1 Monday, 18 May 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. Ms. Gopalan, the next witness is
7 MS. GOPALAN: Yes, he is, Your Honours. The next witness is
8 Mr. Hazir Berisha, and his evidence will be relevant to paragraphs 25
9 to 32 of the indictment.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
11 [The witness entered court]
12 WITNESS: HAZIR ISUF BERISHA
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. Would you please read aloud the
15 affirmation shown to you on the card.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
17 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down. Ms. Gopalan has some
19 questions for you.
20 Examination by Ms. Gopalan:
21 MS. GOPALAN: Thank you, Your Honours.
22 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Berisha.
23 A. Good afternoon.
24 Q. Could you please state your full name.
25 A. Hazir Isuf Berisha.
1 Q. What is your date of birth, Mr. Berisha?
2 A. December 17th, 1960.
3 Q. Where were you born, Mr. Berisha?
4 A. I was born in Qyshk village.
5 Q. And where do you live now?
6 A. In the same village.
7 Q. Thank you. Mr. Berisha, did you give a statement to the
8 Office of the Prosecutor of this Tribunal in May 2008?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. And have you recently had the opportunity to review the statement
12 A. Not before I came here. No. Not before coming here.
13 Q. Did you have an opportunity to review the statement upon coming
14 to the Tribunal?
15 A. In English.
16 Q. And having reviewed the statement, I understand that you had a
17 number of corrections to make to it, mainly to certain figures and
18 numbers mentioned. I'm going to take you to -- through these
20 MS. GOPALAN: I'd like to call up 65 ter 05123, and with
21 Your Honours' leaves, may I provide the witness with a hard copy of his
22 statement in Albanian to assist him with the correction process.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Indeed.
24 MS. GOPALAN:
25 Q. Mr. Berisha, in paragraph 25, page 4, of your statement, you say
1 that there were maybe 50 or 60 men and approximately 240 women and
2 children. Was there a correction you wished to make to the number of men
3 that you mentioned at paragraph 25 of your statement?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. And what was the correction you wished to make?
6 A. From 50 to 60 to 40 to 50.
7 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 30 you wished to make another correction
8 to the figures stated in that paragraph. At present it reads:
9 "A soldier responded saying that there were 60 or 65."
10 What is the correction you wished to make to that figure?
11 A. The same correction, 40 to 50.
12 Q. Thank you. And in paragraph 57 of your statement, you described
13 the injuries that you suffered. It currently reads that you were injured
14 once on your left knee with an entry and exit wound and once on your
15 right shin, shattering the bone.
16 What is the correction you wished to make to that paragraph?
17 A. Also on the right knee.
18 Q. That you were also injured on the right knee? Is my
19 understanding correct?
20 A. Yes, yes.
21 Q. Thank you very much. And in paragraph 67, you say that you
22 remained in the garden of the house for about an hour. What was the
23 correction you wished to make to that paragraph?
24 A. The time. It was about four hours.
25 Q. Thank you. And finally, in paragraph 63, the sentence currently
2 "From the window of this room I was able to see the road that I
3 had walked along to get to the houses."
4 What was the correction you wished to make in that paragraph?
5 A. Not the road that I had come but the road that the forces had
6 come to the place where we were before coming there.
7 Q. Just to clarify, so at -- with your corrections it should read:
8 "From the window of this room, I was able to see the road that the forces
9 had walked along." Is that correct? Thank you.
10 A. The road, yes. That's correct.
11 Q. Now, having made these corrections to your statement,
12 Mr. Berisha, are you satisfied that it's true and accurate to the best of
13 your knowledge and recollection?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. Thank you.
16 MS. GOPALAN: Your Honours, I'd like to tender 65 ter 05123 into
17 evidence, please.
18 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
19 THE REGISTRAR: That will be assigned P00796, Your Honours.
20 MS. GOPALAN: I will now read out the in-court summary for
21 Mr. Berisha.
22 The witness was born and raised in Qyshk, Kosovo, and is a
23 survivor of the 14 May massacre in the village of Qyshk
24 He will testify on the -- testify that on the commencement of the
25 NATO bombing he heard that the Serbian police and army were killing and
1 beating Kosovo Albanians in villages surrounding Qyshk, as well as
2 looting the houses.
3 In mid-April 1999, the Serbian police and army entered the Qyshk
4 village and set some houses on fire. They also returned to the village a
5 few days later.
6 On the 14th of May, 1999, the Serbian police and army entered the
7 village of Qyshk again. The witness escaped for fear of being identified
8 as a possible KLA member and went to the centre of the village where
9 about 300 people had congregated. About 70 police and soldiers
10 surrounded them and ordered a separation of men from the women and
11 children. There were approximately 50 men and around 240 women and
13 All this time the Serbian forces were firing their weapons.
14 After the villagers were asked to empty their pockets of all valuables,
15 the men were ordered to walk away from the women and children. The women
16 and children were ordered into a courtyard opposite to where the witness
17 was standing. Shortly after, the women and children started screaming as
18 the house that they were standing outside was set on fire.
19 The witness will further testify that of the men, some were
20 initially sent away in one direction, and the remaining group of men were
21 divided into two groups. They were sent in different directions. The
22 witness's group was first directed into Sadik Gashi's house but later
23 moved to Sahit Gashi's house. In the house, Serbian police started
24 shooting at the witness and the group of men he was with. The witness
25 was injured in his legs.
1 The Serb forces then set the house on fire. They returned
2 shortly after, and the witness saw a small canister being thrown into the
3 room. The room was filled with black smoke which made it difficult for
4 the witness to breathe.
5 The witness escaped from the burning house by jumping out of the
6 window and crawled away. The roof of the house collapsed after he
7 escaped. From where he was, the witness could still hear Serb forces
8 giving orders to set things on fire.
9 The witness nursed his injured foot until he got assistance from
10 a woman in the area. He remained in the village until mid-June, until he
11 got medical attention elsewhere.
12 The witness names those he remembered who were with him in the
13 house on the 14th of May.
14 The witness was the sole survivor of the men in this group, and
15 he suffers a permanent limp as a result of the injuries he sustained that
17 That's the end of the summary.
18 Q. I'd now like to ask you a few questions about your statement,
19 Mr. Berisha. If I could take you to paragraph 9 of your statement.
20 MS. GOPALAN: Could I call up the statement on e-court, please.
21 Q. Now, in paragraph 9, you speak about hearing stories in the media
22 just after the NATO bombing, about killing and beating and looting
23 against Kosovo Albanian civilians by the Serbian police and army.
24 Mr. Berisha, what was the source of these stories and the media
25 reports that you heard about?
1 A. After the NATO air-strikes began, the Serb forces started to take
2 revenge against the civilian population, and I heard from various media
3 outlets that they have killed, looted, and driven away the Albanian
4 population in sign of revenge for the NATO intervention in Kosova.
5 Q. Thank you. And you also mentioned that these incidents took
6 place in surrounding villages. If you recall, could you name some of
7 these villages, please?
8 A. Yes. In Fushe e Pejes nearby, Katundi i Ri, Lebovic, in other
9 villages that I don't remember the names now.
10 Q. Just to clarify, the name that you mentioned is Fushe e Pejes,
11 Katundi i Ri, and what's the final village, please?
12 A. Lebovic.
13 Q. Thank you. I'd now like to take you to the events in mid-April.
14 This is in paragraph 10 of the witness's statement.
15 You say that around the 16th or 17th of April the Serbian police
16 and army entered the village of Qyshk
17 houses and set fire to some of them, including the house of your
18 neighbour, Sadri Lajci. What ethnicity was your neighbour Sadri Lajci,
19 Mr. Berisha?
20 A. He was Albanian.
21 Q. And if you recall, what was the ethnicity of the owners of the
22 other houses that were set on fire?
23 A. Albanian.
24 Q. Do you remember any of the names of the owners of these other
1 A. No.
2 Q. That's fine. Thank you. You mentioned earlier in your statement
3 at paragraph 5 that there were three Serb families living in the village
4 of Qyshk. Do you know if on that day their houses were set on fire?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Does that mean you don't know that they were on fire or that they
7 were not set on fire?
8 A. They were not set on fire.
9 Q. Thank you. You then say that on this day, around seven men
10 entered the yard of your house and that you left your home with your
11 wife, children, and extended family.
12 Mr. Berisha, why did you decide to leave your home then?
13 A. If you want me to explain, I will. That day, after I left my
14 house with my tractor with a trailer; with my family; my extended family,
15 my brothers and their respective families; I saw about seven policemen
16 and soldiers entering the yard of my house. And even though they didn't
17 do anything wrong that day, I saw them when they entered it. We went on
18 with our trip towards the lower part of the village.
19 Q. If they didn't do anything on that day, why did you decide to
20 leave with your family?
21 A. They started to set fire to the houses and to fire in the air.
22 That's why we started to leave the village. In the middle of the
23 village, in the centre of the village, near the cemetery, a little bit
24 below the cemetery, we stopped -- we were stopped by the police and the
25 army, and they told us to go back because we shouldn't leave the village,
1 they said.
2 If you want me, I can recount the whole story here.
3 Q. No. That's sufficient for now, Mr. Berisha. Thank you.
4 Now, I would like to ask you some questions about the Serbian men
5 involved in this incident.
6 MS. GOPALAN: This is set out in paragraph 14 of the witness
8 If I could call up 65 ter 5258, please.
9 Q. Mr. Berisha, could you describe for us the men who were involved
10 with -- in setting the houses on fire on the 16th and 17th of April?
11 A. Yes. This one in the middle. The second on my left was there
12 that day. The third on my left-hand side was also there, but not very
14 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djordjevic.
15 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the Defence objects
16 to the photographs being shown since we don't know who took the
17 photographs, when, and we don't know the source of the photographs.
18 Therefore, in our view the photographs cannot be used as evidence in this
19 case. Thank you.
20 JUDGE PARKER: That's a somewhat similar objection to one that
21 Mr. Djurdjic has made on more than one occasion. It's not the practice
22 that would always apply in this Tribunal, Mr. Djordjevic. It's a matter
23 of whether the people or the scene in the photograph are sufficiently and
24 reliably identified by the witness which determines whether or not it
25 will be admitted. We'll see whether that condition is satisfied. Thank
2 Yes, Ms. Gopalan.
3 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you.
4 MS. GOPALAN:
5 Q. Mr. Berisha, just to take a step back, do you recognise any of
6 the men that you see in the photograph before you?
7 A. That day I recognised these two I have in front of me and some
8 others. These two in the middle.
9 Q. And had you seen these two men before mid-April when they came to
10 your village?
11 A. Yes -- no. I apologise. No, not before that day.
12 Q. Do you know who these two men in the middle are?
13 A. Later I found out that they are Srecko Popovic and Kastratovic,
14 Nenad Kastratovic.
15 Q. And how did you find this out, Mr. Berisha?
16 A. From the photos. I understood that they were the same persons
17 that were -- that were there that night -- that day, sorry.
18 Q. Thank you. And what did these two men do on the 16th or
19 17th of May when they came to your village?
20 A. On the 16th or 17th of May, after we left with our tractors and
21 went to the centre of the village with the families, they ordered us to
22 go back, because they said we were not supposed to leave the village.
23 That day, they confiscated one -- two weapons from Ibrahim Vokshi and
24 told us to go back to our houses and leave the houses only when they told
25 us to.
1 Q. Thank you. Now, when you speak about the confiscation of the
2 weapons - that's in paragraph 11 of your statement - you refer to a
3 senior officer. Is the senior officer you mentioned on this photograph?
4 A. Yes. This one in the middle. The second on my left.
5 Srecko Popovic.
6 Q. Thank you. And was anyone else in this photograph involved in
7 this confiscation of weapons that you talk about?
8 A. Srecko Popovic, but I think he was staying a little bit further
9 away compared to the rest of the group.
10 I don't know if I made myself clear.
11 Q. If you could just clarify who else was involved in the
12 confiscation of the weapons. You mentioned Srecko Popovic initially, and
13 I asked you if there was anyone else involved.
14 A. Yes, yes, but he is not here among the ones that I see in front
15 of me in this picture.
16 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Berisha.
17 MS. GOPALAN: If we could go to the second page of this exhibit,
19 Q. Do you recognise the man on this photograph?
20 A. Yes. It's the same person that I saw in the previous photo,
21 Srecko Popovic.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MS. GOPALAN: And could we please go to page 3 of this exhibit.
24 Is it possible to enlarge it? Thank you very much.
25 Q. Mr. Berisha, do you recognise any of the men on this photograph?
1 Perhaps we could start with the bottom left-hand corner, the man with the
2 headband, and work our way across.
3 A. The one with the headband was a former policeman in Peja
4 municipality at the time. The one in the middle wearing a hat was called
5 Salipur, and the one with the uniform to my right with a machine-gun is
6 called Nevzat. I've mentioned before that these were the two that
7 communicated between each other. They were like officers in charge.
8 They communicated with the persons from the period -- previous picture.
9 The one seated to my right with a sort of a red thing hanging
10 over him was also with them.
11 Q. Okay. We will come back to these photographs in a moment just to
12 clarify the various individuals that you have mentioned, but for now I
13 would like to take you to the events of the 14th of May, 1999. And you
14 talk about this in paragraph 19 of your statement. You say:
15 "At approximately 7.15 hours on 14 May I was at home with my
16 extended family and a number of co-villagers."
17 Could you tell us what happened next?
18 A. Yes. It is a little bit difficult for me, but I will do my best
19 to tell you everything that happened.
20 On the 14th of May, at around 7.00 or 7.15, we were drinking
21 coffee in the yard of the house with other villagers. This is a common
22 thing in our village.
23 We heard gunshots being fired in the upper part of the village.
24 I went out and saw police and army coming towards the village, towards
25 the houses in the village.
1 I returned in the yard. I told my family about this, and my next
2 door neighbour. I said to them that the police and army entered the
3 village and are firing. I saw them in great numbers. I don't know the
4 exact number, but they were a large group coming towards the village.
5 Having informed my next door neighbour, I went back home. My
6 mother begged me to leave the house and not remain there with them
7 because she feared I might get killed since I was able-bodied man and in
8 their eyes a possible member of the KLA. That's why I decided to leave
9 the house.
10 I walked about 200 metres towards a neighbourhood in the middle
11 of the village. That's where I stopped and observed the terrain. I saw
12 that everything was being set on fire, that they were firing in the air.
13 Later on, I went further down the village towards the centre
14 where the incident happened. There I met other villagers from the Lushi
15 and Kelmendi families.
16 A little bit later, about seven to ten minutes later, they came
17 from all sides and ordered us to come out to the road passing by the
19 Q. Thank you, Mr. Berisha. I'll just stop you there to clarify one
20 or two points that you've made.
21 You say:
22 "A little bit later, about seven to ten minutes later, they came
23 from all sides and ordered us to come out to the road passing by the
25 Who are you referring to when you say "they came from all sides"?
1 A. The police and the army. Whenever I say "they," I would kindly
2 ask you to know that I'm referring to the police and the army.
3 Q. Thank you. You mention the Lushi and Kelmendi families, that
4 they also were gathered in the centre of the village. Now, what about
5 the women and children in the group? Where were they?
6 A. Children, women, everybody was gathered there. My family was not
7 there. However, the other families were there with women and children.
8 If I'm not mistaken, we were about 250 people there. So there were
9 children, women, men, all together there.
10 If you want me, I can continue now by telling you how things --
11 how the incident happened.
12 Q. Yes. If you could please continue, Mr. Berisha.
13 A. When they came and threatened us and ordered us to go to the main
14 road and for the men to go on one side of the road and the women and
15 children on the other side of the road, we were then told to throw on the
16 ground everything we had in our pockets, money, cigarettes, whatever
17 happened to be in our pockets at the time. They gave the same order to
18 the women who were on the other side of the road.
19 Q. Mr. Berisha, just to stop you there. If you remember, was there
20 anyone in particular in the group who ordered you to throw everything
21 that you had in your pockets on the ground?
22 A. Yes. Precisely this person here with the police uniform, with
23 the Kalashnikov or machine-gun in his hands. It was him and another
24 person whom I don't really recall.
25 Q. Just to stop you there, are you referring to the photograph
1 that's on the screen before you when you say, "Precisely this person with
2 the police uniform and Kalashnikov"?
3 A. Yes, that person.
4 Q. Do you know who he is, Mr. Berisha?
5 A. I later learned that his name was Nebojsa Minic.
6 Q. Thank you. If you could continue, please. You stopped when the
7 order was given for the women to also empty their pockets. What happened
9 A. Next they took two children of the age of 13 or 14, perhaps, and
10 ordered them to collect everything that was thrown on the ground,
11 documents, ID cards, money, everything that we this thrown on the ground.
12 They designated one of the children to collect the money and the other
13 one to the collect the documents, ID cards, and other items.
14 Once this task was completed, one of them went to the women, and
15 I remember how he grabbed one child by the hair and said to the women,
16 "If you don't empty your pockets and throw on the ground everything you
17 have, I will cut the throat of this child."
18 Out of fear, the women threw on the ground everything they had on
19 them, gold and jewellery, everything they had on them.
20 Shortly after, the person that I mentioned several times asked
21 one of the other guys as to what was the number of men there. I remember
22 that the other man said more than 40, and then he replied to his
23 colleague by saying, "Dobro," which is good. His wishes were
24 satisfied --
25 Q. Thank you, Mr. Berisha.
1 A. -- and throughout this time they were firing in our presence.
2 Q. Thank you. Just to clarify, you have referred to a person you
3 have mentioned several times. Do you remember what his name is?
4 A. Srecko Popovic. As I said, I learned his name later. And
5 Nebojsa Minic.
6 Q. But just to be clear, the individual that you referred to as the
7 person who said, "Dobro," and this is the senior man that you talk about
8 in paragraph 30 of your statement. Am I correct that his name is
9 Srecko Popovic? Is that what you mean?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Thank you. And you also mention that ID cards were collected.
12 Do you know what happened to these ID cards?
13 A. I don't know what happened to the ID cards, whether they were
14 burned or taken away. I really don't know. They were firing in our
15 presence near our feet and in the air, and then they ordered us to take a
16 small path which was about 20 or 30 metres away from where we were to a
17 house of Ajet Gashi. The men started to enter Ajet Gashi's house.
18 Twelve or 13 entered the house, and the rest were told to stand with
19 their heads -- backs on the wall because there was not enough room.
20 May I continue?
21 Q. Just a moment. You have been telling us about what happened to
22 the men. What about the women and children? Where were they at this
24 A. Then I'll try to recall things chronologically. The women and
25 children were taken to a house across the place where I was. This house
1 was on fire. Part of women and children were taken to this house and
2 another part to the next house's yard. The women and children were taken
3 to the yard of the house that was opposite me. The house was on fire,
4 and they were screaming because they were scared. This I could see,
5 because the gate to the yard was open.
6 Q. Mr. Berisha, did you see who set the house on fire?
7 A. The police and the army. They were the ones that burned down
8 everything they saw there. Not the persons, but these people were inside
10 Q. I'm sorry, could you please clarify your answer? I asked who did
11 you see -- my apologies, did you see who set the house on fire, and you
12 said the police and the army. What --
13 A. They were the ones that were setting the houses on fire. I
14 didn't see this personally, but once they entered the yard and when they
15 came out, the house started to burn. But I think -- I can go into more
16 details, but I think I am clear enough.
17 Q. Yes, you are right. You are clear enough on that point. Thank
19 I now would like to take you to paragraph 43 of your statement,
20 and here you say:
21 "A senior soldier directed some of the Serbian forces to take the
22 men from the compound behind me, saying take them their."
23 And you then state that the senior soldier made a certain hand
24 gesture. Could you show us, please, what this gesture was that the
25 senior soldier made? If you could just show us.
1 A. Yes. He was crossing his hands like this, and I understood this
2 to mean take them there and finish them. And later on, I learned that
3 this actually was true. This is exactly what happened.
4 Q. Thank you. Let me just stop you there, Mr. Berisha.
5 MS. GOPALAN: Let the record indicate that the witness made a
6 gesture of crossing his hands over each other with the right hand moving
7 horizontally from the left to the right and the left hand moving from the
8 right to the left.
9 Q. Mr. Berisha, you say -- you explain what the hand gesture meant
10 to you, and you say this is exactly what happened. Can you explain what
11 it is that happened to these men, please?
12 A. The men that were in the yard that I mentioned earlier, 12 or 13
13 of them, were taken out of the house towards the graveyard. I could
14 still see them from there. I later learned this. They went towards the
15 house of Syl Gashi. Later on, I heard the gunshots fired from automatic
16 rifles; and shortly after, I saw flames coming out of the house.
17 I would say ten minutes later, after smoke and fire was coming
18 out of the house, those that had led the group of men towards that house,
19 these soldiers and policemen, came back and told Srecko Popovic and
20 Nebojsa Minic - although there were many, many others whom I didn't
21 know - they told them that they finished them off by making the same
22 gesture with their hands that I already showed you.
23 Shall I continue?
24 Q. Yes, please.
25 A. Immediately afterwards, they discussed something between
1 themselves. They took our watches from our wrists. The more valuable
2 watches were taken, put aside, whereas those cheaper ones to another
4 Later on, Srecko Popovic divided into two the group we were in,
5 directed one part of the group in one direction and the other into
6 another direction. The group I was in, we all had our hands behind our
7 backs and walked towards the graveyard, whereas the other group walked in
8 the opposite direction.
9 When we came near Sadik Gashi's house, we were escorted by five
10 policemen and soldiers. There in the vicinity of this house one of them
11 said, "Not here, because there might be stench." We proceeded towards
12 Sahit Gashi's house.
13 Q. Can I just stop you there, Mr. Berisha? When one of the soldiers
14 said, "Not here because there might be stench," what did you understand
15 that to mean?
16 A. I thought they were going to burn us alive.
17 Q. Thank you. And did they say anything else to your group as they
18 were taking you to the house of Sadik Gashi initially and then later to
19 Sahit's house?
20 A. We proceeded towards Sadik's house. Along the way, they were
21 firing all the time. They were cursing us, saying to us, "Where is NATO
22 now? Where is Tony Blair?" and many, many other offensive words they
24 We went to the corridor of the house. One of these five
25 policemen and soldiers opened the door of the corridor, entered, and then
1 we from the group entered with our hands still on the back of our heads.
2 He open the door to a room and order us to go into that room where the
3 execution occurred later on. It was a four by four room. It had two
4 sofas in an L shape.
5 They ordered us to sit on this L-shaped Sofa. I sat on the
6 corner. On my left I had Arian Lushi, whereas on my right I had
7 Jusuf Shala, who were -- happened to be guests in our village from
8 another village.
9 These soldiers and policemen stopped at the entry, four of them
10 as far as I recall, and I remember very well when I saw the fire fired
11 from the machine-gun. The first bullets were fired into my direction.
12 It was uninterrupted fire directed towards my side by one of them and
13 another one directed his fire on the other side of the Sofa. I was not
14 wounded then.
15 The fire stopped for a short time, then a burst of fire came from
16 the opposite direction, from the left side, and I was hit the first time
17 on my left leg and the second time on my right knee.
18 After this second round of -- volley of fire, there was a brief
19 pause. You could hear the cries of the men who had been shot. There was
20 still people alive amongst them. And then I heard them fire one bullet
21 on each of the men. They started from my left side and continued up to
22 one or two persons away from me and there they stopped. I don't know the
23 reason why they stop. Maybe they ran out of bullets.
24 I survived this execution. It stopped. They went outside. I
25 tried to open my eyes a little bit and have a look around in the room
1 where I was. And on my left I saw them piled on top of each other, and I
2 saw blankets on the upper part of the room to my left. I touched
3 Arian Lushi. He was dead. I tried to move him. He wasn't moving.
4 Isuf Shala who was to my right was also dead. I was thinking of getting
5 up. They were covered with sponge.
6 I was thinking of getting up when I saw them piled like that, but
7 in split of a second I decided to look through the window. The window
8 was behind me, and instinctively I turned my head and saw five of them
9 talking among each other. One of them broke away from that group and
10 walked into the corridor of the house. He had kind of a bottle or
11 something in his canister, a longish shaped, and threw it in.
12 I started to catch fire very fast. The fire caught my face, and
13 at that time I was -- I didn't know where I was, whether on the ground or
14 floating. For a moment I couldn't see anything. I thought I was buried
15 deep in the ground.
16 I was trying to stand on my foot. I couldn't, but I guess God
17 helped me. I came next to the door. To tell you the truth, I tried to
18 stand up not to survive that execution but to be killed by a bullet and
19 not be burnt alive.
20 After I went to the door, I started to breathe and to see. There
21 I saw that they were no longer there and decided to walk in the direction
22 of the next room using my left leg. There I saw that the room was
23 covered in flames. Even if there were fire -- a fire brigade there, they
24 wouldn't have been able to extinguish it.
25 I went to the window, and I saw parked outside in the street,
1 tractors, trucks, cars. I didn't see any policemen or soldiers at that
2 moment. I opened the window, and holding in my hands the right leg
3 because it was injured, broken, I used the left leg and crawled out of
4 the window. It was about 1 metre and 70 centimetres high. And then I
5 crawled on my back until the corner of the house. It may be
6 5 or 6 metres away, I'm not clear. And then I went to the corner to the
7 fence surrounding -- dividing the houses. It was -- there was wire there
8 in that -- in that fence. And nobody was there to help me. During all
9 this time, I tried to help myself. But I could hear the moans and the
10 anguished cries, the sounds of cars, tractors. During all this time
11 there was continuous -- continuous fire and shots.
12 I feel very excited at this moment because I'm reliving, you
13 know, what I went through that day.
14 As I said, I tried to help myself. I tied up my right leg with
15 my belt, and I looked at my left leg. I tried to tie the wound in order
16 to prevent the blood from coming out.
17 Q. Mr. Berisha --
18 A. Half an hour later --
19 Q. Let me just stop you there. Thank you very much. If we could
20 just go back to the house you were in. You say that you jumped out of
21 the window and that the house was on fire.
22 Do you know what caused the house to burn?
23 A. As I said, there were some blankets there which were on fire.
24 And as I said, they threw this bottle with gas, I think, and that helped
25 the fire. And so as I said, I couldn't breathe at that moment. I lost
1 consciousness. After -- even ten days after that, I used to spit out
3 I don't know if I'm clear. If you have questions, you may ask
5 Q. The blanket that you say were on fire, did you see how they
6 caught fire?
7 A. I only saw them after these people left. I saw the blankets that
8 were burning. How can I explain to you? They were set on fire.
9 Q. How many of you were in this group of yours?
10 A. To my recollection, 12 or 13. Even though I don't like to
11 mention names, but I think about 13.
12 Q. And of those 12 or 13 men, how many survived this incident?
13 A. Only myself.
14 Q. In paragraph 64 of your statement you speak about the roof of
15 this house you were in collapsing. Do you know why this roof collapsed?
16 A. From the fire, because the entire house was set on fire, and then
17 the roof collapsed in, caved in, and it fell down.
18 Q. Thank you. And you also say that when you were in the yard after
19 you jumped out of the window, you heard activity around you, and you
20 heard orders being given to set things on fire. Do you remember what
21 language these orders were given in?
22 A. In Serbian. In Serbian language.
23 Q. Thank you. Now, following this incident, Mr. Berisha, what
24 injuries did you sustain?
25 A. I was injured on both my legs, on my left, on the knee of the
1 left leg, and on the right knee, and on the hip of the left leg. They
2 were simultaneous injuries I sustained, and my right leg was broken in
3 seven or eight places. Only the skin held the pieces together.
4 Do you want further explanations how that happened?
5 Q. No, that's sufficient. Thank you. But how -- let me rephrase
6 the question.
7 You have mentioned a number of injuries. Do you suffer any
8 permanent injuries following this indent?
9 A. Yes. My right leg is about 4 or 5 centimetres shorter. Because
10 of that, I limp even today.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 A. I use crutches.
13 Q. Now, earlier in your testimony you mentioned that there were two
14 other groups of men that were taken away. One went to the house of
15 Syl Gashi you mentioned. Now, you were in the remaining two groups.
16 What about the third group? Where did they go? Whose house were they
17 taken to?
18 A. The group I was in was divided in two parts. I don't know where
19 they were taken to, but at a later phase I realised that they were taken
20 to the house of Deme Gashi.
21 Q. And what happened to the men who were taken to the house of
22 Deme Gashi?
23 A. They suffered the same fate. They were all killed. Only one
24 survived. Iljaz Kelmendi in the house of Syl Gashi, Isa Gashi survived.
25 So God willed that in each of the three houses one survived.
1 Q. Thank you. And if you recall, how many men were killed in your
2 village Qyshk on that day, the 14th of May?
3 A. A total of 41 from the entire village, including men from the
4 upper part of the village and the part we were in. So a total of 41.
5 Q. And, Mr. Berisha, do you know if there were any other killings in
6 villages chose to Qyshk on that day, if you know?
7 A. Yes. On the same day after Qyshk village they went to
8 Pavlan village, Zahaq village. In these three villages, Qyshk, Pavlan,
9 and Zahaq, maybe a total of 80 persons were killed in half a day.
10 Q. Thank you. And in your own village of Qyshk
11 killings prior to the 14th of May, if you know?
12 A. Yes. Yes, there were. I don't remember the exact date, but it
13 was either on the 13th or the 14th when I heard shots. And there was a
14 man and a woman taken from the city and killed in the vicinity of the
15 road, Peja-Prishtina road, near a store there. They were elderly people
16 who we were not able to bury because, as I said, we suffered our own
17 fate. And I think they -- their corpse -- their bodies were eaten by the
19 Q. Do you know who was responsible for the killing of these elderly
20 folk either on the 13th or 14th of May?
21 A. The police and soldiers were those who took them.
22 Q. How do you know that, Mr. Berisha?
23 A. Because they were the ones who did such things. Everything that
24 happened was committed by the police and the soldiers. And you can --
25 you could see their presence from a distance. They were the only ones
1 that were doing these things.
2 Q. Did you see police or soldiers in the village of Qyshk
3 about the time this elderly couple was killed?
4 A. Not in the village, inside the village. This happened in the
5 vicinity of the road.
6 Q. So did you see any police or soldiers in the vicinity of the
8 A. Yes. Yes. When the murder took place, I heard the shots, and I
9 saw a car with police and soldiers passing by. That car passed. After,
10 we heard the shots. So we saw the police car passing by. After, we
11 heard the shots, but we couldn't take their bodies. This happened at
12 about 7.00, 8.00 in the evening.
13 On the next day, they came to our village. So later we heard
14 that their bodies were eaten by dogs.
15 This was just to give you an explanation about what happened.
16 Q. Thank you. And you also mentioned some killings in the village
17 of Pavlan and Zahac. Do you know who was responsible for those killings
18 in the nearby villages?
19 A. The same people, because the same persons who were in our village
20 continued their work further away in the Pavlan and Zahaq village,
21 because during the day we heard constant shots and could see the smoke or
22 fire coming from all over the place. I didn't mention before, but
23 besides the shots you could see the smoke coming from all over the place.
24 Q. Thank you. I'd now like to clarify the names of some of the
25 individuals in the photograph before you.
1 MS. GOPALAN: I think we still have it on our screen,
2 Your Honours.
3 Q. Now, you mentioned during your testimony today an individual
4 named Nebojsa Minic. Is he on the photograph before you? Could you
5 describe --
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. -- or identify him in the photograph?
8 A. He's the person with the police uniform. He has a machine-gun in
9 his hand, and he was the person, as I said earlier, I'm repeating, the
10 person, the key person, with Srecko Popovic. These are the two key
11 persons regarding what happened that day.
12 Q. Thank you. Just to clarify, is this the person who's standing
13 with the cigarette in his mouth?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. And on the 14th of May, did you see anyone else in this
16 photograph in your village?
17 A. Yes. Yes. I saw this one with a band, headband, but also the
18 other one who is sitting on my right-hand side. I think he has something
19 red on his shoulder. Now I remember they were there too.
20 Q. The man with the headband, had you seen him prior to the incident
21 in your village on the 14th of May?
22 A. Yes. He was a policeman even before, and this one in the middle
23 was also -- this one with the cap was also a policeman. Both of them
24 were policemen even before what happened in the village. Even before the
25 war, I would say.
1 Q. Now, you --
2 A. Before 1998, I would say.
3 Q. Thank you. You mentioned the man with the cap standing right in
4 the middle. Do you know his name?
5 A. Yes, I know his pseudonym, Salipur. I don't know his real name.
6 Q. That's sufficient. Thank you. What else did you know about
7 Salipur apart from the fact that he was a policeman?
8 A. Every citizen that was stopped in the street, he was maltreated
9 by this person. He was notorious for the maltreatment of people. The
10 maltreatment of Albanians, not other ethnicities.
11 Q. Thank you.
12 MS. GOPALAN: If we could move on to the next page of this
13 exhibit, please.
14 Q. Mr. Berisha, do you recognise this photograph?
15 A. Yes. It's me there in the house where the crime was committed.
16 Q. And when you say in the house the crime was committed, you mean
17 the house of -- whose house are you referring to?
18 A. The house of Sahit Gashi.
19 Q. And do you know when this photograph was taken?
20 A. No. I don't remember.
21 Q. And do you know who took this photograph, if you do?
22 A. I don't remember that. I don't remember.
23 Q. Thank you. Now, just to move on to another topic, you say in
24 your statement --
25 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Gopalan, we've come and gone with these
1 photographs more than once. Are you proposing to tender them?
2 MS. GOPALAN: I was hoping to show them once more, another page,
3 before I tendered it all at once.
4 JUDGE PARKER: I see.
5 MS. GOPALAN: But I'm --
6 JUDGE PARKER: Well, no. You do it your way, as long as you
7 haven't forgotten. But before you finish with the witness, you may learn
8 from him, if you could, how he knew the names of the people that he is
9 naming in his evidence.
10 MS. GOPALAN:
11 Q. Mr. Berisha, during your testimony today you have mentioned a
12 number of names. Popovic, for example, Minic. Could you explain to us
13 how it is you came to know the names of these individuals?
14 A. I think I am -- if I'm not mistaken, that I didn't know them by
15 names, but from the photos I recognise them by sight. But later on I
16 learned that they were called as I mentioned, Salipur, this nickname --
17 this person I knew personally as a policeman, even though I never had
18 anything to do with him, but I knew that everybody called him by this
20 The other policeman that I mentioned later, I didn't know his
21 name, but people called him Pucrrani because his face was full of
22 pimples. Pucrrani in Albanian means pimple face. Then, later, as I
23 said, I learned their names.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 A. I hope I'm clear now.
1 Q. Thank you. If we could just go back to the photograph --
2 JUDGE PARKER: Not for my purposes. From who was this learned?
3 MS. GOPALAN: I will ask the question, Your Honours.
4 Q. Who was it who told you the names of these people? How did you
5 learn this?
6 A. After we identified them on these photos, later on I could
7 identify them through a book which I have at home. But I don't know the
8 person who identified them by name, because there were many people who
9 identified them. I can't give you any name. But I have a book; in that
10 book you have all these names.
11 If you want some more explanation, you can ask me.
12 Q. Now, these -- this book that you say that has the photos, when
13 did you see this book for the first time?
14 A. This book was given to me as a present by those who collected
15 these notes. Because I was a participant in the event. Because of that,
16 they gave that book to me as a present.
17 Q. And do you know who it is that gave you this book? Those who
18 collected the notes, who are they?
19 A. Radio Vojs [phoen] if I'm not mistaken. I have given several
20 statements that there may be other persons who have collected such notes.
21 Radio Vojs as far as I know is one of them. I don't know the accurate
22 name of the organisation or the persons who collected such notes. At
23 this moment, it doesn't come to my mind.
24 Q. Thank you.
25 MS. GOPALAN: Your Honours, if that sufficiently clear, or would
1 you like to --
2 JUDGE PARKER: It is clear, but it leaves us without any reliable
3 basis for names, as you would realise. The witness has been told or has
4 been given a book with names in it. That doesn't help us reach the point
5 of identification of the individuals.
6 MS. GOPALAN:
7 Q. If I could just go back to the previous page of this -- of this
8 exhibit before us.
9 Now, you mentioned today someone called Pucrrani. Is that person
10 in this photograph?
11 A. Yes, the one with the band, headband. On my left side.
12 Q. And where had you seen him before?
13 A. He was a policeman in the town of Peja.
14 Q. Thank you. Now, this photograph that you have before you, when
15 did you see it for the first time?
16 A. I saw this photo with the other photos. I don't think I have
17 mentioned it in my statement, but after our killing, let's say, there
18 were some investigators and different organisations that came to ask us
19 about that incident, and they showed us some photos. They showed us
20 these photos, and we identified the persons we knew. This person that
21 I'm mentioning, this one you asked me about, I've seen him several times
22 in Peja, because he was a policeman there. The other person wearing a
23 cap, he was also a policeman in the town of Peja.
24 Later on, based on the photos, I don't know who asked me because
25 I've seen many, but during one of these occasions they gave me this book
1 I mentioned; but I don't recall who was the first to show me the photos
2 and where this happened. Very frankly, I am saying that I have seen such
3 photos several times, but I don't remember when and who showed them to
5 If I'm not clear, I'm sorry. You may ask me again.
6 MS. GOPALAN: Your Honours, I just have another short topic to
7 deal with. With your leave, I wonder if we to take our break at the
9 JUDGE PARKER: We must take our first break and resume at 10
10 minutes past 4.00.
11 --- Recess taken at 3.41 p.m.
12 --- On resuming at 4.11 p.m.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Ms. Gopalan.
14 MS. GOPALAN: Thank you, Your Honours.
15 Q. Mr. Berisha, just to pick up where we left off. We were talking
16 about the photograph on the screen before you, and you say that they
17 showed us this photographs and we identified the persons we knew. Could
18 you tell us, Mr. Berisha, when you say, "We identified the persons we
19 knew," did you identify them by name or by sight?
20 A. By sight at the time. As far as the one with the headband is
21 concerned, I know that he was a policeman, although I didn't mention his
22 name in the statement. I knew that he was a policeman, as was the person
23 with the cap.
24 Q. Now, this person with the headband, how did you know that he was
25 a policeman?
1 A. I think I mentioned it earlier. He was a policeman in Peja. He
2 was an active policeman, as they called them. Although he is wearing a
3 military uniform here, at the time he had a police uniform. They used to
4 wear the uniforms they wanted regardless of whether it was military or
5 police uniform. That's why I'm saying he was a policeman, although he is
6 wearing a military uniform on this picture.
7 If you want me to give you more details, I can do that.
8 Q. Thank you. And when you say, At that time he had a police
9 uniform, what time are you referring to?
10 A. I'm talking about the incident of the 14th and about the time
11 when the war was ongoing. The person with the headband and the one with
12 the cap were policemen even before 1998. I'm stating this with full
13 responsibility. Although they're wearing military uniforms in this
14 picture, they were policemen and wore police uniforms at the time.
15 Q. Now, the other men who participated in the incident on the
16 14th of May in Qyshk, were they also wearing uniforms?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. And could you describe for us what uniforms they were wearing,
20 A. On the 14th of May, as well as on the 16th and 17th, the police
21 members were wearing blue police uniform with grey mixture of colours,
22 camouflage, as they call it, whereas the army were wearing green
23 camouflage uniforms.
24 Q. When you refer to the 16th and 17th, could you please clarify
25 what month you are referring to?
1 A. April, about one month before the massacre in the village was
3 Q. Thank you. And finally, if you have a look at the photograph,
4 could you tell us who came to your village, if at all, on the
5 14th of May? Are they present in this photograph?
6 JUDGE PARKER: That's been made very clear, Ms. Gopalan. You
7 have no need to ask that again.
8 MS. GOPALAN: Okay. Thank you, Your Honours. I seek to tender
9 this exhibit into evidence, please.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Now, there have been several photographs shown of
11 which this photograph is one. This happens to be Exhibit P772, if I'm
13 MS. GOPALAN: That's right, Your Honours.
14 JUDGE PARKER: So it doesn't need to be tendered again. It's
15 identified in the transcript. But you've also shown a photograph of this
17 MS. GOPALAN: Yes, that's right.
18 JUDGE PARKER: In a house. A photograph of one of the people in
19 this group photograph standing alone. Are they photographs you intend to
21 MS. GOPALAN: Yes, Your Honours. They're all part of the same
22 65 ter number. The reason I've included this photograph on the screen
23 separately is because I believe it's slightly clearer than the photograph
24 already in evidence, but with Your Honour's guidance, I'm very happy to
25 just tender the ones -- the remaining ones that I've shown to the
1 witness, which I believe are pages 1 and 2 of this exhibit and the
2 photograph with the witness in it.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Pages 1 and 2 will be received,
4 photographs 1 and 2.
5 THE REGISTRAR: And they would be assigned P00797, Your Honours.
6 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
7 MS. GOPALAN: And also page 4 of this exhibit, please, which is
8 the photograph of the witness himself.
9 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Pages 1, 2, and 4, Your Honours, will be assign
11 the same exhibit number as P00797.
12 MS. GOPALAN:
13 Q. Mr. Berisha, at paragraph 23 you say that of the group that was
14 gathered in the village centre and that was surrounded by 70 policemen,
15 this group did not include any members of your family. Where were your
16 family members? This is going back to the 14th of May.
17 A. They were at home. My entire family was in my house. But later
18 on, my mother told me that when the police and army came there my son,
19 who was 11 months at the time, a police or a soldier approached him, put
20 the barrel of his automatic in his mouth, and demanded money from those
21 present or else he threatened to kill the child. My wife was scared to
22 death and could no longer hold my son in her arms. She dropped him. My
23 now late mother gave them 500 Deutschmarks.
24 Later on, they told my family to take the main road towards Peja.
25 Perhaps because of my emotions, I'm overwhelmed with emotion, and I
1 didn't mention everything that happened, but I'm taking this opportunity
2 to tell you now that they were told to go towards Peja, and then they
3 were again sent back home. So they had to come back to the village on
4 two occasions.
5 You may ask me further questions if you want me to clarify any
7 Q. How did they go to Peja on that day?
8 A. That day, the women, children, and elderly who happened to be in
9 their homes were taken by tractors covered with plastic covers in the
10 direction of the town. Not only my family but the other families who had
11 remained in the village at the time were taken towards the town in
13 Q. Can you recall how big was this group that was taken towards the
14 town in tractors?
15 A. Probably between 200 and 250 people, men, elderly men, children,
16 and women. Maybe even more, but I don't really recall the exact number.
17 Q. And how did you learn about this incident?
18 A. I learned about it from my mother, who has died.
19 Q. And when you say that your family was sent to Peja and returned
20 back, was that on the same day?
21 A. Yes, on the same day.
22 Q. Thank you. Mr. Berisha, I'd just like to clarify a question that
23 I asked you. Perhaps the error was in my question. I'd asked you about
24 the incident that took place in mid-April. Perhaps I could read the
25 question for you just to clarify. This is in relation to your answer on
1 the confiscation of weapons from Ibrahim Vokshi and that you were told to
2 go to your house and "leave the house only when they told us to."
3 Now, this incident when you were asked to go back to your house
4 and then return only when they ordered you to do so, when did that take
5 place? Was that on the 16th or 17th of May? That's what's reflected in
6 the transcript.
7 A. On the 16th or 17th of May, when we were sent back, when we were
8 not allowed to leave the village. This happened on the same day, on the
9 16th or the 17th.
10 On this same day, Ibrahim Lushi, or Ibrahim Vokshi handed over a
11 hunting rifle and a pistol, a handgun.
12 Q. So am I correct that this took place in May and not in April as
13 you say in your statement?
14 A. I apologise. I apologise. One month approximately before the
15 May incident, 16th or 17th of April. I'm talking about April now. I
16 apologise for this mistake.
17 Q. Thank you very much. And we also referred to three Serb families
18 living in the village of Qyshk
19 statement. Could you clarify if this was the total number of Serb
20 families living in Qyshk?
21 A. If I'm not mistaken, I mentioned in my statement that there were
22 three households, not three families in the village, because one
23 household can comprise of four or five families.
24 I didn't mention the other houses, because I wasn't sure whether
25 they belonged to Qyshk village or to the village adjacent to Qyshk.
1 Q. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Berisha. I have no further questions for
2 you at this stage.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
4 Mr. Djordjevic, do you cross-examine?
5 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honour. If I have --
6 if I may have a moment to prepare myself.
7 Cross-examination by Mr. Djordjevic:
8 Q. [Interpretation] Good afternoon. I will be putting questions to
9 you arising from the examination that my learned friend has just
10 completed, and I kindly ask you to give me short answers.
11 Mr. Berisha, can you tell me what is your profession and what was
12 it that you did in late May of 1999? Were you employed? Did you have
13 any sort of occupation at all?
14 A. If you can repeat your question, please. I didn't understand it.
15 Q. What is your profession? What is your educational background?
16 A. I've completed secondary school.
17 Q. For which particular vocation?
18 A. Shoemaker.
19 Q. I haven't received interpretation. Right. Tell me, were you
20 employed in 1999? Were you working?
21 A. I was an employee in the shoe factory, but in 1999 I wasn't
22 working. Nobody was working from the Albanians.
23 Q. When did you stop working, if you can tell me.
24 A. I'm not quite sure about the date, but I think it was in 1998. I
25 don't know the exact month.
1 Q. Thank you. Tell me, was the factory located in Pec, the factory
2 you worked for?
3 A. Yes, in Peja.
4 Q. Thank you. Are you employed today?
5 A. No.
6 Q. Thank you. When did you have the first contact with the ICTY OTP
7 and their investigators, in which year?
8 A. Are you referring to the time when I came here or to a time
10 Q. No. No. My question was when it was that you had the very first
11 contact with the ICTY investigators. You don't need to tell me the
12 month. The year would be enough.
13 A. In May 2008 when I gave my statement, that's when I met them. I
14 met them immediately after the incident occurred, but I don't know the
15 exact date when this meeting took place. I think I'm clear I don't
16 remember the exact date.
17 Q. Am I right if I say that your first encounter with the ICTY
18 investigators was back in 1999 and not in 2008, as you've just mentioned?
19 A. After 1999, many people came to see me, but the statement I gave
20 and why I'm here today, this statement was taken in May last year, 2008.
21 Q. Did you offer to give a statement or did they approach you first?
22 A. I gave the statement out of my free will. They came because they
23 were intrigued with this case and the circumstances under which I
25 Q. That's precisely what I'm interested in. How did you come to
1 inform them that you were the only survivor of the Cuska incident? Was
2 it you, or was it somebody else who informed them of it, or is it the
3 case that you don't know anything about it?
4 A. I don't know. I don't know how they learnt about it.
5 Q. I'd like to know if you had filled out a questionnaire on the
6 28th of July, 1999, which had to do precisely with the events you
7 testified to today. Did you answer questions put to you by an individual
8 who introduced himself or herself as a representative of the committee
9 for human rights and freedoms in Kosovo? Do you recall that? That was
10 the union or alliance for the defence of human rights and freedoms.
11 A. As I already said, I gave many, many statements. I don't
12 remember who came to see me, but I did give many statements.
13 Q. Thank you. What did you have in mind when you said that you gave
14 a statement for the ICTY shortly after the events in Cuska, i.e., in
15 1999? Who did you have in mind?
16 A. Can you -- you're asking me the same question for the second
17 time. I don't remember who came to see me first or second. I gave many,
18 many statements. I think I already answered your question the first
20 Q. I'm not clear on that, and probably nobody else in the courtroom
21 is. My first question to you was -- was about your first contact with
22 the representatives of the ICTY Prosecution. You first said that it was
23 in 2008, and that was the statement you gave which is beyond doubt.
24 However, you also stated that you gave a statement for the Tribunal
25 shortly after the events transpired. Can you please tell me is my
1 understanding correct or not?
2 A. No. At that time, immediately after the incident, I didn't know
3 who was who when they came to see me, and when I gave statements. This
4 statement that we have today is a statement that I gave in 2008.
5 Q. Thank you. In your statement you say that you served the
6 military service in 1981 in Nis
7 speciality, the VES as it was known in the army?
8 A. Infantry for the first six months, although in the military
9 booklet, as profession I had "shoemaker" listed.
10 Q. Tell me, did you serve the entire military service for the entire
12 A. Twelve months.
13 Q. Can you distinguish between the uniforms worn by the
14 Army of Yugoslavia
15 fact that you did the military service?
16 A. Yes. They've changed. At that time they were different from
17 what they are now.
18 Q. In 1981 the uniforms were different from when? Today or 1999?
19 1999 was ten years ago?
20 A. They were different in 81 from those that we are talking about in
22 Q. Very well. Did you know what the military uniforms were like in
23 1999 and 1998? Was there a barracks close to your village?
24 A. No, there was no barracks close to our village, but I described
25 the uniforms earlier on.
1 Q. Can you do the same thing now since we were mentioning 1999 as
2 compared to 1981?
3 A. I was in the army. There was a solid colour uniform. It was a
4 green uniform, a solid green.
5 Q. Do you know what the military uniforms looked like in 1999? Were
6 there solid-colour uniforms or were there other sorts of uniform as well?
7 A. If you are asking me about the army, they were camouflage
8 colours. If you ask me about the uniforms in 1999, there were both blue
9 and camouflage blue. The army had green, solid green and the camouflage
10 green uniforms.
11 Q. You mentioned blue uniforms. What sort were they? Camouflage or
12 solid blue? What was it that you had in mind when mentioning the colour
13 blue in reference to the army?
14 A. I said blue for the police. Don't mix them up. I said the
15 police wore blue, solid blue and camouflage blue uniforms. The army wore
16 green uniforms and camouflage green. I think I'm clear.
17 Q. Now it's come up quite clear. Thank you. I suppose you still
18 have your statement dating from May of 2008 that you gave to the OTP. It
19 is in evidence in this case. And I'll ask you to look at paragraph 15,
20 please, which states as follows:
21 "Three or four days after the incident, I was in the centre of
22 the village speaking with a group of maybe eight male friends ..."
23 I have to slow down. I guess it's for the sake of
25 " ... including Syl Gashi (now deceased). As we spoke, two
1 vehicles, one army and one police, entered the village and stopped a
2 short distance from where we were standing."
3 In the next paragraph you say that four soldiers came out of the
4 military vehicle and four policemen out of the police vehicle.
5 Can we please set a date on this, since in one of your statements
6 you referred to a certain period of time and described the very same
7 event. Am I right if I say that this event, in fact, refers to the
8 17th of April, 1999, or am I wrong? Was it earlier or was it later?
9 You have paragraphs 15 and 16 in front of you, so please look at
11 A. This happened after the 15th or 16th of April. I cannot be
12 accurate. It might be up to -- up to one, two, or three days, within
13 that time-frame, after the 16th.
14 Q. Very well. That's clear now.
15 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Can I ask the registrar to call
16 up Exhibit D003-6348. I think that's the English version of the
17 questionnaire, which is an original prepared by the Union for the Defence
18 of Human Rights and Freedoms from Pristina, Kosovo. If I cited it
19 correctly. Let me just check the number. 6348. No, not 63 -- 0348.
20 That's the right number, 0348. D003-0348.
21 Q. Of course, let's look at page 2. In your statement you say that:
22 "A month before the crime happened, i.e., on the 3rd or
23 4th of April, 1999, 12 to 13 uniformed persons came in a military jeep
24 and started shooting in the air. They told us that they were regular
25 army and that they wouldn't provoke us. They came on the 17th of April
1 and set the houses on fire and we moved to another neighbourhood where it
2 was safer. They wanted us to hand them over weapons and they appointed
3 the following day as the day to deliver the same. They were regular
4 army, but there were also paramilitaries. They took a nice car, some 10
5 to 15.000 German marks from Syl Gashi --"
6 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... slow down.
7 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise. You're right.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Gopalan.
9 MS. GOPALAN: Your Honours, since Mr. Djordjevic is quoting quite
10 extensively from the statement, I wonder if it's possible to have up an
11 Albanian version of it to assist the witness at the moment. I don't
12 think that's on the screen.
13 JUDGE PARKER: I don't know the answer at the moment.
14 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] If I may be of assistance. It
15 does not exist. I haven't seen an Albanian translation of this
16 statement, and that's why I'm quoting from the statement to save time for
17 the Prosecution, the Court, and myself. I meant to suggest to -- and I
18 suggested that the English version be placed on the screens for all those
19 who use English. I also wanted to call up the Albanian version, but I
20 was unable to find it. That's the only reason why I'm reading out for
21 the benefit of the witness.
22 With your leave, I would proceed to put questions to the witness
23 in relation to his 2008 statement and his 1999 statement.
24 JUDGE PARKER: It would probably be helpful if you could identify
25 what is different about the two and ask if the witness can explain any
1 difference. You've quoted a long section of it, but I think you need to
2 take the witness's mind to what it is that's different as you see it.
3 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] That's precisely what I was
4 about to do, Your Honour. I do admit that the quotation was longish, but
5 I wanted to make sure that I cannot be told that I took a part of the
6 witness's statement out of the context in an attempt to facilitate the
7 Defence case in this improper way.
8 However, what I was about to ask the witness before my learned
9 friend stood up was: Why is it now, in 2009, nine years later, he stated
10 that there were -- or rather, In 1999 you stated that there were two
11 vehicles arriving, a police and a military car, whereas in his -- so in
12 2008 he mentioned police and military car, whereas in 1999 statement he
13 only mentions the regular army without referring to the police.
14 So apparently on the 17th of April, in addition to the jeep, a
15 police car showed up. So where did the police come out of when the
16 witness clearly stated in his statement on the 28th of July, 1999
17 "They wanted us to hand over our weapons and they set the
18 following day as the deadline. There were regular military personnel, as
19 well as the paramilitaries there."
20 Apparently the witness is familiar with the police because he saw
21 them --
22 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djordjevic, do you have a question for the
24 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] The question is: Where does
25 this discrepancy between the two statements come from? Why is he
1 mentioning police forces now in -- or, rather, in 2008, whereas back then
2 in 1999 when his memories of the events were fresh he did not mention the
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I answer it?
5 JUDGE PARKER: Please.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You have read it very well from
7 what I see it. I have stated several times it was not the same event.
8 That happened at the beginning of April or the end of March, which means
9 I gave it on the 2nd, on the 3rd of April, and I talked about the regular
10 army. They came by a police jeep and fired in the air, and I saw it with
11 my own eyes. They came there. They fired in the air and said, "Don't be
12 afraid of us. We are regular army," and I'm quoting. "And we won't do
13 anything to you unless you do anything to us."
14 And this happened on the 3rd or 4th. I'm not accurate about the
15 time. It was the beginning of April. Whereas on the 16th of April, I
16 talked about the police and the army, and one or two days after that date
17 they came there with two cars. And I mentioned this in my statement,
18 because this is something I saw it with my own eyes, not -- I didn't hear
19 from others. That they came there after the 16th or the 17th to ask for
20 money, as I said earlier.
21 They said -- they addressed the deceased Syl Gashi, saying that
22 "We didn't find any weapons." They went together to his house. I think
23 they got a BMW car from him, and then they said, up to 3.000 Deutschmark.
24 They took it from Syl Gashi. They took the car and went in the direction
25 of the main road, the Peja road.
1 This is simply by way of explanation in reference to my statement
2 of 1998, 1999. I am speaking about events which I was an eyewitness of
3 and not heard from others.
4 JUDGE PARKER: What Mr. Djordjevic pointed out to you is that in
5 the statement you gave in 1999, you said there in respect of the
6 17th of April, you appear to have said "They were regular army, but there
7 were also paramilitaries." There's no mention of the police, and so he
8 asks you why is it that you now say there were police and army. Can you
9 help us with that?
10 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I'll try. I said army and police,
11 but someone may describe the army as paramilitaries. I don't know,
12 because I don't know what the people who have gotten down my statement
13 have written there. I have used the word "army." People may describe it
14 as paramilitaries, but for me there were police and army, if I am clear
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Does that help you, Mr. Djordjevic?
17 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I hope that it helps all of us.
18 At any rate, that's the answer the witness gave us.
19 Q. I have to go back to the 28th of July, 1999, statement where,
20 having read the entire statement carefully, I must say that you did not
21 mention the police once. You solely mentioned the army and
22 paramilitaries. My search engine on the computer said that in the 2008
23 statement you mention the police on 29 occasions and not once in your
24 1999 statement. So how come nine years later you mention the police 29
25 times and you did not mention them once back in 1999 when you testified
1 to the events that had transpired shortly before and when your memories
2 were fresh?
3 A. I already gave the answer. I have no other answer.
4 Q. You haven't answered my question though. How come that you did
5 not mention the police in 1991 a single time? You kept referring to
6 regulars, and on a couple of occasions you mentioned some irregulars, but
7 that was it.
8 A. I don't remember to have mentioned the irregular -- irregulars in
9 my statement.
10 Since you are saying this, I'm repeating. There were police and
11 army. I don't know, but I'm saying now that this is what they were, and
12 I'm saying this in full responsibility, irrespective of what you are
13 putting to me in respect of my statement. I am saying this not because I
14 want to accuse anyone by saying that but because this is how it was.
15 Q. I will put to you another part of your statement of the
16 28th of July, 1999, which does not tally with what you said in 2008.
17 You say the following on page 2, I think paragraph 3:
18 "I went a short distance away so as not to be killed in front of
19 my family. The rest of the family and some 40 guests which had taken
20 refuge in my house remained inside."
21 That's what you said in 1999, whereas nine years later, you say
22 that in your house there were 17 members. It is paragraph 7 of your
23 statement. You say:
24 "In May 1999 I was in Qyshk with my wife and family."
25 THE INTERPRETER: Would Mr. Djordjevic please slow down when
1 quoting. Thank you.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] May I answer it?
3 JUDGE PARKER: Please.
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 2008 I was asked only about my
5 narrow family, and I wasn't asked about the overall number of guests in
6 my family. That's why I stated my narrow, close family. My brothers --
7 the extended family, including my brothers, their wives and son,
8 consisted of 17 members. The truth is that there were 40 others, women,
9 children, men who were there, but I wasn't asked at that time this
10 question that you're putting to me now in 2008.
11 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. Thank you. In 1999, you -- or, rather, the person who questioned
13 you called those people guests, but it is clear to all of us in the
14 courtroom that one cannot have 40 guests in the house. Who were these
15 people? If I understood well, these 40 people were there on top of the
16 17 members of your family. Am I correct?
17 A. If you insist on me saying what you want, yes, these people were
18 people living about 200 or so metres away from me house. They left their
19 houses and came and found shelter in my village -- in my house. They
20 were from the same village but from a higher up place, and they were
21 about 40 persons. My family -- extended family members were 17 persons.
22 So they were from the same village but living a little bit further away.
23 Is the answer I gave you.
24 Q. Two hundred metres away from your house? Is that what you said?
25 A. Two hundred, 300, far from the Peja town. Called Fushe e Pejes,
1 Peja Field. I don't know how more explicitly can I describe it. It is
2 part of the village but it is called Fushe e Pejes, Peja Field.
3 Q. Thank you. How many men were there, say between the ages of 20
4 and 60 save for yourself? Were your brothers there as well, as well as
5 the neighbours who had arrived? Out of the total figure, how many men
6 were there aged between 20 and 60?
7 A. When do you mean?
8 Q. At that time.
9 A. You mean the people who were gathered in the courtyard of my
11 Q. Let me try to be more precise. You say that at the moment when
12 you left the house, when your mother asked you to go out so as not to be
13 killed, you say that those 40 guests remained in the house in addition to
14 your family and you left. That is, I presume, the 14th of May, 1999.
15 I'm asking you this: Who remain in the house? your brothers?
16 your neighbours? Were there any men there, or was it all just women and
17 children in the house?
18 A. In my statement I said women and children. You have the
19 statement. If you ask me, I can -- if their Honour, Judges, ask me
20 questions I may answer them, but otherwise you have everything in my
22 Q. In the statement you said:
23 "I went a distance away so as not to be killed in front of my
24 family. The rest of the family and some 40 guests who were in my house
25 remained behind."
1 You did not mention any women and children. That is why I'm
2 asking you this. Were there any men in your house when you left? Where
3 were your brothers, for instance, since you said you had two?
4 In your statement, in paragraph 7 in the statement of 2008, and
5 paragraph 3 of your statement from 1999, this is what you say, and my
6 conclusion is that everyone remained in the house except for yourself.
7 That's why I'm asking you were there any men there. If you can tell me,
9 A. I am repeating that after I saw the police and the army, I went
10 home. I told everyone what I saw. We were having coffee. The people
11 went in the direction of the village. I remained at home. I went to my
12 first neighbour, told them what was happening, and I saw them leave the
13 house and head somewhere. I don't know where. This is the truth. And I
14 was not asked then at the time when I gave the statement where and who.
15 Q. That is why I'm asking you for the last time. Did your two
16 brothers remain in the house as well as some other men or not on that
18 A. As I said, they left before me. I left afterwards. As soon as I
19 told them that the army and the police had entered the village, they
20 left. I remained in the house. When my mother insisted that I leave
21 too, I left.
22 Q. Thank you. Mr. Berisha, since in 1999, as well as in 2008, you
23 used the term "paramilitary" on several occasions. What do you
24 understand by that term?
25 A. I don't understand your question.
1 Q. In your interview to the investigators of this Tribunal, on
2 several occasions you used the word "paramilitary." I'm interested in
3 the following: What do you understand that term to mean, and then I will
4 have a follow-up question.
5 A. I don't know. You can ask me a follow-up question or a next
6 question, and if I remember, then I can come back to this one.
7 Q. Therefore, I can conclude that you do not know what
8 "paramilitary" means.
9 A. No, I don't know. I'm not saying that I don't know, but I will
10 not respond to this question. I'm talking about police and army. I
11 don't know what you call them, paramilitaries or something else. I don't
12 know what others call them. They might as well call them paramilitaries,
13 but for me, for a person who saw everything with his own eyes, they were
14 police and military. This would be my answer to your question.
15 Q. I agree with you as regards 2008 but not 1999, because in 1999
16 you mentioned paramilitaries, and I think in 2008 you did too. In any
17 case, thank you.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Djordjevic, as I understand the evidence of
19 the witness, it is that he did not use the word "paramilitary." He can't
20 say what whoever it was that interviewed him may have written down, but
21 he says he did not use the word "paramilitary."
22 Now, that may explain why your question is not relevant in his
23 mind to what events happened in April and in May, because he says, "I
24 only spoke of the police and the military."
25 I've understood you correctly there, have I, Mr. Berisha?
1 The witness acknowledges yes.
2 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I would have understood the
3 witness had he not -- I understand, Your Honour. I would have understood
4 him, but he had said that he did not wish to respond. If he had remained
5 with the answer, "I don't know," I would have understood that. In any
6 case, I will move on.
7 Q. How many kilometres away from Cuska one comes across the village
8 of Pavlan?
9 A. They are adjacent to each other if I understood you correctly.
10 There is no kilometre between them. There's just like a line, a
11 borderline that divides the two.
12 Q. What about the village of Zahac
13 A. Possibly two and a half or three kilometres far from Qyshk. From
15 Q. The village of Lodja
16 A. From Qyshk?
17 Q. Lodja.
18 A. From Qyshk you mean?
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. Three or more kilometres. I don't know for sure. I'm talking
21 about distance as the crow flies.
22 Q. Do you have any knowledge whether anyone from your village of
23 Cuska belonged to the KLA?
24 A. I know that Agim Ceku was the commander of the KLA. For others,
25 I don't know.
1 Q. In addition to Agim Ceku, do you know of anyone else from the
2 village being a member of the KLA?
3 A. I don't know of anyone else.
4 Q. Given that Lodja is only three kilometres away from Cuska, were
5 you a witness to or do you have any knowledge of the fierce fighting
6 between the KLA and the Serb forces, that is to say the military, in
8 A. I didn't see it myself, but I did hear gunshots.
9 Q. Did you hear of any fighting that took place?
10 A. There were fightings.
11 Q. Perhaps from your neighbours?
12 A. [No interpretation] --
13 Q. Thank you. What are your brother's names?
14 A. -- reputation. Can you repeat your question, please?
15 Q. What are the names of your brothers with whom you shared the
17 A. Nezir Berisha and Fadil Berisha.
18 Q. Were you ever accused by the security forces of Serbia
19 or your brother Nezir took part in the illegal smuggling of arms via
20 Decani, Glodjani, and Cuska, as well as into the field, onwards?
21 A. This is the first time I hear about this. I was never accused in
22 my whole life for such incidents. I wish it were true, this what you
23 just put to me, but as I said, this was the first time I heard about such
24 accusations, from you.
25 Q. Thank you. Was there anyone else in Cuska who shared the same
1 first and last name?
2 A. There is by my first name but not by my last name.
3 Q. The same first and last name, Berisha, Hazir.
4 A. By name Hazir, yes. By last name, Berisha, Hazir Berisha, no.
5 Q. Thank you. Do you know who is Tahir Kelmendi? From Cuska.
6 A. He lives in my village, co-villager of mine.
7 Q. How far is his house from yours?
8 A. About 300 metres as the crow flies. He lives in another road,
9 and I live in another road in the village.
10 Q. Did you see him during that time, around the 14th of May?
11 A. No. I don't remember.
12 Q. Do you have any knowledge of certain events in the area and
13 municipality of Pec pertaining to any Serb civilians being kidnapped? Do
14 you know anything about that?
15 A. No.
16 Q. Do you have any knowledge about whether -- or, rather, that there
17 were many killed members of the police and military in the area of Pec?
18 A. I don't know why you're asking me this question.
19 Q. Do you have any knowledge of that or not? That's all I'm asking
21 A. No.
22 Q. Do you know of Salipur, a policeman from Pec being killed by KLA
23 terrorists? Do you have any knowledge of that?
24 A. I would say the opposite of what you're saying. Salipur was
25 killed. I don't know when and by whom. I don't know who are these
1 terrorists that you're saying. I am here as a witness, and it's the
2 other side that committed terror and terrorism there.
3 Q. Thank you. My question was this: Do you know of any killed
4 soldiers or policemen? You said you didn't know of any terrorists but,
5 however, I conclude that you did know of Salipur being killed, although
6 you don't know who killed him. In any case, I'll move on.
7 Before the events in 1999 and until May of that year, did you see
8 any patrols, army or police patrols, comprising any members of Serb
9 ethnicity from the nearby settlements of Pec, Nakle, Gorazdice in
10 uniform? Did you see such people passing through your village or did you
11 have occasion to see them in Pec when you went there?
12 A. You mean soldiers or policemen wearing uniforms? Can you please
13 put to me shorter and clearer questions, because I really don't
14 understand your questions.
15 Q. I mean all of them, soldiers, policemen, those in camouflage
16 uniforms, those with bandanas, with hats. Did you see any neighbours of
17 yours in any uniforms or outfits of that sort?
18 A. If you're referring to Serbs, that's a different thing. If
19 you're referring to neighbours living around my house, then that's a
20 different thing.
21 Q. My question was clear. Nakle, Gorazdice, and Pec. I limited
22 myself to your neighbourhood.
23 A. In Nakle, Gorazdice, wherever you're saying, the Serbs had
24 uniforms issued to them by the state. They -- all of them had uniforms
25 in their homes. Everybody was aware of that, and I don't know why you're
1 asking me this question. It was public knowledge that they had uniforms
3 Q. Was any of them present on the 14th of May, 1999, in your village
4 when the massacre took place?
5 A. I did mention those that I saw. Maybe there were others from
7 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't get the name of the
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Whereas the others, I don't know
10 where they came from.
11 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. The people you referred to are indeed Popovic and Kastratovic.
13 You say you recognised them since you knew them by sight. Where did you
14 see them before that? And you saw some of the photographs. What can you
15 tell me about Kastratovic, for instance? Where does he hail from? What
16 was his age? Do you know what his occupation was, and where did you
17 personally see them -- see him, because you said you knew him by sight.
18 A. As I said, I knew him by sight. I saw him when he came to Qyshk
19 on the 14th of May and on the 16th and the 17th. This would be my
21 Q. Had you ever seen him before that point in time? Kastratovic, I
23 A. Are you saying before the 14th? I think I was clear. On the
24 14th and also on the 16th or the 17th.
25 Q. May or April?
1 A. We have two separate dates, 16th and 17th of April and
2 14th of May.
3 Q. Was Kastratovic wearing the same uniform on both occasions you
4 saw him, Mr. Berisha?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. What sort of uniform was it? What did it look like?
7 A. I think I mentioned it several times earlier. It was a green
8 camouflage uniforms -- uniform.
9 Q. What sort of weapons did he sport?
10 A. Automatic rifle.
11 Q. When did you first see his photograph?
12 A. After the NATO troops entered. We're talking about his
13 photograph; right? After the NATO troops entered Kosova, they found
14 photographs in their homes and on various locations where they
15 photographed themselves. They brought them to me and asked me if I knew
16 those persons.
17 Q. Did they bring the photographs to you, or did they show you
18 Kastratovic's photograph on the screen of a laptop?
19 A. I already said the following: They had left photographs behind
20 in their homes, and then they brought these photographs to us because
21 they didn't have computer with them.
22 Q. Who brought you the photographs? Who are they?
23 A. I don't remember who they were.
24 Q. Tell me, did you know Salipur by sight, the one you said
25 conducted himself toward the ethnic Albanians in a particularly sadistic
1 way, the policeman from Pec? Is that right?
2 A. He was tall and thin and referred to by his nickname Salipur. I
3 didn't know him in person, but I saw him in Peja on several occasions.
4 Therefore, I knew that he was policeman even before the critical time.
5 And I saw with my own eyes how he maltreated occasional passers-by.
6 Q. When did you see his photograph? Was it on the same day you saw
7 Kastratovic's photograph?
8 A. I don't remember.
9 Q. Do you remember who was it who showed you his photograph?
10 A. I already told you several times I don't remember who.
11 Q. Did you see Popovic before the 14th of May and the 17th of April,
12 and if so, where?
13 A. I didn't see him before these dates.
14 Q. Did you observe anything peculiar about Popovic, either in his
15 gait, in the way he walks, or in the way he talks?
16 A. I don't remember.
17 Q. When was his photograph shown to you and in what form? Was it a
18 photograph or was it a laptop image?
19 A. I will repeat it as many times as you wish. After the NATO
20 troops entered Kosovo, these photographs were found and they were shown
21 to me. I don't know by whom. To be more clear, I don't remember who
22 brought those photographs to me.
23 Q. To avoid putting the same question to you about other
24 individuals, is what you say the same for all the photographs that were
25 shown to you?
1 A. For these photographs on which I identified the participants in
2 the events, all of them were brought to me after NATO troops entered
3 Kosova. Who brought them to me, I don't remember.
4 Q. Nebojsa Minic, did you know him before the 14th of May events?
5 A. 14th of May. I referred to the incident before the 14th of May,
6 that is, 16th and 17th of April, and if you keep asking me the same
7 question, I'll keep answering you in the same way.
8 Q. My question is as following: Did you know Nebojsa Minic before
9 the events of the 16th and 17th of April and the 14th of May? Did you
10 ever see him before that period?
11 A. I don't remember.
12 Q. Very well. You say that you were brought these photographs
13 following the KFOR arrival in Kosovo. What did they do with the
14 photographs afterwards? Did they leave them behind in your hands or did
15 they take them along?
16 A. No. They just showed me the photographs. They didn't leave any
17 of the photographs with me.
18 Q. Since we are supposed to have your technical break an hour and a
19 half into our session, I will now put one more question to you before the
21 In your testimony today, you did not mention anyone bringing any
22 photographs to you. Rather, you said that a book was given to you by way
23 of a gift for your participation in the investigation and that it was
24 through the book that you came to recognise these individuals. Now you
25 stated something quite different.
1 Can you please account for or reconcile for us these two
2 statements that you made in the space of half an hour that all of us were
3 able to hear in the courtroom today?
4 A. The truth is that immediately after the war these pictures were
5 brought to us, but even later the book that you mentioned contained these
6 photographs, and I identified the same persons. The same persons brought
7 the book.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Is that a convenient break, then, Mr. Djordjevic?
9 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, before the break
10 can I tender the questionnaire that I referred to as D003-0348 into
11 evidence lest I should forget after the break.
12 JUDGE PARKER: That will be received.
13 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
14 THE REGISTRAR: And that will be assigned D00117, Your Honours.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Berisha, we're going to have another break
16 now, and we'll continue until about 7.00. Is that convenient? Very
17 well. We will -- sorry?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Sorry -- thank you. We will adjourn now, then,
20 until 10
21 --- Recess taken at 5.43 p.m.
22 --- On resuming at 6.10 p.m.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djordjevic.
24 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour. I will
25 resume my cross-examination.
1 Q. In order to fully clear up the relevant portion of your
2 statement, I will have to continue putting questions to you about the
3 individuals you purportedly recognised in the photographs.
4 In paragraph 69 of the 2008 statement, you say:
5 "I did not recognise anybody I knew."
6 Am I right if I say that you had not known any of these
7 individuals earlier on, but you subsequently recognised them in the
8 photographs you were shown as those who participated in the events of the
9 14th of May or the 17th of April? Is that what this particular sentence
10 from your statement means?
11 A. Your question is rather long. Can you please make it shorter so
12 that I can follow it?
13 Q. In paragraph 69, you state:
14 " ... but did not recognise anybody I knew," and you were
15 referring to soldiers and policemen, and you say that you could not
16 know -- "I'm unable to say what units any ever of them operated with but
17 I did not recognise anybody I knew."
18 Therefore, my question: Can I conclude that you didn't know any
19 of these persons before the events of the 14th of May, 1999? And in
20 respect of some of them, you said that you also saw them on the
21 17th of April. Am I right in drawing this conclusion or not?
22 A. If you want me to please you, I said before the 16th or the 17th
23 I didn't know them, the ones that I identified by names, that I saw in
24 several photos. But if you're asking me about something else, then I
25 might give you another explanation. This is my answer.
1 Q. Thank you. That was precisely my question, the one that you
3 I'd like to know the following: This is a question put to you by
4 my learned friend which did not receive a clear answer. You say that you
5 believe that whatever happened happened because the Serbs took revenge.
6 You say that revenge was the cause of all these actions on their part.
7 Can you tell me what exactly you meant by saying that revenge was at the
8 root of all of their actions?
9 A. I think I was clear enough when I said in answer to the question
10 that it was revenge against NATO, because allegedly it was us who asked
11 for NATO, and that being the case, they took revenge against us, killing
12 Albanians and doing what I have testified about here, to cut a long story
14 Q. Thank you. Can I conclude that prior to that there had never
15 been any hostilities between the two nations?
16 A. I wouldn't say that, because it's common knowledge both for
17 Albanians and for the Serbs that the hostilities started much earlier on,
18 but I'm speaking about the revenge they engaged in after the NATO
19 interfered, because in that case they wanted to do more than they had
20 already done. They started to purge the villages from Albanians, to send
21 them to Albania
22 whereas in our case we were unfortunate enough to be killed, but the
23 actual hostilities had started much earlier.
24 I might add something. May I?
25 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] We didn't have any hostilities with
2 the Serb families living with us, but these hostilities involved the
3 Serbian authorities. I didn't have anything against my neighbours, Serb
4 neighbours. We didn't kill anyone. We didn't set fire to anyone's
5 house, but what you are putting to me refers to the authorities, to the
6 government, not to us.
7 Q. Thank you for your answer. You said that there were three Serb
8 families living in your village, i.e., the village of Cuska
9 that there had never been any hostility in their respect. Did they
10 continue living in your village?
11 A. They lived there until they themselves decided to leave. They
12 remained in Qyshk until KFOR left the place, but then they left for
14 Q. Thank you. At paragraphs 43 and 47, you say that you observed
15 the commander making a gesture which made you believe that he had ordered
16 certain ethnic Albanians from Cuska to be executed by those under his
17 command. You described his gesture as him placing his hands one above
18 the other and moving them and that you understood this to believe an
19 order for execution. And at paragraph 47 when you say you observed a
20 soldier making the same gesture to his commander, that you believed that
21 this meant that the order had been carried out.
22 Can you tell me, what made you conclude, first of all, that this
23 was an order for an execution; and secondly, that the second gesture, the
24 same gesture, meant that the order had been executed? Where did you get
25 that from?
1 A. I came to that conclusion after hearing the gunshots and after
2 seeing the smoke coming out of the houses. By that gesture, that was my
3 personal inference, I understand that that was the case, and in fact it
4 came out to be true.
5 Q. Did you subsequently recognise the commander who made this
6 gesture or the soldier who reported with the same gesture that the order
7 had been carried out in the photographs you were shown?
8 A. Which soldier are you talking about?
9 Q. Apparently in paragraph 47 you say that the soldier made the same
10 gesture to his commander. He crossed his hands in the same way, and you
11 say that you took this to mean that the man had been -- that the order
12 had been carried out; whereas in paragraph 43, you mention this gesture
13 for the first time, and you say that you understood this to mean that the
14 men should be killed; whereas at paragraph 47 you said: "Upon seeing the
15 same gesture again, I took this to mean that the men had been killed."
16 The second time, it was one of the men making the gesture, not the
18 A. Yes. The soldiers who made that gesture with his hands is
19 Popovic. That was the one I recognised, and I think I mentioned that in
20 my statement. There were over 70 persons present there. I couldn't
21 recognise them all.
22 Q. [Overlapping speakers] -- commander?
23 A. I'm repeating. Since he was the person who gave orders -- he was
24 one of the two who gave orders. I thought that he was their leader and
25 their commander. And I'm repeating. That was my assumption.
1 Q. Did you recognise the commander, the one who was referred to in
2 paragraph 43 of your statement and who issued the order by making the
3 gesture the way you understood it?
4 A. I meant Srecko Popovic. He was the person whom I recognised in
5 the middle of April and on -- he was again there on the 14th. But I
6 think I've answered this question for the umpteenth time. I have no
7 other answer to give you.
8 Q. Thank you. Throughout this time, although your family was told
9 that it would be driven out of Kosovo, the families did, nevertheless,
10 remain in the area, although moving locally.
11 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't catch the name of the
12 locality mentioned by Mr. Djordjevic.
13 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] The town of Pec.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Can you please repeat your
15 question? I am not clear.
16 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. Did your entire family remain in Kosovo throughout the time?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Did anyone specifically from Cuska -- was anyone from Cuska
20 driven out to Albania
21 borders of Kosovo. That's what I meant.
22 A. I said in my statement they took them until the entrance to the
23 city two times, and then they returned them. The reason why they asked
24 them to return and why didn't let them leave, I don't know. I only know
25 that the police and the army sent them back when they arrived at the
1 entrance to the city. The order was given to them to go back to the
2 village. And this is my answer, and I have repeated it several times.
3 Q. Therefore, I am right in saying that nobody from the village of
4 Cuska was driven out across the border of Kosovo.
5 A. I'm talking about that day. I don't know about other times.
6 That date, no.
7 Q. Do you have information about any other period of time in 1999,
8 specifically about Cuska?
9 A. I don't recall anything.
10 Q. Thank you. My next question: You said that the room you were in
11 which was set on fire, you left that room by clambering out through the
12 window. In addition to the injuries suffered to your legs and in
13 addition to the fact that you could hardly breathe for the smoke that was
14 around, were you at all enveloped by the flames? Were you engulfed by
15 the flames?
16 A. I'm repeating that because of the smoke, because of that gas that
17 was thrown in the room, my face caught fire. And because of the burning
18 and the gas that I inhaled, I couldn't breathe and that I left that room.
19 I think I gave a very clear answer.
20 Q. Thank you. You said that you were wounded to your left leg and
21 that it was an entry/exit wound. You also said that there was a shot
22 which broke the shank of your right leg and that your right knee was also
23 injured. You said that you treated your wounds for about a month, and
24 then on the 15th or the 16th of June you went to the hospital in Pec.
25 Therefore, a month later. You told us who it was who took you in and
1 dressed your wound. You said that you gave all the medical documentation
2 concerning your injuries to the investigators. Or you told them that
3 they could go and see the documentation for themselves in the hospital.
4 This isn't clear. Did you really provide them with medical
5 documentation from the Pec hospital or did you merely give them your
6 approval, your consent for them to go to the hospital and look at your
7 medical file there?
8 A. I don't understand. What are you asking me about? Whom?
9 Q. I'm referring to paragraph 74 of your statement from May 2008.
10 A. I gave what I was asked for. I don't know anything about the
11 Peja hospital. Can you make the question clearer? I don't understand
12 it. Make it shorter, please.
13 Q. Paragraph 74 of your statement:
14 "As a result of the incident, I have scarring to my legs," et
15 cetera, et cetera. "I give the ICTY my permission to examine any medical
16 records in relation to my treatment for these injuries."
17 My question is: What medical records are you referring to and
18 from what hospital? Is it the Pec hospital?
19 A. I showed them the wounds, and I told them that if it was
20 necessary for them to trace this issue further, they were free to do so.
21 I have mentioned the date when I went to the Peja hospital. It was about
22 six weeks later, I think.
23 You have my wound as a document to show everything. You don't
24 need anything else.
25 Q. Am I correct in saying that on the 14th or the 15th of June you
1 went to the Pec hospital to continue your treatment in 1999?
2 A. Yes. Either the 14th or the 15th of June it was.
3 Q. Thank you. How long did you remain in the hospital?
4 A. I don't remember how long I remained. I think about three weeks,
5 but the recovery period lasted more than a year, because I had to undergo
6 surgery in my right leg which was broken, and it took me more than a year
7 to recover, but I had to undergo surgery in the Italian -- KFOR Italian
9 Q. Were you operated on in the hospital in Pec?
10 A. They put the plaster, then after a year I underwent surgery. The
11 reason for that was they didn't have the necessary means and equipment,
12 and they hoped that my leg would recover, and after a year or so I was
13 obliged to go to the Italian hospital, KFOR Italian hospital. They
14 admitted me in and operated on me there.
15 You can inquire there if you want to prove what I'm telling you
16 is right.
17 Q. What was the name of the doctor who treated you in the hospital
18 in Pec?
19 A. Who administered me the first aid, who put the plaster on my --
20 on my right leg was Isak, Isak Alicani [phoen], orthopaedician.
21 Q. Concerning this incident you went through, were you subsequently
22 given any documentation from the Pec hospital or the Italian hospital,
23 any discharge forms or case histories that you handed over to the
24 investigators of this Tribunal?
25 A. I didn't get anything from the Peja hospital, but I did get a
1 couple of such medical records from the Italian one, and I think they are
2 with the investigators. One of them is Samuel.
3 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter didn't get the proper name.
4 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Thank you for your answers. My last question concerning your
6 medical status is this: Do you believe them to have it or are you
7 certain you handed those records over, the medical records and reports?
8 A. Only from the Italian KFOR medical staff. They might have gotten
9 a copy of the records. I've attended many check-ups, daily, weekly,
10 monthly check-ups. I think there was no need for me to go into detail
11 with them for each and every record, because my injuries were proof to
12 what had happened to me.
13 Q. The last set of questions I have for you in my cross has to do
14 with the members of the Jasovic family. You mentioned certain family
15 members by their first and last names as people that you saw carrying a
16 Serbian flag. Could you please clarify the context of that part of your
17 story for me since it was unclear to me after I read the statement.
18 These were your neighbours.
19 A. Yes. I didn't say whether they had uniforms or not. What I said
20 was that they came to the village. They were carrying smaller flags.
21 They came exactly on the spot where we were gathered. I saw one of them
22 with a lady. I don't know who this lady was. Later on, two others came
23 also carrying flags and went exactly on the spot where the incident
24 occurred near the graveyard. From there they continued along another
25 path, and from thereon I could no longer see them. I don't know where
1 they went to.
2 This is what I saw with my own eyes, and I'm stating it with full
4 Q. I believe I understand now, but the entire background about the
5 sporting of flags is unclear to me. Did they have uniforms on, and what
6 in general was taking place concerning the Jasovic family members
7 referred to in this context?
8 A. What context are you talking about? I really don't get your
10 Q. You said you saw Velibor Jasovic, I believe, as well as some
11 other people of the Jasovic family carrying a Serbian flag. You knew
12 those people since you were neighbours.
13 What was that situation in particular that you saw them? Did
14 they have weapons on that occasion? Did they wear uniforms? That is
15 what I would like to know.
16 A. As I said, Vidoje and another lady and the others, they came
17 carrying the smaller flags. I didn't mention any uniforms. Where I saw
18 him, he was there in a company of a lady whom I didn't know, carrying a
20 Q. Without a uniform? He did not wear a uniform?
21 A. When I -- when I saw them, no, they -- he didn't.
22 Q. Thank you.
23 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honours, this concludes my
24 cross-examination of this witness, and thank you.
25 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Djordjevic.
1 Ms. Gopalan, any re-examination?
2 MS. GOPALAN: Yes, Your Honours.
3 Re-examination by Ms. Gopalan:
4 Q. Mr. Berisha, I have a few questions for you arising from
5 Mr. Djordjevic's cross-examination.
6 You were asked today about uniforms that had been issued to
7 Serbs. At page 56, line 6, you said:
8 "Serbs had uniforms issued to them by the state. They all had
9 uniforms in their homes."
10 Could you tell us, Mr. Berisha, when was it these uniforms were
11 issued to the Serbs, if you recall?
12 A. I don't recall the exact date, but I would say it was in the
13 beginning of 1998, if I'm not mistaken.
14 Q. Thank you. And when you say these uniforms were issued by the
15 state, are you able to explain what exactly or who you are referring to
16 when you say "the state"?
17 A. Yes. When I say the state, what I mean is that the police and
18 the army are part of the state. They're commanded by the state.
19 In early 1998, if I'm not mistaken, it was the police that began
20 to distribute uniforms to those locations inhabited by Serbs, whereas the
21 areas inhabited by Albanians were not issued with uniforms, Qyshk village
22 being one of them.
23 Q. If you know, Mr. Berisha, in addition to the uniforms being
24 distributed to these locations inhabited by Serbs, do you know if
25 anything else was issued together with the uniforms?
1 A. Together with uniforms, weapons were issued. I wasn't there to
2 see the distribution, but all of them were armed. There are facts that
3 corroborate this statement of mine. They were issued both uniforms and
5 Q. Thank you. And in relation to the uniforms being issued, how did
6 you know that these uniforms were issued?
7 A. From the media and the citizens, and on several locations during
8 the war I saw them wearing uniforms. If you do a more thorough
9 investigation into this, you will come to the same facts to what I'm
10 telling you now.
11 Q. Thank you, Mr. Berisha. You were asked some questions today
12 about an individual named Salipur, and at page 58, line 12, you refer to
13 having seen Salipur maltreating occasional passers-by. Could you tell us
14 when you saw Salipur maltreat these passers-by, if you recall?
15 A. This occurred before 1998, if I'm not mistaken. It happened
16 before 1998 in the town of Peja
17 Q. Thank you. And when you say "maltreating," what exactly do you
19 A. What I mean is that he would stop them, ask for their documents,
20 and on many occasions he would beat the citizens in the presence of
21 others. This once happened in the market, in the grocery market, in Peja
22 town, and I personally witnessed this incident.
23 Q. Thank you. If you recall, how many of these incidents did you
24 witness yourself?
25 A. I don't recall. With the exception of this one that I mentioned,
1 I do not recall.
2 Q. Thank you, Mr. Berisha. You were also asked some questions today
3 about the hand gesture made by the senior soldier which you took to be an
4 order for execution. This is at page 64, line 4. And you replied saying
5 you came to that conclusion after hearing gunshots and after having seen
6 smoke coming out of the house.
7 Could you tell us which house you were referring to in this case?
8 This is in response to a question in relation to paragraph 47 of your
10 A. I'm referring to the house of Syl Gashi from which Isa Gashi
12 Q. How many men were taken to the house of Syl Gashi? If you know.
13 A. Approximately 12 or 13.
14 Q. And with the exception of Isa Gashi who you have mentioned, what
15 happened to the remaining men who were taken to Syl Gashi's house?
16 A. They were all killed and burnt.
17 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Berisha. I have no further questions
18 for you today.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Ms. Gopalan.
20 Mr. Berisha, you'll be pleased to know that completes the
21 questions for you. The Chamber would like to thank you for coming to
22 The Hague
23 now not only your statement but also the answers you've been able to give
24 today to assist us in our consideration of this case. We thank you very
25 much, and you may now, of course, return to your ordinary --
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] By your leave, Your Honours, I
2 would also like to extend my gratitude to you and the Prosecutors, as
3 well as the lawyer for his provoking answers. I'm here to tell the truth
4 and nothing but the truth. I am a person who went through the incident
5 that we discussed today. I am stating here with full responsibility that
6 all these things I experienced myself, and I really regret the fact that
7 for all these years they didn't find the time to express their regret for
8 what happened in Kosova.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. The court officer will now
10 show you from the court.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 [The witness withdrew]
13 JUDGE PARKER: There seems little point in commencing the next
14 witness at this hour, so we will adjourn until the morning.
15 Could I mention we will be following an unusual timetable in the
16 morning, because we need to adjourn at 10 minutes to 10.00, as the new
17 registrar will be sworn in and the Judges will be present on that
18 occasion. We expect -- but we cannot be entirely confident, but we
19 expect to be able to return to court by 10.30. So we will adjourn at 10
20 minutes before 10.00, and we hope to be back by 10.30 to continue the
21 hearing with two further sessions. We should not lose very many minutes,
22 but we will have a different timetable for the morning.
23 With those words, we will now adjourn to resume tomorrow at 9.00.
24 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.55 p.m.
25 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 19th day
1 of May, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.