1 Wednesday, 28 January 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Could the case for hearing be called.
6 THE REGISTRAR: Good morning, Your Honours. This is case number
7 IT-05-87/1-T, the Prosecutor versus Vlastimir Djordjevic.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Good morning to everybody.
9 Ms. Kravetz, you're ready for your first witness?
10 MS. KRAVETZ: Good morning, Your Honours. The first Prosecution
11 witness is Mr. Veton Surroi.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
13 MS. KRAVETZ: While the witness is being brought in, I would like
14 to introduce Mr. Eliott Behar and next to him is Ms. Silvia D'Ascoli, who
15 will be appearing before Your Honours later on in this case.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. I think one of those names is entirely
17 new to me and not yet appearing on any of the papers.
18 MR. STAMP: Good morning, Your Honours, if it please you. May I
19 just mention one matter briefly while the witness is being brought.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Stamp.
21 MR. STAMP: On the witness list for the first week, I think we
22 have Mustafa Draga as the last witness, and on the witness list for the
23 next witness we have Shyhrete Berisha as the first witness. For
24 scheduling purposes, I was wondering if there would be a problem, if
25 there would be too much inconvenience, if we put Shyhrete Berisha before
1 Mr. Draga, so it would just be a switch-around of those two witnesses who
2 are coming next week.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Merely and interchange of those two witnesses in
4 the order.
5 MR. STAMP: It would make for a more logical presentation because
6 the witnesses would be dealing with the same issues, one after the other.
7 JUDGE PARKER: No, come in, please.
8 [The witness entered court]
9 JUDGE PARKER: No difficulty is foreseen with that at the present
10 time, so you can proceed on that basis, Mr. Stamp.
11 MR. STAMP: Thank you very much, Your Honours.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
13 Good morning, sir.
14 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please take the card that is given to
16 you now and read aloud the affirmation.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
18 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
19 WITNESS: VETON SURROI
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. Please sit down.
22 I believe Ms. Kravetz has some questions for you.
23 MS. KRAVETZ: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Examination by Ms. Kravetz:
25 Q. Good morning, sir. Could you please state your full name for the
2 A. My name is Veton Surroi.
3 Q. When and where were you born, Mr. Surroi?
4 A. I was born on the 17th of July, 1961.
5 Q. And where were you born?
6 A. In Prishtina, Republic of Kosova
7 Q. I want to go briefly through some facts of your personal
8 background, and I'm just going to ask you to confirm to some facts.
9 You're a Kosovo Albanian, son of a Yugoslav diplomatic, and during some
10 years of your youth, you lived abroad in central and South America
11 that correct?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. You have a bachelors degree in philosophy and letters and by
14 profession you're a journalist and publisher.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. During your years in Kosovo you have been actively involved in
17 politics; is that correct?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. And you have also been a member of several different Kosovo
20 Albanian delegations that have been involved in international
21 negotiations with regard to the status of Kosovo province?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. I mentioned you had been living abroad for some years of your
24 youth. You returned to Kosovo in 1982 and have been living there ever
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. And what is your current occupation, Mr. Surroi?
3 A. At present I deal with the publishing of books. I work with a
4 publishing house called Koha, and I am head of the board of the Foreign
5 Policy Club.
6 Q. During your political career were you also a member of the Kosovo
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. Thank you for that. I would like to ask you some questions about
10 events that took plays in Kosovo in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and I
11 would like to focus first that events that took place in 1989. Up until
12 1989, was the province of Kosovo
13 republic -- Yugoslav federation?
14 A. Yes. Up until 1989, Kosova had the status of autonomy, with veto
15 rights within the Federation of Yugoslavia.
16 Q. When was Kosovo granted this autonomous status?
17 A. With the constitutional changes of 1968 and then the constitution
18 of 1974, Kosova became an equal subject in the Yugoslav federation.
19 Q. And did this autonomous status of the province mean that Kosovo
20 had its known institutions - police, judiciary - that operated separately
21 from those of the federal and republican level?
22 A. With the constitution of 1974, Kosova had all the institutions,
23 its own institutions, which were similar or equal to the ones that the
24 other republics in the Yugoslav federation had. And this meant
25 institutions of internal affairs, such as the police, the secret police,
1 and also foreign representation. They had a secretariat for foreign
3 Q. Now, in March of 1989, did the Serbian Assembly propose a series
4 of amendments to the 1974 constitution that you referred to which
5 effectively revoked the autonomy of Kosovo as a province?
6 A. From 1982, Serbia
7 changes to the constitution of Kosova, and this situation escalated in
8 1987, 1988, and 1989. The pressure was to make those amendments that
9 would revoke the elements of equality in the status of Kosova so that
10 Kosova would be subordinated to Serbia
11 Q. And in March of 1989, were these proposed amendments voted upon
12 in the Kosovo Assembly?
13 A. Well, that's what they were called, they were voted. But it was
14 not so because all around the parliament building that day there were
15 APCs surrounding it. There was pressure against the whole population in
16 Kosova, but especially against the MPs. And within the building there
17 were people voting who were not members of the Assembly of Kosova.
18 Q. Were you already working as a journalist at the time in Kosovo?
19 A. Yes. At the time I was a journalist working for the Rilindija
20 newspaper, but I also used to write for Croatian and Serbia newspapers.
21 Q. And did you cover the events surrounding or the circumstances
22 surrounding this vote at the Assembly?
23 A. Yes, I described the events, yes.
24 Q. What was the result of the vote that took place in 1989 at the
1 A. The result was such that it would change the character of the
2 constitution of Kosova and would place Kosova under its -- under the
3 subordination of Serbia
4 Q. And some days later after this vote that you're referring to took
5 place, were these amendments also voted upon by the Serbian Assembly?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. What was the result of the vote before the Serbian Assembly?
8 A. Well, the result was the same, so the Serbian authorities
9 proclaimed that Serbia
10 Q. As a result of these amendments that were passed or voted upon,
11 were a series of special measures implemented which affected daily life
12 in Kosovo for Kosovo Albanians?
13 A. From that moment on, Serbia
14 measures. From 1989 to 1990, Kosova experienced a series of special
15 measures that limited not only decision-making in Kosova but also limited
16 the -- and restricted the everyday life of citizens in Kosova.
17 I would illustrate this with measures in the security area. In
18 1989, they started to apply the measure of isolation as they called it.
19 Over 200 citizens of Kosova were brought in by the police, and they were
20 sent to Serbian prisons, kept there for 60 days without any legal
21 assistance, and they were ill-treated physically. These were people who,
22 in one way or another, had -- were prominent people. They were not
23 political activists as such, but they were prominent people and had been
24 in demonstrations, and so on.
25 Then in 1990, the existing legal order that existed in Kosova was
1 revoked, was suspended, and Kosova lost all its attributions. Even this
2 legal situation that was created from Serbia was suspended. Everything
3 was suspended. The institutions of the assembly, the radio and
4 television of Prishtina, they were closed down, and also the Rilindija
5 newspaper was shut down.
6 Q. May I clarify your answer. You referred to the arrest of over
7 200 citizens of Kosovo. Were these persons belonging to certain
8 ethnicity or were they from different ethnic backgrounds?
9 A. All of them were Albanians.
10 Q. Now, just to understand the impact of these special measures in
11 daily life, could you explain how they affected the access to employment
12 for persons of Kosovo Albanian ethnicity?
13 A. After these changes, two kinds of pressure were being exercised.
14 There was social -- there were social- or state-owned enterprises and
15 those were forcefully integrated within the economic system of Serbia
16 And at the same time, the Albanian workers and employees were offered a
17 kind of statement that they had to sign where they declared their loyalty
18 to the institutions of Serbia
19 paper, they were expelled or fired. This happened almost to all the
20 Albanian workers.
21 Q. And you're referring specifically to civil servants in public
23 A. Not only public institutions but also economic enterprises. So,
24 for example, you could be a manual worker in a factory that was
25 state-owned, but even this manual worker had to sign a piece of paper
1 where it said that he was a loyal person to the Serbian state.
2 Q. And those who refused to sign were not allowed to remain in their
4 A. All of them, no exception. The people who did not sign the piece
5 of paper, all of them were fired.
6 Q. What about the police? Were Kosovo Albanians allowed to be part
7 of the police?
8 A. Especially the policemen at that time were under a lot of
9 pressure to declare their loyalty to the institutions of Serbia, and the
10 absolute majority of the Albanian policemen refused to do that, and they
11 were fired.
12 Q. Did these special measures have any impact on the access of
13 Kosovo Albanians to housing and to property?
14 A. There were some other special measures as well at the time, and
15 one of these measures was that selling and buying between ethnicities was
16 not allowed, was forbidden. So Albanians could not buy from Serbs, any
17 property from Serbs. This was one of those special measures.
18 In the meantime, a number of Albanians who had flats that they
19 owned, but they were called socially-owned -- it's a different system.
20 It's a flat that was given to them by the company they worked in, for
21 example. And these flats were taken from them, maybe not from all of
22 them but a great number of them.
23 Q. And what did you perceive what was the purpose of this specific
24 measure of the restrictions to having access to buying property?
25 A. Well, the purpose was clear. Serbia declared that they would
1 never allow the number of Serbs to go down. They wanted the number of
2 Serbs to increase in Kosova. And at that time, alongside the -- not
3 allowing the selling and the buying of property, there were people coming
4 from Serbia
5 settlements for refugees. And this was all for the purpose of changing
6 the ethnic structure in Kosova.
7 Q. And at the time, just roughly speaking, what was the ethnic
8 composition of Kosovo?
9 A. Although it did not have clear statistics, what transpired from
10 the census, which was not complete - and this census was conducted by the
11 Serbian authorities at the time - I think that about 85 percent or
12 something over that were Albanians and about 15 percent were Serbs and
13 other ethnicities, non-Albanian ethnicities.
14 Q. Okay. And did these measures have any impact on the official
15 languages that were used in Kosovo?
16 A. Up until 1989, there was a more satisfactory level of equality,
17 if I may call it so, between the use of the Albanian language and the
18 Serbo-Croat language in Kosova. After 1989, in public notices or
19 communications, the Serbian language was used as an official language at
20 the detriment of the Albanian language.
21 Q. And did these measures have any impact on the access of Kosovo
22 Albanians to education?
23 A. After 1990 the right of Albanians to education was restricted
24 dramatically. The Prishtina university was closed down, which at the
25 time was called "Nest of Nationalism," and almost all the secondary
1 schools were closed. So there was no access to secondary schools for
2 Albanian pupils. In the primary level there was a clear segregation
3 where the public means were given to primary schools that taught in
4 Serbian, while the Albanian education system was mainly conducted in a
5 parallel way to the existing Serbian system, what was called at the time
6 the parallel primary school system.
7 Q. You've referred to the parallel primary school system. Could you
8 elaborate a bit on what you mean by that, the existing of the parallel
9 school system?
10 A. In 1990, by the end of summer when we were faced with the fact
11 that we would not have access, or the Albanian pupils would not have
12 access to secondary education and tertiary university education, and the
13 funding of Albanian education was being suspended by the Serbian
14 authorities because the education system was dependent on the Serbian
15 authorities, of course.
16 What was called the Consultative Council of Political Parties in
17 Kosova, the Albanian political parties in Kosova where I was a member of
18 as well and at the proposal of Professor Agani and Mr. Rugova took the
19 position of creating a parallel system of funding the education which
20 would be dependent on the voluntary contributions of citizens; so that we
21 would be able to have primary education in the existing primary school
22 buildings, a secondary education in private buildings; but the teaching
23 staff would be people who had been teachers in those secondary schools.
24 And also the same thing would be done with the university education, so
25 it would be based in private homes and then the citizens would contribute
1 to finance them.
2 So in this situation of parallel education system, all the
3 generations from 1990 to 1999, that was the way -- how pupils and the
4 young people would be educated, in this parallel system.
5 Q. You referred a bit earlier to Professor Agani. Could you tell us
6 who Professor Agani was?
7 A. Professor Agani was vice-president of the LDK, which was the
8 largest party. He was an ideologist of the Democratic League of Kosova.
9 But not only that, but he was the person who had created the non-violent
10 Albanian movement of that -- of those years. He was well-respected in
11 Kosova but also in Belgrade
12 Q. You also referred to Mr. Rugova. Just very briefly, who was
13 Mr. Rugova?
14 A. Dr. Rugova at the time was president of the Democratic League of
15 Kosova. He was also leader of the peaceful movement in Kosova. He was
16 that during all that period.
17 Q. These special measures that you've been referring to, until when
18 did they remain in force?
19 A. They remained in force until the arrival of the NATO troops in --
20 on the 11th of June, 1999
21 the Serb authorities in 1989 was suspended.
22 Q. Now, going back to the early 1990s, in July 1990 was there a
23 declaration made in the Kosovo parliament by members of the parliament
24 regarding the status of the province?
25 A. In July 1990, keeping in mind the dramatic developments and the
1 dissolution of Yugoslavia
2 devoted members of the assembly who had the interests of Kosova at their
3 heart, in consultation amongst themselves and with the intellectual
4 elite, decided to take a stand with regard to the position of Kosova and
5 its future, and they made this constitutional declaration. They decided
6 to declare Kosova a republic within the Yugoslav federation.
7 This declaration had to be followed up with other legal decisions
8 that would change Kosova into an equal republic to the other republics,
9 and then with the dissolution of Yugoslavia, that would lead to an
10 independent Kosova, just like the other independent republics that came
11 out of the federation.
12 Q. In the following year, in September 1991, was there a referendum
13 in Kosovo regarding the independence status of the province?
14 A. After the referendums organised in Slovenia and Croatia
15 consultative council took the decision to organise a referendum on
16 independence, the independence of Kosova, so that the will of the
17 citizens of Kosova would be expressed with regard to these developments
18 and the movement and the tendency was clear towards -- it was toward the
19 creation of independent states.
20 Q. And what was the result of the referendum in Kosovo?
21 A. The result was an absolute yes for an autonomous Kosova and with
22 the possibility for it to become an independent state.
23 Q. Was this referendum recognised by -- the results of the
24 referendum recognised or accepted by Serbian authorities?
25 A. No. Serbia
1 end, the authorities in Serbia
2 Q. On May 1992 were elections held for an assembly and a president
3 of Kosovo?
4 A. Again, after the referendum we decided to hold parallel elections
5 for our institutions. It was clear that we needed democratic legitimacy
6 and institutions, and for that reason we held those elections and with --
7 President Rugova was elected with an absolute majority. The same
8 happened with other institutions. These elections also were -- the
9 result of these elections was also the government of Kosova and the
10 people who were at that time persecuted by the Serbian authorities were
11 obliged to go into exile.
12 Q. And who were these people that you're referring to that were
13 persecuted by Serbian authorities?
14 A. In the beginning there was Dr. Bujar Bukoshi. Earlier he had
15 been kidnapped by the Serbian police before he became prime minister. He
16 was nominated prime minister of Kosova. And then the other members of
17 the government who were appointed were obliged to go abroad into exile.
18 Some of them left just because they were afraid that they would have
19 repercussions from the Serbian authorities, not because they had been
21 Q. What was the reaction of the Kosovo Albanian population generally
22 with respect to the special measures that were limited by Serbian
24 A. The citizens of Kosova tried to resist these measures in the
25 beginning by holding demonstrations. They were peaceful demonstrations,
1 but they were suppressed. And in January 1990, we had a series of
2 demonstrations of citizens. Also in February, there were people who died
3 in those demonstrations. These were unarmed people that were killed by
4 the Serbian police.
5 And after this wave of protests of this nature, and with the
6 organisation of political parties, an organised resistance began with the
7 creation of parallel structures. The citizens of Kosova, in their
8 absolute majority, never accepted the established of the Serbian power in
9 the country. In the beginning, the resistance was peaceful, but then by
10 the end it became an armed resistance.
11 Q. You referred to this resistance becoming an armed resistance.
12 Did some sectors of Kosovo Albanian society organise themselves to
13 confront or fight against the presence of Serbian authorities in the
15 A. My opinion is that after the Dayton Accords, where the Bosnian
16 issue was discussed and the cease-fire in Bosnia as well, the Kosovan
17 issue was not discussed there. So part of the segments of the Kosovan
18 society began to organise themselves and get armed; and from this
19 movement the KLA was created, and they had more dynamic activities after
20 the winter of 1997.
21 Q. And by "KLA," I understand you mean the Kosovo Liberation Army?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. When was the KLA formed?
24 A. Well, there might be different interpretations on this, but I
25 think that the KLA came out publicly on the 28th of November 1997, and
1 they appeared there in uniform, in their uniform. So that's what I take
2 as the real date of their coming out.
3 Q. Now, going back to an issue you mentioned regarding education,
4 could you just explain to those who are not as familiar with Kosovo as
5 you are why education was such an important factor for the Kosovo
6 Albanian community.
7 A. There are two main issues here why education is more important
8 there than in other parts of Europe
9 Firstly, because Kosova came out of the Second World War with a
10 completely, almost completely illiterate population, and only because of
11 education and a dynamic education system the society began to change
12 dynamically and to create its modern institutions. So one of the reasons
13 was heritage.
14 The second reason is demographic. Kosova has the youngest
15 population in Europe
16 had about 400.000 people involved in education, either pupils and
17 students or teachers, because one-fifth or one-fourth of the population
18 of Kosova at the time was young.
19 In these demographic and heritage conditions that I described,
20 the blow to education was much harder than it would have been for any
21 other European country.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MS. KRAVETZ: I would like to have Exhibit 696 in e-court. This
24 is a 65 ter number 00696. This is a report of the secretary-general on
25 the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia.
1 I take it, Your Honours, with the exhibit numbering we have in
2 place, this would be Exhibit P1?
3 JUDGE PARKER: There were a number of exhibits received
4 yesterday. They have now been numbered by the Registry, so this will not
5 be, I believe, be Exhibit P1 but will be some later number.
6 THE REGISTRAR: This will be Exhibit P00265, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. You will be surprised how the exhibit
8 list grows. If you leave it alone in a corner that it just grows.
9 MS. KRAVETZ: Yes, I have experienced that, Your Honour. Just
10 for --
11 JUDGE PARKER: Could I mention while we're doing that that
12 following the raising of this matter before the Chamber, there were
13 discussions yesterday, we are told, between the parties and the Registry;
14 and it has been agreed to establish a normal numbering system for this
15 trial, independent of any other, but with cross-reference where
16 applicable to exhibit numbers in the Milutinovic et al trial. I'm
17 grateful to the parties for having come to an agreed position over that.
18 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honour, just for my own clarity on how to
19 proceed regarding exhibits, I'm going to be calling them with their
20 65 ter number, and I understand the Registry -- Registrar is going to be
21 assigning the P numbers.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. You refer to 65 ter number and then a new
23 exhibit number will be given if the document is received as an exhibit.
24 MS. KRAVETZ: Thank you, Your Honour. So could we have -- this
25 exhibit is 0096.
1 Q. Sir, do you have the exhibit before you? Mr. Surroi --
2 A. [In English] Yes.
3 Q. -- do you have the exhibit before you?
4 A. [Interpretation] Yes.
5 Q. Are you familiar with this document?
6 A. Yes.
7 MS. KRAVETZ: I would like to turn to page 12 of the English and
8 page 15 of the B/C/S and would like to zoom-in on paragraphs 47 and below
9 under the heading "Kosovo." If we could zoom-in for the witness, so he's
10 able to ...
11 Q. Mr. Surroi, could you briefly comment on this section of this
13 A. At that time at the conference for peace in former Yugoslavia, a
14 sub-group was set up of minorities in Kosova. That's how it was called.
15 And a part of that special group in Kosova dealt with the issue of
16 education. This happened as an initiative after the arrival of the
17 Prime Minister Panic to Prishtina, his meetings with Dr. Rugova and the
18 unexpected initiative to have talks on the normalisation of the issue of
20 As you can see here, this began in 1992 with the establishment of
21 the special group which would meet in Geneva. However, there were no
22 results unfortunately from these meetings at that time.
23 MS. KRAVETZ: Could we now have Exhibit 00715 up on the screen.
24 Could I also have the English.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Could I just ask, are you meaning to do something
1 about the report of the secretary-general as an exhibit?
2 MS. KRAVETZ: I was going to ask, Your Honour, do you want me to
3 tender exhibits as I go along?
4 JUDGE PARKER: I think it would be more practical.
5 MS. KRAVETZ: Okay. Well, I think then I'm done with that
6 exhibit. I seek to tender it into evidence at this stage.
7 JUDGE PARKER: There is no opposition. The report of the
8 secretary-general will be received as an exhibit. The Registry Officer
9 will confirm the number for me, please.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, as previously assigned, P265 stands
11 admitted and would be reflected in e-court.
12 MS. KRAVETZ: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Sir, are you familiar with the document that is currently on the
14 screen, the "San Egidio Agreement on Education"?
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Could you tell us something about the background of this
18 A. After the failure of the process in Geneva, which was evident in
19 the report issued by the secretary-general, confidentially there were
20 negotiations between Professor Agani and Serbian Ambassador in Vatican
22 Albanian education in Kosova.
23 With "normalisation," they meant the return to the school
24 facilities of the peoples without any obstruction and the initiation of a
25 more normal process of education in Kosova. So that afterwards, new
1 forms could be found for funding and other issues. This agreement was
2 signed by Dr. Rugova and the Serbian president, and through this
3 agreement there were three groups, three plus three were set up, three
4 from Kosova, three from Serbia
5 that had to be resolved.
6 There were four years from Geneva process San Egidio Agreement,
7 which was signed through the mediation of this charity organisation. And
8 then from that time, two years passed without any implementation. They
9 were still empty meetings of these mixed groups.
10 Q. So you're telling us -- I'm sorry, I had interpretation in my
11 headphones. So this education agreement was signed by Dr. Rugova and
12 Serbian President, who at the time was Mr. Milosevic; correct? But
13 you're saying it was never implemented?
14 A. It was not implemented in general. Only after two years this was
15 stated by Professor Agani to Milosevic. When they met in 1998, even an
16 issue which should not have been problematic, such as the return to
17 school facilities, had been a problem for a long period. As far as I
18 remember, on the basis of this accord, only the return of the
19 Albanological Institute was implemented, only that point of the accord,
20 and after some time or so the opening of the faculty of technology, which
21 was destroyed until then.
22 Q. And when did that happen, the return of the
23 Albanological Institute?
24 A. This happened two years after the agreement.
25 Q. So that would be sometime towards the summer of 1998? And when
1 was the faculty of technology that you referred to opened or reopened?
2 A. As a matter of fact, it did not resume its work before the war
3 because it was destroyed before the return. So it was required to make a
4 lot of investments in order to rebuild the faculty or to repair it. So
5 for that reason, as far as I remember, the European Union allocated some
6 funds, which of course due to war were never, never put -- never actually
8 Q. How was the faculty destroyed?
9 A. The faculty was destroyed by the Serbian students of that time.
10 They did not want that the faculty should be returned to the Albanians,
11 so they organised big demonstrations, that is, the Serbian students.
12 There was also, as far as I remember, police intervention at that time.
13 Q. Now, this agreement, the education agreement, established a mix
14 group, a three-plus-three group was going to be set up to oversee the
15 implementation. Could you tell us the composition of that mixed group?
16 How was it supposed to be made up?
17 A. Yes. From Kosova side there were three representatives.
18 Unfortunately, one of them had an accident. He had a road accident which
19 was not related to any political circumstances. The other members were
20 also people who had dealt with the educational issues. One of them, if I
21 remember well, had been involved also in the process of Geneva
22 Mr. Abdyl Rama.
23 MS. KRAVETZ: I have no further questions on this document, and I
24 seek to tender it into evidence at this stage.
25 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
1 THE REGISTRAR: 65 ter number, Your Honours, 00715 will be
2 assigned P00266.
3 MS. KRAVETZ: Thank you.
4 Q. Mr. Surroi, right after the agreement was concluded, were there
5 demonstrations in Serbia
6 A. There was a wave of demonstrations in Serbia, in general
7 organised by the opposition. The opposition complained of lack of
8 democracy, I mean the Serbian democracy, as well as for vote-rigging.
9 Q. Vote-rigging by whom? Who was in power at the time?
10 Vote-rigging by whom? You referred to vote-rigging.
11 A. It's clear this had to do with Mr. Milosevic.
12 Q. Sir, now, the next series of negotiations were carried out under
13 the auspices of an institution called the
14 Bertelsmann Scientific Foundation. Did you take part in those
16 A. The Bertelsmann Foundation organised a track two, a negotiation
17 called track two, which was intended to explore what could be the
18 framework of addressing the issue of status of Kosova, how the status
19 should be approached, what should be the measures of understanding and
20 then in what framework, in what context, should the status of Kosova be
21 examined. I took part in these negotiations from the outset.
22 MS. KRAVETZ: Could we have Exhibit 00712 up on the screen.
23 Q. Sir, do you have the document now before you? Are you familiar
24 with this document?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Could you comment on the contents of this document?
2 A. I think that the fundamental idea of all this dialogue was that
3 the status of Kosova should be divided into several elements. The first
4 element was the question of setting up measures of goodwill and
5 normalisation of a life for citizens. It was very clear to all of us who
6 took part in that dialogue that the status quo of Kosova would generate
7 violence and armed conflict because it was a life without dignity which
8 could not continue any longer.
9 The second question which we tackled was that the status of
10 Kosova could not be resolved immediately but through a process which
11 would lead to the status -- to the settlement of the status. So there
12 would be a need for negotiations after negotiations.
13 And the third issue was that the status should be an open issue,
14 not imposed, not restricted in the way it should have been resolved in
15 the end.
16 Q. And this document that we have before us, this "Joint
17 Recommendations on the Kosovo Conflict," were they the result of these
18 negotiations that you're talking about?
19 A. Yes. This was the outcome of the talks we had in Munich. They,
20 in fact, started in Rhodes
21 they continued in Halki in Greece
22 Q. When were these negotiations?
23 A. The first meeting actually began one day after the signing of the
24 Agreement of San Egidio. The negotiations were in San Egidio were
25 secret. There was no information about them. However, I know quite well
1 that our talks began one day afterwards, because Mr. Agani came from that
2 meeting in San Egidio directly to our talks. I'm talking about 2000 --
3 sorry, 1996. That is when the talks started, and then they finished in
5 Q. Do you recall approximately the month when these talks started in
7 A. It began in September 1996, and then they ended in September, in
8 the same month, that is, in September 1997.
9 Q. In your recollection, who else attended these talks?
10 A. From the Kosova side, from the outset, we had Mr. Agani,
11 Professor Agani. In the end we had also Mr. Gazmend Pula.
12 Q. And who made up the Serbian delegation at these talks?
13 A. The Serbian delegation at the time included Mr. Predrag Simic,
14 Mr. Radomir Tanic. These were the representatives from the Serbian side
15 who took part in all these meetings.
16 Q. And were either these two persons you mentioned representatives
17 from the Serbian government?
18 A. Mr. Simic was a part of a semi-official NGO. I don't think that
19 he represented directly the government. He reflected to a large extent
20 what the government thought. But Mr. Tanic, on the other hand,
21 represented the New Democracy Party, which, through its chairman
22 Mr. Mihalic, had access to government. This is what was told to us.
23 That is, he had full access to Mr. Milosevic.
24 Q. How seriously were these talks taken and what did they result?
25 A. These talks or consultations or dialogue of non-governmental
1 character had no obligatory character. They could not be considered as
2 part of a serious state enterprise. Nevertheless, at the end of that
3 process the foundations, Bertelsmann handed over this result to German
4 Foreign Minister at the time, Mr. Kinkel. And as far as I know, then,
5 Mr. Kinkel conveyed these documents and these ideas to
6 Serbian President Milosevic when they met.
7 Q. And did you see any changes or were any measures taken by the
8 Serbian government as a result of these joint recommendations?
9 A. Absolutely, no. At the time the conflict continued to escalate,
10 the violence continued to escalate, and the war continued to escalate.
11 Q. When you're referring to the conflict continuing to escalate,
12 what exactly was happening in Kosovo? You're talking about the period
13 when these talks ended, I presume, in September of 1997.
14 A. From 1997 onwards, that is, after these talks when we returned to
15 Prishtina, we saw the intensification of police operations, especially in
16 the region of Drenica. In November of that year, the UCK appeared in
17 uniform. From that time, that is, following this emergence, until
18 January 1998, we had the siege of Jashari family, for instance. So from
19 day to day, from week to week, we had the intensification of the
20 conflict. From a conflict of low intensity, it was becoming a conflict
21 of higher intensity, of violence, until it reached the level of the war
23 Q. Now, before we move into 1998 I wanted to ask you about the last
24 series of talks. Did you participate in a series of talks on a
25 Project on Ethnic Relations in 1997?
1 Can you tell us what that was about?
2 A. Yes, the Project on Ethnic Relations had begun earlier. There
3 was an effort again to reduce tensions, to set up a dialogue between
4 Kosova and Serbia
5 in a meeting which was organised in Belgrade one year before. Taking
6 part in that meeting as representative of the Socialist Party, we met
7 Mr. Percevic. At that meeting to which representatives of the government
8 and opposition had been invited to meet representatives of Kosova
9 belonging to the broad political spectrum of Kosova.
10 So at that meeting, with the exception of Madam Pesic, we noticed
11 that the situation in Serbia
12 could not be stopped, and it was clear to us that the situation would
13 escalate toward the outbreak of war.
14 Q. You referred to a first meeting organised in Belgrade. Was there
15 a second meeting that later took place in New York, also in the framework
16 of this Project on Ethnic Relations?
17 A. Yes. Yes. The things which we described earlier took part in
18 New York
19 New York
20 Q. And did these talks come to anything? Did they have any sort of
22 A. The outcome of them was again the conviction of everyone that if
23 there were no changes, the conflict would escalate and there would be
24 violence. It was in the interests of everyone at the time to try to
25 avoid conflict, and this should be done through negotiations and through
1 talks. However, this actually did not actually have any result.
2 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honour, I seek to tender at this time
3 Exhibit 00712, which is the joint recommendations that we were looking at
4 earlier on the screen.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, it will be received.
6 THE REGISTRAR: That will be assigned P00267, Your Honours.
7 MS. KRAVETZ:
8 Q. Now, sir, in 1998 where were you living?
9 A. In Prishtina.
10 Q. And where were you employed at the time?
11 A. At the time, I was publisher of Koha Ditore newspaper.
12 Q. Was this a newspaper that you had founded?
13 A. Yes. I founded this daily newspaper following the publication of
14 Koha magazine, which I also had founded earlier, and that magazine then
15 was converted into this newspaper.
16 Q. When was this newspaper founded?
17 A. The newspaper was founded in 1997. The weekly magazine, on the
18 other hand, was founded in 1990.
19 Q. Now, you referred earlier to the siege of the Jashari family.
20 Could you first please tell us who was Adem Jashari?
21 A. Adem Jashari was an activist of his area, of his village, in the
22 1990s. He was afterwards one of the people who became active in an armed
23 resistance. So we could say that he was one of the founders of the
24 Kosova Liberation Army, both for the region where he lived but also for a
25 broader area.
1 Q. Where exactly did Adem Jashari live?
2 A. In the village Prekaz, in the region known as Drenica.
3 Q. Now, the siege of the Jashari compound that you referred to, when
4 did it occur? When did it take place?
5 A. Initially we had some information about the siege, about possible
6 operations in January 1998, but, in fact, the siege could have occurred
7 later, at the end of February.
8 Q. Was this an incident that your newspaper was covering?
9 A. Yes. We had the permanent presence of journalists. They went to
10 that region. They saw movement of UCK forces, and they also noticed an
11 intensification of the activity of Serbian police forces in the area.
12 Q. Do you recall what happened at the Jashari compound in March of
13 that year, of 1998?
14 A. The family was encircled for several days in different forms.
15 However, in March the family was actually placed under siege by armed
16 vehicles and huge police forces. On the basis of the recount we had from
17 our journalists on that day, as well as what we learned from two
18 diplomatics who had come a little closer, as well as from what we learned
19 from the BBC
20 sources we got information about the siege of the family. It was iron
21 siege of Jashari family. They were asked to surrender themselves, but
22 after their refusal to give up, the whole family was killed with the
23 exception of those who could run away.
24 Q. Who carried out this attack on the Jashari compound?
25 A. It was the Serbian police.
1 Q. And did your newspaper play any role with respect to the coverage
2 in international that were there at the time?
3 A. Our journalists went in most cases together with the foreign
4 journalists because they had easier access; the foreign journalists had
5 easier access to cross through, to pass through the roadblocks. Thanks
6 to the agility of our journalists, we were able to have even photos. We
7 were the first to have the photos of the killed family, which we
8 distributed to all people who were interested in the photos.
9 Q. Okay, thank you. Now let's move to the G15. Could you tell us
10 what was the G15?
11 A. G15 was the negotiating group which was set up after the
12 insistence of Ambassador Gelbard, US
13 to prepare for negotiations. And these negotiations should take place
14 with the participation of representatives from broad political spectrum
15 in Kosova. I was one of the members of this group called G15.
16 Q. And who else made up this group of the G15?
17 A. This group was chaired by President Rugova. It included other
18 people, such as Mr. -- such Professor Agani, Mr. Bakalli, a broad
19 spectrum of activists belonging to different political creeds.
20 Q. And was US Diplomat Mr. Gelbard that you referred to earlier
21 significant in persuading Mr. Rugova as to the attitude he should take in
22 negotiations with Serbian authorities?
23 A. I think that Mr. Gelbard was able to convince or try to convince
24 or help to have Mr. Rugova convinced in setting up a broader group of
25 people. However, I believe that President Rugova was always ready for
1 negotiations, so they came to terms together. They agreed that there
2 should be negotiations.
3 MS. KRAVETZ: Just for the record, the last name of the US
4 diplomat is Gelbard, spelled G-e-l-b-a-r-d.
5 Q. Now, for practical reasons was this group the G15 reduced to the
6 group called G5?
7 A. At the moment when we were to go to talk to President Milosevic,
8 with the mediation of Ambassador Holbrooke, Mr. Holbrooke had mediated
9 between Mr. Rugova and Mr. Milosevic. Mr. Rugova then asked for the
10 group to be reduced for practical reasons and that this group should
11 be -- the new group should be composed of five people, including
12 Mr. Rugova. This group will then go to talk to the Serbian president in
14 Belonging to that group was Professor Agani, Mr. Bakalli,
15 Mr. Nushi, and me; and, of course, the group was led by President Rugova.
16 Q. You already told us who Mr. Agani and Rugova were. Who were
17 Mr. Bakalli and Nushi that you're referring to?
18 A. Mr. Bakalli was one of the political leaders of the socialist
19 times. He was a well-respected figures in Kosova. He had the respect of
20 the whole political spectrum. Mr. Nushi was one of the founder of the
21 human rights council in Prishtina. He was also a well-respected figure.
22 Q. Thank you. Did this group the G5 meet with Mr. Milosevic?
23 A. Yes, the group met with the Serbian president in May 1998, on
24 15th of May. This was a meeting, as I said, arranged and mediated by
1 Q. Where did this meeting take place?
2 A. The meeting was held in the White Palace
3 Q. And do you recall what were the issues discussed at this meeting?
4 A. The meeting discussed a broad range of issues, starting from
5 practical issues, such as the discussion on education; that was an issue
6 raised by Professor Agani. But the meeting also discussed our demands
7 related to the need to the interruption of the fighting and operations by
8 the police. This demand was put forward by Mr. Bakalli on our behalf.
9 The meeting also discussed the issue of Jashari. That issue was raised
10 by me as an urgent issue which had to be resolved, that is, to see why
11 had that massacre had occurred, and full light should be shed on what
13 Q. Do you recall what you told Mr. Milosevic about this massacre at
14 the Jashari compound?
15 A. I raised the issue of the massacre of the Jashari family.
16 Mr. Milosevic said that it was not possible, it was not possible that the
17 police had killed civilians because only mad people would do such a
18 thing. And I explained that from the information I had, it had -- that
19 had happened, that innocent people had been killed.
20 And anyway, in order to assert what had really happened, I
21 demanded that a neutral forensic team come from Scandinavia so that they
22 could really tell us what had happened with the Jashari family. And the
23 answer given to me by President Milosevic was, "We'll see about that."
24 Q. Did you take the impression based on this discussion you had with
25 Milosevic that he had been briefed about the incident?
1 A. Mr. Milosevic spoke in so much detail about the incident so that
2 I was convinced that either he was informed in detail just before the
3 meeting took place or he had been in constant contact with the people who
4 knew about the event.
5 Q. Was the issue of the status of Kosovo raised at this meeting?
6 A. At the beginning President Rugova said that we want independence,
7 but very soon the conversation diverted into another direction.
8 Q. And what was the ultimate goal of the G5 as far as Kosova's
9 independence was concerned?
10 A. It was clear, and we never concealed the fact that our objective
11 was independence. It was also clear, I think, that in that meeting we
12 did not go to that meeting to discuss status with Milosevic because that
13 was the first meeting, and also we had other concerns in the meantime.
14 So that meeting was just to break the ice, as it were, in order to
15 jump-start a more complicated negotiating system.
16 Q. Was the issue of education that we spoke about earlier discussed,
17 addressed, at that meeting?
18 A. Yes. Mr. Agani, in clear terms, raised the education issue. He
19 said that there had been two years after the San Egidio Agreement and
20 nothing had been implemented, although President Milosevic himself had
21 signed the agreement.
22 Q. And what was Mr. Milosevic's reaction to your -- the issues you
23 were raising, to your complaints?
24 A. He tried to say that there was a nationalistic resistance in
1 education would be passed in the parliament of Kosova -- of Serbia. But
2 my impression was that he was trying to link this issue with the issue of
3 the purges he wanted to do in the University of Belgrade
4 to purge the more democratic professors who were opposed to him.
5 Q. At that time in May 1998 when this meeting took place, what was
6 the situation on the ground with regard to confrontations between Serb
7 forces and the KLA?
8 A. In May there was already escalation, not only in Drenica but also
9 in central Kosova. There was escalation of conflict and confrontations
10 in the Dukagjini plain and in Decan. So starting from Peja, Gjakova,
11 Decan, that was the area.
12 And at that time there had begun movements of displaced people,
13 of the first refugees of war, and especially in the Dukagjini plain,
14 there was movement of people that would escalate into the first refugee
15 crisis, the first refugees who would cross the border with Albania
16 Q. Do you recall approximately how many refugees fled this fighting
17 at the time, just a rough number.
18 A. We were concerned at the time for the fate of the refugees in the
19 Decan area because there were about 5.000 of them, and the snow had not
20 yet melted in the mountains. It was still May. And they had to cross
21 the mountains and go over to Albania
22 weather or from anything else at the time. I don't know the exact number
23 in May, but I know that between -- starting from the summer of that year,
24 there were about 100.000 displaced people, refugees, in Kosova.
25 Q. Were there any follow-up talks to this meeting that you had in
1 May with Mr. Milosevic?
2 A. The agreement with Mr. Milosevic was that a week later, on the
3 22nd, we would meet the appointed Serb delegation in Prishtina and we
4 would officially start the talks with them.
5 Q. Did this meeting take place a week later?
6 A. Yes. The delegation came, and we held our meeting in the
7 building of the League of Writers and the same building was used by the
8 Democratic League of Kosova. The meeting was this delegation appointed
9 by Belgrade
10 discuss then and in the future. And with our insistence, at our
11 insistence, although, in fact, we were insisting from the beginning that
12 the talks would have to be mediated, Belgrade did not agree to the
13 physical presence of a mediator in the talks. So we found a compromise
14 issue. Ambassador Hill, the American Ambassador to Macedonia, was in the
15 next room to where we were having the talks for consultation.
16 MS. KRAVETZ: I see, Your Honour, that we're nearing the time for
17 the break. I don't know if we should just interrupt here.
18 JUDGE PARKER: If that's a convenient time, we will certainly
19 break now. I'm sure our witness will enjoy the opportunity to rest for a
20 little while. We will resume when the tapes have been rewound in half an
21 hour, at 11.00.
22 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
23 --- On resuming at 11.05 a.m.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Ms. Kravetz.
25 MS. KRAVETZ: Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. Mr. Surroi, just to wrap up on the topic that we were discussing
2 before the break, you were speaking about a meeting in Pristina in May
3 1998. Who attended that meeting from the Serbian side?
4 A. From the Serbian side, the head of the delegation was Mr.
5 Ratko Markovic, who was deputy prime minister. There was Mr. Stambuk,
6 party of Milosevic's wife; Mr. Nikolic from the Serb radicals, and some
7 other people.
8 Q. And did these talks result in anything? Did they accomplish
10 A. No. As a matter of fact, these talks failed because there was no
11 framework as such that would create due process. There was no mediation,
12 and in the end there was no agreement as to where these talks would take
13 place. We insisted that the next meeting had to be held in Belgrade,
14 while they insisted for the meeting to be held in Prishtina, and at the
15 building of -- at the government building in Prishtina. They wanted to
16 create the illusion that we were discussing an internal issue of Kosova
17 in Prishtina, and there was no need for other parties to take place in
18 it -- to take part in it.
19 Q. Were there any follow-up talks to this one?
20 A. No. There were attempts on the part of Belgrade - I would call
21 it a ridiculous attempt - to come to Prishtina. They were making public
22 appeal for dialogue to Albanians in general, but they did not commit to a
23 negotiating process. In the meantime Ambassador Hill was trying to keep
24 the shuttle process alive by going to Belgrade and contacting the
25 official representatives of Prishtina.
1 Q. Now, moving to the period of the summer of 1999, you mentioned
2 right before the break that there was an increase in refugee numbers, and
3 I think you gave the number of 100.000 refugees, just that was your
4 estimate. Could you tell us what was happening on the ground that caused
5 this refugee crisis in the summer of 1999?
6 A. In the summer of 1998, there was a large-scale Serb offensive
7 against the KLA forces but at the same time against the civilians, the
8 Albanian citizens. At that time in July 1998, up until the end of
9 September, more or less, there were fierce clashes on many fronts and
10 this resulted into the displacement of the population.
11 As far as I remember, before October 1998 the number of
12 internally displaced persons was doubled. So by the end of September of
13 that year we had a dramatic situation. Many people had no shelter above
14 their heads and had created make-shift settlements, such as in
15 Kishna Reka. People there lived under plastic sheets.
16 At that time the movement of the Serbian police forces was
17 directed not only towards central Kosova but also towards western Kosova,
18 and part of the operations was -- part of the aim of those operations was
19 to displace the population, the creation of a corridor of about
20 5 kilometres to the border with Albania
21 population that was expelled from their homes was directed -- was sent in
22 that direction.
23 In central Kosova, in Rahovec, in Drenica, there was shelling
24 which of course led to the fleeing of the civilian population. There
25 were other activities, such as burning and looting of houses or private
1 businesses and shops. For example, in Rahovec and in Malisheva.
2 Q. Do you know which forces were involved in the large-scale
3 offensive which took place in the summer of 1998?
4 A. From what I could see, I can say that there was a large presence
5 of police forces from Serbia
6 Q. Were these police forces, units, that had previously been
7 stationed in Kosovo, or were there also units brought in outside?
8 A. Before the July offensive or the summer offensive, there was an
9 increase, extraordinary increase of the police forces that came from
11 Q. And how did you become aware that there was an increase of police
12 forces that came from Serbia
13 A. There were reports from our journalists, but we also heard from
14 people in general, the population, who saw the increase in numbers.
15 Kosova is a very small place. It's 10.000 square kilometres. From one
16 border to the other, you can go easily. So it's difficult to hide such a
17 great or large-scale movement of military forces.
18 Q. Now, you referred to burning and looting of houses, businesses
19 and private shops. How did you become aware that this was taking place?
20 A. After the summer offensive in 1998, maybe a week or ten days
21 after Rahovec fell and the police forces entered Rahovec in large
22 numbers, and this happened after KLA declared it liberated,
23 Ambassador Hill and us, we were very concerned about the civilian
24 situation in Rahovec; and we they went in the town of Rahovec, myself and
25 Blerim Shala as well. But with us was also the human rights
1 representative from Rahovec who showed us his burnt house.
2 On the way to Rahovec, we and I could see personally Serb
3 policemen who were looting the shops and properties in Malisheva. I saw
4 the burnt houses, and on our way back, I saw a policeman who was going
5 into a house and a few seconds later that house was on fire. Of course,
6 he left the house before it was on fire.
7 So all of these things were obvious to all of us in the convoy,
8 that small convoy of cars. There were journalists with us as well. I
9 can't remember now which agency they were with, but they were there and
10 they reported on the situation.
11 Q. And how were you able to recognise this person that you saw going
12 into the house which later was on fire? How were you able to recognise
13 that that person was, in fact, a policeman?
14 A. By his uniform, it was clear. It was a blue uniform, camouflage.
15 Q. Which uniforms were the soldiers, the Serbian soldiers or the VJ
16 soldiers, wearing at the time?
17 A. The Serbian and the Yugoslav Army used olive-coloured uniforms.
18 Q. Do you know whether during the months that this offensive was
19 carried out, whether there was any involvement or participation of the
21 A. Later on, I can't give you the exact date, there was a
22 unification of the command of police and military operations, but this
23 was later on, much later on, maybe a few months before the NATO attacks.
24 Q. Now, you spoke about the population being expelled from their
25 homes. Do you know who was carrying out the expulsions of the
2 A. From what I heard personally and from reports I had access to, it
3 was the police. We saw this in Rahovec. I heard this in western Kosovo
4 when we visited Junik. And I saw that with my own eyes after the
5 shelling in Drenica. I visited there together with Ambassador Hill and
6 Mr. Blerim Shala, and we were going to the KLA headquarters. We saw
7 villagers who were leaving on their tractors, and very close to that
8 village there was shelling from the positions of the police forces who
9 were a few kilometres away. That was -- that was indiscriminate shelling
10 against the village and the houses. They did not have a target as such.
11 They were just shelling indiscriminately.
12 Q. And this is something you witnessed yourself, this shelling?
13 A. Yes, I saw that myself with my own eyes. I could see the people
14 leaving and the shelling taking place.
15 Q. Do you recall approximately when this summer shelling came to an
17 A. The summer offensive ended in essence with the agreement
18 Holbrooke-Milosevic. The American ambassador at the time started
19 intensive negotiations because it was clear that the humanitarian crisis
20 that was underway, caused by the summer offensive, was extraordinary and
21 the refugees and the displaced -- internally displaced persons would be
22 in danger. The winter was coming and when winter comes in -- and winter
23 very often in Kosova comes as early as October. So the summer offensive
24 ended when the international community intervened so that the military
25 operation would be stopped.
1 Q. Do you recall approximately when the
2 Holbrooke-Milosevic Agreement was signed?
3 A. As far as I remember, it was end of September.
4 Q. Now, sir, did the situation in Kosovo on the ground change as a
5 result of the conclusion of this agreement, the
6 Holbrooke-Milosevic Agreement? And if yes, how did it change?
7 A. Some of the things changed. At the beginning, for example, there
8 were no new developments. I mean there were no more -- no additional
9 refugees leaving their homes. Some of the refugees who lived in very
10 difficult circumstances, in plastic tents, as I mentioned in Kishna Reka,
11 they started to go back to their homes or to their relatives.
12 An additional effect was the arrival of the Verification Mission
13 of Kosova. They started the confidence-building measures, and they
14 started to report on the situation of -- in Kosova. In the meantime,
15 both on the KLA side and the Serbian side, there was regrouping within
16 the territory of Kosova
17 Q. Following the period of the conclusion of this agreement, did the
18 level of police forces and soldiers in Kosovo remain the same?
19 A. Part of the agreement was that some of the police and military
20 forces would withdraw. There was an initial withdrawal of these forces.
21 In fact, they had to demonstrate in front of the cameras that there was
22 such a withdrawal, and this happened. And I think the situation was a
23 little less tense, so from a very active conflict it descaled into a
24 lower-scale conflict. But the constant presence and intimidation
25 continued by the Serbian police forces towards the Albania civilian
2 At that time, it was very difficult to circulate in Kosova
3 because of the police check-points, where people were being ill-treated
4 all the time. So it took them, for example, four hours to go through a
5 check-point or to go through a road when, in fact, it would take only one
6 hour normally.
7 Q. I want to turn now to the Rambouillet negotiations, Mr. Surroi.
8 Did you participate in the Rambouillet negotiations of 1999?
9 A. Yes, I took part in the Rambouillet negotiations, and I was one
10 of the four members of the delegation who were, if I can call it, a
11 leading position in the delegation.
12 Q. Do you recall when these negotiations took place, like, the
13 period during which they took place?
14 A. The talks began in February 1999, and they were supposed to last
15 for a week and then two weeks, but in fact they lasted for three weeks in
17 Q. And in addition to yourself, who else was attending these talks
18 from the Kosovo Albanian side?
19 A. Of the four people I mentioned, there was Mr. Rugova,
20 Mr. Hashim Thaci, and Mr. Qosja, who was chairman of a political party.
21 There were representatives from the KLA, from the LDK, and, as I said,
22 from the party of Mr. Qosja. The independents were Mr. Shala and myself.
23 Q. And who made up the delegation from the Serbian side?
24 A. The Serbian delegation was led -- or the negotiation process was
25 led by Mr. Markovic, Mr. Stambuk, and sometimes Serb
1 President Milutinovic, together with Mr. Sainovic. There were other
2 members who were supposed to represent the ethnic communities in Kosova,
3 but they did not represent anything in fact. But they were people who
4 were very close to the Milosevic regime.
5 Q. But Milosevic himself did not take part in these negotiations.
6 A. Mr. Milosevic did not take part in these negotiations.
7 Q. Were there any international mediators present at these
8 negotiations in Rambouillet?
9 A. Yes, there were. There were three mediators who led the
10 negotiations - Ambassador Hill from the United States of America,
11 Mr. Petritsch representing the EU, and Mr. Mazowiecki representing the
13 Q. And very briefly, can you tell us what was the purpose of the
14 negotiations that took place in Rambouillet?
15 A. The purpose of the Rambouillet negotiations was to create a
16 transitional situation in which it would be possible for the refugees to
17 return to their homes and to have some normality in life, but also the
18 establishment of democratic institutions that would prepare Kosova to
19 take an appropriate decision about its status within a three-year period.
20 Of course there had to be no police and military presence in
21 Kosova because they had exercised so much violence against the civilians
22 at the time and the NATO forces would move in so that they could create a
23 safe situation for an appropriate decision to be made with regard to the
24 status of Kosova.
25 Q. In your view was the Kosovo Albanian delegation serious in its
1 attempts to reach a negotiated solution at Rambouillet?
2 A. We were they determined to find a solution. It was very
3 difficult. Our group was very heterogenous group, a mixed group. We
4 didn't even know each other, some of us, but we arrived at -- we achieved
5 a consensus in the negotiation process, a consensus that would create
6 relations of partnership with the international community. We were
7 determined to have an agreement that would lead to the establishment of
8 democracy in Kosova and would create the possibility to have the right
9 decision on the status of Kosova later.
10 Q. And what did you perceive was the approach from the Serbian side
11 regarding these negotiations?
12 A. From the first week, or maybe I should say the first day, there
13 was quite a great discrepancy between our attitude and theirs. I always
14 thought that if we would really want to have negotiations, Mr. Milosevic
15 had to take part in these negotiations. Well, he was absent, and the
16 Serb delegation in the first week was completely different from ours.
17 They did not deal with negotiations at all. They were just having fun
18 there. And this created an imbalance in Rambouillet because we were very
19 active in the negotiations while the Serbian part was extremely passive,
20 and they were trying to procrastinate the process and even hinder it.
21 Q. And did this negotiating process include or involve face-to-face
22 negotiations between the two delegations, or were they shuttle
24 A. The nature of the negotiations was that they would be held with
25 the mediators. We were dealing with issues that were constitutional. We
1 were discussing things about the future constitution of Kosova. So it
2 was decided that we would communicate through the mediators and the legal
3 experts so that we would come to the compilation of a document that would
4 reflect the consensus.
5 We did not shrink away from direct contact, face-to-face contact,
6 but we were of the opinion that that would come after the negotiations
7 through the mediators. So we had only one face-to-face meeting with the
8 Serbian delegation, but that was only when Mrs. Albright was there. As I
9 said, we were not shrinking away from that, but we wanted the document to
10 be agreed upon first.
11 Q. And did this document or this agreement that was available at
12 Rambouillet for discussion, in essence, said what, just very briefly?
13 A. This document described Kosova in a transitional situation, what
14 the arrangements would be in this transitional situation. This
15 transitional situation implied the legal sovereignty of the Federal
16 Republic of Yugoslavia
17 issues such as the customs or the establishment of a government and the
18 parliament; a reduced presence of the police and the army, Serbian army
19 forces in the territory of Kosova
20 within three years, in conformity with the will of the people, there
21 would be a process that would decide on the permanent status of Kosova.
22 Q. And on the way to the formulation of this agreement, was the
23 Serbian delegation, in your view, negotiating with real authority?
24 A. Because President Milosevic was not there, I believe the
25 instructions were such that no negotiations -- nothing would be agreed
1 upon that would make any concessions. This was clear when Mr. Sainovic
2 flew urgently to Belgrade
3 with the mediators and Minister -- Secretary of State Cook and the
4 others, that nobody would leave the council until the agreement had been
5 reached. But when Mr. Sainovic went to Belgrade to meet Milosevic, then
6 it was clear that the real decisions on the negotiations were taken by
7 Milosevic and not the negotiators who were present there.
8 Q. How did you find out that Mr. Sainovic had travelled to Belgrade
9 to meet with Milosevic?
10 A. Ambassador Hill called me a few minutes before he was leaving
11 himself together with Sainovic; and he said although it had been agreed
12 earlier that nobody would leave, this was a special case, and he asked
13 for the understanding of the Albanian delegation because it could be an
14 opportunity for the negotiations to be pushed forward and maybe Milosevic
15 would give his agreement for the negotiations to move forward.
16 Q. And at the return -- or when Mr. Sainovic returned from Belgrade
17 was there any change to the position of the Serbian delegation?
18 A. Unfortunately, no. The Belgrade
19 obstructing tactics, their procrastinating tactics, hoping that the
20 differences we had within our delegation would lead to a lack of
21 agreement within our delegation on this document.
22 Q. At the conclusion of these weeks at Rambouillet, did the Albanian
23 delegation sign the document that was available for negotiation?
24 A. After a great many difficulties and accepting a formula that
25 would lead to an agreement on the document but would need a process of
1 consultation beforehand, I signed the document myself with a precondition
2 that we had to consult our citizens first, and then we would go to Paris
3 and then sign it on behalf of the citizens of Kosova.
4 Q. And did the Serbian delegation sign the agreement that was
6 A. No. The Serbian delegation did not sign. In the last hours of
7 the conference, they offered to accept in principle part of the document
8 and discuss the rest of it. But because we asked for extra consultation
9 time, this consultation time was given to both parties so that they would
10 reflect and with the hope that Belgrade
11 and sign.
12 Q. While you were in -- at Rambouillet did you receive any
13 information from your associates back in Kosovo, in Pristina, about what
14 was happening there on the ground?
15 A. Part of our delegation, those representing the KLA, they had
16 contacts in Kosova and they said that there was an escalation of the Serb
17 police operations and the fightings. And the head of our dealings asked
18 at the beginning of the meeting for a cease-fire, for a formal signing of
19 a cease-fire; but this was not accepted by the Serbian party. And during
20 that time, we had reports coming from a number of advisors we had in
21 Prishtina and they also told us about the intensification of police
22 activities in Kosova.
23 Q. Did both delegations meet in Paris
25 A. As we had promised, about two or three weeks later, we went to
2 Serbian delegation. Our signing in Rambouillet was such that it regarded
3 the document as completed in substance. And we thought that we need not
4 go into the negotiation process again, but technical things could be
5 amended while the Belgrade
6 whole negotiation process; and they wanted the whole thing to be based on
7 the constitution of Kosova, everything that was decided on in 1989.
8 Q. So, in essence, what was the outcome of these Paris talks?
9 A. The outcome was that we officially accepted to sign the
10 agreement, which was later called the Paris Agreement, while Belgrade
11 refused it in its entirety. Our different approaches were clear to all
12 the mediators, and not only the EU and the American representative, but
13 also Mr. Mazowiecki, who was the Russian Federation representative, who
14 saw the unwillingness of the Serbian party to take part in a negotiated
16 Q. And the Serbian delegation present or attending those Paris
17 was composed of the same persons that were -- had been attending the
18 Rambouillet talks?
19 A. Yes, but this time the delegation was headed by
20 Serb President Milutinovic.
21 Q. How many days or when did this -- these talks in Paris
23 A. They were three days, which were spent staying there. Then at
24 the end of these three days we signed the agreement.
25 Q. Do you recall the date when these talks were held?
1 A. No.
2 Q. Just roughly.
3 A. The third week of March.
4 Q. Thank you. Following these Paris talks, what was the reaction of
5 the international mediators towards the Serbian delegation and the
6 failure to reach a compromise regarding the situation in Kosovo?
7 A. Upon our return to Prishtina, after some difficulties, before we
8 entered Prishtina, Ambassador Hill, in Skopje, he informed us that he
9 would make another effort together with Ambassador Holbrooke to try to
10 talk with Milosevic so that they would try to persuade him to change his
11 mind. So a final effort was made in which Ambassador Hill,
12 Mr. Holbrooke, and the others went to meet Milosevic, to give him a last
13 chance before the bombing would start, which had already been announced
14 as a last resort in the absence of an agreement.
15 Q. This had been announced during the Paris talks or at Rambouillet?
16 You were referring to the bombing as a last resort, had been announced.
17 A. Since the negotiating process, which interrupted temporarily the
18 war, through Holbrooke-Milosevic agreements, NATO had installed its order
19 which allowed the secretary-general to use force to prevent the Serbian
20 police and some army forces.
21 During the conference at Rambouillet, it was announced in
22 different forms that if there was no agreement on the part of Serbian
23 party, then this would imply that the bombing would start. So the
24 absence of an agreement implied that the bombing would start. The goal
25 of this action was to put an end to what was happening in Kosova.
1 Q. And were these last final-effort negotiations that you referred
2 to successful?
3 A. Obviously not. Milosevic refused.
4 In the words of Mr. Holbrooke, Milosevic refused. Holbrooke had
5 asked him was he aware of the consequences of his rejection, and
6 Milosevic had replied that he was fully aware of the consequences of the
7 rejection of the agreement.
8 Q. Following the failure to reach the negotiated solution, did NATO
9 proceed to carry out a bombing campaign against Serbia?
10 A. Yes. The bombardment started. They continued 78 days. During
11 this complain NATO was successful in putting an end to one of the most
12 barbarous campaign to the population in this part of Europe.
13 More than 1 million Albanians had been displaced from their homes
14 by the Serbian police and army forces. Thousands of people were killed.
15 Even today more than 2.000 Albanians are reported as missing from that
16 period. So these bombardments after 78 days led to the interruption on
17 the basis of a UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which introduced the
18 logic of Rambouillet Agreement, that is the creation of the conditions
19 for the establishment of democratic institutions in Kosova and the
20 creation of conditions for the settlement of the status of Kosova.
21 Q. I want to deal just very briefly with the period of the NATO
22 bombardment. Do you recall when it started, when NATO started its
23 bombing campaign?
24 A. On 24th of March, after 8.00 in the evening, 8.20.
25 Q. Where were you when the NATO bombing campaign started?
1 A. I was in the house of my mother. I was together with my mother
2 and father.
3 Q. So this was in Pristina?
4 A. Yes, Prishtina.
5 Q. What was the reaction of the Kosovo Albanian population to the
6 start of the NATO bombing?
7 A. I think that there was a mixed feeling, joy and fear; joy because
8 in the end, there was this major military force which would put a stop to
9 the Serbian forces; fear because the war was assuming greater dimensions
10 and people who had been suffering so much under police -- Serbian police
11 action, under Serbian political action and under what was for a long time
12 a fascist rule, so people feared punishment, the civilian population
13 could suffer.
14 Q. And what was the reaction of the Serb forces that were on the
15 ground deployed in Kosovo once the NATO bombing campaign started?
16 A. From the first night, the punishment got started. In the morning
17 when I woke up after a noisy and busy night with contacts with people,
18 the first thing we learned in the morning was that one street of
19 Prishtina, one quarter, one district of Prishtina was in flames. The
20 streets were filled with armed Serbian soldiers and policemen.
21 On the 25th, in the morning, I was called by the -- I was called
22 by a friend of a lawyer, who was also my friend, and he told me that
23 Bajram and his two sons, Kastriot and Kushtrim had been taken away by the
24 Serbian police. They were taken away sometime during the evening, and he
25 told me he was trying to learn from the police. He called me from
1 somewhere close to the police station on his mobile, and he told me that
2 he was at the police -- near the police station in order to learn about
3 what was -- what has happened with these three people.
4 This news was later confirmed by the wife of Bajram. I called
5 her, and she also confirmed to me that the police had been in their house
6 and had taken Bajram and his two sons. She had pleaded with the police
7 that they should not take at least the youngest son, who was 17 years
8 old, but the police did not listen to her. Later we learned that
9 somewhere near Prishtina, near a pump, they had been executed. Then we
10 learned about the remains of the persons who were executed, where they
11 were located, later.
12 Q. You mentioned a person by the name of Bajram. Could you explain
13 who he was?
14 A. Bajram Kelmendi was one of the most renowned lawyers. He was a
15 legal expert in Kosova. He was one of the founders of the Kosova Council
16 for the Protection of Human Rights in Kosova. He was a defender of many
17 human rights cases. A few days before the bombardment started, three
18 days before the bombardment, he had been also the counsel of the last
19 case. The last case had to do with Koha Ditore, which had been
20 persecuted by the regime due to the publication of a report. The trial
21 had taken place on Sunday, which was extraordinary. It is extraordinary
22 for any country in the world. And Bajram had been present in that
23 session. That was the last day on which I saw Mr. Kelmendi.
24 Q. Are you aware of any other prominent figures like Mr. Kelmendi
25 who suffered once the NATO bombing began?
1 A. Another activist Mr. Hajrizi was killed that night in Prishtina.
2 During the first week, as we learned, many well-known people in Gjakova
3 were killed, where the persecution was even greater.
4 Q. You referred to these two prominent persons being killed by
5 police. What was the situation of just a regular citizen, the Kosovo --
6 a regular Kosovo Albanian living in Pristina?
7 A. In the first days, there was a nervous and fearful situation
8 among the citizens of Prishtina, what had gone earlier in other towns
9 like Peja or Gjakova, where people came out of the houses only to meet
10 their elementary needs, to buy bread or get supplies, food, and then
11 stood all the time within their homes. This now had become also the way
12 of life in Prishtina. People went out very early from the houses. They
13 just met their elementary needs, and then they confined themselves in
14 their homes, following the situation. This continued in the first weeks.
15 Then at the end of the first week the massive expulsion of the citizens
16 from some parts of Prishtina began. The expulsion was exacted by the
17 Serbian police forces, asking people to leave Prishtina and accompanying
18 them, escorting them up to the railway station in Prishtina, in
19 Fushe Kosova.
20 Q. When you were talking about the massive expulsion of citizens
21 from part of Prishtina, were any particular ethnic groups forced to
22 leave, or was this targeted towards any particular ethnic group, these
24 A. All were Albanians. All who were expelled were Albanians.
25 Q. And how did you become aware that this was happening, that these
1 expulsions were taking place?
2 A. In one part of the district where I lived, I could see clearly
3 the streets and that day, on 1st of April, if I'm not mistaken, a very
4 big wave, a river of people got under way, escorted by the Serbian
5 police. These people were heading towards Fushe Kosova. These were
6 people who were clearly evicted from their homes because they carried
7 with them only some plastic bags and some bread with them and some
8 immediate things. So they were not given time to collect more things;
9 they were just expelled from their homes promptly.
10 This also continued to happen the next day. The next day
11 actually I went into the house of a friend of mine, a childhood friend,
12 and there I saw that the house was empty. All the family members had
13 been expelled. However, I saw in the stove still dessert which had been
14 baked by the housewife. It was still warm. And I could see also the
15 teapot, with the tea boiling on the stove. So that was an indication to
16 me that these people were expelled within five minutes. They were not
17 given time even to take the dessert out of the stove or to stop things
18 happening in the kitchen until that moment.
19 Q. Were any members of your family affected by these expulsions?
20 A. My sister Flaka at that moment she was compelled to stay with
21 some friends, that is, with people with whom she had worked, as well as
22 with some unknown people in an apartment which was located in another
23 part of Prishtina. So she was forced on 1st of April to get out of that
24 apartment, by force, and join the convoy with other citizens toward
25 Fushe Kosova.
1 Q. Now, you say the persons, the citizens of Pristina, were being
2 exported to the train station. What was happening or what took place
3 once these persons arrived at the train station in Pristina?
4 A. Before they went out into the street, I saw this: On 2nd of
5 April, when I came out and I had to go somewhere, so I saw that people
6 were stripped of their personal documents. I saw with my own eyes a big
7 group, a big mass of identity cards which had been piled. These
8 documents were taken from the people and then the people were ordered to
9 move towards Kosova Polje where they were ordered to get into the train
10 and then travel up to the border with Macedonia. They would stop at
11 Hani i Elezit, and then from Hani i Elezit, they would walk along the
12 railway line up to the border with Macedonia where they would become
13 refugees at the moment when the Macedonian authorities would receive
15 Q. And what was the significance of these refugees being stripped of
16 their personal documents before being taken to the train station?
17 A. [No interpretation]
18 Q. I'm not getting any interpretation.
19 A. The goal was to deprive them of their institutional and
20 administrative identity, so they would not come back.
21 Q. Now, sir, based on what you were able to witness during those
22 first -- that first week in Pristina and the contacts you had with
23 people, did you get the impression that any of these persons who were
24 heading to the train station Pristina were leaving because they were
25 afraid of the NATO bombing?
1 A. No, on the contrary. I passed the whole period of bombardments
2 in Prishtina. The worst period for us who were there was the period when
3 there was no bombardment because when there was no bombardment, there was
4 more intense movement of Serbian police forces in Kosova. In the days
5 when there was more intensive bombardment, there was a paralysis of the
6 movement of the Serbian police forces in Kosova.
7 Q. I'm not sure you answered my question. I was asking specifically
8 of the motive the persons had for leaving. Did you get the impression
9 that they were leaving because they were afraid of the NATO bombing?
10 A. Absolutely not. They were frightened directly from the order
11 that they should leave their homes. They were also frightened from the
12 persecution exercised on them by the police forces whenever they were in
13 the districts, houses, or in their villages.
14 Q. You mentioned you were out on the street and saw this pile of
15 documents. Were you able to observe any destruction to homes or to
16 buildings in the times that you were able to leave the place where you
17 were staying?
18 A. In Prishtina there was not much destruction. There, what
19 happened was stealing, and there were also acts of burning down. But
20 compared to other parts of Kosova, in Prishtina there was no such
21 destruction. In the streets about which you were asking, what was
22 symbolic of what was happening was the fact that this street is named the
23 Church Street because there's an orthodox church in the vicinity of the
24 streets, and the residents of the houses in the streets had put the icons
25 in the windows. So those houses which had the icons in the windows were
1 intact. I saw one such house which did not have such an icon on its
2 window, and that house had been destroyed. It had been stolen. It had
3 been looted, and then I saw also signs of destruction of that particular
5 Q. You say that houses that had orthodox icons on the windows were
6 not destroyed, were not touched.
7 A. Yes. They were completely intact.
8 Q. And would it be fair to understand that these were houses that
9 belonged to the Serb population of Pristina?
10 A. Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.
11 Q. What about the houses belonging to the Kosovo Albanian population
12 of Pristina?
13 A. Those houses had suffered looting. I saw in the house of family
14 Bilishti, where I -- I told you that I was there on the 1st of April. On
15 the 2nd of April, in that house, the police had entered, had searched the
16 house, the shelves, and they had taken away valuable things.
17 However, during those days I don't think they had much time to do
18 that. You should remember that the number of people leaving their places
19 was so big that the police had not much time to go after looting or
20 stealing. So what was happening was simply a momentous destruction.
21 Q. Do you have an idea of approximately how many people were
22 expelled from their homes during that first week following the NATO
24 A. Thousands of people.
25 Q. You told us that you remained in Pristina throughout the NATO
1 bombing. Were there other similar waves of expulsions that occurred
2 later on in the weeks or months following?
3 A. There was an effort to make a registration of the population.
4 That effort obliged all the Albanian inhabitants to register their
5 location. However, what happened afterwards was that the massive -- that
6 the waves of expulsions were not as massive as before. So what I want to
7 say is that the waves of people leaving their homes were not as huge, as
8 big, as before. After the scenes which we saw with the train, then what
9 happened afterwards were to a lesser degree.
10 Q. Do you recall approximately when this conflict in 1998 came to an
12 A. In 1999?
13 Q. Yes, in 1999.
14 A. On 12th of June, 1999.
15 Q. And what happened at the conclusion of -- in 12th of June, at the
16 conclusion of [Previous translation continues] ...
17 A. On 12th of June, we saw the British soldiers entering Kosova. On
18 11th of June, the Russian forces had come, but this did not stop the
19 conflict. There had still been acts of destruction and firing in
20 Prishtina. So on 12th of June, the British forces of NATO entered
21 Prishtina and that was then that we learned that the war had come to an
23 Q. Thank you, sir. I want to ask you just one last question on an
24 unrelated topic and this has to do with an expression that we will hear
25 often in the course of this trial. This is the expression of "Siptar."
1 And I wanted to know, from your point of view as a Kosovo Albanian, what
2 do you understand the word "Siptar" to mean?
3 A. Siptar is the name we use for calling ourselves. However, after
4 the Second World War and after Kosova remained in Yugoslavia,
5 particularly during the 1950s, the word "Siptar" used in Serbian language
6 had assumed a negative connotation.
7 From a political point of view, in Serbian, Siptar means
8 Albanian, but those who Serbs who used the word Siptar could have took
9 cultural context. The first goal was to make a distinction between
10 Albanians of Albania
11 many Serbian-speaking people used "Albanac" for Albanians of Albania and
12 Siptar for Albanians of Yugoslavia
13 But the word "Siptar" had also a negative cultural connotation,
14 in the articulation and description of someone who dealt with physical
15 jobs, so it referred to a citizen of a second rank. So in Belgrade
16 certain sections used the word "Siptar" by referring, for example, to
17 people who were needed to cut wood or people who would be used to
18 transport coal. Like, they didn't say for example, Bring the worker here
19 to transport wood, but bring the Siptar here to transport wood.
20 So in cultures where there is under-evaluation of other
21 ethnicities, you see the same thing.
22 In California
23 say, for example, Go and get a worker, but go and get a Mexican, for
24 example, as the person who would come and mow the grass.
25 Q. And if the term is used by someone from Serbian ethnicity, would
1 you understand it to be used in a derogatory term -- in a derogatory way?
2 A. I believe that this was the sense for which this word is used,
3 yes, in the negative sense.
4 Q. Thank you.
5 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honours, I have no further questions for this
6 witness at this stage.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Ms. Kravetz.
8 I see the time and it seems that this would be a sensible time to
9 have our second break and to allow, then, the cross-examination to
10 commence after the break. So we will break now to resume at a quarter to
12 --- Recess taken at 12.16 p.m.
13 --- On resuming at 12.48 p.m.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djordjevic, the time has come for you to
15 commence cross-examination. As we are just feeling our way into the
16 trial, could I say a few things relating to cross-examination which will
17 apply in due course equally to the Prosecution.
18 We are, as a Chamber, concerned to allow a fair and proper airing
19 of the issues. For that reason we prefer not to fix absolute times for
20 examination or cross-examination, although in some other Chambers there
21 is a practice to set fixed times and counsel must keep within them.
22 While we avoid fixing fixed times, you will appreciate that we must be
23 constantly concerned about the time of the progress of the trial. This
24 could be an extremely long trial unless everybody is very disciplined
25 about time and that means also that questions by counsel need to be very
1 disciplined so that they are important and relevant, and we don't lose
2 time dealing with issues that don't really matter in the end.
3 As long as counsel are dealing with relevant and important
4 issues, this Chamber is unlikely to interfere in the progress of an
5 examination or cross-examination. But if it appears that counsel is
6 dealing with issues that are not so important, we certainly may interfere
7 to urge counsel to move on.
8 We will also be keeping an eye on the total time spent with a
9 witness out of concern that this trial will finish as soon as it properly
10 can, so that if you could be aware of that. And if we think too much
11 time is being spent, we will indicate that as well. If things do not go
12 responsibly and effectively, you will appreciate we may have to impose
13 fixed times. But we would prefer to avoid that to give counsel as much
14 opportunity as possible to deal with what they consider to be important
16 So with that in mind, we'd be grateful if you could deal with the
17 important issues from your client's point of view. I would mention that
18 we understand the witness is concerned himself with his timetable and
19 other commitments. Unfortunately, the Chamber would see little prospect
20 of the witness being able to leave today. I mean, we have only one
21 further hour before we must finish because we have only half a day use of
22 this courtroom, and that would mean that it is inevitable, we fear, that
23 the witness's evidence will continue beyond today. Because there is no
24 courtroom available, we do not sit tomorrow, and we sit again on Friday.
25 There would be, though, a good expectation that the witness will finish
1 his evidence in the course of Friday's hearing.
2 I'm sorry if that causes difficulty with your plans, but you will
3 understand that your evidence is significant in this trial; and from the
4 Chamber's point of view, it wants to hear your evidence, and it wants to
5 hear the issues you've raised properly explored not only by the
6 Prosecution but also by the Defence, so that in the end, we can come as
7 best we can to a proper decision. Your cooperation is appreciated in
9 Sir, if you would like to commence.
10 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, as the Defence
11 counsel, I must first apologise because perhaps at the beginning of the
12 trial I will have some problems because the legal system where I practice
13 does not really know cross-examination. It's not the usual practice, to
14 cross-examine witnesses that were called by the Prosecution. But I do
15 believe that this will change as this trial progresses
16 Cross-examination by Mr. Djordjevic:
17 Q. [Interpretation] I would now like to greet Mr. Surroi, our
18 witness, and to say that I'm hear representing Vlastimir Djordjevic, who
19 is not related to me although we share the same surname. I'm
20 representing him but it's a very frequent name in Serbia. I have been an
21 attorney for a long time, mostly dealing with criminal cases. I am also
22 the vice-president of the bar association, and I am quite well-known in
25 In accordance with the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, I am
1 entitled to first explore the issues that arise from the
2 examination-in-chief and then I will proceed to explore some other
3 relevant issues, relevant for the defence of my client.
4 First of all, I understand that this witness has presented us
5 with a historical context of the events, and this witness also provided
6 some material evidence about the actual context of the events, but I will
7 now first ask you some questions about the period from 1974, which was
8 when the constitution was adopted granting Kosovo a broad autonomy in
9 relation to the 1989 constitution, which, as you say, reduced the
10 autonomy of Kosovo, of its assembly, and transferring most of the powers
11 again back to Serbia
12 My first question to you, this is what I'm really interested in,
13 is if you're involved in politics. And if yes, since whether?
14 A. I am involved in politics.
15 Q. Since when have you been involved in politics? This is my second
16 question, the second part of my question.
17 A. I wanted to know whether you're asking me --
18 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I'm not receiving any
20 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sorry, are you having difficulties?
21 You are.
22 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I am not receiving
23 interpretation. I'm not receiving interpretation into B/C/S.
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wanted to know whether I am a
25 professional politician or do I participate in politics as an activist?
1 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. My question, first of all, is whether you are involved in
3 politics. You said that you were. Being a professional politician,
4 well, that was not my question because if we were now to go into a debate
5 about what being a politician or being involved in politics entails, we
6 would waste a lot of time. I know that you were a member of the
7 assembly, a representative in the assembly. I know that you were
8 involved in politics. But I want you to tell the Chamber all that. I
9 know that you were a member of the Democratic Initiative, which was
10 active in our former state, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.
11 Okay. So you told me that you were involved in politics, but now
12 I want to know, since when have you been involved in politics? Could you
13 please tell us the date?
14 A. In an organised form I have been involved since 1989, from the
15 founding of the first democratic organisation Ujdi and with my role in
16 the organisation of the independent trade unions in Kosova.
17 Q. Now, as regards the assembly, the 1989 assembly - my colleague
18 has dealt with that issue - I wanted to ask you whether you were a member
19 of that assembly.
20 A. No.
21 Q. Thank you. There's another thing that I'm interested in. Do you
22 know what the ethnic composition that was of the Kosova Assembly, the
23 1989 assembly? Percentages. Give us an approximation.
24 A. I'm not sure about the percentages.
25 Q. Was the competition of the assembly such that the representatives
1 of Albanian ethnic background were in the majority?
2 A. I believe so, yes.
3 Q. Thank you. My next question: You know that in accordance with
4 the constitution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the
5 1974 constitution, the constitution was the same. The only thing that
6 differed was that instead of Kosovo, it said the Socialist Autonomous
7 Province of Vojvodina
8 Vojvodina than there were in Kosovo. What I'm interested in is relates
9 to the existence of this other province. Do you know what happened in
10 the assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina at the very same
11 time when the events unfolded with the Kosovo Autonomous Province
13 A. I know what occurred there, but I don't see any relevance.
14 Q. As a professional, as an attorney, I'm not talking about
15 legality, I'm talking about legitimacy. And this is why I would like to
16 remind you that at that time there was the constitution of the Socialist
17 Federal Republic of Yugoslavia under which there existed two autonomous
18 provinces; and it is relevant because at that time you must know that
19 there were two autonomous provinces - the Autonomous Province
20 Vojvodina and the Autonomous Province of Kosovo
21 had the assembly that you were telling us about.
22 Now I want to tell you, I want to ask you, whether it is true
23 that at that time, 1989, the constitution of the Autonomous Province
24 Vojvodina was changed in the same way in which the constitution of the
25 Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija was changed? In other words,
1 that power was devolved to the assembly to the Republic of Serbia
2 that true?
3 A. No, that's not correct. Differently from the Vojvodina Assembly,
4 the Kosova Assembly was surrounded with APCs and uniformed and armed
5 police, with long arms. And differently from the Assembly of Vojvodina,
6 in the Assembly of Kosova, people who voted there, some of them were
7 people who were not members of the parliament. One of them, for example,
8 was the director of the prison service and he -- his name was
9 Mehmet Ajeti, and there is a picture of him voting there in the
10 parliament. He was not a member of parliament; he was a lackey of
11 Milosevic. And there were other people like him as well who were there
12 illegitimately and who voted illegitimately.
13 Q. You mentioned the presence of police and combat vehicles. Could
14 you please explain that. Clarify what kind of vehicles.
15 A. They were APCs - that's what they're called in English - armoured
16 vehicles of the Serbian police.
17 Q. Did anyone threaten the deputies in the assembly, force them to
18 vote this way or another, or do you consider that the very presence of
19 the police around the assembly made the assembly act in the way that it
20 actually did?
21 A. There were direct threats as well. One of the lawyers,
22 Mr. Syla Bukovci was kidnapped by the Serbian police. He was taken by
23 helicopter to an unknown location, according to what he told his family,
24 and he was threatened because of this issue, the constitutional changes.
25 Q. Was he a member or a deputy in the assembly? Did he vote there?
1 A. He was member of the Committee for Constitutional Changes.
2 Q. Did he vote at the assembly?
3 A. No. As far as I know, no.
4 Q. Was it because he was not actually the deputy in the assembly or
5 because --
6 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's note: Could the witness please
7 wait for the end of the interpretation into English of the question.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] [Previous translation
9 continues] ... describing it here, and I'm also relaying to you the words
10 of his family.
11 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I'm not sure that the witness
12 was able to hear the interpreter's remark because he does not have his
13 earphones on.
14 JUDGE PARKER: You were asked if you could, Mr. Surroi, to wait
15 until you hear the translation of the question finish before you answer
16 because you're tending to start to answer before the translation is
17 completed, and the interpreters are not able then to deal both with your
18 answer and the finishing of the question.
19 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
20 Q. So let me go back to the question that relates to this lawyer.
21 His name now escapes me. Was he a deputy in the assembly or was he
22 merely the chairman of the commission for the constitutional changes, or
23 a member thereof? Could you please just clarify that very briefly and
24 then we'll move on.
25 A. I can't remember whether he was a member of the assembly or not.
1 Q. Very well. Then I won't be asking you any more questions about
3 As regards the 1989 assembly, could you explain to me how did it
4 come to pass that the assembly voted in favour of, let's say, Serbia
5 according to you, to the detriment of the Albanian nation in Kosovo, if
6 we take into account the fact that the majority of deputies at that time
7 were of Albanian ethnic background?
8 A. Well, there was pressure, and there was an extraordinary
9 situation. I don't think that assemblies should take decisions when they
10 are surrounded by military forces.
11 Q. Are there any documents about the fact that the assembly was
12 surrounded by armoured vehicles? Are there any photographs from that
13 period? Because you have to admit -- and I have to tell you that I'm not
14 aware of it and that is why I'm asking you this. Is there any evidence -
15 photographs, articles published by international media - that Serbia
16 tanks around the assembly while the assembly was taking a vote?
17 A. Well, if you look for them, I think you can find them. I'm
18 speaking here about things that I have seen with my own eyes.
19 Q. That's what I asked you. I have looked for that, and I haven't
20 been able to find any, but thank you for your answer.
21 In the period between 1974 and 1989, do you know that there were
22 any demonstrations in Kosovo? And if you know that, do you know what
23 motivated the protestors, what reasons were behind them, and what was the
24 outcome of the demonstrations, as I call them? You keep talking about
25 the Serbian police, and we're talking about the period between 1974 and
1 1989. Was there a presence of the federal police, the confederal police,
2 because Yugoslavia
3 part in suppressing the unrest in Kosovo and Metohija? And do you know
4 that, for instance, when it comes to the Trepca mine, that it was the
5 federal police force that intervened there. It included police officers
6 of Albanian ethnic background, Serbs, Slovenes, Bosniaks, as we call them
7 now - there was a different term used then - and Macedonia. So that's my
8 question. Do you know that?
9 A. There were many questions there and I'll try to be brief in my
11 The first one was about the administration -- correction: Were
12 there any demonstrations? Yes, there were, in 1981 and later as well.
13 In those demonstrations, the people were demanding the status of autonomy
14 within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and those movements or
15 demonstrations were suppressed with excessive use of force by the
16 Yugoslav bodies.
17 In the later demonstrations, starting from 1988, 1989, 1990, in
18 the beginning in 1988, 1999, the demands were for the protection of the
19 autonomy of Kosova and to save it, as it were, from the Serbian Anschluss
20 and subordination. And these demonstrations were quelled and suppressed
21 by the Serbian police, which had come to Kosova.
22 With regard to Trepca, I think there were other units from the
23 Yugoslav federation as well there, but if I remember correctly, Slovenia
24 and Croatia
25 same. Their units were stationed in Ferizaj. This happened in 1989.
1 Q. I do not agree with you when you say that Slovenia, Croatia
3 Let me move on to the next question. I think it merits an answer
4 because it has to do with logic. The 1974 constitution envisaged the
5 broadest autonomy for the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija, so
6 at that time the people living there was governed by a constitution that
7 enabled it within the framework of the Socialist Federal Yugoslavia to
8 have the broadest possible autonomy, to have its own courts, education
9 system, and so on.
10 I fail to understand what the demands were that were put forward
11 at the demonstrations. So you're talking about 1981, and then you talk
12 about 1983, and then you go on to 1989. So what the demands -- what were
13 the demands? Were those the demands of the people living in that area
14 which logically then lead to the quashing of all of those rights that
15 they enjoyed in 1989? So if they had those rights according to the 1974
16 constitution, what more did they ask for in 1981? Because you keep
17 talking about the autonomy.
18 Okay, yeah, autonomy existed under the 1974 constitution. You
19 even used the American term "veto," that Kosovo had the right to veto in
20 the national assembly. But if you're talking about autonomy and the 1974
21 constitution, if you're saying that the autonomy was at such a level
22 that, for all intents and purposes, in 1989 it happened that all the
23 rights were taken away, that everything was devolved to the Republic of
25 demonstrations in 1981 and then later? I will not now go into what
1 happened and what the outcome was of all that. We'll deal with that
2 later. But can you please find me a logical explanation? Why
3 demonstration if we have a constitution that is in force which accords
4 full autonomy to the people in Kosovo, and its organs, all of them, all
5 the bodies?
6 A. The response is both simple and complicated. At the same time,
7 simple, if you refer to logic. The logic is based on human rights and
8 the right of the people to articulate their demands. Human history has
9 lots of examples of people demanding more and more, demand more and more
10 progress. The logic you refer to, the logic of suspension is
11 anti-democratic logic. It's irrelevant as what you describe as positive
12 or not positive. Every citizen has a right to express his desire to
13 demand his or her rights. It's not the right of the people to act
14 against the desire expressed by people peacefully, by resorting to
15 violent means.
16 In 1981 and 1982 people were beaten up because they expressed
17 political demand. In 1988 and 1989, 1990, people were beaten up and
18 killed because they used other forms of demanding political rights.
19 In both cases, the demand is not important. The important thing
20 is to see what is the reaction of the regime to the demand, to see the
21 totalitarian regime, the nature of this regime. This regime resorted to
22 violence instead of dialogue, which should be the method used in a
23 democratic, free society.
24 Q. You will admit that in terms of modern history we have to make a
25 distinction between democracy and anarchy, anarchy and totalitarianism,
1 and dictatorship. When it protects its sovereignty, every state has to
2 take measures in order to protect the constitutional order. That is why
3 I don't agree with you. Because what would we do, then, if we were to go
4 into the examples of other peoples who also have a wish for a greater
5 autonomy, a state of their own; say the Basque in the Spanish, and then
6 the Irish, and the Flemish, and the Walloons so on and so forth. History
7 showed that both solutions have their positive and negative sides.
8 However, I will just agree with you on one thing, that dialogue as a
9 method of changing things is indispensable, rather than violence.
10 Now I'm going to move on to my next set of questions. We heard
11 from you, although I must say we weren't exactly happen to hear that,
12 that the forces of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia acted in
13 the territory of Kosovo
14 Marsal Tito was still alive, and then after that things were changed. Of
15 course ultimately it ended with the Serbian forces, now, whether it was
16 the police or the army, that is something we're going to establish during
17 the course of these proceedings, and who played what role in that
19 However, if we talk about relationships in Kosovo, I'm not going
20 to talk about relations between other ethnic groups and Albanians,
21 Siptars, and then -- actually, when I say "Siptar," Mr. Surroi, I say
22 that with the utmost respect, because I know that you yourselves call
23 yourselves that. I know that Albania
24 don't see anything derogatory about that. Now, of course, it depends on
25 one's point of view. What is --
1 MS. KRAVETZ: Your Honour, I wonder if my learned colleague from
2 the Defence could be asked to state a question to the witness. I see
3 that he's making statements on the record, and I don't see the question
4 being put to the witness.
5 JUDGE PARKER: You're quite right, Ms. Kravetz, but at this stage
6 the Chamber is allowing Mr. Djordjevic to shape his cross-examination as
7 he feels. But you'll appreciate that at the moment often you're really
8 entering into a debate with the witness rather than asking a question and
9 getting an answer, and we expect that you'll gradually move to
10 question-and-answer form. Thank you.
11 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] It is precisely because of the
12 context of the witness's statement that I am doing this. As for the
13 objection raised by the Prosecutor, I certainly accept that, but I kindly
14 ask that you do not interrupt me. I did not interrupt you during your
15 direct examination. I precisely wanted to discuss what it was that you
16 raised, Ms. Kravetz, as a question.
17 On the basis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence, we have to
18 deal with the questions that you raised during the direct examination and
19 the Defence has the definite right to do that. And I do admit that I
20 have been speaking at quite a length.
21 Q. Now the question: The demonstrations that took place in Kosovo,
22 in a way, were they such that they caused material damage, injuries to
23 people, not by the police but by other rioters; also the destruction of
24 property, and so on?
25 A. If I could respond to both questions, Mr. Djordjevic. There are
1 Serbs who describe themselves as Shkji in Kosova, but when an Albanian
2 calls the other Shkji, then this word carries a cultural background, an
3 emotional connotation. Therefore, I'm not calling you or your
4 compatriots as Shkji. You should also respect your linguistic context.
5 I will also respect my linguistic context.
6 During the demonstrations of 1981 and 1982, there might have been
7 some glasses broken or there might have been some damage to some
8 property, but all of this is irrelevant if you compare it to the damage
9 caused to human life. A person who is killed for raising a political
10 demand cannot be justified by comparing it with another act of violence.
11 The violence you are talking about in 1981, 1982, 1988, 1989, was
12 not violence exercised by the demonstrators. This is the logic of the
13 totalitarian regime. This was violence exercised by the regime against
14 the people. I saw this violence with my own eyes when it was exercised.
15 I saw how the police officers beat up innocent citizens who had one
16 political desire, one political idea, they wanted to give vent to by
17 using peaceful means. I was myself beaten up by the Serbian police, and
18 this happened while I was manifesting my desire for peace in Kosova
19 against war, against violence.
20 Q. I certainly regret that, Mr. Surroi, if that happened to you,
21 just like any normal person would do.
22 I would be interested in the following: In the context of this
23 policy you mentioned that people were laid off, after 1980, Albanians who
24 didn't want to sign statements of loyalty; and in that context many of
25 them remained jobless and you said that policemen were also dismissed
1 from the police force, quite a few of them, and you also said that
2 Albanians who had socially owned apartments had their apartments taken
3 away from them.
4 I would like to move on to the next question. Do you know that
5 Albanians who were dismissed were involved in proceedings before courts
6 of associated labour as they were known at the time in the places where
7 they lived and worked while resorting to the right that everyone had at
8 the time?
9 A. A small number of people did this, yes.
10 Q. Do you know what the outcome was of such proceedings? Because I
11 personally represented some Albanians before courts of associated labour
12 precisely at that time.
13 A. I am not aware of many cases, but I believe one or two have won.
14 Q. All of those who brought a case before the court won, but not
15 everyone resorted to the civic rights that they had at the time, that is
16 to say, the right they had to take their cases to a court. That goes for
17 a policeman as well; you will agree with me on that.
18 As for apartments, I do apologise, I do not know of a single
19 case - sorry, perhaps you do, but if you do, please tell us - would you
20 please tell me of a single case of an Albanian who had his apartment
21 taken away from him, any Albanian who lawfully got an apartment from the
22 company where he worked? It would be very hard for this Trial Chamber to
23 understand this, but we, from that part of the world, know that social
24 ownership is a type of ownership in property that no one can understand
25 who's not from that part of the world. It is not public property, it is
1 not state property, so no one knows of this except from us who are from
2 that part of the world.
3 So do you know of a single case of an Albanian who had been given
4 a socially-owned apartment, had it taken away from him?
5 A. There were some cases like this. I cannot tell you now exactly
6 how many. As I said in my statement in the questions put forward by the
7 Prosecutor, this was a limited number of people. This was not a massive
8 phenomenon. A massive phenomenon was the dismissal of people from their
10 Q. Thank you. My next question: You spoke about refugees - we are
11 moving on now to 1998 - and you first mentioned the figure of about 5.000
12 persons who, before this summer offensive as you called it, left their
13 apartments and so on and so forth. First of all, how did you come up
14 with this figure, 5.000? How did you get that figure? That was my first
16 A. In May, I think, 1998 we had a meeting with Ambassador Hill. It
17 took place on Saturday and Sunday. We had at this meeting reports about
18 the refugees. This report came from different sources, from newspapers
19 as well as from human rights activists. We asked in the presence of
20 Ambassador Hill that the question of refugees from Decan area should be
21 addressed, because we had a report of the humanitarian crisis. As I
22 mentioned earlier, the snow had not melted away yet and people were not
23 able to cross the border into Albania
24 We asked for the UNHCR office; however, that office had evacuated
25 its staff from Belgrade
1 was the high commissioner for refugees. In our presence, the number of
2 5.000 people was confirmed. This was the number of people who were in
3 the mountains of Decan at that time.
4 Q. Who was present at that meeting with Ambassador Hill?
5 A. There were some members of the negotiating team, Mr. Shala, it
6 was me, and there were also some other people.
7 Q. That means that that was a meeting between Ambassador Hill and
8 the representatives of the Albanian people in Kosovo; right? It was not
9 a meeting with the Serb side as well. Were there any Serbs present?
10 A. This was a meeting between our negotiating team and
11 Ambassador Hill. After this meeting, Ambassador Hill went to Belgrade
12 meet with the Serbian authorities there. We explicitly asked that the
13 issue of refugees should be raised with the Serbian side so that these
14 people were at least provided with safe get-away.
15 Q. And what did that meeting with Ambassador Hill result in?
16 A. Madam Ogata personally took up the issue of refugees. The
17 negotiating team referred for admission in Kosova. As far as I know, the
18 issue of refugees was raised with representatives of Serbian government.
19 I'm not exactly aware who they were.
20 Q. In actual fact, I just wanted to get a response as to how the
21 issue of these 5.000 refugees was resolved. Did they all go back to
22 Decani? Were they all Albanians, or were they people who left that area
23 that you referred to, while they had different ethnic backgrounds?
24 A. They were all Albanians and all ended up as refugees. In
1 provide them with basic conditions on the other side of the border.
2 Q. In relation to this problem, the problem of refugees, you
3 mentioned that there was excessive use of force by the state organs,
4 specifically the police; and that that was a result of the fact that
5 these refugees actually started moving towards Albania; and that's how
6 the problem came up. Do you know why the Serb police engaged in these
7 activities that resulted in this number of refugees of Albanian ethnic
8 background only? Do you know what the reason was?
9 A. I could assume some reasons. However, I think it's totally
10 irrelevant for me to provide you explanations why such refugees emerged.
11 For me it's important to say that these were 5.000 people, refugees, who
12 were expelled from their homes. What was in the hearts of the policemen,
13 what was in the hearts and minds of the officials, then this is something
14 which probably you might deal with.
15 Q. Mr. Surroi, I am not going to enter a polemic in terms of what
16 you said now, the last thing you said, and I'm not going to be offended
17 in any way. I'm just going to say that the police is not there to carry
18 something in their hearts; they are a state organ that is supposed to
19 discharge its duties.
20 In Pristina, the capital of the Serbian Autonomous Province
21 Kosovo, was totally blocked. The road from Pristina to Pec, you could
22 not take that road because there was a big trench dug in the middle of
23 the road with machine-gun nests that had been dug by the KLA. So if you
24 wanted to go from Pristina to Pec, you had to leave your country, you had
25 to go to Montenegro
2 A. As I said, it's totally irrelevant for me. I am not going into
3 details whether there had been fighting between UCK and Serbian forces.
4 For me it is -- what was relevant was that the Serbian police were
5 persecuting the civilians, and this is on what the talks focused, that
6 is, how conditions could be created so that the civilians could be safe.
7 As far as the war is concerned, it's another issue. The issue of the
8 protection of human rights is quite another issue.
9 Q. Since this is not a humanitarian organisation, it's a court of
10 law, we are interested in all the relevant circumstances. I will
11 understand this as your evasion of giving a direct answer to my question.
12 Anyway, there is a way of establishing what the situation was.
13 The police took all measures at the time so that the inhabitants of the
14 country could move about freely, irrespective of the machine-gun nests,
15 and things like that. Of course, everyone has to be concerned about a
16 humanitarian catastrophe, but we always have to go into the context of
17 everything that was going on.
18 My next question takes us back to the constitution of 1989.
19 Mr. Surroi, tell me, this constitution, did it abolish bilingualism in
20 Kosovo or not?
21 A. Instead of equality of languages, this constitution introduced
22 the supremacy of the Serbian language.
23 Q. And was the official use of the Albanian language prohibited?
24 A. No, but in practice this supremacy led to the establishment of a
25 distance which was -- which cannot be imagined now. If I could give you
1 one simple example, the Serbian regime, after taking over Prishtina,
2 later on television it allowed the broadcasting of the Albanian language
3 programme; so there was Albanian language programme broadcast both by
4 television and radio. But there were more Albanian language programmes
5 in Moscow
6 percent of the population being Albanian, this was not a normal
8 Q. My next question: In schools was bilingualism abolished? Were
9 there still classes in Albanian?
10 A. In the elementary schools there was bilingualism, that is,
11 parallel classes in Albanian and Serbo-Croatian. However, the schools
12 were physically separated by walls. The pupils who were taught in
13 Serbian language had state funding, while the children who attended
14 Albanian language classes had funding from parallel structures or bodies.
15 For example, I could give you -- I could bring you my own
16 example. When my daughter went to the first grade, she went to the same
17 building where there were Serbian children as well.
18 However, the school was separated by a wall, and the Serbian
19 children had heating in the classes, the children in the Albanian-portion
20 of the same building had no heating during winter and were very cold. In
21 the secondary schools, all the students in the building in Prishtina were
22 removed from that building, those who attended the Albanian language
23 classes and were forced to enter into buildings run -- ran by parallel
25 The same happened with Prishtina University
1 system had maintained the bilingual system, as you said, then there would
2 have been no need for the negotiating process, such as San Egidio or
3 Rambouillet, to bring the Albanians back to a normal education system.
4 Q. Now you've totally confused me, Mr. Surroi. You are talking
5 about a parallel system, and you're talking about a schooling system, or,
6 rather, the schooling system with the Republic of Serbia
7 wouldn't go into the parallel system here and now.
8 First of all, as far as the parallel system is concerned, I
9 should ask you whether there were any diplomas that were existence. Were
10 they recognised by universities? What were these parallel schools? Is
11 that not a completely illegitimate thing? Is it not totally out of the
12 education system and outside the state system? My question, the one that
13 I put to you, specifically had to do with elementary school. You
14 mentioned that your daughter went to elementary school and you claimed
15 that there was a wall between the Serbian and the Albanian children in
16 that school, and you claim that in the school there was heating where the
17 Serb children went to school and there was no heating where the Albanian
18 children went to school.
19 Now, my question in relation to this is, first and foremost, what
20 is this elementary school; what is the name of this school? Because, of
21 course, there should be documentation about everything we're discussing.
22 What is your daughter's name? What school did she go to? So that we
23 could obtain the data and see what this was all about. I am truly
24 shocked by what you have said just now. That is what I would be
25 interested in, first and foremost.
1 A. When the school was built it was initially named Marsal Tito.
2 Then when it was separated, I don't know how it was named in the Serbian
3 language because this happened in Milosevic times; but for Albanians we
4 referred to the school with the name of Ismail Qemali. This is the same
5 name we use for this school today. I'm talking here about the period of
7 Q. Even at that time the Serbian education system did not exist for
8 you. When I say "for you," I'm referring to the Albanian people or
9 nation or Kosovo, since you don't know the name of the school was in the
10 language of the country that at that time had absolute sovereignty over
11 the territory. I am really putting this question to you as a
12 professional and as a legalist.
13 A. Since we are entering into a debate over terms, no state that
14 does not have the support of its citizens has no sovereignty. Serbia
15 Kosova was there through forceful means. It did not have the support of
16 the majority population, and, therefore, it did not enjoy the sovereignty
17 over that territory. Therefore, it's totally irrelevant how that school
18 would be named. That school and that system were imposed by force, and
19 it was that system that divided those children. It divided the children
20 in the worst possible way, by providing funding for some children and
21 discriminating the right of the children -- of other children for
22 education, and it did it through violence. The secondary school pupils
23 were evicted from their schools. The students of Albanian University
24 Prishtina were forcefully removed from their buildings by the Serbian
1 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djordjevic, we must ask you to, if you wish to
2 follow this matter further, to do so on Friday morning. We've run
3 overtime by four minutes now.
4 We will adjourned now to resume on Friday.
5 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.49 p.m.
6 to be reconvened on Friday, the 30th day of
7 January, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.