1 Thursday, 21 May 2009
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.03 a.m.
5 [The witness takes the stand]
6 WITNESS: XHAFER BEQIRAJ [Resumed]
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, Mr. Beqiraj.
9 THE WITNESS: Good morning.
10 JUDGE PARKER: The affirmation you made to tell the truth still
11 applies today.
12 Yes, Mr. Djordjevic.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
15 Cross-examination by Mr. Djordjevic: [Continued]
16 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Beqiraj.
17 A. Good morning.
18 Q. Yesterday, we talked about the rights of the Albanian population
19 being violated when education was concerned. Given that you were quite
20 active in that respect since you worked in education, I will have a few
21 additional questions concerning the period involved, as well as some
22 relatively recent events.
23 I'm interested in the following: Do you know of the agreed
24 measures to implement the agreement on education from the 1st of
25 September, 1996, and do you know of the agreement at all that was reached
1 by the then president, Slobodan Milosevic, and Dr. Ibrahim Rugova as a
2 representative of the Albanian population?
3 A. Yes, I know of that event, but to my knowledge this agreement
4 failed. If I'm not mistaken, in 1997 and even earlier, students staged
5 protests which were violently suppressed by the police. The students
6 were beaten, prosecuted, and everything ended badly.
7 Q. Do you recall why such protests were launched, the protest of
8 students and Albanians in general in 1996, and what seemed to be the main
9 cause of it?
10 A. I don't remember fully why, but these protests were launched
11 because they asked for freedom, democracy, and for the freeing of the
12 school facilities.
13 Q. The 1997 demonstrations, did they put forth as their main
14 objective the independence of Kosovo, or did they have indeed a purely
15 educational agenda?
16 A. They were also for independence, if I'm not mistaken, but I
17 cannot give you explicit reasons because a long time has passed and I
18 wasn't involved in them.
19 Q. Given that you knew of the agreement between Dr. Rugova, the late
20 Rugova, and the then president, now deceased, Mr. Milosevic, do you know
21 of the measures that were to be put in place in order to implement the
22 agreement of the 1st of September, 1996. The measures carry a date in
23 1997. Sorry, March 1998.
24 A. I have no recollections of these measures. The only thing I know
25 is, however, that this agreement failed.
1 Q. What followed, historically speaking, was the opening of the
2 Institute for Albanian Studies in Pristina on the 31st of March, 1998
3 It was handed over completely to Albanian professors and students. Given
4 that you are a teacher of the Albanian language and that the Institute
5 for Albanian Studies meant a whole lot to your population, do you know
6 what took place at the institute on the 31st of March and before that, on
7 the 23rd of March, 1998? I don't know whether you will agree with me if
8 I say that the agreement was signed by Fehmi Agani, Abdyl Ramaji, Rexhep
9 Osmani, Ratomir Vitco, Goran Percevic, Djobrosav Bjeletic, and in
10 attendance was also a member of the Sant'Egidio community, Monsignor
11 Vicenzo Paglia. Do you know agree with me concerning these facts?
12 A. First, I am not aware who took part in this agreement. If I'm
13 not mistaken, however, this institute of Albanological
14 said yesterday, a few facilities were vacated for Albanians to use them,
15 but they were handed over to Albanians in a very poor state. They were
16 destroyed, damaged, and this applies both to the physical facilities and
17 to the books, the equipment in the possession of the institute. In my
18 opinion, this was a tactic in order to beguile the international
19 community that they were allegedly giving the Albanians their rights,
20 whereas in fact the university facilities were completely banned for
21 Albanians, and this is a fact of life, because we were obliged to work in
22 private facilities, in make-shift schools. We had to sit on the floor
23 and to take lectures in these conditions.
24 Q. Do you know why those facilities were in poor condition?
25 A. Which facilities?
1 Q. I have in mind those you refer to, the school buildings, faculty
3 A. I heard that when the institute was given over to the Albanians,
4 it was in a very poor state. I didn't see it myself, but I heard it from
5 others that it was in such a wretched condition. In the facilities,
6 make-shift facilities, I worked in, the situation was, as I said, very,
7 very difficult, but we had the will to continue. That's why we managed
8 to survive in those very hard conditions.
9 Q. Do you know how many faculties or schools there were under the
10 umbrella of Pristina University
11 A. They were many, but I don't know how to describe them. I don't
12 know all of them. Maybe the education officials would be in a better
13 position to give you an idea, the deans, the rectors who are involved in
14 such a work.
15 Q. Did you know that by virtue of this agreement there were eight
16 university facilities given to Albanian students for use? In physical
17 terms that included seven buildings covering some 30 different schools,
18 and they also received the keys to the student restaurant, dorms, et
19 cetera, et cetera.
20 A. I have no knowledge about that. The only thing I know is that
21 the students were taught in private homes. This is what I know.
22 Q. Do you have any knowledge of the return of Albanian students to
23 higher educational facilities?
24 A. No, I have no knowledge of that. Until 1998, I was a student and
25 was taught in those private facilities, until the end of 1998, and I
1 didn't see any changes. Personally, I didn't set foot in the faculty of
2 philological studies of which I was a student. I have no information
3 about other universities, but my colleagues said that they, too, were
4 being taught in private homes. They studied there.
5 Q. Mr. Beqiraj, back in 1996, 1997, and 1998, the late Mr. Rugova,
6 was he a legitimate representative of the Albanian community? What about
7 Fehmi Agani, Abdul Rrahman, and Rexhep Osmani? Were they also
8 representatives of the Albanian population at the time given that those
9 people were involved in negotiations with the then Serbian President,
10 late Mr. Milosevic? In your knowledge and opinion were they legitimate
11 representatives of the Albanian population?
12 A. Yes, they were legitimate representatives of the Albanian people
13 since they were elected by the people and voted by them.
14 Q. Given that they signed the agreement in the presence of the
15 representatives -- well, I will not say a representative of the
16 international community but, rather, a representative of an organisation
17 called Sant'Egidio, and given that they were handed over the buildings,
18 albeit in poor shape, I wanted to ask you this: Did anyone begin
19 attending lectures as of the moment of the conclusion of the agreement,
20 and do you know whether in 1998 the Institute for Albanian Studies was
21 operational at all? When I ask you this, I have in mind to ask you
22 whether there were any professors teaching there and any students
23 attending lectures. Do you have any knowledge of that?
24 A. Firstly, with respect to the agreement, I may say that many
25 agreements have been concluded then, but how successful they were, how
1 much they were enforced, this is another issue. It is easy to conclude
2 an agreement, but the problem is to enforce them. That's why I'm saying
3 that these agreements were not properly enforced.
4 As far as the Albanological institute is concerned, I have no
5 information that the professors worked there, because the situation was
6 an unusual one, especially in 1998 it was a situation of war. So I have
7 no information about what you are putting to me.
8 Q. Thank you. My question concerning this situation is the
9 following: Do you know that on the 6th of August, 1998, the Ministry of
10 Education, at a meeting with the representatives of -- the international
11 community and Mr. Kamerun as well as Mr. Djamjanovic who was there on
12 behalf of the Ministry of Education whereupon they concluded an agreement
13 on the funds to be used to renew the three buildings of the technological
14 faculty as well as the student dorm building number 3 in the student
15 settlement, as well as reconstruction of the student dorm building number
16 3 at the location in the existing student settlement, as well as
17 reconstruction of the old building of the old -- of the old technical
18 faculty, then reconstruction of the amphitheatre building at the location
19 of the old technical faculty, reconstruction and repair of the
20 administrative building of the old technical faculty. It all encompassed
21 a total area of over 12.000 square metres.
22 The price envisaged per square metre at the time was around 450
23 ecu, which should have been over 400 million ecu in total. These were
24 supposed to be the funds of the Republic of Serbian
25 you know anything about that?
1 A. I know nothing about what you're saying, and I don't believe that
2 this is the case. I know that there were a lot of destructions and not
3 reconstructions of building. I heard that churches were built in various
4 sites, churches where no -- where didn't exist there before, and proof of
5 this you can find even today in the university grounds, but as I said, I
6 did not hear that any faculty was reconstructed. I only heard that they
7 were demolished, literature was burned and disappeared, and all these
9 Q. A short while ago I asked you whether you knew how it came about
10 that those buildings were destroyed or damaged in Pristina. Do you know
11 who damaged them?
12 A. I do not know for sure, but I think that who could have
13 demolished them or destroyed them other than those who work there, who
14 had them in their possession. Until that time, the Serb professors, the
15 Serb students were the ones who owned, let's say, these facilities.
16 Q. Would you agree with me if I said that a person using a certain
17 facility has no interest in destroying it, damaging it? Excuse me.
18 Would you agree with me that the damage caused occurred before 1998?
19 A. No, not -- I don't think so. They were damaged deliberately, and
20 also deliberately hundreds of books were destroyed from these premises.
21 I believe that there are evidence to this. This evidence to the
22 destruction inflicted on these universities. It was a time not for the
23 construction. It was a time for destruction which went on for a decade,
24 a decade of repressions, pressure during which the Albanian people had
25 suffered a lot.
1 Q. Did you say yesterday that the Serb population in Kosovo amounted
2 to 5 per cent?
3 A. Yes. This is what I know from my readings.
4 Q. Would you mind sharing the source of this information with you?
5 Were their any censuses five or ten years back in Kosovo in which
6 Albanian population also participated?
7 A. I have no information of any census taken, but during the voting
8 and on other occasions they have come up with this figure. We have had
9 very good relations with the Serb population until prior to the 1990s,
10 but after what happened, promoting Serb nationalism, hatred was instilled
11 among the two peoples and we came to what we all know.
12 Q. I suppose that the answer you gave means that you arrived at an
13 approximate figure of the Kosovo population based on the elections, as
14 you've just explained. If you wish to retract from that, you should do
15 it now.
16 A. No, I cannot retract that because there are data to prove what
17 I'm saying, data which are even internationally recognised, that is,
18 about 92 per cent of the population is Albanian, and about 5 per cent are
19 Serbs, and 3 per cent by other nationalities which live in Kosova.
20 Q. The latest of my questions was put because since you have those
21 figures based on the elections, it would mean that members of the Serb
22 population also participated in those elections in addition to the 3 per
23 cent of other ethnicities in Kosovo. I guess you're trying to tell us
24 all that in those elections also the Serbs participated as well as other
25 ethnic groups.
1 A. No. The Serbs did not participate in elections. They boycotted
2 them. I have no information that the Serbs participated in the election,
3 but it's not the election alone. After 1999, when we returned to Kosova,
4 after the ethnic cleansing and the torture and genocide we were subjected
5 to, if I'm not mistaken, until in 2000, 2001, people began to be supplied
6 with ID cards and to be registered. And this -- from this registration
7 they came up with this figure about the Albanian population, because at
8 that time we received our identity cards, the UNMIK passports.
9 Q. Mr. Beqiraj, Nis
10 university. I am waiting for documents that will be provided by my legal
11 assistant on the basis of which it can be seen that in 1996, 1997, and
12 1998 the Nis University
13 University planned to enroll 2.430 students in total. Are you trying to
14 say that or to explain that among the 2.400 students there was a need, of
15 course, and funds were provided from the Serbian budget for that, that
16 2 -- out of 2.400 persons the population of Serbs would be that 5 per
17 cent and that number of 2.430 in Pristina would correspond to the same
18 number of students in Nis
19 Can you comment on that?
20 A. I cannot comment on that. What I know and I'm sure of is that
21 the number of students in Prishtina was not 2.430. There were far more
22 students, although the situation was as it was at the time and the
23 conditions were poor. The youth did whatever they could to continue
24 their education without any support from the Serb government. On the
25 contrary, the Serbs were being arrested -- correction, the students were
1 being arrested, tortured during the protests. They staged protests in
2 which they raised their voices for democracy, for rights to education
3 without any racial, religious, or national discrimination.
4 Q. I would agree with you, but the only point on which I would
5 disagree with you is that the students did not object to the system of
6 education but because they were in favour of the independence of Kosovo
7 after the constitutional changes which took place in Serbia.
8 Would you agree with me that -- again I'm asking you that the
9 demonstration's main purpose was the independence of Kosovo, and always,
10 always as the motto the Republic of Kosovo
11 A. I already mentioned this, that whenever the students
12 demonstrated, they asked for their education facilities, for their rights
13 to education as all the peoples in the world without leaving aside the
14 purpose of being free and able to live freely in your country without
15 being persecuted, tortured, or arrested. These demonstrations were
16 suppressed by the authorities and there are facts that corroborate this.
17 This is all I can say.
18 Q. I am going to agree with you, and at the time it was quite normal
19 for the authorities to react in relation to their citizens regardless of
20 what ethnicity they were, but if the demonstrations were against the
21 constitutional system of a sovereign state at the time, then that applies
22 all the more so.
23 I'm going to complete this part and this topic regarding
24 education because I wanted to check how much you actually know and how
25 well you are informed about that.
1 My last question is: Are you talking at the time -- do you speak
2 a language which at the time was called the Serbo-Croatian and then later
3 was called the Serbian language?
4 A. I used to speak it better before, to write it better and
5 understand it better. However, now I can understand it, but I find it
6 more difficult to speak.
7 Q. At the time, was bilingual usage guaranteed under the
8 constitution at the time, and what was the official language at the time
9 in Kosovo, including all the official institutions and educational
11 A. The official language at the time was Serbo-Croatian.
12 Q. Including educational institutions?
13 A. Are you referring to the Albanian educational institutions?
14 Q. At that point -- actually, now we are talking about the legally
15 existing institutions within the system of a state which at that point in
16 time was called Serbia
17 time was called Kosovo and Metohija. So I'm asking you about those
18 institutions, because the system of that state at that time did not
19 recognise parallel systems. So what was the official language in use?
20 Was it Serbo-Croatian, Serbian, or Serbian and Albanian? This is what
21 I'm asking you. And were there any other languages officially used in
22 Kosovo at that time in keeping with the constitution? If you know.
23 A. Your Honours, can I please get the time period that the counsel
24 is referring to?
25 JUDGE PARKER: I have put from my memory, 1996 to 1998 with a
1 question mark, because like you, I was not sure.
2 But is that the correct period, Mr. Djordjevic?
3 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Yes. Yes, Your Honour, that's the period.
4 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. That will help the witness.
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honours.
6 This is a time of discrimination, and at this time the official
7 language as Serbo-Croatian.
8 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Would you agree with me that according to the constitution of the
10 Republic of Serbia
11 use was also the Albanian?
12 A. Yes. Prior to 1989, Albanian was also an official language.
13 However, when the constitution of 1974 was violently revoked, the
14 Albanian language was no longer an official language. At this time, we
15 were being stripped of all our rights that other peoples enjoyed.
16 Q. Mr. Beqiraj, you travelled throughout Kosovo. It's not a large
17 area. I travelled in Kosovo. When I travel in Kosovo, I always see
18 signs on which it says Urosevac. Above that it says something else. Do
19 you know -- did you know bilingual signage? For example, Ferizaj and
20 then underneath that Urosevac. This was something that was in force in
21 1990s, in 1996, 1998. Did you --
22 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel repeat the last part of what he
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- honourable counsel, but the
25 official language, the officiality of a language is measured by whether
1 it is used in institutions, not on road signs.
2 Q. When did you get married, Mr. Beqiraj, in which year?
3 A. 1994.
4 Q. 1994? Do you have a certificate of marriage, the original one
5 from the municipality where the marriage was performed?
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. And marriage certificate, is that in the Serbian or the Albanian
8 language, or is it only in Serbian or only in Albanian?
9 A. I don't remember. However, the area where I registered my
10 marriage was inhabited by Albanian majority, and I did notice that the
11 registration -- the registry was recorded both in Albanian and in
12 Serbian. In my opinion, this is not that relevant. What is relevant is
13 the use of the Albanian language in different institutions, be they
14 education or other institutions in Kosova.
15 Q. Mr. Beqiraj, did you ever try to enter into employment as a
16 teacher in the school system which was recognised by the then-sovereign
17 state of Serbia
18 Autonomous Province of Kosovo
19 get a job in the Kosovo education system, you yourself?
20 A. I enrolled secondary school and higher education at the time. I
21 wasn't looking for a job. I wanted to continue my studies so that -- to
22 provide myself with a better future.
23 When I began my studies, the violent measures were in place. We
24 were forced out from the facilities to the roads, and we had to find a
25 way out from this situation, to find the way how to continue with our
1 education in private houses and facilities so that our youth could
2 continue its education and not remain illiterate. We know, all of us,
3 very well about the situation at the time.
4 Q. Thank you. I am now going to move to the events that you cover
5 in your statements of the 14th of April, 1999, in Tirana, that you
6 provided, and this later one that you recognise as the statement that you
7 later read and signed and that was shown to you.
8 You say that there were refugees at your home whom you knew
9 earlier from the village of Opterusa
10 in which municipality?
11 A. In fact, I didn't know this family. I came to know them when
12 they were looking for shelter. There were some facilities that could be
13 given to them. Not in excellent conditions, but they were given to them.
14 This village, to answer your question, is in Rahovec municipality.
15 Q. When did they come to Prizren precisely where you were and when
16 they took those buildings or facilities which you say were not really all
17 that good. When did this happen?
18 A. To my knowledge, they came there after August 1998. They were
19 staying in some other houses in Prizren. I don't know the reasons why
20 they left their houses in Prizren, the houses that were given to them.
21 They came and knocked at my door, asked for shelter, and we helped them.
22 This is how it was.
23 Q. Are you aware that in the period that you're talking about, 1998,
24 the town of Orahovac
25 and that the Kosovo Liberation Army for a while that year was completely
1 in control there?
2 A. After the war I learned that the KLA did have this town under its
3 control for brief period, and subsequently the Serb forces drove them
4 out. There was fighting in Rahovec. Many civilians were killed as a
5 result of these fightings in Rahovec municipality.
6 Q. In one of your statements you say that one evening 12 young men
7 came to your house because they believed your house to be safer. Safer
8 than what, or safer than who's house? What did those 12 young men mean
9 by that?
10 A. I apologise. My house was not safer. That's not what I said. I
11 didn't say that my house was safer. There was -- there weren't any safe
12 houses in Kosovo at the time.
13 If I've put this this way, what I meant was the following: These
14 neighbours came there so that we could all together live by those
15 difficult times. This is what I meant by what I said. Nobody was safe
16 and secure at the time. Even if this house was a castle, nobody would
17 have felt safe in it.
18 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Can we please show the statement
19 of the 14th of April, 1999, on the screen. This is Exhibit D003-0395.
20 Can we look at page 2 of the statement, please. And in Albanian
21 as well. This is in B/C/S. Earlier we were looking at the text in
22 Albanian. Now we see the text in B/C/S -- or we actually only had the
23 first page.
24 Your Honours, if you permit me, I would like to read a part to
25 the witness, because you see that paragraph in front of you in English.
1 This is something that I wish to put questions to the witness about.
2 JUDGE PARKER: There you have it now, yes.
3 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you. [In English] Thank
4 you, Your Honour.
5 Q. [Interpretation] Paragraph 3 of this statement you say that you
6 decided to place your family in a safer place. You were taking them to
7 an uncle, children, some cousins, in the centre of Prizren, and you
8 stayed in your house with this refugee family. You're probably thinking
9 about this family from Opterusa.
10 Already in the next paragraph you say:
11 "The next evening, 12 young men came to my house to stay with me
12 because they were considering my house safer. They stayed only one night
13 in my house."
14 In reference to this part, I wanted to ask you first if this is
15 what you actually say. If you did not, can you please then explain what
16 actually all this is about so that we can eliminate any dilemmas about
17 this particular point. Your family, I agree -- you took your family to a
18 place that you believed was safer, but these 12 young men thought that
19 your house was safer. Who are they? They spent one night there. Why
20 did they come to your house, and what was the reason for that?
21 A. I will explain it to you. I did not read or sign the statement.
22 I removed the children and the women to the centre of the town for
23 security reasons. We men remained in the house.
24 Other families in the neighbourhood did the same thing. Some
25 youth and some elderly men had remained in their houses to guard their
1 houses, to look after them. As the situation was such, we decided to
2 stay all together. My house was not a fortification, was not a castle.
3 It was a simple house. So we got together just to be able to live by
4 those difficult times together. It was not for safety reasons. There
5 was no safety in Kosova at the time. Nobody felt safe.
6 Q. That is clear to all of us. The only thing that I would like to
7 ask you is who are these 12. How was it that they came to you
8 specifically? Who are these 12 young men?
9 A. These were my neighbours with whom I shared everything. These
10 young men, these neighbours of mine, had also removed their families and
11 sent them to the centre of the town because we heard different stories
12 about horrible things that had happened, police raids, lootings, and so
13 forth. That's why we thought that it would be better for the women and
14 the children to go to the centre. As I mentioned earlier, in the Progres
15 Factory area there were many forces stationed. There were -- there was
16 gunfire continuously. And that's why we decided to do so. I don't know
17 if it was to our best or worst, but this was the decision we took. It
18 was a situation of war. We thought that this would be the best solution
19 for us, and we decided to stay together.
20 Q. Thank you for this clarification. Everything is much clearer
21 now. Can you please tell us, when was the first time that you heard
22 about the Kosovo Liberation Army?
23 A. I heard about Kosovo Liberation Army, 1997, when in Drenica three
24 members of the KLA, on the funeral of a teacher from Drenica area that
25 had been killed by the police forces for the first time appeared
1 publicly. Until that time people had little faith that such an army
2 existed. I learned about this after the war.
3 In my opinion, this military organisation was borne out of the
4 people, people that had suffered a lot of repression at the time. These
5 were young men that took weapons in their hands to defend themselves, to
6 defend their families, and to defend their homeland.
7 Q. Mr. Beqiraj, did you see how KLA members were armed, what sort of
8 uniforms they wore, and whether they wore any at all?
9 A. No, I didn't see them until after the war. After we returned
10 from Albania
11 Q. Mr. Beqiraj, did you hear of any KLA presence in the environs of
13 A. I heard of it in Vrini. Outskirts, then Reti [phoen] village of
14 Rahovec municipality and of their presence in other places.
15 Q. Did you know that members of the KLA killed, tortured, raped both
16 Serb and Albanian population they thought were disloyal to their cause,
17 in their criteria?
18 A. To my knowledge and from what I heard, the KLA abided fully by
19 the laws of war. I remember very well a time when they had kidnapped
20 some prisoners, and they exchanged them with Serb forces. In my opinion,
21 the KLA abided by all the law -- laws of the war. It is an army that was
22 incited as a result of use of force to protect its population, to protect
23 their hearts. You cannot accuse such an army of kidnappings, violations,
24 killing of civilians. It's another thing when we talk of a conflict
25 between the two belligerent sides. It would be the same if in the course
1 of a war things happen, but to commit ethnic cleansing of a civilian
2 population, this is beyond understanding and reason.
3 Q. I will certainly agree with you, Mr. Beqiraj, in that regard.
4 However, I failed to understand whether you were a witness to or whether
5 you only heard of any exchanges. You said they kidnapped some people and
6 then exchanged them later. What was it all about? What were you trying
7 to tell us?
8 A. As far as I remember, they took some prisoners. Whether they
9 were -- war prisoners. Whether they were soldiers or not, I don't know,
10 but I think they were soldiers. They were Serbs. And to my knowledge,
11 they negotiated to exchange the prisoners. I don't know if that took
12 effect, but my point was that the KLA implemented the laws of the war.
13 It was an army with scarce weapons, not professionally organised because
14 it was an army formed in a very difficult situation but which was the
15 outcome of force, repression exerted against our population. Any people
16 in the world would have done the same to protect itself from ethnic
17 cleansing, from being murdered.
18 As to what you are saying about kidnappings or rapes of
19 civilians, this is something that I have no knowledge about. Frankly
20 speaking, I don't know that, and I don't believe in such things.
21 Q. A moment ago you responded by saying that you saw KLA members
22 after the war. What you are testifying to now concerning the exchange
23 seems to have taken place during the war. Could you please explain the
24 contradiction? Who did you learn this from, and how do you know about
25 it? To learn of an exchange is a thing of confidence. Only someone who
1 had contact with the KLA could have known about such prisoners. Could
2 you please explain the whole situation to me?
3 A. Yes, I heard about that through radio and television, to my
4 recollection, because I didn't have any contacts with the KLA because I
5 was simply a teacher and also a student. I told you the truth. I saw
6 KLA uniforms and KLA members only after the war.
7 Q. Thank you for this clarification, Mr. Beqiraj. Do you know a
8 person by the name of Resadija Morina from Prizren?
9 A. No, I do not.
10 Q. Do you know where Ulcinjska street is in Prizren, and how far
11 from your house is it?
12 A. As the crow flies, 500 or so metres, approximately.
13 Q. Did you know that on the 6th of February, 1999, it was reported
14 that members of the KLA, on the 4th of February, armed with automatic
15 rifles in Ulcinjska street 105 in Prizren, kidnapped Milaim Morina and
16 his cousin, Zeknja Nedo. Do you have any knowledge of that? It has to
17 do with the name of the person I just mentioned recently in addition to
18 the two persons referred to just now. It is Resadija Morina, the person
19 reporting the event in February 1999, before a NATO bombardment, in
20 Ulcinjska street
21 Zeknja Nedo, both from Prizren?
22 A. Frankly speaking, I have no idea of such an event.
23 Q. Are you familiar with the name of Senad Bajrami in Prizren?
24 A. No, I do not.
25 Q. Are familiar with the -- with Kosovska Udorna Brigada street in
1 Prizren, and how far is it from your house?
2 A. To tell you the truth, I am not familiar with it because, as I
3 said, a long time has passed since then and the name of the streets have
4 been changed. So I'm not familiar with that. I don't remember.
5 Q. You don't know of that street. However, do you have any
6 knowledge of an event that took place on the 8th of March, 1999, around
7 8.30 in the evening? Some KLA members attacked and seriously injured
8 Morina Maska Zeren. I think that was his last name. Do you have any
9 knowledge about that?
10 A. I have no idea about that either. To tell you the truth, many
11 things, many terrible things used to happen at that time. People were
12 killed, tortured, and one cannot keep track of everything that happens,
13 so I have no idea.
14 Q. Do you know of an event which took place on the next day, the 9th
15 of March, again in the evening, Imer Xhhfiqi was kidnapped, a resident of
16 Prizren. Do you have any knowledge about that?
17 A. No, I do not.
18 Q. Do you have any personal knowledge or information, direct or
19 indirect, about the incidents which took place in the environs of Prizren
20 in the area of Mala Krusa, Randubrava, Jablanica, Nova Celle, Zagradska,
21 Hoca, as the incidents caused by the KLA, whereas it was allegedly
22 reported as events caused by the Serb forces? These events I'm referring
23 to seem to have been initiated by KLA members and they occurred in the
24 environs of Prizren.
25 A. Can you please make this question again.
1 Q. I referred to certain villages in the environs of Prizren. I
2 will not repeat them for the sake of time, but I will put a general
3 question. Do you have any information about the incidents, violent
4 incidents caused by the KLA in the environs of Prizren in the villages I
5 just referred to?
6 A. No, I have no information about that. And the KLA did not exert
7 any violence against Albanians or against civilians in general from what
8 I have heard and read.
9 Q. The statement of the 14th of April, which was not signed and read
10 to the witness, could that be admitted into evidence, either in parts
11 that were presented to him or in total before I call up the next exhibit?
12 [Trial Chamber and registrar confer]
13 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
14 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Thank you.
15 THE REGISTRAR: That, Your Honours, will be assigned --
16 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Overlapping speakers] Thank you, Your Honour.
17 THE REGISTRAR: -- [overlapping speakers] D00120.
18 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I would kindly ask for a 65 ter
19 document to be put up. It is the Kosovo album, P615, page 48. That
20 should be a map of Prizren town.
21 Could we enlarge it a bit, please?
22 JUDGE PARKER: While that is happening, could I mention for the
23 transcript that page 22, line 10, the statement of the 14th of April,
24 1999, was made Exhibit D00120.
25 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Mr. Beqiraj, do you see the map in front of you on the screen?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. I would kindly ask the usher to assist Mr. Beqiraj and provide
4 him with an electronic pen.
5 Mr. Beqiraj, given that you reside in Prizren, I suppose that the
6 next few questions will not be difficult for you. Could you please put a
7 1 next to the place where your house was, next to the road
8 Djakovica-Prizren. Could we see the approximate location of your house
9 on this map.
10 A. I can't find it here.
11 Q. Do you recognise the parts of the town? Does this map enable you
12 to do so? Could you please mark the centre of town for me. Mark it with
13 a circle and put an X in it. Where's the centre of town?
14 A. It's very unclear here in the map, I think.
15 Q. Unclear. I see. I don't have another Prizren map, and I don't
16 think we could find another one in the Kosovo atlas.
17 A. Frankly speaking, I find it hard to find it. I'm afraid I can
18 give you the wrong information, misplace the centre, that's why I
19 hesitate to do it.
20 Q. Can you read the names of the parts of the town in white? I
21 don't know whether you can make them out.
22 A. Yes. Now, yes.
23 Q. My assistant will try to come up with a better map, if possible.
24 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] I apologise to the Chamber for
25 the time we're using on this, particularly in view of the fact that I
1 promised to conclude my cross-examination in the course of the first
3 We definitely don't have another map. I will press on then.
4 Q. Between the 24th and the 28th of March, you and your family went
5 to Prizren and back to your house on several occasions. When I say
6 Prizren, I mean the centre of town, to your uncle. And you also
7 travelled back to your home.
8 In the course of the four days, did you or your family members
9 face any unpleasant situations? Were there any incidents on the way to
10 the uncle's house and back?
11 A. When we decided to leave together with the family, I explained
12 also yesterday that in the village, that in our neighbourhood there were
13 only four families that had remained. The others had fled out of fear of
14 something terrible happening. Then we, too, decided to leave in the
15 direction of the city to go to some of our relatives living in the centre
16 of the town.
17 While we were walking on the side-streets to enter the centre of
18 the city, we left at about 7.00. When we passed the main road,
19 Prizren-Gjakove main road, we hurried in order not to be detected by the
20 Serb forces, because we were afraid we might fall victim to them. And
21 very soon we passed the road. We entered the side-street to go where we
22 wanted to go.
23 While we were walking along these side-streets, some family
24 members came out of their houses and saw us walking, and we also heard
25 some shots at 8.00 in the evening. We heard that NATO had struck some
1 military barracks. And these people told us, "Don't continue, because
2 you might fall victims." That's why we stopped and spent the night in
3 some house there.
4 We heard various fire -- fires being -- rifles being shot at
5 these houses. The bullets hit the walls of this house, broke some glass.
6 And it was a horrible night for us, but there was no other solution for
7 us. We had to stay that night there.
8 Q. I will limit myself only to the most important questions and cut
9 down on the rest of them.
10 As you were moving towards the Albanian border on the tractor
11 trailer, you mentioned some escort and other things, including many of
12 the things contained in the statement given to the OTP. Can you tell us
13 this: On the left and the right-hand side of the road, did you notice
14 that both sides of the road towards Morina were mined? When I say that,
15 I'm not asking whether you saw the mines themselves, but did you see any
16 signs which said "Mines," any markings pointing to the fact that the area
17 had been mined on your way to the Albanian border?
18 A. No, I did not see any such signs. I can recount here very
19 frankly some story I heard from some other people. Because among the
20 forces, the Serb forces, there were some good people. A policeman or a
21 military, I don't know who he was, had advised this person not to walk
22 along on the -- on the side of the street because it was mined. But
23 these -- such people were very few, but I did -- other than that, I
24 didn't see any signs showing that the zone was mined. That's why I'm
25 saying -- frankly speaking, this is what I heard from someone else.
1 When we returned from Albania
2 The asphalt road was destroyed in several places. From Morina to Prizren
3 there were traces showing that the streets -- the area had been mined.
4 Q. You will agree with me when I say that there were no visible
5 signs on the -- by the side of the road, that the nearby area on your way
6 to the border was mined? There were no signs.
7 A. There were holes. It was mined, but there were no signs showing
8 that it is mined. This is what I heard from others, but I also saw these
9 holes myself when I came back.
10 Q. I'm asking you this because it is unclear to me what the need was
11 to have an escort. If it was general knowledge that there were mines
12 around, no one in their right mind would stray from the street or the
13 road. That is why I was asking you.
14 Before I conclude, I wanted to ask you this: Yesterday you
15 mentioned verbal abuse that you suffered in the hands of the Serbs, and
16 some gestures they made. They said things to the effect, "Where is your
17 KLA now? Where is your NATO and Thaqi now?"
18 At that time, what was the status of Thaqi? How well known may
19 he have been to the Serb forces at the time? There was someone else
20 there who was much more prominent as regards the Albanian population at
21 the time, I believe.
22 A. To my recollection, at that time Thaqi was one of the most
23 prominent figures in the KLA. He was also present in the negotiations.
24 This is from what I saw on television and also after the war when he
25 became more well known. So people knew who he was.
1 Q. I noticed that your wife's maiden name is Thaqi. Am I right?
2 A. Yes, that's correct.
3 Q. Is she Hasim Thaqi's cousin?
4 A. No, she's not. There are many families in Kosova that bear this
5 last name, but she has got nothing to do with Thaqi's family. In every
6 town or in every village there are families by this last name.
7 Q. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Beqiraj.
8 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Your Honour, I will make good on
9 my promise and conclude my cross-examination. I believe it is also the
10 time for the break. There may have been some questions that I believe
11 may have illustrated the situation better, but I tried to cut down my
12 cross-examination. Therefore, I decided not to put them.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
14 Ms. Gopalan, do you need re-examination?
15 MS. GOPALAN: Yes, I do, Your Honours. My estimate would be
16 around 15 minutes.
17 JUDGE PARKER: We will break now. Could I ask you to confine
18 your cross-examination more than that.
19 MS. GOPALAN: I'll do my best.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Just look at the matters that are important, and
21 the political history is not something that is going to determine any of
22 the issues on this indictment --
23 MS. GOPALAN: Thank you are for your guidance.
24 JUDGE PARKER: -- I make that clear.
25 Could I also mention for the assistance of all prosecuting
1 counsel that there has been developing a tendency with recent witnesses
2 of tendering a statement and then spending a very long time going through
3 parts of that statement with the witness. We have been losing time
4 unnecessarily with that. There, of course, will be matters that need
5 clarification or amplification in some statements, but there is no value
6 in terms of our proceedings in having a witness just go over again,
7 perhaps only for emphasis, matters that are already dealt with in the
8 statement which is exhibited.
9 The purpose of Rule 92 bis and ter is to shorten proceedings by
10 the use of a written statement in lieu of evidence, not as a further way
11 of giving the same evidence. So we would like all prosecuting counsel to
12 be aware of that.
13 We must have our first break now. For tape and other reasons we
14 need half an hour. We will resume at 11.00.
15 --- Recess taken at 10.33 a.m.
16 --- On resuming at 11.00 a.m.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Ms. Gopalan, re-examination.
18 Re-examination by Ms. Gopalan:
19 Q. Good morning, sir. I just have a few --
20 A. Good morning.
21 Q. -- questions remaining for you today, and this is the first group
22 just in relation to your personal experiences of the education system as
23 a teacher and as a student, and if I could ask you to confine your
24 answers to your own experiences.
25 Now, at page 4823, you were asked about the parallel education
1 system, and you said, "We wanted to enroll in the normal education
2 system, but the police surrounded the premises and did not allow us to
3 enter these premises."
4 Did you experience this yourself, the premises you were in being
5 surrounded by the police?
6 A. Yes. This is true. On the 1st of October, the new academic year
7 was supposed to begin. I had only been admitted -- I had already been
8 admitted to this faculty, and we were denied entry to the high
9 pedagogical school in Prizren. The premises were surrounded by Serb
10 forces. The students' union held a speech in our presence in an effort
11 to make up their mind so as they would be allowed to enter the school
13 Q. Thank you. Just to clarify, sir, when you say the 1st of
14 October, could you tell us which year that was in?
15 A. 1st of October, 2001, if I'm not mistaken.
16 Q. Okay.
17 A. The Serb forces surrounded us --
18 Q. Just to clarify, did you just say the 1st of October, 2001?
19 A. I apologise. 1991. That's a mistake on my part. The students
20 who held that speech were arrested afterwards.
21 Q. Thank you. And when you say the high pedagogical school, what
22 level of education was this institute? You refer to a faculty as well.
23 Was this a school? Was this a university? If you could just clarify
24 that for us.
25 A. It was of a faculty level. It belonged to university of
1 Prishtina. People of different ethnicities used to study in that
2 facility. It's a higher education institution.
3 Q. Thank you, sir. Later on in your testimony you speak about being
4 educated in a private home, and you say that you were often -- or "We
5 were often subjected to police assaults, raids. They came and
6 confiscated school materials and so on."
7 Now, these police assaults and raids, again is this something you
8 yourself experienced?
9 A. I heard of some of the raids, and we managed to escape one of the
10 raids thanks to a professor of ours. Just before this raid was carried
11 out, we abandoned the facility. During these raids, professors and
12 students were arrested. Their student booklets were seized. Other
13 materials were seized.
14 We didn't feel safe in the areas where we studied or taught. It
15 happened occasionally that we would try to find safer areas to carry out
16 our studies and teaching.
17 Q. Thank you, sir. And when you refer to the facility that you
18 abandoned just prior to the raid, could you clarify, if you remember,
19 when it was that you had to abandon this facility, and if you could also
20 explain what this facility was.
21 A. This was a mosque hall. The mosque allowed us to use this hall
22 for teaching purposes. This happened in 1993, to my recollection.
23 Q. Thank you, sir. Now, just moving on to my final topic. These
24 are the events that took place round about the time of the NATO bombing.
25 You were asked some questions by my learned counsel about your
1 movement from Prizren town centre and back to your home between the dates
2 of the 24th to the 28th of March, and you say that you passed along the
3 main road - and this is the Prizren-Gjakove main road - and you hide on
4 in order not to be detected by the Serb forces. And I quote here, you
6 "Because we were afraid we might fall victim to them."
7 Now, when you say "we might fall victim to them," could you
8 clarify for us, please, what it is you were afraid of of falling victim
10 A. The situation itself we found ourselves at that time for months,
11 the hatred towards us after the NATO bombing commenced, the Serb forces
12 hated us and started to behave savagely. We heard of people disappearing
13 in mysterious circumstances, people whose fates remained unknown. This
14 is the truth, and that's why we were afraid that we would fall victim to
15 the same things.
16 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Beqiraj. I do not have any further
17 questions for you.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Ms. Gopalan.
19 Mr. Beqiraj, you'll be pleased to know that that concludes the
20 questions for you. The Chamber would like to thank you for coming to The
21 Hague and for the assistance that you have been able to give to us.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You're very welcome, Your Honours.
23 I have a request. I would like to ask a question. I don't expect an
24 answer from any of you, but I would just ask you for permission to ask
25 this question.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] For years, I heard the saying that
3 Kosova was the cradle of Serbia
4 understand how it was possible for the cradle of Serbia to be in Kosova
5 and for the children of Serbia
6 Thank you very much.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Nobody will be attempting to deal with that issue.
8 The court officer will assist you out.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I just wanted to ask the question,
10 Your Honours. I didn't ask for any answers. Thank you very much for
11 this opportunity.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
14 [The witness withdrew]
15 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Behar.
16 MR. BEHAR: Yes, Your Honours. The next witness will be
17 Mr. Hyseni, and I believe he can be brought in just as we change seats
18 here and get ready.
19 [The witness entered court]
20 WITNESS: BEDRI HYSENI
21 [Witness answered through interpreter]
22 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good morning.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Would you please read aloud the affirmation on the
25 card that is given to you.
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
2 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Please sit down. Mr. Behar has some
4 questions for you.
5 Examination by Mr. Behar:
6 Q. Good morning, sir. Could you --
7 A. Good morning to you, sir.
8 Q. Could you please state your full name and your date of birth for
9 the record.
10 A. My name is Bedri Hyseni. I was born on the 16th of October,
12 Q. I understand, sir, that you are a Kosovar Albanian, that you were
13 born in Ferizaj but have lived thereafter in the village of Biba
14 Urosevac municipality; is that correct?
15 A. Yes, that's correct. That's where I still live.
16 Q. I understand, sir, that you gave an initial statement to the
17 Office of the Prosecutor on the 8th of May, 1999, about the events that
18 you experienced in Kosovo and that you provided a second statement to the
19 Office of the Prosecutor on the 27th of August, 2001, and the 1st of
20 September, 2001; is that correct?
21 A. That's correct, yes.
22 Q. And have you had an opportunity to read those statements before
23 coming to court today?
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. I understand that there are a couple of things that you'd like to
1 correct in your statements so that they accurately reflect your evidence.
2 MR. BEHAR: Can I have up on the screen 65 ter number 2270,
3 please. And we'll need actually -- it'll be page 3 of your second
4 statement, which will be -- it's page 8 of the PDF file, I believe.
5 Q. At page 3, this is page 3 of your second statement, at paragraph
6 3 the first sentence reads:
7 "From 1991 until 1994, I was an activist for the Council for the
8 Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms."
9 Is that correct or is a change required?
10 A. I would like to make a correction. I was an activist with the
11 Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms until 1999, from
12 1991 to 1999.
13 Q. Thank you. On that same page in the English, it's paragraph 5.
14 The second sentence reads:
15 "He was arrested sometime in 1994 or 1995 and sentenced to eight
16 years' imprisonment on charges of terrorism."
17 Is that correct or is a change required there?
18 A. He was arrested in 1993 and spent six years in prison.
19 Q. Thank you. And with those changes having been made, are you
20 satisfied that the information that's contained in your statements is
21 true and accurate to the best of your knowledge and belief?
22 A. Yes. It's accurate to the best of my knowledge and belief.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 MR. BEHAR: Your Honours, would I seek to tender those statements
25 and the entire 92 bis package.
1 JUDGE PARKER: What do you mean by the entire 92 bis package.
2 MR. BEHAR: Sorry, I just meant to explain that the statements
3 are together in one package under that 65 ter, which is 02270.
4 JUDGE PARKER: The statements will be received as separate
6 THE REGISTRAR: The first one, Your Honours, under -- dated the
7 8th May, 1999, will be assigned P00808. And the second one with the date
8 27th of August, 2001, and the 1st of September, 2001 would be assigned
10 MR. BEHAR: Thank you.
11 Q. Sir, do you recall testifying at the trial of Milutinovic et al
12 on the 11th of September, 2006?
13 A. Yes. It was on the 11th of September, 2006 that I testified in
14 the trial of Milosevic -- correction, Milutinovic et al.
15 Q. And have you had a chance to review the transcript of your
16 testimony in that trial?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. I understand that there are a few clarifications that you'd like
19 to make as well with respect to what was recorded in that transcript.
20 Can I have up 65 ter number 05079. And this will be at page 3092.
21 Sir, at -- at lines 1 to 5 of this page you were asked:
22 "And I understand you're married with three children?"
23 And to this question you answered --
24 A. Yes. A change is needed here as well. I'm married and I have
25 four children. I apologise for interrupting you.
1 Q. That's no problem, sir. Thank you. At page 3109 -- I'll just
2 wait a moment while that's brought up. At lines 10 to 11 the transcript
4 "And in February 1999, a collective sentence of 289 months of
5 imprisonment was determined."
6 Is there a clarification that you would like to make there?
7 A. Yes. Not 289 months but 289 years.
8 Q. Thank you. At page 3112. I'll again just wait a moment while
9 that's brought up. It states at line 13 and 14:
10 "There are two cooperatives there, an agricultural one and one
11 for bees."
12 Is there something you would like to explain or clarify about
14 A. It's not a cooperative for bees, but the name of the cooperative
15 is "Bleta," which in English is bees.
16 Q. Thank you. And lastly, if we could have up page 3114. At lines
17 3 to 5 it states:
18 "They bombed the barracks in Ferizaj and some tanks in Komogllave
19 village from the road that goes to Fshati i Vjeter to Postojni."
20 Is there a clarification you would like to make with respect to
22 A. There is no locality called Postoni. What I men here was
23 Fshati i Vjeter and Rruga e Shkupit or the Skopje road.
24 Q. Thank you. And with those clarifications having been made, does
25 the transcript now accurately reflect your evidence and would you testify
1 to those same facts today?
2 A. I didn't understand you. Can you please repeat your question?
3 Q. Yes, sir. I'm just asking that now that we've made those
4 clarifications, does the transcript accurately reflect your evidence, and
5 would you testify to those same facts again today?
6 A. Yes, yes, it does accurately reflect my evidence.
7 Q. Thank you.
8 MR. BEHAR: Your Honours, I would seek, please, to tender that
10 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
11 THE REGISTRAR: And that, Your Honours, will be assigned P00810.
12 MR. BEHAR: I would also seek to tender one exhibit that was
13 associated with Mr. Hyseni's testimony, that was 05080, and it is a map
14 from the Kosovo atlas that was marked by the witness when he testified.
15 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
16 THE REGISTRAR: And that, Your Honours, will be assigned P00811.
17 MR. BEHAR: I can now provide a brief summary of Mr. Hyseni's
19 Mr. Hyseni has a law degree and was a member of the Human Rights
20 Council in Urosevac. He has explained the ongoing persecution of Kosovar
21 Albanians and described how his human rights worker colleagues were
22 imprisoned and even killed for their human rights work on behalf of the
23 Albanian population. He describes that police and police reservists
24 manned check-points on the local roads, that approximately one month
25 prior to NATO bombing the military moved in, and that the military and
1 police armed the Serb civilian populace.
2 Mr. Hyseni describes observations of the actions and deployments
3 of Serb forces beginning with the commencement of the NATO bombing on the
4 24th of March, 1999 as he moved from his hometown of Biba to Sojevo, and
5 then as he was forced to hide in the mountains along with other Albanian
6 villagers. He describes Serb forces attacking Sojevo burning 90 per cent
7 of the civilian homes and forcing civilians out.
8 He describes travelling in a convoy to Urosevac, being sent back
9 by police to Gnjilan, but instead himself going to Slatina where he
10 remained for 12 days. He will describe the conditions in Slatina where
11 thousands of Kosovar Albanian refugees arrived.
12 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please slow down for the
13 interpretation. Thank you.
14 MR. BEHAR: Yes. Thank you.
15 Fearing what would happen, Mr. Hyseni returned to Urosevac where
16 conditions were terrible. He spent five days there before boarding a bus
17 that was moving Kosovar Albanians across the border to Macedonia. He
18 describes being stopped by VJ and police at a check-point in Kacanik,
19 continuing to the border at Djeneral Jankovic, and making observations of
20 a large police presence there before leaving the country on April 27th
21 and 28th.
22 That is the end of the summary.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
24 MR. BEHAR:
25 Q. Sir, I have some brief questions for you in the time that I have
1 remaining. Picking up somewhat into your -- the account of what
2 happened, after your observations and experiences in Sojevo, you
3 described escaping from Sojevo with your family on the 6th of April and
4 going into the mountains. You described joining about 200 villagers
5 there, and you described in your second statement that this group of
6 people then split into two groups and that your group managed to get away
7 without being noticed, but that this other second group you describe
8 being robbed and forced to walk to Urosevac.
9 My question is can you explain to the Court how it is that you
10 know what happened to this second group?
11 A. This occurred on the 6th of April, that is, during the NATO
12 bombing. A paramilitary and police expedition, supported by the regular
13 VJ soldiers that were deployed at the school building, undertook an
14 operation first in the Limanaj neighbourhood. They killed two persons
15 there, Hamit Halimi and Qerim Havazi and expelled the entire population
16 from that neighbourhood by setting the houses on fire and burning 90 per
17 cent of them.
18 The same group of forces continued and advanced towards my
19 neighbourhood where I was at the time, the neighbourhood of Shukri Begu
20 or Sulaj neighbourhood. There, the paramilitaries and the police burned
21 the houses, killed my uncle on my mother's side, Nazir Nebihu and Hazira
23 Q. Sir, let me just stop you there for a moment if I can. I know we
24 have -- we have this account from your statement and from your testimony
25 as well. I just wanted to focus, if I could, on the question of these
1 groups, and you described this single group that you were in of about 200
2 villagers. You described that being divided into two groups, and then
3 you described what happened to that second group. And my specific
4 question for you is: How is it that you knew what happened to the second
6 A. I thought I was supposed to describe the entire event, but from
7 what I see, you want to know about the other group. I will explain.
8 Initially we were about 200 civilians, elderly people, women,
9 children at the end of the village the group was divided in two parts.
10 One part set out in the direction of Komogllave village in the vicinity
11 of the forest. The other part where my family members were -- were sent
12 to another part, to a forest in a place called Ljubizanis [phoen]. When
13 the paramilitaries set -- set fire to the houses, they saw the other
14 group and were -- went there. We could see from the place we were how
15 they behaved. They were looted, men separated from women and ordered to
16 continue on foot towards Ferizaj, because otherwise they would have been
17 killed by the police.
18 Novica Mijovic was the one who had told the population this. In
19 order to understand the situation better, some of the people from the
20 column tried to flee the column and entered the forest and came back to
21 our group because they were members of some families that were in our
22 group. So they were the ones who told us what happened, how they had
23 been looted, taken away their jewels and every valuable they had on them.
24 That was how I came to learn about it.
25 Q. Thank you. So just to be clear, sir, then, am I understanding
1 right that there were people from this second group who experienced the
2 things that you described who then rejoined your group afterwards?
3 A. Yes, that's how it was.
4 Q. I see. And I see you've mentioned that there were members of
5 some of the same families. So were you personally able to speak to some
6 of these people when they returned to your group as well?
7 A. Yes. Yes. We all talked to them. We are a group of 80 persons,
8 and we talked. I personally talked with them.
9 Q. Thank you. You explained, sir, that instead of -- well, perhaps
10 I'll put that a different way. You explained staying in Slatina for 10
11 to 12 days, and you -- you explained in your statement -- you described
12 that there were more than 10.000 people who passed through there in the
13 time that you were there. Can you explain to the Court what the
14 conditions were like in Slatina in those 10 or 12 days that you spent
16 A. The conditions in Sllatine were somewhat good, but with the
17 growing number of people coming from Gnjilane, Viti, Ferizaj
18 municipalities, the situation deteriorated, and we started to lack the
19 most elementary things, like foodstuffs and other things. So all this
20 large concentration of population created a humanitarian crisis
22 Q. You described previously that on the 22nd of April of 1999, you
23 travelled to Urosevac, and you explained that you did that to take care
24 of your father-in-law and your brother-in-law and also because you
25 described what you were -- that you were worried about what might happen
1 in Slatina. Can you explain to the Court what it was that you were
2 worried would happen in Slatina?
3 A. Yes. Because of the large concentration of people there, over
4 10.000 people, there was -- that was the estimate, those who took down
5 numbers and trying to take care of them, the police often came about that
6 area and looted some good cars from the villagers. This was a reason
7 that made me leave the place, because I started fearing for the worst.
8 In fact, it had already started to happen since all that population was
9 driven out and the young people were imprisoned in Viti.
10 I left Sllatine also because my father-in-law and my
11 brother-in-law, on the second night of the air-strikes, if I'm not
12 mistaken, were injured by a shell thrown by the Serb army from the
13 barracks, because their house is situated near the barracks.
14 Since my wife knew nothing of what had happened, I had learned it
15 from the television report, I knew what happened and instead of sending
16 my wife, I thought it would be better, more viable, if I went, and I
17 could provide some assistance to them.
18 Q. Thank you. Sir. I'd like to ask you a question about Urosevac
19 or Ferizaj, the town, and the time you spent there. You say in your
20 statement that conditions were terrible. Are you able to describe what
21 those conditions were and why you make that characterization?
22 A. I made that characterization because in the city neighbourhoods I
23 saw in -- not only in the Lodja area neighbourhood where there were
24 Albanians, but in general circulation was forbidden. In the other -- the
25 other neighbourhoods were free of people because the population had been
1 driven out. In some parts of the town where I could go, because I didn't
2 go all over the town, I saw the presence of the army, the police,
3 paramilitaries, dressed in their specific clothes, long hair, and so on,
4 painted in their faces, but the worst thing was because there was
5 constant shooting and the kids were scared.
6 Q. Sir, in your second statement you also describe that on the 27th
7 of April of 1999, you went with a group to the Urosevac bus station where
8 you saw four buses filled with people, and you described boarding one of
9 those buses. Do you know, sir, whether those buses were arranged by Serb
10 forces or by Albanians? Are you able to explain that? If you know.
11 A. Of course they were arranged by the Serb forces, because the road
12 to Skopje
13 had its own buses once a day, maybe, but that what happened was done
14 deliberately. They wanted to use buses and trains to get rid of the
15 population. I was one who travelled by bus.
16 Q. Can you explain who was driving those buses?
17 A. The drivers were all Serbs.
18 Q. And what was the ethnicity of the passengers?
19 A. You -- Albanian, of course.
20 Q. Thank you. You described in your statement and in your testimony
21 that your bus was stopped in Kacanik at a check-point. Can you explain
22 who was manning that check-point?
23 A. At the entry to Kacanik there was a check-point and the bus was
24 stopped there. It was manned by a large group of policemen dressed in a
25 strange uniform, a uniform of 1979, 1980, 1981, I would say. They had a
1 light blue ribbon on their army, and there were two reservists, and I
2 knew both. One was a financial inspector. Fisekovic his last name is.
3 The other one sold bread, and he was my generation. He was a baker, but
4 I don't know his name.
5 Q. Sir, you also described then the bus continuing on to Djeneral
6 Jankovic or Hani i Elezit, and you described that when you arrived there
7 there were numerous policemen there. Can you explain, sir, what those
8 police were doing that you observed?
9 A. These police stood in groups of three mostly, and that long
10 convoy of Albanian refugees that was being driven out was escorted by
11 them along the asphalt road. They stood about 300 to 400 metres far from
12 the column and ordered them to cross the border in groups of ten. So
13 when a family had more than ten, it had to leave two kids behind and then
14 cross it in groups. They gave orders to the refugees what to do.
15 Q. Can you give us an idea, sir, about roughly how many police you
16 observed there? And was this a large group of police? Was it a small
17 group of police?
18 A. How can I say? They, as I said, were divided in groups of three.
19 Maybe over 30, I suppose. There were a lot of policemen there.
20 Q. Thank you. And did the police appear to be organised in their
21 actions, in your view?
22 A. Yes, they appeared to be organised. They were dressed in the
23 typical police uniform, dark blue camouflage uniforms.
24 Q. When you were stationed there, sir, when you spent your time
25 there, were you able to hear any orders being issued between police?
1 A. I didn't hear any orders being given between them. I wasn't
2 actually interested to hear what was going on among them. The only order
3 I heard was that we had to form groups of ten, not more than ten members,
4 but as to who gave the order, I don't know. It was probably a chain of
5 command giving the orders.
6 Q. Thank you, sir. Those are my questions for you, and now my
7 learned friend from the Defence will have some questions for you as well.
8 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Behar.
9 Mr. Djordjevic.
10 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Thank you, Your Honour. I need some time to
12 JUDGE PARKER: While that's happening, Mr. Behar, there was an
13 amendment to the statement which was Exhibit 809. That was an amendment
14 made, I think, in January 2002. Are you wanting that tendered as well?
15 MR. BEHAR: Yes, Your Honour. I would also seek to tender that.
16 JUDGE PARKER: That will be received.
17 MR. BEHAR: Thank you.
18 THE REGISTRAR: And that, Your Honours, will be assigned P00812.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
20 Cross-examination by Mr. Djordjevic:
21 Q. [Interpretation] Good morning, Mr. Hyseni. My name is Dragoljub
22 Djordjevic. I appear on behalf of the accused in this case.
23 Mr. Hyseni, first of all, I'd like to deal with the
24 misunderstanding. In your brief 65 ter summary that we received in
25 writing from the Prosecutor, the Prosecutor put down that you entered
2 that it was actually in April 1999?
3 A. It was in April, yes. It is a misunderstanding.
4 Q. Thank you. Your first statement was provided on the 8th of May,
5 1999, that is to say -- say while the operation in Kosovo was still under
6 way. Can you tell us how you were contacted by OTP or Tribunal
7 representatives in Macedonia
8 A. How I was contacted?
9 Q. Yes.
10 A. The OTP contacted me because I was in the capacity of the
11 refugee. I was stationed in Stankovac 1, if I'm not mistaken. I met
12 them, and I described the situation to them, the event to them. I gave
13 the first statement. And in order to give such a statement -- I think I
14 had the right to give such a statement in order to give an accurate
15 account of what I'd seen.
16 Q. What did you do after 1991? Where did your income come from?
17 A. After 1991, I won my income from a private firm I had. I dealt
18 with production -- I -- actually, I involved in a work as a carpenter.
19 Q. You completed your studies at the age of 31 in 1990 or 1991, if
20 I'm not mistaken. You were married in 1986. How did you finance your
22 A. I was not married in 1996. I was married in 1986. And it's a
23 fact that I graduated in 1991. There was only one exam left for me. I
24 started in 1985, 1986. 1987 I finish the army in Postojna. But seeing
25 that there were no jobs for Albanians, I -- at that moment I felt I had
1 to interrupt the studies, which I resumed at a later time.
2 Q. You just told us you served your military term in Postojna. What
3 was your military speciality? Which aspect of the army and what were you
4 trained in?
5 A. I did my military service in Postojna in Slovenia, in
6 the infantry brigade. I was a shooter, "strelac" in Serbian.
7 Q. Thank you. Did you try to find work only in the town where you
8 lived, or did you seek employment elsewhere in the territory of the
9 former Socialist Federal Serbian Republic of Yugoslavia as of the moment
10 when you completed your studies?
11 A. When I completed my studies, I did not seek work because the
12 place where I graduated discriminated Albanian employees. Nobody was
13 allowed to work with the exception of those who would recognise Serbia
14 their own state. I believe you know such things, things that happened in
15 1989. When Kosova was deprived of its status. So I registered my firm,
16 and I minded my own business as a private entrepreneur.
17 Q. My question was this: Did you try to look for work outside the
18 territory of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija to find work
19 as a lawyer?
20 A. No, I did not.
21 Q. In your statement you say that there were certain regulations in
22 place which were introduced, as you put it, at the expense of the Kosovo
23 Albanians due to which they could no longer find employment. I would not
24 ask you this question if you were not lawyer, but given that you are,
25 could you tell it us what regulation are you referring to?
1 A. I am referring to well-known regulations introduced in 1991. The
2 factories were closed down to Albanian workers. The police no longer
3 employed Albanian officers who were employed there before. They were
4 dismissed. Even -- if someone wanted to work, if he was working, they
5 had to sign a certain statement which said that Kosova was called Kosova
6 and Metohija and to recognise the Serbian state, which Albanians didn't
7 want to do or refused to do. And all the factories, as I said, and other
8 workplaces were banned for Albanians. They were blocked by police forces
9 who prevented Albanian workers from entering the premises. This is what
10 rules I referred to. These were the rules imposed by Serbia.
11 Q. Mr. Hyseni, you spoke about this, and we have that in your
12 written statement, but that was not my question, however. Now you are
13 talking about a possible way of behaviour that may have occurred at that
14 time, but I'm asking you as a lawyer. Can you cite a single rule or
15 regulation which would prohibit Albanians from finding work in the
16 territory of Kosovo?
17 A. I told you I didn't see any actual act or rule because I was not
18 employed in the state bodies, but the very fact that Albanians reported
19 to work and were dismissed from work, it was -- it must have been based
20 on a rule which Serbia
21 were employed and whose work relationship was cancelled, exterminated.
22 You know that when somebody's employed, you have to undergo a
23 certain procedure.
24 Q. At page 2 of your statement of the 27th of August, 2001, you say
25 that Albanians received a document that they were supposed to sign
1 accepting certain rules of the Republic of Serbia
2 it -- it stated that Kosovo was to be called Kosovo and Metohija and some
3 other things. Can you tell us, did you ever see such a document with
4 your own eyes, and, if so, please describe it for us.
5 A. I told you I didn't see it myself, because in order to see such a
6 document, a Albanian had to go to his place of work and sign the document
7 in order to go back to work to continue working. But I told you that
8 some of my family members were dismissed from work unless they agreed
9 to -- to sign this document. I suppose I was clear. I said I didn't see
10 it with my own eyes.
11 Q. Did any of your relatives, having lost their employment due to
12 not signing such a document, tell you what the document actually said?
13 A. They didn't give me any details, but they only said that the
14 headline said the -- the Serb state and that the Kosova is an autonomous
15 province was called Kosovo and Metohija, which we as Albanians didn't
16 recognise, didn't accept, because Kosova had its own status. It was to
17 its detriment. As it was detrimentally affected by the revocation of its
18 status, by the forceful revocation of its status. You, I believe,
19 remember that this happened with approval of members who were not even
20 members of parliament at all.
21 Q. Mr. Hyseni, we're not so interested in political issues here, and
22 if -- in the extent that you talked about those matters as facts, so I'm
23 not going to go into that, but I just wanted to ask you this: Do you
24 know, and would you agree with me, that the parliament of the autonomous
25 province which existed when the vote was held on the constitution of the
1 autonomous province of Kosovo
2 the Albanian ethnic group? Would you agree with me?
3 A. Yes, it comprised mostly Albanian -- Albanians, but there were
4 also Serbs, but it was called Kosova and not Kosovo-Metohija. It was
5 called Kosova, not Kosovo and Metohija. Then you invented that other
6 syndrome. It has to be eliminated. Kosova has been, is and will remain
8 Q. What name is that? Is the word "Dukagjin" an Albanian word or a
9 Serbian word? What does "Dukagjin" mean? How would you be able to say
10 that? Does that mean Metohija?
11 A. Dukagjin is an Albanian word. When Serbia uses Metohija, it
12 refers to the religious heritage in Kosova. These churches were defended
13 for centuries by Albanians. It was the Vojvoda family in Decan that
14 defended the church there. The Serbs seem to forget that Albanians
15 belonged to three different religious faiths. To name a country with
16 that religious reference is not right. Kosova's name is Kosova, and it
17 is recognised as such by international conventions and now as an
18 independent state. And it is in conformity with the ruling democracies
19 in the world.
20 Q. Mr. Hyseni, do you know what the name of the autonomous province
21 was before 1974?
22 A. Kosova.
23 Q. And Metohija.
24 A. What I know is that it was referred earlier as Kosmet or Kosovo
25 and Metohija just to give rise to Serb nationalism, but that name is not
1 correct. Kosova was always Kosova and still is. That is the adequate
2 name of the country.
3 Q. We're not going to dwell on this anymore. I would just like to
4 remind you that Metohija is a word of Greek origin. We're not going to
5 discuss this anymore.
6 Can you please tell me, in relation to the Albanian workers in
7 the territory of Kosovo
8 state factories or in factories, in state bodies and institutions?
9 A. That's correct. They were not employed because they had been
10 previously expelled from work and denied their constitutional right to
11 employment, their freedom to choose their own employment. They were not
12 employed, because they were discriminated.
13 Q. Not a single Albanian was employed?
14 A. I'm not saying all of them. There were still some who --
15 THE INTERPRETER: We ask not to overlap.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- employed, but this number was
17 small. Those who were loyal to the Serbian policies.
18 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. When you say a small number, are you aware that in the territory
20 of the municipality of Urosevac
21 state institutions alone? Do you know about this information? Seven
22 hundred employees in state institutions. Do you know about this? We're
23 talking about Urosevac.
24 A. During this period in Ferizaj, more than 700 workers is
25 absolutely not true. Those who were employed in the Serbian state
1 institutions were known. They were small in number. They were not 700.
2 You could count them by the fingers.
3 Q. On page 2, paragraph 5; page 3, paragraph 1 in the English and
4 Albanian, you say that the objective of that was to abolish the status of
5 Kosovo as a federal unit.
6 Was Kosovo ever a federal unit as part of the Socialist Federal
7 Republic of Yugoslavia
8 A. Yes, sir. The contusion of 1974 recognises Kosovo as a
9 constitual part of the Yugoslav Federation. It was a federal unit. It
10 was a constituent part. The socialist autonomous province of Kosova
11 a constituent part of the Yugoslav Federation, and I support this claim
12 by the following fact: The Presidency that was formed after the death of
13 Tito was such that every unit, federal unit, had a mandate of Presidency.
14 When I was a soldier in Postojna in 1987, the president of
16 just said and what you put to me. It supports the claim that Kosova had
17 had the status of a federal unit. It had its MPs in the federal
18 parliament, and it had its mandate for a president.
19 Q. And Kosovo was an autonomous province within which state? Was it
20 within the Federal Republic
21 or the Socialist Federal Republic of Serbia, as it was called at the
23 A. It belonged to the Yugoslav Federation.
24 Q. That's what it said?
25 A. It had its own status. It was part of the Yugoslav Federation.
1 Q. Did you ever read in its entirety the constitution of 1974? I
2 must ask you this.
3 A. Yes. It is signed by Ilaz Kurteshi, who was at the time
4 president of the Kosovan Assembly. I did read it.
5 Q. And does it say that Kosovo is part of the Socialist Republic
7 in the constitution? Did you read that or not?
8 A. That's what it states, but we were talking about federal units.
9 Kosovo was a federal unit, and with the constitution of 1974 it had -- it
10 enjoyed equal rights as did the other republics.
11 After the political crisis in Yugoslavia and when it was
12 dissolved as a country, things changed. If we continued to enjoy the
13 same rights as we did before the autonomy was revoked, we wouldn't have
14 had the problems and the disputes we had, and nothing would have happened
15 of what happened.
16 Q. And as part of your work from 1991 until 1999 when you were in
17 the Council for the Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms, can you please
18 tell me what were the basic aims of that organisation in which you were
19 an activist? Why? What was the reason it was founded in Kosovo? Was it
20 in order to protect and defend the human rights of all the citizens of
21 Kosovo or because of threatened civil rights of the Albanian ethnic
22 citizens of Kosovo?
23 A. The Council for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms was
24 established sometime in 1989, 1990 by a great lawyer, well known in the
25 Balkans, Bajram Kelmendi, then Adem Demaci, Zeni Raguda [phoen], a worker
1 of human rights, Pajazit Nushi, and many other intellectuals. It had its
2 branches in all the municipalities, towns and townlets of Kosova. Its
3 objectives and aim was very clear, to defend the human rights, mainly the
4 rights of those citizens who were subjected to systematic violence
5 exercised by the Serb regime. So our activity was focussed on monitoring
6 these cases of violence that were evidenced in every walk of life in
7 Kosova. The work was such that it demanded meetings to be convened once
8 a week, usually on Saturdays. We would collect information from people
9 who were maltreated in police stations. They would contact us, give us
10 information, although they were threatened by the police not to contact
11 us. But they did. We collected this information, compiled reports,
12 submitted them to the headquarters in Prishtina, and the headquarters in
13 Prishtina would then submit those reports to the Helsinki Committee, so
14 that to inform the international public about what was going on, about
15 the truth prevailing in Kosova at the time.
16 Q. Thank you, Mr. Hyseni. You have saved a few questions with your
17 very detailed and precise answer to my question.
18 Can you please tell me, is there council -- does this council
19 still exist today for the protection of human rights and freedoms in
20 Pristina and in other places?
21 A. Yes. The Council for the Protection of Human Rights still exists
22 in Prishtina. It is led by Dr. Pajazit Nushi. It also exists in other
23 towns but in smaller numbers. There are usually coordinators in these
24 smaller towns, usually two persons that deal with property disputes and
25 other types of disputes.
1 Q. You said that in 1999, you stopped being active in this council
2 for the protection of human rights. What was the reason for that?
3 A. To tell you the truth, my activity in the field of human rights
4 never ceased. I still perform this activity. However, in terms of the
5 council and as an activist of that council, I stopped this activity
6 because I was expelled. I became refugee first in Macedonia, then I was
7 moved to Manchester
8 active -- activist of the council. All the work we did at that time
9 during the war was based on our free will. It was voluntary work.
10 Q. And where are you living right now, Mr. Hyseni?
11 A. In Bibaj village.
12 Q. In view of the fact that I heard from you today that this council
13 deals more with legal matters today, with resolving property issues and
14 so on, do you have any information that the council today works on the
15 protection of human rights of Serbs who have left Kosovo? Does it deal
16 with matters of protection of their property and of their rights?
17 A. From what I know, somewhere in Sterps [phoen], the Ferizaj branch
18 in Sterps dealt with these issues. There was an employee from Prishtina
19 and another one from Ferizaj, lawyers by profession, who dealt with these
20 issues in the municipalities of Stimlje and Sterps, and I think that
21 these issues were resolved last year.
22 Q. The transcript from the Milutinovic case, on page 3093, lines 11
23 to 13, in response to a question further to you, you replied that -- the
24 question was "If police and military forces of Serbia armed Serbian
25 civilians," you replied, "I didn't see that they were arming them."
1 Can I conclude then that you don't have immediate information
2 about what you said, that Serbian civilians were armed by the army and
3 the police and that that is an assumption of yours and indirect
4 knowledge, but that you don't have any direct knowledge about that, and
5 can you say something else today? Perhaps this is Exhibit P810.
6 A. To tell you the truth, all civilians, including Serb civilians --
7 correction, Serb civilians, all of them were armed. There were no Serbs
8 in my village, but in other villages there were, and they were armed.
9 Personally, I didn't see this. I didn't see them being armed, but the
10 information circulating was such that they were being armed.
11 I didn't see the act of issuing weapons with my own eyes, but I
12 know this for a fact because I know the Serb population live -- that
13 lives in the area where I live. Maybe not all of them by name, but by
14 sight I would say I know all of them.
15 Q. Your statement of 1999, on page 3, paragraph 6 of the B/C/S, and
16 paragraph 2, page 3 of the English --
17 THE INTERPRETER: And the counsel needs to repeat the Albanian
19 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] -- you say something about the
20 paramilitary forces, and that is they all -- they coordinated everything
21 from the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of the Interior.
22 Where do you get this information from, first that everything was
23 coordinated and conducted by the Ministry of Defence and the minister of
24 the interior, and I am going to continue with some more questions after I
25 guess your answer to this.
1 A. I didn't get information from anyone but from the acts of the
2 paramilitary, military, and police forces of Republic of Serbia
3 action that took part in part of Trstenik area. I think it was called
4 shoe horse -- Horseshoe operation, and from this operation I reached the
5 conclusion that it was a coordination between the two forces. The
6 Ministry of Defence was in charge of the army, the Ministry of the
7 Interior was in charge of the police. To me it seemed like a single
8 command and with -- with subordinated forces that acted under the orders
9 of the single command.
10 Q. Where do you get the information, Mr. Hyseni, about the Potkovica
11 operation, the Horseshoe operation?
12 A. I don't have direct information for this, but it is true that
13 this plan of the military police and other forces of Serbia was called
14 Horseshoe or Scorched Land. It is possible that I read about it in the
16 Q. Mr. Hyseni, there is another name here, Scorched Earth. Can you
17 please tell me if you know that operation, regardless of whether it's
18 called Horseshoe or Scorched Earth, was a military operation or was a
19 police operation with that name, or was it something third? I think you
20 know the details that perhaps even I don't know, so then it would be very
21 strange if you didn't know the answer to this.
22 A. This was a joint coordinated operation of the whole -- of all the
23 forces of Serbia
24 eyes. I saw how people were being expelled, how areas were being
25 ethnically cleansed, how houses were being looted. All this happened on
1 the 6th of April.
2 Q. That was the time that the NATO bombing was going on as well. Am
3 I correct?
4 A. Yes. The bombing had started, but not in Sojeve where I was.
5 There was no bombing in Sojeve. There was no bombing of the area where
6 the population was staying. NATO had its targets, and civilians were not
7 one of them.
8 Q. You already talked about this and that was not my question. My
9 next question will be you said in your village that it was a purely
10 Albanian village with no members of other ethnic groups except Albanian,
11 but you said that in the neighbouring villages there were Serbian
12 families. Did these Serbian families also leave their homes?
13 A. We're talking about Staro Selo or Fshati i Vjeter in Albanian.
14 There were Serb or Montenegrin families living there, about 12 or 13. At
15 that time they didn't leave the village, but they provided shelter to a
16 very dangerous paramilitary group. I have information that this was
17 Seselj's group, but I didn't see them myself.
18 At the entry to the village, to this village, the police were
19 stationed. They set on fire eight houses from some relatives of mine,
20 and there were also people killed in the village. I've given the
21 Prosecutor the details about these killings, and I can elaborate on that
22 if you want. I'm talking about Staro Selo.
23 Nine persons were killed from Staro Selo village during the
24 bombing, two of them killed by the Black Hand. So I'm answering your
25 question now. The Serbs did not leave their homes. They only left after
1 the Kumanovo agreement was signed. And they set all the houses on fire
2 as they were leaving.
3 Q. The Serbs set their houses on fire before they left Kosovo? Is
4 that what you wanted to say?
5 THE INTERPRETER: The witness is kindly asked to stop for the
6 translation before he starts answering.
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] They didn't set their own houses on
8 fire. They burnt the Albanian houses. They are selling their houses.
9 Their own houses are on the market. The government of Kosova has
10 actually rebuilt their houses in some of the villages and offered them
11 the opportunity to return, but the mere fact that they refuse to return
12 to their homes leads one to believe that they have a hand in the
13 ill-doings that took part during the war.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Is this a convenient time, Mr. Djordjevic?
15 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] It would not be, but, however, I
16 do agree that we have a break. However, I will need an additional seven
17 or eight minutes to round off this topic, but I will make a marking and
18 remember where I left it off.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Good. We shall adjourn now. We have a break for
20 half an hour. We resume at 1.00.
21 The court officer will assist you during the break.
22 --- Recess taken at 12.30 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 1.02 p.m.
24 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Djordjevic.
25 MR. DJORDJEVIC: [Interpretation] Thank you, Your Honour.
1 Q. Sir, am I right in saying that your statement that the MUP and
2 the Ministry of Defence coordinated all of the events, these are merely
3 your assumptions, you do not have any actual facts or information to
4 corroborate that?
5 A. It's not an assumption if we speak about what really happened in
6 Sojeve village. The action itself shows -- the action committed by those
7 people part of those formations shows that they must have had a command
8 and someone must have led them. The army has been led by the General
9 Staff, and it is under the power of the Ministry of Defence.
10 The police, on the other hand, was under the jurisdiction of the
11 Ministry of Interior. The paramilitary or reservists, whatever they
12 were, they have cooperated in them, and this shows that there was a
14 If Serbia
15 would not have happened, because the army that operated in Bibe,
16 Strasel [phoen], Sllatine was the army from Nis, Vojna Posta Nis. This
17 is not an assumption. I can even show you the document, the relevant
18 document which I have submitted to the Prosecution signed by one of the
19 captains of that army which was found in one of our homes. That's why
20 I'm saying this is not an assumption, but it's an actual fact.
21 Q. Since you mentioned documents, I'll ask you this: Did you ever
22 see a document coordinating the work of MUP members, army members, that
23 is to say soldiers and police, and to include the reservists or
24 paramilitary forces, whichever way we term them. Did you ever see an
25 order for a joint operation by soldiers, police, and reservists or
1 paramilitaries? Did you ever come across such a document?
2 A. A document that shows that an order has been given then is
3 impossible for me or anyone else to see, because they are secret
4 documents. But I'm saying the actions, the operations committed during
5 those times, they must have been done on the basis of orders given to the
6 army, to the police of a state or a so-called state, I would say, which
8 criminal groups that did nothing other than exerted criminal violence
9 against Albanians, civilian Albanians, elderly people, innocent people.
10 Q. What is the basis of your knowledge that in those operations
11 reservists participated or -- or the paramilitaries, as you call them?
12 What is your basis for that conclusion?
13 A. The basis of my knowledge is that the regular army, the
14 reservists or the paramilitaries, you may call them as you like, you can
15 distinguish them from the way they dress, from the way they act. A
16 regular army does not wear beards. I have been a soldier myself. The
17 uniform is in a better shape, is tidier, and is a set uniform, whereas
18 the paramilitaries or the reservists don't have the same uniform. They
19 are unshaven, they have long hair, and so on. On the basis of the
21 Q. Was there a difference in terms of weapons carried by members of
22 the army and members of the Ministry of the Interior?
23 A. It depends on the military unit involved. Mainly, the weapons
24 were Kragujevc make weapons. Kragujevac mainly.
25 The police had automatic rifles produced in Kragujevac. Only in
1 one occasion I saw a soldier carrying a machine-gun, but it, too, was
2 produced in the same place. Or in Zagreb
3 about the weapons of the soldiers, an infantry platoon, when I was a
4 soldier, and I suppose that was the case even then, don't have the same
5 weapons. Some have submachine-guns, some have machine-guns or automatic
6 or semi-automatic rifles. The police had usually the same weapons,
7 Zastava make, manufactured in Kragujevac.
8 Q. A moment ago you mentioned members of an organisation called
9 Crna Ruka, Black Hand, referring to a village in which there were a dozen
10 Serb and Montenegrin families. First of all, how did you learn of the
11 name of the organisation, and second of all, do you know anything more
12 about? Do you know who those people were, what sort of clothes they
13 wore, what weapons they had, what vehicles they used? Do you have any
14 information to that effect?
15 A. Yes. I have information that the Black Hand existed. The entire
16 town knew about it. I would say the entire Kosova, because after 6.00,
17 nobody dared go out. If anyone was caught out in the street, he would be
18 killed. In a place called Srpski Babush, some victims were found there,
19 and it was written on the body "Black Hand." That is, the perpetrator,
20 who was the perpetrator.
21 They circulated in vehicles without licence plates. They acted
22 in concert with the police of the police station, for example. There is
23 a policeman who was called Pucrran. I don't know his name. He was a
24 terrible person. He used to have a BMW, and his car used to circulate
25 always after 6.00. There were also two civilians from the town known by
1 the name of Pesic. They also were among the perpetration. They were
2 members of the Black Hand, but of course there were others. And these
3 killings committed by this notorious formation were aimed at striking
4 fear among the population and force them to flee. This became apparent,
5 especially after the killings committed prior to the air-strikes. I am
6 talking about Ferizaj area. And this Black Hand killed two young people
7 in Staro Selo, Sadik Leskovci and someone from Magashi family. His name
8 was Elhami Muharremi from the Magashi family. These two young persons
9 were victims of this very formation.
10 Q. Am I right in saying that concerning the organisation Black Hand,
11 have only indirect information and knowledge, having discussed it with
12 various people? You do not have any direct knowledge about the
13 organisation, do you?
14 A. This is direct information that I have, because we dealt directly
15 with what happened. We participated in the burial of these two young
16 people in this case. We talked with their family members. What more
17 direct information can you get other than this? We didn't go to the
18 police station to ask, because if you went to the police station at that
19 time, you were hardly likely to come out alive from there.
20 Q. Who was the founder of this armed formation called Black Hand
21 that you have been referring to today? What have you heard about it?
22 A. The founder on the level of Serbia, do you mean, or for Kosova?
23 Q. I have no idea whether that organisation existed in Serbia
24 all. You mentioned the Black Hand organisation. If you know, tell us
25 who is the political mentor of that organisation, and share with us
1 any -- which information you may have.
2 A. This organisation you are asking me about, alleging that you
3 don't know it ever existed is not correct, because it did exist. It
4 had -- it executed people. It killed people.
5 As to the founder of this organisation, I believe the then
6 Serbian power must know.
7 As for Ferizaj, I told you that some of its members were
8 well-known faces for us. One of them to this day works in Leskovc, in
9 the police station together with his wife. The other, I don't know where
10 he is. As well as the state security service.
11 Q. Did you have in mind any political parties allegedly behind the
12 organisation of the Black Hand?
13 A. No. No. I have never mentioned any political party behind this
14 Black Hand organisation. It was directly supported by the Serbian power,
15 especially by the police, the police institution.
16 Q. Did you ever see any members of that organisation in the field
17 where you were?
18 A. At the time it operated, and I mentioned that it operated after
19 6.00 in the evening, it was impossible for me to see any one of them,
20 because if I happened to see them, I would have been executed on the
21 spot. My house is near the Gnjilan-Ferizaj road, and on one occasion I
22 saw a black Golf car without licence plate, and it belonged to the Black
23 Hand, but I couldn't see the persons inside the car, the way they were
24 dressed, what they were carrying, from my house. I couldn't see them. I
25 only saw the car parked at a crossing to observe if someone was coming
1 out or moving about.
2 Q. How do you know that that vehicle belonged to the Black Hand?
3 You didn't see any people. You didn't see the driver. You saw no one.
4 You didn't see any registration plates. It's a black car standing at an
5 intersection and yet you claim it belongs to the Black Hand organisation.
6 Why do you think so?
7 A. I say this because nobody dared move those days. Even if you had
8 a sick person, you wouldn't dare take him or her to the hospital. It was
9 like a curfew. The only cars that were circulating after 6.00 were those
10 that I mentioned.
11 Q. Can I conclude, then, that you arrived at that conclusion without
12 any further evidence that these were members of the organisation inside
13 the vehicle at that moment?
14 A. I am saying even now that that car belonged to the Black Hand
15 formation, which was active during those days. I wished I would have
16 been in a position to identify the persons inside, because many people
17 were killed in Shati i Vjeter nearby.
18 Q. Everything you've said so far is something I believe you, but I'm
19 asking you to tell us why you concluded that the vehicle belonged to the
20 Black Hand organisation. You did not see the driver or anyone else. It
21 was only your conclusion that only they could be driving in cars around
22 at that time, but what made you conclude that that very vehicle, the
23 black Golf car, belonged to that organisation, and if indeed that was
24 your conclusion, I would kindly ask you to share with us the information
25 that you based that conclusion on. Otherwise, I have to conclude that it
1 was merely an assumption on your part.
2 A. I base this conclusion on the fact that the same Golf and other
3 cars were observed by other members of the community there.
4 One night, or two nights later, in another neighbourhood in the
5 Gnjilan road, a person was wounded and was killed. They were from Viti
6 municipality, but since I didn't see it with my own eyes I didn't testify
7 to that. So two more victims were observed.
8 Q. Was the black Golf car seen when those people were killed?
9 A. I didn't see it myself, but this black Golf was seen that day in
10 several other locations by various people.
11 Q. I have no doubts about that. The only doubt I have is concerning
12 the person driving it and who it belonged to.
13 Can you tell us whether you ever saw any KLA members, and I mean
14 before you left the country for Macedonia
15 looked like, whether they wore any uniforms or not, whether they had
16 weapons and, if so, what kind of weapons?
17 A. I didn't see any KLA soldiers ever during the time you are asking
18 me about. I only saw them on television or read about them in some
19 newspaper article.
20 Q. Thank you. When did you see them on TV and when was it that you
21 read those newspaper articles, before you left for Macedonia or after?
22 A. Before I left for Macedonia
23 and then we watched the Albanian television via our satellite dish.
24 Q. Did you see any KLA members on Albanian television?
25 A. Yes, but also I've seen them on CNN.
1 Q. Were there any KLA members in Urosevac and its environs, that is
2 to say, in your village of Biba
3 A. Could you please repeat your question?
4 Q. Do you have any knowledge that in 1988 and 1999 --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter's correction: 1998 and 1999.
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- that there were some KLA members
7 in Urosevac, in your village, and other villages surrounding Biba?
8 A. In 1998, I do have knowledge that there were KLA members there,
9 but they were concentrated in the Nerodimlje operational zone, which is
10 outside Ferizaj. The area where I live, Bibaj, Komogllave, Sojeve, did
11 not have any KLA presence. There was no KLA in these villages, and the
12 KLA was not operative in this area. It had its own positions.
13 Had the KLA been operational in that area, these crimes perhaps
14 wouldn't have occurred in the villages that I mentioned.
15 Q. Do you know that members of the KLA killed, kidnapped,
16 maltreated, raped citizens of both Serb and Albanian ethnicity?
17 A. If you are talking about the Nerodimlje operational zone, I have
18 no knowledge about that. I don't have knowledge even about other
19 operational zones of the KLA. Personally, I think that the KLA soldiers
20 who took the oath to defend their homeland and their people would not do
21 such acts ever. That's why I don't think that these things happened.
22 Q. Mr. Hyseni, am I right in saying that you have spent practically
23 all your life in the village of Biba
24 A. Yes. Practically all my life I lived in Bibaj.
25 Q. How well do you know your neighbours and co-villagers?
1 A. Very well.
2 Q. Is it possible that there are people in your village who have
3 been living there for longer than 20 years and that you don't know them?
4 A. What do you mean by saying for longer than 20 years? You're
5 referring to the recent 20 years? I'm not clear on this.
6 Q. Are there people who are your neighbours that you don't know,
7 people who live in that village? I took the time period of 20 years,
8 because there will be some questions that I plan to put that have
9 something to do with that.
10 A. I believe, and I think I'm sure that I know all the people living
11 in my village with the exception of some families who moved there after
12 the war, because now things have changed. There was like a neighbourhood
13 of Bibaj in the past which was not included in the village of Bibaj
14 now it's called Bibaj too. I would say I know most of the villagers
15 living in my village.
16 Q. The period that I was asking you about is up to 1999. Not now,
17 but thank you for your answer.
18 Can you please tell me the village of Trpeza
19 it is?
20 A. Yes, I know where it is. It's in Viti municipality, not in
21 Ferizaj municipality.
22 Q. Yes, that's correct. Can you please tell me if you know Sadat
23 Seljimi from Trpeza from the municipality of Vitina
24 A. Sir, already told you that Trpeza village is in a different
25 municipality. I know where it is as a village, but I don't know the
1 people from that. I knew the chief of police for Gnjilan and Ferizaj
2 area, but I don't know this person that you mentioned by the name of
3 Sadat Seljimi. That's why I don't know how to answer your question. To
4 put it shortly, I don't know him.
5 Q. Well, this is an answer that I'm satisfied with. I don't know
6 him. But I have to ask you, did you know - not do you know - but did you
7 know Faruk Murselji from your village Bibaj?
8 A. Faruk who?
9 Q. Murselji. Faruk Murselji?
10 A. There is no person by the name of Faruk Murselji in Bibaj.
11 Q. Are you aware that members of the KLA carried out an attack using
12 automatic weapons on the 9th of January, 1999 at precisely 9.00 p.m. in
13 your village and that Mr. -- or the gentleman that you assert never lived
14 in Bibaj, Faruk Murselji, was killed at -- in that incident, and that a
15 person by the name of Sadat Seljimi, whom you claim that you don't know,
16 was lightly wounded. Do you know anything about this incident or not?
17 A. I don't have any knowledge about this incident, and I doubt that
18 it ever happened in my village. Sadat, whoever he was, is not from my
19 village. This other person doesn't exist in my village. My village is
20 inhabited by Albanians. That's why I don't think that your information
21 is correct. I don't know where you got this information from, but it
22 does not concern my area, my village.
23 Q. You wish to say that Faruk Murselji is not an Albanian first and
24 last name?
25 A. It is an Albanian name, that is true, but he is not from Bibaj
1 village, because we don't have Murselji family in the village.
2 Q. This is why I was putting these questions to you earlier. Do you
3 know that members of the KLA, on the 13th of March, 1999, at about 1.00
5 Jugobanka in the Catsuro Urasa [phoen] in Urosevac or Ferizaj, when Sefki
6 Behljulji, Sefket Sulejmani were seriously wounded, and Agron Mustafu,
7 Agron Imisti, Basri Sejdiju, Ramadus Mjaku, Sali Mehmeti and five other
8 persons were wounded, and I don't know their names. Do you know about
9 this event of the 13th of March in Urosevac?
10 A. No, I don't have knowledge about this incident. Could you repeat
11 the date, please? Is it 13th of March or 13th of May? I don't think
12 this happened in Ferizaj. At least I don't have any knowledge of it.
13 Q. Why are you talking about the 13th of May?
14 A. If it was 13th of May, 1999, on that day in 1999, I was in
16 don't think this ever happened in Ferizaj. If it really happened, it
17 would have been recorded or noted down in the Office of Human Rights and
18 Freedoms in Ferizaj. I don't know where you got this information from.
19 Q. We're talking about the 13th of March, and I have this
20 information from reports that were published in the media, also from the
21 MUP reports in the offices of the at that time legal sovereign state of
22 the Republic of Serbia
23 officers, both Serbs and Albanians, on the territory of the entire
24 municipality of Urosevac? Do you have any information about that?
25 A. What attacks are you talking about? Can you mention a concrete
1 incident, a concrete period of time, please?
2 Q. What I wanted to mention to you I have already mentioned. What I
3 know about, I'm asking if you know about something that I don't know that
4 relates to attacks of the KLA on citizens of Serb ethnicity and even some
5 Albanians in the course of 1998 and 1999 in the territory of your
6 municipality of Urosevac. Do you have any information about that?
7 A. No. As far as the municipality of Ferizaj
8 no information about such incidents. I know that the KLA did not attack
9 civilians. You should know that the aim of the KLA was the one to defend
10 the population, to defend our homeland. The KLA only attacked those who
11 generated violence, police and army. The civilians that you're
12 mentioning, they did not attack. At least I don't have knowledge about
13 such attacks in Ferizaj municipality.
14 Q. Would you agree with me if I were to say that members of the KLA
15 attacked the police and the military in your area in view of what you
16 have just said? In the transcript it says "said," but it should say
17 "just heard," not "just said."
18 A. I told you that there were no attacks against civilians.
19 However, attacks on police forces are possible. There could have been
20 such attacks.
21 Q. In your statement on page 4, paragraph 3 of the B/C/S, page 4,
22 paragraph 5 of the English, and page 5, paragraph 3 of the Albanian, it
23 says in this village, right until the beginning of the NATO bombing there
24 were no active members of the KLA, but there was support. So in relation
25 to that, I'm asking you, what sort of support, to whom, from whom?
1 A. Everybody supported it. The support came from the people. It
2 also included financial support. It was an organisation, a formation
3 called the Kosovo Liberation Army aimed at defending the population.
4 Everybody supported the KLA, but not everybody could join. It was
5 impossible for everyone to join this army. When an army is established
6 to defend the freedom of the people, to defend their Honour, why
7 shouldn't one support it? I am very proud of the fact that my people
8 produced such outstanding young men who knew how to fight violence. This
9 army wouldn't have been established had there been no violence. It was
10 the violence exercised in all walks of life in Kosova, especially by the
11 police, that gave rise to this army.
12 Q. About the support that I asked you about, you said that you
13 provided financial support, but I'm interested whether this means that
14 there was also provision of food, medicines, provision of shelter, and
15 possibly a provision of weaponry as well. Does that mean all of these
17 A. No, no. Provision of shelter and weapons was impossible. As for
18 financial support, everybody paid a percentage, a 3 per cent, when the
19 parallel government was formed. So this financial support covered that
20 as well. As for provision of weapons, it was impossible to have
21 circulation of weapons everywhere. If we had such an arsenal of weapons,
22 the 15.000 civilians that were killed in Kosova wouldn't have been
24 MR. DJORDJEVIC: Thank you. Your Honour, it will be a good
25 moment to interrupt my cross-exam, and I would continue tomorrow.
1 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Djordjevic.
2 Mr. Behar, can I ask, tomorrow after this witness is it
3 Mr. Sterenberg who will be called?
4 MR. BEHAR: Yes, Your Honours. I believe Mr. Sterenberg is our
5 next witness, and he is ready to testify.
6 JUDGE PARKER: And is it still the case that he must finish
8 MR. BEHAR: Just a moment's indulgence. I'm being told no,
9 that's not the case.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Despite that, our timetable encourages
11 us in the hope at that we can finish Mr. Sterenberg tomorrow. So if you
12 could bear that in mind overnight, Mr. Djordjevic, when you look at your
13 future questions for this witness and for Mr. Sterenberg.
14 We must now adjourn for the day, Mr. Hyseni. The court staff
15 will assist you again with the arrangements, and we continue tomorrow
16 morning at 9.00. So we should finish your evidence not long into the
17 morning. Thank you for that.
18 We now adjourn until 9.00.
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.48 p.m.
20 to be reconvened on Friday, the 22nd day
21 of May, 2009, at 9.00 a.m.