Recak, and they
10 were there at the time of the massacre and stayed on for about three
11 months, after the massacre, that is.
12 Q. Are you talking about the army and the police?
13 A. Your Serbian police and the army, yes.
14 Q. I'm asking you about the Serbs from Bosnia and Croatia that you
15 said wanted to settle on your land. Did anybody actually come to settle
16 in Racak?
17 A. Your Serbs were all mixed up. They were all mixed up with your
18 Serbs, rather.
19 Q. All right. Now, please, who told you that the Serbs wanted to
20 expel the Albanians? Who told you that? Who did you hear that from?
21 A. After Recak was burned down in 1998, in August, that is, August
22 the 23rd.
23 Q. Who told you that, that the Serbs wanted to expel the Albanians?
24 That was my question. Who did you get it from?
25 A. This was obvious.
1 Q. I don't understand. Did somebody come to your house to expel you
2 from your house and tell you to get out and leave?
3 JUDGE MAY: He has taken the matter as far as he can.
4 Just a moment, Mr. Beqiri.
5 It's no point arguing about this. It's one of the issues we're
6 going to have to decide. He's given an example, as I've said. Now, let's
7 move on to something else.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Am I bothering you here, Mr. May,
9 with my questions?
10 JUDGE MAY: No. Just move on.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I mean generally.
12 JUDGE MAY: Just move on.
13 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
14 Q. In your statement, you say that on the 15th of January, at 6.45,
15 you heard a loud explosion, a big blast, and then you go on to say that
16 you took to the hill straight away. Why did you decide to climb up the
18 A. On January the 15th, 1999, at 6.45, we heard shots and went out
19 into the yard. My brother was coming from his own house to come over to
20 us upon hearing these shots. And then we proceeded uphill, through the
21 valley - Beqaviq, it's called - to go to the mountains in order to save
22 the family. Other villagers joined up with us, and we went to Cesta, and
23 that's where Serbian police and army had encircled the entire village of
25 JUDGE MAY: The question was: Why did you decide to climb up the
1 hill? And your answer is: To save the family. Is that right?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. And how many of you were there when you set out, when you set out
5 to climb the hill? How many of you?
6 A. Sixteen from my own family. There were about 12 households in my
7 neighbourhood alone, and all of them went out in order to save their lives
8 from the police forces.
9 Q. All right. So that would make it 150 of you. If we count 16 from
10 your own family and perhaps a little fewer from other households, that
11 would make it 150 people, roughly; right?
12 A. I couldn't count them, because bullets from Serbian forces were
13 showering on us.
14 Q. Well, you say 13 [sic] households, and your family with 16 family
15 members. If the other households numbered only ten members, that would
16 make it 200. So you say -- or 150. So you say you all left, did you, all
17 that many people?
18 A. We all left. I just could not count them. There were also
19 refugees from Belinca, five or six of them.
20 Q. All right. So in that whole group, was anybody armed? This group
21 of yours that took to the hills, were you armed?
22 A. They were all civilians. Children of 12 years of age, they could
23 not have been soldiers, and they were killed there, the names of them
25 Q. I'm not asking you about the 12-year-old children. What I'm
1 asking you is whether it is correct that you moved towards the trenches
2 which you had already dug out and that represented the fire power and
3 positions of the KLA when the shooting started. So this is a direct
4 question. I'm not asking you about the children who were 12 years old.
5 JUDGE MAY: The witness knows nothing about the trenches, so to
6 allege that he had already dug them out is a misrepresentation of the
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I didn't say that he had dug them
9 out, in person. I don't know what the translation was like. I'm looking
10 at the transcript.
11 JUDGE MAY: The question, Mr. Beqiri, for you is: Were any of
12 your group who went up the mountain armed?
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Yes, and I didn't get an answer to
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, none of us was armed.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. All right. A moment ago you said that there were some children
18 who were 12 years old who were victims. I don't know that any children
19 died who were 12 years old.
20 A. You do not apparently have knowledge of anything. If you had been
21 in full knowledge, you would have known that people were killed. And
22 Sahide was killed, and the body was removed and the grave remained empty.
23 Q. So this is a new fact now, that some children were killed in Racak
24 as well; right? So far we haven't had this fact brought forward. We
25 haven't been made aware of that fact.
1 A. You killed children, the elderly, civilians, everybody who was
2 there, unarmed. And we couldn't have stayed in the village had we been
3 armed. The Serbs wouldn't have allowed us. We were all farmers. All of
4 us were unarmed. The Serbs did all they did.
5 Q. All right. Now, you explain how Riza Beqiri was killed, Zenel
6 Beqiri, Halim Beqiri. Now, who shot at these people? Who fired at them?
7 A. Serbian forces, yours. And they were all Serbs from Shtime,
8 policemen from Shtime. They were put in uniforms as paramilitaries.
9 Q. All right. Please. You said that you saw their suffering, how
10 they were killed. Did you actually see that? Try to remember your very
11 own description of that. You speak of how they were killed.
12 A. They were killed from a distance of 50 metres by your forces, and
13 also the shells that you fired from Cesta, Pishat, Geshtenjet, from every
15 Q. All right. Does that mean that they were killed by shells?
16 A. They were killed by bullets, not by shells, and then they were
18 Q. I did not understand you well. Please. First they were killed by
19 bullets and then by shells, or first by shells and then by bullets, and
20 then they were massacred; is that how you put it?
21 JUDGE MAY: He has responded. You asked him whether they were
22 killed by bullets or shells, and the answer was: "They were killed by
23 bullets, not by shells."
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May, I don't know what your
25 objection is in relation to my question. I'm asking him about the order
1 that he presented a minute ago, and I really do not see why you are
2 intervening, because I simply do not understand what he had said.
3 JUDGE MAY: Because your questions are confused and liable to
4 confuse the witness. It's not fair to him. Now, what is the point you
5 want to make?
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Please, what killed these people, the people whose killing you
8 have described?
9 A. These are your comments.
10 JUDGE MAY: Would you just -- Mr. Beqiri, I know it is repeating
11 the evidence, but we'll get there more quickly.
12 You were asked about the Beqiris who were killed, the members of
13 the family. Now, what killed them? That was the question.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They were killed by Serbian forces,
15 by barbarians --
16 JUDGE MAY: No --
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- at a distance of 50 metres.
18 JUDGE MAY: What? What? What was it that killed them?
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Bullets from machine-guns and from
20 sniper guns.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. So it wasn't shells that killed them; right?
23 A. Not here. You fired the shells above Recak to clear the area so
24 that the KLA wouldn't come to Recak.
25 Q. All right. Now you explained what the purpose of the shells was.
1 Could you please explain the third element to me now? You said that they
2 were massacred after they were killed. How is it that they were massacred
3 or mutilated?
4 A. After they gathered people, they put them in the houses and then
5 they beat them. And I couldn't see them because I was in a different
6 place. And then there were wounded, and then observers came. And then
7 when I came down, they said that they were coming from Bebush Hill, about
8 ten metres distance. And then they fired on Hysni and Haziri. And then
9 some villagers went with me, and there were other villagers there, and
10 then we took shelter in a kind of cellar. And there they shot at us with
11 sniper guns from Bebush Hill. And we were staying in this cellar.
12 Earlier, we heard a kind of shouting, and there they had killed my
13 cousin Bajram Mehmeti and Hanemshah, his daughter, and his son was
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes. The question was: How is it that the bodies
16 were mutilated?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] One, they took off the head. They
18 gouged out the eyes. I saw this in the mosque. When they took them to
19 the mosque on the 16th, I was there, and it was the most barbaric thing
20 that I had ever seen. Chetniks did it.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. All right. You say that they shot at them with sniper rifles from
23 the hills, and you say that they shot at them from a 50-metre distance.
24 Are both correct or is one correct or the other?
25 A. It wasn't far from the hill. It was only about 50 metres.
1 Q. All right. All right. You say that they were firing shells from
2 the hills so the KLA could not get close to you. How far away was the
3 police from you and how far away was the KLA? You were at the spot where
4 you were. So how far away were the police from you and how far away was
5 the KLA?
6 A. Once again, please, because I don't understand the question. The
7 KLA was four kilometres away, in Rance. It was in Petrova and also in
8 Mullopolc to the south. But I didn't see them because I wasn't there.
9 Q. At that moment, could you see a single policeman shooting at you?
10 A. When they entered and got us out of the houses, out of Hysni
11 Emini's house, there was a policeman came in, and they took out some
12 members of my family first and killed a brother on the doorstep, and then
13 a policeman from Shtime came. And I don't know his name, but I know that
14 his father's name was Branko. And he said, "Go outside." And I went out
15 first, first of the members of the family who were there. And then when I
16 went out to the door, they were putting on masks. There was Bozo; Milos,
17 son of Pero; Marinkovic, and Fetke from Shterpc, and the others. But when
18 I saw my cousin had fallen, and then they put the automatic rifle at my
19 throat, I wasn't able any more to see anything else.
20 Q. All right. Tell me, a short while ago you mentioned that
21 observers came in. When is it -- when did you first see the observers on
22 the 15th of January? What time was it then?
23 A. The observers came at 5.00 or 6.00 in the evening, when they had
24 come to take the wounded. And Zuhra, Feta, and Hasan Maliqi, and there's
25 Bajram's small son Elhami, and a woman.
1 Q. Did you see them that morning up on the hill? Because they have
2 those characteristic orange vehicles. Did you see them standing up there
3 on the hill?
4 A. No. I didn't see them because I was under a kind of blockade.
5 Q. You say in your statement that you were already in the hills, 100
6 metres into the hills and that you saw policemen on the road. Is that
8 A. These are comments. This is not quite correct. I said that when
9 I went out of my house, ten metres away you could see Cesta Hill from my
10 house. I saw tanks up there from where they fired. And my brother,
11 cousin that were killed, and my neighbour's wife, I saw from this place
12 where I was. I saw the tanks on Cesta. These are comments that you're
14 Q. All right. If you saw observers, that is to say that observers
15 came around 5.00 or 6.00 that evening. Why, since at that time our police
16 was not there, at that particular time, why did you not indicate to the
17 observers the other persons that were killed and that you mention? Why
18 did you not tell the observers about them?
19 A. The observers asked us about the people who were killed, and the
20 wounded were taken for hospital, and the people who were massacred on
21 Bebush Hill, 24 were killed, five survived. And the others were found on
22 the 16th, were found on that hill. I wasn't there.
23 Q. All right. So you did tell the observers that on that day.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. So on the 15th, in the afternoon, you informed them about that,
1 about these people who had been killed and about everything that had
2 happened; is that right?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Excellent. Tell me, now, who told you to carry the bodies on the
5 17th, in the morning, to the mosque?
6 A. The verifiers came on the 16th and looked round. And at 12.00,
7 they came with helicopter, came to the mutilated, the massacred people,
8 and then went back. And in the evening, the villagers took them to the
9 mosque before burial. And I went on the 16th -- on the 17th - and this
10 was Sunday - and I helped carry them. And we carried them to the mosque,
11 six of us. People who were killed in the Berisha neighbourhood up above.
12 And then you came again, and you wanted to come enter and take
13 them. And there was fighting on the 17th and on the 18th. You took the
14 dead to the hospital in Prishtina with strong police and military forces
15 and kept them for a month in the hospital and then sent them back.
16 Twenty-six brought back. These were the bodies. And we buried them.
17 Q. Tell me, tell me, did you see William Walker on the 16th in
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Did you talk to him?
21 A. He came and saw the victims, members of the Beqiri family, and
22 went to Bebush Hill. I couldn't leave my home at the time.
23 Q. At what time did he come to the village?
24 A. I didn't look at my watch. Whether it was 10.00 or 11.00 or
25 12.00, I don't know, but he came between about 10.00 and 12.00 on the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
2 Q. Tell me, please, you say that you saw Mehmet Jakupi's body
3 decaying when you saw the other bodies. How come his body was already in
4 a state of decay and the others weren't?
5 A. They were all decaying, but I had -- he was a friend of mine. And
6 when I saw him, I was very upset at what they had done to him, because
7 there were people with their heads removed, eyes gouged out, hearts taken
8 out, and only barbarians, Chetniks could do that. Albanians could never
9 do that.
10 Q. So you saw hearts plucked out, heads cut off, and what other acts
11 of barbarism did you see, the ones that you've been referring to?
12 A. What more terrible things can I say? What more terrible things
13 are there than mutilating people like that?
14 Q. Well, say everything that you saw. I'm interested in all that you
15 mentioned: hearts plucked out, heads cut off. What else was it that you
17 A. They put the women inside that day, and not a single of your
18 policemen were killed on that day. The women and the children were all
19 corralled in, and the men were wrested away from their families, from
20 their women and children, taken away and killed over there.
21 Q. No. I'm asking you about what these mutilated bodies looked
23 JUDGE MAY: We have dealt sufficiently with that. The witness has
24 given his evidence and your time is now finished. Yes. No, you have had
25 your time.
1 Now, are there any questions from the amicus? Mr. Tapuskovic.
2 THE ACCUSED: [No interpretation]
3 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I would
4 have a few questions for Mr. Beqiri.
5 Questioned by Mr. Tapuskovic:
6 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Beqiri, in your statement, you said that your
7 brother, Riza Beqiri, had two sons in the KLA. Beqe was a member of the
8 KLA from the very outset; is that right?
9 A. Yes. Beqe was a member since August 1998, when Recak was burned.
10 That was when he went to join the KLA. On the 2nd, after they killed his
11 brother -- his father and two brothers, he too reached for a gun and went
12 up to the hills, on the 20th of May, 1999 [as interpreted].
13 Q. I wanted to ask you, Mr. Beqiri, about this son that you had
14 mentioned who had been in the KLA from 1998. Where did he operate as a
15 member of the KLA? Did he operate in the village where you were or
16 somewhere else?
17 A. He was in Rance. He was stationed there, in the village of Rance,
18 while the second one was in the village of Petrova.
19 Q. No. I'm asking you about this other one. At the moment when what
20 happened, happened in Racak on the 15th, where was Beqe? In Rance? Is
21 that where he was too?
22 A. He was in Rance yes.
23 Q. And Rance is only a few kilometres away from Racak; right?
24 A. Yes. It's four kilometres, or three; three or four, as the crow
1 Q. Thank you. Then, Mr. Beqiri, you said that on the 15th of
2 January, when you heard an explosion, a blast, that you went -- at 6.45,
3 that you went out into the yard.
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And then, from the yard, together with the others, you proceeded
6 to go elsewhere.
7 A. [Microphone not activated] -- my family -- go to another place,
8 but my brother, with my daughter and his wife and that son who was killed,
9 Halim, and Hasan, and we went up ten metres above the house. And they
10 were killed in my neighbourhood.
11 Q. Mr. Beqiri, I first wanted to ask you about the following: When
12 you left the house so abruptly on the 15th of January, what did you wear?
13 What kind of clothing did you wear?
14 A. The usual, like you see me here, civilian clothes. As I was there
15 when I heard the shots, just got up, put the clothes on. My brother was
16 on his way to call me out. We went out into the yard, and that is from
17 where we saw that the entire village had been encircled. They probably
18 entered the village from the direction of Belinca in the course of the
20 Q. You wore one single suit; right?
21 A. A jacket. Trousers, a jacket. What else could I put on?
22 Q. Thank you. Thank you. I'm interested in the following as well,
23 Mr. Beqiri: When you went uphill, you were actually ordered to go uphill;
24 is that right?
25 A. Nobody ordered us. They kept shooting at us every single day, in
1 the direction of Recak, and it was the shots of these barbarians and
2 Chetniks that made us go uphill. We knew that we couldn't stay indoors,
3 because if they found somebody indoors, they mutilated them; they killed
4 and mutilated them.
5 Q. But, Mr. Beqiri, in your statement --
6 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I am referring to
7 page 5 -- no. Page 4, the last paragraph in the English version.
8 Q. In your statement, you said that Cvetko ordered you to go uphill.
9 That's the way you put it when you gave this statement previously.
10 A. Yes, but Cvetkovic was not at my house, but at Hysni's house.
11 That's where he came and forced us out. Cvetkovic, that is, came in and
12 ordered us to go to the Bebush hill. We did not obey this order and
13 instead headed in the opposite direction. The women went to Haxhi Musa's
14 house, whilst we were told to go to the KLA. There weren't any other KLA
15 there. There were only Serbian policemen from Shtime. Those were the
16 ones who emerged and shot in our direction. Luckily, we survived. And
17 then they descended down and came and took Sahide and took her away and
18 went downhill.
19 Q. I've understood that. I've understood that, Mr. Beqiri. But then
20 you said here - and is that correct? - that you fled in all directions and
21 hid wherever you could.
22 A. I went to my cousin's, Mehdi's, after being shot at and
23 surviving. So I went to my cousin's, and that is from where I observed
24 what happened at Bebush Hill, where machine-guns were used. This happened
25 at about 1.00 or 2.00 or 12.00, round about that time. That is when they
1 were killed, and we could easily see it from where I was.
2 Q. Could you tell me one more thing, please: On that day, on the
3 15th, was a single member of the KLA in the village killed? Did any one
4 of them lose their lives?
5 A. There was then in my neighbourhood [as interpreted]. I did not
6 see any. Even if there were any -- I don't think there were. There were
7 civilians. There were no KLA there. I haven't heard.
8 Q. And what about the next day? Did you hear about any KLA members
9 being killed on the next day?
10 A. No. Always, always civilians, on the 16th, on the 17th. The only
11 people I saw were civilians who were killed. There were no soldiers in
12 Recak, no killed soldiers in Recak.
13 Q. Just one more question, Mr. Beqiri: Do you know how many Serb
14 policemen lost their lives by the mosque on the 18th? Is it true that 17
15 were killed? Do you know anything about that, when they were taking over
16 the bodies?
17 A. On the 17th, police were unable -- oh, I see. The 18th. I was at
18 Lluzhak on the 12th, and I do not know what happened in the clashes
19 between the Liberation Army and the Serbian barbarians. I don't know who
20 was killed and how many.
21 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours. I have
22 no further questions.
23 MR. RYNEVELD: Yes, Your Honour. I have one brief area for
24 clarification, if I may, arising out of cross-examination.
25 Re-examined by Mr. Ryneveld:
1 Q. Witness, if I understood you correctly under cross-examination,
2 you indicated that you saw the observers come into Racak at about 5.00 or
3 6.00 in the evening on the 15th of January. So far, have I got that
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You were then asked by the accused about whether you had told the
7 observers about all the bodies that had been killed. Do you remember
8 being asked about that?
9 A. Yes. Through the interpreters who were with the verifiers, we
10 related the fact of the six that had been killed.
11 Q. The six that had been killed. That's the point for
12 clarification. Did you also indicate that there were 24 killed and five
13 survivors on Bebush Hill that were discovered on the 16th? Is that what
14 your evidence was?
15 A. All we heard was that these were taken by the Serbian police and
16 gaoled. On the next day, however, they were found. I found five of them
17 up in the hills, and his name was Rame, from the Gashis.
18 Q. Maybe I can stop you there. It's my fault. Let me simplify my
19 question. At 5.00 or 6.00 at night on the 15th of January, did you know
20 about anybody who had been killed up in Bebush Hill at that time? In
21 other words, by 5.00 or 6.00 on the 15th, did you know about that yet?
22 A. No, I did not know. I did not know. All I knew was that they had
23 been taken away by the Serbs.
24 Q. Thank you, sir. Those are my questions.
25 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Beqiri, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
1 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You are free to go.
2 [The witness withdrew]
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The next witness, can I ask
4 something about that?
5 JUDGE MAY: Who is the next witness, please, Ms. Romano?
6 MS. ROMANO: The next witness is Nusret Shabani.
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I informed you two days ago that I
9 was given a whole truckload of papers, and I asked you when you thought
10 that I had time to read through all that. And this is what I got this
11 morning. Have a look here at this whole pile of material.
12 Yesterday, I received another 1.000 pages and 350 --
13 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, we're not going to deal with that now.
14 We have in mind that there will be a very great deal of material which is
15 coming to you - you've mentioned it - and in due course, we will be
16 considering the future conduct of the case as a result, but at the moment,
17 we are not concerned with it. We need to get on with the evidence.
18 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I didn't finish my sentence,
19 Mr. May.
20 JUDGE MAY: What is the point?
21 THE ACCUSED: The point is that -- [Interpretation] The point is
22 that nothing that has not been disclosed to me in my own language I
23 consider not to have been disclosed. And the second point is answer this
24 question, please: Where, when do you think I can find time to read the
25 truckload of papers that I was disclosed yesterday and the day before?
1 So I have made two points. My first point is that I would like to
2 have the documents disclosed in my own language; and secondly, when do you
3 think I ought to read all this?
4 JUDGE MAY: Those are matters which we'll be considering in due
5 course. They have nothing to do with the evidence at the moment. Now,
6 let's have the next witness.
7 MS. ROMANO: Your Honours, as I pointed out in the summary, this
8 witness is unable to read the declaration, so it will need to be read to
10 JUDGE MAY: That can be done in the usual way.
11 MS. ROMANO: Thanks.
12 [The witness entered court]
13 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness stand. The declaration can be
14 put on the ELMO or perhaps the interpreters can read it. Is that
15 possible? If they've got a copy and the --
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
17 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Thank you. If you'd like to take a seat.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome.
20 WITNESS: NUSRET SHABANI
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 Examined by Ms. Romano:
23 Q. Witness, can you give us your full name.
24 A. Nusret Shabani.
25 Q. When were you born, Mr. Shabani?
1 A. I am 62 years old. I was born on the 6th of June, 1940.
2 Q. Were you born in Racak and do you live in Racak?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Mr. Shabani, on the 2nd of May, 1999, you provided the Office of
5 the Prosecutor with a statement. Do you remember that?
6 A. Yes, I think I do remember that.
7 Q. And on 6 February this year in Racak, do you remember attending a
8 meeting in the presence of a presiding officer appointed by the Registrar
9 of this Tribunal? And in that meeting, do you remember being provided
10 with a copy of your statement in the Albanian language?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And at that time, you had the statement read out to you. Do you
13 remember that?
14 A. Yes. Yes.
15 Q. And you had the opportunity to confirm that the statement was true
16 and correct?
17 A. Yes. Some parts were correct. Some were not.
18 Q. We can go into the points that were not correct later.
19 MS. ROMANO: At this point, the Prosecution will submit the
20 statement into evidence.
21 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 209.
22 MS. ROMANO: The summary of the witness statement is the
23 following: The witness is a Kosovar Albanian residing in Racak, who is
24 married and has four sons, two of which are in the KLA. From the summer
25 of 1998 onwards, the police and army were positioned on the surrounding
1 hills. There had been three or four clashes between the Serb police and
2 the KLA, and at least four attacks on the village by the Serb forces prior
3 to the event on 15 January 1999.
4 On 15 January 1999, the witness woke up to the sound of gunfire
5 and explosions. He saw soldiers entering the village, and he and his
6 family left their home and went to Sadik Osmani's house. The men hid in
7 the basement while the women and children stayed on the first floor.
8 At approximately 1.00 p.m., the police arrived at the house with
9 dark blue camouflage uniform, firing at the house while they approached.
10 The men were taken out of the basement and ordered to lie on the ground
11 where the police beat them with heavy sticks and verbally abused them.
12 All of the men were in civilian clothing.
13 The men were ordered to walk up to the ravine and go to the UCK in
14 the village of Rance. En route, he and four others left the line of men
15 and hid in a ditch. A few minutes later, he heard men screaming and
16 bursts of gunfire. The witness and others remained in the ditch until
17 5.00 p.m., when they saw the Serb forces withdraw.
18 He saw that the other men had been killed. He saw the bodies, and
19 he also saw the body of his own son, Bajrush Shabani. After about two
20 weeks, the witness went to his daughter-in-law's in Urosevac. Whilst
21 there, the Serb army came to the house and fired at it. They lined up --
22 they lined the occupants up there in the street -- in the street and
23 demanded money and cigarettes from them. The witness had a gun put onto
24 his head. The same soldiers came back to the house the following night
25 and demanded money.
1 The witness went to Macedonia on the 26th of April, 1999.
2 The scenes referred to by this witness are in the Racak binder.
3 That's Prosecution Exhibit 156, tab 7, and they are, namely, the
4 photographs showing Sadik Osmani's house and barn to the route that the
5 men took to the ravine; the photographs in the section marked crime
6 location 5, scene 10; and the photographs in the section marked crime
7 location 5, scene 11.
8 Your Honours, I don't think we need to show all the photographs.
9 I'll just make reference on that.
10 My last question is to the witness. He mentioned something that
11 was not correct in his statement.
12 Q. Do you want to clarify that?
13 A. You mean me? There was one I had in mind, not two. At the Cesta
14 Hill, there was only one son of mine who was a KLA member, not two. That
15 is all I know.
16 Q. Thank you, Witness.
17 A. You're welcome.
18 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
19 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
20 Q. [Interpretation] On page 1 of your statement, you say that your
21 sons Nijaz and Rame were KLA soldiers; right?
22 A. I said one. I think the translator made a mistake. I only said
23 one. And if I had been able to, I also would have joined if I had known
24 what was in store for us.
25 Q. I understood that you now made corrections as to where he was, not
1 whether he was a soldier or not. So what you're saying is that the second
2 son was not a soldier; right?
3 A. Yes. Only one son was a soldier.
4 Q. The son who was 33 years old, is that the one who was a KLA
6 A. No. The smaller one, the one who was 22.
7 Q. And when did he join the KLA?
8 A. I don't know. I do not know when he joined the KLA. I was not
9 there. I cannot know the date, the month, the time he joined up. But had
10 I known what was in store, I'd have joined as well. I will tell the truth
11 here. If it's not true, I won't say it. I'm an old man.
12 Q. And for joining the KLA, did he ask your agreement as his father?
13 Did he ask you to agree and let him join?
14 A. I didn't see him when he went.
15 Q. And where was the group of KLA deployed, the group that your son
16 was a member of?
17 A. They stayed in Rance. Ten or 12 kilometres beyond the village.
18 Q. So Rance is ten or 12 kilometres away from Racak; is that right?
19 A. Yes. Something like that. Something like that.
20 Q. And what arms did they have?
21 A. Weapons? They didn't really have any at all. They were of no
22 use. Hunting rifles, old guns.
23 Q. And did they wear any uniforms?
24 A. They didn't have uniforms. In the beginning they didn't, and
25 later they did.
1 Q. When was that later?
2 A. I don't know. I don't know these dates. There's no way I can
3 know these things. I wasn't involved.
4 Q. You say in your statement that your village was attacked by the
5 Serbs at least four times in the course of 12 months, over a period of 12
6 months. Now, on those four occasions when the village was attacked, did
7 the members of the -- were the members of the KLA in the village and was
8 your son amongst them?
9 A. The village was attacked, not as this man says, four times, it was
10 attacked every day. And how was it attacked? It was attacked by
11 lightweight weapons and then fired at with heavy guns from all sides. You
12 did the shooting. And there was always firing every day with small arms.
13 There was no KLA there. I said the KLA was never around in Racak. The
14 KLA was in Rance, in the mountains. In the village, there was the
15 population. Children, women, old people, the sick, those were the kind of
16 people in the village.
17 Q. But you were -- you were there and I wasn't, and that's why I'm
18 asking you.
19 A. [In Serbian] Yes. You can go ahead, Comrade, ask me.
20 Q. That's why I'm asking you.
21 JUDGE MAY: Now, let us remember this is a court, Mr. Shabani. So
22 please bear that in mind.
23 Now, Mr. Milosevic, what's your next question?
24 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
25 Q. The hill on which you say there was a camp that was called Cesta,
1 and you say the policemen had a camp there; right? And I'm quoting you
2 now. You say that there were three or four clashes between the KLA and
3 the Serbs there, and the KLA won every time. That's what you wrote.
4 Now, my question is the following: These clashes between the KLA
5 and the Serbs, as you call them, do they coincide with the fighting from
6 the previous question, that is to say, when they attacked the village four
7 times, and so on?
8 A. [No translation]
9 Q. All right. And who do you mean when you say "the Serbs"? Do you
10 mean the police forces? Are you thinking of the police?
11 A. Yes, policemen and soldiers, policemen.
12 Q. All right. And when you say that the KLA won every time, what do
13 you mean by "won," that they "won"? What do you mean?
14 A. Yes, they won there, but -- but there was nothing to be won. The
15 KLA were there as -- they just watched because they didn't have any --
16 there were no borders. There were no frontiers there.
17 Q. And who was an observer? I heard you say something like that.
18 The KLA, you mean?
19 A. I mean the KLA watched the situation.
20 Q. All right. And tell me how the KLA won if they observed the
21 situation? I'm not quite clear on that point. Does it mean that the KLA
22 did not fight? It just stood by, watching, observing?
23 A. Apart from these things that happened, then they returned back to
24 where they belonged.
25 Q. Yes, I understand. Now, would you be so kind as to explain to me
1 this: You said that on the hill, Cesta, that there were three or four
2 clashes between the KLA and the Serbs and that the KLA always won. And as
3 you say you did not take part in that but you were an eyewitness, could
4 you describe to me what the fighting looked like? What actually happened
5 in those clashes? Can you describe them to me?
6 A. Nothing happened. There was some shooting. Nothing else
8 Q. Was anybody killed or wounded in those clashes, for instance?
9 A. No.
10 Q. No?
11 A. No.
12 Q. And what about that fighting? Did the KLA do the fighting with
13 those hunting rifles that you mentioned a moment ago?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Well, did they kill any of the policemen or soldiers while they
16 had no -- they themselves had nobody who was wounded on your side, that
17 is, but did they kill a policeman or soldier on the opposite side, our
18 side, that is?
19 A. No, no, no.
20 Q. And where did the KLA members go after they won, after these
22 A. There weren't any victories at all. They withdrew to the
23 mountains, to Rance. I don't know where they withdrew to.
24 Q. Well, how do you say there were no victories now, when you said
25 that the KLA always won? Why weren't there any victories now?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Nobody won, neither the Serbs nor the Albanians.
2 Q. All right. Now, in this fighting, in these clashes, did the same
3 members of the KLA take part, or would they take turns?
4 A. How should I know? There's no way I could know that. There's no
5 way I could know which units deployed where.
6 Q. Well, I understood that you were an eyewitness, so that's why I
7 was asking you if you know. If you don't know, say so.
8 A. [In Serbian] I don't know.
9 Q. Very well. Is it true that the members of the KLA who took part
10 in this fighting were, for the most part, from Racak and the surrounding
11 parts? Is that correct or not?
12 A. I do not know who was there. I do not know who was there, which
13 part of the country was there too, and what he did or not.
14 Q. Well, you talk about the struggles at Preduci [phoen]. You said
15 you were an eyewitness and said that the KLA always won. Then you say
16 that nobody won and that they withdrew. Quite simply, I'm asking you
17 whether they were generally people from Racak and the surrounding parts,
18 these people who took part.
19 JUDGE MAY: He says he does not know. Let's move on. Let's move
21 A. I can't know this. I can't know where people came from. I was
22 not there to check their identity papers, to ask people who they were,
23 what they were doing.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Shabani.
25 Yes, Mr. Milosevic. Ask another question.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. All right. Now a question for which you don't need to study an ID
3 card. How many people were in that KLA unit, the unit that held the hill,
4 and who was in command of the unit?
5 A. How would I know who the commander would be? I don't know. I
6 wasn't there to watch how big that group was. There was a small group. I
7 don't know who the commander was. Neither do I know, neither there's any
8 way I could know.
9 Q. All right. I understand that you don't know who the commander
10 was, but do you know how big the group was?
11 A. [In Serbian] I don't know. I don't know.
12 Q. Well, give us a rough estimate. You don't know exactly, but tell
13 us roughly.
14 JUDGE MAY: Stop putting the witness under pressure in this way.
15 It's simply not fair, endless repetition.
16 Yes. It's time for an adjournment, in any event. Before we do
17 adjourn, there are one or two administrative matters I want to deal with.
18 Mr. Nice, since you're here, you can assist, or rather, perhaps
19 let me mention these matters to you. There is an application on your
20 part, an oral one, for certification in relation to the summarising
21 witness. It would be helpful to have something in writing on that --
22 MR. NICE: Very well.
23 JUDGE MAY: -- as to what it is you want certified and why.
24 MR. NICE: Certainly.
25 JUDGE MAY: And if you could let us have that within seven days.
1 The next matter is the issue relating to contempt, not the
2 witness. There is an issue which has arisen. Again, it would be helpful
3 if you could report, do a report to us, and make some submissions as to
4 what action you apply for.
5 MR. NICE: This is the newspaper matter?
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
7 MR. NICE: Yes, certainly. Very well. Yes.
8 JUDGE MAY: I couldn't remember if it was an open-court matter or
9 not. Seven days.
10 The final matter is the exhibit to Dr. Baccard's evidence. You
11 remember you raised an issue on that --
12 MR. NICE: Yes.
13 JUDGE MAY: -- part of it. I think it would be helpful to hear
14 oral submissions on that, given the state of the evidence, and we'll hear
15 from the amicus. It was the additional exhibit, you may remember, to
16 Dr. Baccard's evidence and whether it should be admitted or not. Again,
17 if we could have that in seven days.
18 MR. NICE: I think -- I think I provided -- if you want it in
19 writing, I'll do it, yes, in writing.
20 JUDGE MAY: Could you do something briefly in writing?
21 MR. NICE: Certainly.
22 JUDGE MAY: It would be of assistance, to see the way that you put
23 it. Well, I'm sorry. Having said that, we wanted oral submissions. If
24 you want to put in a skeleton, do; otherwise we'll simply fix a time for
25 oral submissions.
1 MR. NICE: Yes. On the last point, I think I provided the
2 Chamber, at the time we last discussed this, with reference to the
3 transcript page numbers, and I can be ready to make submissions about that
4 at any time when we perhaps run short of a witness.
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes. That would be helpful. But we'll give the
6 amicus some time to think about it.
7 The final matter is the matter which the accused raised, which we
8 will have to consider, which is the amount of material which has been
9 served on him and how that is to be fitted into the case as a whole.
10 MR. NICE: Certainly. It, of course, relates to the next sector
11 of the case. But perhaps we can discuss that.
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes, at an appropriate time, but the Prosecution might
13 like to consider the position.
14 Yes. We'll adjourn.
15 Mr. Shabani, you are giving evidence, so don't speak to anybody
16 about it until it's over, and that does include the members of the
17 Prosecution team. If you would be back, please, at half past.
18 --- Recess taken at 11.01 a.m.
19 --- On resuming at 11.32 a.m.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. How was this group supplied, this KLA group that you said had held
23 the hill? Did you or any members of your family take food to them, bring
24 them supplies?
25 A. No, I don't know anything about this. I don't know who sent them
1 bread and groceries and things like that. I wasn't involved in that.
2 Q. Do you know where they slept?
3 A. [In Serbian] They slept in Rance.
4 Q. Do you know Xhemajl Batiqi, an Albanian from your village?
5 A. No, I don't know him.
6 Q. Are you aware of the case of the 18th of November, 1998, when
7 members of the KLA burned the house of an Albanian? That was the Xhemajl
8 Batiqi. Are you aware of that? This was in November 1998.
9 A. No, I don't know.
10 Q. Do you know that members of the KLA who were precisely those KLA
11 members who were in your area attacked the police several times? For
12 example, on the 10th of September, 1998, and then the 29th of October,
13 1998, and the 10th of January, 1999? That's when policemen were killed,
14 namely Sinisa Mihajlovic, Nazmi Oluri?
15 JUDGE MAY: We don't need their names.
16 Mr. Shabani -- a moment, please. Just a moment, please. Just a
17 moment, Mr. Shabani.
18 Do you know anything about what the accused is asking you? If you
19 know nothing about it, just say you don't.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know anything about this
21 thing he's asking about -- these things he's asking about. There's no way
22 I can know.
23 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Now, Mr. Milosevic, there is a witness
24 coming who can deal with these matters. It's fairly pointless asking
25 these witnesses from the village about these matters when they say they
1 don't know.
2 Now, what else have you got to ask him beyond questions about the
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Of course I have things to ask him,
5 Mr. May. I've just started examining this witness.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. The Albanians that you mention on page 2 of your statement and
8 that you claim stayed at Sadik Osmani's house, Sadik Osmani being a
9 relative of yours, so these people who you know and who were staying at
10 Sadik Osmani's house, were they members of the KLA?
11 A. No, they weren't.
12 Q. They were not?
13 A. They were not. One of them was, but he was killed.
14 Q. Only one of them was?
15 A. [In Serbian] Only one of them.
16 Q. How do you explain the fact that such a large group of men, 22 of
17 them --
18 A. In that group, as I explained -- go on. Say something.
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Shabani, would you go on.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was thrown out of the village of
21 Recak. Not just me, but the whole village. And I was in other villages.
22 And we came back for the day of Bajram. And either on the 8th or the
23 9th - I don't remember when - your forces came in and threw us out of
24 Sadik Osmani's house. We weren't in the house. We were in the stable.
25 There were 29 of us. There were 29 of us, all elderly people, children,
1 people like that. And they came, your forces, and came into the shed in
2 among the cows. And then they threw us outside, hands behind our backs.
3 They beat us. They kicked us. They took our identity cards from our
4 pockets. They put us in the yard, and they hit us with sticks, and
5 they -- "Go on. Go up the hill," they told us. And when we got up
6 there --
7 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Thank you. Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Racak is a big village. It has 230 households. Did all the
10 inhabitants happen to be in the village on the 15th of January?
11 A. There were some in the village. There were some that hadn't
12 come. They would come to -- for the Bajram festival, to celebrate it.
13 Q. I am talking about the 15th of January. That's what I'm talking
14 about. Are we both talking about that?
15 A. That's right, the 15th. That's right. 15th of January, 1999.
16 Q. Are the assertions correct that all the inhabitants or practically
17 all the inhabitants left Racak as far back as the summer of 1998 and that
18 smoke was coming only out of two chimneys on the 15th of January? Is that
20 A. There were some that hadn't come back. They hadn't gone far.
21 They had gone to the plain of Kosova. They had gone to Shtime. They --
22 and some had come back. In general, they had come back.
23 I didn't have any kind of list that I could go out into the street
24 and find out who had come back and who had not come back. I was in my own
25 home with my wife and family to celebrate the Bajram festival. That was
1 why we were there. We were not just sitting there, waiting to be killed
2 and massacred.
3 Q. All right. Can you tell me roughly, 2.300 inhabitants of Racak.
4 That's the population of Racak; right? How many of them were in Racak on
5 that day? Was half there or a third, more than a half, more than a
6 third? How many, roughly?
7 A. There weren't all that many. Some had come and some had not
8 come. I can't tell how many came. I can't tell how many came back. I
9 can only tell you -- I can only talk about my own house.
10 Q. According to what you know, how many inhabitants of Racak were in
12 JUDGE MAY: He's answered that, so there's no point going over it
13 again. He says he doesn't know.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, it's not a difficult question
15 for an inhabitant of Racak to give us the population.
16 JUDGE MAY: It doesn't matter.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right, Mr. May. All right,
18 Mr. May.
19 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. Now, do you know that the police surrounded Racak and its
21 outskirts on the 15th of January in order to catch the terrorists who had
22 killed Svetislav Przic, a policeman, before that, precisely there in your
24 A. Police. These people -- don't tell me who was killed, because I
25 don't know anything about this. I only know my own business, about being
1 captured and beaten and my family being killed and mutilated. Who else
2 was killed? I don't know. Please. I can't tell.
3 Q. This unit that your son was in, did it take part in that attack on
4 policeman Przic?
5 JUDGE MAY: No. We've been over this for several minutes, not to
6 say longer.
7 No. Mr. Shabani, don't bother to answer.
8 Now, Mr. Milosevic, unless you've got something new to ask this
9 witness apart from questions about the KLA, we're going to close this
10 cross-examination. If you want to go on, you must go on with another
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. You don't want me to ask
13 him anything about the KLA. So then I'll ask him the following:
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. On that day, on the 15th of January, did you see the OSCE
16 observers with those orange vehicles of theirs?
17 A. No. I didn't see them on that day at all. On the 15th, no. I
18 didn't see anybody with that kind. I wasn't free on the 15th of January.
19 Q. When did the fighting in Racak end on the 15th?
20 A. [In Serbian] I don't know. [In Albanian] About 5.00. I don't
21 know. Sometime round about then. There's no way I can tell.
22 Q. Around 5.00, is that what you're saying?
23 A. Yes, in the evening.
24 Q. And then after that, after that, did you see the OSCE observers
25 after the fighting had ended on that day? Did you see them?
1 A. No. I was sleeping in the hills the whole livelong night, in the
2 rain and the snow. It was the next day that I came back to my home.
3 Q. That means that on the 15th, you did not even return to Racak.
4 A. No way. Of course I didn't return to Racak. I didn't come. I
5 went back to the hills having -- once I survived your forces, I stayed the
6 whole night, the whole livelong night in the hills, in the rain and the
7 snow, and came back on the 16th without anything to eat or drink.
8 Q. All right. This event that you describe on the 15th when you hid
9 with a few more people in a ditch and then when this group got killed,
10 immediately then, just after that, you saw them. That's what it says here
11 on page 5 of your statement. You said: "I saw corpses with many bullet
12 wounds. Their throats had been slit and their eyes had been gouged out."
13 That is what you said, because -- that is your claim, that they
14 had been killed there. So when did this happen? If I understood you
15 correctly, you were hiding and then you got out after the fighting
16 subsided, the shooting subsided, and then you found these people with
17 their throats slit and with their eyes gouged out, et cetera.
18 A. We were hiding in the hills. There were five of us. When they
19 finished their work of the massacre, they went back down and went into the
20 village. And in the village, they started singing.
21 So we stayed a further two or three hours up there before going
22 down. And when we saw there were no more police and soldiers, we went and
23 we saw the bodies. Some had had their heart torn out. Some had had their
24 eyes gouged out. And we went up again, leaving the bodies there. We went
25 up into the hills and we slept in the hills, as I said before, in the snow
1 and the rain during the night, and in the morning, we went back home.
2 Q. What you described now was what you saw on the afternoon of the
3 15th; right?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Did you say in the same paragraph: "All the men I mentioned
6 earlier and said were killed in Racak were lying on that road. That is
7 all I can say. There's nothing more I can say"?
8 A. That's right. That's right.
9 Q. And do you know that according to all these findings of teams both
10 from home and abroad, all others, nobody's heart had been plucked out,
11 nobody eyes had been gouged out, nobody had been slaughtered with a knife,
12 none of those who had been killed in Racak on the 15th of January?
13 A. I don't know who was there and who was studying these things.
14 There were five of us. And when the fighting finished and they went down,
15 we -- and then we went and we saw the things that I said. I don't know
16 who else went to look at them. There's no way I can know. I didn't go
17 there again.
18 Q. All right. You say that somebody's heart had been plucked out,
19 somebody's eyes had been gouged out. What do you mean by "a few" or
20 "some"? Are you referring to two, three, five men? How many are you
21 referring to, actually?
22 A. Well, about four, four there were, because some bodies were lying
23 down, one above the other.
24 Q. Well, I mean everything that you said to us, you saw it on how
25 many bodies?
1 JUDGE MAY: He said: "About four."
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I told you. There were three. But
3 then I didn't look closely at what had been done to them. We saw them,
4 one by one. And this is true what I say. These are the things I have
5 seen and experienced. I'm not going to talk about things I haven't seen
6 and experienced.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Did you attend the funeral of the persons who were killed in Racak
9 on the day when this funeral took place?
10 A. No, I wasn't, because I was ill, because from the injuries I
11 sustained, beaten by your men. My limbs were injured. I wasn't there.
12 Q. And do you know or have you heard of that event, that on the day
13 of the funeral, the KLA arrested a number of --
14 JUDGE MAY: He wasn't there. There's no point in asking him.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I wanted to ask him whether he knew
16 any of these people who were arrested at the funeral. People know when
17 people are arrested.
18 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Shabani, do you know any of the people who were
19 arrested at the funeral?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I told you a little while before: I
21 wasn't at the funeral. I was at my daughter, at Loskobare. My daughter
22 and my wife were at the funeral.
23 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Yes.
24 Yes, Mr. Milosevic. Have you got anything more you want to ask
25 the witness?
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Have you heard of --
3 A. No, I haven't.
4 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
5 JUDGE MAY: I've switched off your microphone. You've got ten
6 minutes more. Now, is there anything else you want to ask him on a
7 different topic other than those which you've repeated?
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, I had just opened my mouth and
9 I wanted to put a question to him, and I was not allowed to speak.
10 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. So on the 13th of February, 1999, almost a month later, did you
12 hear about the kidnapping of Zeqiri Taip and Sherimi Jene [phoen],
13 Albanians from your village, from Racak? Are you aware of this kidnapping
14 that was done by the KLA, these fellow villagers of yours?
15 A. No. No.
16 Q. You don't know about any crime that was committed in Racak or in
17 the surrounding area? Did I understand you well?
18 A. There were no crimes committed in Recak. I'm not interested in
19 the vicinity of Recak. I told you before: Places outside Recak or in the
20 area, things that happened there, I don't know then, but I don't know of
21 any crime that was committed in Recak.
22 Q. So you didn't see them on the 15th. You already told me that.
23 When did you first see the OSCE verifiers in the area of your village?
24 A. I didn't see the observers. I said before -- maybe I wrote that I
25 said them [as interpreted], but I forgot. I didn't see any observers on
1 that day anywhere. Because on that day - it was Friday - on the 16th,
2 they took the bodies and put them in the mosque. Maybe I did meet an
3 observer on that day. It is possible. But we went in to see the bodies,
4 and they told us to hurry up because the Serbs were going to take the
5 bodies. This is your army and the police. And then I went away to
6 Koshare and Loskobare and to Ferizaj.
7 Q. Did you ever talk to anybody else except your own fellow
9 A. No. I don't know about this.
10 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation] All right. I have no further
12 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
13 Questioned by Mr. Tapuskovic:
14 Q. [Interpretation] Mr. Shabani, I would have a few questions for
15 you. I'm only interested in what happened on the 15th of January. In
16 this statement of yours, it says that you stated that you heard three or
17 four explosions and you saw the infantry coming. Is that right? Is that
18 the way it was?
19 A. Where were those explosions?
20 Q. No. You were at home at 7.00 in the morning and you heard this
21 happening. You heard it while you were at home.
22 A. Yes, that's correct. That's true. There was no heavy artillery,
23 only small-arms firing. No heavy artillery. There were no heavy
24 artillery shells towards the village, inside the village. On the
25 mountains and the hills, yes.
1 Q. You've explained that. Thank you.
2 A. You're welcome.
3 Q. Then you said you escaped from the house and you went to your
4 relatives' house. And now my question is the following: When you left
5 home, what did you wear? What kind of clothes did you wear?
6 A. The uniforms of the police, the army. I didn't cast my eyes on
7 them. The uniforms that the army wore.
8 Q. You didn't understand me.
9 A. About me? The clothes that I've got on, this kind of clothing.
10 Q. You didn't understand me, Mr. Shabani. What did you wear when you
11 left home? What kind of clothes?
12 A. The same clothes that you see me wearing here, the same kind of
14 Q. Thank you.
15 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have a number of
16 questions in relation to what he says on page 4 of his statement, the
17 English version, that is.
18 Q. Mr. Shabani, you described what happened in the yard of the house
19 that you were in, and then you said here that the following happened:
20 "Then they ordered us to get up and put our hands behind our heads." Is
21 that right?
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. While you had your hands behind your head, they made you walk
24 towards Bebush Hill; right? And all that time you were accompanied by a
1 A. No, no. We went on our own. Policemen did not come with us. We
2 were on our own.
3 Q. Mr. Shabani, but you say here:
4 "I saw a policeman in a dark blue camouflage uniform waving at the
5 men to hurry up. He was about 20 metres away. We were walking slowly, in
6 a line, with our hands behind our neck."
7 So that means that you were walking that way all the time while
8 the policeman was with you; right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And then you managed to escape to this ditch?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And then you heard a burst of gunfire, but you didn't see
13 anything; right?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. At 5.00 in the afternoon, in that same -- you left that same
16 ditch, and you say: "With me in the ditch were Imer Hakipi, Ali Qazimi,
17 Avdi Bilalli, and Rame Shabani."
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Was Avdi Bilalli with you throughout that time in the ditch, and
20 was he conscious? While he was in the ditch with you, was he fully
21 conscious, like you?
22 A. Yes. He was at a distance. He was not with the group. We were
23 on higher ground. It was our destiny to survive the attack, because we
24 could have been killed as well.
25 Q. You say here that Avdi Bilalli was with you the whole time.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. [In Serbian] Yes, he was. [In Albanian] Yes. We went uphill, up
2 the mountain, spent the night there and returned the next day together.
3 Q. Did you see him next to you all the time? He was three or four
4 metres away.
5 A. We were together. He was at a distance of about five metres
6 away. We were lying down, prone.
7 Q. Was he unconscious?
8 A. [In Serbian] I don't know that. [In Albanian] I don't know about
9 that. He knows these things. He can come and make a statement. I'm not
10 interested in who became ill or what. I can only tell the truth, nothing
11 but the truth.
12 Q. Thank you, Mr. Shabani.
13 MR. TAPUSKOVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome. You're welcome.
15 MS. ROMANO: No further questions.
16 JUDGE KWON: I have some questions.
17 Questioned by the Court:
18 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Shabani, you said that some 20 police came to
19 Sadik Osmani's house, they beat and harassed you and ordered you to go
20 towards Bebush Hill. Is it right?
21 A. Yes, that's what happened.
22 JUDGE KWON: Did you see at that time any policemen carrying any
23 kind of walkie-talkies or something like that?
24 A. Yes, he was speaking somewhere at Sadik Osmani's house. He was
25 speaking to someone. I don't know who it was.
1 JUDGE KWON: I notice that you seem to understand some Serbian,
2 Serb language. Do you?
3 A. Yes, I speak a bit.
4 JUDGE KWON: Do you remember any conversation which was done
5 through the walkie-talkies at the time?
6 A. No. He was speaking, but I couldn't hear what he was saying and
7 who he was speaking to.
8 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're welcome.
10 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Shabani, that concludes your evidence. Thank you
11 for coming to the International Tribunal to give it. You're free to go.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you very much from the
13 esteemed Tribunal in The Hague. Thank you very much. And I hope that you
14 can carry on fast completing your work here. Thank you.
15 JUDGE MAY: A sentiment which should be echoed.
16 MR. NICE: And endorsed.
17 [The witness withdrew]
18 MR. NICE: Your Honour, the next witness -- a few things before he
19 comes in. He was given protective measures and a pseudonym at a time when
20 his desire that his statement shouldn't be made public in advance of
21 giving testimony, perhaps an understandable sentiment, was misunderstood
22 as being concerned about being identified at all. He's actually happy to
23 give evidence completely openly and will do so. He's the KLA commander in
24 Racak at the material time, and it may be helpful before he comes in if
25 I -- I don't know if the Chamber is using the road map that we've been
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, we are.
3 MR. NICE: In which case, in addition to the -- I can't find it.
4 I've marked certain places.
5 JUDGE MAY: Page 11.
6 MR. NICE: Thank you very much. In addition to the town of
7 Racak -- the village of Racak itself, places to which he will refer
8 include: To the west of Racak there's Rance, almost at the same level;
9 south of Racak there's Petrova; and then south-east of that there's
11 On the square to the left of Racak, there's a gorge which is
12 referred to. I can hardly read it now myself, spectacles not sufficient,
13 but it's Laniste. And those are various places that will be referred to.
14 Your Honour, although he of course can provide evidence about the
15 KLA, and I'll get him to give some, it's quite important, in our
16 submission, that the evidence is properly confined because this is not a
17 case about what the KLA is doing. It's about other things. So although
18 his statement contains a great deal of detail, I'm not going to go into
19 that, and I hope to confine his evidence to what is material to this
21 One last thing: Several witnesses now have spoken of mutilation
22 of bodies at Racak, hearts being cut out and so on. It may be, and this
23 will be an argument in due course, and may be that that is explicable by
24 damage done to bodies by gunshot and similar weaponry. It's rather
25 distressing to show such photographs either at all, given that there's a
1 public viewing, but also to witnesses who were there at the time and don't
2 necessarily need to have these memories revived. With this witness, it is
3 necessary to look at the bodies in the ravine, and although not an
4 attractive exercise, we will, in the course of that, be looking at one
5 such body, the chest of whom has been so destroyed, apparently by gunshot
6 or by some other similar weapon as perhaps to give the impression of
7 mutilation where there in fact may have been no mutilation other than that
8 that caused his death. So if I linger on that to a limited extent with
9 this witness, it's to deal with that comment or possible comment in due
10 course and to save other witnesses from having to relive their
12 We'll also ask for a blackboard to be brought in and the large
13 plans, and then may the witness come in?
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
15 [The witness entered court]
16 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness take the declaration.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will speak
18 the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
19 JUDGE MAY: Yes. If you'd like to take a seat.
20 WITNESS: SHUKRI BUJA
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 Examined by Mr. Nice:
23 Q. Your full name, please.
24 A. My name is Shukri Buja.
25 Q. Mr. Buja, is it right that in 1999, you were the KLA commander in
2 A. I was commander of the Nerodime Operational Zone.
3 Q. Which included Racak?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. We'll come to that shortly, but let's first hear a little of your
6 personal history. You're presently 36 years old?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And apparently self-employed, with your own business.
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. In 1989, were you involved in demonstrations in Kosovo about the
11 political situation?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Were they initially peaceful or violent demonstrations?
14 A. They were peaceful.
15 Q. If you could move a little closer towards the microphone then
16 you'll be heard that much more easily. Thank you so much.
17 Did the police intervene in the demonstrations?
18 A. Yes. They intervened with violence.
19 Q. And were you, in due course, arrested?
20 A. Yes. I was arrested on the 7th of June, 1989.
21 Q. So that we can have an idea of what it was like to be arrested for
22 taking part in a demonstration at that time, how were you treated at the
23 investigation, the interrogation stage?
24 A. The interrogation lasted for three months, and there was a lot of
1 Q. Was the violence on you such as to leave marks that you were able
2 to show to other people?
3 A. Yes. I did show them to the Court.
4 Q. We'll come to the court hearing in a second, but before that, who
5 did you understand to be the prosecutor of your case at that hearing?
6 A. I think it was Danica Marinkovic.
7 Q. That same name as the name of the woman judge who came to Racak to
8 conduct the investigation there?
9 A. I think so. I think, yes.
10 Q. You showed your marks to the court. How long did your trial last
11 for this political offence?
12 A. About three hours.
13 Q. And what was the sentence?
14 A. I was given a 13-year gaol sentence.
15 Q. Was that sentence, in your experience, in line with or greater
16 than or less than sentences being imposed at that time for similar
18 A. At that time, all political activists were given 15, ten, or less
19 years to serve in gaol.
20 Q. In gaol, as a political prisoner, were you dealt with separately
21 from other prisoners - robbers, thieves, rapists, or whatever - or were
22 you dealt with in the same prison system?
23 A. We were kept in the same place.
24 Q. Were you subject to any maltreatment by the authorities while in
25 prison or not?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. "Yes" meaning there was maltreatment?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Your 13-year sentence, did you serve five years, being released in
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. What was the reaction of the police when you were released? Did
8 they leave you alone or did they keep in contact with you?
9 A. The first and the very first day before reaching the house, they
10 stopped and kept me for two hours in the street and threatened that if
11 people were to turn out to welcome me on my way home, they'd re-arrest
13 Q. Did you yield to those indications by the police? Did you give
14 into them or did you maintain your independence?
15 A. I maintained my independence because I was -- neither was I able
16 to organise people to come -- to come out and welcome me, and neither was
17 I able to turn them away.
18 Q. Did the police try and keep in contact with you?
19 A. The police came and re-arrested me. They questioned me for two
20 days on end.
21 Q. Before we move on, you were one of a number of people detained for
22 taking part in demonstrations with these prison sentences. Just to your
23 knowledge - yes or no - did the accused ever say anything publicly about
24 such demonstrators?
25 A. Yes. He usually called them separatist-terrorist demonstrations.
1 Or phraseology of this kind was used.
2 Q. And in what media are you referring to; television, radio,
3 newspapers, or what?
4 A. They were public statements on television, the radio, the print
5 media, the daily print media.
6 Q. You left Kosovo in what year initially?
7 A. I left Kosova in 1995.
8 Q. Going to live where?
9 A. I sought political asylum in Switzerland.
10 Q. Did you live there for some time, pursuing when there the
11 interests of Kosovo Albanians?
12 A. Yes. I lived there, and I was involved in activities that had
13 helped my own compatriots in Kosova, and we organised rallies, various
14 kinds of rallies.
15 Q. Peaceful rallies in Switzerland?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Any trouble or did you get into any trouble with the Swiss
19 A. Never.
20 Q. Did you for a time pursue the occupation of journalist?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. In Switzerland or elsewhere?
23 A. Mainly in Switzerland.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, just to go back, at the time when he
25 was arrested in 1989, I'd just like to find out what occupation was he
1 involved in.
2 When you were arrested in 1989, what work were you doing at that
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I was a student in Prishtina.
5 JUDGE ROBINSON: You were a student. I see, yes. And when did
6 you get married?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] 1987.
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: So you were married at the time when you were
9 arrested. Yes.
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
12 MR. NICE:
13 Q. So far as you are concerned, when did the KLA first come into
15 A. As far as I'm concerned, the KLA became known to me in 1996.
16 Q. When did you first support it?
17 A. The beginning of the year of 1996.
18 Q. At that stage, were its intentions militaristic so far as you
19 understood them? Were they to deal with the problems they saw by force or
21 A. The use of force was the ultimate means to obtain a resolution of
22 the issue of Kosova, and even at that time there was the option that, were
23 it possible to obtain a political solution, the political means ought to
24 be resorted to.
25 Q. At that early stage, 1996, were you yourself a military member -
1 you were in Switzerland - or otherwise?
2 A. No, because there were no KLA soldiers in Switzerland.
3 Q. So your involvement was purely as what, as a journalist?
4 A. Yes, in giving political support.
5 Q. You were in due course to return to Kosovo. What was the event
6 that triggered your return?
7 A. I returned to Kosova after the Prekaz events where the legendary
8 Commander Adem Jashari and the members of his family and families who
9 lived in the neighbourhood, in the lower Prekaz neighbourhood, were
11 Q. As a result of that happening, what did you do?
12 A. As a result of this event, we departed for Albania where we
13 procured light weapons, ammunition, which we had orders to take to
15 Q. "We" being how many of you?
16 A. About 30 people.
17 Q. How did you get into Kosovo with your light weaponry?
18 A. Armed with our light weapons which over -- for about 70 hours in
19 the hill -- in the mountains of Kosova.
20 Q. Approaching from where; the north, the south, where?
21 A. From the village of Vlana; that is to say, from the north of
23 Q. Once back in Kosovo, did you seek any other employment or did you
24 spend your time exclusively for the KLA?
25 A. I returned in order to work as a journalist for the KLA or within
1 the auspices of the KLA.
2 Q. But in the event, did you work as a journalist or did you take up
3 some other position?
4 A. No, because the headquarters gave me another task, i.e.,
5 organising the units in the municipalities of Shtime, Ferizaj, Kacanik,
6 Malisheva, and so on.
7 Q. So was this a military role?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. You set out in your statement that's been served, of course, in
10 full on the accused, the amici, and it may even be on the Court, you set
11 out a number of matters about the structure of the KLA, and I'm not going
12 to go into them in any detail. Do you understand?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. But you used the word "headquarters." Just tell us this: Did the
15 KLA have a formal structure?
16 A. Yes, it did have an official structure even though at that period
17 I was not aware of who was a member of the General Staff.
18 Q. Nevertheless, there was a headquarters which issued instructions
19 that you had to follow?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Your first task with the new role you'd been given was to do
22 what? Can you tell us, please?
23 A. It had to do with recruiting new soldiers, setting up the first
24 units which should operate in the areas that I mentioned earlier.
25 Q. What about weapons? How was the KLA being armed? How was it
1 getting its weapons?
2 A. Most of the weapons came from Albania. There were weapons coming
3 from Czechoslovakia, from the Serbian state itself, and weapons -- various
4 weapons from other sources procured in the ways that we were able to do at
5 that period.
6 Q. Did you have anything to do with transport of weapons at any
8 A. Yes. I was involved in that.
9 Q. Then you can answer questions of detail if anybody wants to know.
10 Your position as commander of a subzone, I think it is, was from what day
11 or roughly what day?
12 A. From the beginning of 1998, of June 1998.
13 Q. June 1998. Thank you. The brigades that fell under your
14 responsibility, what were their numbers?
15 A. In the beginning, it was not a brigade level, but during the first
16 offensive, we were able to get the various units together like the unit
17 Celiku, Sokoli, and other units. Out of them, we were able to put
18 together Brigade Number 121, which became part of the subzone of the -- of
19 Pashtrik, the operational subzone of Pashtrik.
20 Q. And this is probably more detail than we require, but you can give
21 further detail of that sort if the accused or anybody else wants to know
22 about it.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Let's turn now to Racak. Racak fell within your area of
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. NICE: Your Honour, may the two large plans that have been
3 brought in be placed on the easels, please. I gather that the witness has
4 a mobile microphone available to him on the table so that ...
5 May I remind you of the numbers of those exhibits, if Ms. Graham
6 can assist me. It's 94, tab 73 for both maps. These are, of course, much
7 larger versions of them. They're also in the Racak binder.
8 For those viewing from outside the courtroom, we'll see what
9 they're seeing. I don't see anything.
10 The scale of the map on the left is -- I don't know if it's
11 smaller or larger, but it shows the larger area. It shows the general
12 area of Racak set in the municipality of Stimlje. The right-hand of the
13 map shown on the television screens is restricted more to Racak itself.
14 The Chamber has already had evidence from Mr. Kelly about the geography
15 generally, and therefore we can take that as read, although the Chamber
16 may wish to be reminded of the names of the hills. That will come
18 Q. Mr. Buja, can you help us, please, with the construction of
19 bunkers and trenches in and around Racak, when that started and what was
20 the purpose of it all?
21 MR. NICE: And it may be helpful to have the overhead projector
22 ready for use as well and to place on it, for those viewing, the map we
23 have, if somebody can make theirs available. And if we could open it at
24 page 11. Exhibit 33 -- Exhibit 83.
25 Q. The bunkers and the like built in the area of Racak starting when,
1 please, Mr. Buja?
2 A. It started in December 1998.
3 Q. In a sentence or so, the significance, the significance to the KLA
4 of Racak as a location.
5 A. For us, the positions above Racak were important to defend the
6 zone of Lluzhak which was important to defend our zone, because this was
7 the only link between the zone of Pashtrik and the General Staff of the
9 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters request the witness to draw
10 closer to microphone.
11 MR. NICE:
12 Q. Could you move more -- could you move closer to the microphone,
13 please, Mr. Buja. The interpreters are having trouble hearing you.
14 Now, if we look at the map on the overhead projector and focus on
15 the Stimlje square which is towards the top and on the right-hand side,
16 and on the square to its left. Going a little further, that would help.
17 Is there a gorge close to Racak that had some bearing on the deployment of
18 forces there? If so, name it and point it out for us.
19 A. Important for the KLA forces?
20 Q. Yes.
21 A. We were positioned on this road, and the bunker was above Recak,
22 here. This position on what we called the Kerkova Road and the Recak
24 Q. Yes. At the moment, I'm interested in the gorge, and it may be
25 down towards the left-hand side of the screen, towards Laniste. Tell us
1 about that.
2 A. Do you mean the Lluzhak gorge?
3 Q. Yes.
4 A. The Lluzhak gorge stretches from Petrova. There's a part of the
5 village called Lluzhak, and the gorge goes along here to Lanishte, which
6 was the border with the Pashtrik Operative Zone. And that was our link
7 with the General Staff.
8 Q. And how important was this route through this gorge to the
9 neighbouring zone and the General Staff? How important was it?
10 A. It was important because we kept continual contact with the
11 General Staff, and then had links with Pashtrik operational zone so we
12 could coordinate operations when necessary, and supplies and logistics
13 operated along this route, and the whole life of our operational zone
14 depended on this road.
15 Q. Very well, then. Now looking at the right hand of the two large
16 maps on the easels, and using the portable microphone that's on the desk
17 if you need to, using the left-hand map if it's helpful, or more helpful,
18 can you just show the learned Judges where the bunker was that you created
19 in December of 1998.
20 A. The bunker was in this position here. Here were the channels that
21 connected the bunkers with the base. Here was the bunker of the KLA. And
22 this bunker was in a position which connected it with our positions on the
23 Kerkova Road. Above the Kerkova Road, there is a range of mountains which
24 is known as the gorge of Lluzhak, here, in this part down here, which you
25 can't actually see on this map.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Very well. By the time of the major incident in Racak in January,
2 had any other trenches or fortifications been started to be built?
3 A. Yes, work had started, but it had not been completed. In this
4 direction, from this area, approximately, this is where the KLA defence
5 trenches were.
6 Q. But were they in use by the time of the Racak incident?
7 A. No.
8 Q. Let's now turn to the village itself, and using that same
9 right-hand large map, did the KLA have a presence in the village; and if
10 so, can you show us on the map whereabouts it was that they had that
12 A. The KLA was positioned in this gorge, and from here there was a
13 KLA guard which didn't allow civilians to go in. And this area was the
14 KLA unit's base.
15 MR. NICE: The witness has marked the area of buildings and houses
16 generally to the right of the figure "2" on the map.
17 Q. Was it one building or more than one building that the KLA had
18 occupation of?
19 A. There were several buildings, about five or six houses, that were
20 used for accommodation, catering for the soldiers.
21 Q. And when the KLA were there - and we'll see when they were there,
22 but in 1999 certainly - were non-KLA villagers allowed there or not?
23 A. [No interpretation]
24 JUDGE MAY: No interpretation.
25 A. As soon as -- the civilians were not allowed in this area, because
1 as soon as villagers of Recak left their village and went to Shtime, they
2 were maltreated by the police.
3 MR. NICE:
4 Q. So they were maltreated by the police. Is this in connection with
5 their having left because of the KLA, or is this because of their
6 connection with the KLA? Why do you tell us about their maltreatment by
7 the police?
8 A. This is about the villagers of Recak who lived in Recak, and when
9 they went to Shtime to go shopping and didn't have any connection with the
10 KLA, they were still maltreated by the police.
11 Q. Well, how does that lead to them being excluded from the areas of
12 the village occupied by the KLA?
13 A. We know that the first offensive was in August 1998, and in this
14 offensive a lot of civilians of Recak left because their houses were
15 burned, and there were very few inhabitants. So some houses were given
16 over to us voluntarily.
17 Q. Now, you speak of the first offensive in August 1998 in Racak.
18 Were you there yourself at the time?
19 A. I was present, but not in the territory. We didn't have soldiers
20 in this territory, because in Recak, Petrova, Mullopolc, there were no KLA
21 units. The only KLA was in the village of Rance and in Jezerc.
22 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... already to the west. So you
23 learnt of the first offensive by what you were told by others; is that
25 A. Yes, of course, but also from the smoke and the flames rising from
1 the houses.
2 Q. And was it following that that the KLA made its presence, built
3 the bunkers and the trenches?
4 A. No. This was in August 1998 --
5 Q. Yes.
6 A. -- when we didn't have any positions.
7 Q. It was only after that that you did make positions?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. The January 1999 incident, the attack, what, as far as you could
10 judge at the time, triggered it? What caused it?
11 A. The reason was the policy of ethnic cleansing. But on the basis
12 of analysis done on a preliminary basis, it was the result of an operation
13 that was planned, with the positioning of Serbian forces at the Shtime
14 pine trees and Pod i Geshtenjeve and the gorge of Caraleva.
15 Q. Before we come to the positioning of the forces: Was there an
16 event that was, or was used as, a reason for the attack?
17 A. Yes. Propaganda from Serbia said that there had been a policeman
18 killed, and one was wounded, and this was an incident provoked by Serbian
19 forces, intended to lead to the arrest of villagers from Slivove.
20 Q. Now, if you look at the map on the overhead projector, we can see
21 Slivovo is in the same square as Racak, but it is -- it's possibly just in
22 sight on the television screen. It's to the right-hand edge of that
23 square, pretty well in the centre of the right-hand margin. And so that
24 would be a distance of some six to eight -- or six kilometres or
25 thereabouts, as the crow flies. Was there any particular connection --
1 MR. NICE: I hope the Chamber can see Slivovo. It's not quite in
2 focus, but it's just underneath and to the left of the number 20.
3 Q. Was there any connection, logistical or by reason of inhabitants
4 or anything of that sort, between Slivovo and Racak? Any connection
5 between the two?
6 A. There was no connection, but it was a village also with an
7 Albanian population. And the Serbian police had been trying to arrest
8 people who fled, and then they were shot at. And a KLA unit came to help
9 the population, and there was a confrontation of about 40 minutes, but we
10 didn't know what casualties were caused, if anybody was killed or wounded.
11 Q. Was it forces under your command that had been involved at
13 A. It was forces that were positioned on the front line at Mullopolc.
14 Q. Were these forces the same as or different from the forces that
15 were to be in the area of Racak on about the 14th, 15th of January? Was
16 it the same forces or different forces?
17 A. No. The Recak unit was another unit, whereas the Mullopolc unit
18 was part of the 1st Battalion of the 161st Brigade.
19 Q. Thank you. Between that incident at Slivovo and the attack in
20 January, had any indication been given publicly that retaliation might
22 A. Yes, there had been signs. First was the visit by Vojislav Seselj
23 to Kosova, and he publicly called for vengeance; and then there was the
24 positioning of Serbian forces in the positions I mentioned earlier; and
25 then the operations of paramilitaries known as the Black Hand, who had
1 killed several people in Shtime and Ferizaj.
2 Q. Breaking down those three topics: Seselj's visit where he
3 publicly called for vengeance was to which town?
4 A. This was in the same month as the massacre, before the massacre,
5 in 1999.
6 Q. And can you remember which town the visit was to and how he made
7 this public call for vengeance? Was it in a speech or in a written
8 communication? What?
9 A. He visited the town of Prishtina and the village of Gracanica and
10 made a speech.
11 Q. Dealing with the Black Hand -- I'm going to ask you some further
12 questions a little later about paramilitaries, but at this stage: The
13 Black Hand was one band of paramilitaries, and you say that there were
14 some killings in the area of Stimlje and Ferizaj between the Slivovo
15 event and the attack on Racak?
16 A. There were killings by the Black Hand even before the Slivove
17 incident and also after the NATO bombing, and the Black Hand was in action
18 for a long time. It was not a paramilitary unit in the full sense of the
19 word, but it was under the same command of the politicians in Belgrade.
20 Q. We'll come to that later. So there were these killings, and then
21 -- as an indicator, you tell us, of revenge, and then there was the
22 positioning of Serb forces. Before we come to their positioning: Was
23 there, by the beginning of 1999 and the end of 1998, a ceasefire in place
24 pursuant to an agreement that involved Holbrooke and the accused?
25 A. Yes, there was the Holbrooke-Milosevic agreement, which was in
1 October, as far as I remember, 1998, when the OSCE observers arrived.
2 Q. The positioning of Serb forces that you're about to tell us about
3 by using the map in just a minute, would that have been in accord with or
4 in breach of that agreement?
5 A. This was a breach of the agreement, and for that reason the
6 command of the Nerodime operational zone protested to the OSCE about the
7 positioning of the Serb forces, precisely because it was in violation of
8 this agreement.
9 Q. Would you now, please, using the pointer, the portable microphone,
10 and the large maps, show us where these forces were deployed; and insofar
11 as you can recall, give us an indication of what forces were deployed.
12 A. May I stand up?
13 Q. Yes, please.
14 A. Serbian forces were put here at the place known as Pishat, or pine
15 trees of Shtime. There were armoured vehicles, and we managed to identify
16 48 armoured vehicles, tanks, Pragas, APCs, and others, and they were also
17 positioned at Pod i Geshtenjeve, where there were also tanks and Pragas.
18 And here they were positioned --
19 Q. The first place you indicated is marked "A" on the map showing the
20 area, the second is at the position marked "C" on that map, and I think
21 you're turning to the area marked "B." Tell us about that.
22 A. Zone C, which is known as Pod i Geshtenjeve, and "A" is here at
23 the pine trees, and they were also positioned at the Caraleva gorge, on
24 the main road to Prizren. These were the positions of Serbian military
1 Q. Can you give us -- you've given us an idea of the strength of the
2 forces at the position marked "A." Can you give us an idea, please -- and
3 don't guess if you can't recall or didn't discover, but can you give us an
4 idea of the strength of the forces at position "C" and "B"? "C" first.
5 A. The ones that I was able to see were tanks and Pragas, and there
6 were also other tanks which we could see at a paper factory that was
7 behind this hill, where there were three tanks positioned. But we weren't
8 able to observe other forces. Those were what we could see here. But
9 here, at "A," by the pine trees, we were able to identify 48 armoured
10 vehicles, and also at the Caraleva gorge. But there were no armoured
11 vehicles, apart from trucks and unarmoured pinzgauers that were by
12 Caraleva where there was a police checkpoint.
13 Q. And "B," anything at "B"?
14 A. There was no -- at "B," there were no positions before 15th of
15 January, but early in the morning, at about 7.00, there were tanks seen,
16 and Pragas, here. Here, from the position where I was, I was able to see
17 the APC and a Praga, and also one Praga that was hidden behind the houses.
18 Q. Thank you very much. If you'd like to take a seat. You indicated
19 on the map -- and we'll just give the reference points on the map, because
20 people will be reading the transcript later without necessarily having the
21 advantage of the video to hand. You indicated that your position on that
22 morning was at position 10.
23 Can we therefore now turn straight away to that morning. How many
24 KLA altogether were there in this general area of Racak?
25 A. There were 47 soldiers in the Racak zone, including the kitchen
1 staff and auxiliaries of that kind.
2 Q. You've told us about the collection of buildings that you
3 occupied, and you've pointed out the bunker and the trenches. Were these
4 47 soldiers in those two locations or were they in any other parts of the
6 A. They were in these two places, and from the base where they slept,
7 they went to the bunkers. And then there were guards at the bunkers, and
8 the bunkers were generally watched. But elsewhere in Recak, there were no
10 Q. How did the incident start, so far as you were concerned and
11 aware, and at what time?
12 A. After the massacre, we analysed the operations of the Serbian
14 Q. I'd be grateful if, before doing a post-event analysis, you'd just
15 tell the Judges what you were aware of that morning, what you did and what
16 you saw happening to the troops under your command.
17 A. At the start of the attack, and when fire started, I went to my
18 soldiers at the wall, what I call the wall position, and there we joined
19 members of the battalion.
20 Q. Now, the wall position, is that the position you've already shown
21 us on the left-hand map, marked 10?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. So you went there to your soldiers, and you say "when the shooting
24 started." Who started the firing or shooting?
25 A. The shooting was begun by the people who started the attack, that
1 is, the Serbian forces.
2 Q. Were you aware immediately of where the firing was coming from?
3 You've given three locations where there were forces deployed. Can you
4 tell us where the first shots came from?
5 A. The first shots came from "B," from Cesta, towards our positions,
6 and then they continued with artillery support from the pine trees at "A,"
7 and also from "C," which was the Geshtenje hill.
8 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Nice, we're coming up to 1.00. Find a convenient
10 MR. NICE: This is probably going to be as convenient as any.
11 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Buja, you are giving evidence. Would you
12 remember, in this and any other --
13 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for the Presiding Judge, please.
14 JUDGE MAY: You're giving evidence. Would you remember, in this
15 and any other adjournments there may be, not to speak to anybody about
16 your evidence until it's over, and that does include the members of the
17 Prosecution team.
18 We'll adjourn now until half past 2.00.
19 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.30 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Nice.
3 MR. NICE:
4 Q. We'd reached the position of the first shots that you heard fired
5 and you told us where from. What did you do by way of response? What did
6 your soldiers in the village do?
7 A. The response of the soldiers was through a short, brief volley
8 from the position of the bunker which also was -- served as a warning to
9 the other soldiers who were at the base. They raised the alarm and
10 started filing out of the base.
11 Q. Were they successful in getting out of the base, all of them, or
13 A. They started getting out, but some of them came under attack and
14 were killed as they were emerging.
15 Q. How many were killed?
16 A. There were -- eight were killed during those few moments. Two
17 others were killed while manning the positions at the bunker. It was a
18 soldier called Ismail Luma, who is the commander officer, the commanding
19 soldiers on duty, and another one called Enver Rashiti. So two other
20 soldiers were killed as they were exiting from the house on the stairway,
21 two others at another site belonging to the base as well, another one at a
22 more remote area, where the commander of the unit also sustained
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: [Previous translation continues]...
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It consisted of 47 soldiers.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
2 MR. NICE:
3 Q. Now, it may be helpful if we just display one other photograph.
4 First of all, before we do, if you look at the right hand of the two maps,
5 the position you've described of the KLA base in the village is on the
6 road leading towards what's marked as number 2; is that correct?
7 A. Yes, at this position here.
8 Q. Taken from the Racak binder at tab 7 of Volume 1, and the first
9 photograph, there's this photograph. Perhaps you'd be so good as to look
10 at it. Does this show a view looking along the road towards -- we can see
11 crime scene 2 with other locations marked. Does it show the area of
12 buildings that served as the KLA base?
13 A. Yes. They were located at that gorge.
14 Q. And as we can see from this photograph, they are at an end point
15 of the village. Would that be correct?
16 A. Yes. They are on the entrance to the village.
17 Q. Therefore, in a sense, remote from the rest of the village. They
18 can be cut off from the rest of the village.
19 A. Yes, because the village is further down whilst the KLA base
20 overlooked it and was isolated and cut off from the civilians.
21 Q. Very well. Now, some ten, I think, men, or thereabouts, were
22 killed at these early stages of the attack. By what time in the morning,
23 approximately, had they died?
24 A. About 7.00.
25 Q. Initially, did they stay where they were and where they fell?
1 A. Yes. They were left there. It was unable to remove them. The
2 wounded withdrew from the base.
3 Q. And the -- the wounded and the unwounded KLA, did they regroup or
4 did they gather together somewhere?
5 A. Yes. They regrouped and began their withdrawal, given there were
6 eight wounded amongst our soldiers and it was necessary to take them
7 away. So they withdrew in this direction, in the direction of the gorge
8 of Lluzhak where we regrouped. The commander of the unit was wounded
9 there, Afet Bilalli. And with him was soldier Skender Qarri, who was
11 Q. Were you with your men as they withdrew to the gorge?
12 A. No, because I was manning position number 10.
13 Q. You stayed in position number 10. Did you fire or return fire to
14 the Serb forces?
15 A. Yes. We responded with fire to the forces which emerged at Cesta
16 where the APC and Praga emerged into the open and responded with fire to
18 Q. What weapons did you have to return fire from your position at
19 position 10, the wall?
20 A. A mortar, calibre 500, and other weapons belonging to the unit of
21 the reconnaissance mission of the General Staff.
22 Q. Was this the only position from which KLA were firing on the Serbs
23 at that early time of the morning, or were there other positions where the
24 KLA were firing on the Serbs?
25 A. This was the only position in the morning.
1 Q. And how long did you stay in that position, firing on the Serbs?
2 A. Position 10 was the continual position we manned. I did not stay
3 there throughout the day because I had to go and check the front line,
4 which also included the villages of Petrova, Jezerc --
5 Q. How long did firing continue from position 10 on --
6 A. -- and Mullopolc. There was sporadic firing.
7 Q. All day?
8 A. Yes, all day, from this position.
9 Q. Now, the other men had withdrawn to the gorge. Were they in a
10 position to mount any attack on the Serbs or not?
11 A. The soldiers who withdrew from this unit were mostly incapable of
12 mounting an assault, because part of them, eight of them, had been
13 wounded; eight were initially killed; a tenth one was killed before 11.00;
14 and even their mental state was not one that had lent itself to an
15 assault. So when we started returning the fire in the road towards
16 Kerkova, this was mostly done by soldiers belonging to other units.
17 Q. The road towards Kerkova, can you point that out to us, or to be
18 precise, where it is? Because I don't think it's shown on this map, and
19 we may have to go back to the atlas. The roads towards Kerkova.
20 A. It can't be seen on this map.
21 Q. If you'd turn, please, now to the atlas. And so you're speaking
22 of firing by other units on the road to Kerkova. Can you point out what
23 road that is, the road to Kerkova?
24 A. It departed from Petrova, from the Lluzhak gorge, and it continued
25 on the line towards Rance. This road links to the village of Rance. This
1 all followed after 11.00.
2 Q. And fighting on that road, was it the KLA who were on that road,
3 firing on Serb forces elsewhere, or was it the Serb forces who were on
4 that road, according to your understanding?
5 A. This was a reciprocal firing. Serbian forces were overlooking the
6 village and they were stationed in that part over Recak. And we shot from
7 the Kerkova Road, but we couldn't advance further in order to reposition
9 Q. [Previous translation continues]... because remember, you've told
10 us of the existence of Serb forces at the three positions north and east,
11 generally, of Racak. Were people firing from this road to those original
12 positions - A, B, and C - or to another position? Where were the Serbs on
13 whom they were firing?
14 A. No. From position A, the Pishat, and from Cesta, and from
15 position C, Kodra e Geshtenjeve, the shooting enabled soldiers to be able
16 to -- to regroup or withdraw to those positions like the bunkers. The
17 Serbs were positioned in that part there and another part towards Recak.
18 The other part of the Serbs came from that part over there and from Cesta,
19 where the infantry advanced on the village.
20 Q. So if I follow this correctly - and correct me if I'm wrong - the
21 Serbs, having repositioned themselves south of Racak and in the area where
22 you had previously had fortifications, and north of Racak, were fired upon
23 by the KLA. Would that be correct?
24 A. Yes. They were positioned in our former positions, basically, and
25 that is the direction we shot towards.
1 Q. Very well. The day passes. You've told us about your activity.
2 What happened to the bodies of the soldiers who died early in the morning?
3 A. The bodies of the soldiers, you mean?
4 Q. Yes.
5 A. A soldier who was killed later at the Kodra e Shaqes position,
6 which is further to the south, he was taken away at about 11.00, whilst
7 the soldier -- the commander of the unit, who was injured over there, was
8 able to get through radio link to us and tell us that he had been severely
9 injured. And after dusk fell, we undertook his rescue. We weren't able
10 to do that. We were only able to do that when the Serbian forces
11 apparently began withdrawing. So we returned to our former positions to
12 find dead soldiers, one inside the bunker, another one near the bunker.
13 Then our soldiers started towards the base, where they found soldier Kadri
14 Syla, near the canal which leads towards the bunker, and another soldier
15 killed outside the last house of our base. Two soldiers were found a bit
16 further away, in the other house, and also Skender Qarri, the soldier who
17 was found near the injured commander, Bilalli, and these were taken away.
18 These bodies were taken away.
19 Q. Those bodies were taken away the same night?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. [Previous translation continues]... part of your account short,
22 were they in due course buried, I think given a military burial, but were
23 they in due course buried elsewhere?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Namely, at what village?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. They were buried in the village of Mullopolc --
2 MR. NICE: Which the Chamber can see --
3 A. -- as the commander of the zone decided.
4 MR. NICE: [Microphone not activated] -- on the ELMO, on the
5 overhead projector at the moment, and it's immediately south of Stimlje
6 and some distance away from Racak.
7 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Nice, please.
8 MR. NICE: Sorry. The village is immediately south of Stimlje and
9 some way away from Racak.
10 Q. When locating and retrieving the bodies of the soldiers, Mr. Buja,
11 were any civilians found who had been killed or not?
12 A. There were civilians who had been killed, but their bodies were
13 not retrieved because the order that we got was to retrieve the bodies of
14 the KLA. There was an order which operated throughout the war that
15 dictated that KLA soldiers ought not to be left at the site where they
16 were killed, but they ought to be retrieved and buried.
17 Q. You'd look, please, be good enough to look at the right hand of
18 the two maps in a little -- with a little care, and I want you to help us
19 with two things. First of all, there are a number of locations marked on
20 that map. Starting at number 1 -- forget number 2 for the time being.
21 Starting at number 1 and then going through, if you look at them, 3 to the
22 north, 4 a little to the west of 3, 5 the ravine - and we'll come to the
23 ravine in a minute in more detail - and then 6 up on the hill of Cesta, is
24 it? Did you have any KLA soldiers deployed in any of those positions in
25 the course of this day?
1 A. No, none at all. Only position number 2 where the KLA base was.
2 Q. Now, the map that's there has on the left-hand side a number of
3 crime location scenes with the names of individuals said to have been
4 killed at those scenes, again omitting the ravine because the number was
5 too large - the names are particularised there - but including names of
6 individuals killed at scene number 2. Have you gone through all those
7 names to see if any of those names are the names of KLA soldiers?
8 A. Yes, I've seen the names. None of the ones that you mentioned
9 were KLA members.
10 Q. When did you first learn that something may have happened in the
11 village to civilians?
12 A. This happened after the civilian population left with some injured
13 in their midst. There was a meeting between the zone commander with the
14 OSCE and the civilians who managed to escape from Recak, and that was
15 where it was learned that a massacre had occurred in Recak, although we
16 treated this very cautiously, as a very suspicious information, because we
17 were receiving a myriad of kinds of information throughout the day. It
18 was the evening of the 15th of January.
19 Q. Were you at that time able to go and investigate the rumours
20 yourself to see if there was any truth in them or not?
21 A. On the night of the 15th of January, we were unable to do this
22 because it was winter. There was a lot of snow. It was pitch darkness.
23 And we didn't even venture towards that direction. Instead, we decided to
24 undertake this on the next day when the OSCE verifiers were to go, and
25 Fehmi Mujota was the man in charge of political affairs in the -- in the
1 KLA zonal command was to go with them.
2 Q. Did you visit the ravine yourself?
3 A. The visit -- the visit was by the OSCE team, and within its
4 auspices there was the RS representative, and this happened on the next
5 day, on the 16th of January.
6 Q. And did you visit -- were you one of the people who visited it?
7 A. I went there later, after William Walker had arrived in Recak.
8 Q. Thank you.
9 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm going to ask the witness to look at a
10 video of the viewing of the ravine for two purposes. First, for him to
11 tell us one way or another whether any of the people shown dead in the
12 ravine were KLA soldiers; and second, for him to comment on the clothing
13 they're wearing and how that clothing matches, or not, the clothing of the
14 KLA. The video will also serve the purpose that I identified at the
15 beginning of the examination of this witness, the nature of the injuries,
16 stressful though it is.
17 I must make sure I get the right number. I gather it's already
18 with the audio-visual booth as Exhibit 95. Before we start it -- and it's
19 ERN 1599. I'm grateful to Mr. Higgins. And we have some notes of the
20 excerpts for the two videos that we're going to show. And the first
21 excerpt is four minutes and 29 seconds, and the second is two minutes, a
22 little under two minutes.
23 JUDGE MAY: Exhibit 95A, if there's not one already.
24 MR. NICE: I believe this is 95. 95A was the extract shown to
25 Lord Ashdown. As this apparently has itself been extracted - Ms. Graham
1 makes sure I'm punctilious - perhaps this should become 95B. Then
2 there'll be -- oh, yes. And I'm reminded that at the end -- we should
3 have sound on with this. At the end, the interview is in Albanian, but it
4 is at a speed that I think can be followed by the interpreters and we
5 would ask them to interpret it for us.
6 [Videotape played]
7 MR. NICE: That's the end of that clip. I think there should be
8 another bit to follow, but perhaps we can just break there for a second
9 and ask two questions, if it's not too difficult for the audio-visual
11 Q. Were any of the men shown on that footage of video film members of
12 the KLA?
13 A. No, none of them.
14 Q. How did the clothing they were wearing compare with the typical
15 clothing at that time of people serving in the KLA?
16 A. You can't compare, because KLA soldiers had their uniforms --
17 Q. At that time?
18 A. -- a different kind of clothing. Yes.
19 Q. Were there other examples, think back, at that time of people
20 wearing clothing like that actually being serving KLA soldiers or not?
21 A. No, not in this kind of clothing. We could have had civilian
22 clothing only for the underwear, because we did not have everything to
23 comply with the military uniform in terms of underwear because -- but the
24 outer layer of clothing was always a military uniform.
25 Q. Thank you.
1 MR. NICE: Can we move to the next part of the video, please.
2 [Videotape played]
3 THE INTERPRETER: [Voiceover] "I believe you have seen what face
4 the enemy has, the enemy that kidnapped these Albanian civilians and
5 brought them here to be massacred. The -- these images do show the real
6 face of the enemy. And the KLA is always thinking of defending these
7 civilians, protecting them. I can't say any more at this moment. I think
8 this is enough. The message that you're witnessing I think is
9 sufficient. This is not only a Serbian massacre, it is a massacre
10 assisted by the international community. And the Serbian forces -- then
11 Serbian forces, since then, they are positioning in Shtime, Ferizaj, and
12 all the positions forces that they occupied were in breach of the
13 agreement, and when we refrained so as not to break the agreement. And
14 they went behind the back of this village to be able to mount this
15 assault. That's all I have to say."
16 MR. NICE:
17 Q. That was, I think, you speaking on the camera, yes?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. We saw that you were dressed -- how you were dressed, and that you
20 had two others beside you. Who were the other two beside you or behind
22 A. They were my officers.
23 Q. Was the clothing that you were wearing typical or unusual for KLA
24 soldiers at that time?
25 A. The KLA soldiers wore such uniforms, and there were other kinds of
1 uniforms but they were military ones.
2 Q. Now, I want to deal with a couple of other matters arising from
3 this incident. What level of arms did an individual KLA soldier at the
4 time typically carry? How many weapons?
5 A. KLA soldiers were armed with automatic weapons, and some of them
6 had 47s. There were soldiers without automatic weapons, but they had
7 12.7s, 7.9s, and there were auxiliaries with 12.7s and 7.9, and maybe they
8 had the occasional revolver.
9 Q. Did any individual soldier typically have more than one firearm at
10 any given time or not?
11 A. We didn't even have enough to arm -- give one to each soldier let
12 alone let any soldier have two.
13 Q. Which brings me to this issue: You lost some ten soldiers in the
14 early stages, and you'd lost possession of the base down there in the
15 village; correct?
16 A. Yes. We had lost eight soldiers at the start of the fighting and
17 then another one on the hill at about 11.00. And there were eight
18 soldiers also wounded in various degrees.
19 Q. Can you help us with how many weapons altogether you lost or may
20 have lost, as a result of this incident, to the Serb forces or to other
21 forces that entered the village?
22 A. We lost four automatic rifles and also some 12.7s and one 7.9.
23 Q. How many 7.9s did you have altogether?
24 A. One, and one 12.7.
25 Q. Were you aware at the time - I think you've already perhaps told
1 us this - of an investigation conducted or sought to be conducted in Racak
2 by a judge?
3 A. Excuse me. When? When do you mean this?
4 Q. After the attack and after the visit by the OSCE.
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. You told us, indeed, who you understood the name of the judge to
7 be. You've told us about the loss of weapons from individual soldiers, as
8 it were, the maximum that could have been lost. What about from the base
9 itself, the buildings? Was there any cache or store of weapons there that
10 could have been taken by the judge conducting this investigation, or those
11 acting on her behalf?
12 A. They might have taken four automatic weapons from the killed
13 soldiers, they might have taken two bandoliers with bullets, which our
14 soldiers had, and a quantity of automatic rifle munition.
15 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm going to ask the witness now to look
16 at another video, which is, as I explained yesterday, a video very
17 recently provided by the Serbian authorities as part of the Marinkovic
18 inquiry. It's V0003923, and will therefore require an exhibit number.
19 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 210.
20 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.
21 And if the video booth could be good enough to play that video.
22 I would ask you, Mr. Buja, to look at it so as in due course to
23 comment on whether any part of this could be -- or whether all of it could
24 be weaponry taken from the KLA at Racak at this time.
25 It may be helpful if during this first 17 seconds we pause it.
1 [Videotape played]
2 MR. NICE:
3 Q. Now, as to what you've just been looking at there, what do you say
4 as to the possibility of that being weaponry taken from KLA soldiers:
5 possible or otherwise?
6 A. They resembled our weapons, especially the heavy one, the 12.7,
7 and the automatic weapons, but not the big great chest that is there and
8 the other quantities of munitions.
9 MR. NICE: Press on, then, please. Thank you very much.
10 [Videotape played]
11 MR. NICE: I think it goes on a little, if we can, please.
12 [Videotape played]
13 MR. NICE: You can fast-forward to the end of this clip, please.
14 Pausing there.
15 Q. The weapons you've just been looking at, what do you say to the
16 possibility -- we haven't yet had the report to translate it from the
17 Serbian, it only having arrived a couple of days ago, but what do you say
18 as to the possibility of those weapons being KLA weapons, and what do you
19 say about their condition of cleanliness and newness?
20 A. The quantity of weapons here is very large, and we didn't have
21 this quantity, even if two units had joined the Recak and Rance units.
22 This is a very large quantity, and it's known very well that our base in
23 Recak, there were -- nine soldiers were killed. There's far too many
24 weapons here for nine soldiers. There was one 12.7 and one 7.9 was
25 taken. And the quantity shown here is far too large.
1 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... of the weapons?
2 A. First of all, the KLA soldiers didn't have automatic rifles with
3 bayonets. They all bore without bayonets. And also the number of hand
4 grenades here was not even in the hands of even the special units that
5 were under the command of the zone commander. Not even they had so many
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm not going to deal with the rest of
9 this video. We can see that there is another extract, number 4, with
10 grenades and bullets, but I don't propose to take time exploring it. It's
11 there for the accused, if he wants to ask any questions about it. Thank
13 Q. A few other questions of a general nature, but before we come to
14 them: The village of Racak, you had had some concerns from the deployment
15 of Serb troops and from other events that an attack was likely. Was any
16 advice given to the villagers?
17 A. Generally, our soldiers, and the sector for relations with
18 civilians, maintained discussions with villagers in cases of danger, just
19 as it did in 1998, when, from Rance, we warned the civilians about the
20 danger of the Serbian offensive, and also warned before the fighting
21 started in Recak. We never gave them orders to go, but they themselves,
22 the majority of the inhabitants of Recak, decided to stay in the village.
23 Q. Two other documents I'd like you to look at briefly, already
25 MR. NICE: Exhibit 179, please.
1 Your Honour, this is a document already produced by General
2 Maisonneuve, recording a conversation or meeting he had with Colonel
3 Bogoljub Janicijevic on the 16th of January. And if the English could be
4 laid on the ELMO, the overhead projector, and the original given to the
5 witness, who I think reads --
6 [Prosecution counsel confer]
7 MR. NICE: The B/C/S copy for the witness. And if we look at it
8 on the overhead projector to see what passages I'm asking his comment on.
9 Q. In the centre of the screen, there's a passage which reads as
10 follows, and I'd like your comment on it for its accuracy, but I'll read
11 it out in English:
12 [As read] "Suspect 15 terrorists killed. Tried to find them. No
13 one in village. Went to forest and bunkers little bit up from village.
14 Believe their central headquarters in Luzhnice, where a large group opened
15 fire with a 12.7 gun. KLA used snipers, Chinese MGs, fired mines toward
16 police and Chinese 81-millimetre mortar over the hill. Police searched
17 until reaching bunkers, stopping because of fire, but after forcing
18 personnel out of bunkers whom ran over hill, finding wpns (1 Browning, 2
19 HMG 12.7, few mines for hand launcher, 36 automatic rifles, 2.000 rounds,
20 2 sniper rifles, and other inf supplies)."
21 What do you say as to the accuracy of that account?
22 A. No, they're not.
23 Q. Maybe you were having some trouble with the translation. What do
24 you say to the accuracy of any part of it? Were there 15 terrorists
25 killed? Mr. Buja, are you hearing me?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Was it a case of there being 15 terrorists killed, or less,
3 assuming that "terrorists" means KLA?
4 A. First, I don't know which HQ is mentioned here in Luzhnice. I
5 have a document in front of me in Serbo-Croatian, and it says "Luzhnice"
6 which was not in my zone of responsibility and is a very long way from
7 Recak. And I can't answer as to whether they captured any kinds of
8 weapons. But the unit of Recak and its base, there were four automatic
9 rifles taken, one 12.7, and one 7.9, as I said before.
10 Q. So that if at Luzhnice, which we can find on our map at page 11,
11 P19, I think -- yes, it's right at the top and is clearly some over 10
12 kilometres away. If they found any of these things, did that have
13 anything to do with KLA activity in Racak?
14 A. No, because we didn't have units of our zones or any -- any units
15 of our zone or units connected with our zone in Luzhnice.
16 MR. NICE: If the usher would be good enough to turn us to the
17 second sheet in the English, and in the middle of the page there's a
18 reference there to -- pretty well in the middle of the screen:
19 "At the beginning of the OP saw men in black uniforms, UCK
20 policemen, using women and children as a shield."
21 Two points -- three points: Did the KLA or UCK have some troops
22 that wore black uniforms? Yes or no.
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Were there any UCK troops in black uniforms deployed in Racak on
25 this day?
1 A. No. Not at Recak, no.
2 Q. Was there any question of UCK using women and children as shields
3 at Racak on this day or ever? But Racak on this day is all that we're
4 really concerned with.
5 A. Of course not, because this was the Albanian population, and these
6 were our families and cousins, the relatives of the soldiers themselves.
7 MR. NICE: May the witness now, then, please see the second
8 document, already an exhibit. I beg your pardon. This isn't. It's a
9 document dated the 16th of January of 1999, being a report to the Republic
10 of Serbia's MUP concerning occurrences on this day. I won't take the
11 Court's time now to go through all of it in detail. It can be further
12 produced and exhibited and examined at a later stage.
13 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 211.
14 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.
15 Q. But as an alleged contemporaneous report, I'd like your
16 assistance, please, Mr. Buja, with certain points in it and the accuracy
17 of them.
18 We'll lay on the overhead projector the original for -- very
20 MR. NICE: Put the English on the overhead projector. Thank you
21 very much.
22 Q. Second sheet, please, having looked at the first sheet, to save
23 time. And in the second sheet where we see the paragraph begins: "On the
24 15th of January..." and deals with Racak. If we go down to the next
25 paragraph, it says: "The battle with terrorists lasted until 1530 hours.
1 During the search of the village, fire was opened at policemen from a 12.7
2 Browning machine-gun and from mortars. The terrorist group was eliminated
3 with maximum effort by the policemen."
4 What do you say as to the truth, the accuracy, or the inaccuracy
5 of that passage, please?
6 A. First, we opened fire -- in fact, the first fire was opened by the
7 Serbian forces from Cesta Hill. And at 3.00, according to later analysis,
8 was the start of the operation that went on to 6.00 or 7.00, which went on
9 in silence, without gunfire, until they were in place again.
10 Q. Thank you. If we look down the page a little further, it speaks,
11 in the middle of the screen: "During the operation, some 60 members of
12 the Siptar terrorist band were liquidated." The point that you've made
13 already is that ten of your troops or thereabouts were killed, and the
14 others who died had nothing to do with the KLA; correct?
15 A. [No translation]
16 Q. At the bottom of the page: "The following were found among the
17 dead terrorists: Three Browning anti-aircraft guns." True or false?
18 Mr. Buja, would that be true or false that three Brownings were found?
19 A. No. Only one 12.7 was found.
20 Q. And then it goes on, two carbines, 36 automatic, 1.802 bullets,
21 hand grenades, radios, binoculars, et cetera. Is that account of what was
22 found accurate or inaccurate?
23 A. Accurate.
24 Q. Just to make sure I understand that, you're saying that these
25 weapons were found or were not found?
1 A. Inaccurate.
2 Q. Thank you.
3 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreters request the witness to draw
4 nearer the microphone again.
5 MR. NICE:
6 Q. Would you move closer to the microphone, please, Mr. Buja. You're
7 causing difficulties for the interpreters.
8 MR. NICE: I have only a few more questions of this witness and
9 they are these:
10 Q. In 1998 and then into 1999, you observed Serb forces. Did you
11 also observe -- observed Serb military forces. Did you also observe
12 police forces?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Did you see anything of paramilitary groups? You've already
15 spoken of the Black Hand, but did you see any other paramilitary groups?
16 A. We have seen paramilitaries who also wore black uniforms. They
17 had white uniforms during the winter. The Black Hand is fairly well known
18 within the Albanian civilian population because it operated during the
19 night and it killed civilians.
20 Q. Did you have any opportunity to overhear radio messages between
21 any of these three different kinds of groups; the military, police,
23 A. Regarding the army and the police, yes. We intercepted some brief
24 coded but also open conversations, albeit very brief. But whilst
25 regarding the paramilitaries, we were never able to intercept because even
1 through the information we got from civilians who saw them, they used a
2 different method of communication. They used mobile telephones to
4 Q. From the overheard communications between the army and the police,
5 what emerged about who was controlling whom?
6 A. Usually it was the army, and the police went under their orders.
7 In this manner, they carried on joint operations. The Recak massacre was
8 a joint operation by the police and the army. Amongst them there were
9 also members of the Serbian civilians and also members of the so-called
11 Q. Were you able, from the messages you overheard, to identify at
12 what level the military were exercising command over both the military and
13 the police or not?
14 A. The -- the army had the upper hand, was at a higher level, as it
15 were. We've heard numbers like, for instance, 401, which referred to the
16 unit. There were other numbers. We know that 401 made many appearances.
17 I think the command level was an army level.
18 Q. As to the precise level, the rank at which instructions were being
19 given or the position from which instructions were being given, were you
20 able to work that out or not?
21 A. It -- it could have been a colonel.
22 Q. Did you hear any particular instructions given that affected the
23 position of the Kosovo Albanians, particularly after the start of the NATO
25 A. Yes. I've continually heard through radio links. But what I was
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 able to corroborate was the occasion where through a radio communication
2 we overheard the word "terrorist band" referring to civilians who headed
3 towards the Caraleva gorge and towards Albania and, in fact, displacing
4 the Albanian population from around. So I was able to see this column,
5 convoy of people, and I was able to see in this way that the order being
6 carried -- being carried out by Serbian police.
7 Q. Well, you've spoken about what you saw. What I'm interested to
8 know is what you heard over the radio, if anything, that related to what
9 you saw.
10 A. That is exactly what it was, the orders for them to be taken, for
11 the terrorist bands, as they called them, to be taken towards the
12 direction of Albania. This was the sentence I overheard communicated over
13 the radio. And then I saw the population of this terrorist band, as they
14 called it, so I was able to verify that this "terrorist band" was in fact
15 the civilian population which was being displaced towards Albania.
16 Q. Was this the only thing you heard being said about Kosovo
17 Albanians or did you hear other things being said on these radio messages
18 that you were able to hear?
19 A. The messages were usually very, very brief, and we were unable to
20 elaborate on them because in most cases they were also coded. But they
21 often used such insulting terms as the ones I've mentioned.
22 Q. Thank you. And perhaps one last question. Back to the villagers
23 living in Racak, but it may apply to other villages as well. Did you
24 discover whether anything would happen to non-KLA villages if they
25 happened to know where the KLA were based? Did they suffer in any way?
1 A. Yes. Other villages did suffer regardless of the fact of whether
2 there was or there wasn't a KLA presence. There were occasions of
3 civilians being massacred who had absolutely no absolute link towards --
4 with the KLA. In the Lipjan municipality, there was an occasion of this
5 sort. There was another one in Gruklina [phoen] or the massacre of 12
6 civilians from the Ferizaj-Sajeve or in the Ferizaj municipality.
7 MR. NICE: There's another point I was seeking for, but I'm not
8 going to take it any further at the moment. Yes, that will do. That's
9 all I want of this witness. Thank you.
10 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, before I begin my
12 samination, I'd like to hear from you how much time I'm going to
13 have. In view of the fact that the examination-in-chief went on for two
14 hours and 45 minutes, a full two hours and 45 minutes, plus the fact that
15 we have a statement which is 25 pages long.
16 JUDGE MAY: Let us --
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I hope that that is obvious and
19 JUDGE MAY: No. First of all, we will decide how long it has been
20 that the Prosecution took.
21 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, it says that on the clock.
22 We're not going to decide whether today is Monday or Tuesday, are we? The
23 examination-in-chief started at 11.30.
24 JUDGE MAY: The time taken in all, by my calculation, is one hour,
25 54, 55 minutes. Call it two hours.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May --
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE MAY: No. There must be no inaccuracy about these
4 statements of yours. The time actually taken up by the Prosecution, as I
5 say, was about one hour, 55 minutes, and we'll call it two hours for the
6 sake of the argument.
7 Now, with that in mind, we will see how you get on. If there is
8 much repetition and argument, time -- and irrelevancy, time will be
9 shortened. But you can make a start today. You will have a half hour
10 today and then we'll determine tomorrow. For my part, I would have
11 thought three hours would be the maximum, but we'll consider it. Yes. So
12 we'll start today, and then we'll be about two and a half hours tomorrow.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Very well.
14 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
15 Q. [Interpretation] You began by saying that you were condemned to a
16 prison term sentence for 13 years for participation in demonstrations. Is
17 that right?
18 A. Yes, participation in the demonstrations of 1989.
19 Q. And what was the accusation made against you? Because it is
20 impossible for somebody to be sentenced to 13 years imprisonment merely
21 for taking part in demonstrations. So what was the actual accusation, the
22 charges brought against you?
23 A. The indictment was based on the Penal Code of Yugoslavia,
24 Article 114 and 139, which the second degree repealed because it was not
25 based -- it was not very well grounded.
1 Q. All right. As I'm not an expert in criminal law, what was the
2 crime that you were accused of? It wasn't just participation in
3 demonstrations. That's quite obvious.
4 A. It was not a crime. It was -- I was charged for participation and
5 allegedly for organising the demonstrations, and I was given a political
6 sentence, or a politically motivated sentence. Article 114 penalised all
7 the Albanians of Kosova with between one and ten years in prison. I'm not
8 a lawyer either, and I can't elaborate on this, as you can't.
9 Q. Yes, unfortunately. Unfortunately, that is not true, because
10 sentences of this kind do not correspond to acts of this kind and don't
11 exist for them. But with respect to the time that you've been talking
12 about, did you attack a vehicle belonging to the police, from an ambush,
13 in which there was a policeman by the name of Hatmir Qerimi, also an
14 Albanian, from Lipljan?
15 A. This was something staged up by the Serbian court. I was given a
16 maximum sentence of 13 years, and the court of second instance removed
17 this part because there was no evidence for me to be sentenced over or
18 convicted over this offence, and that's why I was charged and convicted
19 over the demonstrations of 1998 and the sentence reduced to nine years.
20 Q. You said yourself that you were released in 1994. That's what you
21 said yourself. So you didn't spend 13 years in prison but 4 years, or
22 however many. But you weren't tried for your taking part in
23 demonstrations; you were tried for attacking a police vehicle belonging to
24 a patrol. And there was an Albanian, Bahim Qerimi [phoen], from Lipljan,
25 in it. Isn't that right? So it wasn't for the political act of
1 participating in demonstrations. Yes or no.
2 JUDGE MAY: This is why we waste time. He's given an answer to
3 that. He's answered that question. Let's move on.
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right, Mr. May.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Now, do you know that on the 2nd of April, 1999 --
7 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Actually, if I may, Mr. May, I want
8 to ask a few questions with respect to the personality, the person we have
9 in front of us, and then I'll go on.
10 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
11 Q. On the 2nd of April, 1999, in Urosevac, Mile Vuksanovic, a
12 sanitary inspector, was kidnapped, and Djemo Lika [phoen], from Urosevac.
13 And I'm linking this up with the fact that Milazim Derguti, who was
14 imprisoned after the war and spent two or three months in prison, was from
15 UNMIK, and he spent two or three months in Bonstil [phoen], in the
16 American base, in prison there. And he said and acknowledged that
17 Vuksanovic, Iliku, were kidnapped and that they were handed over to the
18 Superior Command, that is to say, to Shukri Buja. Do you know about
19 that? That is to say to your people kidnapped these persons and that this
20 particular person was arrested by UNMIK, and in Bonstil, that he
21 acknowledged that they had been handed over to you. Is that true or not?
22 A. It is not true, because the people you are mentioning are not
23 known to me. And the statement of the person that you're mentioning, if
24 it exists in this shape, and if he took part in this kidnapping, he's
25 given his own version of events.
1 Q. All right. And do you know that a lawyer by the name of Asim
2 Ismajli, also an Albanian, who was involved in the search for these
3 kidnapped persons, was kidnapped along the Urosevac-Vitina road after our
4 forces left, that is to say, after the 10th of June? Do you have any
5 knowledge of that, that he was killed?
6 A. We were not in charge of security. It was KFOR who was
7 responsible for this, and the administration of UNMIK.
8 Q. I'm asking you whether your people were involved in that killing.
9 A. I do not know.
10 Q. And were your people - and I'm talking about those who were
11 subordinated to you. Those are the ones whom I refer to - did they kill
12 Mehdi Sulejmani, a former policeman? This is something that you should
13 know about, because otherwise seven other Albanians were killed who were
14 in contact with these people who were kidnapped. Just say yes or no and
15 then we can move on, not to waste time.
16 A. [No translation]
17 Q. You don't know. Very well. Now, you lived in Switzerland, and,
18 as you yourself say, you dealt with issues related to support for Kosovo,
19 support by Albanians. What kind of support? Could you explain?
20 A. Yes. Rallies were organised with fellow Albanians where they were
21 clarified about the situation in Kosova, the maltreatment of people, and
22 issues of this kind that were in the region of information, basically.
23 Q. So your activities were exclusively linked to the information
24 sector, were they?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. In March 1998, with Hashim Thaci, Kadri Veseli, who were the heads
2 in your organisation, the chiefs, and with 27 other men and one woman, you
3 came from Albania, armed, to Kosovo, isn't that right, in March, March
5 A. Yes. We entered Kosova, about 30 of us. Thirty of us, thirty
6 soldiers, went to Kosova.
7 Q. And with these individuals that I mentioned, right - Thaci and
8 Veseli and the others - and all of them were armed; right?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Now, is it true that you all underwent military training and that
11 amongst you there were some members of the KLA from Croatia, as well as
12 those who were being trained in the French Foreign Legion?
13 A. There was no KLA in Croatia.
14 Q. I said "KLA from Croatia."
15 A. Can I please plead with Your Honours not to be interrupted as I
16 give my explanations.
17 I was clarifying who was part of that group of 30 men who entered
18 Kosova. Two of them were former officers who had the experience of war in
19 Croatia, and from the information which I had, one of them was Bekim
20 Berisha, who had also been part of other foreign schools like the ones
21 mentioned here, the French Foreign Legion.
22 Q. In paragraph 4 of page 3 of your statement, it says:
23 "There were KLA among us who were from Croatia. There were two
24 Albanians in the KLA that trained in the French Foreign Legion - I did not
25 know them prior to this time - whose specialty was to train us to
1 establish a military structure and how to lead it."
2 Is that right? That's what it says in your statement; right?
3 A. That's correct.
4 Q. In March 1998, on orders from what you call the main headquarters,
5 you went to recruit people for the war; is that right?
6 A. Yes. Based on the orders of the General Staff, I was tasked with
7 the beginning of the organisation of units to prepare for an armed war.
8 Q. And you personally had to organise units in Stimlje, Malisevo,
9 Rance, and Urosevac; is that right?
10 A. Yes, and the first unit was set up, and it began operating and
11 organised other units in this way.
12 Q. All right. So March 1998 you mobilised people, following orders
13 from your main headquarters, throughout Kosovo for a war. Have I
14 understood you correctly? Did I understand your testimony properly?
15 A. We were talking about mobilisation, not calling up papers, because
16 the people were volunteering to become members of the KLA. They were
17 recruited after conversations were carried out with them, and as a result,
18 the first unit was set up from Drenica. There were five people who were
19 in charge of organising this.
20 Q. All right. Now, to be quite precise, I'm going to read two words
21 from the bottom of the third page, where it says "to recruit people for
22 war." That's what it says here: "to recruit people for war." And the
23 year is 1998, March. Is that right? That's what it says in your
24 statement here, "recruitment," not what you're saying now.
25 Now, is it true that at the time, Azem Syla --
1 A. Can I clarify, please?
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, clarify, by all means.
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can you please not take out parts of
4 my statement, because if you were to split and separate out parts of my
5 declaration, they could be misused and misquoted. The order was for us to
6 begin recruiting soldiers, and the way we did it was on a voluntary basis,
7 and that is how our first attempt at organising this kind of thing
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes. I can't find the expression "recruit for war" in
10 the English. Now, it may be it's somewhere, but I can't find it.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't have the English version.
12 MR. NICE: Your Honour, nor I. And really, the witness ought to
13 have some document --
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
15 MR. NICE: -- before him or, at the very least, on the overhead
16 projector, so that the accuracy can be checked of that which the accused
17 seeks to put.
18 JUDGE MAY: Let him have his statement. What it says -- while
19 that's being got, we'll have the paragraph, which we've now found. In the
20 English, it says:
21 "When we arrived in the Drenica Valley in March 1998, five of our
22 units separated. We separated by the order of the KLA main HQ to go and
23 recruit for the war in other areas. We had to organise units in Shtime,
24 Malisheva," et cetera.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. So we've established
1 that: "recruit for the war."
2 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Is it true that Azem Syla at the time, who was aged 45 years, from
4 Kisna Reka, in the Glogovac municipality, was recognised as being some
5 kind of main chief, main leader of the KLA? Is that right?
6 A. No, not as the main chief of the KLA, but much, much later I
7 understood that Azem Syla had been appointed KLA commander.
8 Q. Well, to save you looking for this, the very next paragraph after
9 this one, which is continued on page 4, states the following -- it begins
10 by saying: "Hashim Thaci ordered the recruitment campaign ..." And I'm
11 not going to read that, to save time. And it ends with the following
13 "Azem Syla, aged 45 years, from Kisna Reka, in the Glogovac
14 municipality, was the then," as you call him, "general commander of the
15 KLA and was at the Rambouillet conference in February 1999."
16 A. Yes, because at the time of the Rambouillet conference, it was
17 made clear to me that the commander-in-chief of the KLA was Azem Syla,
18 whilst the order for mobilisation, not recruitment, of the population was
19 something that was made public through the media, and the whole population
20 had been mobilised by the time NATO bombing started.
21 Q. All right. In the paragraph I read out, it says "ordered the
22 recruitment campaign," "Hashim Thaci ordered the recruitment campaign,"
23 but let's move on. Now, if he was the general commander, as you claim,
24 how come Thaci was the head of the delegation?
25 A. Because he was director of the political directorate within the
1 auspices of the General Staff. He was the man who dealt with political
2 affairs within the KLA.
3 Q. It was your duty to bring in weapons from Albania and to conduct
4 military operations. Was that your duty, just like the one in Switzerland
5 was information, now it was your duty to bring in arms from Albania and to
6 conduct military operations? Isn't that right?
7 A. No. The duty - I was entrusted to an Albanian - was to accompany
8 120 soldiers, bringing weapons, and I was commander of the operational
9 zones of Nerodime, entrusted with all the tasks of regional commander.
10 Q. In the first paragraph on page 6 of your statement, you say, quite
12 "My duty was to organise units during the most difficult period,
13 when we had to bring weapons in from Albania on our own and, at the same
14 time, to conduct military actions."
15 Further on, you say that you were trying to get people to join the
16 KLA and you sourced people to join the KLA. That is to say, from March
17 1998 onwards, you bring in weapons, you carry out military actions, and
18 you source people to join the KLA. How many actions did you carry out and
19 how many people did you kill?
20 A. Please, this is a very extended question, and I want to reply to
21 each section separately.
22 JUDGE MAY: Yes. The first part is this -- let us deal with it
23 separately. The first part was your duty to organise units during a
24 difficult period, to bring weapons in from Albania and, at the same time,
25 to conduct military actions. Is that an accurate account of what your
1 role was?
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. I had to organise KLA units in
3 1998, and the soldiers were engaged to carry weapons and sent to Albania,
4 where they were armed, and these were members of my unit.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. Then the last part of the question: How many people did you kill
7 in these military actions from March until May, as you put it, 1998?
8 A. I can't say how many people I killed, because we were on the front
9 line during the fighting. But rest assured that those people on whom I
10 trained my sights, no doubt they fell, but I don't know whether they died
11 or not; and those who I did not take in my sights did not die. But the
12 people I trained my sights on were Serbian policemen and soldiers and
14 Q. So how many did you kill that way during that period?
15 JUDGE MAY: He has just answered the question. He says he can't
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right, all right, Mr. May.
18 We'll get to that later, I mean the fact that you have been intervening
19 this way.
20 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. And is it true that the KLA passed a military decision in 1993
22 that all these regions of Macedonia and Serbia, including Kosovo, and
23 parts of Montenegro as well - they call them the regions or zones - whose
24 objective was to usurp the territories that you had proclaimed to be
25 Albanian territories? Let me remind you so that you're not troubled
1 again. It's on the same page, page 6, the middle part: In 1993, the KLA
2 passed a military decision with regard to parts of Serbia, Macedonia, and
3 Montenegro and Kosovo - and they call them the areas or zones - by the KLA
4 as a military decision, but was actually a political plan based on
5 liberating Albanian territories. That's what you say. So that is to say
6 that you proclaimed all of these territories to be Albanian territories;
7 is that right?
8 A. I must make a long comment to explain this, if I may. The
9 political decision taken in 1993 when the KLA was formed was intended to
10 liberate the occupied Albanian territories. The occupied Albanian
11 territories were reckoned to be -- to include territories in Macedonian
12 territory under Serbia and under Montenegro. And this decision was
13 followed by a military decision allocating these territories to zones.
14 The first zone was the operational zone of Kosova. The second was
15 Macedonia, and so on. That's how it was at the beginning. But following
16 the response of international policy-makers, the General Staff sat down
17 and thought about the political dimension of the KLA and took the
18 political decision to give up claims, these extensive claims, and to
19 concentrate on Kosova and the liberation of the territory of Kosova.
20 So Kosova was called zone -- a zone in itself, the KLA's
21 activities, and then the subzones became operational zones. And this was
22 more a political than a military decision.
23 Q. All right. This activity of yours that was manifested through the
24 use of force and the killings that you referred to only a minute ago, did
25 it serve the purpose of the takeover, the military takeover, of these
1 territories of Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia? After all, in Macedonia,
2 this is still going on. Is that right or is that not right?
3 A. The purpose of the KLA was laid down by General Staff and our war
4 aims, in which I was involved, because this war was imposed on us. And
5 the first to use violence to imprison people and to dismiss people from
6 their work and to be -- to maltreat people on the streets was the regime.
7 So the population was with its backs against the wall. So our strategy of
8 action was this, even though in other territories in Macedonia and
9 Montenegro the KLA was not active.
10 Q. You say, for example on page 8, et cetera, et cetera - I don't
11 have to keep reminding you of your statement, I imagine you're familiar
12 with it - that during the war, the people fled from the village of Rance,
13 for instance, because of the danger involved, and that you directed
14 villagers from some villages to leave their villages and that you even had
15 a civilian section, as you had put it, that dealt with such matters.
16 So --
17 A. Within the command of the operational zone of Nerodime, as in
18 other zones, we had branches, and one of these was the branch for
19 relations with civilians, and one of its tasks was to warn the civilians
20 of possible Serbian attack. And this branch acted at the time of the
21 first offensive when on 23rd of August there was a large-scale offensive
22 to burn villages of Racak, Petrova, and Mullopolc where there were no KLA
23 soldiers or KLA personnel. And then Rance and Jezerc were burnt, and
24 these two villages did have KLA people in them.
25 Q. Please be so kind as to give me a precise answer to this
1 question: Was it your tactics to tell villagers to leave their village
2 and then to fortify that village and use it for attacks against the army
3 and the police and then, after that, to portray that as an attack on the
4 village and the civilian population? To put it in very simple terms, were
5 these your tactics?
6 A. No. This is not true. We villagers -- the villagers were warned,
7 and they were free to go and stay as they wished. We warned them of the
8 danger facing the civilian population. We remain at villages such as
9 Rance, at which time there were very few civilians there, about four
10 families, although Rance has about 70 houses. This was an area where
11 there was no civilian population. Whereas Racak, Petrova, Mullopolc
12 didn't have any KLA units in 1998, and yet they were attacked and burnt.
13 And 80 houses were burnt in Recak. Petrova and Mullopolc, where there
14 were no KLA soldiers, were also burnt, and yet the Serbian forces
15 destroyed these villages.
16 Our strategy was to fortify ourselves in places where there was no
17 civilian population so as not to endanger the civilian population.
18 JUDGE MAY: We are going to adjourn, Mr. Milosevic. The time is
19 past ten past. No. I'm not going to deal with any more matters now.
20 MR. NICE: Can I trouble simply to inform the Court, and by
21 informing the Court to inform the accused that we're having troubles with
22 moving potential witnesses, in particular considerable trouble getting
23 changes in flights as the summer advances on us. And so the next witness
24 but one, Zhuniqi Islut [sic] -- Isut [sic], rather, has to fly out on
25 Friday morning. We can't change his flight. To accommodate that, we will
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 have to, with leave - Isuf, I beg your pardon - reverse the order of he
2 and Hendrie. So we will take him immediately after this witness tomorrow
3 and Hendrie thereafter. But it's a problem that we're encountering, that
4 flights are hard to obtain and, therefore, change of flights equally
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Mr. Wladimiroff, there is in fact a matter I
7 want to deal with with the amicus. Although it's not a convenient time,
8 nonetheless, it's a matter we must deal with and it's this: that there has
9 been a change in the situation generally since the accused now has his
10 associates and we've seen the way that the trial is developing, and it's
11 right that the Trial Chamber have to bear in mind the costs of this
12 trial. What we have in mind is to consider a new structure as far as the
13 amicus is concerned, utilising all three, of course, but at a cost of no
14 more than one per day. I put it like that for your consideration, and
15 perhaps you'd let us have your thoughts upon it. We clearly have a
16 responsibility to the international community to ensure that the costs are
17 not too high, and it occurs to us that that is one way in which it could
18 usefully be done.
19 MR. WLADIMIROFF: Yes. I will respond to that after I have
20 consulted the other amici. Which date does the Court have in mind?
21 JUDGE MAY: Clearly if you take a week or so to respond, that
22 would be fine.
23 MR. WLADIMIROFF: Thank you.
24 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
25 JUDGE MAY: Apparently at the very last minute there is some
1 problem with the courtroom. It may be that we'll have to sit at 9.00
2 tomorrow. For the moment, though, we'll sit at half past nine.
3 Mr. Buja, could you be ready for 9.00 tomorrow morning? You'll
4 get a message as to what time we're going to sit.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.17 p.m.,
6 to be reconvened on Thursday, the 6th day
7 of June, 2002, at 9.00 a.m.