1 Friday, 27 May 2005
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 --- Upon commencing at 9.02 a.m.
5 JUDGE PARKER: You understand, Mr. Limaj, the affirmation still
7 Mr. Whiting.
8 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
9 WITNESS: FATMIR LIMAJ [Resumed]
10 [Witness answered through interpreter]
11 Cross-examined by Mr. Whiting: [Continued]
12 Q. Mr. Limaj, I'm going to take up where I left off last night and
13 that is Rahovec. And to assist us, I am going to provide you with a map.
14 MR. WHITING: This map has been provided to Defence counsel and
15 I'll also provided some copies for the Court. If it could be placed
16 often the ELMO, please.
17 Q. Mr. Limaj, could you take a look at the map. I think it would be
18 easier if you took at the actual map rather than on the screen.
19 A. [In English] I think so.
20 Q. Can you find Malisevo on that map? It's at the top.
21 A. [Interpretation] Yes.
22 Q. And then the road that runs to Rahovec?
23 A. Yes, yes. Here it is. Malisevo --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Interpreter cannot hear the witness at all.
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I don't know if you're following
2 MR. WHITING:
3 Q. Well, the interpreter is having trouble hearing you. That's the
4 problem because you're not speaking into the microphone.
5 Mr. Limaj, I understand, but on this map are you able to see the
6 intersection where you outside of Rahovec where you say you went on -- at
7 about 11.30 at night on the 17th of July? Are you able to see that on
8 the map?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. Could you take a pen -- you may have one in your hand. Could you
11 circle it, please?
12 A. I think it is here.
13 Q. Thank you. Now, are you able also to see -- find the village of
14 Retimlje? Yeah, it's to the south -- yeah? Do you see it?
15 A. Just a second, please. I thought I saw it somewhere. It must be
17 Q. If I can draw your attention to the -- if you go down on the map
18 it's sort of in the lower part of the map. Retimlje.
19 A. Yes.
20 Q. Could you just circle that, please, the name?
21 A. Yes. I think this is the one, but there used to be two Retimljes
22 before, the upper and lower Retimlje. I don't know which one this refers
24 Q. If you look below the Retimlje you referred to there's a "D
25 Retimlje" which perhaps refers to the lower. If you look at the Retimlje
1 you've circled there's another Retimlje marked.
2 A. The one that I circled writes [as interpreted] only Retimlje.
3 Q. Go lower --
4 A. The other one has a "D" in front of it.
5 Q. You can circle that one as well. And then do you see the village
6 of Opterusa? Could you circle that as well, please.
7 A. Yes, I see it.
8 Q. Thank you. Now, you -- you can -- you don't need to look at the
9 map any more.
10 MR. WHITING: The -- the -- but if it could be left there in case
11 we need to refer to it.
12 Q. The place that you circled -- actually, just so the record is
13 clear, I mean I think it probably is clear, but place you circled where
14 you went, the inner section outside of Rahovec, could you just put a
15 number 1 next to that. If you could just mark number 1 so it's clear
16 which circle we're referring to.
17 A. In order to be clear, this is number 1 coming from Malisheve
18 going to Rahovec but the one that goes round Rahovec. If you can see my
19 finger here, this is the place where the road leads from Prizren to
20 Rahovec. Maybe this will clear things up a little bit.
21 Q. I appreciate that clarification, but just so everything is very
22 clear, the circle that you made with the number 1 next to it, that's the
23 intersection where you went at 11.30 at night on the 17th of July;
24 correct? Okay.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. From -- from 11.30 at night on the 17th until approximately 8.00
2 or 9.00 in the morning on the 19th when you fainted, were you at that
3 location? Did you stay at that place?
4 A. No. I stayed here.
5 Q. Okay.
6 A. That's why I mentioned it.
7 Q. Okay. So can -- you arrive at 11.30 at night -- I don't think
8 that was clear in your prior testimony, so if -- if we could clarify that
9 now. You arrive at 11.30 at night at the place you marked 1, 11.30 at
10 night on the 17th of July. When did you leave that location?
11 A. Immediately.
12 Q. And where did you go? Are you able to see on the map where you
14 A. Yes. If you can see the road here, it's right about here.
15 Probably it's closer to the bridge which was illustrated in the DVD that
16 you showed, where the positions are for the protection of Rahovec.
17 Q. Could you just put a circle there where you're pointing and put a
18 2 just so the record is clear.
19 A. [Marks]
20 Q. So if I understand you, then, at 11.30 at night on the 17th of
21 July you arrived at the place where you've marked number 1. You spent
22 some time -- that's where you found out about -- you say you found out
23 about what was happening, at that place number 1? And then you proceeded
24 to place number 2?
25 A. It was only two minutes, Mr. Prosecutor. I met two soldiers
1 there. I asked them what was going on, and they told me that some
2 soldiers from Malisheve has -- have gone to point number 2 that I marked
3 here, number 2, and that's why I went there.
4 Q. Where -- there were only two soldiers at point number 1?
5 A. No, a couple, I said. Some. I don't know how many. There was
6 confusion. There were many civilians. There were many civilians as
7 well, so it was a confused situation. I can't tell you how many there
8 were. It was total confusion. Nobody could tell you what was going on.
9 Q. Now, you -- then you proceeded to the point number 2 that you've
10 marked, and did you remain at that place until you fainted on the morning
11 of the 19th of July?
12 A. Yes. That's where I stayed, yes.
13 Q. Now, you -- in your testimony on direct examination when you were
14 answering questions from Mr. Mansfield, you said that you -- when you
15 were at that location you built up defence positions and you started
16 digging trenches. Okay. Did you --
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. Did you engage in any fighting? Did you actually have any
20 A. No, Mr. Prosecutor, there was no fighting, because -- I don't
21 know if it's here in the map, but on that road, if you could see, this
22 road here, this road leads to Prizren or Zerze. There is a village
23 there, Bela Crkva, probably 10 or 12 kilometres away and there were units
24 of the KLA there who fought against Serbian forces. That unit there, the
25 following day. But we didn't fight in the place where we were.
1 I personally did not fight, because I fainted before the Serbian forces
2 came. I lost consciousness, so I don't know what happened after that.
3 Q. Now, you testified that on the -- the 18th you saw the
4 representatives of the General Staff, Byslym Zyropi, Hashim Thaqi, Agim
5 Qelaj. Jakup Krasniqi, was he...?
6 A. I did not say Hashim Thaqi. I don't think I said that, because
7 Hashim was not there. I think I said Sokol Bashota, Byslym and Agim
8 Qelaj. And probably Muse Jashari. But it was very foggy for me at the
9 time. I think these were the people that were present at the time.
10 Q. Okay. Actually, in response to a question from Mr. Topolski, you
11 did say Hashim Thaqi. You said that Hashim Thaqi was also there. But
12 are you now saying that he was not there?
13 A. I don't know. If I said that, maybe I made -- I made a mistake.
14 But it was very hazy, as I said. The situation was such that I couldn't
15 -- I can't remember. I fainted, as I said. But I don't think he was
16 there. I don't think he was there. I know about Byslym and Agim because
17 I was introduced to Agim, and somebody told me that he would become
18 commander of that operation. There were people coming from all
19 directions and he was in charge of coordinating them.
20 Q. Okay. I understand that it was very hazy then after you fainted,
21 but is it hazy now, your memory of these events?
22 A. That's what I'm saying. It is hazy. You have to take everything
23 I say about that period with some reservation because of the way I felt
24 at the time, my health. I said this yesterday, and I said it before.
25 Because of my health situation I'm not sure about what went on.
1 Q. Okay. I understand that, and I will take everything you say
2 about that period with some reservation.
3 Sitting here today, what is your best memory today, now, what is
4 your best memory about whether you saw Hashim Thaqi? Do you think you
5 did? Do you think you did? What's your best memory?
6 A. On that day -- I'm not sure about that day. I think it was the
7 20th or the 21st, if I'm not mistaken, that I saw him. On the 21st
8 rather than the 20th.
9 Q. Okay. But that would have been somewhere else. That's not in
10 Rahovec then. That's in -- were you in Gajrak then or in Malisevo?
11 Where --
12 A. No. I did not stay at Gajrak for a very long time. This was
13 because the Serbian forces, after they took Rahovec, they started on
14 their way to Malisheva. And, Your Honours, people were trying to protect
15 -- to defend Malisheva because they thought because they had had this
16 victory in Rahovec they would take Malisheva as well. So people were
17 trying to defend Malisheva. Maybe we can illustrate this in the map.
18 Q. We can --
19 A. Can I do this on the map?
20 Q. In a moment that may be useful, but I'm just not clear. Were you
21 involved -- were you in Malisevo on the 21st?
22 A. No, no.
23 Q. Okay.
24 A. I wasn't.
25 Q. You say you think you saw Hashim Thaqi on the 21st. Where did
1 you see him on the 21st?
2 A. Probably I saw him at one of these points on the road to
3 Malisheve, because at that time they were trying to reinforce those
4 points in order to defend Malisheva from the Serbian forces coming from
5 Rahovec. There was fighting going on. The Serbs went towards Malisheve
6 and that's why our forces were concentrated on the road to Malisevo in
7 order to defend Malisevo, not to let the Serbian forces penetrate there.
8 So the Serbian forces, after they took Rahovec, they started on the road
9 to Malisevo but then they stopped.
10 Q. And you -- did you go there and participate in trying to prevent
11 the Serb forces?
12 A. No, because I was feeling sick. I went there to meet Sadik.
13 Well, not to meet him but to learn about him, because I didn't know
14 whether he was alive or dead. Everybody was looking for people at the
15 time because many died at that time. Somebody told me that Sadik was
16 alive, and he was there at the point where I went. And although I was
17 very ill - I was with Sabit, I think - I went there. He was not there,
18 so I returned because I was very ill.
19 Q. Can -- are you able to mark on the map where you went that you
20 just referred to?
21 A. Yes. Your Honours, when the Serbs took Rahovec, when it was
22 completely under their control -- it was here, Mr. Prosecutor. So the
23 Serbs had come here --
24 JUDGE PARKER: [Previous translation continues] ... that you had
25 marked on the map.
1 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, Your Honours. On the 19th the
3 Serbs had come at midday but I was at the hospital at the time so I don't
4 know. But they had not stopped here.
5 MR. WHITING:
6 Q. Mr. Limaj, this will go faster if you could just focus on the
7 question. You talked about going on the 21st to a spot to look for Sadik
8 or find information about Sadik. Are you able to mark on the map where
9 that was that you went?
10 A. Yes. I was trying to explain the continuity of the Serb
11 movements. That's why I did that.
12 Mr. Prosecutor, I think it was somewhere about here. It's this
13 line here that I drew. Is it okay if I draw a line?
14 Q. The line is fine. If you could put a 3 next to it.
15 A. [Marks]
16 Q. Now, your testimony is as I understand it on the 21st you went to
17 that spot.
18 A. That's what I think. But, Your Honours, as I said, I might make
19 a mistake because the developments were such that I can make mistakes.
20 The situation was totally confused. I think I went there to look for
21 Sadik. There was a point here to stop the Serbs from going to Malisheve.
22 Q. How long do you think you spent there? The best -- just your
23 best memory.
24 A. Ten or 15 minutes, not more, I think. In fact, at the time when
25 I was -- went there there was shelling and bullets as well, shelling from
1 tanks. When we arrived there, the shelling started, so we went on the
2 other side. We asked about him, and they told us that he was not there.
3 So immediately I returned and continued with a therapy that I was
4 receiving before, and then we heard about the information. I think it
5 was on television that they announced that he had been killed, on the
6 news. He had his ID in his pocket. That's how they had identified him.
7 Q. When you --
8 A. Somebody had heard that he was killed.
9 Q. When you say it was announced on television, I take it you're
10 talking about Albanian television, television from Albania.
11 A. Yes, yes. The Serbian media as well. And our -- maybe our
12 television referred to the Serbian media when they mentioned that. But
13 it was -- the source was the Serbian media, because our television could
14 not take that information without referring to the Serbs. The Serbs were
15 there. We did not know anything. But he had his ID in his pocket, and
16 that's how they identified him.
17 Q. Now, Mr. Limaj, do I understand your testimony correctly that you
18 think it was at this spot number 3 where you saw Hashim Thaqi on the
20 A. That's where I think I saw him, because the members of the
21 General Staff kept guard there because there was great risk to the
22 population in that area. The population were trying to leave, to flee
23 because of the Serbian forces.
24 Q. I understand, Mr. Limaj --
25 A. -- that were trying is to get to Malisheve.
1 Q. My question was just about Hashim Thaqi. Aside from that
2 occasion do you remember seeing him on any other occasion or was that the
3 only occasion you remember seeing him? In connection with these events
4 in Rahovec.
5 A. Well, to speak the truth I can't tell you. It was very hazy at
6 the time. It's still hazy.
7 Q. Okay. Let me go back --
8 A. I'm sorry I can't help you with this, but the situation was
9 confused, as I said. And in addition to that, I was ill.
10 Q. Let's go back to point number 2 that you marked, and on the 18th
11 you saw the representatives of the General Staff. Was -- I can't recall
12 if you said -- did you say you saw Jakup Krasniqi? Was he one of them or
14 A. No. No.
15 Q. [Previous translation continues] ... Adem Qelaj, Rexhep Selimi?
16 A. I'm saying no about Jakup Krasniqi because I think he was not at
17 the positions. He never went to the positions. That's why I'm saying
19 With regard to Rexhep Selimi, I think at the time he -- he was in
20 Albania trying to get into Kosovo. I don't know whether he was in
21 Albania, whether he had arrived in Kosovo.
22 Q. Okay.
23 A. But he was trying to get into Kosovo. Byslym and Sokol I'm sure
24 they were there and Agim Qelaj. You know why? Because it was at 6.00 in
25 the morning or 7.00 in the morning when I went to point 1 where I went to
1 ask people what was going on. There was such a great noise here and so
2 many people. And I asked them, What's going on here? And the people
3 were telling me nothing. We don't know anything. But these people have
4 to be told where to go because there's such a big confusion here. But
5 then the second time I can't remember anything.
6 Q. Okay. You went at 6.00 or 7.00 in the morning of the 18th to
7 position 1?
8 A. Yes. Yes.
9 Q. Okay. Now --
10 A. In the morning.
11 Q. But you saw the representatives of the General Staff at position
12 2; correct? Is that -- that's where you saw them on --
13 A. No. I went to position 2. I was referring to 1 where I saw
14 them. I told you about that house where a kind of improvised and
15 makeshift staff or headquarter were -- was established. On the DVD. We
16 saw that on the DVD.
17 Q. Okay. So now to be clear, from -- on the morning of the 18th you
18 went back to position 1 and that's where you saw the representatives the
19 General Staff. Okay.
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. After you saw them, did you return to position 2? Okay. Did
22 you --
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. Did you see the representatives the General Staff again after
1 A. Not the representatives of the staff, but Agim Qelaj, Agim Qelaj
2 was left there. I don't know where the others went because Agim had the
3 duty to coordinate everything. He came there to where I was staying and
4 he gave instructions of about how to dig the trenches and reinforce the
6 Q. And was it the morning of the 19th that you saw -- you went back
7 to position 1 and you saw Agim Qelaj there?
8 A. Yes. I went back to position 1 on the 19th in the morning, and
9 then I fainted. But as I said, it's very confused in my mind what
11 Q. Now, when you arrived at position 1 for the first time at 11.30
12 at night on the 17th, did any of the soldiers there tell you that a few
13 hours before, at around 7.30 at night, they had stopped a man and his
14 wife in a car with -- and their son and his wife and a child, a family of
15 Serbs, that they had stopped them in their car? Did anyone tell you
16 about that?
17 A. No. No, never.
18 Q. They didn't tell you that they -- that they had separated the two
19 older men and sent them to Malisevo and sent the rest of the family into
20 Rahovec? You didn't hear anything about that when you were there?
21 A. No. Not at the time, no. Absolutely not.
22 Q. The next when you returned to that position 1, did they tell you
23 that the -- the women and the young grandson had driven -- had been taken
24 through that position later that night after you left, at about 1.00 in
25 the morning, and taken to Malisevo right through that spot number 1? Did
1 anyone tell you about that?
2 A. No, Mr. Prosecutor. There were 500 or 600 people there minimum
3 coming from various places. Armed. There were 5 or 6.000 civilians
4 trying to flee. There were people coming in and going out.
5 Q. Mr. Limaj, I'm talking about Serb civilians who were stopped and
6 detained. I'm just trying to find out if you heard anything about this.
7 A. Yes, I understand you, but I'm trying to explain how the
8 situation was. It was impossible. There were hundreds of people there.
9 Many people were saying various things, and they didn't know what was
10 going on.
11 Q. But did you hear anything about it? Did anyone tell you anything
12 about it? Did you hear anything about --
13 A. No.
14 Q. -- about Serb civilians being taken prisoner and being taken to
15 Malisevo from Rahovec? Did you hear anything on --
16 A. No.
17 Q. On the 18th did you hear anything about the KLA -- well, it's
18 starting the night of the 17th and going into the morning of the 18th
19 that the Serbs attacked houses in Opterusa. Did anybody tell you
20 anything about that? The representatives of the General Staff or the
21 soldiers did you hear anything about that?
22 A. [No interpretation]
23 Q. Just answer the question, please. Did you hear anything about
25 A. I want to tell you what I heard. Yes, I will. The units,
1 various units, I heard that fighting started in --
2 THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, I didn't hear the name of the
4 Q. Excuse me, Mr. Limaj. I'm just going to interrupt you because
5 the interpreter was not able to hear. You said you heard fighting
6 started in, and the interpreter could not hear the name of the village.
7 So if you could just start over with your answer. You heard that
8 fighting started --
9 A. I heard that fighting started from Suhareke, from the bases in
10 Suhareke to the bases in Opterushe, towards Rahovec. I don't know where
11 Opterushe is, but I know to -- to go to Suhareke you have to pash from
12 Opterushe. This is what I heard.
13 Q. Now, the story that you gave to the Court in your direct
14 examination about how the fighting in Rahovec started was that there was
15 -- there were -- there were shots fired in the -- in the town of Rahovec
16 and units that were stationed around Rahovec were concerned and everybody
17 spontaneously rushed into the town. Can you explain how, then, this
18 fighting occurred on the night of the 17th, morning of the 18th in
19 Opterusa, which is quite -- as you can see on the map quite a bit aways
20 from Rahovec. Do you have any explanation for that?
21 A. I don't know. On the 17th or 18th -- I think it was on the 18th
22 that the great confusion was. When the fighting started in Rahovec they
23 left from Suha Reka to help in that area. I think this is how the
24 fighting must have started. This is the logic of it. I'm just supposing
25 this was so because I don't know. That is another part.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. Mr. Limaj, isn't it a fact -- in fact, this was an organised
2 attack by the KLA on Rahovec and the villages surrounding Rahovec? This
3 was an organised and planned attack.
4 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I don't know what you you're saying now. I can't
5 tell the difference between organised and unorganised. I don't know,
6 then, in this world what you can refer to as unorganised.
7 From the very beginning during the war, after the war, everyone
8 who has referred to the Rahovec case has told the truth. That was total
9 confusion. Civilians took part in fighting. Soldiers took part in
10 fighting. People came from various places. Nobody can tell what
11 happened. It was not organised, or at least I think so. I gave you my
13 Mr. Prosecutor, nothing was organised there. Every observer who
14 was there could testify to that because if that was organised, there were
15 3 or 400 special police forces involved. There was -- it was not
16 organised. It was a total confusion.
17 Q. Mr. Limaj, did you also hear on the morning of the 18th there was
18 Serb houses in the village of Retimlje were attacked? Did you hear
19 anything about that? And that some 16 Serb men were taken from Retimlje
20 and have never been seen alive again? Did you hear anything about that?
21 A. What I know is that there were fighting all over, but about the
22 village you are asking me, I can't tell you specifically about that. I
23 referred to Bela Crkva. Fighting here, fighting there, fighting outside,
24 all over. We didn't know what was going on.
25 Q. And you still maintain that this was spontaneous. There was
1 fighting everywhere and you still maintain it was spontaneous. Everybody
2 started fighting at the same time. That's your position, Mr. Limaj?
3 A. No. No, sir. I told you how things started. This was like a
4 chain, you know, one started here and then the other said, "Let's go and
5 help. What is happening in Rahovec?" This is how it started. There
6 were Serb positions. The Serbs prevented them, so they had to fight with
7 the Serbs. This is how it happened.
8 If it started as you are saying, Mr. Prosecutor, then they should
9 have organised the fighting very well in Bela Crkva and not have 10 or 15
10 soldiers killed there of ours who were coming to help in Rahovec.
11 Hundreds and thousands of people were there and nothing happened.
12 Q. Mr. Limaj --
13 A. I don't know how to explain it.
14 Q. In those days following the fighting in Rahovec, did you ever
15 hear about Serb civilians, men who had been taken from Opterusa, Retimlje
16 and from Rahovec itself being held prisoner in Malisevo for a period of
17 about ten days? Did you hear about that happening?
18 A. No, sir. To tell you the truth, the main concern for us that --
19 my -- my personal concern at that time was the murder of those fighters
20 and the confused situation. So I was not focused on that event.
21 As I told you, people were talking about what happened in
22 Rahovec. They were saying that the Serbs were violating women and
23 perpetrating all sorts of crimes. Many soldiers were lost. Nobody knew
24 where they were. Not at that time, sir.
25 Q. At the moment I'm trying -- Mr. Limaj, at the moment I'm trying
1 to focus on these Serb civilians that were taken prisoner.
2 A. [No interpretation]
3 Q. If we could just focus on them, please. Did you hear anything
4 about a plan to take civilians prisoner in order to exchange them for KLA
5 soldiers who had been taken prisoner by the Serbs? Did you hear -- in
6 your meetings with the General Staff or the representatives of the
7 General Staff, did you ever hear anything about such a plan to take
8 prisoner that would be used as an exchange?
9 A. Did you hear that some KLA soldiers were taken about the Serbs,
10 you are saying? This is the first time for me to hear that.
11 Q. Okay. My question maybe was unclear. Did you ever hear about a
12 plan to take Serb civilians prisoner in order to exchange them for KLA
13 soldiers or Albanians who had been taken prisoner by the Serbs? Did
14 you -- just yes or no. Did you ever hear about such a plan?
15 A. This is the first time for me to hear that.
16 Q. And did you ever hear about prisoner who were being held in
17 Malisevo or elsewhere later being executed by the KLA? No? You're
18 shaking your head no.
19 A. No, I have not heard.
20 Q. Now --
21 MR. GUY-SMITH: Excuse me, if I might. The number of questions
22 that have been asked over this last period of time, and I do appreciate
23 the fact that this is cross-examination and a wide latitude has been
24 given and should be given in cross-examination, but questions that say
25 "Did you ever hear" without any attributions whatsoever to any authors of
1 this information are so far-reaching that the extent to which at any
2 point anyone would rely - whether or not the answer is affirmative or
3 negative and it has been consistently negative - but that anyone would
4 rely on any of these questions having any basis in fact I think is
5 something that is important to note solely for purpose of the record.
6 Because it is rank hearsay of the worst kind, without any attribution as
7 to time, place, or author. And I rise solely for purpose of objecting
8 for the record.
9 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Guy-Smith. If there had been a
10 positive response, I would expect there to have been a more detailed
11 follow-up if it was considered that any weight should be attached to the
12 matter as all. But as you've indicated, there have been negative
14 MR. GUY-SMITH: Thank you.
15 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
16 Q. Now, Mr. Limaj, I just want to go back to the documentary that
17 was made about Sadik Shala who died in Rahovec. Before I do, you
18 obviously participated in the making of that documentary; right? I mean,
19 you're shown in the documentary.
20 THE INTERPRETER: Can the speakers pause between questions and
21 answers, please.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I didn't take part in it. I
23 had to wait a long time before I was able to make that statement.
24 MR. WHITING: Mr. Limaj, we've been asked by the interpreters to
25 pause between question and answer, so after I ask a question if you can
1 pause for a pause before answering and I'll try to do the same.
2 Q. Maybe my question is unclear. You were interviewed for that
3 documentary and in fact you appear speaking during the documentary for
4 Sadik Shala; correct?
5 A. When I speak about his life, this is all. I made a statement
6 only on his life. I don't know what you think. I gave that statement.
7 On the occasion of that event. I said what I knew, that's it.
8 Q. I understand. Now, after the documentary was broadcast on
9 television, did you ever make any complaints that the documentary about
10 your nephew's life was inaccurate?
11 A. I didn't make any complaints, but I told the reporters
12 immediately. I didn't see it direct on the spot. I saw it afterwards in
13 the video cassette. I saw that there were mistakes there, that they had
14 not described the situation as it really was.
15 Mr. Prosecutor, when you spoke for a documentary, you just sum up
16 events. You cannot go into details. And sometimes it happens that you
17 may not speak in detail or exactly about things, just summing up of the
19 I know that there were -- that there are some mistakes. They are
20 not major mistakes. I think they are mistakes that can be improved if
21 you write a book. But usually if you look at all documentary programmes
22 made on martyrs in Kosova, there are always such mistakes because you
23 look at events from a different perspective, not from what happened in
24 the reality.
25 Q. Mr. Limaj, you said you told the reporters immediately. Do you
1 know the reporters by name that you told?
2 A. Yes. Nuhi Bytyci. He was the author of that documentary. I
3 said this is not entirely so. I even told him that I too was incapable
4 of improving it at that moment. But he insisted that I give my version
5 of the story and I said what I thought at that moment. But just speaking
6 in general, as I said.
7 Q. Okay. I'm just going to play a short clip from that documentary
8 and give you an opportunity to comment on it. This is from Prosecution
9 Exhibit P34. And if we could switch to Sanction.
10 [Videotape played]
11 MR. WHITING:
12 Q. Were you able to hear that? Okay.
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. I just have a couple questions about that. First of all, it
15 describes the KLA soldiers as being fired with enthusiasm for liberating
16 the town. That's in fact what was happening. The KLA -- there was an
17 effort to take the town by the KLA, take control of that town. Correct?
18 A. I was waiting for the interpreter to finish. I have a tooth
19 pain. I'm sorry, I apologise. I had a pain all night and so I have to
20 speak slowly.
21 Q. Just -- just -- are you able to -- are you able to continue? Are
22 you able to focus?
23 A. Yes, yes.
24 Q. If you have any difficulty because of the tooth pain
25 concentrating, it's important that you tell us. Do you understand?
1 A. For the moment I can, but I was sleepless all night because of
2 the tooth pain.
3 With respect to what we saw here in this newsreel, Mr.
4 Prosecutor, this is a recording made by EuroNews. It is not filmed by
5 Albanian television crews, as far as I know. This is made for the media,
6 Mr. Prosecutor. You cannot rely on that.
7 I'm telling you again that the Serb forces never moved from
8 Rahovec. That is the truth. You have documents you yourself have
9 provided here that hundreds of policemen, Serb policemen, were stationed
10 there. Before -- four days before events in Rahovec, if I am not wrong,
11 there were Serbian special intervention forces deployed there. They were
12 there permanently, all the time.
13 It is true that -- that our forces took hold of 70 or 80 per cent
14 of Rahovec, but we never took it completely. It was a confusion. It
15 rained for one and a half days. That is the reality of Rahovec as far as
16 I know.
17 Q. Now, the other --
18 A. We have said -- we have declared that that's a fact that we took
19 Rahovec, in the media. That's what we declared that's true. 90 per cent
20 of the territory is under our control, we have declared that, but I think
21 that was only for the media. That doesn't coincide with the truth.
22 Q. The other question I had about this clip was that there's a
23 reference to "Celiku's soldiers of the 121 Brigade." Now, isn't it a
24 fact, Mr. Limaj, that in everything but name the 121 Brigade existed at
25 the time of Rahovec? It didn't have the name but otherwise in everything
1 but name the 121 Brigade existed that's why there is a reference to
2 "Celiku's soldiers of the 121 Brigade" fighting in Rahovec?
3 A. No. There were units from various units, Mr. Prosecutor. Sadik
4 was a member of the Celiku unit. You -- some said Celiku 1, Celiku 2,
5 but he was, that's a fact. The reporter mentions Brigade 121 because you
6 knew Sadik was a member of the Celiku unit, but that didn't exist.
7 Q. Was -- I'm pausing. Was there a plan in -- according to you to
8 create the 121 Brigade before the offensive, Serb offensive, at the end
9 of July? In other words, was there -- did the plan exist before the
11 A. At the end of June, the beginning of July, if I am not mistake -
12 I don't want to repeat what we have already discussed together - after
13 developments in Malisheve it became immediate for us to appoint the
14 commanders of Pashtrik and Nerodimlje zones. This was something that the
15 General Staff thought we should do immediately.
16 Q. I'm just going to interrupt you to try to move things along here.
17 Can you focus on the 121 Brigade. You're talking about the Pashtrik
18 zone, the Nerodimlje zone. Focus on the 121st Brigade. The question is
19 was there a plan according to you to create the 121 Brigade after the
20 offensive at the end of July or was that plan only devised after the
22 A. Mr. Prosecutor, I tried to explain to you that we couldn't form
23 brigades before dividing the zones. With respect to Brigade 121st, I
24 have never heard about that. I never heard how the brigades would be
25 formed and called. I didn't hear about any numbers. After August, I
1 started to hear first about Brigade 121, 61, 68, 122nd and so on.
2 Q. So --
3 A. But before that time, no.
4 Q. So just to be clear, you did not hear about any plan -- don't
5 focus on the name. You did not hear about any plan to form the brigade
6 until August. That's your testimony.
7 A. You are not letting me to explain. The plan was when the zone
8 commander was appointed, the plan was to build the zone and to divide
9 into brigades. That was a plan in July. But first you had to divide the
10 zones, then start talks with the units to form brigades to see what
11 territory each brigade would cover and so on. That was meant to be. But
12 we didn't know how they would call the brigades and what place they would
13 cover because we couldn't finish. We couldn't realise the plan. The
14 Pashtrik zone remained only with one commander without any other
15 structure. He didn't have even a deputy.
16 Q. So even according to you the planning of creating this brigade,
17 which later was called the 121 Brigade, the planning started in July?
18 A. Not the plan for a brigade but in July -- July this is what
19 happened: The zone commander was appointed, a commander of Nerodimlje
20 and Pashtrik. Then we said after appointing the commander we should form
21 the zones and begin talks with the units to start the restructuring of
22 the KLA. That commander waited for directives from the General Staff as
23 to what to do, how many brigades to form, where to form the brigades, how
24 to call them. All these things were interrupted during the offensive, so
25 we couldn't talk about the places, the number, or the territories. Only
1 the zone commander was appointed.
2 Q. I'm going to play another clip and this is from the interview.
3 It's from P36. This is an interview with you so these are your own
4 words. It's clip number 7.
5 [Videotape played]
6 MR. WHITING:
7 Q. Mr. Limaj, there in that account you say that you were together
8 with Hashim Thaqi during the fighting and you took turns on duty. That's
9 quite different what you -- than what you've told this Court today, isn't
11 A. No, no. It's not different. I said that the members of the
12 General Staff took turns to do their duty. It's just a summary of what
13 happened. This is a fact, what I'm saying. I told you that they took
14 turns. Among them was Hashim. I went there for a couple of minutes to
15 see how the situation was. I was in Rahovec on the 17th. He might have
16 been somewhere else. We may have met there. This is what I meant.
17 Hashim was not with me on the front lines. This is a summary of
18 developments. You may take it out of context and interpret it as you
19 wish, but this is the truth. I think this is summary of what happened.
20 Q. So --
21 A. You can see I say a commander of Brigade 121.
22 Q. Well, you knew that was going to be my next question. But before
23 I ask that question, your testimony is that what you said in that little
24 clip that we just saw and what you've said in court today is the same, is
25 consistent? That's your testimony?
1 A. No. I am explaining to you. That is just a summary. It's not
2 the same thing to talk -- to testify before the court and make a
3 description for the media. In general --
4 Q. Well, I'm sorry, Mr. Limaj, but when we started off the
5 cross-examination, you told me in the most emphatic terms that you --
6 nobody was more truthful or transparent with the media than you. Now are
7 you saying that when you speak to the media you can be inaccurate? Are
8 you changing your testimony now about your telling the truth to the
10 A. Sir, it is a fact that I was in Rahovec and I told the media a
11 truth. I am telling a truth here too. The only difference is that I
12 didn't go into details as I am doing here.
13 I told the media I was in Rahovec, that we were on duty, we took
14 turns. I spoke in general. I didn't speak personally. I meant the
15 General Staff. I was there for three days. I didn't say I was there all
16 the time. I couldn't be there every minute of the day, but I was there.
17 I didn't lie to the media about anything and I'm not lying here at all.
18 Q. Mr. Limaj, do you have different truths for different places?
19 A. No, Mr. Prosecutor. That is what you are saying. That is not
20 the truth.
21 Q. You have one truth when you're speaking in Kosovo and the media
22 and you have another truth when you come here to the courtroom? Is that
23 your testimony?
24 A. No, Mr. Prosecutor. My testimony is the same from the beginning
25 to now. There is no other truth. Please don't try to distort things
1 from the summary of a documentary which in general proves what I'm saying
2 here. There may be differences or gaps, but I didn't go into any
3 details. I didn't say to them that I was injured, that I had that faint
4 fit. There are things which I didn't tell them. I just summed up some
6 They asked me -- I explained how the General Staff stayed close
7 to the soldiers, that we went on duty there and that Brigade 121st knows.
8 Everybody knows when it was formed. I didn't mean to lie there. If you
9 talk about units then it doesn't make sense. So people got used to
10 hearing the mention of brigade 121st. I couldn't speak about all the
11 units that formed it. What could I say? There were -- there was nothing
12 before that time. You can interpreter it as you wish, but this is the
14 Q. Mr. Limaj, let's move forward. I'm going to ask you be shown
15 Prosecution Exhibit P44, which is an article dated the 3rd of September,
16 1998, in Zeri i Kosoves.
17 Do you recall this interview with Zeri i Kosoves, Mr. Limaj?
18 A. I know that I gave it but I never saw it.
19 Q. If you could turn to the second page in Albanian and in English
20 it's on the second page closer to the top. Do you see the question from
21 the newspaper, "This fire of war burned the enemies in the straight of
22 Lapusnik where you were in command and it was personified in the straight
23 of Kacanik?"
24 And then your response is, "There was combat and resistance there
25 that own the Albanians know how to carry out." Do you see that? "With
1 the assistance of other units that were positioned on the other side of
2 the straight, the Pellumbi and Guri units and of course with the
3 sacrifice and fighting spirit of our three units we dealt a strong blow
4 to the enemy."
5 Now, that's a reference to the 9th of May battle; correct?
6 A. It might have been about the 9th of May or it might have been
7 about other battles because there were other battles waged in Lapusnik.
8 Q. Well, the two big battles that you dealt a strong blow to the
9 enemy were the 9th of May and the 29th of May. So is it a reference to
10 one of those two battles?
11 A. There were battles. There was another battle on the 25th as
12 well. I think it refers to battles in general, the battles waged in
13 Lapusnik without singling out any specific battle. It talks about
14 fighting, think.
15 Q. Well, it's your words, so I'm just asking you what --
16 A. [No interpretation]
17 Q. So you think what you're referring to is the battles in general
18 from May to July 1998 in Lapusnik. That's what you think you're
19 referring to there.
20 A. If we look carefully, we can see that -- he's reading again what
21 you just read before, the same words.
22 Q. I think you have to slow down a little bit.
23 A. Just repeated what you said. I think that it talks about the end
24 more than the beginning.
25 Q. Okay. So now you think that this is a reference to the battles
1 at the end in July of 1998. Is that what you're saying now?
2 A. It may be the battle of the 29th.
3 Q. 29th of which month?
4 A. Of May. Second battle.
5 Q. Okay. Well, that would make sense, wouldn't it, because the --
6 that's a battle -- certainly the 9th of May and the 29th of May of 1998
7 were battles where you dealt a strong blow to the enemy. So it would --
8 A. The 25th battle was also a major battle.
9 Q. The 25th of July?
10 A. People fought. It was a battle. Yeah, it may refer to that as
12 Q. Well, these are your words. What's your best memory of what you
13 were referring to?
14 A. I said this refers to fighting in Lapusnik, to fighting in
15 general. And it mentions two units, Guri, Pellumbi and our three units,
16 Celiku 1, 2 and 3, units that participated in fighting there. This is
17 what I have stated here.
18 Q. And just to be clear, these are your words; correct? This is
19 what you said?
20 A. Yes.
21 Q. Okay. We're done with that.
22 Mr. Limaj, I want to go back to something that we talked about at
23 the beginning, and that is about getting international support for the
24 KLA, that the KLA certainly in 1998 was -- one of its goals was to get
25 support from the international community, and I believe that I asked you
1 that at the beginning and that's something you accepted at the very
3 A. Yes. But in the transcript I see a minor mistake.
4 Q. What's the mistake that you --
5 A. When I say here Guri, Pellumbi and the three -- our three one
6 its, 1, 2 and 3, that is Celiku units, they are part of Brigade 121st,
7 and I mentioned these three units that participated in the battle of
8 Lapusnik or in fightings -- fighting in Lapusnik. Because a person who
9 later became a commander of this brigade.
10 Q. Well, the -- I'm a little unclear now what you've just said. The
11 Guri and Pellumbi units were on the other side of the asphalt road;
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Okay.
15 A. I'm talking about our three units because this interview -- I
16 gave this interview as commander of the Brigade 121st. I'm telling here
17 that the three units were fighting there. This is the meaning of it.
18 This is what I wanted to explain.
19 Q. I understand. Now, going back to the -- what I was moving on to.
20 You recall testifying that one of the goals of the KLA during 1998 was to
21 get support from the international community?
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. And as parts of that effort the KLA wanted to show the
24 international community that it was following the rules of warfare while
25 the Serbs were not; correct?
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 A. Well, I cannot add anything to Jakup Krasniqi's comments. This
2 is politics, and Jakup Krasniqi dealt with such matters at the time. He
3 was a member of the General Staff.
4 Q. He was in fact what he said in this courtroom and perhaps this is
5 what you're referring to when you say you can't add anything to his
6 comments, he said, "We had frequent contacts with the representatives of
7 the international community, and because we respected the international
8 documents on citizens, we were supported by the internationality
9 community." Now, you agree with that, right?
10 A. Yes, I agree. The aim of the KLA was to be behave within that
11 behaviour that is acceptable for the international community, and this is
12 one of the conditions for its aspirations to become true. This was an
13 orientation and a constant strive of the KLA towards this direction.
14 Q. Mr. Limaj, I noticed just a moment ago that you held the side of
15 your mouth again. I just want to remind you that if you're having any
16 difficulty because of the pain in your mouth concentrating on my
17 questions, any difficulty at all with this, I don't think there would be
18 any problem with taking a break or interrupting. It's very important
19 that you're able to focus on concentrate on these questions. Do you
21 A. Yes. Thank you for your concern.
22 Q. Are you able to continue? Do you have any difficulty at all?
23 A. I can continue, yes.
24 Q. Please, if you have any difficulty, it's very important that you
25 say something. Do you understand?
1 A. I will do that.
2 Q. Now, you testified that in June of 1998 you -- as I understand
3 your testimony, you received a rule book.
4 A. Yes.
5 MR. WHITING: Could Mr. Limaj be shown Prosecution Exhibit P156,
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] This was, to my recollection, on
8 the 22nd or 23rd of June when I received the rules.
9 MR. WHITING:
10 Q. Mr. Limaj, before you is Prosecution Exhibit P156. Is this the
11 same book that you received?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. Did you read this book?
14 A. Yes.
15 Q. I notice that your name is in fact used -- your pseudonym is in
16 fact used as an example, used as an example in the book. Do you recall
18 A. No, Mr. Prosecutor. My pseudonym was not taken as an example.
19 Please. This was compiled in Albania, this rule book. The name Celiku
20 mentioned here is just a coincidence, nothing more.
21 Q. Now, Ramadan Behluli testified that when he joined as a soldier,
22 when he joined the KLA on the 20th of April, 1998, he was told certain
23 rules by Luan, Ramiz Qeriqi, and some of the rules he was told was do not
24 use -- do not misuse the uniform for personal reasons, acts of revenge
25 are forbidden, and that in the case of violations soldiers would be held
1 responsible. And he was also told some rules, though he couldn't recall
2 them specifically, about the treatment of civilians.
3 Do you recall at that time, in April of 1998, that those rules
4 were -- even before this book -- even before you saw this book that those
5 sorts of rules were generally shared and communicated among the KLA
7 A. Mr. Prosecutor, with full responsibility I tell you that there
8 wasn't any rule book or a document in the hands of KLA soldiers before
9 this document came on the 22nd of June. And even when I received it on
10 the 22nd of June, Jakup Krasniqi told me that he only had five copies of
12 Q. I'm just going to interrupt you because I don't think -- you
13 either didn't listen or you didn't understand my question, and I
14 appreciate it was a long question, but my question was -- put aside the
15 book for a moment. Go back to April of 1998. Even before the book was
16 in existence, KLA -- there was talk among soldiers about rules such as do
17 not misuse the uniform, do not engage in acts of personal revenge, and
18 that if there were violations soldiers would be held responsible, and
19 rules about treatment of civilians. Those kinds of rules were discussed
20 orally even by April of 1998; correct?
21 A. What people discussed amongst themselves as soldier to soldier, a
22 civilian to soldier, this is quite a different issue. Such conversations
23 could have occurred between everybody. I even myself spoke about
24 civilians and soldiers at that time. But as a rule, as something
25 determined by the KLA, this did not exist. People could speak of their
1 own visions, how they perceived this issue.
2 I have many times referred to those communiques when I spoke of
3 the KLA with the public, because in order to speak to the citizens what
4 should be done to raise money and things like that you had to refer to
5 some source. But as I said, we didn't have anything concrete, in
6 writing, any rule in writing before the 22nd of June.
7 Q. But even by April and May of 1998, you say that you spoke with
8 civilians and soldiers about such matters, about respecting the rules and
9 about the rules of warfare and so forth; correct?
10 A. No. I've already told you how it was in April and May, what the
11 reality was at that time, at the time those four or five soldiers that we
12 were. We discussed this, but later on when we removed the mass of people
13 from there we did sit down and present our vision, how we will continue,
14 but this all happened later on. In April and May we were only four or
15 five. There was nothing to discuss about. But later on, yes.
16 Q. But just to go back to Ramadan Behluli, he testified in this
17 courtroom that in April of 1998 he joins the KLA as an ordinary soldier,
18 that he heard about -- that he was told these rules. You heard about
19 such rules at that time as well, didn't you?
20 A. There were no rules, Mr. Prosecutor. When you asked him about
21 the oath, whether he took oath, he said, "Yes, I did it on my own in
22 front of the flag." So this shows that everyone could do whatever they
23 wanted. There were no such rules. I'm telling you that these rules did
24 not exist at that time. And you know that, but what you're trying to say
25 is quite different.
1 Q. I'm just putting to you what Ramadan Behluli said in this
2 courtroom about rules that he heard in April of 1998. You're telling us
3 that you didn't -- you didn't have any discussions or hear anything about
4 such rules at that time. Is that your testimony? In April of 1998 or
5 May of 1998.
6 A. There was no such rule. Even when you asked Ramadan Behluli to
7 repeat what he had said then, he was not able to do that because he did
8 not remember the words. If there were such rules, Mr. Krasniqi would
9 have mentioned that. What people did individually, I don't know that.
10 Someone was speaking about Kosovo, someone from Macedonia, and -- but
11 they were all their own views.
12 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, perhaps this is a convenient time. Or
13 would you like me to press on? It's -- it's almost an hour and a half, I
14 think, isn't it?
15 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. It's not quite yet, though.
16 MR. WHITING: But I'm about to enter a topic that --
17 JUDGE PARKER: An entirely new topic.
18 MR. WHITING: That's right.
19 JUDGE PARKER: We will resume at ten minutes to eleven.
20 --- Recess taken at 10.26 a.m.
21 --- On resuming at 10.56 a.m.
22 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Whiting.
23 MR. WHITING: Thank you, Your Honour.
24 Q. Mr. Limaj, because we've had a break I'm just going to remind you
25 again that if you have any difficulty at all continuing, just please say
1 so because of the pain in your mouth or for any other reason. Do you
3 A. Thank you for your concern. Yes, I do understand.
4 Q. I'm going to move now to a meeting that you had with Jan Kickert,
5 Jakup Krasniqi, David Slinn on the 30th of July in Klecke. Do you recall
6 that meeting?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And Ram Buja was also there?
9 A. Yes.
10 Q. At that time, Ram Buja had the responsibility for organising
11 civil authorities in the free area around Malisevo and -- the free areas
12 controlled by the KLA?
13 A. No.
14 Q. What according to you was his duty at that time or in the weeks
15 leading up to that time?
16 A. I will now tell you what I was told at that time. Your Honours,
17 he was the political counter of Mr. Krasniqi at that time. I knew Ram
18 Buja because we became members of the General Staff together. Myself,
19 Ram Buja and Adem Grabovci were appointed members of the General Staff at
20 the same time. He was at that time a counsellor. Whether he worked in
21 the organisation of civil authorities at that time while he was a
22 consultant, I don't know, but I think that he became the person in charge
23 for organising civil authorities sometime in December. At the time you
24 are referring to, he was only a counsellor. This is what he said he was.
25 Q. Do you recall during that meeting Jakup Krasniqi stating, telling
1 the international representatives Jan Kickert and David Slinn that the
2 KLA recognised its responsibilities under international law? Do you
3 recall him saying that?
4 A. Mr. Prosecutor, this was a political topic that was discussed
5 since the offensive was still ongoing. On one hand the offensive was
6 discussed and on the other side the political activities, the attempts of
7 the European Union to create a joint government.
8 Q. Mr. Limaj, maybe you didn't -- you either didn't listen or you
9 didn't understand my question. My question is did Jakup Krasniqi -- do
10 you recall Jakup Krasniqi saying that the KLA recognised its
11 responsibilities under international law?
12 A. Jakup Krasniqi said that in this meeting the KLA will respect the
13 international conventions about the war and this was the attempt to
14 present the KLA in the best light before the international factor.
15 Q. Thank you. Let's move on to your meeting in November of 1998
16 with Human Rights Watch. Do you recall that meeting?
17 A. To me personally, this was the first official meeting, because on
18 the 31st, they were in my base. I was there when they came, and I
19 consider it my first meeting with international officials.
20 Q. You say on the 31st. The 31st of which month?
21 A. I was speaking of the 31st July, about the meeting we just
22 discussed with Jan Kickert and the others.
23 Q. Okay. I'm sorry. I'm moving on to a different meeting now,
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. Now, to November of 1998 when you met -- you and Hashim Thaqi met
2 with Peter Bouckaert and Fred Abrahams of Human Rights Watch. Do you
3 recall that meeting?
4 A. Yes.
5 Q. Where did that meeting take place?
6 A. Mr. Prosecutor, this was held in my birthplace in Banje village.
7 I don't know who arranged it but I know that I was called for this
8 meeting. They came up to a place near Banje and then soldiers escorted
9 them and I found a place where to meet in Banje. But I don't know how
10 the meeting was arranged to be held in Banje.
11 Q. Do you recall being introduced at the meeting as the head of the
12 legal department of the general headquarters of the KLA?
13 A. I heard about this, but this is a misunderstanding because this
14 was never the case in my life. The General Staff never had such a
15 department. I don't know how it came to -- how it happened for this
16 misunderstanding to take place. They were meeting in my territory. I
17 was presented before them as Commander Celiku. We sat down. The
18 discussion began. And I wasn't introduced in the capacity of what you
19 said. And as I said, as it was no such department, logically I could not
20 have been presented as such. I was presented as a person who had a legal
21 background, but this could have been the misunderstanding, but as I said,
22 I introduced myself as Commander Celiku.
23 Q. Why were you presented as a person with a legal background?
24 A. Not a legal background. That was the first meeting. We
25 introduced ourselves. "What is your profession? What have you completed
1 in the past?" This was informal discussion just to get to know each
3 The journalist who was accompanying them, we used to be -- to
4 study together in the past, and he told them I was doing a post-graduate
5 study just to introduce me. I just introduced personally myself as
6 Commander Celiku, not as commander of the 121 Brigade. I don't know how
7 they interpreted this, but as I said, such a department did not exist
8 within the KLA.
9 Q. Regardless of whether the department existed or not, in fact
10 you're certain that you were not introduced as being the head of the
11 legal department of the general headquarters. That's your testimony;
13 A. This absolutely does not stand. As I said, it must be a
14 misunderstanding. There was no one to introduce me and neither I myself
15 introduced myself as such. From my background, maybe during that
16 informal talk in the beginning of the meeting they understood me to be
17 such, but myself, I introduced myself as Commander Celiku.
18 Q. The meeting was about two Serb journalists who had been stopped
19 and detained by the KLA; correct? Two journalists from Tanjug?
20 A. This was a case, a reason, but it was obvious that the two
21 gentlemen from this well-known institution wanted to meet us even
22 earlier. This was one of the reasons, but they felt it necessary to meet
23 KLA members for other issues as well. They wanted to establish the first
24 contact with the KLA because until then there wasn't such a contact
25 between them and the KLA. But as a very important issue to be treated on
1 that meeting for them was the issue of the journalists.
2 Q. And is it your testimony that you ended up at that meeting simply
3 because the meeting was held in Banje? That's the only reason that you
4 were there?
5 A. Yes. This was the only reason, because the meeting was held in
6 the territory of my brigade. I accompanied Mr. Thaqi. There was no one
7 else to accompany him. And I even didn't know who we were meeting. It's
8 when I entered inside the room that I realised who we were meeting.
9 So since this meeting occurred in my zone, into my birthplace in
10 Banje, it was organised in an oda, a guest room. We had this informal
11 talk before the meeting and then we treated the issues that interested
12 them. This was how it happened, Mr. Prosecutor.
13 Q. And you participated in the meeting; correct?
14 A. Yes. Yes. We discussed. It was an informal meeting, as I said,
15 and we treated different issues. We were three or four. We exchanged
16 views. I spoke there as well, of course less that others. It was Mr.
17 Thaqi who was speaking, but I did join the discussion when there was a
18 subject brought up.
19 Q. Mr. Limaj, let's talk specifically about the two journalists.
20 You told the representatives of Human Rights Watch that the two
21 journalists had been tried and convicted; correct?
22 A. That's how it was. It was a General Staff communique. I don't
23 know whether I said that or Mr. Hashim Thaqi, but that's how it was.
24 They were aware of that. It was a public knowledge.
25 Q. You told the representatives of Human Rights Watch that the two
1 journalists had not about present at their trial where they were tried
2 and convicted; correct?
3 A. This is how it was or should be. I don't remember anything
4 specific, but this is how it should be. There was some notes taken. I
5 don't remember everything that was said, every word that was uttered
6 during this meeting.
7 Q. Well, do you remember saying those words? Do you remember saying
8 those words or somebody else saying those words, that the journalists
9 were not present at their trial?
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. Did -- did you think that was a proper trial?
12 A. No, it was an improvised trial, Mr. Prosecutor. There was no
13 trial. Later on when we realised -- when they entered, we realised that
14 it was an improvised trial. Later on when I joined the General Staff, I
15 realised it was an improvised trial and there was no trial at all. It
16 was an improvised trial just for the sake of the media. They released a
17 communique and that was it.
18 Q. There was no trial, in fact, was there?
19 A. No, there was no trial. As I said, when I joined in December, I
20 saw that there was no trial. Simply it was a propaganda, an improvised
21 trial. I don't know how to label it otherwise.
22 Q. Well, there's a difference between no trial and an improvised
23 trial. Those are two very different things. You appreciate the
24 difference; right?
25 A. You're right, but what I meant was different. "Improvised" here
1 is in a meaning that they wanted to say that they had kind of a trial. I
2 don't know how clear I was on this.
3 Q. I think I understand you. Let me see if I understand you. There
4 was no trial, but they said there was a trial. The KLA said there was a
6 A. Yes. The KLA said in its communique that there were -- there was
7 a trial and that these journalists have been convicted.
8 Q. So in fact the truth is that these journalists were held without
9 a trial; right? There was no trial.
10 A. To be held is something different. They were held without trial,
11 but to be detained is something different, and we can discuss that.
12 Q. Well, I'm very interested to know what the difference is between
13 being held and being detained, and I'm -- maybe you can also share with
14 us why you find it funny.
15 A. Maybe the way I expressed myself was not quite the right way, but
16 what I meant was when they were stopped, the journalists, while passing
17 in our territory, this is what I meant by being held. This was my
18 mistake, and that's why I laughed a little bit. I'm sorry for the
20 Q. Well, let's try to be absolutely clear because these are very
21 important matters. These journalists were stopped and they were
22 detained; correct?
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. They were detained by the KLA. They were not given a trial.
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. You told Human Rights Watch that they had been given a trial.
2 A. Well, we referred to that communique. Mr. Thaqi referred to the
3 General Staff communique, Your Honours. Personally, I wasn't a member of
4 the General Staff, and I didn't know whether there was or there wasn't a
5 trial. They simply referred to that public communique that they were
6 convicted after the military trial. But as I said, when I joined the
7 General Staff in December, I realised that there wasn't such a trial.
8 Q. The members of Human Rights Watch asked for access to the two
9 journalists who were then being held as prisoners; correct?
10 A. Yes. It should be like that, yes.
11 Q. And you denied them access to the prisoners; correct?
12 A. Well, to tell you the truth, that was the first meeting. We had
13 our reserves. We didn't know whether the General Staff was going to
14 approve that or not. At least this is how I saw Mr. Thaqi. Personally,
15 I didn't have any role in that. Mr. Thaqi had not discussed that with
16 the General Staff, and we left that to be treated in the future.
17 Q. Well, to be clear, Mr. Thaqi was on the General Staff at that
18 time, wasn't he?
19 A. Yes. At that time Mr. Thaqi was a political representative, a
20 public figure, but he was, as I said, a political representative, not a
21 military representative of the General Staff.
22 Q. And when Human Rights Watch asked to have access to the
23 prisoners, you didn't say, "We need to consult with the General Staff on
24 this matter," you said, "No, you may not have access to the prisoners";
1 A. To my recollection, Mr. Thaqi told them that, "For the moment you
2 cannot do that." They were supposed to be released, and I think he told
3 them we should consult the military wing. This is what I remember him
4 telling them.
5 Q. You recall Mr. Thaqi saying that they were going to be released?
6 A. He said that we will do our best to release them. It was a
7 friendly talk. We were -- he said that, "We will do our best to fulfil
8 your request, the release." The entire conversation was directed in
9 finding the most suitable form. We told them that we were ready to
10 cooperate, and this was the meaning of that meeting.
11 Q. In fact, Mr. Limaj, didn't you say that this was a matter for the
12 judicial authorities and you did not want to interfere with the
13 independence of the judicial authorities? Isn't that in fact what you
15 A. No. We said it was a military issue. I don't remember quite
16 clearly it now, but I think that we said it was a military issue. I
17 don't know how court-martial was realised at that time, but to my
18 knowledge, what was said was -- Mr. Thaqi said that we cannot do anything
19 about it for the moment because the military wing is going to consult it,
20 but we will do our best to fulfil your request. This is what he said.
21 Q. That's your memory of what he said?
22 A. Approximately. I am saying again this is the approximate version
23 of the meeting. The meeting had one purpose, to find a solution. There
24 might be differences here and there, but this was the essence of the
1 Q. Now, in your answers you keep saying that "Mr. Thaqi said," "Mr.
2 Thaqi said" with respect to these issues of the prisoners. Didn't you in
3 fact talk about these two prisoners?
4 A. Yes, of course we did talk about these prisoners. We said that
5 they entered the KLA territory, that we suspected them of being Serb
6 spies and that they did not respect a decision that was brought by the
7 General Staff which was to get a permission to enter the territory
8 controlled by the KLA. I also said that they were in good health, that
9 they're being treated well. This is what was discussed. And in a way,
10 we explained why they were detained.
11 Q. How did you know that they were in good health and being treated
12 well? How did you know that?
13 A. Because they were detained in the territory of my brigade, and I
14 had gone to visit them, Your Honours, and I knew that they were in good
15 health. And they remained in good health until the very end. They were
16 treated very well, to the means that we had.
17 Q. Where were they detained specifically?
18 A. They were stopped at Resinovc, as I recollect. Your Honours,
19 maybe I can describe this on the map as well. Where Magure is, at that
20 time in November Magure was the boundary between the KLA and the Serb
21 forces. Behind Magure there are some Albanian villages and little bit
22 more below is the village of Resinovc. There was a unit of mine there
23 that was positioned there in that village.
24 The two journalists -- do you want me to explain how they were
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. My question was where they were held. What village were they
2 held in?
3 A. They were held in Resinovc. When I visited them it was in
4 Resinovc. My deputy commander, he was there when they were detained, and
5 I instructed him to look after them properly until their very release.
6 The day when they were stopped, my deputy was visiting, paying a visit to
7 the units.
8 Q. When you went to visit them, where specifically in Resinovc were
9 they being held? Can you describe it? Was it a house? Was it a
10 building? What?
11 A. They were detained in a school building. It was a small school
12 building, in a classroom. And from there, my deputy, whose name is
13 Shaban Draga, I instructed him to take care of them. I was not there all
14 the time, but he was informing me and the General Staff.
15 Q. At the place where they were detained in the school building, in
16 the classroom, were they -- were there other prisoners or were they
17 detained alone?
18 A. No, sir. This is just a -- of someone being detained by chance.
19 They entered our zone. The soldiers stopped them, checked them. They
20 found documents. They saw Mr. Milosevic's photograph. This is the main
21 reason. They saw the membership card of SPS, and they were questioned.
22 One of them was very stubborn and was persisting in entering his own
23 territory. And when he was asked whether he had the permission from
24 Demaqi to enter KLA territory, he said that, "I don't need such a
25 permission. I can walk freely in my territory, in my country."
1 I immediately reported this to the General Staff, and I think
2 that I immediately, the following day, went to visit them. I had a
3 coffee with them. And he said openly that he was a Tanjug journalist, he
4 supports Milosevic's policy, "But I'm not a spy. I just entered your
5 territory to film the area and to complete my duty as a journalist."
6 Because of course we had our suspicions because the General Staff wanted
7 us to investigate. They probably checked it through Pristina whether
8 they were really journalists or not. And then the General Staff did what
9 it did, the detention, and they came out with a communique, and then this
10 conviction and trial was mentioned.
11 So the reason why they were there is they broke the rule. They
12 entered the territory without Adem Demaqi's permission. This is the
13 reason why they were held that long. There was no other reason the they
14 were not what we suspected. They were not spies. The only reason was
15 they broke the rules. They did not respect the rules. They didn't go to
16 Demaqi for permission, and that's why then their release was negotiated.
17 Q. Mr. Limaj, how long were they held?
18 A. Mr. Prosecutor, they were held, if I'm not mistaken, for around a
19 month and a half, approximately. I don't know the exact date when they
20 were arrested, but I know that they were released before the November
21 holidays. The General Staff then, in the name of the holiday, pardoned
22 them, and this was all just to show the world that something is allegedly
24 Q. Let's go back to the meeting. The representatives of Human
25 Rights Watch also asked for the KLA's code of conduct. Do you remember
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. And do you remember refusing to provide it to the Human Rights
4 Watch? Do you remember Mr. Thaqi --
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. -- also saying that there had been disciplinary proceedings
7 against some KLA members? Do you remember him saying that?
8 A. Mr. Thaqi said something else. He didn't say exactly how you're
9 putting it. He said we were -- "We are trying to build up a discipline,
10 a rule." But as for this code of conduct, there was nothing to offer.
11 It was a disgrace. We were telling them that such a code of conduct was
12 being prepared in Tirana. We told them that we have such problems but
13 we're doing our best to fix them. We do have information that in certain
14 points KLA soldiers are behaving badly. These were the subjects that
15 were discussed.
16 As what you mentioned as code of conduct, he referred to this
17 book of rules. And it was under refusal, actually. We told him we would
18 send that in the future. I remembered that he said clearly he would
19 bring the code of conduct in the next meeting.
20 Q. You said that -- you said, and I'm reading from the monitor here,
21 you said, "We told them that we have such problems but we're doing our
22 best to fix them. We do have information that in certain points KLA
23 soldiers are behaving badly."
24 What were you referring to when you said that?
25 A. Mr. Thaqi was referring to the developments after September.
1 There was a kind of discontinuity because the offensive had destroyed us
2 in a way, so we were trying to reconstruct what we had. There were such
3 things at that time in the beginning when the brigades were formed
4 because people had deserted. They had left. Many -- some people had
5 done things in the name of the KLA although they were in civilian
6 clothes. People, after August, had left the army and had gone on to do
7 business. So there was a tendency, a trend. We were trying to work and
8 improve our work. But there was nothing that was specified in this
9 direction. At least I can't remember that there was.
10 Q. I've just going to pursue this a little further because the words
11 you used were "in certain points KLA soldiers are behaving badly." Now,
12 when you explained that you said there were soldiers there were people
13 who left the KLA and were behaving badly. Is that what you were
14 referring to when you said "KLA soldiers are behaving badly" or were you
15 referring to something else?
16 A. I don't know if I was clear in what I said. With this new
17 organisation that we were trying to do, there would be more opportunity
18 for us with this new organisation to see the mistakes or misbehaviours of
19 the soldiers.
20 We spoke about things in general, but we did not specify any
22 Q. I understand you did not specify any cases, but did you have any
23 specific cases in mind when you said that?
24 A. As I said, Your Honours, this was not the same as the situation
25 in August, up to August. Until August, somebody could come to the army,
1 stay for a week in the army and go back to his family, stay for a week
2 with his family or do business somewhere, sell arms or weapons somewhere.
3 So there were cases of soldiers who left the army after they had
4 committed to become soldiers in the army. And at that time, it was
5 important for us to know who our soldiers were. We needed to know that
6 we had certain number of soldiers who would be ready to fight.
7 Sometimes it happened that we thought we had 5 or 600 soldiers
8 and then in the end we ended up with only 20 when we were facing the Serb
9 forces. So that's why we wanted to have some rules and have the number
10 of soldiers, who these soldiers are in order to control the situation.
11 We discussed this at length, in fact.
12 Q. I'm going to move to a different topic, Mr. Limaj --
13 A. I apologise. I would like to emphasise one thing. Your Honours,
14 about these two journalists, after the meeting with Human Rights Watch -
15 I can't pronounce their name - I invited them -- I invited the Red Cross
16 through the General Staff. The Red Cross came and visited them. Their
17 families communicated with them. Clothes were brought to them and food
18 was brought to them, so they had the opportunity to communicate with
19 their families. Once or twice they brought clothes and they communicated
20 by writing, by letters. But I wanted to emphasise the Red Cross visited
21 these two people after the meeting. The deputy commander, my deputy
22 commander accompanied them during their visit.
23 Q. I understand and appreciate that information. That was all after
24 the meeting with Human Rights Watch; right?
25 A. I am not sure, but I think it was after that, but you can confirm
1 that with the Red Cross. What is for sure is that the Red Cross has come
2 to visit them, brought them letters from their families. My deputy also
3 offered them medical help because there was a doctor nearby. And both of
4 them were fair to us. They described their detention the way it was, the
5 way they were treated. They did not say anything bad.
6 Q. Mr. Limaj, speaking of the Red Cross, Jakup Krasniqi testified in
7 court here that the Red Cross, in July of 1998, provided concrete
8 documents to the KLA about respecting international conventions and that
9 these documents that had been provided by the Red Cross were circulated
10 and respected. Do you remember that?
11 A. Yes, Mr. Prosecutor, but I don't know whether it was July. Many
12 humanitarian organisations came to us at that time. It could be July.
13 It could be later.
14 There were some small leaflets in Albanian, and their main points
15 were how to deal with war prisoners. These were little leaflets or very
16 small manuals, and we distributed those in many places.
17 Q. What's your best memory of when it was? Jakup Krasniqi said it
18 was in July. What's your best memory when those leaflets were
20 A. I think when OSCE came. After the Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement,
21 many organisations came to us, and I think they had a lot of these
22 booklets of leaflets that they brought to us. In the beginning, their
23 intention was for us to distribute them to our soldiers, but when OSCE
24 came there were more of them, of these leaflets. The Red Cross also,
25 they had their own leaflets that they gave us to distribute.
1 Q. So, Mr. Limaj, your testimony is that it was later. Your
2 testimony is that the dates were later, that it was October when this
3 happened. Is that your testimony?
4 A. I said that this was in July and September, October when these
5 organisations came. But in the beginning, there were very few of them --
6 of those leaflets, in July. I personally had one.
7 Q. Mr. Limaj, you were, during the war, a fanatic for discipline and
8 order, weren't you?
9 A. I tried my best to keep order and discipline. When I knew what
10 my mandate was, what my duties were, I tried to be a principled person
11 and tried to keep order. I tried to do my best.
12 When I had things clear in my mind, what I was told clearly what
13 my duties were, I tried to abide by the rules.
14 Q. You didn't just try to abide by them, you were a fanatic for
15 order and discipline; right? You know why I'm using those words, don't
17 A. No, I don't understand why you're using this word "fanatic."
18 What I said is that I tried to keep order and discipline as far as I
19 could, as best as I could.
20 Q. I'm going to play a short clip for you from -- it's from Exhibit
21 P35, which is a documentary that was made after your arrest. It's about
22 you, and the clip is -- appears to be from March of 1999, and it's you
23 speaking to some KLA soldiers. And if you could just watch carefully,
25 [Videotape played]
1 MR. WHITING:
2 Q. Mr. Limaj, I said that was -- appeared to be from March, but --
3 exactly. It says May 1999 on the transcript. Do you remember that?
4 A. Yes, in May. Yes, I remember that very well.
5 Q. And that -- I take it that that's -- the attitude that you
6 expressed there to the soldiers was your attitude -- that wasn't
7 something new. That was your attitude throughout the war. Right?
8 A. I told you, Mr. Prosecutor, all my life, both civil life and life
9 in the army, show my best intentions. Here we had volunteers, soldiers
10 who had come as volunteers from various western countries. Here in this
11 film it was taken in Albania, on the border with Albania. These are
12 people who had lived in a different environment and they had come to join
13 the army.
14 This was the first speech I gave to them. I had to tell them
15 these things because they had no idea what they were getting into. So
16 this was before a battle. This was a battle. You might have heard about
17 an operation, Shigheta, an arrow in English.
18 These are young men from America, the Atlantic Battalion. There
19 were people from other western countries. So they had to be prepared for
20 the battle. I didn't want them to flee. Some of them had radios or tape
21 recorders with themselves. I told them to leave them aside. They had
22 entered another life now and they had to be prepared. And that's why I
23 spoke to them the way I did.
24 I tried my best to keep order. But in May it was different. It
25 was different in 1999. It was not like in 1998. Now, here, I was
1 speaking to these soldiers as Deputy Minister of Defence.
2 Q. I understand that things changed from 1998 to 1999. What I was
3 talking about was your attitude about order and discipline. That didn't
4 change, did it? That was the same in 1999 as it was in 1998; correct?
5 A. No. In 1998, it was different. We started then with friends and
6 nephews and relatives, and we formed an army.
7 These people in the film, they had come from America. It was
8 much later.
9 Q. Mr. Limaj, I don't think you listened to my question, and it may
10 be because you thought I was asking something different or you're
11 listening to some of the English, I'm not sure. But please listen
12 carefully to the question.
13 I understand that things changed from 1998 to 1999 with the KLA,
14 but what I'm putting to you did not change was your attitude about
15 discipline and order. Your attitude about it. Your personal attitude
16 about it was the same in 1999 as it was in 1998; correct?
17 A. Yes. I'm trying to answer you, but I don't think you like my
18 answer. That's why you say I'm not answering your question.
19 I said of course in 1998 it was desirable to have discipline
20 among the soldiers, but we did not have the experience. We did not know
21 how to enforce discipline. It's different when you speak about something
22 that is desirable and something that is enforced.
23 Q. Well, let's talk about that precise point and go back to 1998, to
24 the time period that we're interested in, May, June and July of 1998.
25 During that time period if soldiers misbehaved in the KLA, they could
1 have their weapons taken away, they could have their uniforms taken away,
2 and they could be expelled from the KLA; correct?
3 A. Yes. I will try to explain. I will give an example of my unit.
4 Q. Okay. But before you explain, the answer to that question is
5 yes; right? Those things could --
6 A. Well, I can't say yes. I have to explain. Please allow me to
7 explain the experiences as they were at that time. If you allow me, I
8 will explain how things were with my unit. I can't say yes or no. I
9 have to explain.
10 Q. But please explain, but if while you're explaining you could
11 answer the question I'd appreciate it.
12 A. I've tried from the beginning to answer your questions as best as
13 I can because it's in my interest.
14 During these months that you mentioned, if the soldier came with
15 his own weapon and if they misbehaved, the only thing that we could tell
16 him was, "Go away." We couldn't take his weapon away. But if the
17 soldier came without a weapon and I gave him a weapon, then he did
18 something wrong, I could take his weapon and tell him to go home. He
19 probably went to the other unit and stayed there. If I took away his
20 weapon, he could go to the next unit and stay there or to another place
21 where there was fighting and got a weapon there.
22 So these were our possibilities at that time. The uniform.
23 There was no way. It never happened in Kosovo at the time. We -- you
24 couldn't tell this person, "You can't stay in my unit." If you did tell
25 them, they would go to the next unit or another unit in another village,
1 because we could not communicate with the other unit and tell them that
2 we recommended not take this person as a soldier. There was no
4 So these were the two things that we could do at the time.
5 Q. There may have been an error in the translation or you misspoke.
6 Just to be clear, you could tell a person that they can't -- that person
7 couldn't stay in your unit but your testimony is the person could go to
8 another unit; right?
9 A. Yes. I mean that he didn't ask us about that, he just went
10 there. He went there on his own, not that I told him to go to the next
12 Q. I understand. But you could tell somebody that he couldn't be in
13 your unit any more. That was one thing that you could do. That's your
14 testimony; correct?
15 A. With regard to my unit. I'm speaking about my unit. If the
16 soldier --
17 Q. Sorry. Go ahead.
18 A. I'm speaking about my unit. At that time, it could be that one
19 said, "You cannot stay here. Go away." He probably didn't listen to us
20 at all, but practically the person -- the person could choose whether to
21 stay and disregard what I said or leave, whatever he did -- whatever he
23 Q. You're saying that if the -- if a soldier was told by the unit
24 commander to go away that he could decide to stay? He could just stay?
25 A. Well, he could have said no. That's what I'm saying. But in
1 fact in my unit, if I told a person to leave, then he had to leave. He
2 could have said no, but you could see that person in the next unit
3 somewhere else, I mean, immediately. And in fact, his answer could be,
4 "You cannot stop me from fighting elsewhere. I can fight wherever I
6 Q. But in fact he would have left your unit if he had been told to
7 leave. In fact, he would have left; correct?
8 A. Yes. Yes.
9 Q. Now, in July of 1998, in -- before the offensive, do you recall
10 taking Fadil Kastrati's weapon away from him because he had a dispute
11 from somebody in his village? Do you recall doing that?
12 A. Yes, I remember, Mr. Prosecutor, but I'd like to explain how it
13 was because you made a very big deal of this and I'd like to explain.
14 Q. Let me first just -- let me just ask the questions and I'll give
15 you an opportunity to explain if it's necessary; okay?
16 So you recall doing it. You recall taking his weapon away;
17 correct? In July before the offensive.
18 A. I remember the case. Not that I took away his weapon, but I can
19 remember the case, yes.
20 Q. Well, it took place -- the case that you remember, it took place
21 in July before the offensive; correct?
22 A. Yes. It was before the offensive, yes.
23 Q. It occurred in Blinaje?
24 A. It occurred in Blinaje.
25 Q. Fadil Kastrati had a dispute with somebody in his village in
1 Blinaje; correct?
2 A. I don't know anything further about it. But I'd like to explain
3 how I went to Blinaje, how it came up to that point, how I met him. I
4 don't know how to respond to you because I don't know what Fadil Kastrati
5 did, but I'd like the opportunity to explain.
6 Q. Before I give that you opportunity, let me just ask one more
7 question. Shukri Buja was the commander in Blinaje at that time;
9 A. No, Shukri Buja at that time was zone commander. You know very
10 well that at the time Shukri Buja was the zone command, not a commander
11 in Blinaje. He told you in his first interview. He told you here that.
12 He was zone commander at the time. I told you a hundred times, Mr.
13 Prosecutor. I think you know very well, Mr. Prosecutor. I'm trying to
14 tell you everything I know, but you're trying by all means to build
15 something that cannot be built. Please allow me --
16 Q. Mr. Limaj, why don't you explain to the Court how it was you took
17 the weapon away from Fadil Kastrati.
18 A. Thank you. Your Honours, sometime in July -- Blinaje is a
19 national park and I think it was the only park in Kosovo. There was no
20 other park with various animals in Kosovo at the time. Because UCK was
21 there at the time -- because Jakup was in Kroimire. I met Jakup, and
22 from that Shukri told me, "Will you come with me to Blinaje to see the
23 park?" I went with Shukri to Blinaje to see the park. There were a
24 couple of government buildings there, former government buildings. There
25 were some soldiers staying there. Fadil's brother used to be LDK
1 representative for the village. Fadil's brother was a commander in
2 Blinaje at the time, not Shukri Buja, and he told Shukri -- he told
3 Shukri, "Take Fadil's weapon away because he's going to be killed. They
4 are going to have a shoot-out with his neighbour because they had this
5 dispute. Take my brother's weapon away because he's not listening to
6 me." And Shukri said, "Well, I cannot do that because it is his weapon."
7 So his brother told me, "You're somebody he doesn't know, we don't know.
8 Please don't let my brother get into a blood feud. Take his weapon
9 away." So I told him, "You have to give up your weapon because this is
10 the order from above. We shouldn't do these things in a war. We need to
11 cooperate with civilians and not ill-treat them."
12 Now, you analyse it the way you want, but this is how it
13 happened. There was a danger that blood feud would arise from this.
14 Sofa deal was not listening to his brother, and because they pleaded with
15 me to speak to him, that's why I spoke to Fadil. You try to make a big
16 deal out of it, but this is the truth.
17 While about Shukri Buja being a commander in Blinaje, forget it.
18 He never was a command near Blinaje.
19 Q. So your testimony was it was just a coincidence. You were going
20 to the park in Blinaje and you were there that day and they asked you --
21 just because you happened to be there, by coincidence, they asked you to
22 take the weapon away from Fadil Kastrati. That's your testimony?
23 A. Mr. Prosecutor, this is the only truth. There is no other truth.
24 No other truth, Mr. Prosecutor. You can interpret it the way you want,
25 but I'm telling you the way it happened.
1 I don't know how Fadil perceived it because of the way I spoke to
2 him. Blini was his brother's pseudonym. I know that he was head of LDK
3 himself, so Blini and myself and Shukri told him that. And it was just a
4 coincidence, yes.
5 You give it the weight you want, Your Honours, but this was the
7 MR. WHITING: Your Honour, could the map that the witness marked,
8 could that be exhibited, please.
9 JUDGE PARKER: It will be received.
10 THE REGISTRAR: Your Honours, that will be Prosecution Exhibit
12 MR. WHITING: I have no further questions.
13 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Whiting.
14 Mr. Mansfield.
15 MR. MANSFIELD: Your Honour may recall that you kindly allowed an
16 opportunity at the end of cross-examination but before re-examination in
17 the light of material that had not been previously disclosed for me to
18 have time to speak to Mr. Limaj. We have only spoken to him about
19 matters up to now, about the toothache and so on. So if we may take that
21 I have a suggestion. I hope it's acceptable. The break comes up
22 very shortly I think, 20 past the hour if we could resume as it would
23 have been after the break at twenty to, that affords us plenty of time to
24 deal with -- it's a book, if you recall and as I understood in evidence
25 he marked it up. I don't know what the markings are and I may need a bit
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 of time to deal with that.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE PARKER: Because there is a delegation which must be met by
4 members of the Chamber during this break, we would not be able to resume
5 until ten minutes to the hour. Is that time enough?
6 MR. MANSFIELD: Yes, it is. Thank you very much.
7 JUDGE PARKER: Yes. Well, we break now and resume at ten minutes
8 to one.
9 --- Recess taken at 12.01 p.m.
10 --- On resuming at 12.55 p.m.
11 JUDGE PARKER: Mr. Mansfield.
12 MR. MANSFIELD: May I take Your Honours for the time and make
13 clear that in fact having as it were examined the book issue, Mr. Limaj
14 doesn't wish to add anything to the matters he's already said on that
15 score. So I'm not going back to that.
16 Re-examined by Mr. Mansfield:
17 Q. Mr. Limaj, just a few matters in re-examination, and one of
18 them, the prime one I want to deal with is this question of zones and,
19 I'm afraid, maps again. I wonder if you could have for these purposes
20 the map you originally marked up with the operational zones and the
21 brigade, which was -- or is, DL7. I've asked for it to be made
22 available. And then alongside that I'd like you to have, please, P1, map
24 Mr. Limaj, if you would bear with me. It's going to be, with
25 permission, slightly longer question than usual from me, and I want to do
1 it to illustrate the selection that I objected to that was going on in
2 the cross-examination, the way matters were put to you, and I'm going to
3 use this as an illustration.
4 The suggestion that was put to you about what you were saying
5 vis-a-vis the zones, particularly in relation to that map that you have
6 in front of you, the one you marked up, and it's Monday, May the 23rd,
7 page 6181, line 4, the suggestion put clearly to you was that you were
8 redrawing, effectively, the zones in order to try and put the Lapusnik
9 village outside of the Pashtrik zone and to put it into Sylejman Selimi's
11 Now, that was the suggestion. And before I ask you to elaborate
12 a little bit more on this, I want to put to you, which was not put to
13 you, what the evidence has been about this from some key witnesses, if
14 you remember it.
15 Mr. Selimi himself was questioned by Mr. Nicholls on Monday the
16 17th of January, 2005, page 2089, about the map 10, P1, that you have
17 there. That's the other one, the Prosecution map, where Drenica is --
18 the zone is marked in red as is the village of Lapusnik. And he was
19 asked to look at that map with regard to the zones.
20 The question he was asked was this: "Looking at the Drenica
21 zone," that's on map 10, "is that the area mapped out as the Drenica
22 zone? Is that roughly accurate for the date concerned?"
23 And he said this at line 13: "Yes. More or less it's clear
24 here. There are many villages that are not marked here but more or less
25 this is the zone, yes." And we can see where Lapusnik is marked on map
1 10. That's one witness.
2 Jakup Krasniqi on Tuesday the 15th of February of this year, page
3 3474, line 8 onwards was asked by me about the same topic. "I want to
4 ask you about Lapusnik in particular. You already indicated that
5 Lapusnik was in the municipality of Gllogovc which itself was in Drenica.
6 So is it your evidence that Lapusnik came within the zone that in fact
7 was most organised during April to August, namely Drenica?"
8 Answer: "Yes."
9 And finally this witness, Shukri Buja, on Thursday the 10th of
10 March, 2005, at page 4099, also asked by me, line 6, as to the position
11 of Lapusnik in the subzone of Drenica, and he answered: "I cannot
12 confirm it officially, but I do know that when we were appointed
13 commanders of subzones it was done on the basis of villages of the
14 municipalities. And to my recollection Lapusnik," and he gives a number
15 of other villages, "which were part of the former Gllogovc commune, as it
16 was called, in Drenica."
17 Now, those are the three witnesses who were dealing with this.
18 And I want to ask you again given that suggestion put to you in the
19 clearest terms that you, as opposed to others, were manipulating the
20 boundaries, and the question simply is this: Have you manipulated
21 boundaries in order to push Lapusnik into somebody else's zone?
22 A. Your Honours, I've already stated this in the beginning, and I
23 will repeat it. The idea of subzones or zones for their establishment
24 based itself on the territory that the municipalities comprised. This
25 existed as an idea in March or April, and this continued up to August.
1 When the reorganisation took part in August, it was then when the zone
2 territories were redefined. Some became smaller, some became larger
3 depending on the situation in the terrain. This is my answer. But the
4 idea was that in the beginning, to base the territory of the zones
5 according to the territory of municipalities. And after August, the
6 definition was made according to the circumstances in the terrain.
7 Boundaries were changed, zones were changed, and units were formed.
8 Q. I want to focus on Lapusnik. In which zone did Lapusnik fall at
9 the beginning of this period?
10 A. Even here I will stress again that the idea of forming the zone
11 is based on municipalities. Lapusnik is in Drenoc municipality. That
12 was the idea of organising at that time, and this was until August.
13 After August, this principle was abandoned and the zones were organised
14 according to military ideas.
15 Q. Now, the military ideas in fact you have put on your version of
16 map 6, which is DL7. I think you have it there. There are three
17 different colours on there, and just to recapitulate on that Brigade 121,
18 just to take it in stages, when was the brigade first considered as a
20 A. As a concept, 121st Brigade was envisaged to be as such, but
21 later on as time passed we defined the borderline. I here refer to the
22 part -- Malisheve part, because the offensive prevented us from any
23 further organisation. We were totally destroyed. We had to reconstruct
25 Q. And the beginning of the reconstruction started when, roughly
2 A. As I described it, Your Honours, we began reconstructing it
3 immediately after the entrance of Serb forces in Klecke and as the
4 territory became smaller. The main purpose was not the reconstruction,
5 but our priority was to build up a defence line for the population. And
6 as I said, in September or October the brigade was of a satisfactory
7 level, and in mid-November we reached a desirable level and were better
8 in comparison with other brigades.
9 I did not have the problem of my soldiers deserting the army.
10 They all remained within the ranks until the end was over, and this
11 helped in the reconstruction of the brigade. The majority of my soldiers
12 had their families in the area.
13 Q. A final question on this series of topics, related topics. On
14 the analysis that you have just described, when did Lapusnik first become
15 effectively within the jurisdiction of the 121st or the 121 Brigade?
16 A. When the 121 Brigade was formed, when its boundaries were defined
17 as were the boundaries of the Pashtrik zone, in fact Lapusnik never
18 belonged to the jurisdiction of 121 Brigade. However, when it was
19 decided the main road to be a border of the zone, the part on this side
20 of the Berisha Mountains belonged to 121 Brigade. However, most of
21 Lapusnik continued to remain part of Drenica zone.
22 I want to say that we never, ever controlled that territory, to
23 the end of the war, because the Serb forces were constantly there. The
24 war was no longer waged at Lapusnik. The war was waged in Berisha.
25 Q. I want you to take, please, another map, because you were asked
1 about routes into Lapusnik.
2 MR. MANSFIELD: And in fact it's the DL4, the ordinance or
3 comparative ordinance survey map, pre-war. If that's available, please.
4 Sorry. DL4. Yes, that's it.
5 Q. There's only one question. If you'd just take it for a moment,
6 because it may not take a lot of time. The question relates to this map,
7 of which we have copies. This arises out of the questioning about other
8 ways into Lapusnik. Do you remember being asked those questions by Mr.
9 Whiting? And you have already described how you might go through the
10 Lapusnik area on your way north and how you might stop off to see people
11 and so on.
12 Does the map show any other road or track from Klecka into
13 Lapusnik that you can see?
14 A. No. You cannot see clearly any other track except for the one
15 that I described. Your Honours, I don't know whether this is on your
16 monitors, but you can see for yourselves how the terrain is here. Here
17 is Lapusnik, Your Honours. If you want me, I can mark the area.
18 Q. Yes --
19 A. Shall I do that?
20 Q. Yes. There's no objection to that.
21 A. This is Lapusnik. Klecke is already marked, Your Honours.
22 Klecke is the one here. This is Klecke. And as you can see, there's no
23 other track except for the one that I described, the one that I described
24 which was used to go from Klecke to Lapusnik or to Shale.
25 Q. Thank you. Now, one more question. I'm afraid it's all to do
1 with maps, but you mentioned it today, and that is in relation to the
2 detention of the Serbian journalists. You wanted to point out where that
3 was because it was on the boundary, you indicated, or at least borders
4 with the Serb troops at that point. And I think, if fact, the place you
5 mentioned is on --
6 A. Resinovc.
7 Q. Yes. It isn't on that large scale map but it's on DL7 which you
8 marked up. If you could put that back on the monitor. And in a
9 different colour yet again if there is one, just circle the place where
10 the Serb journalists were detained.
11 A. Your Honours, when I mentioned Magure, this here is Magure and
12 here you see the brigade boundary and this area here was under Serb
13 control. They entered this track here and came up to here, to this
14 village here, which is Resinovc. Resinovc and Shale are adjoined to each
15 other, attached. This is the place where they were held. Here we had a
16 brigade, a unit which controlled the entrances to the territory. And on
17 this part here the Serb forces were deployed. And I will circle Magure
18 as well, as the place from where they entered the brigade territory, and
19 the soldiers then stopped them.
20 Q. Thank you. No more questions about maps. One final question to
21 you. You will recall today that you were asked to look at a clip - I'm
22 not asking for it to be shown again - a clip, P35, which relates to
23 events in May 1999 when you were addressing potential recruits to the
24 Atlantic Battalion, and you stressed, and it was pointed out to you you
25 were stressing the need for order and discipline. And the question I
1 want to ask you is: At that dangerous and before, for that matter, what
2 did the KLA mean to you as a soldier who had been fighting for at least a
3 year by then?
4 A. Your Honours, on that occasion, I had nothing else to say to
5 those young men. That was the only way, to address them orally. This
6 was the first time for them there to join the war, and we just wanted us
7 to be organised and to have less casualties, and that's why I addressed
8 them, to avoid things that can be expected from young people. They were
9 people, young people from the west, and we had experienced many things in
10 Kosova. We had lost many young men because of lack of discipline.
11 Forty-two members of ours were killed on the Kosova-Albanian border
12 because of the discipline, and someone was responsible for that. We had
13 already experienced the reality inside Kosova.
14 The KLA meant -- being a member meant not only to have the will
15 and the zeal to fight but also to protect the human potential, because we
16 were not aware about the figures, how many people were still left in
17 Kosova. At that time, we didn't even know whether our own families were
18 still alive inside Kosova.
19 What personally I felt as a KLA member, I was very satisfied for
20 being a promoter of positive changes not only in my own country. The
21 NATO decision brought about changes not only for the democracy in Kosova
22 but in the region as well. It brought democratic changes in Serbia
23 itself. The democratic class, the citizens who were interested in
24 democracy, they in the end forced that criminal regime to withdraw. We
25 have evidence when the democratic class was ready to fight Milosevic
1 regime if he decided not to step down from power. These were positive
2 changes not only in Kosova. Even if you turned to Bosnia, Croatia, we
3 are facing a totally different situation from the one that was in Kosova
4 before the entrance of NATO troops.
5 Myself as a simple citizen, I found myself that I was right. I
6 woke up and the right side, because with the help of NATO, we managed to
7 bring freedom and to bring those displaced persons back to Kosova.
8 After the confusing situation in Kosova, we tried to find a
9 solution. In other words, as a member of the KLA, I hoped that we will
10 achieve freedom, and I am satisfied that this was the opinion of the
11 international community as well. And what is most important for me is
12 that we were hand-in-hand with western democracies.
13 Now, as to our potential, what was our potential, what was our
14 knowledge, that is something to be discussed, but to what we had, to that
15 knowledge that we had, we did our best.
16 MR. MANSFIELD: Your Honours, I have no other questions. I pause
17 in case Your Honours do.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you very much, Mr. Mansfield.
19 Thank you, Mr. Limaj. You now may return to your position.
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
21 [The accused stands down]
22 JUDGE PARKER: We were just looking at the hour, Mr. Mansfield.
23 MR. MANSFIELD: It's a very intriguing invitation. However, I
24 wonder if I might just -- there are rather obvious reasons -- I would
25 just like to start the next witness, but I might stop at twenty to if
1 that's acceptable.
2 JUDGE PARKER: Very well. The next witness.
3 MR. MANSFIELD: Rexhep Selimi. He's just outside the door.
4 Rexhep Selimi.
5 JUDGE PARKER: While the witness is coming, could I mention to
6 counsel that there has been filed a Defence motion concerning disclosure
7 in respect of which a considerably shortened time for response by the
8 Prosecution has been fixed by the Chamber, and because of that it should
9 be possible to give consideration to that motion in the course of next
11 [The witness entered court]
12 JUDGE PARKER: Good afternoon. Would you please --
13 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
14 JUDGE PARKER: -- read allowed the affirmation that is on the
15 card handed to you.
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
17 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
18 JUDGE PARKER: Please sit down.
19 WITNESS: REXHEP SELIMI
20 [Witness answered through interpreter]
21 JUDGE PARKER: Yes, Mr. Mansfield.
22 Examined by Mr. Mansfield:
23 Q. Mr. Selimi, I'm over here representing Mr. Limaj, as you know,
24 and may I first tender an apology that you've had to wait rather a long
25 time before being called. I will speak slowly so that my questions can
1 be translated, and if you can adopt the same habit of waiting for the
2 translation, then the interpreters will be happier.
3 If I may lead you on some background matters first of all. Your
4 name is Rexhep Selimi; is that right?
5 A. Yes.
6 Q. And you were born on the 15th of March, 1971, in Kosovo?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And during the conflict 1998 to 1999, you became a member or were
9 a member of the General Staff at that time but in different positions.
10 A. Yes.
11 Q. However, I want to deal with a time before the war and Fatmir
12 Limaj in particular. Can you recall now when you first met Fatmir Limaj?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. And when was that?
15 A. It should be in 1991 or 1992. It was in the early 1990s.
16 Q. And where? Where did you meet?
17 A. In Pristina.
18 Q. What were you doing? What were you doing at that time?
19 A. I was studying at Pristina University. I was a student.
20 Q. And were you studying the same subjects as Fatmir or something
22 A. No. I was studying Albanian language and literature.
23 Q. And at any time whilst you were at the university did there come
24 a time when you started living with him in the same accommodation?
25 A. Yes.
1 Q. And roughly when was that?
2 A. It could be during the years I knew him.
3 Q. I'm not going to trouble you with precise dates. It's some time
4 ago. But I want to move to the KLA.
5 At that time when you were at university, did you become
6 interested in the KLA yourself?
7 A. Yes.
8 Q. And again, can you give us a rough idea which year that might
9 have been that you became interested?
10 A. In the beginning, I began to show interest in this, in how I can
11 find myself in an organisation with which I would contribute to my
12 country. As for KLA, I showed my interest first in 1993, and I achieved
13 it in 1994.
14 Q. And what do you mean by achieving it in 1994?
15 A. We achieved to have an organisation called Kosovo Liberation Army
16 in 1994.
17 Q. Do you regard yourself as a founding member of the KLA?
18 A. Fortunately, I was one.
19 Q. And at that time, as far as you are concerned, what were the
20 objectives of the KLA?
21 A. The freedom of Kosova, its liberation with the possible means.
22 Q. And what means were being contemplated at that time?
23 A. Up to that time, the Albanians of Kosova have tried different
24 means, political means and other forms of organisation and gatherings in
25 different political organisations, but we were running out of these
1 means, and to our wish or -- not to our wish, this was the only way for
2 the people of Kosova to engage in order to achieve the freedom of its
3 country and people.
4 Q. Now, I want to for a moment just ask you about something else at
5 this period, that is the period that you were at university, the same
6 university as Fatmir Limaj. Do you recall an initiative which had as its
7 object the reconciliation of people who might be concerned in blood
9 A. Of course, yes.
10 Q. Could you just please collaborate on what to was as you
11 understood it in those years.
12 A. In those years, this was a great movement. At that time it was
13 called national movement for reconciliation of people who might been
14 concerned in blood feuds. And this initiative taken by certain young
15 men, it was some students, in fact, and with the support of certain
16 intellectuals and the leadership of this initiative by a person,
17 well-known person as Anton Ceta, this initiative expanded and succeeded
18 in reconciliating many families involved in blood feud.
19 Q. I want to move on. You talked about the KLA and the founding of
20 it in 1994, and I want to move to 1997. So it's three years later. Were
21 you aware that Fatmir had to leave Kosovo?
22 A. I didn't have accurate knowledge as to where Fatmir was in 1997,
23 and there was no way how I could, because I was in such circumstances
24 that I couldn't know. After his return from Switzerland, I realised that
25 he was there.
1 Q. Could you just indicate why in 1997 you couldn't know because of
2 your circumstances? Could you just explain to the Tribunal what you mean
3 by that, please?
4 A. I'll try. At the end of 1996, I had to flee the country because
5 I was persecuted by the Serbian police. I said I had to flee from
6 Pristina and to find a shelter in Prekaz because I was obliged under the
7 circumstances. Therefore, I was unable to follow up developments either
8 in Pristina or somewhere else.
9 Likewise, in January 1997, wanting to arrest and liquidate the
10 KLA members, Serbia organised a large-scale campaign of arrests in
11 Kosova. Among the arrested persons was my brother and many friends of
12 mine, and among the wanted persons I found out that Fatmir Limaj was one
13 of them. So since I was not in Pristina and was not a member of the
14 public life and because of the circumstances created for Fatmir, too, it
15 was impossible for me to know his whereabouts.
16 Q. Now, we know that he returned, and there's no issue about this,
17 in 1998 in the spring. But before reaching that, and I'm afraid we won't
18 reach it today but on Monday, just this: What was the KLA doing in 1996,
19 1997 before Fatmir returned in March 1998? What was it doing in those
21 A. During the entire period of the growth of the KLA but especially
22 during this phase, the KLA tried to organise itself better, to have more
23 people joining it, to spread among more places, and especially after the
24 blow, I am using the word "blow" or the attack by the Serbian forces in
25 the beginning of 1997, the entire activity of us who had remained was to
1 reorganise. So I can say that exclusively we dealt only with the
2 reorganisation of that modest structure we had. So in addition to being
3 arrested three of our friends were killed. Zahir Bajaziti, Zenel Lahu
4 [phoen] and Eden [phoen] Hoxha and some others were arrested. This
5 happened at the end of January 1997.
6 Q. I'm sorry it's a short day today for you, but at least a start.
7 But my last question is this: During that time that you discussed we
8 have just discussed, was there in existence something called the General
10 A. At this time there was in existence an organisation called
11 Central Staff composed of people who had formed it. Among them was
12 myself. It was called Central Staff, not on account of its functioning
13 and organisation but because it was a sort of centre for people to meet,
14 people coming from various regions and working for the same objective.
15 Q. And was that Central Staff located in one place or in different
17 A. It depended on the circumstances and situations, but mainly it
18 held its meetings in Pristina.
19 MR. MANSFIELD: Your Honour, I see the time, as I promised. So
20 maybe --
21 JUDGE PARKER: Thank you, Mr. Mansfield.
22 Unfortunately, Mr. Selimi, as you understand we must finish
23 today. Another trial continues after the break, and we resume on Monday
24 at 2.15. So I must ask you to return then. Thank you.
25 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 1.40 p.m.,
1 to be reconvened on Monday, the 30th day
2 of May, 2005, at 2.15 p.m.