1 Friday, 4 March 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.07 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning. If we could have the witness.
6 [The witness entered court]
7 JUDGE PARKER: Good morning, Mr. Buja. If I could remind you of
8 the affirmation you made at the beginning of your evidence, it still
9 applies. Mr. Whiting will continue with his questions now.
10 Yes, Mr. Whiting.
11 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
12 WITNESS: SHUKRI BUJA [Resumed]
13 [Witness answered through interpreter]
14 Examined by Mr. Whiting: [Continued]
15 Q. Good morning, Mr. Buja.
16 A. Good morning.
17 Q. Do you understand me clearly?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. I'll remind you for the benefit of the interpreters, who have to
20 translate what you say, if you could try at all times to speak up, that
21 would be appreciated. Do you understand? Thank you.
22 When we stopped yesterday I believe that you told us in March and
23 April of 1998 you were in Mullapolc and you were organising in the
24 municipalities of Lipjan and Shtime. Is that correct?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. I'm going to -- with the assistance of the usher, I'm going to
2 show you a map. It's map 6 from Prosecution Exhibit 1, and if it could
3 be placed on the ELMO, please.
4 MR. WHITING: We have a copy of it because he'll mark it.
5 I think it has to be turned the other way. It's upside down -- or at
6 least within the computers it's upside down.
7 Q. Mr. Buja, if you could look at the map on your left. I know it
8 appears on the screen, but if you could look at the map on your left.
9 Can you find, first of all, your home village, Bujan, on the map? Do you
10 see it? Could you take a pen and just circle that, please.
11 MR. WHITING: Maybe if the map could be pushed over a little bit
12 so it appears on the screen. A little more. If that could be brought to
13 the centre of the -- there we go.
14 And if the record could reflect that the witness has circled the
15 dot which is next to "Bujan" on the map.
16 Q. And now where is Mullapolc?
17 A. [Marks]
18 MR. WHITING: And the witness has circled the dot next to
20 Q. Now, during this time in March and April of 1998 you said you
21 were organising in Lipjan and Shtime. Were you organising in any
22 particular villages?
23 A. Not in the villages. The units were for the municipality of
24 Shtime and Lipjan. I thought that we had to organise a guerrilla unit as
25 instructions were from the General Staff.
1 Q. Okay. And during March and April of 1998 did you stay in
2 Mullapolc during those two months?
3 A. Yes, I stayed with the family of Ahmet Mujoci.
4 MR. WHITING: I would ask that this map be given a number,
6 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
7 THE REGISTRAR: Exhibit P157.
8 MR. WHITING: Thank you.
9 I think we can take the map away for now.
10 Q. Can you tell us, Mr. Buja, during those two months, March and
11 April of 1998, what exactly you were doing. You've told us you were
12 organising guerrilla units but can you tell us what you did day to day to
13 accomplish that task.
14 A. Yes. At that time we were in profound illegality. My brother,
15 Rame Buja, was supposed -- I ordered him actually to contact me with
16 people in Lipjan so that I could start talks with them regarding the
17 political and military aspect of the KLA.
18 Q. And did you do that?
19 A. Yes, I -- we did that. Even though it was not an easy task to
20 contact the people because, as I said earlier, we were in profound
21 illegality. It took me several days to establish contacts with two or
22 three people.
23 Q. And do you remember any of those people that you established
24 contacts with?
25 A. Yes, certainly. I contacted initially with Huset Sahiti, then
1 Besim Rrustemi and then Fitim Rustemi.
2 Q. Now, when you say Lipjan, these people in Lipjan, do you mean
3 Lipjan the town or Lipjan the municipality?
4 A. I mean the municipality.
5 Q. And what was the result of these talks that you had with these
6 individuals that you've identified?
7 A. Sahiti was a former political prisoner. He had to work in the
8 former Ministry of Defence of the government of Bujar Bukoshi and I
9 believe he had experience regarding these organisations. So the talks
10 with him were easier because he was a man who understood the significance
11 of this organisation and he was willing to do something in this respect,
12 that is the military organisation of the KLA.
13 Q. And so did you do anything? Was anything done as a result of
14 these discussions?
15 A. Not in March and April. That was impossible to organise a unit.
16 I thought it would take me at least six months to do so, but later things
17 developed so fast -- you know, the protest staged by the Albanian
18 population in March and April in support of the KLA after the heroic war
19 of the legendary commander and the sublime sacrifice made by his family,
20 Jashari family. So events rolled so fast -- faster than I thought to
21 implement directives of the General Staff.
22 Q. And the directives of the General Staff, what are you referring
23 to exactly, implementing the directives? Are you referring to what you
24 testified about yesterday, that is the instructions you received through
25 Hashim Thaqi in Drenica?
1 A. Yes, certainly.
2 Q. During -- so aside from having these discussions with these
3 individuals during March and April, did you do anything else to organise
4 units in Lipjan and Shtime municipalities?
5 A. Yes. March and April were mostly months where we -- when we
6 established contacts, when we would more or less figure out the structure
7 of the guerrilla units. So all the talks we held at that time were done
8 in order to find out whether the people I was contacted were willing to
9 organise in the guerrilla unit that I thought start operation [as
11 Q. And in your -- in this phase, March and April when you were
12 establishing contacts and figuring out the structure, were you doing this
13 in coordination with anybody outside of Lipjan and Shtime?
14 A. I was doing this in cooperation with Rame Buja who established
15 those contacts because at the time we were kind of independently
16 operating, if I may so -- if I might say so, regarding the organisation
17 of the guerrilla unit. Actually we were trying to organise the people we
18 thought we knew well regarding their patriotic activity. That was our
19 underlying motive, to contact them and agree on the structure. But we
20 suffered great loss -- shortages of armaments at the time.
21 Q. And in March and April did you have any -- were you doing these
22 tasks -- were you cooperating in any way or coordinating in any way with
23 Fatmir Limaj in Klecka?
24 A. It was in April - I don't remember the date - through the
25 courier, my courier, my brother, Avni Buja, I tried to contact Fatmir
1 Limaj so that I could go to Klecka to contact the General Staff through
2 Hashim Thaqi in Drenica to tell them about the organisation efforts I was
3 making and the shortage of arms, which had become a must. And we were
4 unable to find weapons. So we started to contact people to talk with
5 them and were kind of determined about -- we knew about the people who
6 would be involved in the organisation in Lipjan and Shtime, but shortages
7 of weapons prevented us.
8 So my purpose was to go to Klecka physically and then to be
9 accompanied to Drenica, but this contact was not made possible due to the
10 disagreements between the two couriers; or to put it better, because of
11 their failure to know exactly where the meeting place would be in Klecka.
12 Q. Do you recall if this was at the beginning of April or at the end
13 of April, middle of April?
14 A. It must have been in the first part of April because in the
15 second half or at the end of April I went to Klecke.
16 Q. Why did you go to Klecka in the second half of April?
17 A. The purpose of my trip there was what I said earlier, and the
18 failure of that meeting made me go there nevertheless and from there
19 start for Drenica. What I thought I could meet Mr. Thaqi. But the large
20 concentration of Serb forces on the Peja-Pristina road as well as the
21 great movements of the police along that road, the great danger facing us
22 to penetrate Drenica, prevented me from going to Drenica from Klecka.
23 Q. How long did you spend in Klecka?
24 A. I stayed the night there and on the next day I met a man who had
25 come from Germany; his name is Imri Ilazi.
1 Q. And then what happened? That next day what happened? Did you
2 leave Klecka?
3 A. During the day it was impossible for us to move because we were
4 afraid of being detected by the Serb forces. So mainly we moved in the
5 night. So I waited for the night to fall and together with Imri Ilazi we
6 left for Mullapolc.
7 Q. So you were in Klecka for two nights?
8 A. One night and one day.
9 Q. And on the second night you left?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did you see Fatmir Limaj there?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did you have any discussions with him?
14 A. Yes, of course we did.
15 Q. And what did -- what did you discuss with him?
16 A. Mainly our talks focused on political issues and military issues.
17 Q. Did you ask him to make contact with the General Staff on your
19 A. Not on my behalf. I didn't ask him to do that. But we talked
20 about the difficulties of making contacts with the General Staff.
21 Q. Did you make any plan or discuss any plan for him to make contact
22 with the General Staff to get information for you, for your tasks?
23 A. No.
24 Q. Did you learn what he was doing in Klecka at that time?
25 A. From what I saw there was a small number of soldiers there and
1 they were guarding the village, Klecke village, and where we were staying
2 in the house of Fatmir Limaj's nephews.
3 Q. Do you know if that group of soldiers had a name, a unit name for
5 A. At that time I don't recall that unit to have had a name.
6 Q. You say "at that time." Did you -- did there come a time later
7 when you learned that unit to have a name?
8 A. Yes, later yes of course. I learned the name of the unit.
9 Q. And what was that?
10 A. It was in May I think. The name of the unit changed -- I mean
11 became Celiku Unit.
12 Q. Did it -- did it have a number, the unit in Klecka, Celiku with a
13 number, if you know?
14 A. I can't say in full certainty, but as far as I remember it was
15 Celiku 1.
16 Q. Now, you've testified that you spent a night in Klecka, you
17 returned the following night to Mullapolc. What happened when you
18 returned to Mullapolc?
19 A. The trip to Mullapolc was not for one night because it was
20 difficult to get there in a night, but after we arrived there on the
21 second night I of course started to think about the organisational issues
22 together with Imri Ilazi regarding the Ferizaj unit in order to make
23 contacts with people regarding the guerrilla unit for Ferizaj
25 Q. So now in addition to organising in Shtime and Lipjan, you're
1 organising in Ferizaj municipality?
2 A. For the Ferizaj municipality it was Imri Ilazi who started the
3 work of organisation of this unit, but being there with him in Mullapolc,
4 I helped him in this task to make contacts with people that we both knew.
5 Q. What about the municipality of Kacanik? Was there any work being
6 done to organise there?
7 A. Yes, of course. With the arrival of Agim Bajrami work started
8 there as in all other municipalities, as in my municipality. Even though
9 Agim Bajrami had been making greater progress in Kacanik municipality
10 with respect to the organisation of the guerrilla unit.
11 Q. Did you yourself get involved in organising in the Kacanik
13 A. In the period of March and April I couldn't.
14 Q. In a later period did you?
15 A. After my arrival in Kacanik, which was made possible thanks to
16 the organisation of Imri Ilazi in Ferizaj municipality, I could travel up
17 to Kacanik because Imri Ilazi and the people he had started organising
18 knew the terrain. So I contacted Agim Bajrami in Kacanik municipality.
19 If I'm not mistaken, there was in Duraj village. And during that meeting
20 we discussed the same issues, that is that I had discussed with Fatmir,
21 about political and military aspects. In that case Agim Bajrami
22 explained to me that just like me he, too, faced shortages of arms and
24 Q. When was that meeting?
25 A. That meeting was held in May.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Beginning of May or end of May?
2 A. I think it was -- the meeting was in the beginning of May, but my
3 stay there in the Kacanik municipality lasted quite -- for a considerable
4 time. And so this Honourable Chamber should know that the trip lasted
5 for days, not for hours, because from Mullapolc to Kacanik municipality
6 or to the part we went later, Gllobocice, is a very hard trip, a trip
7 that lasts many nights. It's a very rugged terrain.
8 Q. You told us that after you were in Klecka you went back at the
9 end of April 1998 you went back to Mullapolc. Were you in Mullapolc
10 until you went to Kacanik at the beginning of May 1998?
11 A. Yes.
12 Q. And how long do you think you stayed in Kacanik when you went at
13 the beginning of May 1998?
14 A. I can't give you an exact figure, but including the trip and my
15 stay there together with Agim Bajrami lasted 15 days -- 10 or 15 days I
17 Q. With the assistance of the usher I'm going to show you map 4 from
18 Prosecution Exhibit 1.
19 MR. WHITING: And if that could be placed on the ELMO, please.
20 Q. Mr. Buja, this is a map of the municipalities as they existed in
21 1998. Can you just circle the municipalities that we've been talking
22 about, Lipjan, Shtime, Ferizaj, Kacanik.
23 A. Yes, Lipjan -- the Lipjan municipality is here; Shtime, which is
24 a small municipality; Ferizaj municipality; and Kacanik municipality. I
25 can see them in this map.
1 Q. And if you could -- and is that how you remember the
2 municipalities existing at the time in 1998?
3 A. I can't say for sure because I see only the names of the
4 municipalities and maybe some villages were not very precisely included
5 in these municipalities.
6 Q. No, I just mean the general shape and location of the
7 municipalities; is that how you remember them?
8 A. Yes. This is more or less how the shape I think has been.
9 Q. And just so we have a good record, if you could just take a pen
10 and circle those four municipalities, just the names of those four.
11 A. [Marks]
12 Q. Thank you.
13 MR. WHITING: If that could be given a number, Your Honour,
15 JUDGE PARKER: Yes.
16 THE REGISTRAR: P158.
17 MR. WHITING: And it can be taken off the ELMO.
18 Q. Mr. Buja, did you -- I believe you testified that Imri Ilazi was
19 organising in Ferizaj. Did you in this time period - now we're moving
20 forward to April, May 1998 - did you spend any time in Ferizaj
22 A. I went to Ferizaj municipality through the villages of Jezerce,
23 Vineredime [phoen], and Buca highlands, Greme village. Then we went to
24 the villages of Kacanik, Duraj, and during my stay in Kacanik we went up
25 to Gllobocice, which lies in the border with Macedonia.
1 Q. And you said that you had discussions with Agim Bajrami that were
2 similar to the discussions you had had with Fatmir Limaj about organising
3 in Kacanik. Did you have similar discussions with Imri Ilazi?
4 A. Yes, we had almost the same talks. We had the same concerns
5 because they were the concerns of all of us at that time.
6 Q. And again I'm going to ask you the same question I asked you
7 before when we were talking just about March and April. Now we're
8 talking about May and we're talking about other municipalities. Did you
9 -- did you coordinate your organisation activities in these
10 municipalities and with these other people with Fatmir Limaj in Klecka?
11 A. The coordination of our activity did not continue up to May, but
12 in May, as I said earlier, after the contact I made with Hashim Thaqi via
13 telephone I undertook to take care of the transportation, the shipping of
14 arms from Albania to Kosova. I undertook to coordinate the activity of
15 Kacanik unit, Ferizaj, Shtime, Lipjan in order to take care of the supply
16 line. That was the supply line for weapons, ammunitions. That was the
17 task I was given by the General Staff, Hashim Thaqi.
18 Q. And when was that in May that you made direct contact with Hashim
20 A. It was not a direct contact; it was through the telephone which
21 happened during my visit in Kacanik. The contact was made after the
22 information we received from our collaborator Agush Buja and Adem
23 Grabovci, who informed us that Hashim Thaqi was in Switzerland. So we
24 insisted, that is myself and Agim Bajrami, to contact him through the
1 Q. So you've testified that you made direct contact and coordinated
2 directly with Hashim Thaqi about creating a supply line for weapons and
3 ammunitions for the municipalities that you were now organising or were
4 participating in organising, Kacanik, Ferizaj, Shtime, and Lipjan. Did
5 you also coordinate with Fatmir Limaj in Klecka?
6 A. Sir, I already said that I have had contacts by telephone, not
7 direct contacts. And before this telephone contact I did not coordinate,
8 did not organise these units because every -- each and every one of these
9 units had a person in charge. In Kacanik it was Agim Bajrami responsible
10 for that; in Ferizaj it was Imri Ilazi; for Shtime and Lipjan it was
11 myself. So this means that up to the period when I was tasked to
12 coordinate, this was specific task to coordinate the activity of the
13 units regarding the supply -- the armament supply line.
14 Q. And my question is: Did this task come from Hashim Thaqi?
15 A. That was conveyed to me by Hashim Thaqi. It was -- that was the
16 belief that at that time that the General Staff tasks you to create the
17 supply line for armaments.
18 Q. And you testified yesterday that when you were tasked by Hashim
19 Thaqi in March of 1998 and you -- in Drenica that it was specific to
20 Lipjan and Shtime. Did there come a point where your task was expanded
21 to include Kacanik and Ferizaj; that is, were you told at some point that
22 your task was broader and it would include Kacanik and Ferizaj?
23 A. This was an extra task, a specific task, to coordinate the
24 activities of Kacanik, Ferizaj, Shtime, Lipjan units to create this
25 weapons supply line. That was an extra responsibility for me.
1 Q. And when did you learn of that extra responsibility?
2 A. It was in May during my visit to Kacanik.
3 Q. But did you take on this extra responsibility on your own or were
4 you assigned this extra responsibility?
5 A. Of course. If I was not willing to take up this responsibility,
6 it wouldn't have been assigned to me. I was ready to act and work
7 according to the orders issued by the General Staff.
8 Q. And who communicated to you that you would have this extra
10 A. I find this insisting a little bit strange. I was clear when I
11 said that the communication was made with Hashim Thaqi by phone regarding
12 this extra work.
13 Q. Okay. I think I understand now, and that communication was in
14 May of 1998 before you went to Kacanik or when -- I'm sorry, when you
15 were in Kacanik?
16 A. It was in May.
17 Q. Thank you. Aside -- just so we're clear, aside from your
18 communication with Hashim Thaqi, which you've described, by telephone,
19 and your contacts with the leaders of the units that you have talked
20 about, Agim Bajrami and Imri Ilazi, did you coordinate with anybody else
21 in these activities?
22 A. No. As I said, my task was very specific. It was clear to me
23 that my job was to coordinate the units in Shtime and Lipjan in order to
24 establish this weapons supply route. It wasn't more than that.
25 Q. Now, let's move forward. After you had this communication with
1 Hashim Thaqi in May and you had this plan to establish this weapons
2 supply route, what happened next? What did you do next?
3 A. During those days in Kacanik together with Agim Bajrami, we tried
4 to divide the tasks regarding this weapons supply route. Agim Bajrami's
5 unit take up -- took up the responsibility to escort the weapons that
6 were coming from Albania and Macedonia. And as for Greme village, this
7 task was to be carried out by the Ferizaj unit and then to be passed to
8 another unit in my municipality where I was responsible.
9 Q. And were you able to set up a weapons supply route?
10 A. In agreement with Agim Bajrami and Imri Ilazi, we did not take
11 the risk to have only one supply route because it was a dangerous time in
12 Kosovo so that this supply route could be very easily cut. So therefore,
13 we left the so-called reserve lines. There were two additional reserve
14 supply lines.
15 Q. Now, you've made references a number of times to units, the
16 Ferizaj unit, a unit in your municipality where you were responsible.
17 Were these units groups of soldiers under your command and under the
18 command of Agim Bajrami?
19 A. These units were guerrilla units which at that time had
20 instructions -- we had instructions at that time by -- from the General
21 Staff to create and establish these guerrilla units. In Kacanik there
22 existed the Kacanik unit which was led by Agim Bajrami. In Ferizaj the
23 unit was created a little bit later in the end of April/beginning of May
24 and the leader was Imri Ilazi. While in Shtime it wasn't created yet.
25 The weapons that were expected to arrive through this supply line were
1 being waited [as interpreted]. And this unit was led by me.
2 Q. When was that unit that was led by you in Shtime created?
3 A. The unit was created after the weapons arrived together with me
4 from Kacanik to Lipjan municipality, more exactly in the village of
5 Kroimire. The reason why it was Kroimire was that there were two other
6 soldier who had arrived there from Germany.
7 Q. When did you arrive in Kroimire?
8 A. The arrival in Kroimire occurred in the end of May.
9 Q. Who were the two soldiers from Germany that were there?
10 A. Ramiz Qeriqi, who was later known with the pseudonym Luani, and
11 another soldier whose name was Fadil, if I'm not mistaken.
12 Q. Did -- was Fadil the other soldier's name or pseudonym?
13 A. I wouldn't know whether it was his name or pseudonym, but I knew
14 him simply as "Fadil" because he was in Kroimire and he came from the
15 village of Kroimire.
16 Q. Did you ever learn his real -- any other name for him, whether it
17 be pseudonym or other name?
18 A. As I said, the person who I knew at that time as Fadil I
19 mentioned yesterday at that time it was illogical to ask whether it was
20 his real name or pseudonym because this could put him and his family and
21 soldiers in risk. Therefore, I just knew him as "Fadil" and I couldn't
22 ask him if that was his name or pseudonym.
23 Q. No, but my question was: Did you later learn a name or pseudonym
24 for him? Did you later learn information about who this Fadil is?
25 A. Even today I call him Fadil. I don't know whether he -- it is
1 his real name or pseudonym. It can happen even now after the war for us
2 to call soldiers with their names that they used in the war, and without
3 knowing whether it was a pseudonym or a real name.
4 Q. When you arrived in Kroimire at the end of May 1998 you said
5 there were these two soldiers from Germany there, Ramiz Qeriqi and Fadil.
6 What did you find there in Kroimire? Was anything organised?
7 A. I didn't see much of an organisation, but according to Ramiz
8 Qeriqi he had spoken with the people who were ready for engagement.
9 Therefore, the weapons that I brought from Kacanik through that supply
10 line that I mentioned the soldiers from Kroimire and from the Kroimire
11 area were equipped with those weapons.
12 Q. And you said that you then commanded this unit. Did this unit
13 have a name?
14 A. After these persons got weapons, the meeting that was held, in
15 this meeting it was decided that this guerrilla unit took up the name of
17 Q. And where did that name come from, Sokoli?
18 A. Sokoli is a bird. In Albanian it's name is "petriti" and
19 therefore we found this name suitable for our unit.
20 Q. How long did you stay in Kroimire?
21 A. I don't know exactly how many days, but I know it was several
22 days. We made an effort to get even better organised as Sokoli Unit,
23 although this unit as a name was not known. The Serb forces that were
24 coming from the direction of Petrastica in those villages made us
25 organise in Pjetershtice as well. After this unit came into existence in
1 Kroimire, there was a flux of people who were ready to join the KLA and
2 this made us think of expansion and formation of new units. But there
3 was shortage of weapons and I was forced to go Kacanik again in order to
4 organise the weapons supply, to make it function better.
5 Q. Now, you said that the Sokoli Unit was based in Kroimire but
6 expanded to Petrastica. Did it also expand to Carraleve?
7 A. As I said, this made us think as Sokoli Unit to actually create
8 another unit in Pjetershtice, and this happened really fast because the
9 flux of people was great. They were even coming with their own weapons.
10 So it was possible to create even a smaller unit in Pjetershtice.
11 Honoured Judges, here we should take into consideration how --
12 the way things developed. This was very fast. Changes happened on daily
13 basis, the flux of people and their pressure to join the KLA. Therefore
14 the unit that was formed in Pjetershtice expanded really fast. New
15 soldiers enrolled, and it became a bigger guerrilla unit that -- than we
16 actually expected.
17 Q. But did you also expand to Carraleve?
18 A. I said it earlier that Sokoli Unit did not function later on. It
19 was not known as Sokoli Unit because part of its soldiers led by Ramiz
20 Qeriqi, they settled in Pjetershtice where they formed a new unit. Maybe
21 this marks a beginning of certain problems that we had regarding the
23 Q. The new unit that settled in Petrastica, did it have a different
25 A. It was not called Sokoli Unit but it was called after the
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 village, the Petrastica Unit.
2 Q. And who was in charge of that unit, the Petrastica Unit?
3 A. Later on several days later the Petrastica Unit covered the areas
4 of Zborce and the person in charge was Ramiz Qeriqi, known as Luani.
5 Several days in a row I went there to give my suggestions regarding their
6 positions, but problems came into existence.
7 Q. What kind of problems -- did you have problems with Commander
9 A. These problems were mainly in regard to organisation issues. I
10 was for an organisation which would be done step by step and for
11 respecting the rules of the KLA. This caused us not to be in good terms
12 with each other. That person, to my opinion, was quite anarchic.
13 Q. So the -- you remained in command of the unit in Kroimire. Is
14 that your testimony?
15 A. In Kroimire at that time there were three or four soldiers and
16 there was a person, one soldier, who dealt with the registration of
17 persons who came to Kroimire to express their willingness to engage and
18 contribute to the ranks of the KLA. My task regarding the weapons supply
19 for the Shtime-Kacanik-Lipjan route and the flux of people who wanted to
20 join the KLA forced me to take the journey to Kacanik again after several
22 Q. You returned to Kacanik; how long did you stay there?
23 A. This period, namely the period I'm speaking of at this moment,
24 the beginning of June, was a time of better organisation regarding the
25 Kacanik and Ferizaj units. The journey to Kacanik was easier and faster.
1 In Kacanik it was possible for me to go within two nights and to stay
2 there for a day or two and then come back and the entire journey to take
3 me around six or seven days in total.
4 Q. Did you then return to Kroimire?
5 A. Yes, of course I returned to Kroimire with several weapons that I
6 obtained through this supply line from Gllobocice and the unit of Agim
8 Q. And how long did you stay in Kroimire when you returned on this
10 A. After my return to Kroimire, the thing that we were waiting for a
11 long time happened, the public appearance of the KLA spokesperson who
12 gave his first statement. This made us be more aware and made us -- made
13 it possible for us to communicate with the General Staff through Jakup
14 Krasniqi, the spokesperson; this happened in mid-June. During this time
15 I was this Kroimire, but after the public appearance of Jakup Krasniqi, I
16 insisted to meet the spokesperson of the KLA.
17 Q. Did you meet him?
18 A. Yes. I met him after the 15th or 16th. I remember this date due
19 to the engagement of my brother, Rame Buja, in the ranks of the KLA. I
20 met with Jakup Krasniqi in Klecka. He was there for an interview. We
21 discussed with him the possibilities for organising ourselves better in
22 the parts where I had contacts.
23 Simply, Jakup Krasniqi at that time informed me that the subzones
24 of the KLA had been designated and that those days one or two commanders
25 of subzones were appointed. And he also told me that he planned to
1 organise and appoint commanders of another subzone whose name -- which
2 name he didn't know but this subzone was to include the municipalities of
3 Shtime and Ferizaj. The dilemma at that time was the municipalities of
4 Kacanik and Elez Hani. This information motivated me to work even harder
5 and on that day Jakup Krasniqi had an interview. Some journalists wanted
6 to interview him and myself, together with Jakup Krasniqi, would be on
7 that interview. And of course the interview was given by the
8 spokesperson while I was standing at his side.
9 Q. You said that's the 15th or 16th. Is that the 15th or 16th of
10 June, 1998?
11 A. I said this happened after 15th or 16th of June, and I remember
12 these dates due to the engagement of my brother. To my recollection, he
13 got engaged with a weapon in the KLA on the 16th. Now, after these
14 dates, I don't know when exactly it happened but it was around the 20th
15 of June. So this is an approximate date.
16 Q. Now, we'll return to those subjects later, but I want to focus
17 now on the time period from May till the middle of June. You told us
18 before that at the end of April you went to Klecka and spent one night
19 there. And now you've told us that around the 20th of June you met with
20 Jakup Krasniqi in Klecka. Between those two dates, between the end and
21 April and the middle of June, did you go to Klecka?
22 A. I didn't understand the question.
23 Q. It was a long question. Between -- from the end of April until
24 the middle of June 1998 did you go to Klecka?
25 A. I remember that it could have been at some time.
1 Q. Do you remember when it could have been?
2 A. It could have been the time in Kroimire while I was staying in
3 Kroimire. Maybe it was early June; I cannot give the exact time.
4 Q. Do you remember why you went to Kroimire -- I mean Klecka?
5 A. Simply to visit my comrades, to meet Fatmir Limaj and Ismet
7 Q. Did you meet Fatmir Limaj and Ismet Jashari?
8 A. Yes.
9 Q. And can you describe the nature of your meetings with them? What
10 happened? What was the purpose of these meetings?
11 A. As I said, the purpose of these meetings was to see my comrades
12 whom I hadn't seen for some time just to find out how they were doing.
13 It was just a social meeting.
14 Q. Aside from that occasion which was just a social meeting, did you
15 have -- do you recall any other trips to Klecka during that time period
16 from the end of April to the middle of June 1998?
17 A. I don't remember another meeting.
18 Q. During that same time period from the end of April to the middle
19 of June 1998, did you have any other forms of communication with Fatmir
20 Limaj, by courier, by telephone, by any other means?
21 I'm not sure if you answered, but it didn't -- nothing was picked
23 A. I didn't understand the question. If you could repeat it,
25 Q. I will. From the end -- you've told us that at some point at the
1 beginning of June you made a social trip to Klecka, and that was the only
2 trip you made to Klecka. Did -- let -- I'll take this -- I'll ask a
3 different question first.
4 During that time period, end of April to the middle of June 1998,
5 did you see Fatmir Limaj anywhere else aside from Klecka?
6 A. I don't remember seeing him somewhere else. I remember seeing
7 him in Klecka.
8 Q. During that same time from the end of April to the middle of June
9 1998, did you communicate with Fatmir Limaj any other way by, for
10 example, by telephone or by courier?
11 A. No. What I stressed earlier through a courier sometime in April,
12 end of April, it was then when I contacted with Fatmir Limaj. But the
13 later period, as I explained it earlier, I was in Mullapolc and then went
14 to Kacanik. And during this period, we could not contact by any other
15 means of contact, by any means of contact at all.
16 Q. But how about when you were in Kroimire? Did you have any
17 contact by telephone or by courier during -- from the end of April until
18 the middle of June 1998?
19 A. I explained this earlier. I was in Kroimire in end of May and I
20 know that I met once with him. I know that I went to Klecka in beginning
21 of June. As for other occasions when I met him, I do not remember those
22 occasions. It is possible that I met him, but I do not remember.
23 Q. And I take it that you had no communication by courier. Aside
24 from that attempted communication at the end of April, you had no
25 communication by courier during the time period I've been talking about,
1 end of April to the middle of June 1998? I just need a clear answer to
2 the question.
3 A. I gave a clear answer earlier. You should take into
4 consideration what I just said. In end of April after meeting with
5 Fatmir Limaj I settled in Mullapolc and it wasn't possible for me to have
6 contacts with Fatmir Limaj until the -- my return from Kacanik. Of
7 course after the return from Kacanik we came out to -- publicly with a
8 unit in Kroimire. In June for several days, I was in Kroimire and to my
9 recollection I contacted Fatmir Limaj once in Klecka where I went for a
10 visit to visit Fatmir Limaj and Ismet Jashari; this is my direct contact
11 with them which I remember. As for other contacts, it is possible that
12 we have met during a battle or fighting, but I do not remember.
13 Q. Mr. Buja, I -- you've been very clear about your direct contacts
14 and your testimony has been very clear. What I'm asking you is whether
15 you had any telephone contact or any courier contact when you were in --
16 you said that wasn't possible in Mullapolc but when you were in Kroimire
17 in May and June -- first half of June 1998. And if you could just focus
18 on that question: Any telephone or courier contacts between May and the
19 first part of June 1998 with Fatmir Limaj? Yes or no?
20 A. During June I didn't have a phone, I didn't have a radio.
21 Therefore, contacts with Fatmir Limaj via communication means were
22 lacking. I didn't have contacts.
23 Q. Thank you.
24 Now, the -- Kroimire where the unit was -- the Sokoli Unit was
25 based, did -- did -- well, let me ask a slightly different question.
1 Were the places that units were based, for example, like Kroimire where
2 the Sokoli Unit was based, did those places have a name, were they
3 referred to by -- by a name, for example a headquarters or some other
5 A. In this period we cannot speak of a staff. I understand very
6 well what a staff is.
7 Honoured Judges, under "staff" I believe that it should have its
8 commander and a good structure, which we lacked at that time. It was a
9 pure guerrilla unit which had a commander and sometimes a deputy
10 commander. At that time the existence of a staff was not possible the
11 way you mean.
12 Q. I think you're anticipating a question that I haven't asked. My
13 question is: Was the place referred to by any name, headquarters, any
14 other name?
15 A. The place was called Kroimire. The guerrilla unit initially was
16 called Sokoli. Then afterwards it was disbanded another -- and the unit
17 was formed in Pjetershtice, the unit that we then called Zborce unit. At
18 a later phase another unit was formed in Blinaje and Fushtice, but the
19 units were called after the villages where they were set up.
20 Q. Did you ever hear the term "point" or "post"?
21 A. Yes. I have heard it, even though it was not -- did not carry
22 any military conation, it was not a military expression.
23 Q. How was it used, the term point or "pika"?
24 A. I'm not clear what points you're talking about.
25 Q. Well, for example, was Kroimire ever referred to as a point? You
1 said there was a unit at Fustica. Was that ever referred to as a point?
2 A. It depends on the way the soldiers refers to them. In Fushtice
3 there was a firing line. When the guerrilla unit had to engage in a
4 frontal war, that line was called as the fire line. Maybe they called --
5 the soldiers called it "point." I cannot be very precise, but what I
6 know is that we referred to it as a fire line.
7 Q. Okay. But my question is -- I'll put it this way: Was Kroimire
8 -- did you ever hear Kroimire referred to as a point or Petrastica as a
10 A. Your Honours, I'm here to testify to what I know and I've seen.
11 I am saying that I know that there have been fire lines. There have been
12 guerrilla units which were named after the villages they were formed. As
13 to what people called them, what words they used to describe them, I'm
14 here under oath and wish to tell here what I knew and know.
15 JUDGE PARKER: Is that answer no?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The answer is I didn't know, I
17 didn't hear. Simply, I don't know. I know about the fire lines, but as
18 to how others described them I'm not here to testify to what others have
19 said but to what I myself have seen and can say here.
20 JUDGE PARKER: You were asked whether you had heard the term, and
21 I gather that your answer is no.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No.
23 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you.
24 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
25 Q. Aside from you -- we'll refer to it then as units and not points.
1 Aside from units being established in Kroimire and you referred to
2 Fustica, did you become aware of other villages in this area around
3 Kroimire where units were established during this time period in May and
4 June of 1998?
5 A. I mentioned the units I know.
6 Q. Could you repeat them for me, please.
7 A. The units of Pjetershtice, the units of Zborce, the units of
8 Blinaje, the unit of Fushtice.
9 Q. And were these all established in May and June of -- May and
10 early June 1998?
11 A. At the end of May, as I said earlier, the first unit was set up
12 in Kroimire; the other units were formed in June. So the establishment
13 of these units was not done overnight; it took days. And it -- they were
14 formed gradually. The units of Pjetershtice and Zborce were formed
15 earlier; later the Blinaje unit was formed. And several days later,
16 which for us it was rather late considering the need for organisation,
17 was that of Fushtice.
18 Q. And were all those units -- by the time you met with Jakup
19 Krasniqi in Klecka around the 20th of June, 1998, were all those units
21 A. Not all of them. The Blinaje unit was formed and later that of
23 Q. What about in Luznica? Did you hear about a unit being formed in
25 A. I was in Luznica to visit the unit at a later phase, and it was
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 -- there was a guerrilla unit in there, in Luzhnice.
2 Q. When was that? When you visited, when was that?
3 A. It was the end of June/beginning of July.
4 Q. Before you visited did you learn that there was a unit in
5 Luznica? When I say "learn," I mean were you told, did you hear? Did
6 you somehow come to know that there was a unit in Luznica?
7 A. I had understood that there were soldiers in Luznica, but I
8 learned that there was a unit when I visited Luzhnice.
9 Q. And when did you unit that there were soldiers there?
10 A. In Luzhnice it was after my return from Kacanik, in June I think.
11 It was then that I realised that the -- there are soldiers in Luzhnice,
12 and then after my visit I realised it was a unit.
13 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, perhaps it's a convenient time.
14 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. We will have the first morning break
15 now, resuming at 10 minutes to 11.00.
16 --- Recess taken at 10.29 a.m.
17 --- On resuming at 10.53 a.m.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Whiting.
19 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
20 Q. Mr. Buja, before we broke you told us that there was a unit in
21 Luznica, that you learned this at the end of June/beginning of July 1998.
22 How about in Lapusnik? Were you aware of a unit being in Lapusnik?
23 During May or June of 1998?
24 A. I knew that there were several units in Lapusnik.
25 Q. When did you know this?
1 A. After my return from Kacanik, of course, at the end of
2 May/beginning of June.
3 Q. How did you learn that?
4 A. I learned that because we acted in Kroimire, Shale, Nekovce,
5 which was in the territory of the units that were being formed in Fustica
6 and Blinaje. And I had heard about the fighting that had started in the
7 Lapusnik gorge.
8 Q. Do you recall when that was, the fighting in Lapusnik gorge?
9 A. I don't know the date but it was in May.
10 Q. And what happened after the fighting in Lapusnik gorge?
11 A. After the fighting from what I heard the Lapusnik gorge was
12 blocked by the guerrilla units of the KLA.
13 Q. And was a unit or units formed then in Lapusnik?
14 A. I don't know for sure, but I heard that there were some units
16 Q. Did you hear the names of the units?
17 A. Yes, I heard of several units like the unit Pellumbi, Guri,
18 Celiku 3. If I'm not wrong, the unit Lumi.
19 Q. The -- are you aware that Lapusnik is divided by the
20 Peja-Pristina road?
21 A. I know very little Lapusnik as a village.
22 Q. But are you aware it is divided in two by that road?
23 A. I don't know whether Lapusnik is divided in two parts or whether
24 it's one part.
25 Q. The -- you referred to the Celiku 3 unit. Do you know where
1 specifically, what part of Lapusnik that was located in?
2 A. I don't know specifically because I did not operate in Lapusnik.
3 So it's hard for me to tell you exactly where this unit operated.
4 Q. Can you give us any information about where -- you said you can't
5 do it exactly or specifically. Can you give us any information about
6 where the Celiku 3 unit operated in Lapusnik?
7 A. What -- I cannot give any information. I can only say that from
8 what I knew the Celiku 3 was located in Lapusnik.
9 Q. But you're unable to give anymore information than that about
10 where in Lapusnik it operated?
11 A. I couldn't know that because I was operating in another part.
12 Q. How about the Guri unit? Do you have any information about where
13 specifically that unit operated?
14 A. From what I heard, even though I'm not here about what I heard,
15 since you are insisting I may tell you that the Guri unit operated, as I
16 said earlier, in the Lapusnik region or area.
17 Q. But do you have anymore information aside from that? And I am,
18 to be clear, asking what you heard, what you saw, what you learned. Do
19 you have any other information about where the Guri unit operated, aside
20 from Lapusnik? Any more specific information?
21 A. I don't wish to speak about what I have heard after the war
22 because we have often talked about the war after the war, looking at it
23 from the angle of a post-war time and not from the angle of what it was
24 at that time. At that time I knew about units that existed or operated
25 in Lapusnik. I knew about the units that I mentioned earlier, the Guri
1 unit, Pellumbi, Celiku 3, and if I'm not mistaken, Lumi unit.
2 Q. So your testimony is at the time you didn't know anything more
3 specific about where these units operated. Is that your testimony?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. How about Javor? Was there a unit in Javor?
6 A. I don't recall that there was a unit in Javor.
7 Q. Now I want to ask you about your knowledge of what commanded
8 various units. You've already told us about Kroimire. How about
9 Luznica, the unit in Luznica, who commanded that unit?
10 A. During my visit there I met with Ismet Jashari, who seemed to be
11 the commander of the unit in Luzhnice.
12 Q. And Ismet Jashari is -- was he known at that time by his
14 A. Yes, he was known by the pseudonym Kumanova.
15 Q. And the Celiku 3 unit in Lapusnik, do you know who commanded that
17 A. At that time I didn't know who commanded Celiku 3 unit.
18 Q. Now, you've described units in May and June of 1998 in various
19 places, in Kroimire, Petrastica, Fustica, Lapusnik, Luznica, and other
20 places. My question is: Was there any command or coordination above
21 these units at that time in May/June of 1998?
22 A. Your Honours, I would like to explain to you that the Kosova
23 Liberation Army grew according to several stages, and prior to March 1998
24 it was in extreme illegality. After March it was restricted I would say
25 or limited, illegality. It was semi-legal, I would say. It was the
1 phase of the development of the guerrilla units in June/July. It was a
2 phase that developed very rapidly. I might describe it as a horizontal
3 development in terms of the KLA units. We combined the guerrilla warfare
4 with the frontal war, which was being applied for the first time in the
5 history of the wars in Kosova. This combination, which is known in the
6 guerrilla warfare as an invincible unit - that hits and withdraws very
7 quickly, whereas the front is always known through the regular military
8 formations units - this combination which seemed very successful in
9 June/July led us to have heavy guerrilla units that operated through
10 frontal warfare, taking up positions. This was done because we were
11 afraid of possible massacres and the need to defend the civilian
13 This period is characterised by guerrilla units that are very
14 quickly organised in some instances. They -- the soldiers of these units
15 or the commanders didn't know of other -- the existence of other
16 guerrilla units. This prompted us to try to coordinate their actions for
17 them not to get out of control. This coordination of the units was done
18 -- was necessary especially when we were fighting because the Serb forces
19 attacked a guerrilla unit, and the other guerrilla units went to its
20 rescue. At a later phase the leaders of the Serb forces probably
21 understood this tactic, and in July they attacked us in all the firing
22 points, in all the frontal lines where the guerrilla units had taken up
24 In June when -- after contacts with Jakup Krasniqi I began to
25 organise the operational subzone of Nerodime which would include Lipjan,
1 Shtime, Ferizaj towns and we were discussing Kacanik and Elez Hani. I
2 began to coordinate the actions of the units that were in Lipjan
3 municipality, to coordinate, to better arm them and supply them with
4 munitions, and give instructions to them to take better positions. It
5 was at that time that I began the work of coordination of the units in
6 Lipjan municipality. It was the organisation of the guerrilla units
7 which -- where I fought and which I myself organised.
8 Q. Mr. Buja, that was a very long speech but it did not answer my
9 question. My question was: During May and June of 1998 you've described
10 these various points that existed in Lapusnik, Kroimire, Petrastica,
11 Fustica, Luznica. My question is: During May and June of 1998 was there
12 any coordination or command above those points, those units? Yes or no?
13 A. I can't answer with yes or no because this is a long period,
14 May/June, and in May the organisation was different from that of June
15 when the KLA started to be consolidated. In May up to mid-June the unit
16 -- there were the guerrilla units which were located in the villages that
17 I mentioned earlier, whereas after or in mid-June the units were
18 coordinated by myself, the units that I mentioned, Fushtice, Blinaje, and
19 I tried to coordinate the units in Zborce and Pjetershtice, but I
20 encountered major problems.
21 Q. So is your testimony that May up to mid-June there was no
22 coordination of the units, the guerrilla units, in the various villages?
23 Is that your testimony?
24 A. There was no coordination because the guerrilla units were
25 guerrilla units and the only hierarchy above them was the General Staff.
1 Q. And how did that change after mid-June 1998?
2 A. With -- when the General Staff began to appoint the commanders of
3 the subzones, there was of course a plan by the general to organise the
4 subzones. But the beginning of this phase, that is the appointment of
5 the commanders of the subzones which were determined on the basis of the
6 municipalities, this marks the new beginning -- the beginning of a new
7 organisation which was difficult to consolidate because of a very severe
8 offensive mounted by the Serb forces in July. Therefore, it was very
9 difficult to have this structure function properly, this subzone
10 structure. So you should bear in mind that the development of these
11 subzones or the guerrilla units was not the same in all the places or all
12 over the territory because it differed. In Drenica it developed at an
13 earlier phase; in Dukagjin, it was the same. But after Drenica -- But it
14 was after Drenica. Whereas in Pastrik area, as it was called later, the
15 development was at a later phase and in Nerodime subzone, too. This is
16 how the form -- how the -- the structure of the KLA developed.
17 Q. When would you say that the structure developed in the Pastrik
18 zone. You said it developed at a later time. When?
19 A. I can't give you a given date because the structure of the
20 subzone required human resources, great human resources; therefore the
21 structuring of the other units that would be later called brigades in
22 these subzones was quite a long period fraught with great difficulties.
23 Because at the same time we had to deal with the organisation and with
24 the war and taking care of the civilian population and doing many other
25 things. Therefore, it was very hard, this period, for us and we cannot
1 set a certain date for this. Just the appointment of the commanders of
2 the subzones began in June, whereas the structuring of KLA when was
3 possible very late, maybe in -- also in Pastrik in September or October
4 of that year.
5 Q. Before that occurred in September/October of 1998, was there any
6 coordination of the units or posts that you have described from a higher
7 level or was it only when it was consolidated in September and October of
8 1998 that that was possible?
9 A. The units that were formed in Lipjan territory which I mentioned
10 earlier, I began to coordinate their actions at the end of June and
11 beginning of July. In July it was I think the 6th of July I was
12 officially appointed the commander of Nerodime subzone covering Lipjan,
13 Ferizaj, Kacanik, Elez Hani municipalities. In this way I could start
14 the coordination of the actions of these guerrilla units; however, the
15 severe fights which took place in this month, in July, prevented me from
16 continuing this work in the subzone.
17 Q. Aside from that work that you just described in the Nerodimlje
18 zone, were you aware in June or July of any other structure being created
19 that coordinated the various points that we've talked about, Kroimire,
20 Lapusnik, Luznica, Fustica, Petrastica?
21 A. There was no other structure. I'm talking about the earlier
22 phase of the coordination of the operations of these units at the end of
23 June and the beginning of July. So these units were guerrilla units
24 which operated and which had above them the General Staff. But at the
25 end of June, I'm talking about the subzone where I would be appointed its
1 commander later, that happened at the end of June/beginning of July, that
2 is the beginning of the coordination. In the Pastrik area, the commander
3 was also appointed, the commander of the Pastrik Operational Zone.
4 Q. And who was that?
5 A. The commander of the Pastrik Operational subzone was appointed
6 Musa Jashari.
7 Q. And during June and July of 1998 do you know what Fatmir Limaj
8 was doing?
9 A. To my recollection Fatmir Limaj was with the Celiku unit based in
10 Klecke, and he was there with the unit in Klecke.
11 Q. And what were his duties or responsibilities during June and July
12 of 1998 to your knowledge?
13 A. I don't know of other responsibilities of Fatmir Limaj, other
14 than the one I mentioned earlier.
15 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, I would ask that the witness be
16 excused from the courtroom; I have an application to make.
17 JUDGE PARKER: Very well.
18 Mr. Buja, there is some matter which counsel has to raise with
19 the Chamber. Would you please wait outside the courtroom while that
20 matter is dealt with. Thank you.
21 [The witness stands down]
22 MR. WHITING: Could we go into private session, please?
23 JUDGE PARKER: Private session.
24 [Private session]
11 Pages 3800-3825 redacted. Private session.
19 [Open session]
20 THE REGISTRAR: We are in open session.
21 [The witness entered court]
22 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Buja, thank you for waiting. Unfortunately
23 the problem -- or a problem has arisen that Defence counsel have been
24 working on one translation of certain materials, whereas the Prosecution
25 are working on a different one. It directly affects your evidence, and
1 because of that it will be necessary for the Chamber to stop sitting now
2 instead of sitting on for another hour or so to allow time for the
3 translation difficulty to be resolved, which means that we must ask you
4 to return on Monday at 2.15. There will then be some further submissions
5 by Defence counsel, hoping by then that they have overcome the problem of
6 the translation. And once that is resolved, I'm not sure at the moment
7 how long that will take, but in the course of Monday afternoon you will
8 be recalled to continue your evidence. We apologise for this delay, but
9 it means your evidence will take a little longer than before. But these
10 difficulties, as you will understand, have to be resolved in fairness to
11 the accused people.
12 So we propose to adjourn now to resume the hearing of this trial
13 at 2.15 on Monday. Thank you.
14 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 12.36 p.m.,
15 to be reconvened on Monday, the 7th day of
16 March, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.