1 Monday, 17 January 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 4.04 p.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Nicholls, good afternoon.
6 MR. NICHOLLS: Good afternoon, Your Honours.
7 JUDGE PARKER: As parties know, we have unfortunately a late
8 start today because the courtroom was not available at our normal time.
9 Are you ready with the next witness?
10 MR. NICHOLLS: We are, Your Honour. I believe he's available
12 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. Well then, if he could be called.
13 Thank you.
14 [The witness entered court]
15 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon.
16 THE WITNESS: [No interpretation]
17 JUDGE PARKER: If you would be kind enough to read aloud the
18 affirmation on the card which is now offered to you.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
20 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. If you would be seated.
22 Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 WITNESS: SYLEJMAN SELIMI
25 [Witness answered through interpreter]
1 Examined by Mr. Nicholls:
2 Q. Good afternoon, General.
3 A. Good afternoon.
4 Q. Could you please state your full name for the record.
5 A. My name is Sylejman Selimi. I am a major general in the
6 protection corps.
7 Q. Could you tell us your date of birth, please.
8 A. I was born on the 25th of September, 1970.
9 Q. And where were you born?
10 A. I was born in the village Acareva in the Srbica municipality.
11 Q. Now, you have met with investigators for the Office of the
12 Prosecutor before coming here to testify. Isn't that right?
13 A. Yes, it is right. It's correct.
14 Q. And you were issued a Prosecutor's summons requiring you to
15 attend those meetings?
16 A. Yes, it is true. I've had a summons to come here.
17 Q. But I'm speaking about the meetings you had earlier with
18 investigators. You were summonsed to those meetings. Is that right?
19 A. Yes, it is true.
20 Q. And in those meetings with the Office of the Prosecutor, were you
21 entirely truthful to the best of your ability?
22 A. I've tried to say the truth.
23 Q. Thank you. And you've also met previously with representatives
24 of the Defence. Is that right?
25 A. Yes, I've met them. I had contacts with the representatives of
1 the Defence.
2 Q. And as you said, you were served a subpoena issued by this
3 Honourable Trial Chamber ordering you to appear and testify here today.
4 Is that right?
5 A. Yes, that's true.
6 Q. I'd like to first ask you a few questions about your personal
7 background. Are you married?
8 MR. KHAN: Well, Your Honour, I do apologise for interjecting. I
9 thought it appropriate at this juncture to raise that this is the first
10 time that we or the Defence have heard that a witness summons has been
11 issued. We're not aware of any application to this Court for a witness
12 summons, nor have we seen any decision from this Court for a witness
13 summons. So it is somewhat surprising if that is the case that it hasn't
14 been served on the Defence prior to the witness giving evidence.
15 JUDGE PARKER: I could simply comment that in the practice of the
16 Tribunal, witness summonses are usually ex parte and are dealt with
17 confidentially to the party seeking them. That has been the practice
18 followed in this case, as far as I am aware.
19 MR. KHAN: Well, Your Honour, I'm glad to have that
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you. They may be sought on notice, but that
22 is almost unknown in my experience.
23 MR. KHAN: Well, Your Honour, I am aware of various cases before
24 this Tribunal in which witness summonses have been requested on notice.
25 There were several, for example, in the Celibici case. There are others
1 that come to mind. Of course it doesn't appear to have been a matter of
2 huge confidentiality, as particularly there had been previous contact
3 between the Defence and the witness and indeed the Defence and the
4 Prosecution, and the witness said he wanted to be a Defence witness. We
5 had been very candid with the Prosecution. So it somewhat surprising
6 that without notice option had recourse to, when it doesn't appear to
7 have been strictly necessary. Your Honour, that's the only comment I
8 wish to make at this juncture.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Khan.
10 Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
11 MR. NICHOLLS:
12 Q. General, I was asking if you are married.
13 A. Yes, I'm married. But I just --
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have a question if
15 I'm allowed to ask a question here.
16 JUDGE PARKER: If you're wanting to put a question to the
17 Chamber, yes.
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, I'd like to put a question to
19 the Chamber if I'm allowed to do so.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] As you know, I've been invited with
22 a summons as it was explained here, however I'm here in the quality of a
23 witness. Am I here in the quality as an eyewitness, as it has been
24 spoken, which -- to talk about the prison camp of Lapusnik? Or I'm a
25 witness in the process of Lapusnik, or I'm here as a witness in the trial
1 of the UCK? This is my question. Thank you.
2 JUDGE PARKER: You're here as a witness. You will be asked
3 questions about matters which either the prosecuting or the defence
4 counsel think are relevant to their -- to this case. You are not
5 categorised in the categories that you posed in your question. You are
6 simply a witness, and it is expected that you will seek to answer any
7 question put to you either by prosecuting or defence counsel as
8 accurately as you can, and truthfully.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you, very much.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
12 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
13 Q. Yes, General, just please try to answer my questions to the best
14 of your ability, to the best of your memory, to the best of your
16 I understand that you're married and that you have children. Is
17 that right?
18 A. Yes, I'm married and I have one daughter and one son.
19 Q. Would you tell the Chamber, please, about your educational
20 background, how far you went in school, whether you had any higher
21 education after high school.
22 A. After finishing the high school in [inaudible] in Klina, then I
23 graduated from the metallurgical faculty in Mitrovica.
24 Q. And after high school did you perform any military service?
25 A. After completing my military service -- sorry, after completing
1 my high school, I joined the military service of former Yugoslavia.
2 Q. And what year was that? How long were you in the service at that
4 A. The service, the military service was obligatory, and it was one
5 year service. After finishing -- right after finishing the high school,
6 then I joined the military service of former Yugoslavia in Montenegro,
7 mainly in Trovrh or Tivar [phoen] as it is known in Albanian, and I
8 completed it in 1999.
9 Q. You've told us the town you were born in. Have you spent most of
10 your life in that town, in that area?
11 A. Yes, I've spent most of my life there and I live there as well
13 Q. At any point did you spend any time living abroad?
14 A. No, I've not lived abroad, but I've travelled quite often abroad
15 because my father worked in Germany and I visited many other countries
16 such as Germany.
17 Q. Can you just -- and we'll move own soon, but tell me what period
18 you were in Germany and what you did while you were in Germany.
19 A. Very often I have joined my father, to visit my father there
20 because he was a worker there in Germany. And for some time I played
21 with a club there because I'm a sportsman, and I played with a club Vidan
22 Pes [phoen]. It is with the third league in Germany. This has been a
23 very short period of time.
24 Q. And when did you return from Germany to your village?
25 A. I returned in 1991.
1 Q. Why was that?
2 A. I just went there temporarily. I didn't go there to stay there.
3 Q. All right. Now, I'd like to briefly go over your military career
4 from your first involvement up until your present position as major
5 general. Let's start with January in 1997. Did you join any military or
6 any military organisation at that time?
7 A. Yes, I joined the military organisation -- even before 1997 I was
8 in the military group of Adem Jashari. As you know, the war was
9 unavoidable and I would not like to repeat the events that occurred up to
10 the period, eviction of people from work. And I also joined the group of
11 Adem Jashari just right after the event of Prekaz and even later. While
12 in 1997, as you said, I've been a member and even before 1997 of the
13 Kosovo Liberation Army since its foundation. However, the rank and the
14 duty that you have mentioned earlier, I've taken here as a commander of
15 the Drenica operational zone, the first operational zone of Drenica. And
16 this was in May 1998.
17 Q. All right. And what was the next post or command you had after
18 being commander of the Drenica zone, being appointed to that post in May
20 A. After that in 1999, let's say February 1999 -- it is the period
21 of the Rambouillet delegation -- I was elected commander of the General
22 Staff, the UCK general headquarters.
23 Q. And following on, can you just tell us whatever other posts,
24 commands, you may have held.
25 A. At the same time with the interim government -- with the
1 formation of the interim government of Kosovo, I was appointed a
2 commander of the Kosova Protection Corps, as well as I was appointed
3 commander of the guard that was supposed to found this corps. For the
4 time being, I'm a deputy commander of the Kosova Protection Corps and I
5 have the post of major general.
6 Q. Thank you. And to be just a little bit more specific, can you
7 tell the Chamber what period you were commander of the General Staff of
8 the KLA, from when to when.
9 A. I have taken this position as a commander of the General Staff of
10 the KLA from February 1999, from 18th to 20th February, 1999.
11 Q. Now, you started talking about how even before 1997 you were
12 involved with what would become the Kosovo Liberation Army and that war
13 was inevitable. Can you tell us, please, when you first -- in your
14 opinion, when you first became involved in this effort, in this cause?
15 A. I became involved in this effort since the foundation of the KLA,
16 and I consider myself a member since the KLA was founded.
17 Q. And when do you consider that to be?
18 A. This was when the General Staff issued its first communique.
19 Q. And when was that, as you remember?
20 A. This was in 1994, as far as I can remember.
21 Q. You talked earlier about Adem Jashari. Can you tell the Court
22 any involvement, any connection your family had to the Jashari family,
23 Adem Jashari, as early on as you can remember?
24 A. Until the case when the Jashari neighbourhood was surrounded and
25 events occurring in 1992, we've had no family relation with Jashari
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 family. However, in this case with a war that was waged, we went to help
2 Jashari family and we went to its neighbourhood. Also, many villages
3 rendered help to the Jashari family, and my uncle went there to render
4 his help and he was gravely injured during this event. And this has been
5 my -- our connection with the Jashari group, our relation with the
6 Jashari group -- or better to say, with the group of the Jashari family.
7 Q. And just to be clear for the record, where is -- which town,
8 which village, did this event, this battle you're talking about in 1992,
9 take place? Where did that happen?
10 A. This happened in Prekaz village near the town of Srbica, because
11 Srbica includes also the neighbourhood of the Jashari family.
12 Q. Now, very briefly, can you explain to the Court who Adem Jashari
13 was, what his role was in these events in the early 1990s.
14 A. I might say as much as I know. Adem Jashari -- I have known Adem
15 Jashari even earlier on before I met him personally. And he took part in
16 the demonstrations that occurred at the time -- and sorry, the next
17 question -- can you repeat the next question?
18 Q. I was just asking what your -- who he was, the importance or
19 significance of this man, who his role was, in your view.
20 A. Adem Jashari was the main protagonist and commander, a legendary
21 commander, and general commander of the KLA.
22 Q. Now, you first heard, you said, of the General Staff in a
23 communique in 1994. Can you just tell us from your memory what was the
24 content of that communique, what was the announcement that you remember?
25 A. I cannot remember the communique because there has been several
1 communiques and I cannot remember exactly the content of the first
3 Q. Did you see other communiques from the General Staff after 1994
4 through -- let's say through 1998?
5 A. Yes, there have been several communiques, but maybe I've not seen
6 them all. But there's been lots of communiques that I have seen.
7 Q. And again an overly simple question, but what was the -- why was
8 the General Staff issuing these communiques? What was the purpose?
9 A. I don't know because I haven't been a member of the General
10 Staff. I wasn't honoured to have that post and that duty. I haven't
11 been a member of the General Staff.
12 Q. But you do recall reading these communiques when they were
14 A. Sometimes I have seen those communiques, but I cannot recall
15 their content.
16 Q. Now, when you joined -- tell me what happened to you on January
17 30th, 1997. What did you do that day? You've already spoken about that
18 was when you joined the Kosovo Liberation Army, but what happened on that
19 day of your life?
20 A. On January 30th, 1997, I went out publicly, I joined the group of
21 Adem Jashari because this was an armed group and I joined the group of
22 Prekaz, the group of Adem Jashari, the legendary commander.
23 Q. Now, now at that point who was your direct superior?
24 A. It was Adem Jashari.
25 Q. And what was the procedure when you joined? What did you have to
1 do? Did you have to say anything, sign anything? What was the
3 A. There has been no procedure at all because even earlier I've been
4 a member of Adem Jashari. However, the reason why I joined the group in
5 1997, it was the arrest of my uncle's son. That's why I came out
6 publicly and joined Adem Jashari group with arms. At the same time, I've
7 kept contact with Adem Jashari and his group. However, there hasn't been
8 any special statement or something else to sign because I've known him
9 earlier and we have cooperated even earlier with Adem Jashari.
10 Q. For others joining the KLA at this period, was there any oath
11 that soldiers were required to take?
12 A. Yes, later there has been an oath, and I saw -- and the rule was
13 to take the oath in front of the flag, that they would not break the
14 international law and they will obey the military orders.
15 Q. Now, you say you came out publicly. Once you publicly identified
16 yourself with Jashari and joined in January 1997, what did that mean for
17 you? What effect, what changes, did that cause in your life, where you
19 A. We started to get organised in a better way because our movement
20 was limited. The oppression of the Milosevic regime was very high. They
21 were evicting people, they were arresting people. And they were
22 maltreating the population and the civilians. And so it changed my life
23 a bit because I got the uniform of the KLA and we had a pure
25 Q. All right. Now, where were you stationed?
1 A. We were stationed in Prekaz in Adem Jashari. However, with -- as
2 I came out publicly, myself, I stayed in my village.
3 Q. And why was that? Did anybody -- was there any reason why you
4 were stationed in your village, your home town?
5 A. The reason was simple, because I had many friends around me, some
6 people who were armed, and the reason that it was not reasonable to stay
7 in Prekaz any longer because I had my circle and I was trying to have
8 people who were credible and people whom I trusted, in order because we
9 wanted to expand the war and to expand it in several circles.
10 Q. Can you explain what you mean by you wanted to expand the war in
11 several circles.
12 A. This is simple because -- not because I wand to expand, but my
13 stance was that I stay at my home in the place where I was born and where
14 I knew people even earlier. And those people were informed about our
16 Q. Now, did you have any command responsibility at this point? Was
17 there anybody who was under -- who you could issue orders to?
18 A. No. At first, no, because Adem Jashari was the commander.
19 Q. All right. Now, during this time was Adem Jashari in contact
20 with the General Staff?
21 A. Yes. It is normal that Adem Jashari had contacts -- contact with
22 the General Staff, and he had contacts that I was not aware of because I
23 was not at the level that I would know about his activity and the General
24 Staff. But it is known that he had contacts not only with the General
25 Staff but also with other countries, as far as I know.
1 Q. And why would he have contact with the General Staff, what was
2 the nature -- what would the General Staff tell him to do or what was the
3 -- what was the reason for these contacts?
4 A. I hope it is a question for the members of the General Staff and
5 not for me.
6 Q. Well, I'm asking you what you know, if you can answer.
7 MR. GUY-SMITH: Well, Your Honour, I would make an observation --
8 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Guy-Smith.
9 MR. GUY-SMITH: The witness indicated that he was unaware what
10 communication if any was occurring between Adem Jashari and the General
11 Staff, because that was not his position in a previous question just
12 asked by Mr. Nicholls.
13 JUDGE PARKER: I think that will clarified in the next answer.
14 You're quite right so far.
15 MR. NICHOLLS:
16 Q. So you can answer the question, General. You've explained the
17 position you've held, but can you tell us from your knowledge, from your
18 involvement in this group, what was the nature of the contact Adem
19 Jashari had with the General Staff? What was the purpose of these
21 A. As I said before, the purpose -- I don't know what the purpose
22 was because I was not present there. However, our duty - and when I say
23 "duty" as being only contacts with Adem and not contacts with the General
24 Staff and the legendary commander Adem Jashari, because he was a
25 commander and had contacts with the general staff and continuous contacts
1 with the staff. I cannot elaborate more on this.
2 Q. All right. Thank you.
3 Now, Adem Jashari was your direct commander. What, if you can
4 tell us, were the parameters of his area of responsibility or his zone of
5 responsibility at this time?
6 A. Adem Jashari was based in Prekaz at his home; however, he had
7 acted in other areas which I don't know. I don't know where were the
8 areas he acted.
9 Q. Well, how many soldiers approximately were under his command at
10 this time?
11 A. What time you're talking about?
12 Q. The time immediately after you joined and became subordinated to
13 him. So we're talking, about let's say February 1998 -- 1997, sorry.
14 A. This was specific in our organisation because if I had known some
15 people, then I cannot know some other people who were soldiers of Adem
16 Jashari. I was -- it was impossible to know every one.
17 Q. Well, I'm not asking if you knew everyone. What I'm asking you
18 is -- let's put it this way: Through 1997 when you were formally
19 subordinated to Adem Jashari, what was your conception or impression of
20 how large a force you were part of?
21 A. As far as I know, I've known some people, probably 10 to 15
22 members. However, the impression has been different because they were
23 organised people. At that time, I have not known more than the people
24 I've mentioned.
25 Q. Again, I'm not asking who you personally know, but how many
1 people you believe were, like you, similarly under the command of Adem
2 Jashari, let's talk about through 1997.
3 A. I'm saying it again because I don't know how many people were
4 under Adem Jashari's command. I can say the number that I've seen with
5 my own eyes.
6 Q. All right. And was there any reason, any strategic reason, why
7 members did not know each other at this time or were not all known to
8 each other?
9 A. This was a strategy that even any of us was imprisoned then he
10 was not allowed to know the other person. I think this was the reason.
11 Q. All right. Now, again let's talk about this early period after
12 you've formally joined and you're under Adem Jashari's command. What was
13 the goal, what was the plan for your area, for the area you were working
14 -- operating in?
15 A. The goal was that if the Serbian forces were continuing to
16 maltreat and imprison people, then we would go to help those people and
17 those families.
18 Q. Now, how long were you under the command of Adem Jashari?
19 A. Until he heroically fell.
20 Q. And can you tell us exactly when that was?
21 A. Fighting occurred on the 5th, 6th, and the 7th of March.
22 Q. 1998?
23 A. Yes, exactly.
24 Q. And just very briefly describe what occurred on those dates.
25 A. At that time, some parts of the Drenica regiment were attacked;
1 however, the main forces were dislocated in the village of Prekaz. And
2 when Prekaz was surrounded heavy fighting took place there. However, on
3 the 5th of March a group of tanks were placed in Jasanica, attacked the
4 nearby villages, the village where I was born, and then later they
5 managed to reach the village of Turiqevc and also other nearby villages,
6 at the time fighting that occurred in Prekaz and Laus Pelas [phoen] and
7 the suburbs. So during that fighting Commander Adem Jashari heroically
8 fell, along with some members of his family and many other civilians who
9 were in the neighbourhood. At that time my position at the time in my
10 village, and when I start to help them they were confronting the Serbian
11 forces who came from Jasanica at the factory and those forces were
12 dislodged at the factory.
13 And I think before coming to the 5th of March there had been a
14 buildup of the Serbian forces in Jasanica in the mushroom factory, but
15 there has been also informants and buildups of Serbian forces, forces
16 with tanks and other ammunition at the factory, and the attack was
17 combined at the same time. The first, Prekaz was attacked and at 6.00 in
18 the morning the force was starting to attacked, coming from municipality
19 of Klina, and precisely, from the village of Jasanica.
20 Q. You referred at the beginning of your answer to the Drenica
21 regiment. What was that?
22 A. I do not understand you. Drenica is where it's based on the map.
23 I do not understand your question.
24 Q. You said some parts of the Drenica regiment was attacked. I'm
25 asking you to explain if you can where was the Drenica regiment, what
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 does that refer to, which regiment was that and what is its area of
3 A. I said that -- even earlier that Prekaz was attacked along with
4 the nearby villages. So Prekaz was attacked. Mainly the goal was to
5 attack Adem Jashari, the legendary commander. The nearby villages were
6 also attacked, and I said at the same time nearby villages around Junik
7 and Drenica, or Belince, Jasarev, Turiqevc, Vunik [phoen], this has been
8 the period when these events happened on the 5th of March.
9 Q. Thank you.
10 I'd like to show you now, Witness, a map. This is from P1, map
11 number 5.
12 Now, can you just show me -- I don't think it's marked on here
13 approximately where your home town Acareva where you described you were
14 born, you lived, and where you were based.
15 A. As from what I see, this is not a complete map, it doesn't mark
16 all the places. If you can zoom it in, please. The part where Klina is,
17 it doesn't show any of the villages, Orahovac. And even the existing
18 ones are not easy to distinguish.
19 Q. Can you just show us approximately where your town was. I'll try
20 to find you a better one; this one is difficult for you. Let me give
21 you --
22 A. Just a second, sir. I want to explain something. You can see
23 Klina town here, and the road Klina-Skenderaj-Srbica. I don't see
24 Skenderaj here in this map, actually. I cannot see it here. There is no
25 Skenderaj town in this map. I can of course explain to you the roads
1 from Klina. In the middle of this road -- my village is situated in the
2 middle of this road. It's called Turiqevc, from Turiqevc. No, from my
3 village, Turiqevc is in the middle. From Turiqevc to my village it's 5
4 kilometres and a half. And this off-side road, Klina-Skenderaj road in
5 the middle of Klina and Skenderaj is Acareva, my native village.
6 Q. Well, we'll do that again. I'll get a better map with more
7 markings on it.
8 A. That would be a good idea as I said, because this is an
9 incomplete map.
10 Q. You've described events after 5th of March, 1998. Tell me, what
11 was the effect on the KLA and the numbers of volunteers for the KLA?
12 A. It had a great impact because the heroic fall of the legendary
13 commander and part of his family had a very large impact on the domestic
14 opinion in Kosovo and outside Kosovo, because there were many compatriots
15 living outside Kosovo. Many of them expressed their wish to join the
16 Kosovo Liberation Army after that.
17 Q. And you've said many compatriots living outside Kosovo expressed
18 their wish to join. What did they do? Did they in fact join?
19 A. The Kosovo Liberation Army developed in stages. Up to 5th of
20 March for many people it was not known. But after the heroic fall of
21 Adem Jashari, it became -- it Kosovo Liberation Army drew the attention
22 of many compatriots who wanted to join it or subscribe to it. And the
23 number rose greatly.
24 Q. After March 1998, what was your position, what was your next
25 command position?
1 A. At this period, I -- as I said, I was a soldier of Adem Jashari.
2 With my return to my native village we set up together with some other
3 friends, we set up the Shkoza unit. There were other units in various
5 Q. Which were these other units in various places? Can you tell us
6 the ones you remember and where they were.
7 A. As far as I remember, and I do remember well, there was the
8 Shkoza 1 and 2 units that communicated with me; there was Sandokan in the
9 other place; there were other points like Alpha 1, Alpha 2, led Muje
10 Krasniqi; and some other points or units with different numbers. But
11 each of them, after the fall of the legendary commander, they became
12 independent of each other.
13 Q. Now, who had overall command responsibility for the different
14 units or points which you've discussed after Adem Jashari's -- the attack
15 on his compound?
16 A. There was no commander as yet. They still were existing as
17 individual units. But we were seeking to organise ourselves, but we
18 still remained, as I said, separate because his death was -- inflicted a
19 heavy blow to the Kosovo Liberation Army. So we're still without a
21 Q. Now, in other regions you've spoken about Adem Jashari and his
22 contacts with the General Staff. What other -- what was -- if you can
23 tell us, what was the plan in other regions in Kosovo at this time? Not
24 the immediate region which Adem Jashari has commanded, but in other
25 regions as well.
1 A. I know nothing about other regions because, as I said, I was -- I
2 didn't have any high-ranking positions, so I didn't have information
3 about other places. But that organisation did exist, in fact.
4 Q. Yes. And I'm not speaking about your personal knowledge of
5 detailed operations in other regions. What I'm trying to get at is that
6 the KLA growth you've described and the KLA process, this acceleration
7 after Adem Jashari's death, was that confined to just the Drenica region?
8 A. The Drenica zone was a specific one because that was as a
9 stronghold I would say of the Kosovo Liberation Army became public since
10 1992, and it had a very -- better organisation. The number of soldiers
11 was greater compared to other regions. People often came to Drenica
12 because they didn't find a better organisation in their own respective
14 Q. Thank you. Can you name for us some of the other regions, some
15 of the other zones, which you've described as being less well-organised,
16 less advanced.
17 A. In the period I'm talking about, I mean 1998, after the fall of
18 Adem, legendary commander Adem Jashari, that is what you mean?
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. I don't know how well-organised the other regions were, but I can
21 speak about the organisation of my zone.
22 Q. Just what were the names of the other regions?
23 A. At this time the other zones were not well-organised.
24 Q. These other zones which were not well-organised, can you tell me
25 what the names of some of those zones were?
1 A. After 5, 6, 7 March, it is a time of re-organisation,
2 mobilisation, of the army. Up to -- this went on for some months, a time
3 when other regions began to be organised. But how well organised they
4 were, I cannot tell you.
5 Q. Through 1998, as these other regions are becoming organised - I'm
6 not asking you how well-organised they were at this point - I'm just
7 asking you to name what those other regions were. If you can tell me
8 perhaps which other regions bordered the Drenica region.
9 A. 1998 is a long period, but this was the time when other zones
10 began to be organised as in Drenica. The Drenica zone I explained to you
11 was more organised. But the bordering zones, Pastrik and Dukagjini and
12 Shales were other zones. But Drenica is in the middle of Kosovo and
13 maybe we border some part of Llap zone as well.
14 Q. All right. Thank you.
15 You talked about -- you started explaining this was a year, 1998,
16 when the organisation developed, when it was it was re-organised and that
17 recruits were coming in, it was growing. You also talked about points or
18 units. What did these points or units evolve into? Did the terminology
19 change at all?
20 A. Yes, of course they did. Because, as I said, there were
21 different units operating in the Drenica operational zone. And when
22 something happened, the other units would ask for succour the other units
23 [as interpreted]. So often we went to the rescue of one another. At
24 this period, that is up to the end of May 1998, these were the units
25 operating in that area.
1 At the end of May, it was deemed appropriate to join. And after
2 the fall of a legendary commander, as I said, we didn't as yet have a
3 commander after his death. So the need arose for us to unite and for
4 someone to resume responsibility and for the transformation of these
5 units at a later phase into brigades. And then I was one who resumed the
6 responsibility at the end of May 1998.
7 Q. And at the end of May 1998 when you resumed this responsibility,
8 what was your title at that point?
9 A. When the units met or the points, as we called them, operating in
10 the Drenica area, when we united, the responsible persons of all these
11 units in the presence of a member of the General Staff, we discussed who
12 is going to take on the main burden for the organisation of the warfare
13 in Drenica. So after that, this meeting in the presence of a member from
14 the General Staff, they proposed me to become a zone commander. The
15 request was sent to the General Staff, and the General Staff approved the
16 request presented to them for me to become the commander of the 1st
17 Operational Zone.
18 Q. And I know this was some time ago, but can you give me your best
19 recollection of when this meeting took place and when you were appointed
20 commander of the 1st Operational Zone?
21 A. The meeting was held at the end of May.
22 Q. Which representative of the General Staff was present?
23 A. The representative was a general inspector Rexhep Selimi, and he
24 took in the opinions of all the responsible persons of the units for me
25 to become the commander.
1 Q. Thank you. Can you just tell me now: Who, to your recollection,
2 were members of the General Staff during 1998? I don't need you to break
3 it down by month or anything like that, but who was a member during 1998
4 and what their titles or functions were.
5 A. I knew some of the members. I cannot tell you the exact number
6 of the General Staff. I knew some of them who introduced themselves as
7 such - Hashim Thaqi, Rexhep Selimi, Imres Kukrec [phoen], Sekurba
8 Shoto [phoen] - with who I've had contacts during this period. There
9 were, however, other members who I didn't know at that time.
10 Q. And during this period, talking about now from May 1998 through
11 the end of 1998, where was the General Staff physically located? Where
12 did they meet, the members of the General Staff?
13 A. The members of the General Staff -- this is a good question if
14 you ask me about them. If you ask me about myself, I was in Likovc.
15 Because the members of the General Staff used to move to be on the run.
16 Often they held meetings where there was a need arose for such meetings.
17 There was not a place for such meetings.
18 Q. I understand. And can you tell me some of the places these
19 meetings would have been held in 1998, if you remember when meetings were
20 held at different places.
21 A. I'm telling you, when some of them met in Drenica operational
22 zone, I can tell you; but when they held meetings in other places, I
23 cannot tell you because I was not present so I don't know. They know
24 where they held the meetings.
25 Q. How often were meetings held in the Drenica zone?
1 A. The meetings were frequent I had with the brigade commanders. We
2 had consultations first with the commanders of the points about how we
3 were going to organise and form brigades. Sometimes these meetings were
4 daily meetings, as often as we could when we were not fighting.
5 Q. And can you just give me, please -- give the court a time frame
6 during these meetings you're talking about, these frequent meetings.
7 A. After I was appointed zone commander, as I said, I had frequent
8 meetings. I cannot tell you accurate figures. As I said, sometimes
9 these meetings were held on a daily basis when we had time. It often
10 happened that we didn't have meetings because of the fighting that went
12 Q. I understand. And an additional -- in addition to meetings, did
13 you communicate with members of the General Staff in any other way, by
14 radio, telephone, courier, any other method?
15 A. At a later phase, we communicated through telephone or through
16 radio or direct contacts.
17 Q. As a zone commander, was it important or necessary for you to
18 know what was going on in the zones which bordered your zone?
19 A. It was important, but not very important for me personally. For
20 me personally, it was important how to keep -- to help the population in
21 the zone and to fight the Serbian forces that attacked us.
22 Q. And how would you find out when you were needed militarily in
23 neighbouring zones? How was that information conveyed to you?
24 A. Often we tried to communicate through radio. Sometimes that has
25 worked, sometimes not. There was a higher point through which we tried
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 to communicate in Gasmaq -- that was the name of a place and through
2 Buguri [phoen].
3 Q. Now, between you as zone commander and the General Staff, was
4 there any intermediate layer or level of command?
5 A. No, there was not.
6 Q. You've talked about points and units, and I asked you about this
7 before, but let me just complete this. Can you describe to the Trial
8 Chamber exactly what a point was, whether it was described just a unit or
9 soldiers or a place or -- exactly what a point meant militarily in 1998.
10 A. Until the time I became commander, they were called firing point.
11 THE INTERPRETER: Word for word.
12 THE WITNESS: It consisted of a group of people operating in a
13 certain area who had a certain code. With some people I used to serve in
14 the Shkoza point, as I said earlier. Sometimes a number of the soldiers
15 had a larger number; sometimes less soldiers. They might have the number
16 of a platoon sometimes, sometimes less. The essence of the meaning is a
17 group of soldiers who have a venue and they are deployed there and they
18 have a code by which they are recognised.
19 Q. All right. So just to be very clear, it's a group of soldiers
20 and it's also a geographic location?
21 A. Yes, you might say so.
22 Q. Now, can you tell me, please, as best you can - let's start in
23 May 1998 onwards, May, June, July - how many men were under your command.
24 A. The number kept increasing. When I am talking about May, the
25 time I became zone commander, I had some, around -- after these points
1 joined into brigades later, I had around 2 to 300 men, soldiers. But
2 every day or every month, the number increased. And when we come at the
3 end of 1998, I might speak of thousands.
4 Q. Again, I admit this is a rather broad question, but in your
5 conception generally, what are your duties as commander? What are your
6 most important duties as the zone commander?
7 A. When I became zone commander, I started immediately to rally
8 these points situated in various places and I started to form the
9 brigades. Initially the number was not an adequate number in terms of
10 brigades, but knowing that people were interested to join the army, I
11 started to establish the brigades in this territory, that is Drenica. I
12 set myself the task of forming the brigades and I started with Brigade
13 111, 112, 113, and 114.
14 Q. And just briefly, can you tell me who the commanders -- who you
15 appointed to command those brigades.
16 A. Yes. After the units merged, those points, as I said, in each
17 territory and area, I, as I said, started to form brigades. Initially it
18 was 111. Jahir Djamllaku was the commander of that brigade. He operated
19 in the area I used to work -- to fight, in Likovc.
20 Brigade 112 was formed in the territory of point of Sandokan and
21 covered an area of -- I might show it on the map if you had a map. It
22 covered a territory from Runik [phoen], Skenderaj-Turiqevc, near Klina.
23 Abedin Rexha was the commander.
24 In Brigade 113 the commander was Muja Krasniqi. That brigade
25 operated in the territory where I was -- had the staff of the operational
1 zone. And there was part of special unit covering territory from
2 Komorane, the asphalt road, Trenaz [phoen], Skenderaj, Klina, in the
3 vicinity of Klina, up to Kiev. That was a territory covered by brigade
4 113, led my Muje Krasniqi.
5 Brigade 114 has as the commander Fehmi Lladroci and it covered
6 the territory of Drinovc [phoen], the asphalt road up to Skenderaj, the
7 asphalt road up to Shipole [phoen] or in the vicinity of Shipole, and the
8 line called -- near Cicavice, bordering the villages around Mitrovica up
9 to Drinovc. That was the responsibility of Brigade 114, with commander
10 Fehmi Lladroci.
11 Q. Thank you. And which is the asphalt road you've been referring
12 to? Which road is that?
13 A. By asphalt road I mean Drenica-Skenderaj asphalt road. When I
14 talk about asphalt road, I mean this. Skenderaj-Klina also is part of
15 the line that divided the brigades. If you have a map, I could very well
16 explain to you -- if you have a map of Drenica a little bit enlarged.
17 Q. I will bring you an enlarged map after the break and you can show
18 me these areas. Now, when you issued orders to these brigade commanders
19 or to your point commanders, how were those issued? Were those issued in
20 writing or orally or both? Can you describe how you would issue orders.
21 A. Often we gave orders in the decision when the commander was
22 appointed. But because this was a time of re-organisation of the
23 brigades, as I said, all -- it was the duty of all commanders to form
24 brigades out of the units divided into platoons and companies and so on.
25 Q. I understand that, but I'm asking now generally. Did you issue
1 orders in writing or just by speaking over the radio or in person to your
3 A. It depends on the time we are talking about. When we are
4 fighting -- there was fighting, it was impossible to send the order in
5 writing. Often I gave it through the radio or orally when we met them,
6 sometimes also in writing. All forms of communications were used by us.
7 Q. Is there any difference between a written order or a spoken order
8 for the commander?
9 A. I don't know.
10 Q. Well, what I mean is if you tell a commander, this is an order,
11 speaking to him, or if you give him an order in writing, is there any
12 difference in his duty to carry out that order? If you were speaking to
13 a subordinate commander and giving him an order.
14 A. Every time I have given an oral order, I have made sure I send it
15 also in a written form, when it was a matter of an operational order.
16 Q. And when -- again though, when the commander receives that oral
17 order, he is just as bound to carry out that order whether it is in
18 writing or oral. Is that right?
19 A. We used to inform the commanders beforehand, but the decision is
20 made in writing.
21 Q. And when you informed a subordinate commander, issued an order to
22 him, what would you do to ensure that those orders were carried out?
23 A. It depends if the commander was in a position to carry out the
24 order, because often we couldn't communicate when there was fighting
25 going on. I said that the operational zone had a specific character. We
1 were always under attack, either on one side or the other side. So often
2 the orders were not carried out, some of the orders.
3 Q. And are you saying that's because due to fighting conditions it
4 was impossible for the order to be carried out? I just want to be clear
5 that I understand your answer.
6 A. Yes, yes.
7 Q. I'd like to show you a document now. This is U000-7684 behind
8 tab 7 in the binder I'm giving you. Now, if you look at the photocopy of
9 the original in your language - I apologise, the type is quite small -
10 I'm interested in the one on the left side of the page, that's the one
11 which is order number 3698, dated 31st of July, 1998, Likovac. I'll give
12 you a moment to look at that document.
13 A. Yes, I can see that.
14 Q. Do you recognise that document?
15 A. Yes, I recognise it. It's signed by me.
16 Q. Now, this is a ban on gathering of people in endangered places.
17 It's to unit commanders. Now, we don't have much time before the break,
18 but could you just tell us why you -- the order is fairly self-evident,
19 but why did you issue this order at this time in July?
20 A. It is very obvious. It was because in public places like schools
21 or mosques or churches, they were -- all of them were identified as
22 objects in military maps. And often the Serb forces attacked precisely
23 these sites. This was a reason why I issued the order for the civilian
24 population not to rally in these places for fear of some attacks,
25 shelling, by the Serb forces. Because often the Serb forces attacked
1 without discrimination and often where there were greatest rallies of
2 civilians. That is the reason why I issued the order.
3 Q. And if you look at point 4 on the order it states: "We refer to
4 commanders of units and hold them responsible for the enforcement of this
6 Is that what it says on the original in your language?
7 A. Yes. It is addressed to the unit commanders because when we gave
8 the tasks to the brigade commanders to form the brigade, they continued
9 to operate as units because they didn't have sufficient time to organise
10 properly battalions and they still were referred to as units at this
11 period of time. This was the reason why.
12 Q. All right. Now, if a unit commander you found out had not acted
13 on this order, had not enforced it, as demanded by the order, can you
14 tell me what mechanisms were available to you to deal with that
15 subordinate? What would you have done?
16 A. Everybody was interested to protect the population, and that was
17 the crux of the order, actually, to protect the population in places
18 where they were more endangered. So there was no need for them not to
19 carry out that order.
20 Q. I understand that. However, if you had found that if one of your
21 subordinates had not carried out this order or another order like this,
22 what would you have done to remedy that situation?
23 A. I don't know. I would say that opportunity didn't arise. None
24 of them opposed the order, actually.
25 Q. What I'm getting at is: When you had a subordinate what was the
1 mechanism within your command at this time if somebody did not obey an
2 order? Suppose a soldier deserted his post. What would happen to that
4 A. Until that time, nothing could happen to him.
5 Q. What do you mean by "until that time"?
6 A. I mean, as I said, the essence of it. If a soldier thought that
7 he didn't want to continue the service or had grounds not to do the
8 service, there was nothing we could do because he came there on a
9 voluntary basis and might leave if he wished. So because this is what he
10 deemed appropriate to do, I mean to stay there in the army, to fight for
11 as long as he wished. There was not any procedure in place to do
12 anything if they wanted to withdraw from the army. They couldn't
13 withstand the conditions there.
14 MR. NICHOLLS: I don't know if we're taking the break now, Your
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, if that's a convenient moment. We'll
17 break now for -- until 10 minutes to 6.00 and then resume.
18 --- Break taken at 5.29 p.m.
19 --- On resuming at 5.52 p.m.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
21 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you.
22 Q. At some point there were formal military police units set up in
23 the KLA. Let's talk now about in your zone.
24 A. Yes, that's correct.
25 Q. When was that?
1 A. After my nomination as a commander, I had the responsibility to
2 form the brigades, and after they were created, the military police and
3 special units. The military police was created after my nomination --
4 well, I started to organise that a month or two months after I was
5 nominated as a commander.
6 Q. And was one of the duties of the military police to ensure that
7 soldiers were behaving properly?
8 A. Yes. The military police had the responsibility to keep an eye
9 on the discipline of the soldiers and also to take care of the wounded.
10 Q. All right. Now, from the beginning when you took command and
11 while you were setting up these military police for these reasons, what
12 actions could you take to discipline soldiers?
13 A. In the beginning, we were in the process of consolidating the
14 brigades. And the military police mostly dealt with -- well, even the
15 military police was in the process of being organised.
16 Q. I understand that. But during this period, in the beginning - I
17 realise there was a lot going on, you were in combat - but if you had
18 soldiers who misbehaved, who were drinking, who were creating other
19 problems, what sanctions would be applied to them?
20 A. Very often we punished them by having them keep guard even
21 outside their guard duties, outside their hours, or we gave them a
22 notification -- a written notification not to behave like that.
23 Q. All right. And do you remember whether people -- soldiers were
24 ever removed due to misbehaviour, stripped of their uniform and weapon
25 and kicked out?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. No, I can't remember any such case.
2 Q. Do you remember -- let me just ask you if you remember talking
3 about discipline in your interview with the Prosecutor, with the
4 representatives of my office?
5 A. No, I can't remember at this moment. If you can remind me.
6 Q. Well, do you remember in your first tape-recorded interview
7 stating that one of the ways to enforce discipline was to take the
8 weapons away from a soldier and his uniform and tell him that he can
9 never be in the KLA again, and that this is most often what happened?
10 A. It is possible. If they misused the gun or the weapon, the
11 weapon was taken away from him. But if they improved, then they could
12 get the weapon back. And we had very few weapons, so many soldiers did
13 not have any weapons at all.
14 Q. Right. And if the soldier did not improve so that he should not
15 be given his weapon back, then what would happen?
16 A. I have never run into such occasions. I have never seen such
18 Q. Well, I understand that you're very proud of your troops and that
19 you think the soldiers in your unit were all good. But are you
20 suggesting that there was never any need to discipline any of your
21 soldiers ever during the summer of 1998?
22 A. I think that's how it was. I don't remember any cases when they
23 needed to be disciplined. Or maybe there were some minor cases that I
24 can't remember now, because it's been wartime.
25 Q. And let me just ask this to be very clear. Do you remember,
1 ever, that a soldier from your unit was told that he could no longer be
2 in the KLA, was removed from his unit?
3 A. I can't remember.
4 Q. Now, in May 1998 -- well, sorry, let me go back to another topic
5 and ask you another question. This is concerning your power as
6 commander, your authority. If a soldier had committed a serious
7 disciplinary offence, something dishonourable for a soldier of the KLA -
8 for instance, assaulting a civilian - what would you have done to
9 discipline that soldier? What was in your power to do?
10 A. Well, give him advice, these were the measures that were taken.
11 Or when the soldiers are in uniform we gave him a warning or took his
12 weapon away. There was nothing else we could do against him.
13 Q. You could certainly take the weapon away, but couldn't you also
14 kick this person out of their unit, remove them from duty?
15 A. If they repeated the mistake, what they did, then they would be
16 told to leave the unit. But it depended also on the commander of the
17 unit, what their opinion was of this soldier and how this soldier behaved
18 in other occasions.
19 Q. And if a soldier had been told to leave the unit, how would that
20 be seen in his home community, if he had to return, being kicked out?
21 MR. GUY-SMITH: Excuse me, Your Honour. I would make one
22 observation that the level of speculation that is now being asked for
23 this witness to engage in is a bit far afield.
24 JUDGE PARKER: From one view you're right, Mr. Guy-Smith; but
25 there's another view that this is a question generally about the view in
1 the community of which this witness was a member. And on that view, I
2 think the question can be allowed.
3 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
4 Q. His Honour is stating that you may answer the question.
5 If a young man joined the KLA and returned to his village because
6 he had been kicked out, how would that be seen in the village? How would
7 the community view that, based on your knowledge, living there, being
8 there during this time, and being a commander in the Kosovo Liberation
10 A. Of course, of course, I was a commander. But I can't remember
11 such cases happening ever, and I don't know how the community viewed them
12 or that thing.
13 Q. Well -- and I'll move on. Do you think that would be viewed as a
14 positive thing, as an achievement for a young man?
15 JUDGE PARKER: I think you're now going too far.
16 MR. NICHOLLS: Okay.
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I said I don't know how it was
18 viewed or communicated to the community, but if you have any concrete
19 examples to put to me ...
20 JUDGE PARKER: I think we're sort of a nil-all draw now, Mr.
22 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, I was planning on taking your advice before
24 Q. Now, sir, let me show you a map. It's from Exhibit P1. Now, it
25 may be -- yes, exactly, if you look to your left it may be clearer.
1 A. I can't see it very well on the monitor, so it's better if I look
3 Q. That's fine. Now, do you see Likovac on that map?
4 A. Yes, I see it.
5 Q. All right. Now, can you tell me where in relation to Likovac -
6 I'm sorry, the town is not marked and named - but where the village you
7 were born and grew up is.
8 A. It's still -- it's only half a map, if I can say so. There are
9 many villages missing from here. It would be on another part of the map,
10 but it's not here. It's not very far from Likovc. It's only 4
11 kilometres from Likovc, probably only 4 kilometres and a half, not more
12 than that.
13 Q. Can you indicate the direction from Likovac it would be 4 and a
14 half kilometres away?
15 A. On the opposite side where you have here Baijice, my village is
16 on the opposite side, not on the side where Baijice and the other
17 villages are. It's on the other side.
18 Q. Now, can you show me on this map - and it may not all be on
19 here - looking at this map, what, if any, area was in your zone of
20 command in May 1998?
21 A. This map shows only a small part of that area. The parts that we
22 can see in this map are those that are bordered by the asphalted road.
23 It's the road to Pristina from Pec -- Peja to Pristina.
24 Q. Now, that Pec-Pristina road that you've identified, which border
25 is that? Which side of that Pec-Pristina road is your zone of command?
1 A. In the Drenica area where the Pristina-Peja road is included. So
2 it -- Drenica is bordered -- Drenica border is -- this road marks that
4 Q. So the Drenica region border is above the road, to the north of
5 the road?
6 MR. TOPOLSKI: Your Honours, as hesitant as I am to stand up and
7 assist the Prosecution, I wonder if map 10, which after all is the
8 General Staff's map of KLA zones as of January 1998 -- 1999 -- 1998, may
9 be of assistance.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Topolski.
11 MR. TOPOLSKI: It might save some time.
12 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you for the suggestion.
13 Q. Looking at the map you have, is that right that the Drenica zone
14 is the zone directly above on this map the Pristina-Pec asphalt highway?
15 A. Yes, that's correct. The Drenica area, as I said, is bordered by
16 this area, Pec-Pristina, the road. And the area where Belikovce [phoen]
17 where the 113 Brigade operated. That was my operational area, including
19 Q. Thank you very much. Now, on the map that you've got before you
20 on the Pristina-Pec road, how much of that was within the responsibility,
21 was the zone of the 113th Brigade? In other words, is it the entire road
22 or part of it? You said including Lapusnik, but how far in either
23 direction from Lapusnik?
24 A. The 113th Brigade commanded by Muje Krasniqi operated from the
25 village of Gllareve up to the Lapusnik gorge, up to Komorane. But the
1 responsibility areas were divided by this asphalted road, and they were
2 up to Likovc, Drenica and the asphalted road of Skenderaj, which is not
3 here in the direction of Klina.
4 Q. Now, if I could, I will follow my friend's suggestion and show
5 you another map. This is map 10 from P1.
6 A. Yes.
7 Q. You see how the different KLA operational subzones are marked on
8 this map?
9 A. Yes, I can see them.
10 Q. Looking at the Drenica zone, is that -- the area mapped out as
11 the Drenica zone, is that roughly accurate, a map on this scale, from May
12 through July 1998?
13 A. Yes, more or less it's clear here, but there are many villages
14 that are not marked here. But more or less, this is the zone, yes.
15 Q. And the other zones on the map, are those also -- for a map of
16 this scale, I know it doesn't have every village marked, the Pastrik
17 zones, is that accurate map of the zones?
18 A. I don't know about the other zones, I couldn't tell you.
19 Q. Okay. The map's accurate, is it not, as you said earlier? The
20 Pastrik zone was the zone bordering the Drenica zone, immediately below,
21 south of the Drenica zone?
22 A. Yes, that's correct.
23 Q. Now, the units of the 113 Brigade --
24 MR. NICHOLLS: We can take the map away.
25 Q. -- which operated in the zone bordering the Pristina-Pec highway
1 on either side of Lapusnik, what were the names of the points or units
2 which made up that zone or which made up that brigade?
3 A. Starting with Alpha, which was -- which existed before the
4 brigade was formed, Alpha, Alphane [phoen], Pellumbi, and Guri, they were
5 stationed in this area. As far as I can remember, there was also Zogu.
6 But these were also the ones.
7 Q. And just to be clear, these units became the 113th Brigade after
8 you had established the brigades?
9 A. Yes. These units and other units that operated in the internal
10 part of the area.
11 Q. Speaking of your zone.
12 Now, which units in May, June, July operated on the other side of
13 the Pristina-Pec highway, which was the zone boundary, on the other side
14 matching the 113th Brigade and the units you've told us about?
15 A. I mentioned it earlier, Guri, Pellumbi, and Alpha. They were
16 close to the asphalted line and they were under the responsibility of the
17 113th Brigade. But there was other units such as Shkoza and Mali and
18 other units that operated in the internal area of the zone. But if you
19 want to know which ones operated closer to the road, these are the ones
20 that I mentioned earlier.
21 Q. And on the other side of the road, which units operated?
22 A. This was a time of organisation and re-organisation. And when I
23 was with these units on the other side there were no formations. There
24 were some units, Celiku -- some units named Celiku, which at that time
25 started becoming organised just like the units in my area. But at that
1 time they were still working independent of each other.
2 Q. The Celiku units were being organised at the same time as you
3 were organising the units on your side of the Pristina-Pec highway
4 border. Is that what you're saying?
5 A. Exact -- I don't know exactly what kind of organisation were the
6 Celiku units undergoing at that period. I explained to you the way my
7 units were organised into a big brigade.
8 Q. Now, on the 9th of May, 1998 - you probably remember that date -
9 what was going on with the 113th Brigade, the Pellumbi units, starting
10 then, in their zone?
11 A. At that time, the Serbian forces started entering the villages
12 from Komorane and the Lapusnik gorge, and other villages around like
13 Krekova [phoen] and other villages. When they started going into these
14 villages we started re-organising and we started participating in
15 fighting in the Lapusnik gorge.
16 Q. This is a famous battle, isn't it?
17 A. Yes, we fought as hard as we could.
18 Q. Not just that you fought as hard as you could, but -- well, do
19 you remember we met very briefly yesterday?
20 A. Yes, I remember it very clearly.
21 Q. And you remember -- we didn't discuss it, but I asked you if you
22 remembered giving an interview. Zeri I think is the name of the --
23 A. Yes, yes. We met up yesterday, yes, with you. And you mentioned
24 the Zeri interview and I have it in front of me now.
25 Q. I gave you a copy of that interview in your language, didn't I?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Yes, and I have it here.
2 Q. Does that article -- you spoke about in that interview the
3 Lapusnik gorge battle of May 1998. Is that right?
4 A. Yes, I mentioned it.
5 Q. I'd like you, if you can, to explain to the Court, similarly as
6 you did in that interview, in your own words, how -- the significance of
7 this battle was for the KLA, why it was important that the Lapusnik gorge
8 battle be won.
9 A. Yes, that is clear. I explained it in the interview. I don't
10 know how clear it is for you, but I can explain it to you now again, that
11 the Lapusnik gorge was a very -- a point of interest for us - I'm
12 speaking about the operational zone of Drenica. We were interested in
13 that because we did not want the Serb forces to enter there with their
14 tanks and other vehicles as they had done before. Our strategy for the
15 area was to have a free corridor and to be able to have this corridor for
16 transporting weapons for the KLA.
17 I said that in the interview, and I'm saying it again, I tried to
18 protect -- to defend this area with all my units. We fought to protect
19 this Lapusnik gorge.
20 Q. And you said that the road would have been used by the KLA then
21 to transport -- to bring weapons in or things like that. Did the Serbs
22 use this road for any purpose before the May 9th battle? What did the --
23 what did the Serb forces use this road for?
24 A. In order to get into the villages with which -- which bordered
25 the Drenica operational area, because often the Serb forces entered these
1 villages. I -- my area of responsibility -- in my area of
2 responsibility, the Serbs tried to infiltrate -- to get into the areas
3 where there was civil population. They know what their purpose was.
4 Q. How long did this battle last, starting on May 9th?
5 A. I don't know. One day, two, until the gorge fell.
6 Q. And when you say "the gorge fell," what exactly do you mean by
8 A. Until the Serb forces entered my area of responsibility.
9 Q. Well, let me go through this step by step with you. The battle
10 is on May 9th. Correct?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. On your side, your zone of responsibility, the units fighting are
13 the 113th Brigade under your command?
14 A. Yes. It was not a consolidated brigade yet; it was not properly
15 formed. It was under the process of organisation. But these were units
16 that were -- that operated in my operational area.
17 Q. Right. The units which would eventually become the 113th?
18 A. Yes, yes.
19 Q. On the other side of the Lapusnik gorge, on the other side of the
20 highway, you said there were the Celiku units.
21 A. Yes, the Celiku units. Yes.
22 Q. These Celiku units, how did they participate in the May 9th
23 battle for the gorge?
24 A. At that time, there were many units, maybe some units named
25 Celiku. I don't know many exactly there were. And I knew Celiku Number
1 1, but as I said there were several Celiku units and they were operating
2 independent of each other. And I don't know the areas where they
4 Q. Where was Celiku 1 located on May 9th? Where was that point?
5 A. I don't know exactly where they were situated. I did not operate
6 in their area, I was in my area of responsibility. But I knew that
7 Celiku Number 1 existed. But would think it could be approximately in
8 Klecka. I'm not sure about that.
9 Q. The units on the other side of the road, the Celiku units, were
10 also in combat on May 9th. Is that right? Part of this battle.
11 A. Yes, exactly, some of them.
12 Q. And what was the number of the brigade that these Celiku units
13 were eventually formed into?
14 A. At that time you could not speak about a brigade, but they were
15 only units, small groups.
16 Q. I understand that. When they became a brigade, what was the
17 brigade number, the name of that brigade, the number of that brigade?
18 A. The Celiku unit, some of them went into the 122nd Brigade, the
19 others 121st Brigade. Maybe in other brigades, but I'm not clear about
20 that, where they joined and how they were divided into brigades. I know
21 that there were Celiku units in the 122nd Brigade.
22 Q. And the 121st?
23 A. Yes, yes. Some of them were also in the 121st Brigade, as far as
24 I know.
25 Q. Now, do you remember in that article stating to the
1 interviewer --
2 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, I think this has ridden long enough, with
3 the greater of respect. My friend has previously, before the break
4 referred to a tape-recorded interview, and he now seeks to refer to an
5 interview with a newspaper. Your Honour, of course this is not a memory
6 test. The witness has been provided with these documents. He has used
7 them as a memory-refreshing document prior to giving evidence today. In
8 my respectful submission, the witness should be asked what he remembers,
9 rather than what he said in a newspaper. Your Honour, it's as basic as
11 JUDGE PARKER: The point is well made, Mr. Nicholls.
12 You seemed about to go to say, Remember something you said in an
14 MR. NICHOLLS: No, Your Honour, I was going to ask him if he
15 remembered a topic and ask if he wanted to -- I was going to try to
16 direct him.
17 JUDGE PARKER: I think you can direct him to a particular topic
18 without going to past interviews, can you not? And then you can seek
19 whatever information you think is relevant about that topic, again
20 without going to past interviews.
21 MR. NICHOLLS:
22 Q. Do you know Fatmir Limaj?
23 A. Yes, I know him quite well.
24 Q. When did you first meet him in person?
25 A. I first met him in person in 1996, but I was not aware he was
1 Fatmir Limaj, and I have explained this earlier. When he came back from
2 the west, I met him and he seemed to me to be a public figure. And then
3 they told me that he was Fatmir Limaj.
4 Q. When you say when you met him when he came back from the west,
5 when is that? When did Fatmir Limaj come back from the West?
6 A. This was after the heroic fall of the legendary commander. It
7 was a period when many people came back from the west, and it was exactly
8 the time when I met Fatmir Limaj as well.
9 Q. All right. Where did you meet him?
10 A. Excuse me, I cannot remember exactly. It might be possible I met
11 him in Likovc or Acareva, in my village.
12 Q. And what was the context of the meeting? Why did you meet him at
13 this time after he came back?
14 A. I met him with some other colleagues who also had come back from
15 the west, and I just met him simply as Fatmir, nothing else.
16 Q. When you met him, what name was he introduced to you by?
17 A. First there was -- no name was introduced to me. Then afterwards
18 or at the time -- first it was not clear to me whether he was introduced
19 to me as Fatmir or Celik, but it was the time when I knew him as Celiku.
20 I'm not sure and it's might be possible that he was introduced to me as
21 the uncle, "Daja," if I remember it quite well.
22 Q. Now, you've just stated that he was introduced to you as Fatmir
23 or Celiku after March 1998.
24 A. I said I cannot remember quite well because I've met him even
25 later as Celiku, but I cannot remember quite well how he was introduced
1 to me during the period I met him. Later on I came to know him as
2 Celiku, but for the period we met, it is not clear whether he was
3 introduced to me as Daja because it was a short -- it was a very short
4 time. We just met and we shake hands with each other and we just greeted
5 each other. And there was the -- there was no other conversation.
6 Q. When -- well, you've --
7 JUDGE PARKER: Can I point out, Mr. Nicholls, that the date of
8 the meeting appears in the transcript as March 1998. I thought the oral
9 evidence was March 1996. Is the transcript in error or my recollection?
10 MR. NICHOLLS: I think it's March 1998. We can ask the witness
11 to clarify that.
12 Q. Witness, you met Fatmir Limaj you said after the death of Adem
13 Jashari. Is that right?
14 MR. NICHOLLS: I think I understand, Your Honour, he spoke about
15 two occasions that he met Mr. Limaj.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Well, if you would be good enough to clarify --
17 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes --
18 JUDGE PARKER: Which --
19 MR. NICHOLLS: The --
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you allow me, I'd like to
21 clarify it once again. As I said, I met Fatmir Limaj in 1996, along with
22 Rexhep Selimi along with two other friends, students. But I was not -- I
23 did not know at the time he was Fatmir Limaj. After I met him the second
24 time as a soldier of the KLA, I met him after March and after the heroic
25 fall -- death of commander Adem Jashari. And I cannot then remember
1 exactly when that was, maybe in April. I don't know whether I explained
2 it clearly to you.
3 JUDGE PARKER: I think I will intervene directly, Mr. Nicholls.
4 When you first met the person Fatmir Limaj, you said you -- this was in
5 1996 and you did not then know him as Fatmir Limaj. Is that correct?
6 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes. When I met him in 1996, I
7 spoke with him but I was not -- I did not know who he was. But then in
8 1998 I recalled when I met him again then I came to realise that he was
9 Fatmir Limaj.
10 JUDGE PARKER: Were you introduced to him by any name in 1996
11 when you first met?
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. No, we were not introduced but
13 we just met occasion -- we just ran into him. The son of my uncle talked
14 to them and I was at Pristina hospital. At the time we did not sit down
15 to drink something together, but I could just recall him by face.
16 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
17 Mr. Nicholls.
18 MR. NICHOLLS:
19 Q. When you meet Fatmir Limaj again in 1998, one of the names you
20 know him as is Celiku. Is that right?
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. The Celiku units in the battle of Lapusnik gorge on March -- in
23 May 1998, where did they get their name "Celiku" from? Where were they
24 named after?
25 A. The units from Komorane, I don't know because it is not the area
1 of my responsibility. However, it has been repeated and said very often.
2 I don't know where they took the name from.
3 Q. Who was the commander of the Celiku units in the battle for the
4 Lapusnik gorge on May 1998?
5 A. It is clear that I explained it earlier where the units acted.
6 The units that existed did not act on the other side, they did not have a
7 commander. They were independent units and were acting independently.
8 When the need be, the unit would go and tell the other unit. Or when our
9 unit sought help from the other one. So when this was on my side and
10 this also -- how it was the other side acted. This was for the simple
11 reason - if I am allowed to continue - the units, as I said, were not
12 uniform, did not have a commander. Each of those units had a command at
13 one point until - I'm just saying this from my experience - until a
14 decision was taken to be a commander of one zone or a commander of one
15 brigade and to form that brigade. So at the time, the units acted as
16 independent ones.
17 Q. Now I'm going to go back to the interview you gave to the
18 magazine -- to the publication Zeri in 2000. Were you truthful in the
19 statements you made when you spoke and conducted that interview?
20 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, I don't know if the --
21 JUDGE PARKER: That's a proper question, but your moment may come
22 very shortly.
23 MR. KHAN: I'm grateful.
24 JUDGE PARKER: I think the question is lost, Mr. Nicholls.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, because I have not received
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 the question yet.
2 MR. NICHOLLS:
3 Q. You stated you were truthful when you spoke to the
4 representatives of the Office of the Prosecutor. You stated you were
5 truthful when you spoke to the Defence. Correct?
6 A. Yes. I've said that I've told the truth, and I have in fact told
7 the truth.
8 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, I'd ask that the --
9 JUDGE PARKER: Now, you asked a question to which there is not
10 yet an answer.
11 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes.
12 JUDGE PARKER: Are you going to put that question again or are
13 you leaving it alone?
14 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm leaving it alone, Your Honour.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Very well, thank you.
16 MR. NICHOLLS: I ask that the witness be excused from the court
17 for a moment. I have an application to make.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Very well.
19 General, if you would be kind enough to wait outside the court,
20 there is an application of some type to be made.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, of course. However, if you
22 need, I can explain it, even what happened after the interview or I can
23 explain it to you right now before leaving the hall.
24 JUDGE PARKER: I think you better wait outside. Thank you.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Okay. Thank you, Your Honour.
1 [The witness stands down]
2 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Nicholls.
3 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honours. The witness -- I've now
4 asked him several questions which are exactly the same as questions he
5 was asked either in the interview conducted by Defence counsel or the
6 interview conducted by the Office of the Prosecutor. He's given
7 different answers. I think it's apparent in the courtroom today -- than
8 he gave in those interviews. I think it's apparent from his demeanour
9 and from his evasion of some questions that he does not want to answer
10 questions I put to him and is being evasive. Mr. Khan made the point at
11 the beginning of this session that the witness said that he did not want
12 to be a witness for the Prosecution, that he refused -- that he would
13 like to be a witness for the Defence.
14 So at this time I think I've reached a point where I must ask for
15 the Court's permission to treat him as an adverse or a hostile witness.
16 He's certainly adverse under the rules which I would practice under and
17 Mr. Guy-Smith does in the United States. He's aligned with the other
18 party. He's openly aligned himself with the opposing party. He is also
19 hostile in the sense that he is resisting as much as he can asking
21 Now, I did not proof this witness, I did not discuss his
22 testimony with him beforehand. But in his interviews with the
23 Prosecution - his taped interviews which we have on videotape as well as
24 on -- it's not just an audio recording, it's a video recording - he was
25 very plain and open about certain issues and he made statements which are
1 completely different from the ones he's making today. So he has become
2 hostile. He stated at the end of that interview that no pressure had
3 been put on him; that he was speaking of his own free will. And he
4 stated in court today here that he was truthful in those previous
5 interviews, not just to our office but to the Defence. We have notes of
6 the Defence interviews where he gave answers different to these.
7 So I request that at this point the Court -- the Trial Chamber
8 give me permission to treat him as a hostile witness, use leading
9 questions, and to put his previous statements to him. I think it's
10 important for the Court to get an accurate depiction of the probative
11 evidence that this witness has to offer.
12 JUDGE PARKER: It will be important, Mr. Nicholls, if the Chamber
13 is to evaluate your application for there to be some clear indication of
14 materially different answers on this occasion from the past.
15 MR. NICHOLLS: I can provide that, Your Honour. There are
16 several. In the interview --
17 JUDGE PARKER: Are you on your feet, Mr. Topolski?
18 MR. TOPOLSKI: No, I'm preparing to be, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE PARKER: Very well.
20 MR. NICHOLLS: I can provide that to Your Honour. In the
21 interview, the witness states that --
22 MR. KHAN: Which interview?
23 MR. NICHOLLS: I'm speaking of the transcripted interview of the
24 Office of the Prosecutor of the -- sorry, I'll give you the date.
25 19 November.
1 JUDGE PARKER: What year?
2 MR. NICHOLLS: 2003, Your Honour.
3 Now, it's at tab 19, Your Honours, of your binder. Now, in that
4 interview the witness stated that he was introduced to Fatmir Limaj, and
5 I'm looking at page 36. The witness was asked a question:
6 "Q. Did you know Fatmir Limaj was called Celiku?"
7 "A. Not in the beginning. The first time I met him, I didn't
8 know his name. Okay."
9 He then states: "When I knew him, I knew him as Celiku.
10 Afterwards, I learned his name as well."
11 And at the bottom of the page, Your Honours, the witness goes on
12 to say that he had met Fatmir Limaj earlier but didn't know his name.
13 On page 37 --
14 JUDGE PARKER: I'm sorry --
15 MR. GUY-SMITH: Excuse me --
16 JUDGE PARKER: What is the difficulty about that evidence in
17 contrast to the evidence we have had today?
18 MR. NICHOLLS: Well, because the evidence today -- the witness
19 has stated that he didn't remember whether he was introduced in 1998 as
20 Fatmir Limaj or as Celiku or as Daja, whereas throughout the interview
21 the Prosecutor's interview of 2003 the witness only uses the names Celiku
22 and Fatmir Limaj.
23 Additionally, he says on page 37 of the English: "After a month
24 or two," -- and it's clear now from the interview the period we're
25 talking about is 1998 -- "I knew his name as Fatmir, but at the beginning
1 it was the Celiku unit's commander."
2 That's how he states he knew Fatmir Limaj in May 1998. Now he
3 stated he's not sure about the name, which was first, and also stated
4 that there was no commander of the Celiku units, that they acted sort of
6 JUDGE PARKER: Well, you've moved points there. But on the
7 question of names it was in a very confused state when the evidence was
8 first given, and I think that was the point at which I intervened. And
9 as I understood his evidence on my intervention, it was that he didn't
10 know his name at all in 1996 when they first met; that in May 1998, when
11 they met for the second time, he knew him as Celiku; and later he learned
12 his name to be Fatmir Limaj. That is not, it seems to me, materially
13 different from what is at page 36.
14 MR. NICHOLLS: No. Well, what -- I may have -- I don't have it
15 in front of me, but I thought -- my recollection was he was not clear on
16 which name he knew first in 1998. I may be in error on that.
17 JUDGE PARKER: That happened in the first passage of evidence,
18 page 46, line 17.
19 MR. NICHOLLS: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Additionally, though, and as important, the witness has stated
21 now that he doesn't know or remember who commanded the Celiku units and
22 tried to say that these units were working independent of each other and
23 he's not sure. Whereas on page 37 of the interview it's quite clear that
24 he knew Fatmir Limaj as the Celiku unit's commander. That is exactly in
25 line with what the witness says in his prior statement in 2000 in the
1 interview with the magazine article. That's at tab 18 of the binder.
2 On page 13 of that interview in the third paragraph from the
3 bottom, amongst other things the witness states: "The units of the
4 future 121st Brigade led by their commander, Celiku, Fatmir Limaj, were
5 operating on the other side."
6 This portion of the article begins on the prior page, page 12, is
7 concerned only with the battle in Lapusnik on May 9th. The other point
8 of contradiction - it may take me a moment to find it, Your Honour - is
9 that in the interview at page 36 --
10 JUDGE PARKER: Was that tab 19 again?
11 MR. NICHOLLS: Yes, Your Honour. Page -- sorry, 35, 36. The
12 witness is asked: "Do you have an explanation of where the Celiku units
13 got their name from?"
14 At the bottom of page 35. He states first he's not sure. Then
15 on the top of page 36:
16 "It was -- maybe because of his character, the way the units
18 The investigator asks him: "Fatmir's?"
19 "A. Yeah."
20 Then there's the discussion in the interview of how he learned
21 Fatmir Limaj was called Celiku.
22 So the witness is now contradicting these points, that Celiku --
23 Fatmir Limaj was commander of the Celiku units; at the battle of
24 Lapusnik, that they fought on the other side of the road from his units
25 under Celiku's command at that time in early May 1998, and that in fact
1 these units were named after their commander because of his character and
2 his competence. So these are material departures from his interview
3 which he has stated was truthful. As well as from the Zeri interview
4 where he states very bluntly that the units of the future 121st Brigade,
5 which he stated were the Celiku units, were led by their commander,
6 Celiku, Fatmir Limaj, on May 9th.
7 And I did not expect these answers from him based on his
8 interview, based on watching his demeanour during the interview on
9 videotape. I wasn't present at the interview with the Office of the
10 Prosecutor. As well as the notes I've been provided of the Defence
11 interview, which the witness attend on the 25th of -- excuse me, on the
12 11th of October, 2004. Now, I don't have a tape of that interview, but
13 my notes -- the notes of the investigator who was present state that the
14 Defence asked the witness if he knew the pseudonym --
15 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, I don't know [Microphone not activated].
16 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
17 MR. NICHOLLS: Your Honour, what I'm providing is I think what
18 Your Honour asked me for is examples of material differences and what the
19 witness is stating here in court now and what he's stated earlier.
20 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Khan's point is that this last is based on
21 something that is not presently in a recorded form and able to be placed
22 before us.
23 MR. NICHOLLS: Well, it's in a recorded form -- they have a
24 record, a tape-record, of it. And what I have is a record of the notes
25 of the investigator who was present at the interview. This is the only
1 interview conducted by the Defence of a witness in which the witness
2 stated that a representative of the Office of the Prosecutor could be
3 present and was -- he had no objection to that and allowed the
4 investigator to be present and take notes. So it is in a recorded form
5 that I can put before the Court.
6 And the difference here, Your Honour, is something a bit
7 different from the earlier examples I've mentioned because the Defence
8 asked the witness if he knew the pseudonym of Fatmir Limaj, and he
9 replied that he "always knew him as Celiku, always." That's markedly
10 different and it's an important point from what he stated the first time
11 in any interview - either with us, the Defence, or the press - about the
12 nickname. This Daja, uncle, has never come up before. And in the
13 Defence interview he affirms that the only nickname he knew Fatmir Limaj
14 as is Celiku. This is a recorded form I can put before the Court. And
15 I --
16 JUDGE PARKER: I suspect that you will need to do that tomorrow,
17 Mr. Nicholls, given the hour. As you know, we cannot go beyond 7.00 or
18 there are difficulties for the accused in their return to custody. So we
19 will need to break at this point, and I would invite you to give
20 consideration to the manner in which you will found that last submission
21 of yours on material to put before us.
22 Now, I've been conscious, Mr. Khan, that I've not ignored you but
23 thought that there was a matter that ought to be dealt with directly. Is
24 there something that you want to put at this stage in addition to what
25 I've been putting to Mr. Nicholls?
1 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, I'm content to respond after my friend
2 his completed his submissions.
3 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. I hope you don't think me too rude,
4 but I was --
5 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, of course not.
6 JUDGE PARKER: -- dealing with one issue and trying to get it
7 done in the time.
8 MR. KHAN: Your Honour, I'm most grateful.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
10 We will need to adjourn now. The witness will need to be brought
11 in now for a moment, and we will continue the submission when we resume
13 [The witness entered court]
14 JUDGE PARKER: General, it is necessary because of our physical
15 arrangements to finish at 7.00 in the evening, and we have reached that
16 hour. The counsel are still putting submissions to the Chamber on a
17 matter, and that will have to be continued tomorrow. When that matter is
18 resolved, your evidence will continue. I'm sorry for this interruption,
19 but I must ask now that you return tomorrow to continue your evidence.
20 The resumption will be at 2.15 tomorrow afternoon.
21 We will adjourn now for the evening.
22 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 7.01 p.m.,
23 to be reconvened on Tuesday, the 18th day of
24 January, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.