1 Thursday, 13 January 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 2.17 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. We trust you're all refreshed from
6 the break.
7 Mr. Cayley, you have a motion, I believe.
8 MR. CAYLEY: Yes. May it please Your Honours. It's simply --
9 it's actually two matters. They are linked. The first is the motion of
10 the 7th of January in respect of the protective measures for the next
11 witness, which I think is self-explanatory. I don't understand there are
12 any objections from the Defence, but you might wish to hear them, Your
14 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
15 Is there any objection that anybody wishes to make? If not, I
16 don't encourage you to rise.
17 The Chamber is of the view, Mr. Cayley, that your motion as
18 spelled out in paragraph 6 of the written motion should be granted.
19 MR. CAYLEY: Your Honour, one further matter linked to this
20 particular application is that there are a number of documents that the
21 witness will be putting into evidence, and I will distribute the binder
22 containing those documents. They -- the majority of them, apart from
23 about five documents which I can identify as we go along, need to be under
24 seal because they were originally provided to us under Rule 70 the Rules
25 of Procedure and Evidence, but I can make that application at the end of
1 this witness's evidence.
2 And finally linked to that, behind me are two representatives of
3 the British government who are here in connection with this evidence. On
4 the left is Mr. Dominic Raab, who is the legal advisor to the British
5 embassy, and on the right is Katharine Shepherd, who is a legal advisor
6 with the Ministry of Defence. And they are here, Your Honour, as special
7 advisors to the Prosecutor on the issue of Rule 70 and these documents.
8 So any intervention that they may wish to make in respect of compliance
9 with the Rule 70 regime they would make through me and by speaking to me
10 in a break. So I would merely, Your Honour, ask your permission that they
11 be present in the courtroom during the testimony of this witness.
12 JUDGE PARKER: There would be no difficulty, as they are present
13 in the capacity of advisors to the Prosecution in respect of the witness,
14 not in any independent role.
15 MR. CAYLEY: Yes, Your Honour.
16 JUDGE PARKER: So that is understood and accepted.
17 Are we ready to the witness.
18 MR. CAYLEY: Yes, we are. If the witness could be brought in,
19 please. Thank you.
20 JUDGE PARKER: In view of the order, the shutters will need to be
21 shut for the moment.
22 MR. CAYLEY: Your Honour, while we're waiting I'm wondering if
23 Your Honours have in front of you a tabbed binder with 42 -- yes, you do.
24 JUDGE PARKER: 42, yes.
25 [The witness entered court]
1 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon, sir. If you would be kind enough
2 to take the affirmation which is on the card which offered to you now.
3 THE WITNESS: I solemnly declare that I will speak the truth, the
4 whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much. If you would please be
7 Now, should we be in private or public session for these opening
8 questions, Mr. Cayley?
9 MR. CAYLEY: I think, Your Honour, I've designed the
10 examination-in-chief such that we don't need to be in private session.
11 I'm not going to refer to the sensitive matters.
12 JUDGE PARKER: The shutters can go up then.
13 Yes, Mr. Cayley.
14 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you.
15 WITNESS: JOHN CROSLAND
16 Examined by Mr. Cayley:
17 Q. Sir, just to remind you. I know you testified previously in the
18 Milosevic case, but if you can pause between my question and your answer
19 because there are interpreters between us. And I will try and set a
20 fairly slow and steady pace so that we don't run ahead of the
22 Now, am I right in saying that you are a retired British army
24 A. That's correct, sir.
25 Q. And am I right in saying that you were commissioned into the
1 parachute regiment in 1967?
2 A. That is correct, sir.
3 Q. And at what levels of command have you had experience in the
4 establish army?
5 A. I've commanded up to battalion and above level, to brigade level.
6 Q. And how many individuals does that involve?
7 A. That's upwards of 1.000 men.
8 Q. Now, do you have any combat experience? Have you had combat
9 experience during your career?
10 A. I've had probably rather too much combat experience.
11 Q. Can you just say briefly, give one example with where you've had
13 A. I've had four years in the Middle East commanding up to 3.000 men
14 in a fairly major war. I've been in the Falklands, I've been in Northern
15 Ireland, and I've been in the Balkans and elsewhere.
16 Q. I'm right in saying that in 1996 you were appointed as the defence
17 attache to the British embassy in Belgrade, in Serbia. Is that right?
18 A. That's correct, sir, yes.
19 Q. Or Yugoslavia --
20 A. In Yugoslavia, yes.
21 Q. Can you explain to the Judges the role of the defence attache
22 within an embassy, and specifically within the British embassy in Belgrade
23 at that time?
24 A. As the defence attache for your country, you are accredited
25 directly as your chief of defence staff's representative in the country
1 which is Yugoslavia. You have direct access to the chief of defence staff
2 and other senior officers within in the Vojska Jugoslavije, the Yugoslav
3 army, and it is your job to represent any military problems to these
4 people at the highest level.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Could I just intervene, Mr. Cayley, to indicate it
6 may be necessary to slow the rate of evidence. We have to go through more
7 than one stage of translation, as you understand.
8 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I understand, Your Honour.
9 MR. CAYLEY: I'm actually trying to listen to the French and as it
10 finishes, I'll ask the next question.
11 Q. Now, in your role as defence attache, you would also advise the
12 ambassador, himself or herself, on military matters within the country.
13 Is that right?
14 A. That is correct. The -- usually the ambassador would use a
15 diplomatic telegram, or a DipTel for short, in which I would add the
16 security paragraph as I thought fit, bearing on the events that the
17 ambassador was reporting, which would be on a daily or more than frequent
18 basis if that is what is required. And these were different, sorry, to
19 the military telegrams that I would send as and when required back to the
20 Ministry of Defence in London.
21 Q. And where -- and the DipTel that you've just referred to, where
22 was that sent?
23 A. That would go back to the foreign office, from the foreign
24 commonwealth's office.
25 MR. CAYLEY: And if the witness can be provided with the binder,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 and we can show an example of one of these DipTels. Could we place one on
2 the screen if it's in Sanction.
3 Q. Mr. Crosland, if you could take the map and place that on the ELMO
4 next to you. Now, this is a map that I think you've provided to us which
5 you used at the time of your service in Yugoslavia. Is that right?
6 A. That is correct. That is correct, sir.
7 Q. If you could turn to the first tab in that binder, which I think
8 is a diplomatic telegram dated the 2nd of March of 1998. Is that -- is
9 that a DipTel, just so that we all understand what we're talking about?
10 A. That is correct, sir, and it is signed by the current -- the
11 then-current ambassador or his deputy head of mission or even the first
12 political officer.
13 Q. And who gave input into these reports?
14 A. Primarily this is the vehicle that the -- our ambassador would use
15 or his deputy head of mission, or the first officer political, and myself.
16 Q. You stated earlier that you provided input on security matters.
17 Is that right?
18 A. That is correct, sir.
19 Q. Now, specifically in respect of your role in Serbia -- in
20 Yugoslavia, rather, as it then was, did you have occasion to visit Kosovo
21 during your time in Belgrade?
22 A. Yes. I spent from about 90 -- the early part of 1998 up until
23 1999 when NATO bombed Yugoslavia. I spent more or less most of my time
24 touring the province of Kosovo.
25 Q. Why was that?
1 A. Because that was my task to ascertain what was going on in this
2 province of Serbia, Yugoslavia, and because I hadn't -- HMD government to
3 know -- [French on the English channel].
4 MR. CAYLEY: I think there's a problem, Your Honour, with the
5 translation. It says there's French on the English channel.
6 JUDGE PARKER: I suggest you might press on. It may be
8 MR. CAYLEY:
9 Q. If I can get you to direct your mind to February of -- in fact,
10 March of 1998 and the first diplomatic telegram.
11 MR. CAYLEY: Your Honours, as I said, it is my intention to
12 actually read these into the record. I know it will take time, but it
13 does ensure that there is a public record of the content of these
14 documents which are going to be under seal. So it will actually make the
15 evidence available to the public. Some of the sections that I'm going to
16 read are longer than others, some are quite short, some are quite long.
17 I'll see for how we go with time in respect of doing that with each and
18 every one. But that is what I intend to do.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
20 MR. CAYLEY:
21 Q. It -- let me read the first one, Mr. Crosland, and then I will ask
22 you a number of questions. This is a diplomatic telegram dated the 2nd of
23 March, 1998, subject: Kosovo, major incident in Drenica.
24 "Major conflict between police and Albanians in Drenica area over
25 the weekend. Even government press acknowledge 16 Albanians (terrorists)
1 and four policemen dead. Albanian claim dead include at least one woman
2 and a 16-year-old boy. Final casualty figures may be higher. Still
3 unclear who made the first move. Police claim to have uncovered sizeable
4 arms caches. Fighting seems to have ceased for now."
5 There's then reference to a demonstration in Pristina, which I
6 won't read out in paragraph 2.
7 Paragraph 3: "Most of the fighting took place near Glogovac,
8 about 40 kilometres west of Pristina. The official line is that
9 terrorists attacked a police patrol, inflicting casualties, and that the
10 police responded and conducted a manhunt for the attackers. The official
11 media copied by others report that police uncovered substantial caches of
12 weapons and explosives. Comment may be true. The Albanian side claim
13 that the incidents started with the police chasing a car into the Drenica
14 area as part of their clamp-down on suspect activity. The fighting seems
15 to have started around midday on 28 February and continued until late on
16 1 March. There are no confirmed reports of further fighting so far.
17 "The final casualties may never become entirely clear. The
18 government press are saying four policemen and 16 Albanians described as
19 terrorists were killed. But there is good reason to suspect that the
20 final figures may be somewhat higher. On the police side, it appears that
21 men from the special anti-terrorist forces were deployed, and two of these
22 may have been killed. The picture on the Albanian side is even less clear
23 with telephone lines to the Drenica area still cut off. Some of the
24 wounded Albanians have apparently refused to go to state hospitals. More
25 reliable Albanian reports claim that at least one woman and one
1 16-year-old boy were among those killed. Milosevic, Milutinovic, and
2 Minic have all sent messages of sympathy to the families of the dead
3 police officers. Milosevic's tone was uncompromising."
4 Now, Mr. Crosland, were you aware of that event taking place?
5 A. Yes. This incident took place on the date stated, and I and
6 another defence attache arrived down and were the first people to make an
7 overview of the entire area. And we were given very good access by the
8 Yugoslav authorities, for whatever reason, I don't know. And this really
9 refers to the incident where the two families, the Jashari and Ahmeti
10 families, were attacked by the Serbian security forces.
11 Q. Why did the Serbian security forces attack these two families, the
12 Ahmeti and Jashari families, if you know?
13 A. These two families had, how would you put it, form in the various
14 deals that were done in the province of Kosovo, and there was indications
15 that they were involved within the then-fledgling Kosovo Liberation Army
16 movement, or UCK, which was a growing problem, or beginning to be a
17 growing problem within the province Kosovo.
18 Q. When you said they had form, what do you mean by that?
19 A. They were probably a part of the Albanian Mafia.
20 Q. Were you given any indications by the Serbs of what activities
21 these families were involved in?
22 A. No. As I said, they -- the claim was that they were involved with
23 the fledgling K -- Kosovo Liberation Army at that particular point in
24 time. And if may point out to Your Honours, the Drenica area is this area
25 just to the west of Pristina and was the initial place where the Kosovo
1 Liberation Army started to carry out operations as has just been described
2 by Mr. Cayley.
3 Q. If you know, do know why the attack started on that day?
4 A. The attack started because four policemen were killed at a place
5 called Rudnik, which is up on the northern route, across to Pec over here,
6 and it was a follow-up on that particular attack on the Minister of
7 Interior that the Serbs mounted this combined operation of probably about
8 500 men with armoured vehicles and other forces as well.
9 Q. Do you have a highlighter? Because I would like you to mark these
10 locations. We're not going to number them because I don't that is
11 necessary, but I think it would be a good idea if you marked certainly the
12 area where these policemen were killed at Rudnik.
13 A. [Witness complies].
14 Q. Do you know the location of where the actual attack on the Ahmeti
15 and Jashari families took place?
16 A. It took place north of a little village called Srbica and a place
17 called Donji Prekaz, which is in the area where I'm marking now. The area
18 of the Drenica is this valley area bounded by the two roads. If it helps
19 Your Honours for me to go round the map, I don't know how familiar people
20 are with the countryside of Kosovo. We keep referring to towns and
21 things, it may be useful if I point them out to you, Your Honours.
22 Q. We'll as we go along --
23 JUDGE PARKER: I think Mr. Cayley will guide you in that
24 direction. We are gaining a limited familiarity already. Thank you.
25 MR. CAYLEY:
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 Q. As we go through each DipTel, I'll ask you to mark off the
2 particular places that you refer to.
3 How long did the fighting go on between the police and the Jashari
4 and Ahmeti families as far as you can recall?
5 A. For about 36 hours on an on-and-off basis roughly.
6 Q. Did you see subsequently the aftermath of that fighting?
7 A. Yes. We drove into the area concerned, and the two major houses
8 involved with this particular fight were extremely badly damaged, having
9 had armoured vehicles within 10 to 15 metres of the house. There were
10 many heavy calibre shells, empty shells on the ground, indicating a very
11 fierce fight, and eventually the bodies were returned sometime later.
12 Q. The bodies of whom?
13 A. Of the Albanians.
14 Q. Did you see any of those bodies?
15 A. Yes, we did. Yes. We saw all of them.
16 Q. Can you describe what you saw?
17 A. Most of these bodies had been shot at very close range, indicating
18 that a very close-range fire fight had taken place, and there were elderly
19 people as well as women and children.
20 Q. How many bodies did you see?
21 A. If I remember correctly, there were 16 and then a further 10 were
22 also produced at a later date.
23 Q. How many women and children?
24 A. I can't honestly remember, but there were some women and children
25 amongst the bodies, yes.
1 Q. How many elderly people; do you recall?
2 A. It depends what you call elderly, but over fighting age, I would
3 say four or five, if my memory is correct.
4 Q. What, if any, was the significance of this event?
5 A. I think the Serbian security forces were intent on attempting to
6 rub out a terrorist movement that had started to come to light in the
7 early '90s. And in about 1996/1997, we certainly knew that there were
8 indications that the Kosovo Liberation Army as a fledgling organisation -
9 and I state very much as a fledgling organisation - was intent on looking
10 at the province of Kosovo as an additional state outside of Albania.
11 Q. If we can move on to the next telegram.
12 MR. CAYLEY: This is at tab 3, Your Honours, it's behind tab 3.
13 Q. Now, this diplomatic telegram is dated the 9th of March, 1998.
14 Subject: Kosovo: Situation report at 0800 hours, 9 March.
15 "Summary. 1. Police action continuing in Lausa region,
16 south-west of Prekaz. Report of one Albanian killed by sniper fire.
17 Visiting diplomats confirm heavy damage in Prekaz, but to a limited number
18 of buildings. Attention now focuses on today's demonstrations."
19 Paragraph 2: "Main road through Drenica area remains open. DA,
20 defence attache, has crossed this morning and reports continuing police
21 operations in the area of Klina/Lausa, south-west of Prekaz. He could not
22 leave the main road. Separately we have heard reports of one Albanian
23 being killed by police snipers in Lausa. Again, consistent with media
24 reports quoting police sources as saying that there remain some terrorists
25 to be dealt with.
1 "The Canadian ambassador, who was in the party of diplomats which
2 visited Prekaz on 8 March, has confirmed great devastation to a limited
3 number of buildings with evidence of attack by heavy weapons and mortars.
4 He also confirms continuing heavy police presence and a complete absence
5 of civilian activity in an area that normally would be bustling."
6 Mr. Crosland, if you could please point out for us on the map and
7 mark them. If you can show Their Honours where the Lausa region and in
8 particular Prekaz is located.
9 A. Your Honours, Prekaz is just north of Srbica which is not marked.
10 Srbica is here. And then the small hamlet, little village of Lausa is
11 just in this area here. We were working in a very small area and the main
12 road that it refers to runs from Gornji Klina in the north down to what is
13 called the Komorane crossroads in the south.
14 Q. Did you see these operations taking place on the 9th of March in
15 this area?
16 A. Yes. We visited the area throughout the 9th and the 10th of
17 March. And the Canadian ambassador's remarks and also by an experienced
18 combat officer myself, I would confirm there was heavy -- very heavy usage
19 of heavy weapons with devastating attacks on the two houses, particularly
20 the Ahmeti and Jashari compounds. Other houses had either been torched,
21 burned, or fired at. There was still extremely heavy Serb security force
22 presence, mainly of the Ministry of Interior, the police, and associated
23 special forces within the police element, that involved armoured personnel
24 carriers, and other heavy vehicles.
25 Q. Was this operation that you saw on the 9th of March connected with
1 the operation that you'd seen in respect of the Ahmeti and Jashari family
2 earlier in the month?
3 A. That is correct, sir.
4 Q. Had operations, as far as you know, been continuing since the
5 beginning of March through to the 9th of March, or had they been
6 intermittent? Do you know?
7 A. The initial fire fight lasted for, as I said, 36 hours on and off.
8 And then the Serbian security forces as was normal throughout the whole
9 conflict would then try to maintain control of the area by having various
10 security posts, defended posts, all the way along the area, and they would
11 man these with whatever was required in the way of troops and armoured
12 vehicles. So in effect they controlled the area insomuch as -- where they
13 could see. And as I've pointed out on the map, the area of Lausa is only
14 about two kilometres away, and that was in KLA hands. So it gives you
15 some idea of the intricacy of the operations that were to continue
16 throughout the whole of 1998 and into 1999.
17 Q. So just to clarify, during the course of this operation the
18 village of Lausa was under the control of the Kosovo Liberation Army?
19 A. That's correct, sir. And that was literally 500 metres from the
20 nearest Serbian checkpoint.
21 Q. If we could now move on to the next DipTel. This is behind tab 4,
22 and this is dated the 11th of March of 1998. And the only paragraph that
23 I want to refer to is paragraph 11, although I think there is a reference
24 to information that you provided in paragraph 10. But I'm only interested
25 in paragraph 11.
1 "Tanjug reports that there have been a number of grenade attacks
2 on Albanian restaurants and businesses in Pec. According to Tanjug, these
3 were the work of the KLA against businessmen who collaborate with the Serb
5 Can you point out where Pec is located?
6 A. Yes. Pec is the -- one of the major towns in the west of Kosovo
7 and houses the very famous monastery of the Serbian Orthodox church just
8 to the west. It was a bustling town of both Serbian and Albanian ethnic
9 groups. A lot of business came out of this area, including the major
10 factory which contained beer, which is of a critical nature to the Serbs,
11 and these attacks that are alluded to by Tanjug were similar of what went
12 on throughout this campaign, where Albanians who seemed to be siding with
13 the Serb administration were taken out and their businesses either bombed
14 and they themselves murdered.
15 Q. Did you actually see yourself any of these damaged businesses,
16 because this is a newspaper report. Did you see them in Pec at all
18 A. We didn't see this particular one, no. But I saw later on many
19 businesses that were wrecked purely for that business -- reason.
20 Q. Sorry, what reason is that?
21 A. That they had sided -- or according to the Serbs -- sorry, to the
22 KLA, they had sided with the Serbs and therefore retribution was taken
23 against them by members of the Kosovo Liberation Army.
24 Q. If we could go to the next DipTel, which is behind tab 5, and this
25 is dated the 24th of March, 1998. And here we move to a different area of
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 Kosovo. And I'll read it out. Paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.
3 2: "My DA has confirmed local media reports of exchanges of fire
4 in several villages between Decani and Djakovica (about 60 kilometres
5 south-west of Pristina, not in Drenica). According to the
6 state-controlled radio Pristina, the exchanges began when a terrorist
7 group opened fire on a police patrol this morning. The police returned
8 fire and the Albanians barricaded themselves into local houses. There are
9 various reports of casualties: One policeman and five Albanians killed;
10 one policeman and 10 Albanians injured. There have also been suggestions
11 that some Albanians have been arrested. My DA has reported that at
12 approximately 1130 Zulu, shots were heard in Riznic, 10 kilometres
13 south-east of Decani from a police helicopter. There were two explosions,
14 followed by an exchange of fire lasting 20 minutes.
15 "The Kosovo information centre close to Rugova's LDK have
16 condemned the police action alleging that some villages were surrounded
17 and houses set on fire. The independent Albanian media is reporting that
18 three houses were destroyed. There are also Albanian claims that
19 villagers have fled the area. It appears that the operation is still
20 taking place and that the area has now been sealed off."
21 Let's deal with that first, Mr. Crosland, before actually moving
22 to the next paragraphs. Can you indicate this area on the map, the
23 villages between Decani and Djakovica.
24 A. Yes. Your Honours, the area is in the western area of Kosovo.
25 Decani, here, another monastery area, and Djakovica on the western side of
1 Kosovo. It's along the main road that goes from Pec to Decani, through
2 Djakovica and down to Prizren that was to become a important line for the
3 Serbian security forces to attempt to hold in later exchanges with the
4 Kosovo Liberation Army.
5 Q. On the 24th of March, do you remember this particular incident?
6 A. Yes, very well.
7 Q. Can you add anything to what is actually in the report?
8 A. Not -- nothing in particular. This was just an indication that
9 the conflict, having spread from the area of the Drenica just to the west
10 of Pristina, was now coming over to the western side, which was not -- was
11 nothing unusual to us because it was clear from an early stage that
12 reinforcements and resupplies were coming in over the Albanian border,
13 what I would call the corridor through to Decani and then on into Klina
14 and on into the Drenica to supply men in the eastern area with the
15 equipment to continue the conflict against the Serbian security forces.
16 Q. You've just said resupplies were coming in -- reinforcements and
17 resupplies were coming in over the Albanian border. For which side? For
18 the Serbs or for the KLA?
19 A. For the Kosovo Liberation Army. I mean, these, as people are well
20 aware, are traditional smuggling routes from Albania which have been used
21 since the silk route was started from Dubrovnik down Prizren in the
22 south-west here and on to Constantinople. Or Istanbul, rather.
23 Q. Now, this report also refers to shots being heard in the village
24 of Riznic. Is Riznic marked -- can you mark it on this map? I don't know
25 whether it's --
1 A. Riznic is to the east of the major town of Decani. These are all
2 very small hamlets or villages of 20 or 30 houses in a rural setting.
3 Q. At this time did you -- the report refers to Rugova complaining
4 about houses being set on fire. Do you recall seeing that at all in any
5 of these villages at this time?
6 A. Yes. This was to be a sad reflection of the whole conflict
7 throughout 1998 and 1999, and I think later on I mentioned that something
8 like over 200 to 400 villages were purposely and wantonly destroyed by the
9 Serbian security forces.
10 Q. And on this particular occasion you saw these houses on fire? You
11 saw these houses being fired --
12 A. Yes, we did, sir.
13 Q. Now, if I can read paragraphs 4, 5, and 6, which is Drenica.
14 "Separately my defence attache reports that at approximately 1430
15 Zulu today, while travelling in Drenica with US and Dutch colleagues, he
16 became caught up in an exchange of fire in the Josanica area in Drenica
17 and close to the areas where the media claims the UCK to be organising.
18 Special police were involved. At least 50 to 100 rounds were heard. DA
19 reports that heavy weapons including the PRAGA air defence system were
20 being moved into the area. DA and his travelling companions left the area
21 safe and well.
22 "DA has also reported that at around 1440 police were fired on at
23 Kijevo between Pristina and Pec on the road that forms the southern border
24 of Drenica. There are no details of casualties.
25 "DA has also seen two platoons (approximately 60 men) of police
1 (too dark to identify with certainty) including Jeep fitted with heavy
2 machine-gun, moving west from Srbica towards Lausa. PJP units are still
3 dug in around Prekaz."
4 Can you, if you recall, mark on the map the area where this
5 actually took place.
6 A. Yes, Your Honour. This is the area of the provincial town of
7 Klina here. It was on the corridor that I mentioned to you earlier,
8 stretching from the west from Decani through this area of Josanica to
9 Klina and then the road that we were on was this area here, Josanica,
10 which was close to a Serbian strong point with the KLA headquarters of
11 Vojcnak, just there. And from Srbica, the element referred to in the last
12 two platoons of Serbian police were probably a special unit by the JSO or
13 the SAJ moving out of their headquarters in Srbica, which we latterly came
14 to find out the information.
15 Q. What were the -- can you just -- you've just given two acronyms
16 for two police units. Can you explain to the Judges what you're referring
17 to when you refer to those. Who are the JSO?
18 A. These, Your Honours, are the members of the Ministry of Interior,
19 the MUP as they were referred to. The Special Forces, the SAJ and the
20 JSO, were two counter-terrorist forces who were used for direct action
21 operations and led most of the assaults within the province of Kosovo
22 during 1998 and 1999. These are very well equipped, very heavily
23 equipped, and designed to be the cutting edge of Serbian security
25 Q. Now, in paragraph 5 says that "police were fired on at Kijevo."
1 And you've marked Kijevo. Where --
2 A. I haven't, actually, sir. Kijevo is in this area here, on the
3 main road from Pec to Pristina. It is actually a -- and was an isolated
4 Serb village that was held throughout 1998, 1999 as a flagship of the
5 Serbs continuing to soldier and live on in Kosovo.
6 Q. Now, the police that were fired on in Kijevo, do you know who they
7 were fired on by?
8 A. They -- it would be presumably elements of the KLA. As I've tried
9 to indicate, the whole thing was a very muddled affair with people
10 maintaining control over areas for a very short space of time, and then
11 either side, either the Serbian security forces or the KLA backfilling in
12 and causing trouble in the areas which had until recently been quiet. So
13 it was a very fluid situation.
14 Q. Now, the -- in paragraph 4, the heavy weapons that are referred
15 to. You refer to the PRAGA air defence system. What other heavy
16 weapons did you see at the time that the Serbs had deployed into this area
17 in March of 1998?
18 A. They had deployed PRAGA, which is an air defence system, and an
19 armoured personnel carrier called a BOV-3, which again is a
20 triple-barrelled weapon designed primarily for anti-aircraft use, and
21 these, as I'm sure the court is well aware, are not designed to be fired
22 at civilian folk, or military, for that matter.
23 Q. If we could move to the next DipTel, which is dated the 25th of
24 March, and it's behind tab 6, it's only paragraph 2. And this is now the
25 day after your last report. You're still in Kosovo, it seems.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 "My DA reports the situation in the Lausa area, central Drenica,
2 this morning as calm. According to Koha Ditore, an independent Kosovo
3 Albanian newspaper, tracked police APCs were seen on the streets of
4 Djakovica in south-west Kosovo near the border with Albania last night.
5 They appeared to be heading out of town. Skirmishing apparently occurred
6 throughout the night from Djakovica up round Decani to the Klina valley on
7 the edge of Drenica. There are unconfirmed reports that at least four
8 policemen have been killed (they were spotted in the Djakovica morgue).
9 Five Albanians are reported killed, but the figure may well turn out to be
10 higher. One Albanian compound in particular is reported to have been the
11 focus of police operations."
12 Now, this is an area that you've already marked on the map, but if
13 you could just point Their Honours to the area that we're referring to.
14 A. Your Honours, we're dealing with the area in the west here,
15 Decani, along this main road down to Djakovica, which was a principal town
16 in the west of Serbia, quite a major town, along with Pec, and then into
17 the Klina area, which is where I'm pointing now. And this is all, as I
18 mentioned earlier, to do with the corridor that led from Tropolja over in
19 Albania, over the mountains where the smuggling and other traditional
20 routes which the KLA was starting to use as a resupply route into this
21 area and particularly into the area of a little town called Junik which
22 will be mentioned later on.
23 Q. Now, you say that skirmishing was going on throughout the night in
24 the area you've just indicated. What do you mean by "skirmishing"?
25 A. This would be light engagements, shots fired. This was to be
1 synonymous with the way the campaign progressed, where, as I said, one
2 side would make a play for a particular area, the other side would
3 withdraw, and then under the cover of darkness they would come back in and
4 take potshots at one another. So this would be going on in what I call a
5 very fluid situation. So no side completely had control of the area. It
6 was more who was in the more advantageous position controlled that area up
7 until they decided to withdraw.
8 Q. Just to be clear, skirmishing between whom?
9 A. Between the Kosovo Liberation Army and the Serbian security
11 Q. And this particular skirmishing is indicated as going on
12 throughout the night. Were you there during this time?
13 A. We were there in that area. We actually stayed in the town of
14 Djakovica, down here. So we were very close to the area where this
15 activity was going on.
16 Q. If we could now move on to the next tab, which is behind 7. And
17 this is a telegram dated the 26th of March of 1998.
18 Now, is this a report which in fact is something that you would
19 have drafted or provided most of the information for?
20 A. Yes. I in fact drafted all of this for our ambassador, because it
21 was based on my visual personal sightings, having now been in the area for
22 nearly two months on a regular basis and therefore becoming extremely
23 familiar with the area and with the, as I've said, the continuing changing
24 fluid situation, but on touring on a regular daily basis all day every
25 day, one got to know fairly well what was going on in the area.
1 Q. Let me just read parts of it. Paragraph 2: "Defence attache's
2 assessment is that Serbian security forces now deployed and balanced to
3 mount joint strike in Decani-Djakovica, and Drenica-Lausa-Vodnik areas."
4 Now, without repeating ourselves again, those are the two areas
5 that you've essentially already indicated to the Judges as to where
6 military activity was taking place. Is that right?
7 A. That's correct, yes.
8 Q. Now, paragraph 3: "Outline of forces: Show of overwhelming
9 force: Outer ring: Capable of deploying 8.000 to 10.000 MUP - for urban
10 deployment, crowd control - assisted by imported thugs. Smart cars seen
11 from Ivangrad, Podgorica, Cetinje, Bijelo Polje, Novi Pazar, Belgrade,
12 Kosovska Mitrovica, Ulcinj, Herceg Novi, and Urosevac.
13 "(B) Inner cordon: 500-700 PJP holding inner ring of VCP's around
14 operational area, supported by 10/15 APC's with heavy cannon.
15 "(C) Assault force: Difficult to accurately assess, probably
16 consists of SAJ (anti-terrorist unit) RDB/secret police, including
17 helicopters Huey 212 direction finding equipment to locate UCK, Praga
18 30-millimetre cannon. Strength 200-400. Holding areas possibly Srbica
19 ammunition factory, and area of Dobro Vodo.
20 "Coordination and communication. Many incidents observed where
21 news has not been passed to the next unit, indicating a fundamental lack
22 of communication."
23 Now, Mr. Crosland, just commenting on that. You're a professional
24 soldier. What level of forces by this time were the Serbs deploying into
1 A. Your Honours, on the Ministry of Interior side, as I've said,
2 between 8 and 10.000 is probably a conservative estimate of uniform
3 police, and as I've indicated, specialised police for using both as an
4 inner cordon, what I would call grunt infantry, barely policemen. These
5 are heavily armed individuals who were used for the assault led by a
6 specialised assault force of the two forces we already talked about, the
7 JSO and the SAJ, along with the RDB and the very effective Serb electronic
8 warfare communications unit that were used against the Kosovo Liberation
9 Army. That in itself is a substantial force in what is a very small area,
10 bearing in mind that the whole area from Pristina to Pec and north to
11 south is about 120 kilometres square. So we're not talking about a great
12 deal of country. That is purely on the Ministry of Interior side.
13 On the Vojska Jugoslavije, the Army of Yugoslavia side, you had
14 stationed in the province of Kosovo, commanded by 3rd army at Nis, the 5th
15 Pristina 52 Corps, which had three brigades, and additional forces were
16 brought in. So you had in effect something in the region of in excess of
17 25 to 30.000 armed men.
18 Q. Now, you state in the report that there were problems with
19 communications between these units. Why did you make that observation in
20 paragraph 3(d)?
21 A. Yes. Initially there was not over-good communication between the
22 Ministry of Interior forces who were taking the brunt of the action and
23 the Vojska Jugoslavije, the Army of Yugoslavia. This improved later on
24 with a coordination cell based in Pristina.
25 Q. I'm not going to read it but you make, in paragraph (e), some
1 observations about their tactics, about Serbian tactics of these units
2 that you've referred to. Can you explain the comments that are contained
3 in paragraph (e) of this report?
4 A. Yes. The VCP, or vehicle checkpoint positions, were a tactic that
5 the Serbian security forces used to drop off men at various strategic
6 points around an area like in the Drenica, and it would be penny-packeting
7 forces all the way around in an attempt to control the area. The major
8 problem, and it was a continuing problem for the Serbians, that they
9 failed to patrol out from these bases and therefore there was little if
10 any control over and above what they could see, and at night, of course,
11 it gets dark and therefore they didn't see very much at all. So in effect
12 they had a lot of men in the area, but they were really controlling very
13 little of a tactical or strategic nature.
14 Q. Now, you say at the end of paragraph 4: "At present MUP/PJP have
15 upper hand and therefore would be tempted to snuff out UCK by heavy-handed
16 operations. UCK currently not being over-clever and need to fade into
17 background. Authorities able to use overwhelming force to attempt to
18 crush UCK and may well do so shortly, as the logistic and administrative
19 problems build."
20 What were the logistic and administrative problems that you're
21 referring to in that paragraph?
22 A. The Kosovo Liberation Army in the first assault on them in the
23 Drenica had decided to stand and fight and were summarily taken down by
24 overwhelming force by the Serbian security forces. I think they began to
25 realise that this was a mistake. The area, the whole area of Kosovo,
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 majority of it, is rolling upland and downland, not conducive to a shoot
2 and scoop principle, but very suitable for Serbian forces to use heavy
3 armament over long range and therefore distancing themselves from the
4 Kosovo Liberation Army, who at this particular time were not heavily
5 resupplied or reinforced from Albania, and therefore relying on what
6 forces they had in country at this particular time.
7 Q. If we could go to the next tab, which is tab 8. And this is a
8 DipTel of the 7th of April, and I'm only interested here in the security
9 situation, your paragraph, and I'll read it.
10 "The security situation seems calm. DA visited Kosovo on 5 April
11 and reported a degree of normality returning in some areas, although all
12 police points remain manned. PJP were still in evidence. Large security
13 force movements were reported around Podujevo and Srbica on 6th April
14 though these may have been no more than normal rotations. Six bodies were
15 found in a forest near Orahovac on 6th April. One plausible explanation
16 is that these were Albanians loyal to the Serbian regime killed by the
17 KLA, but no one has claimed responsibility."
18 Can you just point out again for us, please, Mr. Crosland, the
19 location of Podujevo.
20 A. Yes. Your Honours, Podujevo is up here and is on the route going
21 out of Pristina to the north and back towards Nis. It was the main supply
22 route, or MSR as we call it, for 52 Pristina Corps to be resupplied from
23 Nis, the army headquarters that was controlling this particular operation.
24 And therefore they were quite rightly ensuring their lines of
25 communication were clear and able to resupply their growing mounting of
1 troops and police in the area.
2 Q. Now, the six bodies that were found in a forest near Orahovac on
3 the 6th of April, do you know anything about that event?
4 A. Yes. Your Honours, we were called to Orahovac, which is a town in
5 the middle here, it is actually the centre of the Bajrak and brewing
6 industry and therefore extremely popular with everyone concerned. Mainly
7 an Albanian town with Serbian businesses in it as well, and throughout the
8 conflict the attitude of most of the businessmen there was that they would
9 wish to get on with making money and distilling their wine and brandy and
10 for everyone to take their grubby little fight elsewhere. So it is highly
11 likely that these gentlemen concerned were killed because they were not
12 helping the Albanian cause at the time.
13 Q. Did you see the bodies yourself?
14 A. We did see the bodies, but there was really no conclusive evidence
15 as to how they came there and who had shot whom. This is all part of I
16 said the fluid situation that prevailed throughout 1998 and 1999.
17 Q. If we could go to the next tab, which is tab 9, and this is a
18 diplomatic telegram dated 15 April, 1998, and the only two paragraphs I'm
19 interested here, again in your section, the security situation, are
20 paragraphs 2 and 4.
21 Paragraph 2: "A police station in the Vranjevac suburb of
22 Pristina was attacked late on 13 April; one policeman was wounded and the
23 building was substantially damaged. There has been no formal admission of
24 responsibility. There have been no reports of other noteworthy incidents,
25 though Albanians report continuing harassment by the security services,
1 and there are regular reports of gunfire in rural areas. Defence attache
2 in Slinn (first secretary) are visiting Kosovo today and tomorrow."
3 And then paragraph 4: "The state media is reporting that Serb
4 families are leaving the Decani area in large numbers as a result of
5 threats from armed Albanians. The reports are colourful and almost
6 certainly exaggerated, but there is more than a grain of truth in them.
7 Some 18 Serb families left Decani on 14 April, and the atmosphere among
8 Serbs is becoming more tense. Some of our Belgrade contacts with
9 connections to Kosovo admit privately that the remaining Serbs are
10 thinking hard about their future. Even Papovic, no surrender, rector of
11 Pristina university, has apparently bought himself a large flat in
13 Now, Mr. Crosland, Vranjevac is a suburb of Pristina; that's
14 right, is it?
15 A. That's correct, sir, and as in all of our countries, police
16 stations are designed to be in amongst the public in order to administer
17 law and order and therefore are not designed as tactical buildings. They
18 are overlooked and extremely easy to attack.
19 Q. Was this a Serb area or an Albanian area of Pristina, if you know?
20 A. This was a mixed area, as most of the major towns in Kosovo were
21 up until this period. And therefore, the police, the MUP, were going
22 about their normal business of defending the local public, who would be
23 both persuasions, either Serb -- Kosovo Serb or Kosovo Albanian.
24 Q. Was the policeman a Serb or an Albanian?
25 A. I cannot remember.
1 Q. Did you see the building? Did you see the damage to it?
2 A. I've seen that building on many occasions. I don't particularly
3 remember the damage at this time but, as I've indicated, it's a very soft,
4 easy target, and no doubt this policeman was just doing his normal job.
5 Q. Did you find out at any stage who attacked it?
6 A. No, we didn't. At least, I don't think we did.
7 Q. Now, the report, that paragraph goes on to speak of Albanians
8 complaining about continuing harassment by security services and regular
9 reports of gunfire in rural areas. Can you make any comment on that
10 statement? Can you add anything to that?
11 A. This was a regular occurrence throughout 1998 and 1999 where both
12 sides in what I call, again, a fluid situation, would fire at one another.
13 The Serbians had defensive positions all around the -- their areas. And
14 they would take appropriate action if they thought they were being
15 attacked. I mean, it was an extremely jumpy time for everyone concerned,
16 and therefore you would get outbreaks of gunfire, sometimes heavy,
17 sometimes single shots, as each side would have a go at the other side.
18 So it's not frightfully tactical or professional, it was just the way of
19 life that happened in that area.
20 Q. Now, in paragraph 4 you refer to Serb families leaving the Decani
21 area. Can you just point out for us again Decani on the map.
22 A. Your Honours, Decani is over on the west here. It's the home of
23 another Desoki [phoen] Decani, which is another one of the Serb historic
24 sites, monasteries. And we made a special tour up into the mountains
25 here, which is quite high mountains bordering Albania, and in that area in
1 particular there were a lot of Kosovo Serbs who had been there on
2 subsistent farming, a very harsh regime, who felt that they needed to move
3 out of the area which was becoming more and more safe. Due to activities
4 on both sides, I must admit.
5 Q. When you say "activities on both sides," what do you mean by that?
6 A. There would be harassing by the Kosovo Liberation Army, and also
7 the Serb security forces, in military terms, wished to have this area what
8 they called a free fire zone so they would fire into it at will if they
9 thought there was a target that required attacking.
10 Q. You're pointing to the area around Junik on the Albanian border?
11 A. That's correct, sir, to the west of Junik, yeah. Junik was to
12 become a major point, a battle, later on in the year.
13 Q. We can go to the next, which is 21 April. And this is behind tab
14 10. And the only paragraph that I'm interested in here is paragraph 5,
15 under security, and I'll read it.
16 "During the night of 15/16 April, the Yugoslav Army intercepted a
17 group of men apparently smuggling weapons across the FRY-Albanian border.
18 Press reports suggest a convoy of eight horses carrying 12 boxes of arms
19 and ammunition. There are conflicting reports about the number of
20 casualties from the ensuing exchange of fire. Otherwise, there appears to
21 be no change since my last situation report, sitrep."
22 Mr. Crosland, first of all, do you remember this incident?
23 A. Yes, I do. As I say, it is part of a growing problem in the
24 western province along the Albanian border here where the Serbs, and in
25 particular in the area of Pastrik mountain here, were mounting, and quite
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 rightly so, operations to protect their own international border from
2 intervention from Albania, and this was one of several occurrences where
3 Albanian personnel in that context were caught on the border trying to
4 come into the -- into Yugoslavia illegally.
5 Q. If we can go to the next tab, which is tab 11. And this is a
6 diplomatic telegram dated the 23rd of April. And again I'll read it into
7 the record, paragraphs 2, 3, 4, and 5.
8 "The atmosphere in Decani and Djakovica remains extremely tense
9 following the incidents yesterday afternoon and evening reported in TUR.
10 This morning's press and the contacts which First Secretary has had in
11 Kosovo (including Serbs, Albanians, and foreign journalists) confirm that
12 there has been substantial shooting in the area and that many civilians,
13 both Serbs and Albanians, have left the worst affected areas. There are
14 various stories of Albanians abducting Serbs, of Albanians attacking VJ
15 positions and of (from Albanian sources) of Serb forces attacking
16 Albanian-inhabited villages. There are far more references to VJ
17 involvement or at least presence from both Serb and Albanian sources than
18 on any previous occasion since the crisis began. One report suggests that
19 two Albanians were killed following an attack on a VJ installation. If
20 this is true, it would be the first such attack on the VJ installation --
21 on the VJ and could provide a grounds for VJ intervention based on their
22 stated policy. Sekulic (Jovanovic's chef de cabinet) has not reverted
23 following my warning last night.
24 "A respected local independent news agency suggests that the
25 security force's attention has turned decisively towards Decani and away
1 from Drenica, claiming that even the checkpoints leading to Donji Prekaz
2 (the site of the first major incident of the crisis) have been abandoned.
3 Although the state news agency Tanjug reported an attack by Albanians on
4 Serb-owned houses in Crmljane village (in Decani) on the evening of 21
5 April, the state media has not so far given much attention to the
7 "Although so far the casualty figures do not suggest that a major
8 clash has occurred, general deterioration in the situation has led to a
9 number of attacks on journalists and other outsiders. The First Secretary
10 has learned that the local interpreters working for the daily telegraph
11 and ECMM were attacked by Serb refugees; the police intervened to rescue
12 the ECMM employee following journalists' and NGOs' report that both Serb
13 police and Albanians stopping vehicles have adopted a significantly more
14 aggressive manner than hitherto."
15 Paragraph 5: "It is difficult to assess immediate prospects, but
16 there is strong local expectations on the part of both Serbs and Albanians
17 (including some of our more reliable contacts) that there will be major
18 clashes in the next few days. DA left Belgrade at 0430 this morning and
19 should be in a position to report from the area by 1000Z, (communications
21 Mr. Crosland, the report refers to activities shifting away from
22 the Drenica area to Decani. Can you just show us on the map what is meant
23 by that, where military activity was shifting to at this time.
24 A. Yes, Your Honours. This I think encapsulates what I said, it was
25 a very fluid situation, flowing backwards and forwards from just west of
1 Pristina in the Drenica, where the initial engagement was, to now a
2 slightly more stabilised -- or less stabilised area in the west here
3 between the towns of Pec, Decani, and Djakovica. And this was in response
4 to, as I say, growing intervention in the means of resupply from and
5 across the international border between Albania up through Tropolja and
6 Bajram Curi into the former Yugoslavia.
7 Q. Just to be clear for the record, you say that it was in response.
8 Who was responding?
9 A. The Serbian security forces were and remained extremely perturbed
10 about the almost sieve-like area in the border through which the Albanians
11 were attempting to reinforce a rather beleaguered, at this point, Kosovo
12 Liberation Army within Kosovo province.
13 Q. Now, the report refers to stories of Albanians abducting Serbs,
14 of Albanians attacking VJ positions, of Serb forces attacking
15 Albanian-inhabited villages. Did you see any evidence of that when you
16 went down there?
17 A. Yes. As I said, we toured on a daily -- almost daily basis into
18 the area, remaining overnight either in Pec, Djakovica, or in Pristina, or
19 in Prizren down in the south-west here, and therefore became extremely
20 familiar with the modus operandi of both the Serbian security forces and
21 also the Kosovo Liberation Army. And as I said, both sides had the habit
22 of attempting to gain the upper hand albeit it for however short a period
23 of time.
24 Q. Now, you refer in this report to the involvement of the VJ, of the
25 Yugoslav army. Why was particular reference made to that?
1 A. Your Honours, within the Yugoslav constitution, the Vojska
2 Jugoslavije, the army of Yugoslavia was primarily tasked for the defence
3 of the international borders of the former state of Yugoslavia. They were
4 allowed to operate initially to within -- to outside of 500 metres. This
5 then was enlarged to two kilometres and eventually enlarged to 20
6 kilometres. And later on, in about July of the -- this year, they were
7 entrusted with the job of trying to maintain the lines of communication,
8 the four major routes through -- from Pristina to the western side of
9 Kosovo. So that was a major change in the application of military force,
10 which up to that point had primarily been the repertoire of the Ministry
11 of Interior police and the various associated special units, which we've
12 already discussed.
13 Q. So up until this time, the Yugoslav army had not been directly
14 involved in conflict within Kosovo itself?
15 A. They had -- that's not quite correct, sir. They had been involved
16 on the border, particularly on the western side here where they had
17 deployed extra units outside of the organisation of battle of the 3rd army
18 out of Nis. This was elements of the 63rd parachute brigade, the 72nd
19 special forces brigade, and coming in shortly would be the 1st Armoured
20 Brigade from Belgrade to reinforce the elements already within the
21 boundaries of Kosovo.
22 Q. Now, the report refers to a number of attacks on journalists and
23 other outsiders at this time. Who was carrying out those attacks?
24 A. As I said, the whole thing was extremely fluid, and I think people
25 arrive on these roads, some of which were dirt tracked, to fairly isolated
1 positions of both the Ministry of Interior, the MUP, on the Serbian side;
2 and the Kosovo Liberation Army; and quite naturally people opened fire at
3 vehicles because there had been vehicle-borne attacks against both sides.
4 So it was an extremely difficult and slightly dangerous job to wander
5 around to get the information. But this was a fact of life that everyone
6 had to take into account. And I'm afraid -- I think some journalists
7 were with their journalistic zeal to find out what was going on had a
8 rather nasty surprise on occasions. I don't think there was anything
9 particularly vitriolic about it; it was just a fact of life that everyone
10 in the area was rather frightened and feared for their own lives.
11 Q. You predict in paragraph 5 that there would be major clashes
12 within the next few days after this report on the 23rd of April. And why
13 were you suggesting that?
14 A. Well, we were starting to see a considerable build-up of both
15 Ministry of Interior forces, a movement as we've indicated already towards
16 the western side of Kosovo to try and close the border there, which was
17 becoming a major thorn in the Yugoslav security side. And also, as was
18 indicated, the Vojska Jugoslavije might be taking a more personal interest
19 in what was going on around the area for their own security.
20 Q. We can go to the next tab behind tab 12. And this is a DipTel of
21 24 April, 1998. And I'm interested here in paragraphs 2, 3, and 5, and
22 I'll read them.
23 "The VJ has stated that they have taken action to deal with
24 infiltration of the FRY/Albanian border by a group of 200 terrorists in an
25 operation which began on 22 April in the Djakovica area. At least
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 16 "terrorists" killed. All the evidence suggests that the operation was
2 well-planned and based on intelligence. This morning's press (headlines
3 including "war on the border") describe an ongoing operation. There are
4 reports that there may already be significantly more casualties. One
5 report, for which we have some collateral, suggests that the FRY
6 authorities have intelligence suggesting that as many as 1.000 more
7 terrorists may be preparing to cross the border. We have been told by
8 western journalists that the KLA effectively control security in Kuksi,
9 Albania. It appears that civilians have largely evacuated the affected
10 border villages.
11 "As discussed with the department, my telecons with Phillips EAD,
12 both I and DA sought to raise last night with appropriate contacts our
13 concerns that a major operation was in train. None of our usually
14 cooperative interlocutors were available. I therefore sent a note to the
15 MFA and FMOD at 2230 Zulu last night expressing our concern (text by fax
16 to EAD). The MFA is holding a briefing for ambassadors" --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speaker please slow down for the
18 interpreters, please.
19 MR. CAYLEY: "The MFA briefing at least appears to have been
20 planned yesterday afternoon, which may suggest that the government was
21 even then expecting to have to justify a major operation. (Although it
22 could also have been planned to follow up on yesterday's referendum,
23 either to gloat over the 75 per cent turnout and 97 per cent no vote so
24 far estimated, or to present a new initiative). In either case, the
25 government, which has already summoned the Albanian charge to complain
1 about the incursions, is likely to call again for international action to
2 protect its border with Albania."
3 Paragraph 5: "My" -- I'm not going to read the first sentence.
4 The second sentence: "My DA's assessment is that the VJ have been faced
5 with a serious challenge to the FRY/Albanian border of which they had some
6 advance warning but for which they are woefully unproposed. They are
7 genuinely afraid of losing control of significant parts of Kosovo,
8 particularly if (as it appears) the KLA strategy is to link Drenica and
9 Decani, the two areas in which the Serbs have least control."
10 Mr. Crosland, do you recall this operation taking place for the
11 24th of April of 1998, on the border? We're talking now about the border
13 A. Yes, Your Honours, I do. And as part of -- as I initially said,
14 my job was to interface at the very highest level with the
15 Vojska Jugoslavije, to which I was accredited only not to the MUP,
16 Ministry of Interior. And I received a briefing from the chief of
17 intelligence, General Dimitrejvic as to this operation itself. And it
18 appeared -- and as it appeared in later times that the Yugoslav forces had
19 very good intelligence about the Kosovo Liberation/Albanian support in
20 bases or towns like Tropolja and Bajram Curi and that they were --
21 Q. Could you point to those again or can you mark them.
22 A. I'm sorry. Tropolja is here, over in the border of Albania, and
23 Bajram Curi is further back.
24 Q. Could you mark Kuksi.
25 A. Yes, sorry. Kuksi is this village, this town down here which is
1 on the major road into the south-western province of Kosovo crossing at
2 Vrbnica which is one of major international crossing points which led up
3 to the western town of Prizren.
4 Q. Now, the report states that western journalists were stating that
5 the KLA effectively controlled security in Kuksi. Do you know whether
6 that is correct or false?
7 A. From the information I received from the elements within the
8 Vojska Jugoslavije, that was their impression, that the Albanian
9 authorities had more or less given up an attempt to control that
10 particular area.
11 Q. Now, over the page at paragraph 5 you say that the Yugoslav
12 security forces, the VJ, were woefully unprepared for this border
13 incursion. Why do you say that?
14 A. On this particular occasion they had good intelligence and they
15 planned a major ambush against this incursion, which had been relatively
16 successful, because the Albanian reinforcements had walked up more or less
17 a track straight into a Vojska Jugoslavije ambush position and had
18 suffered accordingly. What, of course, the problem was or then happened
19 was that the Albanians got slightly cleverer and decided to move around
20 these static locations, which only controlled the immediate area where the
21 Serb security forces had a presence, which is what I had been alluding to
22 all along.
23 Q. So that when you say they're woefully unprepared, you're
24 suggesting because of these static positions they couldn't actually
25 control access over the border?
1 A. Yes, Your Honours. They manned specific border positions, some of
2 which I went up to visit and saw. And it was quite clear that they were
3 not overkeen on venturing outside these defensive areas, and particularly
4 during the hours of darkness which was used by the Albanian insurgents to
5 move men and equipment across.
6 Q. In the final sentence you say: "They are genuinely afraid of
7 losing control of significant parts of Kosovo, particularly if, as it
8 appears, the KLA strategy is to link Drenica and Decani, the two areas in
9 which the Serbs have least control."
10 Now, who was afraid of losing control?
11 A. The -- Your Honours, the statement that kept on coming from the
12 Vojska Jugoslavije, the VJ general staff in Belgrade, was that the
13 Albanian border was a completely open border which was being vagrantly
14 infiltrated by Albanian elements in support of the Kosovo Liberation Army.
15 And that if the international community was not prepared to try and
16 attempt to seal this border from the Albanian side, then the Serbs would
17 have to sit and wait until people crossed the international border and
18 then attempt to deal with them. And as I've indicated, that was fine if
19 the Albanian insurgents appeared in front of prepared VJ and MUP ambush
20 positions, but if they decided to go higher or lower on less used and less
21 regular paths, then their chances of getting through with whatever
22 equipment, men, and ammunition was reasonably good. I mean, it's a very
23 difficult border to police.
24 Q. Can you say finally in that --
25 A. Particularly when - sorry - on the Albanian side there was a
1 complete breakdown of law and order as we had seen the year before when
2 Albania imploded.
3 Q. And you're talking about the Republic of Albania now itself?
4 A. Correct, sir.
5 Q. You say finally: "Particularly if, as it appears, the KLA
6 strategy is to link Drenica and Decani, the two areas in which the Serbs
7 have least control."
8 Now, that's a comment in the report. Is that something that you
9 believe the KLA strategy was at the time?
10 A. Yes, Your Honours, I do. As I said already, the corridor of
11 influence from Albania through the western area or province of Kosovo into
12 the area which was called Jablanica and then up onto the Drenica area was
13 the major corridor of influence and where we initially came into contact
14 with some of the major KLA headquarters involved in this -- these
15 particular incidents.
16 MR. CAYLEY: Your Honour, I don't know whether that's an
17 appropriate time to take the break.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. We will take the first break now, resuming at
19 five minutes after 4.00.
20 --- Recess taken at 3.45 p.m.
21 --- On resuming at 4.07 p.m.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Cayley.
23 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you.
24 Q. We are now 28th of April, Mr. Crosland, and only another six
25 months to go. This is the DipTel behind tab 13, telegram 281, and I'll
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 read paragraphs 3, 4, 5, and 6, and I've been asked to slow down.
2 "My DA has been touring Kosovo today and reports that the
3 situation in Decani is notably more tense than recently, with few
4 civilians in evidence. Although the towns of Djakovica and Pec were
5 relatively calm, some explosions could be heard from Djakovica. He has
6 been unable to confirm the Albanian reports that some villages have been
7 attacked with heavy artillery. Police checkpoints have been reinforced
8 (with regular policemen) and the mood is decidedly more jumpy. DA remains
9 of the opinion that the special police are still operating in the area,
10 though it is difficult to provide hard (and publishable) evidence for
11 this. The army (VJ) are much in evidence with increased numbers of men
12 and materiel being moved by road. While travelling through Srbica
13 (Drenica), DA was again stopped by armed Albanians. The clear impression
14 is that the Albanians ("KLA" or whoever effectively control this - and
15 perhaps other - areas."
16 Just to break it up, Mr. Crosland, and if we can deal with this
17 paragraph first. Can you just indicate on the map the area, first of all,
18 that's referred to, Djakovica and Pec, just if you could point them out to
19 us again.
20 A. Your Honours, we're dealing with the western side of the province
21 of Kosovo. Pec in the north, the major town; Decani in the middle here;
22 and then Djakovica in the south. And it was along this line and in
23 particular this major road, Tarmac road, that the Serbs were trying to
24 prevent Albanian infiltration into the rest of -- the area of Kosovo.
25 Q. Now, you state in your report the army are much in evidence with
1 increased numbers of men and materiel being moved by road.
2 What, if any, was the significance of that at this time?
3 A. It really confirmed that the Vojska Jugoslavije was now fairly
4 fully engaged in supporting the Ministry of Interior operations, and in
5 the area of Decani we did in fact come across a six-gun battery artillery
6 position. But as was indicated in paragraph 3, Albanians had indicated
7 that artillery was being fired against the border areas. And this was
8 confirmed by myself as we drove through the entire position. And this is
9 the first time that we'd actually seen the Vojska Jugoslavije, and in
10 particular the artillery being used in combined operations.
11 Q. When you say combined operations, you're referring to the police
12 essentially, with the police?
13 A. Yes. They were providing the indirect and direct fire support
14 with artillery to operations that were ongoing in the area as we alluded
15 to before the break, which are of a very fluid nature.
16 Q. Now, you say in the report that while travelling through Srbica
17 you were stopped by armed Albanians and your impression was that the KLA
18 or whoever effectively controlled this and perhaps other areas. Can you
19 point out the area of Srbica?
20 A. Srbica, Your Honours, is in the area here of the Drenica, which is
21 where the first major incursion took place in 1998. And as I said, it was
22 cleared on about three or four occasions by the Serbian security forces
23 and then infiltrated or backfilled by the Kosovo Liberation Army on a
24 regular basis. One lot would move out and the other lot would move in.
25 So who controlled it at which time was extremely difficult to ascertain.
1 And only by touring on a daily basis throughout the area did you get some
2 idea of who was potentially in charge of which area.
3 Q. Now, you say at this time, on the 28th of April, you had an
4 impression that the KLA was controlling it. Why did you get this
6 A. Because more or less in this area instead of Ministry of Interior
7 troops had now been taken over by regular bands of KLA. At this
8 particular point the Kosovo Liberation Army, or UCK, were short of a
9 regular dress uniform throughout their forces. So you would have in some
10 areas armed civilians, armed with the same weapons as those people, both
11 men and women who were dressed in military uniform of varying natures. So
12 there was no regular KLA uniform at this time.
13 Q. If we could move on to paragraph 4.
14 "In DA's absence, staff sergeant attended a second briefing for
15 the attache corps given by Colonel General Dimitrejvic. The objective was
16 clearly to present the FRY/VJ side's position on recent events in advance
17 of the 29 April Contact Group meeting. He gave a detailed account of
18 recent incidents (verbatim record by fax to EAD and MOD). His conclusion
19 was that the Albanian authorities were actively encouraging and arming the
20 terrorists. He added that the FRY Security Service had identified a
21 training camp at Tropolja; they had the names of some 2.000 to 2.500 men
22 who had been trained at the camp."
23 Now, Mr. Crosland, this was a briefing that took place in Belgrade
24 by Dimitrejvic to the defence attache group. Is that right?
25 A. That's correct, sir, yeah.
1 Q. Now, the fact that -- the facts I'm interested in here, first of
2 all were you aware at any point independently of this, that there was a
3 training camp at Tropolja?
4 A. Yes, Your Honours. I was aware from various intelligence sources
5 that information had been received that there were training camps over in
6 Albania, as I've indicated already, in the area of Tropolja and
7 Bajram Curi and down at Kuksi as well.
8 Q. Can you just point those out again because I --
9 A. Sorry. In the area of Tropolja, which they talked about in this
10 particular report, also Bajram Curi, and then down further south in the
11 area of Kuksi which has been mentioned on the main international crossing
12 point at Vrbnica into the province Kosovo.
13 Q. And as far as you had been told, who was being trained in these
15 A. As far as I was told by Dimitrejvic and outside intelligence as I
16 received in the course of my duties, these were Albanians, also from the
17 diaspora, the various countries in which Albanians had gone to, including
18 the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and other countries.
19 Q. Just finally, paragraph 5: "Dimitrejvic stressed that the VJ had
20 a responsibility to protect the FRY border and would continue to take the
21 necessary steps to do so, but there now were no VJ units in Kosovo other
22 than those regularly based there, i.e., the Pristina Corps and the VJ had
23 no plans for a wider operation. It was essential for the international
24 community to press the Albanians to abandon terrorism before they launched
25 the major attack for which they appeared to have been preparing."
1 What VJ units was Dimitrejvic referring to in Kosovo?
2 A. General Dimitrejvic was referring that within the province of
3 Kosovo the 52 Corps was the major army unit there and that there were no
4 other reinforcements. I think this is probably a slightly moot point. I
5 think he's trying to put across that the Vojska Jugoslavije was able to
6 just about hold the border and that the situation was reasonable. I think
7 in his own heart he knew that the situation was a lot worse than he
8 alluded to, but he reinforces the point that unless the Albanian border
9 was properly policed on the Albanian side, then there would be -- there
10 would continue to be incidents along this international border.
11 Q. Now, he states that unless some kind of action was taken, there
12 was going to be a major attack. Unless the Albanians were pressed to
13 abandon terrorism, there was going to be a major attack.
14 Who was going to be launching a major attack?
15 A. I think, Your Honours, that General Dimitrejvic is referring to
16 what I've already insinuated, that because this international border was
17 so poorly policed on the Albanian side, there could well be another major
18 attempt to infiltrate - as on the previous one nearly 1.000 people of
19 which I think 200 were killed - across this border, and therefore the
20 Vojska Jugoslavije would be extremely pressed to maintain their own border
22 Q. So an attack by whom?
23 A. An attack mounted across the Albanian/Yugoslav border by Albanian
24 insurgents, which was on an illegal basis. This is an international
25 border not being properly policed by the Albanian authorities.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure the pagination between the English and
13 French transcripts correspond
1 Q. We can go to the next report, which is behind tab 14. And this is
2 a diplomatic telegram of the 30th of April, 1998, and here I'm interested
3 in paragraphs 3 and 5.
4 "The KLA issued a nine-point statement on 29 April, published in
5 Bujku, the mass circulation radically-inclined Albanian-language Pristina
6 newspaper, saying that the homeland was in a state of war and was fighting
7 to liberate and unify Albania's occupied territories. The statement
8 called on Albania to review its stand. It was the duty of the free part
9 of the homeland to help the occupied part. The KLA was ready to strike
10 against the enemy at the right time. However, the KLA was ready to take
11 part in talks with the enemy, but only after the occupying troops had left
12 and with the mediation of a third party. Any agreement without its
13 presence would be invalid. The statement appealed to the frustrated and
14 faint-hearted who were trying to plunge the people into defeatism and
15 anarchy who were trying to remove themselves from the scene."
16 Mr. Crosland, just specifically referring to the statement that
17 the homeland was in a state of war and was fighting to liberate and unify
18 Albania's occupied territories, did you ever while you were there at the
19 time come across those kinds of statements from KLA members that you met?
20 A. Yes, Your Honours. All the time was the view put forward by the
21 KLA and other personnel, that this was a mission to re-take what was
22 called by the Serbs Velika Albania, Greater Albania, which included the
23 province of Kosovo.
24 I think, if I may, we have to remember that in a census in 1991
25 there were well over two million Albanians already in the state of -- the
1 province of Kosovo, and that the, if I may use an English phrase, the
2 minority or the goldfish in the bowl were actually the Serbs and not the
3 Albanians. And although the Serbs technically controlled the government,
4 the Ministry of the Interior, police, the MUP and obviously the army, the
5 VJ, major wealth was actually exercised by the Albanian businessmen and
6 farmers who had left Albania under Rugova in order to get a better life in
7 the southern province of Serbia called Kosovo. So it was looked on by the
8 more radical elements of which the KLA was obviously the leading edge.
9 This was the aim of the KLA, to move wholeheartedly into this area, which
10 has been an area of, throughout history, which has been fought over, and
11 depending on which map you go to, it depends on which side of the border,
12 Albania or Serbia or Kosovo, it appears in.
13 Q. Paragraph 5 of the diplomatic telegram:
14 "Rumours continue to circulate in Pristina about the fate of a
15 group of Serbs apparently being held hostage by the KLA. It is thought
16 that around a dozen Serbs (comment: Not clear whether civilians or
17 security forces) have been captured in separate incidents over the last
18 week. Serbian organisations were trying on 29 April to enlist the help of
19 an international NGO to negotiate their release. Some international
20 journalists have been told by a radically-inclined Albanian human rights
21 organisation that some of the Albanians killed in the 23 April border
22 incident were mutilated when handed back to their families for burial.
23 There are reports that an Albanian was shot dead by the Serbian police
24 while on his way to attend the funerals of the Albanians killed near
25 Decani on 27 April. A policeman was reportedly killed in an attack on a
1 police patrol on the Prizren-Urosevac road late last night."
2 Now, Mr. Crosland, do you recall around the 30th of April hearing
3 rumours or facts about Serbs being held hostage by the KLA?
4 A. Yes, Your Honour. And throughout the conflict in 1998 and 1999,
5 we estimated that probably about 200 Serbs had been taken -- captured by
6 the Albanian forces, for want of a better term. This particular incident
7 was never completely proved as far as I'm -- I was aware. It happened in
8 a place called Blace, which is in the middle of this area south of
9 Komorane and --
10 Q. Can you mark that on the map, Mr. Crosland.
11 A. The actual town, the actual area itself is not marked, but it's
12 somewhere down south of Komorane, over here, an it's south of that area,
13 towards Sedlare. This area, Sedlare, was a UCK base, headquarters. But
14 it was an allegation from the Serbs, and I think, to be honest, a very
15 fair allegation that many Serbian people disappeared into -- mainly into
16 this area south of Pec in an area called Ljubanica [phoen] and were held
17 prisoner there and most of them disappeared.
18 Q. Now, this report also refers to an Albanian killed in the 23 April
19 border incident being mutilated when handed back to families for burial.
20 Do you know whether that was a true allegation or not?
21 A. I didn't specifically see this particular mutilation. I did
22 however, Your Honours, see, unfortunately, many others, and reports are
23 made to that effect. But this was a -- I'm afraid, a sad occurrence that
24 took place on a fairly regular basis as a way of -- I suppose of trying to
25 frighten, terrorise, the other side into submission, and is a peculiar,
1 nasty habit of the Balkans area, I'm afraid.
2 Q. Now, the report also refers to an Albanian being shot by the
3 Serbian police near Decani, the 27th of April. Was that incident reported
4 to you while you were in Kosovo?
5 A. Yes, Your Honours. I mean, these incidents, as I've indicated,
6 were happening on more or less a daily basis, because all along, the
7 western road here from Djakovica through Decani up to Pec, there were many
8 Albanian -- or mainly Albanian villages and Serbian isolated villages.
9 And if people needed to go about their lawful business and they walked
10 into a position of either Serbian or Albanian, the chances are after dark
11 they may well be killed because of a nervous nature of both sides being
12 isolated and frightened out in this country.
13 Q. Finally, you refer to a policeman being killed in an attack on a
14 police patrol in the Prizren-Urosevac road. Can you point out that road
15 for us?
16 A. Yes, Your Honours. This is the southern route down from Prizren
17 here in the west, up to Srbica, which is a Serbian community, and on into
18 Urosevac, which was again a mixed town of both Albanian and Serbian
20 Q. Can you move the map across a little, please. Can you mark
21 Urosevac for us.
22 A. Yeah, Urosevac is in this area here, or now it's called Ferisaj by
23 the Albanians.
24 Q. Do you recall this event being reported to you, this police
25 officer being --
1 A. Not specifically, no, but as I've indicated, Your Honours, this
2 was happening on a -- sadly, on a rather daily -- daily basis. So
3 individual attacks like this were just yet more of the casualties on both
4 sides, I'm afraid.
5 Q. If we could go to the next tab, at 15. This is a report of the
6 5th of May, and I'll read paragraphs 1, 2, 3, and 4.
7 "Reports of heavy fighting in Ponosevac, near Albanian border.
8 UNHCR estimate 5.000 refugees have fled Montenegro since crisis began.
9 LDK spokesman backtracks on Rugova's welcoming of the contact group's
10 measures. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Ivanov to see Milosevic today.
11 Albanian foreign minister warns of risks of war.
12 "Both sides report heavy fighting around or in Ponosevac, around
13 eight kilometres from the Albanian border, near Decani. What is not clear
14 is who initiated the violence, which apparently began on 3 May. Initial
15 reports spoke of several Serb police wounded by Albanians. Fighting has
16 continued since, with reports of Albanian casualties and a further
17 build-up of Serb police forces in the area. MUP forces were extremely
18 tense when DA and First Secretary visited town on 2 May. Albanian sources
19 claim that foreign media and humanitarian workers have since been denied
20 access to the area.
21 "There have also been reports of several clashes in villages in
22 Drenica. Details are hard to confirm, but there appear to have been
23 casualties. The Yugoslav army has also said that it successfully drove
24 back armed Albanian groups attempting to enter FRY on 2 and 3 May. No
25 report of casualties yet.
1 "DA touring the area over the weekend found very heavy MUP and VJ
2 deployments. Most worryingly he saw 80/100 of the special anti--terrorist
3 police, (JSO) in four separate locations (these are elite troops of the
4 state security and rarely seen). He also confirmed PJP and MUP Special
5 Police co-located with Yugoslav army in Pec barracks. He will be visiting
6 again today."
7 If we could have the map up, please, and if, Mr. Crosland, you
8 could point out to us the location of Ponosevac where this fighting was
9 taking place.
10 A. Yes, Your Honours. This is the area of Ponosevac, which leads
11 directly up to a major crossing point oppose Tropolja, at the Morines pass
12 or Morines Col. That was both a Vojska Jugoslavije position and a MUP
13 position, with artillery and tanks.
14 Q. What fighting was taking place there at this time?
15 A. In this area there is a, leading out of Djakovica, south of
16 Djakovica, there is a dirt road that leads around to Ponosevac, Brovina,
17 Batusa, and up to Junik, and then back on to the main road. And this was
18 becoming a front line area in which all the villages had been -- or
19 villagers had been cleaned out of their area and sent packing as the thing
20 said, the report said, mainly to Montenegro. And the -- on the Serbian
21 side they were attempting to clear the area so that they could use it as a
22 free-fire zone, and the Albanians were attempting to use the area to
23 infiltrate across the border. So the whole area was extremely tense.
24 Any livestock in the area had been shot. Most houses had been
25 very badly damaged, and the civilian population, as I said, had virtually
1 been driven out completely of the whole area. So the only people in there
2 were either Serbian security forces or Albanians attempting to get
4 Q. And this fighting in this area commenced on the 3rd of May of 1998
5 and was now in its third day. Is that fair to say from this report?
6 A. That is correct, sir, yes.
7 Q. Now, in this same report there were also reports of fighting in
8 the Drenica area, and I know I've asked you to do this before, but if you
9 can just indicate to the Judges what area we're referring to.
10 A. Your Honours, we're back into the initial area here from Srbica --
11 or from Gornji Klina down through Srbica down to Komorane. So as I said
12 earlier to Your Honours that one set of forces would move out, the other
13 would move in and so the situation would change sometimes on an hourly
15 Q. And then you refer in paragraph 3 that the Yugoslav army had
16 stated that it had driven back Albanian groups attempting to enter the FRY
17 on 2 and 3 May. Is that the matter that you've just been referring to
18 that was taking place around Ponosevac in the early part of May?
19 A. That is correct. It is -- also leads up to the pass at
20 Col Morines where there was another VJ deployment up on the border and
21 there had been several reports of an attempt by Albanians to cross in the
22 vicinity of this Vojska Jugoslavije position unsuccessfully. Information
23 was extremely difficult to get by because to get up there was virtually
24 impossible. It was sealed off and some of the tracks were even mined
25 which made vehicle access impossible.
1 Q. You also make the point in the last paragraph, in paragraph 4,
2 that you saw 80 to 100 special anti-terrorist police in four separate
3 locations and also PJP police co-located with the Yugoslav army in Pec
5 Why were you were worried about seeing JSO special anti-terrorist
6 police in Kosovo?
7 A. These police, as I have indicated, Your Honours, are the best
8 trained and the best equipped and also the personnel that were used to
9 carry out the strike of operations. We found bases in Pec itself and out
10 at a place called Istok or Dubrove [phoen] as it's sometimes referred to,
11 in Pec. There was a combined Vojska Jugoslavije and MUP barracks on the
12 road leading south out of Pec towards Decani. There was JSO based in
13 Decani itself where the artillery unit had been found, and there was JSO
14 based in Djakovica.
15 Q. Why were you worried? Why did you describe it as worrying to see
16 these particular types of troops?
17 A. Well, Your Honours, I think it indicates just how seriously
18 Vojska Jugoslavije was taking -- or the Yugoslav authorities were taking
19 it, and they were prepared to meet force with appropriate force, if
21 Q. And what force were they confronting at this time, the security --
22 the Serbian security forces?
23 A. As indicated, Your Honours, in the report there were infringements
24 of the Albanian/Yugoslav border, not quite on a daily basis but certainly
25 on a weekly basis. And reports were building up from other intelligence
1 that I was privy to, that more and more Albanian personnel were moving
2 back to Albania to listen to the call of arms to follow the KLA into
3 Kosovo. And also at this time in May, in early May, the conditions on the
4 mountains were now -- the snow had melted and so conditions on crossing
5 these fairly high mountains were not so difficult as they were in the
6 severe winter.
7 Q. Now, it says at the beginning of the report that the Albanian
8 foreign minister at this time had warned of the risk of war. Do you
9 recall that warning?
10 A. Yes, I do, Your Honours. And I think it is all part of the
11 Yugoslav pressure to -- for the international community to do something
12 about the international border between Albania and Yugoslavia that was
13 not, as I've repeated many times, was not being properly policed on the
14 Albanian side. And therefore we were getting these intrusions illegally
15 across an international border of armed men and horses, camels,
16 whatever -- not camels, sorry, donkeys, carrying ammunition and other
17 stores into the province of Kosovo.
18 Q. And the Albanian foreign minister was warning of war between who?
19 A. Potentially between Albania, I suppose, and Yugoslavia.
20 Q. If we could go to the next tab, which is tab 16. I think this
21 actually simply gives more detail of what we've previously discussed.
22 I'll read it and then I'll ask you if you have anything to add. Is this
23 the report that you drafted?
24 A. That is correct, sir, yes.
25 Q. This is a report of the 13th of May of 1998, Kosovo situation
1 report as at 11/12 May 1998.
2 Summary. 1: "Situation in Ponosevac area very tense. Area of
3 Ponosevac, Djakovica, Pec, and Decani patrolled by elements of JSO and PJP
4 in a very heavy-handed way. Villagers have fled north to Junik. Main
5 road Pristina-Pec still closed between Komorane and Kijevo VCP's. Drenica
6 quiet, VJ deployments around all major garrison towns.
7 "Ponosevac. Road from south to Ponosevac 'carpeted' in empty
8 cases including 40-millimetre grenades. Villages south of Ponosevac
9 deserted, livestock slaughtered in fields, houses sprayed with gunfire.
10 Ponosevac empty except for JSO/PJP, who are carrying out patrols from
11 Decani using APCs, including TAB C 79 and IPR, similar to M-60. Most
12 villagers now concentrated in Junik, about 3.000 with enough food and
13 water but no telephone.
14 "Comment. This JSO/PJP operation is perhaps to freeze this
15 unknown transit route and cut off supplies to the UCK in Jablanica.
16 "MUP. Strength generally increased, particularly in the west
17 region. All other VCP's as normal, but increase in deployment of APC's.
18 Number of MUP seen, approximately 400 plus or minus, APC's 26.
19 "6 times BOV-M were seen heading south on Autoput from Belgrade
20 over weekend 9/10 May.
21 "Pec-Pristina road. Open to traffic from Pec to Klina. However
22 from Kijevo VCP to Komorane still closed due to sporadic firing. Very
23 little traffic seen.
24 "Drenica area. This area is quiet and fairly relaxed including
25 the Lausa area, now the only road access through.
1 "VJ. VJ deployments still around garrison towns as last reported
2 but as yet not further involved.
3 "Assessment. Situation could rapidly spin out of control,
4 post-ongoing talks if Serbian security forces feel that they are losing
5 control. Heavy-handed terror action in Ponosevac area indicates that the
6 tactical thought process has not changed."
7 What is the heavy-handed terror action that you're referring to
9 A. Your Honours, I think in paragraph 2 in the Ponosevac paragraph
10 where I say "carpeted in empty cases," this road which I've indicated to
11 you before on the west here from south of Djakovica round through
12 Ponosevac, this whole area was deserted apart from military folk. Any
13 living animal had been killed. Most, if not all, houses were now in a
14 very bad state of disrepair, having been fired at continuously by Serb
15 security forces. And it was just indicative of we were forced to put
16 people out of their houses to flee to where they could find safety. And
17 in this case most went north towards Montenegro, but not all. Some went
18 west into Albania.
19 Q. Now, you say that the Pristina-Pec road was closed between
20 Komorane and Kijevo. Why was that and can you indicate that road to us?
21 A. Your Honours, the main road here is from Pristina all the way
22 across here to Pec. As I indicated earlier, there are four roads that
23 cross this area, one from Kosovska Mitrovica in the north, through Rudnik,
24 along to Pec. The one in the middle from Pristina to Pec itself. From
25 Pristina south to Stimlje, over through Dulje, Suva Reka, down to Prizren.
1 And by this stage these three routes had more or less been closed by the
2 KLA with very minor positions on these roads. And most of the
3 Vojska Jugoslavije traffic was now coming south to Urosevac and then up
4 over the mountains into Prizren. And this route was allowed to be kept
5 over for resupply purposes. I think it was just indicative of the KLA
6 trying to increase their authority over areas of Kosovo by claiming they
7 blocked the major routes.
8 Q. Do you recall specifically with the Pristina-Pec road where it was
9 closed between Komorane and Kijevo?
10 A. Yes. It was closed at a place called Lapusnik, which is just west
11 of Komorane, which is here, and Lapusnik, another village where the
12 mountainous area met this main road where the KLA put in a blockade with
13 light defensive positions around it.
14 Q. Now, the assessment that you made is that the situation again
15 could rapidly spin out of control if the Serbian security forces feel they
16 are losing control. Why did you say that at the time?
17 A. Your Honours, as I've indicated, the area in the west here, the
18 road south of Djakovica through Ponosevac and up to Junik are mainly -- or
19 most of the villages from Pec down to Decani and back down to Djakovica
20 were all deserted and extremely badly damaged. And so the indication was
21 that the Serbian tactical thought process was: We'll blitzkrieg the area
22 and drive the civilian population out of it in an attempt to try and
23 control or militarily control the area by fear rather than by any proper
24 strategic thought. And in that fact they succeeded in driving the
25 civilian population out of the area, but that did not necessarily mean, as
1 I've said many times, that they controlled the area. They really
2 controlled the areas just around the defended areas that they had all
3 along these routes, as I've indicated, and nothing else.
4 Q. And who at this time controlled the areas outside these major
5 defended routes?
6 A. As I've indicated, Your Honours, it was a very fluid situation.
7 Out of sight of the Serbian positions, the KLA would walk around and move
8 men and equipment through and continue as they had done before.
9 Q. If we could go to the next document, which is a report actually of
10 the Pristina Corps, the VJ Pristina Corps, to the command of the 3rd army.
11 And it's signed by General Pavkovic. And in paragraph 1 he gives an
12 assessment and proposal for the engagement of the Pristina Corps. This is
13 a document, actually, that can be made public, but I will just read some
14 paragraphs, Mr. Crosland, that I want to draw your attention to to ask you
15 some questions about.
16 The second paragraph of paragraph 1: "The security situation in
17 the territory of Kosovo and Metohija is getting more complex every day due
18 to the operations of Siptar, derogatory term for Albanian terrorists,
19 whose increasingly frequent attacks on MUP members citizens of Serbian
20 nationality, and Siptars loyal to the system are sowing fear and
22 "The basic aim of Siptar terrorists in this phase is to take
23 control of extensive territory in Kosovo and Metohija, and to create a
24 Liberation Army, which for the international community would represent a
25 legitimate popular army, not a terrorist organisation.
1 "With the aim in mind, they are working on increasing their
2 numbers which they achieve by voluntary recruitment, and by methods of
3 threats and blackmail. In this way, the terrorist organisation has
4 managed in relatively short time to mobilise respectable forces, numbering
5 at this moment between 3.500 and 4.500 men armed and trained for armed
6 raids and guerrilla operations.
7 "By their manner of operation and application of intelligence and
8 security, engineering and logistics support measures, the terrorist forces
9 are increasingly taking on the attributes of a military organisation and
10 are setting up units from platoon to company size.
11 "The command cadre consists of former JNA officers of Siptar
12 nationality, a number of officers from the Croatian and Muslim armies, and
13 mercenaries from the Republic of Albania.
14 "The terrorist organisation's members' morale and resolve for
15 armed resistance has lately been on the rise, due to the inefficiency of
16 the MUP and its poorly executed operations aimed at destroying terrorist
18 Let's just talk about those paragraphs. Did you know General
20 A. Yes. I did, Your Honours, yes
21 Q. Had you met him?
22 A. I met him on several occasions, yes.
23 Q. Just in respect of each of these paragraphs, do you think -- was
24 it your assessment that the aim of the Siptar terrorists was to take
25 control of extensive territory in Kosovo and Metohija and create a
1 liberation army?
2 A. Yes. As I've said already, Your Honours, this appeared to be the
3 long-term aim from what had been in the early 1997 and in 1998 a fledgling
4 liberation army, which was now beginning to gain some apparently
5 international credibility. And as I said earlier, the idea of Greater
6 Albania, which included -- or they hoped to include the province of
8 I think the numbers that General Pavkovic replies to is a very
9 debatable area. I myself had said that I thought there were between 400
10 and 500 what I would call hardcore KLA. It is difficult to say who is
11 correct. If he is taking into account the potential numbers that were
12 apparently and possibly training in Albania itself, then those numbers are
13 3.500 to 4.500 are not too far-fetched.
14 Q. In respect of the organisation taking on attributes of a military
15 organisation at this time by setting up platoons, companies, did you
16 observe that at this time at all?
17 A. I think it's with respect, Your Honours, very difficult to look at
18 a terrorist organisation in the same light as regular forces who are based
19 on specific organisation of platoon, i.e., 30 persons to a company of 100
20 to a battalion or a regiment of between 400 and 600 men. I personally
21 visited about five or six KLA headquarter bases scattered throughout
22 Kosovo during my time there. And I would say at this stage in May they
23 were not as organised as General Pavkovic is saying. I mean, he may have
24 been using this for his own propaganda, and any general facing an
25 insurgency as this was is bound to put a more glossy view on the
1 opposition in order to ensure that he gets the correct support to deal
2 with the problem that was a very real problem and a growing problem. But
3 to say that it was as organised within platoon and company, you know, 30-
4 and 100-man units, I think it was possibly stretching the credibility at
5 this particular time. There was a basic area of command and control, but
6 I stress basic, and that was basically against mainly linear - either a
7 road or a river - into which that area a headman would have what I would
8 best describe token authority.
9 Q. Were you aware that there were officers from the Croatian and
10 Muslim armies within the KLA? Did you come across that at all as Pavkovic
11 is suggesting here?
12 A. Yes. As the former Chief of Staff and now currently in Kosovo is
13 General Agim Ceku who was Croatian, ex-Croatian. Yeah.
14 Q. General Ceku was a KLA member?
15 A. That is correct, sir, yes.
16 Q. Now, he also states that the terrorist organisation members'
17 morale and resolve for armed resistance has been on the rise due to the
18 inefficiency of the MUP and its poorly executed operations aimed at
19 destroying terrorist nuclei.
20 Was that true?
21 A. Yes, Your Honours, I think it is. And it's in the way that the
22 MUP operations were carried out. As I've tried to indicate that villages
23 would be -- they would probably get on to the talk either local radio,
24 warn a village that they were going to shell it, fire in a few shells to
25 just chivvy the local population out, and then raze that particular
2 This doesn't do a great deal for the efficiency or the morale of
3 either the civilian population or the military concerned because they walk
4 into an empty village and wonder what they are doing. And immediately you
5 are driving or potentially driving civilian population who may actually be
6 pro your operations against you. So this was a counter-productive but
7 very typical of all the fracas that have gone on in the Balkans where the
8 civilian population has generally taken a hammering from whichever side
9 happens to have the biggest gun in its hand at that particular point in
11 Q. If you go over the page, Mr. Crosland. In the first paragraph he
12 simply emphasises what you just said, that the MUP forces had been unable
13 to destroy terrorist nuclei in Drenica, so we'll move on from that.
14 He then states that: "In our estimate, the terrorist forces
15 currently hold about 30 per cent of Kosovo-Metohija territory. They have
16 succeeded in putting under their control the Kosovska-Mitrovica-Pec and
17 Pristina-Pec roads, as well as the local roads of the areas of Drenica,
18 Decani, and Djakovica."
19 How would you assess the truth of that statement by Pavkovic?
20 A. Your Honours, as I've indicated to you on the map, the top three
21 roads from across from Mitrovica to Pec and from Pristina to Pec and from
22 Pristina through Stimlje and down through Suva Reka and on to Prizren all
23 three -- top two were closed by the KLA. The third one was ambushed on a
24 regular basis by the KLA, which increased the difficulty of the MUP and
25 the VJ forces resupplying their own positions. And I think, if I may say
1 so, this is General Pavkovic having a go at the MUP who up until that time
2 had primacy in operations. And it was about in this time, if I remember
3 correctly, that a more coordinated response was put into action by General
4 Pavkovic and the various MUP authorities in Pristina to try and attempt to
5 bring together the two operations. And this, as I've said before,
6 involved the VJ in operations outside of their initial constitution in
7 defending their own borders to now being used in measures across and
8 throughout the province of Kosovo in order to maintain lines of
9 communication and defence of significant Serb areas.
10 Q. Who had the upper hand at this time, the Serb security forces or
11 the KLA at this time?
12 A. With respect, Your Honours, it's difficult to say who had the
13 upper hand. The -- as General Pavkovic has said, for the KLA to
14 tentatively hold, in parentheses, 30 per cent of the area is quite
15 significant for still very much a fledgling liberation army. On sheer
16 numbers, the Serbian security forces had more men available for military
17 operations. It's a question of whether they could be properly and wisely
18 used and effectively used against the liberation army, but it learnt its
19 lesson and was not prepared to stand and fight but to drift away into the
20 shadows, to come back and fight another day. A very difficult operation
21 to achieve by regular forces.
22 Q. When you're saying a very difficult operation to achieve by
23 regular forces here, you're referring to the Serbian forces actually
24 dealing with the KLA tactics at that time?
25 A. That's correct. In -- because of the modus operandi of shelling
1 an area, driving people out, obviously no one stayed there, so no people
2 were killed. So people drifted off to fight another day, and a lot of
3 ammunition was expended, and not a great deal of people were killed
4 fortunately, but did they achieve militarily what the Serbian forces
5 wanted to achieve?
6 Q. Let's move on in fact to the next document, which is tab 18. And
7 this is a DipTel of the 14th of May of 1998, and here I'm interested
8 exclusively in paragraph 6.
9 "Security situation. Today's press reports an attack by 50 armed
10 Albanians on a Serb community near Klina. One policeman was wounded. If
11 true, this represents another ratcheting up of the scale of UCK actions.
12 Official Serb sources claim that ten Albanians were killed at Smonica near
13 the FRY/Albanian border after mishandling launcher grenades. Albanian
14 sources, however, claim that the ten were killed by land mines. Today's
15 'Dnevni Telegraf,' considered close to the security services claims that
16 Stanisic, head of the secret services and Milosevic's advisor on security,
17 has been put formally in charge of police operations in Kosovo. My DA is
18 touring Kosovo today."
19 Can you point Klina out for us on the map.
20 A. Certainly, Your Honour. Klina is a small town on the -- one of
21 the main roads and is on what I've refer to as the corridor from the west
22 through Decani, Jablanica, into Klina. And then the road from Klina going
23 eastward goes up through Josanica into Srbica into the Drenica. So it was
24 a road that was both patrolled by the KLA and had static positions by the
25 Serbian security forces.
1 This particular attack I didn't -- I was not present at, but it is
2 typical of what was going on in that Klina was a joint Serbian and
3 Albanian town. Again, a police station in the middle of the town to do
4 what policemen normally do, to look after the civilian population, and
5 therefore it was a soft target and an easy one for the KLA to have a crack
7 Q. If we could go to the next document behind tab 19. This is a
8 diplomatic telegram of 15th May, 1998. And just paragraph 8 I'm
9 interested in here, Mr. Crosland, and I'll just read it to you.
10 "My DA has reported in detail to Ministry of Defence on his tour
11 of 14 May. MUP operations were ongoing in Djakovica and Ponosevac.
12 Special police (of all varieties) were much in evidence, though there were
13 no signs of VJ activity outside the border areas. DA and his colleagues
14 were briefly detained by KLA, and it is evident that the KLA effectively
15 control parts of Drenica and probably other areas too."
16 So now we're at the 15th of May, and I know it's somewhat
17 repetitious but it's the nature of the chronology that we're going
18 through. Can you point to Djakovica and Ponosevac again.
19 A. Your Honours, it's -- the area we've been talking about, Djakovica
20 here, Ponosevac, Junik. There was very heavy fighting throughout this
21 area because the KLA had made a stand or attempted stand in the town of
22 Junik, and this was yet to draw the full fury of the Serbian security
23 forces which happened later on. But it's indicative of the ongoing heavy
24 conflict that was going on in this area throughout this middle part of
1 Q. Now, the report says that you were briefly detained in May at this
2 time by the KLA. Do you recall where that was?
3 A. Yes, Your Honours. We had driven towards Klina, which I indicated
4 to you just recently, and then we had taken the route out up towards
5 Josanica, past a Serb position, and then we were detained just south of
6 Vojcnak in towards Lausa which was still held by the Kosovo Liberation
7 Army, and that's where we were detained.
8 Q. How long were you detained for?
9 A. I think probably about 45 minutes. And I think it may be in this
10 time that we went to a further KLA headquarters at Vojcnak, which is
11 north, where I'm indicating on the map, just slightly west of the main
12 Drenica area.
13 Q. Why did you say that it was evident that the KLA at this time is
14 effectively controlling parts of Drenica and probably other areas, too?
15 A. Because on driving through this area there was again the KLA had
16 taken over the positions of what had been formally MUP positions and were
17 more in evidence than the Serbian security forces in this area. So it was
18 part of this seesaw performance that went on all year.
19 Q. If we go to the next report, which is 27 May, so 12 days later
20 than the prior report. And I'm interested here in paragraphs 8 and 9.
21 "The security situation appears to have deteriorated sharply in
22 recent days. There have been reports, including from British journalists,
23 of heavy fighting in Decani and Drenica. There are regular Albanian
24 claims of massacres and attacks on villages. The security forces issue
25 frequent reports of attacks on police patrols, including two kidnappings
1 of Serbian policemen since the weekend. There is talk of a KLA "prison
2 camp" near Glogovac. Although these stories are impossible to
3 substantiate and there is a heavy element of propaganda and sensationalism
4 on both sides, the overall impression is that the violence is spreading as
5 both the security forces and KLA try to assert their control over the
6 strategically important corridor between Drenica and Decani. The security
7 forces seem to be particularly active in the area around the villages of
8 Jablanica and Gllodjan, believed to be important KLA headquarters.
9 "On 26 May, acting DA saw 11 MUP coaches, 30 heavy lorries, and
10 special place (JSO) vehicles towing artillery pieces travelling down the
11 main road from Pristina to Pec. This may reflect normal rotation, but
12 even so, it indicates a very heavy MUP presence in the area.
13 "On 27 May, he saw burned and badly damaged houses north of
14 Drenica. Local eyewitnesses' descriptions were consistent with JSO
15 operations. Access to the whole western area was heavily restricted. In
16 addition, new MUP checkpoints have been set up in south-east Kosovo around
17 Urosevac and Gnjilane. First secretary counted eight on 24th May.
18 Stojilkovic, Serbian minister of interior, said on the 26th of May that
19 the police in Kosovo would operate more efficiently, given his reputation.
20 This is a worrying sign in itself. There are also claims in the press
21 that Arkan's paramilitary forces are active in Kosovo. ECMM recently
22 encountered a group they were told worked for Arkan. For their part, the
23 KLA have set up their own checkpoints on main roads, one just two
24 kilometres from an MUP point. Separately, reports continue of lorries
25 travelling to Kosovo being stopped and of humanitarian assistance being
2 Now, in terms of the first paragraph, Mr. Crosland, paragraph 8,
3 heavy fighting in Decani and Drenica, again I know it's sort of 12 days
4 after the prior incidents, but what can you comment on what was taking
5 place on the 27th of May in these two areas that you've already referred
7 A. I think, Your Honours, it just indicates that these, the two --
8 perceived to be the two critical areas from both sides. The Drenica was
9 historically an Albanian area of interest, and Decani is of interest I've
10 indicated is close to the Albanian border, there which their resupply and
11 reinforcements were coming.
12 Q. Whose resupply and reinforcements?
13 A. The Kosovo Liberation Army.
14 Q. Now, the camp, the KLA prison camp near Glogovac, did you hear of
15 these rumours yourself?
16 A. Yes, we did. And we attempted to get near this place in Glogovac,
17 which is just north of Komorane. It's an old mining area, which was
18 subsequently used later by the Serbs as also a potential prison camp. But
19 as of the context here, it was impossible to substantiate either way.
20 Q. Any further comments on paragraph 9?
21 A. For the first time, really, the majority of the fighting had taken
22 place on a line from Podujevo through Pristina down to Urosevac. Giljane
23 is in fact east of this, and that was the first time that we'd had
24 inference that there was potential KLA activity in the east of this area.
25 So that in itself was possibly a significant factor in that the KLA
1 authority was starting to spread to Giljane, which was again a heavy
2 populated country town with both Albanian and Serb population.
3 Q. Is it on the map, Giljane?
4 A. It is not. If you look at Urosevac and follow this road, another
5 couple of inches or so, 40 kilometres, you'll come to that town, which
6 houses both a Vojska Jugoslavije brigade and had a heavy Albanian
7 population itself.
8 Q. We can go to the next. This is a diplomatic telegram of the 29th
9 of May. Paragraph 3.
10 "Incidents continue. Movement remains restricted. The situation
11 in and around Decani, where fighting has apparently continued for four
12 days, is still confused. The Belgrade press continue to claim that the
13 KLA is besieging the town and express shock that this has been allowed to
14 happen. Albanian sources claim that hundreds of Albanians dare not leave
15 their homes for fear of being shot by Serbs still controlling the centre
16 of the town and that there is no food. Some reports talk of fighting in
17 the streets of the town. If or when the media regain access, the pictures
18 of damage and destruction could, regardless of which side is responsible,
19 prove emotive.
20 "The local branch of the radically-inclined council for the
21 defence of human rights and freedom have launched an appeal for
22 international humanitarian assistance for Decani. They claim the
23 situation is further complicated by the flow to the area around the town
24 of several thousand "refugees" from villages closer to border looking for
1 "There appear to have been several fresh attacks on the police
2 checkpoint at Komorane, 21 kilometres west of Pristina on the road to Pec,
3 and further clashes at Slatina, close to Pristina airport, 12 kilometres
4 from the town. Albanian sources claim that three people died and another
5 wounded in an instant near Orahovac when a car was shot at by police".
6 Here again, Mr. Crosland, can you just again on the map point to
7 the area or the town of Decani?
8 A. Your Honours, Decani is here and then the area of Junik, which as
9 I said earlier was becoming the focus of intense Albanian and Serb
10 activity as to who was to get control of this small town. And as I said
11 earlier again, the border area was becoming an increasingly difficult area
12 for whether Serb or Albanian villagers to live in. Most of the Serbs had
13 moved up to the Rugova pass area, and Albanians had fled into Montenegro
14 and also into -- west into Albania. But again, it's just highlighting the
15 fact that this was becoming the key area for control of resupply from
16 Albania into Kosovo and for the Serbs to mount some kind of halt to this
17 illegal activity across an international border. The other attacks refer
18 to the major road out of Pristina to the Komorane crossroads, which if you
19 recall, was blocked by the KLA at Lapusnik. At Komorane there was a
20 fairly heavy block, or police checkpoint, but again being a static point
21 was open season -- is now quite midsummer, nights are drawing out, so
22 people would go around and have a pot at the policemen as part of the
23 active night's activities.
24 Slatina is closer in and is in the area called Veliki Slatina
25 which is a MUP outpost guarding the road that goes south towards Pristina
1 airport, which obviously was a key Serbian Yugoslav airport.
2 Q. So fighting was moving close to Pristina at this time?
3 A. Yes, Your Honours. I think it's indicative of, again, static
4 Serbian positions being attacked. And we will see them coming even closer
5 to Pristina in the continuing months.
6 MR. CAYLEY: I don't know whether you want to take a break at this
7 point, Your Honour?
8 JUDGE PARKER: It would be a convenient time. We'll resume at 10
9 minutes to 6.00.
10 --- Recess taken at 5.28 p.m.
11 --- On resuming at 5.53 p.m.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Cayley.
13 MR. CAYLEY: Thank you, Your Honour.
14 If we could turn to tab 22. The only paragraph that I'm
15 interested in here -- first of all, this is a regular operations report to
16 the third army command in the military district command in Pristina. I
17 know you've referred to this already, but what was the third army command
19 A. Your Honours, the third army was -- headquarters was in Nis which
20 is outside of Pristina. And they are commanded by General Pavkovic, and
21 the forward formation was the 52nd Corps based in Pristina which was doing
22 the current operations within the province of Kosovo.
23 Q. So the third army was the superior headquarters for the forces in
25 A. That's correct, yes.
1 Q. And Nis is in Serbia?
2 A. That's correct.
3 Q. So what is this document? This is a report.
4 A. This is a report by the staff officer in Pristina dealing with, by
5 the looks of it, day-to-day operations and reports of those operations
6 which were coming back into -- from Pristina to the senior headquarters
7 back in Nis as a situation report of what is going on in the operational
8 area and is a standard format for reporting events back to the higher
10 Q. Just read here.
11 "On the morning of the 8th of June," and this is para 8,
12 "Albanian thieves attacked the villages of Suvo Grlo and Banje, Srbica
13 municipality. These are Serbian-populated villages, whose inhabitants put
14 up resistance on their own."
15 If we could now -- we'll come back to this, but if we could go to
16 the next report, which is at the 9th of June. This is a diplomatic
17 telegram, as I say dated 9th of June, 1998, and going to the security
18 paragraph, which is paragraph 5.
19 "General situation seems calmer, although reports from Albanian
20 sources of shelling and air attacks on villages close to the FRY/Albanian
21 border, especially in the Djakovica area. A VJ soldier was killed and
22 three others wounded in attack nearer the village of Popovac near
23 Djakovica. Armed Albanians have attacked the last two Serb villages in
24 the Drenica valley, Banje, and Suvo Grlo. The and of fire is said to have
25 lasted several hours. This is the apparently third such recent attack.
1 There are also reports of sporadic gunfire from the Komorane police
2 checkpoint 20 kilometres west of Pristina."
3 Now, the two villages you refer to are in fact the two villages
4 that Colonel Maksimovic refers to in his report to the third army command,
5 aren't they?
6 A. They are indeed, yes.
7 Q. Do you know where those two villages are in Drenica? Have you
8 been able to find them on the map?
9 A. Your Honours, they are not actually on the map because they are
10 two very small villages. But they are in -- this is referring to a
11 situation that starts to develop closer towards Pristina to the Belacevac
12 mine, which I'm sure Mr. Cayley will come on to later on. This is an
13 indication of the spreading out from the Drenica, which is this valley
14 here, as I've indicated to you on several occasions. We're now starting
15 to threaten the capital of Pristina from the Drenica valley. The other
16 valley -- the other town mentioned of Popovac near Djakovica, again is not
17 on this map but was four or five kilometres out from Djakovica towards
18 Zrze on the road going south towards Prizren.
19 Q. Was -- were in fact the -- you were aware personally that the
20 villages of Banje and Suvo Grlo had been attacked at this time?
21 A. Yes, we were aware that there had been instances in that area.
22 Q. And equally the village of Popovac near Djakovica, did you -- were
23 you personally aware that a soldier was killed and three others wounded in
24 an attack near to that village?
25 A. No, I'm not personally aware of that particular instant, no. But
1 I have no reason to doubt the validity of this particular report because
2 it, as I've mentioned many times, the situation was changing on an hourly
3 basis and from day-to-day.
4 Q. And again this report refers to gunfire at the Komorane police
5 checkpoint. Can you just point that out for us? I know you've already --
6 A. Komorane is here at the bottom of the Drenica valley and was the
7 major checkpoint guarding the route going back into Pristina and Slatina
8 where the Pristina airfield is.
9 Q. We can now move on to the next document, and this is a report of
10 the 243rd Mechanised Brigade to the command of the Pristina Corps. What
11 was the 243rd Mechanised Brigade?
12 A. Your Honours, this brigade was based in Prizren on the map, as I
13 indicate here, and had the task of holding open the road from Prizren up
14 through Suva Reka to a place called Dulje, Blace where the
15 Vojska Jugoslavije had a command group of about 200 or 300 men deployed
16 including artillery and armoured personnel vehicles. And then with help
17 from Vojska Jugoslavije units from Urosevac, keeping the road open through
18 Crnoljevo which was a K -- Kosovo Liberation Army base or headquarters,
19 down to Stimlje and then the road up to Lipljan and on up to Pristina or
20 south to Urosevac. It was a joint Vojska Jugoslavije operation to keep
21 that route open and on which they suffered a fair number of casualties
22 from ambushing in an area which was both mountainous and heavily wooded.
23 Q. I'll just read parts of this report. Paragraph 1.
24 "At 1035 hours on 14th June, the DTG sabotage group opened fire
25 from automatic weapons from the direction of Luznica village at
1 [illegible] ground. The place and the distance from which fire was opened
2 was not determined [illegible] there were no consequences for the unit.
3 "At 1110 hours on the same day a reconnaissance patrol which was
4 reconnoitring Dulje-Luznica village was ambushed in the sector of trig
5 point 925 where two soldiers were lightly wounded. It was retaliated
6 [illegible] and the reconnaissance patrol pulled out of combat. Wounded
7 soldiers were sent to Urosevac for treatment.
8 "At 1235 hours on the same day in the Crnoljevo sector, near the
9 restaurant, a regular supply column of BG-243 combat group came under
10 attack. Three soldiers were seriously wounded and one received light
11 injuries. They were transported to the Pristina medical centre for
13 Paragraph (a), at the bottom, 2(a): "Losses in manpower:
14 Seriously wounded troops in the Crnoljevo village sector: Zeljko Antovic,
15 son of Vojislav; Veroljub Smiljkovic, son of Momir; and Stojan, son of
16 Mitar. Soldier Vojislav Vasic, son of Zivadinka, was lightly wounded.
17 Soldiers who were lightly wounded in the Dulje pass sector. Bogdanovic
18 and Slobodan Jokic, son of Vukasin."
19 Now, I know, Mr. Crosland, you don't specifically know these
20 events that were reported here, but can you say anything about this
21 report, bearing in mind what you've said about the area of defence of the
22 243rd Motorised Brigade?
23 A. The validity of these reports are entirely in line with what was
24 going on in that area. As I've said, it's a very difficult and demanding
25 road which goes through the mountainous area from Stimlje to Dulje to
1 Suva Reka and down to Prizren. The road was open to attack and ambush at
2 many points on the road and that brigade suffered many casualties. I
3 think a later report indicates that we actually went to help several of
4 the Vojska Jugoslavije who had been wounded.
5 Q. We can go to tab 25. 16 June, 1998, a report from military
6 district command Pristina to the 3rd army command. And paragraph 8.
7 "Situation report on the territory: At the send-off of recruit
8 Srecko Mihajlovic, Dobrosebina village, Zubin Potok municipality, the
9 recruit's uncle involuntarily shot the recruit in the leg, causing him an
10 entry-and-exit wound. Siptar, derogatory term for Albanian separatists,
11 attacked a MUP, Ministry of the Interior, patrol near Rakovina village on
12 the Djakovica-Klina road. One policeman was killed and two were wounded.
13 A VJ Yugoslav army column transporting food was attacked on the
14 Urosevac-Stimlje road. Two soldiers and a civilian were wounded. An IP
15 reconnaissance patrol was attacked in the surroundings of Juznice,
16 Suva Reka municipality. Two soldiers were killed."
17 Again, Mr. Crosland, I know you're not aware specifically of these
18 events, but what does this report demonstrate in light of what you've just
20 A. The first part of the report refers to the village of Rakovina
21 here, which is in the middle of the area here and where there was -- both
22 an MUP and then later on a Vojska Jugoslavije deployment all the way down
23 the eastern side of this higher ground which was in position to try and
24 keep an eye on the -- what was called the Jablanica area to the west of
25 the river. And this -- this whole area was subject to sporadic attack by
1 KLA throughout the rest of the year because they again were static
2 military positions which offered targets to the KLA fighters on a regular
3 basis. So these reports are typical of the ongoing attrition that was
4 being taken by the Serbian security forces.
5 Q. And the column travelling on the Urosevac-Stimlje road where two
6 soldiers and a civilian were wounded.
7 A. Again, on the map Urosevac is here, and Stimlje is here, and this
8 was a supply from Urosevac which was a main -- another brigade deployment
9 for the Vojska Jugoslavije going forward to a forward base at Stimlje.
10 Q. Were you aware of whether there were -- were you aware of any
11 attacks on that road by the KLA?
12 A. During the -- there were a number of attacks on that road which
13 was again a very easy road to attack because of the countryside being
14 fairly heavily wooded around it.
15 Q. If we could go to the next document which is dated the 18th of
16 July -- June of 1998. And this is another regular operative report to the
17 3rd army command from again Lieutenant Colonel Dragoslav Maksimovic.
18 Paragraph 8.
19 "Between 1000 and 1100 hours Siptar, derogatory term for
20 Albanian, outlaw gangs from the village of Crkvena Vodica, Obilic
21 municipality, abducted Milorad Spasic, father of Zivko Spasic, who had
22 been abducted a month ago and so far there has been no information about
24 "Milorad Spasic's brother had been abducted this morning in the
25 village of Crkvena Vodica, Obilic municipality.
1 "After 1200 hours today, at the Belacevac strip mine, Siptar
2 terrorists hijacked a Gaz motor vehicle with five people, of which three
3 were Siptars, and they were released immediately. The other two were
4 Serbs, and they were held together with the vehicle. One of the two Serbs
5 is Predrag Milic from Plemetina village, and the name of the other is not
7 "The situation in Stimlje municipality is very complex after a
8 soldier and a policeman were killed in Crnoljevo yesterday. Last night
9 after the killing of the soldier and policeman, a group of Serbs broke the
10 window of Siptar shops. Fearing a direct conflict with Siptars, most
11 Serbs have evacuated women and children and so only men fit for military
12 service remained in Stimlje."
13 Now, specifically in terms of the Belacevec strip mine, were you
14 aware of that particular attack by the Albanians?
15 A. Yes, Your Honours. We knew that the situation around the
16 Belacevac mine, which is a prestigious mine in Serb terms, had taken
17 place. This is a pretty unpleasant area under the shadow of the mine with
18 sulfur and all sorts of other unfortunate ingredients in the air, a
19 mine -- a place where -- mainly inhabited by Serbs who worked in the mine
20 and were now being attacked out of Drenica valley by elements of the KLA.
21 Q. Can you point out where the mine is located.
22 A. Just in this area here, about 10 kilometres from Pristina itself.
23 Obilic is just to the north, which I'm now indicating on the map.
24 Q. In terms of these abductions, you were not specifically aware of
25 these individuals being abducted, were you?
1 A. Not of the individuals, no. But we heard reports that these
2 isolated Serbian homesteads had been attacked and possibly people were
3 being taken prisoner. It was not confirmed as such. But it was I suppose
4 a terror tactic by the Kosovo Liberation Army to further increase their
5 authority over the area.
6 Q. Now, on the next page it says: "The situation in Stimlje
7 municipality is very complex after a soldier and a policemen were killed
8 in Crnoljevo." And I know you've pointed out Crnoljevo on a number of
9 occasions, but were you ever aware of members of the Serb security forces
10 being killed in that location?
11 A. Yes. This happened on several occasions, Your Honours. Because,
12 as I indicated, Stimlje was the forward potion prior to going up the road
13 to Crnoljevo, which was a KLA headquarters which we visited and was
14 therefore the object of sporadic attack by the KLA as and when they could.
15 Q. If we could go to the next document, which is tab 27. This is a
16 diplomatic telegram of the 19th of June of 1998. Paragraphs 3 and 4.
17 I'll read it.
18 "Both Serb and Albanian sources report a number of new incidents.
19 Reports suggest that up to three policemen may have been killed in clashes
20 on 18 June.
21 "An official press release states that on the evening of 17 June,
22 a group of armed Albanians attempted to cross the FRY/Macedonian border
23 near the guard post at Djeneral Jankovic. When the Albanians refused to
24 stop, the border guards opened fire forcing the group to return into
25 Macedonia. The report states that weapons and ammunition were found at
1 the site that followed the Albanians retreat."
2 Now, do you know where that border crossing is?
3 A. Yes, Your Honours. If you look at the map, it's the major border
4 crossing on the route -- it's the major route that goes from Pristina
5 south to Skopje in Macedonia.
6 Q. Can you move the map up -- sorry. Oh, thank you. And you've
7 marked it there.
8 A. Yes. Again, this was the first time that there was indication of
9 an allied effort of support from Macedonia for the KLA, Kosovo Liberation
10 Army, coming from that area. And there were to be several scattered
11 incidents to the west of Djeneral Jankovic along this very difficult area
12 to patrol, again a mountainous area on the northern or northern border
13 between Macedonia and Kosovo.
14 Q. Do you specifically recall this particular incident when there was
15 this incursion across the Macedonian/Yugoslav border?
16 A. Yes. Because it -- as I said, it was an indication that the
17 problem was spreading not just from the Albanian side now but potentially
18 from the Macedonian side as well, and therefore was a significant incident
19 to have happened.
20 Q. If we could go to the next report of the 20th of June. This is an
21 interim report to the 3rd army command from the military district command
22 in Pristina.
23 "Two Serbs were abducted in Jelenac village, Klina municipality,
24 between 1300 and 1400 hours today.
25 "The abduction took place in the tilled field by the house.
1 Drago Vostanic, son of Trajko, born 1931, and Radomir Vostanic,
2 son of Milutin, born 1928.
3 "Three Dobric families were expelled from the Veliki Djurdjevak
4 village. Klina municipality.
5 "Serbs are leaving the village of Dusevic, Klina municipality,
6 under pressure by Albanian terrorists.
7 "Terrorists are fortifying positions along the Pec-Pristina road
8 above the Drsnik village, Klina municipality.
9 "At the approach to the village of Stepenica, Klina municipality,
10 Albanian terrorists blocked the road with logs."
11 Can you point out for us again the -- if Jelenac is on there? It
12 may not be; it may only be Klina.
13 A. I'm afraid it's not, Your Honours. We're dealing with the area
14 between Pec and Klina here which was -- this road was continually under
15 attack and clearance by both sides respectively. And these villages were
16 in north and just to the south of that particular road itself. So these
17 are opportune targets. Both sides are attempting to influence the area by
18 forcing or trying to abduct personnel from either Serbian or Albanian
20 Q. Now, you weren't aware of these specific individuals, but were you
21 aware in that area of abductions of Serbs taking place and Serbs being
22 forced out of villages in that area?
23 A. Yes. Again, these were very isolated villages which the Serbs
24 attempted to remain in and which were then attacked by the KLA in order to
25 abduct Serbs on a regular basis.
1 Q. So you have no reason to believe that this report is incorrect?
2 A. No. It's a report that we often came across in our daily dealings
3 with the MUP on these roads who stopped us and informed us about what was
4 going on. So I don't have any problem with this particular report at all.
5 Q. We could now go to the next document, tab 29. This is a
6 diplomatic telegram dated 23 June 1998. And I'm going to read most of it.
7 "KLA may now control as much as 35 per cent of Kosovo and is able
8 to act in around 65 per cent. Even less moderate Albanians fear that it
9 is beyond political control.
10 "In a changing situation, in which - despite the new freedom of
11 access - some parts remain out of bounds for security reasons, we cannot
12 be sure how much of Kosovo is under KLA control or, perhaps more
13 importantly, how much is not properly under FRY/Serb control. But a rough
14 guess would be that the KLA actually controls some 35 per cent of the
15 province and now have the capacity to mount attacks anywhere west of
16 Pristina, i.e., in around 65 per cent of the province. The MUP has
17 abandoned most checkpoints on the roads bordering the Drenica triangle,
18 large parts of which are clearly now under KLA control. Glogovac and
19 Srbica are the only towns where there appear to be residual Serbian
20 presence. Malisevo and Lapusnik in central Kosovo appear to have fallen
21 to the KLA."
22 Let's, just to break it up, Mr. Crosland, deal with it paragraph
23 by paragraph. At this time, on the 23rd of June of 1998, the embassy was
24 reporting that the KLA controlled 35 per cent of the province and was able
25 to act in 65 per cent of the province. Was that something that you were
1 reporting to the ambassador?
2 A. Yes, Your Honour. That is correct. And I think there was a
3 general feeling within the embassy that the situation was getting into a
4 very serious stage. And the percentage figures there are indicative of
5 what we have been talking about, but as I've reinforced to you continually
6 that the idea of control is perhaps too strong a word for it, because it
7 flowed backwards and forwards. But at this particular stage, those
8 percentages are not -- are correct.
9 Q. Now, the report states that Malisevo and Lapusnik appear to have
10 fallen to the KLA.
11 A. Yeah.
12 Q. Can you just point to those two places. I know you've marked them
14 A. Lapusnik is here on the main road from Pristina to Pec. And then
15 Malisevo, which was in fact one of the major headquarters of the KLA is
16 between -- come down the road from Lapusnik through Crni Lug to Malisevo
17 and on to Orahovac.
18 Q. Now, the report states that at this point the MUP had abandoned
19 most checkpoints on the roads bordering the Drenica triangle. What area
20 are we speaking of there?
21 A. We're talking about the area from Gornji Klina to -- through
22 Srbica down to Kluvanje [phoen], and then along to Klina and back up to
23 Djurakovac, up here in the north, and round to Rudnik. So it is a big
24 area that they were trying to -- attempting to control, and I think at
25 this particular point, if I remember rightly, they were attempting to run
1 out their MUP personnel through the area and therefore had to release
2 temporary control of this area back to the KLA.
3 Q. Let's go to paragraph 5.
4 "Significantly KLA attacks appear to be moving ever closer to
5 Pristina, Kosovo Polje, five kilometres from the capital is perhaps the
7 Now, I know you've already referred to this, but can you make any
8 further comment on that paragraph?
9 A. As I mentioned to Your Honours before, the area around the
10 Belacevac mine and the Serbian villages there that came under threat,
11 Kosovo Polje again is a very emotive area, being the place of the monument
12 to the battle of Kosovo Polje, and therefore an attempt to -- I suppose to
13 dislodge the Serbian thought they could control this area of Kosovo by
14 attacking one of their sacred monuments, if you will.
15 Q. Paragraph 6 and 7, tactics.
16 "The KLA's approach seems to have been to wrest control of the
17 main roads by first taking strategic villages off the road. Two of the
18 three main east/west roads are now closed. If the KLA do not move to
19 close the third between Pristina and Prizren, it will almost certainly be
20 because they have chosen not to do so rather than because they cannot. It
21 is striking that so far three other main roads remain unaffected: Those
22 from Pristina to Podujevo, Mitrovica and Urosevac. All three are Kosovo's
23 major links with the outside."
24 Is that something you had reported to the ambassador?
25 A. No. This report is actually by the deputy head of mission. What
1 he is saying is that - and quite correctly - that the three roads across
2 Kosovo were far more easily able to be closed because the country lent
3 itself to them, to being closed and being ambushed. The roads from
4 Pristina to Podujevo north was a major road which was attacked from time
5 to time but was relatively easy to keep open. The road up towards
6 Mitrovica in the north here, again, went through primarily a Serbian area
7 because of the mines in Kosovska Mitrovica. And the major roads south,
8 from Pristina down to Urosevac, the country was much more open and
9 therefore very much more difficult for insurgent forces to ambush and hold
10 a main road like that because they were totally without cover against a
11 very mobile and aggressive Serbian force.
12 Q. Paragraph 7.
13 "At the same time, the KLA move into villages, initially in order
14 to help defend against Serb attacks, but then leave a small party behind
15 once the security forces have left in order to secure the village for the
16 KLA. Some Albanians are now prepared to admit that the KLA has ordered
17 that at least some of the refugee evacuations, partly for presentational
18 reasons, in order to blame the Serbs, but also partly to clear the
19 territory for fighting."
20 Now, again, you've already pointed out that this was reported by
21 the deputy ambassador, but can you make any comment on that paragraph?
22 A. I think, Your Honours, it is perfectly true. Both sides were
23 attempting to influence the international community to back their own
24 respective causes. And it was quite clear that the KLA was operating in
25 this area; I saw it on many occasions and had people talk to me that they
1 had been ordered out by the KLA in order to then try and bring in the
2 international community to show them that they had been chased out by the
3 Serbs. So it was a very confused situation, both sides struggling to
4 achieve international recognition, if you will.
5 Q. Let's go to the next tab. This is diplomatic telegram dated
6 24th June, 1998. We've already referred to this event, but I will read
7 paragraph 8.
8 "Both Albanian and Serb sources are reporting that the KLA has
9 taken control of a coal mine in the village of Belacevac, just 10
10 kilometres west of Pristina. Shooting could apparently be heard in the
11 area all day. Albanian residents of the village are reported to have fled
12 to Pristina. KLA is claiming control of most villages in the area. The
13 KLA has issued an appeal to local people not to abandon their homes. The
14 KLA will guarantee their security. Comment: If these reports are true,
15 it represents further escalation in KLA activity, demonstrating (a) the
16 KLA's ability and confidence to mount such an attack so close to Pristina;
17 (b) the KLA's readiness to intimidate Serbs in their urban and semi-urban
18 strongholds, which is likely to encourage them to leave; and (c) the
19 selection of economic targets. There are several other mines and plants
20 linked to the power industry in the area. The other major industrial
21 complex in Kosova is Trepca near the northern town of Kovoska Mitroveca.
22 There have been occasional reports of KLA attacks on buildings making up
23 the Trepca complex, but as yet not of a substantial offensive.
24 "Fighting apparently continues around Klina in western Kosovo.
25 As ever, it is difficult to know exactly what is going on, but evidence
1 suggests an attempt by the KLA to take control of some Serbian villages in
2 the area and thus open up a corridor between Drenica and Decani. Around
3 800 Serbs are reported to have fled to Klina from neighbouring village.
4 There are also reports of clashes around Decani, Prizren, Djakovica, and
6 Now, you've already referred, Mr. Crosland, to the attack on
7 Belacevac. Is this report an accurate reflection of what you remember
8 stating at the time to the ambassador?
9 A. Yes. This report is actually by the deputy head of mission. I
10 would agree with most of the report. I think perhaps he's overstating the
11 ability of the KLA to inflict quite such control. Quite rightly they had
12 attacked the area around Belacevac and driven out Serbs from their --
13 these isolated villages in an attempt to destroy the economic welfare of
14 the area, although that did not actually happen.
15 Trepca up by Mitrovica is just off the map, and there is up here
16 behind -- by Bradas, which is part of the top of this particular map,
17 there was another KLA headquarters by Bajgori [phoen] which we went to
18 visit, and they had been mounting attacks down onto the Trepca mine in
19 order to disrupt Serbian activities in that area.
20 Q. Now, paragraph 9, if you could just -- it refers to fighting again
21 around Klina. Can you just point to us where Klina is.
22 A. Yeah. In the Klina area, in the centre here, it was on the main
23 corridor as I've referred to frequently through western -- through Junik,
24 Jablanica* to Klina, and on into the Drenica. So it was a critical area
25 for the KLA to try and maintain a regular supply of men and munitions into
1 the eastern area to try and reinforce the sporadic attacks - and I stress
2 the sporadic attacks - around Belacevac and Trecka, which were isolated
3 areas, but it was an attempt to spread their power and influence into
4 Kosovo itself.
5 Q. The report states that 800 Serbs had fled from Klina to
6 neighbouring villages. Do you recall that?
7 A. I don't specifically recall that number, but travelling in that
8 area and visiting these empty villages, it was clear that a lot of Serbs
9 had moved out because the areas were no longer defendable. So the figure,
10 I wouldn't necessarily disagree with that figure, no.
11 Q. If we could go to the next report, 26th June, diplomatic telegram
12 26th June, 1998, paragraph 4.
13 "According to official Serb sources, two Albanians were killed
14 and six captured by the VJ following an attempt to cross the FRY/Albanian
15 border north-west of Djakovica. Albanian reports claim that there has
16 been further shelling in the border area. Armed Albanians, wearing KLA
17 uniforms, are reported to have stopped a bus on the Prizren to Pristina
18 road near the village of Crnoljevo between Stimlje and Suva Reka on
19 25th June, taking three Serbs hostage. Serb sources report that in total
20 33 Serbs have been kidnapped since late April and remain missing. DA is
21 touring Kosovo today.
22 "The Montenegrin Commissioner for Refugees has stated that there
23 are now some 11.500 refugees from Kosovo formally registered in
24 Montenegro. The Commissioner estimated that the actual total would be
25 closer to 15.000. (Comment: Difficult to make an independent judgement,
1 but the Montenegrin authorities might well have reason to exaggerate the
3 Now, first of all, Mr. Crosland, in respect of the border incident
4 at Djakovica, what can you say about that?
5 A. Again, Your Honours, I think this is indicative of the ongoing
6 loose situation on the Albanian border where there was continual attempt
7 to breach this border into Yugoslavia or into Kosovo. And on this
8 particular occasion, these individuals were stopped and killed. And this
9 was happening, as I said, on a fairly regular basis.
10 As regards Crnoljevo, we've already gone over this particular
11 area. It was a UCK -- a KLA headquarters, and therefore people going
12 through that area were liable to be hijacked and used for KLA activity.
13 And the Serb -- the total of 33 Serbs, as I've said, I think in October we
14 estimated something like 200 Serbs were missing, presumed being been
15 kidnapped by Albanian elements.
16 Q. Do you -- just out of interest, do you recall this specific event
17 on the 25th of June, of these Serbs being taken hostage?
18 A. Not this specific event, no. But it was an event that is
19 perfectly credible and believable in that area because it was a no-go
20 area. It was a very difficult road, easily ambushed, very close to a KLA
21 activity area, and very believable. Yeah.
22 Q. Now, the paragraph 5, the commissioner for refugees in Montenegro.
23 What ethnicity were these refugees in Montenegro?
24 A. These would be Albanian, Kosovar Albanian.
25 Q. Why would the Montenegrins exaggerate the figures of Albanian
1 refugees in Montenegro?
2 A. I think partly to try and increase NGO activity into that area, to
3 give them more funding. I don't know.
4 Q. Go to the next document, tab 32. This is a diplomatic telegram of
5 the 30th of June, 1998. Go to security at the bottom of the first page
6 and then Belacevac mine. Paragraph 5.
7 "There are confusing reports about the outcome of yesterday's
8 security force operation against the Belacevac coal mine. Some sources
9 claim that police have recaptured the mine seized by the KLA last week and
10 that it is now back in the hands of the power company. However, the
11 usually reliable (Serb) Pristina Media Centre confirmed to us at 0930 Zulu
12 that only part of the mine has been retaken. There are fresh reports of
13 security force action in the area this morning.
14 "We have obtained some further background. In yesterday's
15 operation, police appear to have surrounded the area and then apparently
16 used tear gas to flush out those occupying the buildings. Foreign
17 journalists talk of armed Serb civilians participating in the operation.
18 Some also mentioned VJ involvement. Automatic gunfire and explosions were
19 heard in the area all day. Large numbers of people were seen leaving the
20 area on foot. Because many were men they were thought to be Serb
21 employees of the mine. There are no reports of casualties at the time,
22 although Albanian sources are claiming that an 8-year-old boy died when
23 security forces attacked a nearby village in the same operation. The
24 Belgrade press is speculating about the beginning of a Serb
1 Now, Mr. Crosland, again I know you've already referred to this
2 particular event, the Belacevac mine, but can you add anything to these
3 paragraphs in respect of Belacevac itself in your memory of events at the
5 A. Your Honours, it was not uncommon for armed Serb civilians to
6 participate in guarding their property and their villages. And In respect
7 of what was going on, I think if I had been in the same place I would have
8 done the same thing. Not all the villages could be protected by Serbian
9 security forces, and therefore they resorted to arming their civilians to
10 allow them to try and stay within their homes. This Belacevac area was a
11 classic case in point.
12 Q. The report mentions the VJ involvement in the re-taking of the
13 mine. Were you aware that the VJ had been deployed to Belacevac of this?
14 A. Yes, I think we were. The Belacevac mine is one of the key
15 Serbian work forces in the area, and therefore a prestigious target that
16 they wished to regain, if you will, their rightful control of. I mean, it
17 was not an Albanian thing; it was a Serbian-based industry. So they were
18 really reclaiming what they rightfully thought as their own.
19 Q. Now, the final sentence talks about the Belgrade press speculating
20 about the beginning of a Serb counter-offensive at this time.
21 What is that referring to?
22 A. I think, with respect, I think it's exactly what it says. There
23 was a lot of speculation going on between foreign journalists who were
24 starting to come into the area because it was starting to get an exciting
25 area to be in, and the Belgrade press was always keen to tubthump that
1 they were about to sort out the Albanian problem in Kosovo. And I think
2 these reports were delivered as a way of I suppose maintaining Serbian
3 morale as much as anything else. But at this point in time, the situation
4 was slightly stalemated.
5 Q. Stalemated between whom?
6 A. Between the KLA and the Serbian forces for, you know, reasons I've
7 already mentioned that Serbian forces were moving their troops in and out
8 and therefore were not in a position to mount -- I think a
9 counter-offensive is slightly strong language to be -- this is building up
10 something that wasn't really quite there at this particular time.
11 Q. Paragraph 7.
12 "There have been no reports on the situation in Kijevo. Clashes
13 in and around Djakovica and Decani seem to have continued, although at a
14 lower intensity than on previous days. The Media Centre claim four Serbs
15 were kidnapped from a bus between Prizren and Stimlje, bringing the total
16 of Serbs kidnapped since the beginning of March to 40. (Comment: The
17 fear of kidnapping is taking its toll on Serbs who are beginning to avoid
18 travel around Kosovo). Serb sources also claim that there have been two
19 further attacks on factories in Kosovska Mitrovica, where there are heavy
20 Serb populations. (Comment: The aim seems to have been to intimidate
21 Serbian workers into staying away, rather than to destroy the buildings)."
22 Now, the clashes around Djakovica and Decani, is that essentially
23 what you've previously referred to, the ongoing problems at the border
25 A. Yes, Your Honour. This is a continuation of the problem that's
1 been going on there now for nearly two months and indicative of the -- one
2 of the key areas that both sides were striving to maintain their own
3 majority in.
4 Q. Now, the reports of kidnappings since the beginning of March now
5 totalling 40, what comments do you have about that?
6 A. Well, it was an ongoing phenomena that in order to increase the
7 fear in Serbs, they were being kidnapped on a relatively regular basis. I
8 mean, it was difficult to travel around the area of Kosovo because of the
9 heavy engagement of military forces of all shapes and sizes from both
11 Q. Were you aware of these attacks at the factories of Kosovska
13 A. Yes, we were. And if anyone's seen those factories in Mitrovica,
14 you wouldn't want to work in them anyway. So if it was made more
15 unpleasant, they would leave. It's a particularly nasty area. It is also
16 in the area where in Zvecan that Arkan's paramilitaries were based. And
17 So it was an attempt again -- Mitrovica was a -- is a joint Serbian and
18 Albanian town, and therefore again it was an attempt to undermine the very
19 limited Serbian industry that is in this area.
20 Q. We could now not move on to the next document, but I'd like you to
21 direct your mind and rely on your memory for a moment. You recall on the
22 1st of July of 1998 you went to Malisevo. Do you recall that event?
23 A. Yes, yes, I do. Yes. Sorry, I didn't --
24 Q. Why did you go to Malisevo on the 1st of July?
25 A. Because I had had various indications that this was actually the
1 major headquarters of the Kosovo Liberation Army, and therefore I decided
2 to go and investigate and see whether this -- these reports were true.
3 Q. Can you just point -- I know you've probably pointed to it about a
4 hundred times to Malisevo, but if you can just --
5 A. We came through Orahovac and there was a Vojska Jugoslavije
6 position on the north edge of Orahovac, and then past that and literally
7 on the next bend was a KLA checkpoint which then -- we were then led under
8 armed guard into Malisevo where there were about 150 to 200 personnel in
9 various forms of uniform, quite heavily armed. There were defensive
10 positions of a very linear and simple instruction all the way from
11 Orahovac north into Malisevo. And in the major crossroads in Malisevo,
12 the KLA headquarters to which I was escorted was just above and to the
13 north in a black and white house.
14 Q. Can you -- you said -- how many personnel did you say that you saw
16 A. Approximately 150 to 200 personnel.
17 Q. How were they armed?
18 A. Mainly light pistols and carbines and rifles.
19 Q. What did you see in the headquarters?
20 A. Within the headquarters, there was at least one radio set,
21 indicating that there were an ability to community. I'm not a signals
22 expert, but I would suspect -- I suspected it was capable of communicating
23 outside of Kosovo itself.
24 Q. Did it look like a military headquarters to you?
25 A. Well, it was very similar to all the other headquarters that we'd
1 been to. There was slightly more formality within this area, and slightly
2 more, and a more so soldierly-like way of behaving.
3 Q. Did anybody appear to be in charge? Was there a commander?
4 A. Yes, there was a person in charge. I was not totally -- I think
5 Krasniqi was there at one stage, and I'm not exactly certain who was the
6 other person.
7 Q. You say a man called Krasniqi was there. Who was that?
8 A. At that time I think he was actually their finance person. And he
9 added a modicum of sense to the meeting that was getting quite heated at
10 one stage with them thinking of trying to abduct us, which I indicated was
11 not -- I don't speak Albanian; I speak Serbian and German. So we were
12 speaking in German, and I suggested this was not a good act to do.
13 Q. So the KLA in Malisevo threatened to abduct you and your party?
14 A. They did, yes.
15 Q. What did you say to them when they threatened to do this to you?
16 A. I said that as the defence attache to Yugoslavia, I was entitled
17 to travel wherever I was allowed to. They disputed that, saying this was
18 not a part of Yugoslavia, this was now a part of Albania under their
19 command, to which I disagreed.
20 Q. How long were you held there for?
21 A. We were held for about an hour and a half to two hours.
22 Q. Now, you say that there was an individual who appeared to be --
23 there was a person in charge. Why did you think this person was in
25 A. Because as I've said, he put on or he controlled what was getting
1 a rather heated discussion as what they were going to do with myself and
2 my party and added a bit of sense to what was otherwise becoming a rather
3 pointless argument as to who was in control of which part and which part
4 of the country we were currently in.
5 Q. Do you have any recollection of what he was called, the commander?
6 A. The name Celiku has come up. I'm not completely convinced if that
7 was him or not, and it would be difficult for me to say under oath whether
8 that was the exact name or not. I don't know.
9 Q. The commander, this individual who you saw at Malisevo, did you
10 have any idea of what area this individual commanded around Malisevo?
11 A. We knew from other intelligence that this area was potentially at
12 that moment the major headquarters, because it was close to their radio
13 transmitter from which they used to do propaganda, and therefore
14 potentially was a major headquarters for the KLA at that particular time
15 in their offensive in Kosovo.
16 Q. Can you give any boundaries that you were aware of for this area
17 of command out of Malisevo, the villages essentially that were under the
18 control of that headquarters. Do you have any recollection of that?
19 A. I know -- I suspected their control went north to the main
20 Lapusnik-Pec-Pristina road, but I think it was a -- more a controlling
21 headquarters or an attempt at a controlling headquarters to link the
22 Drenica, Jablanica, and the western area together with this area of
23 Malisevo and then going south to a village called Sedlare which was
24 another headquarters down to Crnoljevo.
25 Q. So could you just indicate on the map for us the boundaries of
1 that command area as you understood them at the time.
2 A. I suspect, as I said, it went up to Lapusnik on this main road
3 between Pristina and Pec and then also communicated with the village of
4 Sedlare and Crnoljevo as well as moving back to Vojcnak up in the Drenica
5 to Klina and then back on the corridor that I've talked about into back to
6 Junik and over the border into Albania.
7 Q. What do you base those conclusions on?
8 A. On the fact that I visited all these other headquarters and on
9 making a professional judgement as a soldier who's dealt with many
10 counter-insurgency operations, that there needed to be some sort of
11 command and control if the KLA was to be a composite and corporate
12 tactical unit.
13 MR. CAYLEY: Your Honour, if you wish, it's actually a good time
14 to finish if that's convenient for you.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
16 We will now adjourn for this evening. If I could ask you to
17 return tomorrow to continue your evidence. We resume at 9.00 in the
18 morning. We will now adjourn.
19 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.58 p.m.,
20 to be reconvened on Friday, the 13th day of
21 January, 2005, at 9.00 a.m.