1 Tuesday, 13 November 2007
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The witness entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
7 Your affirmation still applies, Mr. Ostreni.
8 Yes, Mr. Mettraux.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours.
10 WITNESS: GZIM OSTRENI [Resumed]
11 [Witness answered through interpreter]
12 MR. METTRAUX: Good morning, Your Honours.
13 Cross-examination by Mr. Mettraux: [Continued].
14 Q. Good morning, Mr. Ostreni.
15 A. Yes, Mr. Mettraux.
16 Q. Do you recall last night, or yesterday afternoon in any case, we
17 left off discussing the Ohrid Framework Agreement, and I suggested to you
18 that rather than putting an end to the war, the Ohrid Framework Agreement
19 was a way to avert one? Do you recall my suggestion to that effect?
20 A. That's what you said.
21 Q. And I'd like to show you a document, Mr. Ostreni.
22 MR. METTRAUX: This is Rule 65 ter 1D116, please.
23 Q. What will appear in front of you, Mr. Ostreni, is a statement by
24 the president of the United States, George W. Bush, and it follow as a
25 telephone conversation with the president of the Republic of Macedonia,
1 Boris Trajkovski. It's dated the 14th of August of 2001, shortly after
2 the Ohrid Framework Agreement had been signed.
3 I'll read to you what President Bush had to say about the
4 agreement. It said this: "This morning I spoke with my friend President
5 Boris Trajkovski to congratulate him on his courage and leadership in
6 negotiating the political settlement that was signed yesterday in
8 "The settlement promises to strengthen democracy and avert civil
9 war, while protecting Macedonia's territorial integrity and political
10 unit. It addresses long-standing political aspirations of the citizens of
11 Macedonia. It is now up to the Macedonia's assembly to adopt the
12 constitutional amendments and legislations to implement the settlement."
13 Do you agree that as far as the statement of the president of the
14 United States is concerned here, what he says is that the agreement, which
15 is a political agreement, promises to avert a civil war? Do you agree
16 with that?
17 A. This is what he said in his statement, and there's nothing for me
18 to agree on.
19 Q. And then he goes on to say this: "As I have made clear from the
20 outset of the fighting, the United States stands strongly against those
21 armed extremists who have tried to take democracy hostage in Macedonia.
22 President Trajkovski and I agree that their tactics are despicable and
23 their methods undemocratic."
24 Is it correct that even after the signing of the Ohrid Framework
25 Agreement on the 14th, at least the United States of America continued to
1 view your organisation not as a valid political entity or negotiator, and
2 not as the party to an armed conflict, but as an extremist group that had
3 sought to take the Macedonian state hostage of its demands?
4 Do you agree that that is what the president is suggesting?
5 A. I don't agree with you, sir, because the NLA did not want to hold
6 a democracy hostage of its demands. Its demand was for the Macedonian
7 state to become a democratic one, and the fact of this is the signing of
8 the Ohrid Agreement; the demobilisation and handing over of weapons by the
9 NLA; and, of course, the inclusion of all its members in the Amnesty Law
10 and their returning to normal lives.
11 So everything following the Ohrid Agreement denies what you're
12 saying. I was not in position to read that document earlier. Even now it
13 is in English. I cannot understand it completely. But the events
14 following the signing of the Ohrid Agreement says that the NLA was not
15 against democracy; but, on the contrary, it contributed to the
16 democraticisation of the Republic of Macedonia.
17 Q. But do you agree, sir, at the least that your position in the
18 response that you just gave or the or the suggestion that you just made
19 contradicts the view at least of the president of the US? Do you agree
20 with that?
21 A. You're putting me in a position to compare my opinion with a
22 person who is very important in the world, and I don't find this suitable.
23 Q. But, perhaps, you knew also that the United Nations, after the
24 signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, continued to define and to
25 characterise your group in terms of an extremist group. Do you agree with
2 A. I know that we had very good contacts with NATO, with the
3 representatives of the EU. We fulfilled all their recommendations and
4 instructions as they came along. It was not possible for to us hand over
5 the weapons before the Harvest operation, because there was no one there
6 to hand over weapons; and when we did so, it was done perfectly well
7 without any remarks. This shows that the NLA respected the positions that
8 were taken by NATO representatives during their talks with Mr. Ali Ahmeti.
9 Q. Well, just to answer my question, Mr. Ostreni: Simply, are you
10 aware that after the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, on the 13th
11 of August of 2001, the Security Council of the UN continued to refer to
12 your organisations as an extremist group? Are you aware of that?
13 A. Well, it is not important whether I will agree on this or not.
14 You are talking here about a day after the signing of the Ohrid Agreement,
15 about the 14th of August. At that time, we were working towards
16 fulfilling all the obligations take on ourselves as the NLA, so that the
17 implementation of the Ohrid Framework Agreement began, which meant the
18 amendments that were to be adopted by the assembly of the Republic of
19 Macedonia. These amendment would say gradually change the constitution in
20 an institutionalised way.
21 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, simply for the record, the document
22 from the president of the Security Council is Exhibit 1D15.
23 Q. Mr. Ostreni, is it correct that one of the reasons for the
24 international community to not wish to deal or negotiate with you was the
25 fact that your so-called supreme commander or leader, Mr. Ahmeti, was not
1 only unreliable but mentally unstable. Is that correct?
2 A. Well, it will be difficult for you to get an answer from me on
3 this, because I'm not a doctor. I'm not a psychiatrist. I cannot make
4 such an evaluation. But throughout my cooperation with Mr. Ahmeti, I
5 haven't seen any signs of what you are saying here.
6 Q. Well, are you aware, perhaps, of the fact that from 1993 to 2002
7 Mr. Ahmeti received a 100 per cent invalidity allowance from the Swiss
8 authorities because he suffered from a severe case of schizophrenia
9 paranoia. Are you aware of that?
10 A. I have heard about this. It was in the media; but to me,
11 personally, it has no importance. I do not assess a person based on this.
12 Q. Is it correct perhaps also that another reason why the
13 international community and the Macedonian authorities also didn't want to
14 negotiate with you or Mr. Ostreni [sic] is because they knew full well
15 that your organisation never had a centralised command system and that
16 your organisation remained connected -- a loosely connected community of
17 little cells or groups? Is that one of the reasons why they didn't deal
18 with you?
19 A. No, sir. It is well known in the entire world that democracy
20 requires for changes to be sought through legal institutions of the state
21 and government. I think that the tendency in the future should also
22 remain the same, that these changes are realised through institutions,
23 legal institutions.
24 In the statement of the United Nations, on human rights and
25 freedoms, there is a stipulation saying that if an ethnic group continues
1 to suffer trampling upon of its rights and exclusion --
2 Q. [Previous translation continues] ...
3 A. -- excuse me, you asked me the question and I need to answer it.
4 You asked me why we were not included in the negotiations, and
5 this is something that I cannot answer by simply saying yes or no. This
6 is a very important issue, and I would kindly ask you to allow me to
7 answer it.
8 Q. Mr. Ostreni, if you feel have you to add to the answer, please, by
9 all means. The question, however, was more limited in nature.
10 The question was whether the fact that your organisation never had
11 a centralised command system and remained a loosely connected group --
12 sets of groups or cell is or could be one of the factors why the
13 international community did not wish and did not deal with you as a
14 negotiating partner in?
15 A. I will answer your question now.
16 The National Liberation Army had its General Staff and its
17 political representative, which -- who simultaneously was the commander of
18 the NLA. It had a well established hierarchy. This can be proved by the
19 withdrawal from Haracin, when Mr. Ali Ahmeti entered in agreement with
20 NATO, with its representative, Peter Feith; and following this agreement,
21 the battalion was withdrawn from Haracin.
22 We operated through brigades. These brigades were subordinated to
23 the General Staff and to Ali Ahmeti, but what happened was because this
24 was an uprising; and if an uprising is supported in one country, then you
25 have to support it another country as well. The demands of the NLA, laid
1 out in communique number 6, in the memorandum, as well as in all other
2 communiques, are included in the Ohrid Framework Agreement.
3 So I don't see what you're saying here, that the NLA's position
4 was not included and the position of its leadership. This was regulated
5 through the Prizren agreement, through the Albanian political parties that
6 were taking part in these negotiations. They signed this agreement with
7 the approval of the NLA, because there was agreement and regular contact
8 with our political leader.
9 Q. Well, thank you for that. I would like to show you two documents,
10 and then I will ask you a couple of questions on those, Mr. Ostreni.
11 The first one has already been shown to you.
12 MR. METTRAUX: It's Rule 65 ter 1D1044, 1D1044.
13 Q. Mr. Ostreni, you will see it is already a document that I have
14 shown to you earlier. It's a document - thank you - that comes from up
15 with of the embassy, and the passage that I would like to read to you is
16 at the bottom of the first page in particular. Thank you.
17 It is under number 2, and it reads as follows: "NLA
18 infrastructure is designed and best suited for independent guerilla
19 tactics: A loose organisational structure; low interdependency on other
20 NLA groups and commanders; individual commanders have authority to
21 establish new fighting groups and to evolve fighter structure to meet the
22 military requirement; NLA brigades have similar structure to UCK
23 structure; NLA fighters are divided into independent operational zones;
24 local commanders have decision-making authority; individual commanders
25 have autonomy in planning of attacks within their operational zones."
1 Before I ask you a question about this document as well,
2 Mr. Ostreni, I'd like to show what you is Exhibit 1D260. This is also,
3 Mr. Ostreni, a document that I have shown earlier to you. This is a piece
4 that appeared in Jane's Defence Weekly on the 29th of August of 2001?
5 MR. METTRAUX: And if the registry could go to the second half of
6 the document, please. Thank you.
7 Q. Mr. Ostreni, in the middle column in the article called, "How many
8 weapons in Macedonian," there's a paragraph starting with the word, "NATO
9 must deal."
10 This is what Jane's Defence Weekly said about the structure, or at
11 least an aspect of the structure of the NLA. It says this: "NATO must
12 deal with the fact that the NLA does not have a fully integrated chain of
13 command nor centralized logistics."
14 And my question based, inter alia, on this document is this: Is
15 it correct that the authority to take decisions as regard the functioning
16 and the activities of your organisation, Mr. Ostreni, was not as you said
17 at the so-called Main Staff level but at the local level of the people who
18 called themselves brigade commander? Is that correct?
19 A. The brigade commander was responsible for his own brigade, while
20 the commander of the NLA was responsible for all the brigades.
21 You asked me two questions. The one previously was about the
22 operational zones. I already explained this. The difference between the
23 war in Kosovo and what happened in Republic of Macedonia was the
24 subordination of the brigades. They were subordinated directly to their
25 commander. The discipline and the collection of weapons of the NLA
1 demonstrates that they followed the orders and the positions of the
2 commander of the National Liberation Army.
3 All the brigades, pursuant to the plan drafted in cooperation with
4 NATO, when the positions where the weapons were to be surrendered were
5 designated, everything was followed, every item of the plan was followed.
6 Not a single unit was apposed to this, and nobody was forced to force
7 others to hand over their weapons. Every soldiers, out of their free will
8 and with a conviction that the Ohrid Agreement has included the demands of
9 the NLA, they surrendered their weapons and they hoped that this will
10 result in the changes to the constitution and the status of the Albanians
11 in the Republic of Macedonia.
12 Q. Isn't it correct, Mr. Ostreni, that the complete military
13 irrelevance of the Main Staff can be evidenced, for instance, by the fact
14 that neither you nor Mr. Ahmeti was able to provide a single combat order
15 to the Office of the Prosecutor when you met with them? Is it correct?
16 A. The OTP did not ask for that. Our orders, in the beginning, were
17 issued during direct contact. When I arrived, some brigades were
18 operative, the 113rd and 112nd, while other tasks were communicated
19 orally. The communication was maintained through satellite phones that we
21 Q. Isn't it the truth, Mr. Ostreni, instead that the complete
22 military relevance of the Main Staff, you and Mr. Ostreni [sic]
23 essentially, is also evidenced by the fact that the only map which you
24 were able to provide to the Prosecution, the one that you coloured in
25 yellow and other colours which was shown here, was not even given to any
1 of the brigades? Is that correct?
2 A. The map was not given to the brigades because it could fall into
3 other hands. Only their respective tasks were given to them; for example,
4 112th Brigade had its own tasks, the 114th and the 116th as well, they
5 were aware of their tasks. That map consisted of two tasks: The first
6 task which is the beginning, which is marked with yellow; and the second
7 task, which is marked with green, and which indicates the continuation of
8 the operation.
9 If we had a map, as you describe it, that would mean that the NLA
10 started everything like a well-prepared -- pre-prepared army for the war.
11 So everything happened. It developed first smaller units, squads,
12 platoons, battalions to the brigades, and this is how the combat was
13 carried. For example, Izmet Jashari Brigade, on the 1st of May, goes out
14 in the villages of Lipkovo municipality. It takes up position there and
15 it fights.
16 And in such a form of operation, it is quite normal to have just
17 one map, and on the same map to work on the follow-up operation. This is
18 how I say it, operational, and how I view it in a working order.
19 Q. Isn't it the case also that the complete irrelevance, military
20 irrelevance, of the so-called Main Staff of your organisation may be
21 gleaned from the fact that your organisation was never able to carry out
22 more than hit-and-run attacks, ambushes, and take villagers that had been
23 abandoned by security forces? Is that correct?
24 A. No, that is not correct. I already told you, and I will repeat
25 myself. The NLA was not a ready-made army. It was an uprising that
1 changed gradually into a National Liberation Army. Every day it expanded
2 in manpower with new volunteers; and with time, it was supposed to get to
3 a certain number of people in order to carry out an operation.
4 This is what was being prepared; for example, the operation
5 Liria 2, Freedom 2, which, due to the preparations for the Ohrid
6 Agreement, did not -- was not implemented.
7 Q. Isn't the truth, Mr. Ostreni, that the so-called Main Staff of
8 your organisation was essentially a propaganda exercise, whereby you made
9 your organisation look like an army, but in effect the only thing it did
10 was to issue press communiques for propaganda purposes? Is that correct?
11 A. No, not at all.
12 Q. Let's look now at the laws and regulations which you discussed
13 with the Prosecution and which you say you prepare after having been
14 appointed in March and you said you prepared during March, April, and May.
15 Do you recall saying that?
16 A. Yes. During March, April, I continued regularly to prepare.
17 Q. Is it correct, Mr. Ostreni, that those so-called laws and
18 regulations were, in fact, never prepared, when you say they were. Is
19 that correct?
20 A. No, that's not correct.
21 Q. Is it correct that they were never in force, never adopted, and
22 never implemented before the 13th of August, 2001? Is that correct?
23 A. No, that's not correct, because of the following: The units,
24 based on these regulations, acted. They implemented the rules that they
25 could in such circumstances. Some where they slept, they ate. They
1 raised the flag when that was possible in the territory where they were
2 situated. They complied with the orders of the squad commander, platoon
3 commander, battalion commander, company commander, brigade commander.
4 In other words, the regulations were in force regularly. This is
5 a time come pricing of several months. There was a great number of
6 volunteers who had not completed their compulsory military service with
7 the army of the Republic of Macedonia or other armies, but there were also
8 volunteers who had completed the compulsory military service and who were
9 familiar with the military rules, because in whatever army these rules are
11 So, in one word, these rules were being used.
12 Q. But do you agree, Mr. Ostreni, that the inexistence and
13 non-adoption of these so-called rules and regulations at the time would
14 explain the fact that neither you, nor Mr. Ostreni [sic], nor for that
15 matter other members of your organisation, were able to produce a single
16 document coming from the brigade level that referred back to any of those
17 laws and regulations during the relevant period?
18 Do you agree that's because there was no such laws and regulation
19 in force at the time?
20 A. I think that the rules for the internal service in the armies,
21 they are centralised. The brigade does not draft its own rules, but its
22 the centralised rule book for the army which is implemented, and this is
23 the direction that we followed.
24 If each brigade drafts its own rule book, then that would -- there
25 would be chaos.
1 Q. Well, I'm grateful for that, Mr. Ostreni, but I wasn't referring
2 solely to any draft book. But do you agree that this would explain that
3 not a single instruction, not a single order, not a single map, not a
4 single other combat document from any of the so-called brigade was
5 produced or given by you to the Office of the Prosecutor that referred
6 back to any of those laws and regulations, which you say you adopted
7 during the relevant period and which you say were enforced [sic] at that
9 A. According to military rules, the General Staff is obliged to
10 assign tasks two levels below. The -- each unit is obliged to do the
11 same. So in the documents that I have drafted, I have done it for the
12 brigade and battalion levels. This is how it should work, and the
13 battalion should think about two levels below.
14 So they shouldn't tell us what they do, but they know what they
15 should do to implement -- implement the rules drafted by the General
16 Staff. This is how I see it.
17 Q. But isn't it the case, Mr. Ostreni, that you claim to have
18 prepared those rules after your appointment, which you say took place
19 towards the end of March; but, in fact, at that time, Mr. Ostreni, and at
20 that time when you said you prepared those rules, you had not yet been
21 appointed in your position? Is that correct?
22 A. No, that's not correct. For the rules of service, I also worked
23 when I was in Kosova for the General Staff there. Starting from 1969, I
24 have worked as the Chief of Staff, and it wasn't a problem for me to sit
25 down and draft the rules of service. I started the contacts with Ali
1 Ahmeti at the beginning of March; and then, as we worked, he appointed me
2 to be the Chief of Staff.
3 Q. But isn't it the case, Mr. Ostreni, that it wasn't the truth what
4 you said to the effect that you had been appointed as the so-called Chief
5 of Staff of the NLA towards the end of March, but that it took place much
6 later in time? Is that correct?
7 A. No, that's not correct, because in the operation MX, that was
8 about the 20th of March, I was in Vejce together with Mr. Ali Ahmeti, and
9 that shows that much earlier I had started to work with him.
10 Q. But isn't that correct, Mr. Ostreni, that your claim that you had
11 been appointed as a Chief of Staff of the NLA at the end of March of 2001,
12 as you have said in your statement and claim before this Chamber, was
13 simply not true?
14 A. This is true. But on -- before the 20th, I was with Ali Ahmeti as
15 the Chief of Staff at the headquarters in Vejce, where now there is a
16 plaque, a commerorative plaque, saying that the General Staff of the NLA
17 worked here. Everybody can see that. It's displayed on the wall.
18 Q. Isn't it the case, Mr. Ostreni, that your appointment took place
19 in or around the 12th or 13th of May of 2001, and that the purpose of your
20 appointment was to coincide with the announcement of the new Grand
21 Coalition in Macedonia?
22 A. You presented here a document which says that I issued a
23 communique about the operation MX in Tetovo, and I signed the communique
24 as the Chief of General Staff of the NLA. The communique was issued in
25 April, after -- after the operation MX. That was after the operation MX
1 in Tetovo.
2 Q. Isn't it the case, Mr. Ostreni, that these regulations, laws, and
3 other names you gave them were prepared, signed, and given to the Office
4 of the Prosecutor long after March, April, and May, as you said?
5 A. Which year are you talking about, sir?
6 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
7 MS. REGUE: Your Honours, just a matter of clarification, because
8 the question, I believe, it is not very clear, because first my colleague
9 is asking when the regulations were prepared and when they were given to
10 us. So just not to confuse the witness, these are two different dates and
11 two different questions.
12 JUDGE PARKER: You're quite correct, but I don't think that would
13 have confused this witness, Ms. Regue.
14 Carry on, Mr. Mettraux.
15 MR. METTRAUX: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. Is it correct, Mr. Ostreni, that those documents, which were
17 presented to you in your evidence in chief called law, regulations, and
18 other such names, were prepared not before but after the signing of the
19 Ohrid Framework Agreement? Is that correct?
20 A. How could that be correct? It's not correct. Because on the
21 basis of these documents, on the basis of these structures that I drafted,
22 I determined the quantities of ammunition and the weapons that they had.
23 Without having a clear idea about the establishment and the structures, I
24 couldn't have calculated how many weapons and how much ammunition the army
1 And on that basis, I determined how many Kalashnikovs a unit
2 needed, and then considering that 150 bullets for one rifle. And on the
3 basis of all these quantities, I determined how much was required, and the
4 logistical department determined the further details. And if we had
5 worked on the basis of what you are saying, we wouldn't have carried out
6 the operations that we did.
7 That's why I'm saying that everything was prepared, and now you're
8 forcing me to say that soon after the Ohrid Agreement was signed, we had a
9 meeting with the NATO ambassador in Sipkovica about the responsibilities
10 during the war. There I insisted that you could see a set of all the
11 documents that the NLA had, showing him in confidence, of course, the
12 maps, on the basis of which the operations were carried out, and the map
13 for the operation that was to take place.
14 That is why what you're saying is not correct; otherwise, the NLA
15 wouldn't have reached the Ohrid Agreement and -- and wouldn't proceed
16 along -- along the path that some Macedonian structures were taking. They
17 were giving out weapons to civilians. They distributed 35.000
18 Kalashnikovs. And if we continued on the same path, things would have
19 taken a very bad turn.
20 But we were determined to -- to follow and take our responsibility
21 in line with -- with the development of the NLA, so that we could have
22 under control all our forces in order to reach our joint goal, which was
23 that the Albanians be a nation-forming entity, so they could enjoy the
24 higher education rights, so that they could enjoy their natural human
25 rights and their freedoms, and those which nobody can dare to infringe
2 Q. Do you know what the EUMM is, Mr. Ostreni?
3 A. I can't remember now, but the -- those who worked to monitor the
4 situation and had contacts with me. I knew them, and I respected them.
5 Q. And you agree that they were quite well-informed about what was
6 going on in Macedonia at that time. Is that correct?
7 A. You are talking about "them." I don't know who are you talking
9 Q. Yes, Mr. Ostreni. "Them" being the EUMM, the monitors of the
10 European Union.
11 A. Still, it is not clear. I don't know what "EUMM" is.
12 Q. I understand that it stands for European Union Monitoring Mission,
13 and those were the people whom you say you worked with, as the monitors.
14 Is that correct?
15 A. I have worked mostly with NATO people, because at the time we were
16 working for the preparation of the Harvest operation. As for the
17 political angle, they were dealing with Mr. Ali Ahmeti. I was dealing
18 with the military side of things.
19 Q. But you just said, a minute ago: "They had contacts with me. I
20 knew them, and I respected them." Is it still the case, Mr. Ostreni?
21 A. It's true that all those who worked. When you say "them," "they,"
22 I can say all those who worked with me. I have insisted on meeting their
23 demands and working with them to fulfil what they wanted. But when you
24 say "they," it does not determine a specific person.
25 Q. Well, you said a moment ago: "Those who worked to monitor the
1 situation and had contact with me, I knew them, and I respected them."
2 The question was about the EUMM. Did you have any meetings with members
3 or representatives of the EUMM during the crisis, Mr. Ostreni?
4 A. I say that, at the time, whoever wanted to talk to me, to meet me,
5 I met them. I can't remember each and every one of them, but I do
6 remember the contacts with the NATO people, because I was working with
7 them on the military side of things.
8 Q. Well, I'd like to show you a document, Mr. Ostreni.
9 MR. METTRAUX: This is Rule 65 ter 1D1083.
10 Q. Mr. Ostreni, it's a document which is called, "The National
11 Liberation Army in the FYROM," and I'd like -- it's a document that
12 contains some information about your organisation, and I'd like to go to
13 the part that deals with you.
14 MR. METTRAUX: That's the next page, 1D00-8815. If we could
15 scroll down to the bottom of the page, please, and if it could be enlarged
17 Q. See, Mr. Ostreni, this is a sort of short summary. There's a page
18 afterwards of who you are and number of information about you and your
19 activities in the NLA, and it says this: You were born in 1942 in Debar.
20 That's correct?
21 A. In which year I was born? 1942, yes.
22 Q. That's correct. Then it says General-Major chief commander of
23 NLA, and it says appointed 13 May 2001. That's the truth, isn't it, that
24 your appointment took place not on the 30th or around the 30th of March,
25 as had you said -- or at the end of March, as you had said in your
1 statement and in evidence, but on the 13th or around the 13th of May of
2 2001. Is that correct?
3 A. You have just said two untruths. The first one, whoever wrote
4 this one, has put it wrong, because I was not chief commander of the NLA,
5 as it says here. There are two untruths. First, I was not commander.
6 This was a mistaken assessment, and I was not appointed on the 13th of May
7 but I was appointed earlier, as I said here before. All the notes in this
8 document are just guesswork, it seems to me. I have difficulties in
9 reading it.
10 I could read -- it says there "the main commander of the NLA." I
11 was not the main commander of the NLA. The main commander of the NLA was
12 Mr. Ali Ahmeti. So the document should not be accepted as one with facts
13 from the very start.
14 Q. Isn't it the case, Mr. Ostreni, that, in fact, what matters here
15 is the fact that your appointment took place on the 13th of May, 2001, not
16 in March as you have claimed, and that this explains the fact that the
17 regulations or laws, which you said you adopted and prepared in the course
18 of months of March, April, May of 2001, were not, in fact, adopted at that
19 time, but were prepared ex post facto for the purpose of pretending and
20 giving the appearance of a regular army? Isn't that what happened?
21 A. What can I say, sir? The document itself shows that it has got
22 mistaken information. It says that on the 13th of May, I was appointed as
23 the general commander of the NLA, which is incorrect. I have never been
24 the NLA commander, and neither the one -- the first nor the second is
1 MR. METTRAUX: Your Honour, at this stage, we have no further
2 questions. The only matter, Your Honour, which is outstanding is the
3 issue of the exhibits. We have discussed it with our colleague. We have
4 given them the list of the documents which we would seek to tender through
5 this witness.
6 I think, at this stage, there is quite a large agreement [sic]
7 between the two parties. But if we were given the time during the break,
8 we could finalise the list, perhaps, and submit to Your Honour, either
9 after the break or, if you wish, at the end of the witness, as suits the
11 JUDGE PARKER: I think that an opportunity to resolve differences
12 can be well-justified, but we need to deal with the matter before the
13 witness finishes, in case there's some need for any further questioning of
14 the witness about them.
15 Ms. Regue.
16 MS. REGUE: Yes, Your Honour. Just one question related to the
17 last document. Maybe I missed it, but I'm not quite sure whether my
18 colleague mentioned the source of this document.
19 JUDGE PARKER: I don't think you missed it. I don't think it was
21 MR. METTRAUX: The source, Your Honour, and I'm grateful to the
22 Prosecution, is indicated in another Prosecution document. This is a
23 document that was prepared by the EUMM, and then reused by the Prosecution
24 in relation to its own material.
25 JUDGE PARKER: And do you know its date?
1 MR. METTRAUX: Well, Your Honour, it is not apparent from this
2 document; but during the break, we can seek from the other documents used
3 by the Prosecution, in which it is referred, whether there's a date to it.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Mettraux.
5 MR. METTRAUX: And I would like to thank, Mr. Ostreni.
6 Q. Thank you.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Mr. Mettraux.
8 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Good morning, Your Honours. I
9 have some questions for this witness, but I would first ask for a minute
10 or two to prepare with the written materials.
11 [Trial Chamber confers]
12 JUDGE PARKER: Are you ready, Mr. Apostolski.
13 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours. I will now
14 begin with the questioning of the witness.
15 Cross-examination by Mr. Apostolski:
16 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, witness, Gzim Ostreni. My name is
17 Antonio Apostolski, and together --
18 A. Good morning.
19 Q. -- and together with my colleague, Jasmina Zivkovic, we are
20 defending Mr. Johan Tarculovski. Today, I will present to you a number of
21 questions about the events in Macedonia in 2001.
22 Witness Ostreni, you were born in 1942 in the town of Debar in
23 western Macedonia, a place inhabited with mixed Macedonian and Albanian
24 population. Is this correct?
25 A. Yes, yes. If you're asking me that, yes.
1 Q. As part of your mandatory military service in the JNA in 1964, you
2 have completed the military school for reserve officers in Bileca,
3 Bosnia. Is this correct?
4 A. In Bileca of Bosnia.
5 Q. Yes, this is what I said. Is this correct, then?
6 A. Yes, yes.
7 Q. You were then -- you were promoted into lieutenant-major --
8 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: As second lieutenant.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It is second lieutenant.
10 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
11 Q. This is the rank of a reserve officer, of a commissioned officer?
12 A. Repeat it. Yes.
13 Q. Thank you. In 19 --
14 A. Yes, yes. Because I hear the question in Macedonian, and just
15 instinctively, I reply in Macedonian. But before then, I worked in
16 another village in Sologic in 1961; and then after finishing the reserve
17 military school, and passing the practical exam successfully; then I got
18 the rank; but after that, I worked in the school in Debar.
19 Q. Therefore, you understand the Macedonian language.
20 A. Not only I understand it, but I speak it an a literary way.
21 Q. Did you -- did you finish the school University of Sociology in
23 A. No, not in Skopje but in Pristina. I graduated from the Faculty
24 of Philosophy and Sociology in Pristina.
25 Q. Were you a member of the Communist Party of Macedonia?
1 A. Yes. I was included without requesting membership.
2 Q. As of 1969, when the Territorial Defence Staff was formed in
3 Debar, you became commander of this staff. Is it correct?
4 A. Since you're insisting on my CV, I would like to mention that as
5 of 1964, in Tetovo, I was the chairman of the municipal youth committee;
6 then I worked in the organ of the interior as a secretary of border for
7 the tourists that were entering and leaving the country, for their
8 travelling documents; then in 1969, according to the law, the formation of
9 Territorial Defence units began at a republican level, and they were part
10 of the Territorial Defence Staff of the republican level.
11 Having reviewed my experience and my military expertise, they
12 promoted me and transferred me from the interior organs to the Territorial
13 Defence Staff. So this all occurred as of the sixth month --
14 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The interpreter didn't
15 catch the year.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- and this where I worked. So I
17 was Chief of Staff of the Territorial Defence of a municipality, which,
18 pursuant to the rules, corresponded to the post of chief of a brigade, in
19 military service.
20 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
21 Q. You retired in the 1991 in the rank major in reserve. Is this
23 A. In reserve or active, depending on what you do. At the time, I
24 was working directly, pursuant to the military rules; and as all my
25 colleagues, I was treated as a reserve officer because of the salary, but
1 our tasks and competences were the same with the active ones, as envisaged
2 with military rules.
3 I was retired on the 1st of May in 1991 on my own request, because
4 I believed that the situation was getting worse and I no longer wanted to
5 remain in that post, where I would be required to do duties that I was not
6 paid for. That's why I requested a retirement.
7 Q. But your rank, major, was in reserve, was not active?
8 A. The post that I occupied was corresponding to a
9 lieutenant-general --
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: Lieutenant major.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] But when you employ a military,
12 then he is no longer reserve. The state was manipulating with our rights.
13 They were considering as such, due to the payment; while in practice, we
14 were performing other duties.
15 Q. Can you tell me, briefly, whether you were active major or major
16 in the reserve service?
17 A. I was working with the Territorial Defence; and when a summons
18 would be sent for the activisation of the units, this was done according
19 to the laws military roles. So I will repeat again: I was treated as a
20 reserve officer, but I was, in fact, doing a job of an active officer, to
21 work on a mobilisation of -- a mobilisation plan or a wartime plan, to
22 work on a plan of filling in personnel and materiel establishment, to work
23 on a plan of state of readiness.
24 These are all professional duties linked with professional
25 military tasks, but the state regarded as reserve officers because they
1 wanted to pay us as civilians, as reserve officers, not as active military
3 Q. In March 1999, you joined the units of Ramush Haradinaj in Kosovo,
4 and you became a member of the liberation army of Kosovo. Is this
6 A. Yes. I didn't go there to join the forces of Ramush Haradinaj,
7 but I went there to join the UCK of Kosovo. So my luck was to go to
8 Mr. Ramush Haradinaj, whom I highly respected.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
10 MS. REGUE: Your Honour, so far, all the questions of my learned
11 colleague are, basically, reproducing the 92 bis statement, which was
12 already admitted into evidence. I was wondering whether which is the
13 relevance and going over an already existing exhibit.
14 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sure that Mr. Apostolski is moving quickly to
15 the matters that matter.
16 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours. I wanted to
17 clear up whether major, as a rank, was a rank which the witness has as an
18 active rank or a rank in reserve.
19 Q. Can you tell me what was the goal of your going to Kosovo?
20 A. I don't know to what extent this is linked to these proceedings
21 here, but I will answer your question.
22 At the time, I was in the United States of America visiting my
23 daughter and her family, living there. It was 1998, late 1998; and
24 through radio, TV, and other media, I was hearing reports of fierce
25 fighting going on in the territory of Kosova. The information I received
1 from the media was saying that terror was going on, and victims of this
2 terror were the civilians. So I took the decision to join the Kosovo
3 Liberation Army, and I found the way, how to go there, to contact them and
4 to contribute to them with the duties that I was able to carry out.
5 And after March, I was convinced that it was a good decision to
6 join the UCK of Kosova, because on the 26th of March, NATO undertook its
7 air campaign against the Serb forces in Kosova. So this boosted my
8 morale, because it proved that my decision was not wrong, to join the UCK
9 in Kosova, because the war there was a huge-scale one.
10 [Overlapping Speakers]
11 Q. [No interpretation] --
12 A. Just a second, please. My participation in Kosova does not
13 exclude the help that Macedonia provided NATO with, because it allowed to
14 use its territory for its preparations. So my participation in the war in
15 Kosova is in line with the policy that Macedonia followed at the time.
16 Q. In 1999, during the war in Kosovo, Macedonia provided refuge for
17 thousands of Kosovars fleeing from there. Is this correct?
18 A. That is correct. But you should use another term here, not
19 leaving Kosova, but expelled from Kosova by the Serb forces. I regret
20 that this term continues to be used in Macedonia because you cannot say
21 they left Kosovo, since they did not leave it out of their free will.
22 They were expelled.
23 Q. In March 2001, when Mr. Ali Ahmeti appointed you as the Chief of
24 Staff, the General Staff was located in Vejce. Is that correct?
25 A. That's correct. We were in Prizren, and at that time we
1 transferred to Vejce.
2 Q. In April 2001, the General Staff was located in Kosovo, Prizren.
3 Is this correct?
4 A. Yes. In April, it was in Prizren.
5 Q. In May, the General Staff was located in Sipkovica, where it
6 remained until the signing of the Ohrid Agreement.
7 A. No, that is not correct. Because if I remained in Sipkovica,
8 together with Mr. Ali Ahmeti, the contacts with the brigade, operating in
9 a front of 200 kilometres wide, it would have been impossible to have
10 direct contacts and frequent contacts. The situation had to be managed,
11 so Prizren was a suitable location for this job. It is in depth enough to
12 enable one to carry its duties, and it is near the front line.
13 Q. The question was: Is it correct that in May the General Staff was
14 located in Sipkovica and remained there until the signing of the Ohrid
16 A. No, that's not correct. There were situations when the political
17 representative or the commander would go to Sipkovica but would return to
18 the command post. In military terms, it is allowed to have a command
19 post, a basic one, then a reserve one. So it's a regular practice. A
20 commander could move wherever he wanted to and wherever he deemed
21 necessary to be at a particular time.
22 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can the witness please be shown
23 his statement, 4D-497 [as interpreted], item 22, page 27 of the English
24 and Macedonian version.
25 Q. Do you see the statement before you? It is in the Albanian
1 language -- in the English language.
2 A. Could you enlarge it a little bit?
3 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] That is item 32. Please go
4 further down in the Albanian verse version please.
5 Q. You state here that, in March 2001, the General Staff was located
6 at Vejce; in April, it was at Kosovo; and, in May, it was Sipkovica, where
7 the General Staff remained until the signing of the Ohrid Framework
8 Agreement; and, for sometime, the General Staff was illegally located in
9 the city of Prizren.
10 So could you now agree with me that the General Staff of the
11 so-called NLA was in Sipkovica since May and until the signing of the
12 Ohrid Framework Agreement.
13 A. No, because you're not reading the first part which
14 says: "Elements of General Staff were constantly moving," which means
15 part of the General Staff were constantly moving. There were parts of the
16 General Staff that were located in one location, others in another
17 location. I was in Prizren, and I was Chief of General Staff.
18 Item 32 does not speak of General Staff but it speaks of elements
19 of General Staff. You have seven or eight departments within the General
20 Staff. There is need for them to move, especially need for the commander
21 to move. Personally, until 26th of March, I was in Vejce. After 26th of
22 March, I was in Prizren, and I could work better from there.
23 You have the same paragraph in the English. You have the word
24 "elements" there, so it means "parts" of General Staff.
25 Q. Were you in the General Staff for all the time?
1 A. Yes, I was, of course. There were moments when I was requested to
2 go there.
3 Q. You worked on these documents for organisation of the NLA there?
4 A. Yes, usually I worked there.
5 Q. During the conflict, in the period between March and August, you
6 were not in Kumanovo. Is that correct?
7 A. Up until the demobilisation, that is, up until the signing of the
8 Ohrid Agreement, I was not. It was not possible for me to leave because
9 by going to Kumanovo or to another brigade would cause my absence from the
10 General Staff for several days or a week, and that would have serious
11 consequences for the developments.
12 Q. That means that, during the conflict, you stayed in the General
13 Staff in Vejce, in Prizren, and in Sipkovica throughout the time. You
14 never left those places. Is that correct?
15 A. I would kindly ask to you repeat your question.
16 Q. Does this mean that, during the conflict, you stayed in the
17 General Staff for all the time in Vejce, in Prizren, and in Sipkovica, and
18 you never left those locations?
19 A. After the 13th, I went to Sipkovica; so, in Vejce, in Prizren, and
20 after the 13th in Vejce. And from there, I toured 113th Brigade, 115th
21 Brigade, 114th, 116th. The situation was supposed to be followed from a
22 close distance and there were conditions for that, because preparations
23 were ongoing for the handing over of the weapons and for the Harvest
25 Q. During the conflict, you were not in Skopje. Is that correct?
1 A. I don't know what you mean when you say "during the conflict."
2 Could you please give me certain dates?
3 Q. The period March to August.
4 A. I was not in Skopje.
5 Q. And you have not drafted any of the documents in Skopje. Is that
7 A. It is, in a way, correct, but we would write "Shkup," that is
8 Skopje, in the documents, because at the time we were in Kosova, in
9 Prizren, and we could not write "Prizren" there. Our country was
10 Macedonia. Our army was operating there, and that's why we wrote "Shkup,"
11 that is, Skopje, on the documents.
12 Q. So you misrepresented that the documents were written in Skopje.
13 Is that correct?
14 A. No, it is not misrepresented. This was done deliberately so that
15 the organs would not detect our location. Of course, they knew it,
16 but ...
17 Q. Your commander, Ali Ahmeti, was with you during all times in the
18 General Staff. Is that correct?
19 A. No, not at all times. There were -- there were situations when he
20 would go to Shipkovice; for example, when the issue of the withdrawal from
21 Haracin occurred, at that time, he was in Shipkovice, then he returned,
22 then he went again to Shipkovice. He remained there, and then I joined
23 him after the agreement was signed.
24 Q. Is it correct that your commander, Ali Ahmeti, was with you at
25 Kosovo, while the General Staff was at Kosovo?
1 A. When he was not in Shipkovice, of course, he was together with me
2 in Prizren.
3 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
4 the statement of Ali Ahmeti, item 32, page 6 of the Macedonian version and
5 the English version is page 6. 65 ter 2D325.
6 Q. Do you see it in front of you?
7 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could we zoom in on the paragraph
8 31 of the Macedonian version.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, if you could enlarge please.
10 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: The interpreters kindly ask
11 the counsel and the witness not to overlap.
12 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
13 Q. The statement of Mr. Ali Ahmeti was translated into the Macedonian
14 language. You understand the Macedonian language. So you can see that,
15 when asked by the investigators of the OTP where was the General Staff of
16 the NLA located, your commander, Ali Ahmeti, says that the General Staff
17 and the Supreme Command were at Vejce in March, and the Supreme command
18 and the General Staff were moved to Sipkovica in April 2001, where they
19 remained until the end of the conflict.
20 Could you agree with me that your commander says something that
21 does not correspond to what you say, that the General Staff was in
22 Shipkovice in April, and he never mentions that the General Staff of the
23 NLA was in Kosovo sometime.
24 A. I am telling you the truth. In March, we were in Vejce. After
25 March, after the MX operation, both myself and Mr. Ali Ahmeti returned in
1 Prizren. Afterwards, Mr. Ali Ahmeti, at given times, went to the
2 locations that he mentioned in his statement.
3 Now, whether that is a mistake in the statement or his own
4 mistake, that I cannot say. But what I'm saying here is true, and I can
5 be held responsible for the words that I'm telling you now.
6 Q. That means that when your commander, Ali Ahmeti, was giving a
7 statement to the investigators of the ICTY, he was not telling the truth.
8 Is that correct?
9 A. I'm not saying that he is not telling the truth. What I said was
10 that a mistake was made, either by the person who took the statement -- I
11 don't know what actually happened. I'm not saying that he is lying. I'm
12 here, the witness. I'm not lying, and I confirm that, in March 2001, we
13 were in Vejce; then we returned in Prizren; and then Mr. Ali Ahmeti went
14 back and was moved to Shipkovice, as he says in his statement.
15 Q. Very well. Thank you for this answer.
16 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, would this be the
17 convenient time for the break?
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
19 We resume at 11.00.
20 --- Recess taken at 10.30 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Apostolski.
23 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
24 Q. Witness Ostreni, did you have a communication system in your
25 General Staff?
1 A. In my General Staff, I didn't need to have any communication
2 system because I was there all the time; but, with the brigades, yes.
3 When Ali Ahmeti went to the command headquarters, then we had
4 communications and we would used satellite equipment.
5 Q. You used satellite phones for your communication. Is that
7 A. Yes, satellite equipment, but also the phones which are in use in
8 our everyday life.
9 Q. Did you use radio communications?
10 A. Between myself and -- and the brigades, no. We were making
11 preparations to have a system, a radio system, but it wasn't needed
12 because the -- the cease-fire was launched, and we did not pursue that
13 idea through to the end.
14 Q. Does that mean that the communication within the General Staff did
15 not use radio connections?
16 A. Within the General Staff, we didn't use radio communication.
17 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be
18 shown, again, the statement of his commander, Ali Ahmeti; 65 ter 2D325,
19 item 31, on page 6 in the Macedonian version, and page 6 in the English
20 version as well.
21 Could the bottom part of the Macedonian page be shown, please, and
22 could we please scroll it down, a bit further.
23 Q. His statement to the OTP investigators, your commander, Ali
24 Ahmeti, says: "We had installed communication system that was operational
25 around the clock. The internal communication was carried out through
1 radio links."
2 So isn't this the opposite of what you testified a moment ago?
3 A. I said that, within brigades, we used the small radio
4 communication systems; but between the General Staff and the brigades, we
5 did not use such radios, but we used satellite phones, and someone has
6 also used the everyday phone lines.
7 Which -- which paragraph are you reading from? You didn't tell me
9 Q. I said it was paragraph 31, item 31, where he speaks about the
10 General Staff, where Ali Ahmeti speaks about the General Staff and tells
11 where the General Staff was located, and then continues to say that: "In
12 the General Staff there was a communication system installed that was
13 operational around the clock, and the internal communication was carried
14 out through radio links."
15 He speaks about the internal communication within the General
16 Staff, as far as I understood.
17 A. No, I don't understand it like it that. When he was in the 112
18 Brigade, there they had an internal system of communications; whereas, the
19 contacts with me, he kept by satellite phone, which were functional also
20 for the 112 and the other brigades.
21 Q. So you are not aware that the internal communication was carried
22 out through a radio links. Is that your evidence?
23 A. I want to state here that as the Chief of General Staff here, in
24 the General Staff, I have not used radio communication systems to
25 communicate with brigades. The brigades had radio communication equipment
1 to communicate within themselves but not to use it to communicate with the
2 General Staff.
3 I know the person who -- who was in charge of the radio
4 communication system in the 112th Brigade. Now that you're asking, I'm
5 starting to recall details like this.
6 Q. But is it correct that you stated in your evidence that in the
7 internal communication, within the General Staff, you did not use radios?
8 A. And now I'm saying the same thing. In the General Staff, we did
9 not use a radio communication system to communicate between the
10 departments of the General Staff and myself.
11 Q. Very well. Thank you.
12 A. Thank you. Thank you, too.
13 Q. If you remember, my colleague, the Prosecutor Regue, showed you
14 several documents related to the organisation of the NLA, and you
15 confirmed them to be developed by you in the period between March and May
16 2001. Do you recall that?
17 A. I don't know which documents you're talking about. Can you show
18 them to me on the screen, please.
19 We've spoken about many documents with Ms. Regue. That would be a
20 good idea to have them in front of me.
21 Q. You do recall that several documents were shown to you?
22 A. Which documents?
23 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
25 Q. Do you see the document in front of you?
1 A. Yes.
2 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can we now show the following
3 page of this document.
4 Q. Do you see that page in front of you?
5 A. Yes, I can see that.
6 Q. First, let me ask you: Did you have this document during your
7 interview with the ICTY investigators on the 27th and 29th of July, 2005?
8 A. I've given this document to the -- to the competent people in The
9 Hague, or investigators, as you call them.
10 Q. Could you tell me what does the stamp in the upper left corner of
11 the document mean?
12 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could we zoom in on the upper
13 left corner of the document.
14 A. The seal, I can see it clearly. It shows the date when the order
15 was recorded. So if you removed the rest of the document, I could show
17 Q. And what does the upper number above the stamp denote?
18 A. [Previous translation continues...] the lawyer -- it's the
19 protocol number. It's the protocol number, the number of the register,
20 when the document was registered. It was 01-37. As far as I remember,
21 it's the commander, which is -- the commander's orders were a "01," and
22 then "37" is the number of the register in the archives of the General
24 Q. So the number "01" would mean the order by the commander. Is that
1 A. No, sir. You're a lawyer. It shows that it is "01" of the
2 protocol where the document is registered. It just identifies the
3 document. The content of the document is the order itself.
4 Q. Did you stamp all the documents that you had, and did you give
5 them record number?
6 A. That's normal procedure. If there is a document without a number,
7 that's the fault of a person in the administration who was dealing with
8 it, but all documents should have a number.
9 Q. And could you agree with me that this document was produced in
10 Skopje in 2001?
11 A. No. It was not drafted in Skopje, but it was drafted in Prizren.
12 I started working on the rules of service in Vejce, and then I continued
13 that work in Prizren, when we moved over there.
14 Q. Could you explain to me what do the words in the lower left corner
15 mean, "Skopje, 2001."
16 A. The important thing is the year, 2001, and it's the same year
17 under seal at the top, and the note was made to have it "Skopje, 2001," so
18 that the authorities could not identify the location where the command
20 Q. Very well. Thank you.
21 A. Thank you.
22 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
23 Exhibit P489.
24 I apologise, it is a mistake. Could we please show P500, Exhibit
1 Q. Are you aware of this document?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Is it correct that this document was not registered in the
4 records, as the previous document was? There is no stamp of the records
5 on it.
6 A. Yes. I can see that it's not registered, but this was the rules
7 of services which was in force.
8 Q. So you registered just the orders. Is that correct?
9 A. The instruction was to register all the documents which passed
10 through the archiving department, but sometimes -- sometimes in the
11 archiving department, binders are used. It should have been evidenced.
12 The binders contain more documents in them.
13 Q. At any rate, the orders were supposed to be registered. Is that
15 A. No. This is not an order. It's the rules of service.
16 Q. I'm asking you about the orders. Were they supposed to be
17 registered in the archives?
18 A. Usually, yes.
19 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
20 65 ter 212, R062-6938.
21 Q. Do you see the document before you in Albanian language?
22 A. Yes, yes.
23 Q. This is an order issued by your commander, Ali Ahmeti, and the
24 document contains several orders, among which also provisions dealing with
25 the accommodation and other further issues.
1 But could you agree with me that this document, again, was not
2 filed by the archive? It contains no stamp.
3 A. The document is one that I recognise. I don't know whether there
4 was a cover for it, but it was produced as is.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Regue.
6 MS. REGUE: [Microphone not activated] ... I think that my
7 colleague is showing Exhibit P499.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
9 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] I thank my colleague.
10 For the clarification, we were not able to see what was the number
11 under which this exhibit was admitted in the e-court.
12 Q. Could you answer my question: Does this document contain a stamp?
13 A. Can you please repeat the question.
14 On the electronic document as shown on the screen, there isn't.
15 Q. Very well. Thank you for your answer.
16 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness please be shown
17 now Exhibit P501.
18 Q. Do you recognise this document? It was shown to you by my learned
19 colleague from the Prosecution.
20 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the Albanian version be
21 shown as well.
22 A. Yes. This document was shown to me and is evidence of the
23 personnel for the possessions of -- of a squad of 11 members.
24 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
25 Q. Is it correct that the document contains no date?
1 A. This is not a document of the General Staff, but it's a document
2 created by the units and is just a page of the inventory; and if -- if it
3 was taken for the record then, this should be part of the records for the
4 whole platoon. This is just the evidence, the record for one squad, which
5 is equipped with weapon -- weapons and other equipment.
6 Q. But could you agree with me that this document bears no date?
7 Could you just answer with "yes" or "no," please.
8 A. I could reply with a "yes" or "no," but I'd like to say that there
9 is no date on this page because it depends on where and how it was
11 Q. Thank you. Is it correct that one could not see from this
12 document what company it was related to, what squad, what battalion, and
13 which brigade?
14 A. Yes, yes. That's -- it was -- I drafted these structures of the
15 whole NLA; and at lower levels, they were supposed to draft their own
16 documents. I don't know exactly know what's the origin of this page, this
17 document. It doesn't have a name or any other details identifying it.
18 Q. So you could agree with me that, from this document, it could not
19 be discerned which company, which battalion, and which brigade it was
20 related to?
21 A. Of course, the person who drafted, this person should know that.
22 He prepared this document for his own use, not for court purposes.
23 Q. Very well. Thank you.
24 A. Your welcome.
25 Q. My colleague from the Prosecution showed you a number of
1 communiques issued by the NLA. Do you recall this?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Your organisation, the NLA, appealed to the public with the aim to
4 better inform the public of the goals and the activities of your
5 organisation. Is this correct?
6 A. Well, since it's a communique, its purpose is to communicate with
7 the public opinion, with its own members, with the members of the
8 international community, with the public that is in position to accept it
9 and to assess it.
10 Q. Is it correct that none of the communiques were not filed in the
11 archives with a seal, as the previous document which we elaborated on just
12 before, which did have a seal?
13 A. Even to this date, when you communicate with the general public
14 opinion and political entities, the associations, in general, the
15 chairman, they do not seal or stamp their communiques. They release these
16 communiques directly through Internet or to the media; and by the very
17 issuing of the communique, the originator is verified. This is the
18 general practice.
19 Q. Is it correct that some of the communiques were marked with
20 numbers, were numbered? You made mention of communique number 6.
21 A. Yes. Some of them had numbers; some of them were dedicated to a
22 specific problem; and the content of the communique set out the meaning of
23 that communique, what it was all about. That's why some of them don't
24 have numbers.
25 Q. Is it correct that the numbers that were placed on the communiques
1 were placed there without any order or rules?
2 A. When I arrived, the communique number 6 was published. The person
3 who drafted those communiques maybe followed a certain order. But, for
4 me, it was important that they were well composed, that they would convey
5 the message to the general public, and that they would express the general
6 position of the political leadership and the General Staff of the NLA.
7 Q. Is it correct that the numbers on the communiques in your
8 organisation were placed only to create the impression that this
9 organisation existed from before, previously?
10 I ask you concretely in the case of communique number 6, that the
11 number 6 was assigned only to create the impression that this organisation
12 existed from before.
13 A. I joined in March. Whatever existed before that date, that I
14 don't know. What I know is that on the 9th of March, this communique was
15 drafted, and the person who filed it, filed it as communique number 6, the
16 person from the administration. For me, what was important was the
17 content of the communique.
18 Q. Is it correct that, prior to March, the organisation NLA did not
20 A. I was in the United States of America. I returned on the 26th. I
21 was in the plane on that date. On the 26th of February, I arrived in
22 Kosovo, and I continued my work. Through the media, at the time, there
23 was information already about the NLA.
24 Q. Did you, together with your commander Ali Ahmeti, have good
25 cooperation between you?
1 A. Which time-frame are you referring to?
2 Q. I'm talking about the time-frame of -- during the conflict, from
3 March, when you joined the NLA, to the end of the conflict.
4 A. Yes. We had a very good relation, social and professional
6 Q. Did you have a mutual and daily exchange of information between
7 you two?
8 A. The counsel is asking whether we had such exchange of information
9 on a daily basis. My answer would be that when the commander, Ali Ahmeti,
10 was at the command post, our exchange of information was daily.
11 Q. Did you ask your commander, Ali Ahmeti, when the NLA was formed?
12 A. No, I didn't. My impression was that this was something ongoing,
13 and there was no need for me to ask him that because my work did not
14 depend on that information, as to when it was formed.
15 Q. Is it correct that the NLA does not have a precise date of
17 A. This is stated also at the amnesty law, so there is no date as
18 from which date those peoples are being amnestied. This is stated by the
20 Q. When you joined and became the Chief of the General Staff in
21 March, and on the basis of the communique number 6, you had the impression
22 that this organisation had existed earlier. Is this correct?
23 A. You are talking about an existing organisation. I'm talking about
24 here about an existing uprising. I joined this uprising. Previously,
25 before I went to join the war in Kosovo, I had a meeting with Ali Ahmeti,
1 and I didn't see it in the form and shape that you are seeing it. I
2 simply saw it simply as my patriotic duty. Since people were at uprising,
3 it was my patriotic duty to join them; not to become a Chief of Staff,
4 simply a soldier as all others who joined the uprising.
5 But as Mr. Ali Ahmeti trusted me and believed in my abilities,
6 because he had followed the results of my work in the Dukagjini plain in
7 Kosovo and then at General Staff of the KPC, he entrusted me with the post
8 of Chief of General Staff of the NLA. This was a very difficult and
9 complicated post and task, but I accepted it, and I started to work in
10 that capacity.
11 Q. Surely, then, you don't know the contents of the previous
12 communiques with previous numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Would this be your
14 A. Yes. I joined, and I simply showed interest in the matters as of
15 the date that I joined the NLA. Before this time, as I already stated, I
16 spent almost two months in the United States.
17 Q. And you never asked your commander, Ali Ahmeti, what the previous
18 communiques pertained to?
19 A. I had no reasons to ask him that.
20 Q. In any event, you could then agree with me now that when you
21 joined in the March -- in the month of March, and on the basis of
22 communique number 6, you gained the impression that this organisation
23 existed earlier, that it was not formed in the month of March?
24 A. This question is addressed to me?
25 Q. Yes.
1 A. I already told you that the uprising was ongoing. That's why I
2 abandoned my post of Chief of Staff of the KPC in Kosovo, as I believed
3 that I could contribute to the further developments of the situation.
4 That's why I voluntarily said that I wanted to join and to be part of the
5 further developments.
6 Q. Can you just respond simply with a "yes" or "no."
7 In the month of March, when you joined the NLA, did you have the
8 impression that this organisation existed earlier?
9 A. No. My impression was that there was an ongoing uprising, and
10 that I should give my distribution to the Albanians to whom I belonged in
11 the Republic of Macedonia?
12 Q. Is it correct that the content of the communiques was fabricated
13 in order to show your organisation, NLA, as an organised army and in order
14 to manipulate the public?
15 A. No, that's not correct. The impression was that the uprising, the
16 human resources, the manpower were getting organised and gradually taking
17 the shape of a National Liberation Army. Gradually, we started to work on
18 the formations and other military-related issues, so that we gave our best
19 contribution to avoid ethnic war and just exercise pressure on the
20 government, in order to achieve our goals, and we already discussed these
22 Q. The content of the communiques issued by the -- your organisation,
23 the NLA, were then correct.
24 A. What do you mean by "correct" or "accurate"?
25 Q. Were they -- was the content of your communiques accurate?
1 A. The content of communique number 6 is accurate. These are
2 demands. The same demands are enumerated in the memorandum, and they
3 prevail to the very end of the war, which ended with the signing of the
4 Ohrid Agreement and which also includes the same demands.
5 Q. Did the content of other communiques -- was the content of other
6 communiques accurate?
7 A. I do not understand correctly the meaning of the word "accurate"
8 that are you using. So could you please refer to another term, so that
9 I'm clear on this. Could you please help me on this, so that I can
10 provide with you an answer.
11 Q. Was the content of the text issued by the -- by your organisation,
12 NLA, truthful. Were they truthful?
13 A. Based on the information and knowledge that we had at the time,
14 and as we are talking now of the events that occurred six years ago, we
15 did our best. The content of the communique truly expressed the
16 standpoints of the NLA, its position that it opts for negotiations and not
17 for use of force, and that it demands equality between ethnic Albanians
18 and Albanians and other ethnic groups in the Republic of Macedonia.
19 Q. Did your communiques related to the actions carried out contain
20 the truth. Were they truthful?
21 A. I already answered your question, if it was correctly interpreted.
22 Our aim, at the time, was that our communiques were accurate, were well
23 understood, were true, based on the information and the knowledge that we
24 possessed at the time when those communiques were drafted.
25 Q. Therefore --
1 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can the witness please be shown
2 P505 received in evidence.
3 Q. This is a communique signed by the General Staff, and in relation
4 to the fighting on the 4th of May between the Macedonian state forces and
5 the 113th Brigade. It contains the following, among others: "Military
6 helicopters; M-26 -- my apologies, 24; 155-millimetre Howitzers;
7 120-millimetres cannons and various types of mortars; Katjushas tanks and
8 armoured vehicles of the military and the police forces; struck, set
9 ablaze, and destroyed the houses of Albanians.
10 "The positions of the battalions in the village of Slupcane,
11 Vaksince, violent fighting was waged with great heroism. The fighters of
12 the 113th Kumanovo Brigade, Izmet Jashari, has so far killed 20 Macedonian
13 soldiers. Police and militaries have taken three prisoners; one senior
14 officer and two members of the paramilitary forces.
15 "They have brought down two helicopters; one Mi-24, the other a
16 military helicopter of another type. They have destroyed three tanks and
17 four armoured vehicles, and they have taken a considerable amount of
19 Is it correct that the NLA has taken down two helicopters of the
20 Macedonian security forces, Mi-24.
21 A. This communique was drafted based on the information received from
22 the brigade at the time. This is what the brigade thought; and for them
23 and for us at that time, this information was accurate.
24 As to its accuracy, the reports of the ARM should be consulted
25 because they have the records of their own weaponry.
1 Q. According to you, is this communique truthful?
2 A. To me, it is accurate. For that, time this was true. I trusted
3 my brigade and brigade trusted its own combat activities.
4 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Macedonian version page 9, also
5 English version page 9, this is the statement of the witness. Statement
6 of the witness, P4987 [as interpreted]; paragraph 43, page 9 of both
7 English and the
8 Macedonian version.
9 Can we please see page 9, and can we also pull up the Albanian
10 version. It's paragraph 44. It would be page 12. Thank you.
11 Q. Do you see the statement in front of you?
12 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can we please enlarge paragraph
13 44 in the Albanian version so that the witness can read it.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That would be really nice.
15 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
16 Q. In your statement, paragraph 44, you say: "The brigades also
17 bought military uniforms and weapons for themselves from various sources.
18 Some units bought Strela 2M, AA portable missiles and used them against
19 the ARM and police helicopter and winged aircraft. However, we could not
20 shoot down any of them."
21 In your statement, you say that you did not shoot done any
22 helicopter. Is this correct?
23 A. This statement was written afterwards, during wartime. We had
24 problems with the Mi-24 helicopters that the Republic of Macedonia
25 purchased from Ukraine. These are armoured helicopters, and you cannot
1 act against them, either with Strela 2M or anti-aircraft machine-guns. We
2 could not act with Strela 2M because they have this equipment that emits
3 heat; and if the rocket hits the helicopter, it would hit the body that is
4 released from the helicopter.
5 So maybe there were such targets and maybe soldiers thought that
6 they have brought down a helicopter, but, in fact, they have shot at the
7 defence system of these helicopters. But these were information during
8 the development, during the war itself. My statement was given after the
9 war, and it concerns impressions that I gained after the war was ended.
10 Q. So the communique which I read before you earlier, accepted in
11 evidence as P505, is not truthful?
12 A. There are truths in it. There were casualties, losses suffered in
13 manpower and equipment, but we took this information as true at the time
14 we issued this communique.
15 Q. Is it correct that the fighting in Macedonia, between the
16 Macedonian security forces and the NLA, began already in January 2001?
17 A. I have information from February. And if you have informations -
18 and you should have such information because you were there, I was not; I
19 was outside Macedonia - if you have information that the war started in
20 January, then I would have no comments on that.
21 Q. Can you tell me when is the first of the operation or action
22 carried out by your organisation, the NLA?
23 A. My information is that the uprising commenced at Tanuse; that,
24 gradually, the brigade was starting to be formed; that it went out to the
25 villages of Kumanovo and Lipkovo municipalities; then the development of
1 the 112th brigade; and so on.
2 Q. So if any person claims before this Chamber that the first
3 operation or action carried out the NLA organisation was on the 22nd of
4 January in 2001, with the attack of the police station in Tearce near
5 Tetovo, this would not be correct?
6 A. I wasn't in -- I wasn't in the Republic of Macedonia at the time,
7 and I wasn't across the developments. I had my own problems where I was,
8 and I was involved with a very important position and I wanted to -- to
9 forget about everything else. So when I got back, I received information
10 from the press, from the people, from friends that in Macedonia things --
11 things were happening the way they were.
12 Q. Did you ask your commander, Ali Ahmeti, about that fact, when was
13 the first NLA operation carried out?
14 A. No, I didn't ask him. You're talking about operations. For me,
15 operations mean large-scale participation of soldiers in an operation. If
16 there was a -- such operation taking place, I should have known. But I
17 haven't asked him about what happened before I went there, because the
18 carrying out of my tasks were not related to what happened before.
19 I remember that on the 16th, the killing of that child in Tanuse
20 happened, the cause was not known; and then the uprising started, an
21 uprising which I joined.
22 Q. On the 16th of which month?
23 A. February, February. On the 16th of February.
24 Q. Thank you. You stated that, at the level of brigades, there were
25 solemn ceremonies taking place for the new recruits. Do you recall that?
1 A. Yes. The brigades, on the basis of the rules, organised
2 oath-taking ceremonies to instruct the recruits on the tasks they would
3 have to undertake.
4 Q. And all NLA members needed to give a ceremonial oath. Is that
6 A. It was part of the rules. It wasn't a law for the NLA. It was
7 part of the rules.
8 Q. And, in other words, there was no law governing the NLA --
9 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: No law on NLA.
10 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
11 Q. Is that correct?
12 A. Of course, there wasn't.
13 Q. The name of each of the new recruits was entered into the log that
14 was kept at the level of brigade. You stated this at the page 7617 of the
15 transcript, line 92, and the General Staff was informed about that. The
16 brigade commanders informed the General Staff about that?
17 A. Yes, that's true. The volunteers were registered, they were
18 assigned their duties, and when it came to the total numbers, they
19 reported to the General Staff.
20 Q. The brigades also had other records, lists of weapons, guard
21 shifts, daily log. Is that correct?
22 A. The brigades had records that they kept; and on the basis of the
23 rules that we sent over to them, they had to reconsider and they kept
24 their own records. They had the lists of persons, how they were
25 distributed among the units, and the weapons they carried, and so on.
1 Q. And all those records were kept, and they remained in the
2 brigades. Is that correct?
3 A. Yes. The brigades kept the records.
4 Q. And the records remained with the brigades. Is that correct?
5 A. That's correct. They remained with the brigades.
6 Q. Do you know Nazim Bushi?
7 A. Yes, I know him. I'm sorry that I replied instinctively.
8 Q. He was the commander of 114th Brigade. Is that correct?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Mr. Bushi was a witness before this Tribunal, and was asked by my
11 learned colleague Mettraux, on page 5870 of the transcript, line 17 to
12 24: "Do you remember, Mr. Bushi, being shown several documents, lists of
13 documents? There was the model rules that shows membership in two
14 separate brigades. Do you remember those documents being shown to you?"
15 Mr. Bushi answered: "Yes, I recall that."
16 After that, my colleague, Mr. Mettraux, asked him: "You indicate
17 that you kept similar types of documents for your brigade. Do you recall
19 Mr. Bushi replied: "Yes."
20 Then my colleague asked him: "Were you able to provide copies of
21 those document to the Office of the Prosecutor?" That is page 5871 of the
22 transcript, lines 1 to 4.
23 Mr. Bushi said: "No. I surrendered the records of my brigade to
24 the General Staff of the NLA at that time."
25 Further on, my colleague asked him: "Do you know where those
1 records are now?"
2 The witness replied to this: "Gzim Ostreni would be able to tell
3 you this."
4 So is this the opposite of what you just testified about, that the
5 documents remained with the brigades?
6 A. That's accurate, that the documents remained with the brigades.
7 Only the 116 Brigade sent material to me.
8 I must stress that the source material, which were part of the
9 General Staff archives, they were there and they remained there, because
10 only the source documents, source material are of historic importance;
11 whereas, the rest of the documents, which did not carry such importance,
12 were -- remained with the brigades.
13 The war stopped in 2001, and I haven't discussed about these
14 issues with them.
15 Q. Does the NLA have an archive now?
16 A. Almost all the documents are here at The Hague. These are copies.
17 I'm sure that there are documents, but it's the documents which you have
18 had an opportunity to see. It's rules of service, the communiques, the
19 instructions. A large number of the documents are here.
20 I haven't given out copies of the documents that the -- that the
21 government of the Republic of Macedonia had entered with other countries,
22 such as Bulgaria, to buy weapons.
23 I only gave them information that they needed, then I had
24 information about tanks, models bought, models from 1972, from the same
25 source as that of the Mi-24 helicopters. But I didn't find it proper to
1 discuss other countries in this situation. I deemed that it was that was
2 necessary to discuss internal issues within Macedonia in order to set
3 records straight.
4 Q. For the duration of the conflict, in your opinion, the NLA troops
5 were up to 5.000 members strong, including the operational, logistics
6 department, various representatives, et cetera. Is that correct?
7 A. Yes, that's correct, around 5.000.
8 Q. Do you know how many members had the 114th Brigade?
9 A. At that time, it should have had more than 800.
10 Q. Do you know how many members had the 115th Brigade?
11 A. Around 750. It's quite a bit of time since it -- it happened, but
12 I'll try and recall the figures.
13 Q. But you don't have records to corroborate those figures. Is that
15 A. I've given to NATO the positions, and the signs have been placed
16 on the map. On the 113th Brigade, it's the sign that there is more than
17 two battalions. And on the basis of the flags and signs on the map, you--
18 we -- we show approximately the size of the brigade.
19 The brigades of up to 600 members, there was one battalion; but if
20 it was more than that, then there were two battalions. Such signs you can
21 find only two on the map at 112 Brigade and 113 Brigade, but maybe we
22 should refer to the document itself to be most accurate.
23 Q. Could you please tell me -- very well. I will go back to the NLA
24 members issue when we will be reviewing the maps.
25 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honour, would this be the
1 convenient time for the break or is it too early? I apologise. I
3 With regards to the number of NLA members, could the witness
4 please be shown the statement of the commander, Ali Ahmeti, 65 ter 2D325,
5 paragraph 35, page 7 in both the Macedonian and the English versions.
6 Could the paragraph 35 in the Macedonian version be zoomed in on,
7 so that the witness could see it.
8 Q. "The NLA had around 6.000 uniformed soldiers," and then it
9 continues with other issues.
10 So could you agree with me that the assessment that there is a
11 discrepancy in the assessment of the NLA members between you and your
12 commander and that it amounts to around 20 per cent?
13 A. You're right, because here I haven't included the medical staff,
14 who only in the 112 consisted of 500 people, doctors and so on, because we
15 had to cover a vast wave of territory where there were no doctors or
16 nurses. I think that this is what constitutes the difference in figures,
17 as compared to Mr. Ali Ahmeti said.
18 Q. Does the medical battalion belong to the logistics section?
19 A. Yes, but it had operated independently. We could say it was at
20 the level of battalion, and it was looking after the health. It was
21 looking after the wounded, and after the people who needed treatment. It
22 was directly reporting to the General Staff.
23 Q. But, at any rate, it belongs to the logistics.
24 A. It's normal that it should be part of logistics.
25 Q. Could I refresh your memory by showing you your statement.
1 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Exhibit P497, paragraph 21, page
3 Q. In paragraph 21, you say: "For the duration of the armed conflict
4 in Macedonia, I would estimate that the strength of the NLA reached the
5 figure of 5.000 at its highest. This figure includes the operational
6 part, the logistic part, the different representatives, and others."
7 Is it correct that when you were giving your statement to the
8 investigators of the ICTY Office of the Prosecutor, you spoke about the
9 total number of 5.000?
10 A. Yes. I was speaking about the total number for the people who
11 were in uniform.
12 Q. And this comprises the logistics as well?
13 A. The part of the logistics that were uniformed, but there were some
14 ambulances which served outside our formations. Of course, they were
15 under the auspices of the brigade, and they were looking after the health
16 of the brigades. This was an army of volunteers. The number wasn't the
17 same each day, but this was -- this was an approximation. And, at the
18 end, I was saying there were 5.000 uniformed members.
19 Q. So how many NLA members were there who were not wearing uniforms?
20 A. They were carrying uniforms, but not all were carrying weapons
21 because we did not have enough weapons. So there was a selection,
22 especially those who had support weapons, like mortars anti-aircraft
23 weapons. They were entitled to a personal weapon. There the number of
24 weapons was reduced, and this was a unit which was deep inside the
25 formation of a brigade.
1 So an 82-millimetre mortar should have about five, six soldiers,
2 and all the soldiers had the same mortar and they should also carry
3 personal weapons. But in the circumstances, not all of them had personal
4 weapons because we didn't have them. The cooks didn't have a weapon.
5 So there was -- the weapons were distributed selectively, trying
6 to give weapons to all those who were essentially for the operation.
7 Q. Did you tell my colleague Mettraux before this Tribunal about
8 undercover NLA members at Kicevo, Debar, and Struga? Does this figure
9 include those members as well?
10 A. No. The figure includes all those members who were in the
11 position of the -- positions of the brigade and who were actively serving
12 the NLA.
13 Q. Yesterday, on page 7631 of the transcript, you stated that the
14 commander of the 116 Brigade, Tahir Sinani, was killed, together with four
15 other people, while trying to create an explosive device. Do you recall
17 A. Yes, I remember that.
18 Q. Do you recall where was he killed?
19 A. He was killed in Kuku Zabel, in the vicinity of Tanuse, or another
20 village, in the municipality of Mavrovo [as interpreted] now.
21 Q. I apologise. Was it interpreted well? In the municipality
22 Tanusevci, near Mavrovo. Is that correct?
23 A. No. It wasn't correctly translated. It is on the mountainous
24 area, the place is called Kuku Zabel, in the vicinity of Tanuse, a village
25 which is in the -- the municipality of Gostivar, if I'm not mistaken.
1 Q. Very well. Thank you. This is a bit more precise information.
2 Were the persons who were killed together with him, those four
3 persons, were they NLA members?
4 A. Yes. Yes.
5 Q. Could you tell me when were they killed?
6 A. On the 29th of June, I think. I have to remember many dates. But
7 if I'm mistaken, I apologise for that. I think it was on the 29th of
9 Q. At any rate, it was in the month of June, during the military
11 A. Yes, yes.
12 Q. Very well.
13 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honour, would now be the
14 convenient time for the break?
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
16 We resume at 1.00.
17 --- Recess taken at 12.28 p.m.
18 --- On resuming at 1.03 p.m.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Apostolski.
20 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
21 Q. Witness Ostreni, in your statement, you stay that during the
22 conflict, NLA lost a total of 68 people, including civilians of Albanian
23 ethnic origin. Do you recall saying this?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. The persons who died in Ljuboten in 2001, are they included in
1 this number of 68 persons?
2 A. This I don't know. I provided the OTP with this number based on
3 the information I had in the NLA and that I obtained later from the
4 families of the martyrs. So I don't know whether this number includes
5 those persons who died there.
6 Q. So when you said in your statement that, during the conflict the
7 NLA lost a total of 68 persons including civilians of Albanian ethnic
8 original, this number is not verified and correct?
9 A. I gave a figure that I knew. In order to verify its accuracy, I
10 need to go through the lists and see each member one by one.
11 Q. To the Prosecution, in giving your statement, you gave a list of
12 deceased members of the NLA. Do you recall this?
13 A. I don't recall this.
14 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can the witness please be shown
15 R062-6984 [as interpreted], 65 ter 212.
16 Can the witness be assisted. There's also a hard copy version of
17 this list. Perhaps, he can be given this one as well. Thank you.
18 Q. Do you know this list?
19 A. Yes, yes. According to what I see, it's a list containing 52
20 persons. It looks like a list provided by me, but it is not completed
21 fully. A long time has gone, so that's why I'm saying that maybe I
22 provided this list.
23 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can the witness --
24 Q. Are you sure that you provided this list to the Prosecution?
25 A. I am not certain, because I do not recall.
1 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can the witness -- to refresh the
2 witness's memory, can the witness please be shown P497, the statement of
3 Mr. Ostreni, page 12 in the English and Macedonian version.
4 In the Albanian version, there are two pages. Can you please
5 scroll down two pages in the Albanian version. One page further down in
6 the Albanian version, please. One page further down, please.
7 Thank you.
8 Q. Witness, do you see under number 15 of the document which you
9 provided to the Prosecution -- Office of the Prosecution, and that it
10 states: "List of fallen NLA members."
11 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can item number 15 please be
12 enlarged so that the witness can see it better.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can you repeat the number again,
15 Now I see it, and now I'm certain that I provided the list. There
16 was a large number of documents, and it was impossible for me to remember
17 each and every one of them. So I apologise for not recalling.
18 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation].
19 Q. This is a list of fallen NLA members. Is this correct?
20 A. It should be this one.
21 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can we open, once again,
22 R062-6984. It's 65 ter 212.
23 Q. According to you, is this a list of fallen members of the NLA
24 during the crisis of 2001?
25 A. What I have in the Albanian language or the one in English on the
1 screen? Which one?
2 Q. The one you see in hard copy in the Albanian language, which is in
3 front of you.
4 A. Yes. This should be the record, the list that we drafted; and in
5 association with the War Veteran Association, this list needed to be
6 verified and checked whether all those persons are mentioned there.
7 Q. Is this list accurate?
8 A. That I cannot say, because we don't have the date when it was
9 drafted. Maybe there is someone who is left out from the list, so maybe
10 it's not fully accurate.
11 Q. You do not know the date when this list was prepared?
12 A. It contains the dates when those members were killed, and I think
13 that the list was drafted in late August. So this is the time when this
14 list should have been drafted.
15 Q. The first page contains the logo of the National Liberation Army,
16 and it should be a document -- no, an official document of the National
17 Liberation Army?
18 A. It is a record, a document that, in fact, shows a record kept
19 about the fallen members of the NLA at the time.
20 Q. Do you see on the document that there is a place and date when a
21 person had fallen. Do you see this?
22 This is in column 5 and 6. Do you see this in front of you?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Do you see the name of Tahir Sinani on this list?
25 A. No. I don't see his name, but that's why I said in the very
1 beginning that this list is not completed.
2 Q. The other persons together -- that, together with Tahir Sinani,
3 fell are not in this list. Is this correct?
4 A. I don't remember their names. But if they're not there, they're
5 not there. That's why I pointed out that fact that this list is not
6 full. It's not complete.
7 Q. But as a place of falling, Tanuse is not -- in the area of
8 Gostivar, is not listed anywhere?
9 A. Well, the name Tahir Sinani is not there for the location where he
10 fell to be mentioned. Had his name been mentioned, then the place where
11 he fell would have been mentioned, too.
12 Q. When Tahir Sinani fell, was your chief -- was your General Staff
13 informed of this in June and July in 2001?
14 A. I was informed on the same day by Tallat Xhaferi, who was at that
15 time with that brigade. Afterwards, I issued a communique in order to
16 inform the public opinion and his family; and in this communique, I
17 expressed my condolences for his death and the death of his friends.
18 Q. Although you said that this document -- you were informed of this
19 document in August, the person who prepared this document still did not
20 have this information about his -- him having lost his life. Would you
21 agree with this?
22 A. No, I don't agree with that. I already stated that we issued a
23 communique to the media, to the press; and all those who followed the
24 events and who heard about that were aware of what happened, of that
25 incident. I personally, with my comrades, visited the house where his
1 brothers were residing to express my condolences.
2 So the falling of Mr. Tahir Sinani and his comrades was not
3 something I that was not aware of. I would say that this was a mistake
4 because his name and the names of the -- his comrades that fell, together
5 with him, should be on this list.
6 Q. When you gave the statement on the 27th and 29th of July, 2005 to
7 the Prosecution, you -- you informed them of this discrepancy in this
9 A. I don't remember that, whether I informed them of this or whether
10 we discussed this issue. I just remember that, among other documents, I
11 handed them over this document, so that they had as much information as
12 possible regarding the case.
13 Q. Can you tell this Chamber the total number of NLA members that
14 have fallen during the conflict of 2001?
15 A. I can say that, maybe not that accurate, in my head the
16 information that I had was 68, together with the number of the civilians;
17 while the number of the uniformed persons - and, again, I would mention
18 here that this is a personal assessment; I'm not that accurate - but my
19 belief is that it's about 38 to 40 persons who were in uniform out of this
21 Q. Did your commander, Ali Ahmeti, have information about how many
22 members of the NLA fell during the conflict in 2001?
23 A. I don't know that. Maybe he had such information, but he should
24 say that. Even myself, if I go to -- back to these documents and consult
25 with the War Veteran Association, I would have come with the accurate
1 figure. But now, here, I'm under oath and I'm talking of things that I
2 know. And regarding this issue, I give you my assessment about the
4 Q. Were there persons from Kosovo members of the NLA that fell in
6 A. There were, yes, and there are such in the list.
7 Q. Were there persons from Albania as well?
8 A. Maybe there were. I know for one, for sure.
9 Q. Can you tell who this person is?
10 A. He is martyr. He is a fallen soldier. His name is Kurlat. It is
11 quite difficult to pronounce. I don't know his last name, but he fell
12 during the combat activities of 112th Brigade.
13 I believe that there were others as well, but I don't remember
14 their names right now.
15 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can the witness please be shown
16 the statement of Ali Ahmeti; 65 ter 2D-325, page 10 in the English
17 version, 9 in the Macedonian version, item 56.
18 Q. In item 56, which pertains to casualties, your commander Ali
19 Ahmeti says: "Throughout the whole armed conflict in Macedonia, the NLA
20 had 65 members killed. I do not know the exact number of wounded.
21 Civilian casualties from among the Albanian community were about 50 men
22 and women, including about ten children mostly killed by artillery
24 Could you concur with me that your assessment and the assessment
25 of your commander differ, in double.
1 A. I agree that these are different assessments. This is a figure
2 that I had in my head. Really, the best solution would be to go back to
3 the exact records. As I pointed out, this was an issue that the War
4 Veteran Association dealt with later on. They are the accurate
5 information, who fell, when they fell, when they were wounded, in which
6 location, and where they were treated.
7 A law is being prepared in the Republic of Macedonia that would
8 include these persons or their families. So I agree with you, there is a
9 difference between what my assessment is and what his assessment is.
10 Q. When giving the statement to the Prosecutor, this remark -- you
11 did not give this remark to him. You did not say that this was not an
12 accurate figure, which is approximately close to that number.
13 A. I will stress, again, that in my memory, and based on my
14 knowledge, there were 68 persons killed. He gave a figure of 65. The
15 list contains 52.
16 So I apologise that we are talking in these terms about fallen
17 soldiers, about martyrs, but it is easily to check and verify these
18 numbers because there are records for all of them.
19 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Can the witness please be shown
20 Exhibit 515. This is -- these are maps.
21 Can the court usher please give the witness a hard copy of this
22 document, so we can have a closer look at them.
23 Can we please open the first page, and can we please see 515,
24 P515-1 -- /1. This is the one.
25 Q. You stated that this map was marked by you.
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. It depicts the territory under the NLA control in 2001.
3 A. We're talking about Brigade 112 and 115.
4 Q. Yes. That was going to be my next question. Is it correct that
5 those were the areas under the control of 112th and 115th Brigade.
6 Since you stated that you could tell me about the numbers of
7 troops in the brigades, once we opened the maps, could you now tell me
8 what was the number of troops in the 112th Brigade.
9 A. The 112th Brigade, according to the information that I had at the
10 time, had about 1.200 members.
11 Q. And could you tell me about the 115th Brigade. What was the
12 number of members there?
13 A. The 115th Brigade, at the time, should have had more than 750
15 Q. Very well. Considering that the left-hand side of the map is
16 unmarked, could you explain whether this is the border of the territory
17 under the NLA control in 2001?
18 A. On the left-hand side, we're talking about north, south, east, and
19 west. We are talking about borders of which installation? If you can
20 help me, which side of the map are we talking about?
21 Q. This is to the north-west of Tetovo. At the end, the map ends in
22 white space, to put it in simple terms; and then it is adjacent to the
23 border of the Republic of Macedonia, where there is a blue line marking
25 The border of the Republic of Macedonia and the blue line on the
1 left side of the map are not joined. Was this the border of the area
2 under the NLA control, where the map ends, on the left side?
3 A. According to the information that I had from the brigades, it's
4 from Bogovinje on the right, on the left-hand border of the brigade to the
5 west of Vratnica, without including Odri.
6 Q. Is it correct that in the area marked on the map, the one that you
7 state was under the NLA control, there is no city?
8 A. These are villages, as we know. The cease-fire reached -- was
9 reached when the situation was like this, and it was reached an agreement
10 with the NATO so that we could withdraw from the villages, so that we
11 could not hinder the free movement of the villagers, of the people there.
12 There was no city which the 112th Brigade controlled?
13 Q. Very well. Thank you. Do you see the village of Pirok?
14 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the usher help the witness
15 mark the village with the number 1.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can you please help me to find the
17 village of Pirok first.
18 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
19 Q. It is in the lower part of the map. It would be to the
21 A. Yes, I can see it.
22 Q. Could you mark it in the e-court on the screen before you?
23 A. One moment. [Marks]
24 Q. And please write number 1 next to it.
25 A. It's -- it's very small, the writing. I'm not sure whether I've
1 marked it correctly.
2 Q. Yes, you've marked it correctly.
3 Is it correct that Pirok was not under the NLA control?
4 A. On the basis of the information that I had when I drafted this
5 map, it should have been like this.
6 Q. Could this also be valid about the situation at the end of the
7 conflict, I would say, the 13th of August?
8 A. We have tried, including the monitors, that this line be kept,
9 because at the same time, when the General Staff of the NLA gave this
10 document to NATO, the army of Yugoslavia -- of Macedonia gave its own maps
11 to NATO on the position -- positions.
12 I believe that -- that we tried to maintain the situation as we've
13 declared it, but this is a map 1:200.000, and a thick line that I have
14 drawn covers 200 metres or so. But, mainly, this is the line that we
15 tried to keep with the NLA and not to move from this line.
16 Q. There is a highway between Tetovo and Gostivar. Is that correct?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. There is also the old road going from Tetovo to Gostivar.
19 A. Are you talking about the road on the left or on the right of the
20 highway? Are we talking about the road on the left?
21 Q. On the left side, going through Pirok.
22 A. Tetovo-Gostivar or Gostivar-Tetovo?
23 Q. From Tetovo to Gostivar, since we see Tetovo here on the map.
24 A. If you go from Tetovo to Gostivar, Pirok is on the right-hand
25 side, not on the left-hand side.
1 Q. But it goes -- that road goes through Pirok.
2 A. No. The highway does not go through --
3 Q. I'm asking but the old road?
4 A. I'm asking for your help, so that can I reply correctly, and I
5 have no other tendency. The highway from Tetovo to Gostivar, on its
6 right-hand side, it's the old road, which goes through Pirok.
7 Q. Yes. And according to the map, the old road, Tetovo-Gostivar, was
8 not under the NLA control in 2001.
9 A. No. We agreed that this line of the positions not to be marked on
10 the road, so that the citizens could go on with their everyday activities.
11 So that's why this line follows the line of the road, but these
12 couple of millimetres on the map are, in fact, an area enough for the
13 citizens to go on with their everyday activities.
14 Q. So the road was not under the NLA control.
15 A. This map shows that the line is parallel to the line depicting the
16 old road.
17 So if you consider the fact that a soldier has a weapon with him
18 and that the fire range, the average is 400 metres, then I don't know what
19 to say as to your question whether the road is under the NLA control or
21 Q. Very well. Do you see in the upper part the village of Vratnica,
22 in the upper part of the map? It is slightly to the east.
23 A. Yes, I can see Vratnica, yes.
24 Q. Could you please mark it.
25 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Could the witness be helped.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I will do my best to mark it.
2 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation]
3 Q. Please mark it with the number 2.
4 A. [Marks]
5 Q. And Vratnica was not under the NLA control as well. Is that
7 A. The map speaks for itself.
8 Q. Thank you. You can also see in front of you the road
10 A. You mean the highway?
11 Q. Yes.
12 A. Yes, I see it, but it's up to Bukovic on the map, not up to
14 Q. Yes, yes. And in the section you see in front of you, to the
15 south from the road, Tetovo to Skopje, the territory was not under the NLA
16 control, or at least it is not marked as being under the NLA control?
17 A. That's correct. It is not marked here because the information I
18 got from the brigade spoke to the effect how I represent it on the map.
19 Q. Thank you.
20 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Your Honours, could I seek to
21 tender this map into evidence.
22 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
23 THE REGISTRAR: As Exhibit 2D82, Your Honours.
24 MR. APOSTOLSKI: [Interpretation] Perhaps this would be the
25 convenient time for the break, and I will try to finish my
1 cross-examination of this witness within the first of tomorrow's sessions,
2 just for the information of the Chamber and the Prosecution.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Apostolski.
4 The Chamber would mention that it understands the next witness
5 would normally expect or feel it would be desirable to have German
6 interpretation. We would be concerned that we may well lose even a full
7 day because German interpretation cannot be arranged until Friday.
8 Do you think, Mr. Saxon, that the witness might be able at least
9 to have his evidence in chief heard using English, in which he has some
11 MR. SAXON: Yes, Your Honour. The Prosecution believes that would
12 be possible and, therefore, the Prosecution believes the next witness
13 could commence his direct examination beginning on Thursday morning.
14 If I may, just respectfully, provide a small caveat. There is an
15 outstanding motion, I believe it's called the 7th motion, to add -- for
16 permission to add some exhibits to the Prosecution's list of exhibits. It
17 would certainly be helpful if that -- if a decision could be given on that
18 motion prior to the start of the next witness's evidence. Because
19 depending on that decision, that would affect certain aspects of direct
21 JUDGE PARKER: And how long would you anticipate for direct
23 MR. SAXON: Approximately one full court day, possibly a bit
24 longer, but we are trying to keep it within one full court day.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. Well, thank you for that, Mr. Saxon,
1 and I think we will endeavour do hear the evidence in chief of the witness
2 without German interpretation on Thursday, in the hope that we can avoid
3 losing a full day that way. There are a small number of decisions that
4 are in the process of completion at the present time, and I believe the
5 one you mentioned is among them.
6 We will adjourn now and resume tomorrow at 9.00.
7 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.47 p.m.,
8 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 14th of
9 November, 2007, at 9.00 a.m.