1 Tuesday, 11 March 2008
2 [Open session]
3 [The accused entered court]
4 [The Accused Pavkovic not present]
5 --- Upon commencing at 2.15 p.m.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, everyone.
7 Mr. Aleksic, you want to say something.
8 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Good afternoon, Your Honours.
9 Bearing in mind yesterday's ruling of the Trial Chamber, we are hereby
10 withdrawing our yesterday's motion.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: That's the motion for an extension of time?
12 MR. ALEKSIC: [Interpretation] Yes.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: [Previous translation continues]... withdraw it.
14 Thank you.
15 Mr. Ivetic, your next witness.
16 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour. Our next witness is
17 Mr. Milivoje Mihajlovic.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
19 [The witness entered court]
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Mihajlovic, good afternoon.
21 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please make the solemn declaration to
23 speak the truth by reading aloud the document which will now be shown to
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
1 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
3 You will now be examined by Mr. Ivetic on behalf of Mr. Lukic.
4 Mr. Ivetic.
5 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour.
6 WITNESS: MILIVOJE MIHAJLOVIC
7 [Witness answered through interpreter]
8 Examination by Mr. Ivetic:
9 Q. Good day, Mr. Mihajlovic. For the record, could you first
10 introduce yourself to the members of the Trial Chamber, giving your name
11 in full.
12 A. My name is Milivoje Mihajlovic.
13 Q. And during the preparations for your testimony here, did you have
14 occasion to meet with the Sreten Lukic Defence team to prepare a written
16 A. Yes.
17 MR. IVETIC: If I could have the usher's assistance, I would like
18 to have a hard copy of 6D1530 handed to the witness for efficiency of
19 proceeding through this part of the examination.
20 Q. Sir, if I could ask you first to take a look at this document and
21 see if, indeed, you recognise this as being the written statement which
22 you prepared with the members of the Sreten Lukic Defence team for use in
23 these proceedings.
24 A. Yes.
25 Q. Okay. Did you have occasion to review the statement to ensure
1 its contents accurately and correctly reflected your words and knowledge
2 on the topics reflected therein before signing the same?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. Now, today you're under oath. If I were to ask you today about
5 these same topics and questions, would you still give the same answers
6 and information as reflected herein in this written statement?
7 A. Yes, certainly.
8 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, I would move for Exhibit 6D1530 to be
9 admitted into evidence. I don't believe there's any exhibits that are
10 referenced therein, so it's just a free-standing statement at this time.
11 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
12 MR. IVETIC:
13 Q. Now, Mr. Mihajlovic, I would like to ask you some additional
14 short and concrete questions in addition to your statement. First of
15 all, what can you tell us about whether there existed in 1998 and 1999
16 radio or TV stations in Pristina broadcasting programmes in the Albanian
18 A. There was Radio Pristina and TV Pristina, and they all belonged
19 to the Pristina TV media outlet and they had broadcasts in Albanian.
20 Q. Sorry. I was waiting for the transcript. And who sponsored or
21 financed these stations that comprised Radio TV Pristina?
22 A. Radio TV Pristina was financed by the state of Serbia.
23 Q. And how many hours a day did these stations transmit programmes
24 in the Albanian language?
25 A. Radio Pristina had 16 and a half hours of Albanian broadcasts a
1 day, and as for TV Pristina they had three and a half hours of Albanian
2 broadcasts a day.
3 Q. And could you briefly or generally describe for us what time of
4 programming comprised the -- both the TV and the radio broadcast
5 schedules of these two stations.
6 A. Both TV and radio had information programmes, that is to say
7 news; then they had entertainment, cultural programmes on television;
8 they also had films; and on radio they had drama.
9 Q. And in your written statement at paragraph 7, that's page 3 of
10 the Serbian, 3 and 4 of the English translation, you state that there
11 were around 25 different magazines and newspapers in the Albanian
12 language that were -- that were officially known of. Were these
13 available in 1998 and 1999; and if so, where could they be obtained or
14 purchased at that time?
15 A. Yes, they were sold on all newsstands in the province and one
16 could buy them in every town in the province.
17 Q. And were any of these 25 that you have identified magazines and
18 newspapers that were owned or financed by the Serbian or Yugoslav
19 officials or authorities?
20 A. Except for a journal called Buj ku which was published for
21 farmers initially and later on it had serious political articles which
22 was financed privately until 1998; all other publications were state
24 Q. Now, you state that some of these were even KLA mouthpieces.
25 What sorts of things did these Albanian-language newspapers or magazines
1 have to say that led you to believe that they ought to perhaps have been
2 banned even though they were not?
3 A. There were two papers with information content which suited the
4 KLA purposes, one was a weekly called Kombi, which means nation in
5 translation, and there was a biweekly publication called Gazeta
6 shqiptare. These publications mostly brought announcements of the KLA,
7 they also published interviews of KLA commanders from the vicinity of
8 Kosovska Mitrovica and throughout the province. These texts were such
9 that they inspired ethnic hatred and it was strange for me that
10 authorities did nothing to ban them. One could buy these magazines on
11 all newsstands throughout the province in addition to magazines and
12 publications in Serbia and in addition to all other available media.
13 Q. One correction for the record, Your Honour, at page 4, lines 20
14 through 23, I believe that the witness testified that Bujku was published
15 for farmers initially and later on it had serious political articles
16 privately financed probably until 1998 although the publications were
17 privately financed as I believe is what the translation came through. We
18 can ask the witness to verify. All others were privately financed or we
19 can have the witness clarify. I wasn't listening to the English
20 translation, so I don't know if that's what actually came through on the
21 text or not.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you tell us how the original or the journal
23 you referred to as Bujku was published?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Initially it was financed by the
25 state. Later on when they started having serious political content they
1 became private.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: And what did you say was the source of funding for
3 all other publications?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Private.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
6 Mr. Ivetic.
7 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
8 Q. Now, if we could move to a related theme or topic at paragraph 36
9 of your statement, which I believe is the 12th and 13th page of the
10 English and I believe the tenth of the Serbian or thereabouts. You talk
11 of programmes of the Albanian TV Sele [phoen] programme telling people to
12 leave Kosovo. First of all, who operated this TV broadcast?
13 A. That was the state television of Albania, TV Tirana.
14 Q. And if you could tell us as based upon your observations in 1998
15 and 1999 how prevalent were the satellite receiver antennas in Pristina
16 necessary for one to follow or watch this satellite TV programme of the
17 Republic of Albania?
18 A. Almost every household, every apartment, in Pristina had a
19 satellite aerial in order to be able to follow the programme of TV
21 Q. And do you have knowledge of -- you have -- you've identified the
22 subject matter of the calls that were put forward on this TV broadcast.
23 Do you have knowledge of why that TV broadcast explained or told people
24 to leave Kosovo-Metohija?
25 A. TV programme constantly informed about the crisis in Kosovo and
1 Metohija, and at the very outset of the bombing and before the bombing
2 started in their media there was information to the effect that there
3 soon would be a war between NATO and Yugoslavia, based upon which they
4 concluded that they needed to leave Kosovo as soon as possible.
5 Q. In addition to the programmes that we have been talking about
6 thus far, do you also have any knowledge of any illegal radio stations
7 that transmitted or operated within the territory of the province -- the
8 Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija during 1998 and 1999?
9 A. In mid-1998 and in 1999 there were also illegal radio stations.
10 One was called Slobodno Kosovo or free Kosovo, which broadcast in news in
11 Albanian and music, and that station constantly guided the sentiments of
12 the Albanian population in the province. They aired interviews of local
13 KLA commanders, and in some critical moment they called upon the people
14 to leave their villages and to go someplace else. They were known as a
15 mouthpiece of the KLA literally.
16 Q. And you say they aired the interviews of local KLA commanders.
17 Do you know the area where this free Kosovo or Slobodno Kosovo radio
18 station operated or transmitted?
19 A. We didn't know from which place that programme was broadcast, but
20 one could listen to it on radios in the greater part of Kosovo, in
21 Drenica, in Metohija, in the area of Kosovska Mitrovica, one could follow
22 the signal of that radio station, of those radio stations, very well. I
23 guess that there were a number of them.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Just one moment.
25 Is it -- in its name it used Serb language, did it?
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, no, they used Albanian
3 JUDGE BONOMY: It's appearing in our transcript as called
4 Slobodno Kosovo. Is that not Albanian -- Serbian?
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In translation in Serbian it's
6 called Slobodno Kosovo. In Albanian it was known as Kosova Elire.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
8 Mr. Ivetic.
9 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
10 Q. Mr. Mihajlovic, you said at lines 22 and 23 of page 7 you guess
11 there are a number of them. Do you have any actual personal knowledge of
12 any other names of any such private or illegal radio stations
13 transmitting in various regions as mouthpieces for the Kosovo Liberation
14 Army or any other armed Albanian separatist faction?
15 A. That radio was known as Slobodno Kosovo and every broadcast began
16 with the following words: You are following radio Slobodno Kosovo or you
17 are listening to radio Slobodno Kosovo.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm finding this difficult in the interpretation
19 that we're constantly in English getting the name Slobodna Kosovo. Can
20 the interpreter help us and explain why that is the translation into
22 THE INTERPRETER: Your Honour, sometimes it's a custom to keep
23 the names in the original. The literal translation into English would
24 be: Free Kosovo.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
1 Please continue, Mr. Ivetic.
2 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
3 Q. Now, Mr. Mihajlovic, if we could turn to your media centre in
4 Pristina itself. Could you please tell us how and by whom it was decided
5 to form this media centre.
6 A. The media centre was established by an association of journalists
7 in Serbia which was the only association of journalists in the republic
8 at the time.
9 Q. And were you a part of this association that decided to form this
10 media centre or I should say are you one of the driving forces of the
11 efforts to have the media centre established?
12 A. Yes, I was one of those who gave the initiative to establish the
13 media centre.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Were there Albanian journalists who were members
15 of the association?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] You mean the association of
17 journalists of Serbia?
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Yes, there were Albanian
20 journalists, not many but there were some.
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic.
22 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
23 Q. And I guess -- I believe it's in his statement, but just if you
24 could clarify the media centre in Pristina that you ran included Albanian
25 staff in addition to Serbs; is that correct?
1 A. Yes, in the Pristina media centre about 20 people were employed,
2 the majority of them were Serbs but there was several Albanians and there
3 was even a woman from Syria.
4 Q. And how were the directors and other officers of the media centre
6 A. The Association of Journalists of Serbia established a programme
7 board of the media centre that elected director and editor-in-chief and
8 we selected other employees of the centre.
9 Q. How was media centre financed? How did you obtain funding for
10 the same?
11 A. The media centre organized press conferences, and those who held
12 press conferences had to pay and that was the main source of funding for
13 the media centre. And the journalists who were employed in the media
14 centres also worked occasionally as stringers or freelancers, and they
15 would earn thereby money, 15 per cent of which was due to the media
16 centre and that was sufficient to fund the work of the centre.
17 Q. Did you also have to seek out any donations from private firms?
18 A. I didn't have to look for donations, but about ten private
19 companies gave donations to the media centres in the following form. We
20 received a Xerox machine, we received curtains and some other equipment
21 and the premises remained there in the media centre, original premises.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Mihajlovic, you say that those who held press
23 conferences had to pay. What do you mean by those who held the press
24 conferences? Can you give us examples so that we can see the
1 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Conferences were held by leaders of
2 oppositional and other parties in Serbia, all of them had to pay 500
3 marks for each press conference at the time.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
5 Mr. Ivetic.
6 MR. IVETIC:
7 Q. And were there also foreign entities that would also rent the
8 press centre facilities for use for press conferences?
9 A. Yes, there were. There were foreign organizations that rented
10 out the premises, they were mostly NGOs who wanted some publicity because
11 at the media centre at any time there were at least 100 to 150
12 journalists present.
13 Q. I believe in your statement you describe the accommodations with
14 the Hotel Grand for the use of the media centre at -- I think that's at
15 paragraph 10 at page 4 of the English. Now, did you -- how did you
16 obtain the necessary equipment, gear, and other technical details for the
17 media centre, apart from the premises, since you've already had that
19 A. Yes, I have already said that we received a printer as a donation
20 from a company in Valjevo. We received several TV sets as a donation
21 from some private companies, either in Serbia or in Kosovo. We bought
22 our own telephones. We did not have much in terms of equipment. We only
23 had three computers.
24 Q. Now all inclusive including all the salaries and expenses for the
25 various personnel there, what was the monthly cost of operations for the
1 media centre?
2 A. Salaries amounted to about $1.000 a month for all employees. As
3 for retirement contributions and other costs, that did not go over $2.000
4 a month. So the entire operation cost about $3.000 a month.
5 Q. Did you ever send any reports relating to the work of the media
6 centre to anyone; and if so, who?
7 A. Yes. Every month we would send reports on the work of the media
8 centre to the Association of Journalists of Serbia who was our founder,
9 and then we also sent to them an annual report at the end of each year.
10 Q. Now, did you have contacts with the OSCE-KVM and what kind of
11 cooperation did you provide to them?
12 A. We had good cooperation with the OSCE and with the KVM because
13 they spent quite a lot of time in the Grand Hotel and they communicated
14 both with us and with the journalists who were staying or who were in
15 that hotel.
16 Q. Now, at paragraph 28 of your statement, that's in the
17 Serbian page 9, in the English I'm showing, page 4 -- that can't possibly
18 be right. I believe in the English it should be approximately page 10 if
19 I'm not mistaken, you mentioned that you had dinners with the America
20 KDOM chief Shaun Byrnes. With respect to those dinner meetings did
21 Mr. Byrnes at any time ever voice to you any concerns about the level of
22 cooperation from the Serbian MUP and particularly from Sreten Lukic of
23 the MUP staff in Pristina?
24 A. No, he did not complain about the cooperation with the Serbian
25 police. Most often we talked about the two journalists from Radio
1 Pristina who had been kidnapped, Perenic and Slavuj. Mr. Byrnes insisted
2 on meeting their families. These journalists have not been traced to
3 this day, but Mr. Byrnes never said about having bad cooperation with the
4 police. To the contrary, I think that he mentioned that he had good
5 cooperation on several occasions.
6 Q. And just one last question with respect to Mr. Byrnes. During
7 these same dinner meetings did he ever voice complaints to you that the
8 Serbian police were committing widespread violence and/or crimes against
9 the Albanian citizens of Kosovo and Metohija?
10 A. No, he didn't mention that. It was my impression, at least
11 that's what he used to say, that his job was to place local KLA
12 commanders under control.
13 Q. Thank you. If we could move on now. Who was your main contact
14 person within the Serbian Ministry of the Interior and from what
15 organized unit or structure of the Serbian MUP did that person hail?
16 A. My main contact was the spokesperson of MUP, Bozidar Filic, who
17 worked in the Pristina SUP.
18 Q. Were there any incidents when you took either domestic or
19 international reporters out into the field when you were attacked by the
20 KLA or other armed Albanian separatists or criminal movements?
21 A. Yes, there was an incident in late July, that's the one I
22 remember, in late July of 1998. As we were returning from Orahovac there
23 was a column of some 40 vehicles comprising mostly representatives of the
24 foreign media outlets. We were on our way back from Orahovac and we came
25 under attack. Part of the column was severed and they turned back,
1 whereas two vehicles in one of which I was continued to Pristina. The
2 third vehicle was a jeep with BBC personnel was hit by a round. In
3 addition to that I told you that KLA members kidnapped journalists of TV
4 Pristina, Slavuj and Perenic. These two people have not been found to
5 this day, and also a journalist from Tanjug, Nebojsa Radosevic and his
6 cameraman who were released after 25 days in captivity.
7 Q. Did you have occasion to spend time in or reside in Kosovo Polje;
8 and if so, for how long and when?
9 A. I lived in Kosovo Polje from the age of 5 and then all the way up
10 to the end of June 1999.
11 Q. Can you describe for us in terms of its geographic size or layout
12 how large a town Kosovo Polje is?
13 A. Kosovo Polje is a municipality that had a population of 12.000.
14 It has one main street that goes towards Pristina from that neighbourhood
15 and a few smaller streets. The railway station of Kosovo Polje is the
16 main building there -- rather, it is the railway hub of Kosovo and
18 Q. Now, we've had some witnesses here, specifically Generals
19 Vasiljevic and Gajic, who have claimed that the paramilitary groups,
20 first the Wolves of the Drina and then also Arkan's Tigers, were based in
21 Kosovo Polje. First, as someone who hails from the region and lived
22 there during the relevant time-period and as someone who professionally
23 was a news journalist covering events in the region, could you comment on
24 your opinion of the feasibility of these assertions?
25 A. I think that that is not realistic. Kosovo Polje is only 6
1 kilometres away from Pristina. In Pristina there were 2.000 foreign
2 journalists in that period, 1998/1999. That could not have been
3 concealed. I never heard of such information and I lived in Kosovo
5 Q. Now, at paragraph 15 of your statement, that's page 5 of the
6 English, you describe terrorist attacks that were carried out "according
7 to the same model."
8 How often or frequent were these types of attacks that you said
9 were carried out according to a particular model?
10 A. Well, these attacks usually took place in mid-1998 and in the
11 second half of 1998 practically every day between Djakovica and Pec, Pec
12 and Klina, Pec and Prizren and Orahovac.
13 Q. Just to clarify one matter, you mentioned at page 14, lines 12
14 through 16, that the municipality of Kosovo Polje had a population of
15 12.000. Would I be correct that the actual town itself has a much
16 smaller population?
17 A. No, the town itself had a population of 12.000.
18 Q. Okay. And do you have any -- strike that.
19 We've had some evidence here about the death -- or actually the
20 murder of an individual by the name of Kelmendi, Bajram Kelmendi, a noted
21 attorney from Kosovo and Metohija. Do you have any personal knowledge or
22 information into this incident; and if so, from whom and what is that
24 A. I knew Bajram Kelmendi. I know that he was killed in Pristina in
25 his very own apartment. We carried that piece of news at the media
1 centre. Later on we heard in town that Bajram Kelmendi had been killed
2 by criminals, a mixed Serbian and Albanian gang. I have no proof, but
3 that is what people were saying in town and also a lot of money was taken
4 from his safe.
5 Q. Did you ever have occasion to speak with any members of his
6 family regarding this?
7 A. I talked to his wife after his death; she was terribly shaken.
8 Q. And was she able to confirm any of the details that you have just
9 mentioned about what was being heard in the town relating to this
10 individual's death?
11 A. Well, this was right after his murder. He was murdered and his
12 son was murdered in the same house. She was terribly shaken. We just
13 exchanged a few sentences about that. She had heard these stories that
14 went around town, but we didn't have any proof.
15 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mihajlovic, for coming to give testimony. I think
16 I told you in proofing we put a lot of your stuff into the written
18 MR. IVETIC: So, Your Honours, that's all I have for direct
19 examination for this witness.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
21 Mr. Mihajlovic, was it only one son that was killed along with
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I think so, if I remember correctly
24 it was one son only. I'm not sure, though.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
1 Any Defence counsel have questions? No.
2 You'll now be cross-examined by the Prosecutor, Mr. Hannis.
3 Mr. Hannis.
4 Cross-examination by Mr. Hannis:
5 Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Mihajlovic.
6 A. Good afternoon.
7 Q. And in addition to Serbian, what other languages to you speak and
9 A. Albanian and English.
10 Q. In your statement, Exhibit 6D1530, there are a number of things I
11 wanted to ask you about. In paragraph 3 you mentioned that "the KLA
12 appeared in the media with a statement in 1997 in which it accepted
13 responsibility for a terrorist act."
14 And then you say: "The political leaders of the Kosovo
15 Albanians, above all Ibrahim Rugova, the," here it's translated as DSK
16 leader ignored the appearance of the KLA for a long time, claiming that
17 it did not exist and that it was the product of the Serbian secret
19 In your statement there where you say "the political leaders,"
20 how many people are you talking about and who exactly are you referring
22 A. Primarily Ibrahim Rugova, then the vice chairman of his party
23 Fehmi Agani; then Adem Demaqi, who was a very influential Albanian
24 politician, then a few politicians who were not as influential as Ibrahim
25 Rugova, that was Ljuljeta Pulja Beciri, Kaqusha Jashari, and Jusuf
1 Buxhovi, I think.
2 Q. And you're saying each and every one of those claimed that the
3 KLA did not exist; is that what you're saying?
4 A. Yes, yes.
5 Q. And --
6 A. In 1997, yes.
7 Q. Okay. And then in 1998 did they start to come around and say
8 that the KLA did exist?
9 A. In 1998 Adem Demaqi became the spokesperson for the KLA.
10 Q. And as a matter of fact, didn't the Serbian authorities for just
11 as long a time, if not longer, deny the existence of the KLA; as a matter
12 of fact, for years they used the term "so-called KLA," right?
13 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, I'll object to the form of the
14 question. This is a peculiarly I think that the Trial Chamber's raised
15 in certain languages -- and I think it's improper to imply that
16 "so-called" has the same meaning in English --
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, you see, that's a matter the witness can
18 handle, Mr. Ivetic.
19 MR. IVETIC: That's fine.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: A matter of assessment, opinion, judgement, it's
21 not a black-and-white situation where you can say that the question is
23 So, Mr. Hannis, if you consider there's any value left in your
24 question, please proceed with it.
25 MR. HANNIS: No, Your Honour, I'll move on.
1 Q. In paragraph 6 you mention that the press in Albanian which came
2 out in Kosovo supported the KLA. And you say the dailies Bujku and Koha
3 Ditore did not condemn the attacks in the province. Is it your evidence
4 that neither one of those papers ever condemned the attacks carried out
5 by KLA, they never condemned the violence; is that your position?
6 A. In the period from 1997 through 1999 not a single newspaper in
7 Albanian condemned a single terrorist attack that had been committed by
8 the KLA.
9 Q. And are you saying that Koha Ditore never took Mr. Rugova to task
10 for not taking a stronger position against the violence committed by the
12 A. That's not to say that they condemned violence.
13 Q. All right. According to paragraph 7 you say there were 25
14 newspapers and magazines in Albanian being published in Pristina.
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. You mention Kombi and Gazeta shqiptare as being literally the
17 mouthpieces of the KLA. So I take it that Bujku and Koha Ditore were not
18 mouthpieces for the KLA, were they?
19 A. No. Bujku and Koha Ditore transmitted KLA statements or press
20 releases, but they did not carry interviews with the leaders and
21 commanders of the KLA and they did not disseminate hatred.
22 Q. In paragraph 7 you say: "It's interesting that in these
23 magazines," and I think you're referring to Kombi and the Gazeta, "they
24 only used the derogatory term to refer to the Serbs." I can't pronounce
25 that word, but I would like to ask you in your reporting, what term did
1 you use to refer to the Kosovar Albanians and the KLA, did you use the
2 word "Albanac" or "Siptar"?
3 A. Albanac only.
4 Q. Okay. And is that because you used -- you viewed the use of the
5 word "Siptar" as derogatory?
6 A. No. The term Siptar is not derogatory. When the Albanians say
7 it themselves that they are Albanian, they say: I'm an Albanian --
8 THE INTERPRETER: The witness spoke in Albanian.
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] -- this is not a derogatory term,
10 but in the Constitution of Serbia, the Albanians were called Albanians,
11 Albanci. I know there were some Albanians who were upset when they were
12 called Siptars, so that's why I called them Albanians.
13 MR. HANNIS:
14 Q. You, in referring to some of these publications in paragraph 7
15 you say: "It was obvious that these newspapers were not able to sustain
16 themselves on the number of copies printed and sold but received
17 assistance from the outside."
18 How was it obvious? Did you take account or do an accounting of
19 those newspapers?
20 A. It was obvious because there were ads in these newspapers, ads
21 that were under the slogan: The homeland is calling.
22 THE INTERPRETER: The witness again spoke in Albanian.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] And this was in support of the
24 Albanian cause in Kosovo as they put it.
25 MR. HANNIS:
1 Q. Didn't your media centre receive assistance from the outside as
3 A. What do you mean assistance from the outside?
4 Q. Well, you talked about donations and equipment received from
5 private companies; wasn't that from the outside?
6 A. Yes, well, that is from the outside in the form of three TV sets
7 and three computers.
8 Q. That's the total -- that's the sum total of what you received
9 from private companies?
10 A. That's all we received from private companies.
11 Q. You didn't receive any financial donations?
12 A. No, there was no need for financial donations.
13 Q. You say in that paragraph 7 that: "It was assumed that some of
14 them," these Albanian publications, "like Koha Ditore were funded by
15 international organizations."
16 Assumed by whom, by you?
17 A. Assumed by all, Albanian journalists, Serb journalists. There
18 were even texts in the press that was published in the Albanian language
19 in Pristina stating that the Koha Ditore paper was financed from abroad.
20 Zeri i Rinise in particular said that.
21 Q. Did you do anything independently to check that out for yourself?
22 A. No, I didn't try and I really had no way of checking either.
23 Q. In paragraph 10 you explained how on 16 April 1998 you launched
24 the media centre in Pristina. How did you come to do that at that time?
1 A. At that time the number of foreign journalists coming to Pristina
2 was on the rise. Every day there were more and more of them. These
3 people had no place where they could send their reports from and they
4 didn't have a particular centre where they could receive assistance for
5 what they needed. I thought that chaos and misinformation should be
6 prevented and I thought that the opening of this kind of a centre would
7 be justified from a professional point of view, professionally justified.
8 Q. And was that solely your idea?
9 A. Yes, it was my idea and it was a few years old, but before that I
10 did not stand a chance of doing that because I had a lot of work for
11 different media. So in my view that was the last moment when the media
12 centre could have been set up.
13 Q. Was there no discussion about doing this with the Ministry of
14 Information, either at the republic level or in the province if there was
15 one at that time?
16 A. No, there was no discussion. The then-minister of information
17 never visited the media centre in Pristina. In the provincial government
18 there was a secretariat for information, but they either did not have the
19 capacity to do that or the wish to do that.
20 Q. And what individual or individuals are you talking about in the
21 secretariat of information? Can you give us their names?
22 A. Bosko Drobnjak, secretary for information.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: What do you mean, Mr. Mihajlovic, by the
24 provincial government?
25 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The authorities in the province,
1 the Executive Council of Kosovo that existed at that time, in 1998.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: And who in April 1998 was head of that?
3 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In April Veljko Odalovic was head
4 of the district, if I remember correctly.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
6 Mr. Hannis.
7 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
8 Q. In that paragraph 10 you mention: "We had the tacit agreement of
9 people from the government."
10 What do you mean by "tacit agreement"?
11 A. That they wouldn't create any problems for us.
12 Q. Okay. And who exactly were the people in the government you're
13 referring to there, is that the same Bosko Drobnjak or somebody else?
14 A. Well, regardless of whether it's the secretariat for information
15 or someone from the party that was in power, they could have created
16 problems for us if they wanted to. If they wanted to, they could have
17 told the manager of the hotel not to give us premises for this.
18 Q. And who in the party are you referring to then, can you give us
19 some names?
20 A. Well, perhaps the party at the provincial level or the local
21 Pristina level. It depends who'd be bothered by us.
22 Q. Well, you said you had the tacit agreement of people from the
23 government. Who in the party are you referring to by name?
24 A. Vojislav Zivkovic, president of the SPS of Kosovo and Metohija
25 primarily, he was a journalist beforehand.
1 Q. And did he facilitate the arrangements for you in the media
2 centre to have offices at the Grand Hotel?
3 A. No.
4 Q. You said: "We were allotted offices."
5 What exactly allotted those offices to you?
6 A. The manager of the Grand Hotel, his last name was Djorovic, I
7 can't remember his first name now.
8 Q. And did you have to pay for those rooms?
9 A. No. He knew that once the media centre was opened all the
10 journalists would be guests of his hotel, and quite literally once the
11 media centre was opened there was not a single free room at the hotel.
12 Q. And business at the bar probably improved greatly, right?
13 A. Yes.
14 Q. Okay. You say in paragraph 9 -- I'm sorry, at paragraph 10: "My
15 goal was to try to help so that as little blood as possible would be
16 spilled in Kosovo, knowing that the media could calm the situation."
17 In what way did you see the media calming the situation?
18 A. I thought, and I still think, that in calming the situation the
19 most important thing is for the media to tell the truth, not to make
20 comments and not to add oil to the fire in critical times and at
21 flash-points of crisis.
22 Q. Well, you almost took the words out of my mouth. I was going to
23 ask you if in your experience as a professional journalist, wouldn't you
24 agree that often the media calms the situation the way gasoline calms a
1 A. I agree with you.
2 Q. You say in paragraph 11 that: "All operations by the police
3 against terror by Albanian separatists were condemned by the
4 international community."
5 I agree with you that the international community, for example,
6 in the form of United Nations resolutions, two of them in 1998, did
7 condemn police actions. But was it your experience that the entire
8 international community condemned all operations by the police?
9 A. These resolutions obviously show that they pertained to all
10 police actions.
11 Q. Well, in the terms of those resolutions themselves, weren't they
12 limited to what they described as disproportionate use of force against
13 civilians, not all force but disproportionate force against civilians,
15 A. Yes.
16 Q. Thank you. In paragraph 17 you talked about an event in the
17 village of Opterusa and you mention a German reporter Renata Flotau
18 talking to the victim of that crime. Do you know, did she write a report
19 on that?
20 A. I don't know if she wrote a report on that. I just know that she
21 found the victim and talked to her.
22 Q. Okay. In connection with her, in paragraph 26 you talk about
23 foreign journalists behaving in different ways, "there were those who
24 came to Kosovo with a set task, constantly searching for stories on how
25 Serbian police were killing Albanian children and true professionals who
1 wanted arguments and proof for everything."
2 How would you classify Renata Flotau, was she a true professional
3 or was she one of those others that you describe?
4 A. On the basis of what I managed to read in terms of what Renata
5 Flotau wrote, I think that she was a rather objective journalist. I say
6 rather objective.
7 Q. Did you find her rather reliable in terms of what she wrote?
8 A. Well, I've already said that there was 2.000 or 2.500 journalists
9 there during that one year, and I did not really have much time to check
10 each and every one's reliability.
11 Q. Okay. Did you see the story she wrote in Der Spiegel in April
12 1999 about what she described as Mr. Rugova's house arrest?
13 A. Yes, I think I did see that at the time.
14 Q. Did you do anything to try and check out whether that story was
16 A. Yes, I was in Ibrahim Rugova's house. I took a group of several
17 foreign journalists there when the Russian ambassador went to see Rugova,
18 I think his last name was Kotov and I think his first name was Yuri, he
19 was the Russian ambassador to Belgrade.
20 Q. And if you recall the story that Renata Flotau wrote about that,
21 that was the very occasion when she managed to escape from the house
22 during that occasion when journalists were brought with the Russian
23 ambassador, right?
24 A. No. I found her in Ibrahim Rugova's house, and we exchanged a
25 few words while the journalists were filming Ibrahim Rugova and the
1 Russian ambassador. She wanted to know whether her car was still parked
2 in front of the Grand Hotel. I don't think she felt the need to escape
3 with the journalists because a day or two previously another group of
4 journalists had visited the house.
5 Q. You weren't aware that she had been in the house with Mr. Rugova
6 for several days before that occasion? You didn't know that, did you?
7 A. No.
8 Q. You in paragraph 18 say: "The conduct of the media in Albanian
9 at this time was strange."
10 I have a little trouble with the English in that sentence. It's
11 not clear to me, do you mean the conduct of the media in the Albanian
12 language; is that what you're referring to?
13 A. Yes, yes, that's what I was referring to. I thought and I still
14 think that it's very strange when the media failed to condemn violence.
15 Q. And you say: "There was no condemnation of crimes and only
16 crimes against Albanians were constantly emphasised," right?
17 A. Yes.
18 Q. So they are condemning crimes but only the ones in which they say
19 Albanians were victims, correct?
20 A. That's correct, yes.
21 Q. And wouldn't you agree with me at this time that couldn't some
22 Kosovo Albanian journalists say a similar thing about the Serbian media,
23 that is, that they were reporting only crimes by Albanians against
25 A. No, there were Serbian media who condemned only crimes against
1 Serbs, but there were other media which also condemned crimes against
2 Albanians, very seriously, very sharply.
3 Q. And which Serb media were those?
4 A. Vreme, Nin, Danas, Blic and probably some others in Belgrade.
5 Q. And in Kosovo were there any Serbian media that was condemning
6 crimes allegedly committed by Serbs against Albanians?
7 A. Yes, Radio Pristina condemned crimes against both Albanians and
9 Q. Okay. You say in paragraph 20 that: "While the media centre was
10 in operation from 18 April 1998 to 28 June 1999, all the news was written
11 solely by me."
12 A. That's correct.
13 Q. So how many people worked at the media centre? I think you said
14 before something like 20 people; is that right?
15 A. That's correct.
16 Q. And you were the only one that was writing any reports that went
17 out from the media centre?
18 A. That's correct.
19 Q. How many articles or reports did you issue from 18 April 1998 to
20 28 June 1999?
21 A. I don't know precisely, but on the average five to eight news
22 items per day on events in Kosovo.
23 Q. And this is on top of all the travelling you told us about, how
24 you were out in the field often, correct?
25 A. That's correct.
1 Q. Now, I have a question. You say to 28 June 1999. You stayed
2 another ten days or so after the Serbian forces left?
3 A. Yes.
4 Q. You say: "No one ever issued a denial for a single news item."
5 What do you mean exactly, that no one ever --
6 A. That's correct, yes.
7 Q. No individual ever complained about a story you wrote?
8 A. We didn't write stories. We only did news items, and no one ever
9 denied or challenged any single fact from those news items, either in the
10 domestic or the foreign media. And when I refer to domestic media I'm
11 referring to media both in the Albanian and the Serbian language.
12 JUDGE CHOWHAN: I just have a question here. I apologise.
13 MR. HANNIS: Yes.
14 JUDGE CHOWHAN: What were your sources for all this news that you
15 got because you were all the time in the Grand Hotel?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I wasn't in the Grand Hotel all the
17 time. I was also on the field and my sources were my colleagues,
18 journalists, all over Kosovo, also the directors of clinics and hospitals
19 in the region, the chiefs of the districts, the heads of districts, the
20 presidents of local communes or municipalities, my colleagues, Albanians
21 from the area. When I got information from one source, I had to check it
22 with another source, verify it, and that's how I obtained my information.
23 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Thank you.
24 MR. HANNIS:
25 Q. Would you agree with me that between sometime in March 1999 until
1 June 1999 there wasn't really any Albanian media up and working in
2 Kosovo, right? All those publications had been shut down and most of
3 those reporters and writers had left or were in hiding, right?
4 A. There were no other media apart from the radio stations, the
5 radio Free Kosovo. Other media were not published because there was no
6 freedom of movement in the province due to the NATO air-strikes.
7 Q. And Free Kosovo radio never disputed any of the news items you
8 wrote during that time?
9 A. Well, I didn't have time always to listen to their news, but I
10 didn't deal with that. They mostly issued KLA communiques.
11 Q. You told us earlier when you were talking about the media that
12 was available in Kosovo, you talked about TV Tirana constantly
13 broadcasting a message for the Albanians to leave before the war. How
14 often, how frequently, were you listening to TV Tirana during that
16 A. I couldn't do that very often, maybe once or twice a week;
17 however, the broadcasts of TV Tirana were spread around very quickly so
18 that all my colleagues, both Serbs and Albanians, would tell me what
19 Tirana had said on that day.
20 Q. Regarding your sources in addition to the answer you gave Judge
21 Chowhan a little while ago, did you not have sources in the MUP that
22 sometimes provided you information?
23 A. Yes, I did.
24 Q. And those sources in the MUP included some sources from the DB,
25 the state security, side of the Ministry of Interior, right?
1 A. No, my source was Bozidar Filic, and he confirmed information or
2 denied information I had received from the ground.
3 Q. Okay. Well, my question was in the plural, sources. So are you
4 saying your only source from the Ministry of the Interior was Bozidar
5 Filic and no one else?
6 A. Well, when it came to Pristina and large-scale clashes, there was
7 also a certain Colonel Sipka from Prizren who gave me information as to
8 what happened in Orahovac when there were big clashes in Orahovac; or
9 also people from the municipal police units on the ground when we were
10 there with our journalists.
11 Q. How about from the VJ, did you have any sources in the VJ in 1998
12 and 1999?
13 A. In 1998 in the VJ communication with the media was dealt with by
14 a man whose last name was Zirojevic, I don't know what his first name
15 was, but from time to time he communicated with journalists, he did so
16 very infrequently though.
17 Q. And you had no other source of information from the VJ other than
18 him; is that right?
19 A. I think that's right, yes.
20 Q. In paragraph 21 you talked about doctors from the hospitals in
21 Kosovo being a reliable source.
22 A. Yes.
23 Q. You mentioned --
24 A. Maybe the most reliable source.
25 Q. But you would agree their information is limited due to the fact
1 that they would only know about the people they actually saw and treated,
2 correct? They couldn't tell you about wounded or killed who were not in
3 their hospitals, not in their offices, right?
4 A. That's right, yes.
5 Q. And would you agree in 1998 and 1999 that there were a number of
6 Kosovo Albanians who might be reluctant to turn themselves in to the
7 hospital for fear of being suspected, maybe correctly or incorrectly, as
9 A. I think your statement is only partly true. The wounded had to
10 go to a hospital, otherwise they would die afterwards. There were no
11 illegal or local hospitals in that area that we knew about. Most of the
12 wounded were in the regular hospitals where they could get the best
13 medical assistance.
14 Q. And from all your sources including the MUP and the VJ you never
15 heard anything about field hospitals or independent doctors who were
16 treating terrorists and Kosovo Albanian civilians outside of the normal
18 A. I did hear there were such hospitals, but they treated mainly KLA
19 members. I don't think they treated civilians.
20 Q. And what's your basis for saying that, that they didn't treat
21 civilians? Who's your source?
22 A. My sources about this are my Albanian colleagues, journalists,
23 and also foreign journalists who had frequent contacts with KLA members
24 and commanders.
25 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, is this the time for the break?
1 JUDGE BONOMY: No, you have another 15 minutes.
2 MR. HANNIS: Okay. I can't keep track of our schedules when we
3 move around.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
5 MR. HANNIS: Sorry.
6 Q. You mentioned in that paragraph that you had requests from the
7 police not to publish names about killed or wounded until they had a
8 chance to inform the families. That makes sense. You say they also
9 requested that you delay publication so the families could be officially
10 notified. Did you report the names of Kosovo Albanians killed during
11 these anti-terrorist operations?
12 A. Whenever I was able to obtain the names I published them.
13 Q. I'd like to show you an exhibit now, it's Exhibit P3121. Well,
14 I'm sorry, let me withdraw that and move on to something else. I need to
15 come to that later.
16 You say in paragraph 22 that: "Generally everyone gave positive
17 assessments of the centre's work."
18 I assume from that that not everyone did. Who didn't give
19 positive assessments?
20 A. It was only the information centre of Ibrahim Rugova who didn't
21 and on only one occasion.
22 Q. Okay. You mention a particular German reporter named Erich
24 A. Rathfelder.
25 Q. Yes, I think this your statement it's spelled Ratfelder,
1 R-a-t-f-e-l-d-e-r, but from news stories on the internet it appears his
2 name may be spelled R-a-t-h-f-e-l-d-e-r. And you talk about him in
3 connection with a story about Orahovac. Do you remember that?
4 A. Yes, of course I do.
5 Q. And is it true that you personally spoke to him after that story
6 came out by him and told him that it might be better if he left because
7 his safety couldn't be guaranteed?
8 A. That's correct.
9 Q. And from whom was he endangered?
10 A. At that point I thought the greatest threat to him was the fact
11 that he had published false information which had no basis in fact and
12 that this information had in a way been ordered. And I felt that the
13 greatest threat to that journalist came from the people who had convinced
14 him to write that text in the way he did. I thought it had been
15 commissioned from him.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Is this in the statement, Mr. Hannis?
17 MR. HANNIS: Yes -- well, Your Honour, I think I'm looking now at
18 paragraph 22, but I think the first reference to this is in paragraph 18.
19 The witness says: "I remember an example when journalist Erich
20 Rathfelder who reported for several German papers wrote an article on the
21 alleged existence of a mass grave in Orahovac."
22 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, thank you.
23 MR. HANNIS:
24 Q. Are you aware, sir, that after the war in I think July 1999 there
25 was a German forensic team who went out to interview an individual who
1 had reported that information to Mr. Rathfelder?
2 A. No, I don't know that.
3 Q. And to actually do some digging in the area of Orahovac?
4 A. No.
5 Q. Are you aware of a story that Mr. Rathfelder wrote after he left
6 Serbia shortly after this incident in July or August of 1998?
7 A. No, I'm not aware of it.
8 Q. So you didn't tell him that he might be in danger from angry
9 Serbs because of the story he had written about Orahovac?
10 A. I didn't tell him that.
11 Q. You say in paragraph 27 that: "Members of international
12 organizations, the OSCE, KVM, and others, bombarded the public with news
13 of the abuse of Albanians. It was as if Serbian civilians did not
15 In addition to the OSCE and the KVM, what other international
16 organizations are you talking about there? Do you include the
17 International Red Cross?
18 A. Yes, the ICRC was there too.
19 Q. And do you include Human Rights Watch?
20 A. That's right, yes.
21 Q. Did you follow the Kosovo portion of the trial of Mr. Milosevic's
23 A. No.
24 Q. How about this trial, have you followed this trial at all on TV
25 or in the media?
1 A. No.
2 Q. You are not familiar with the testimony of a Human Rights Watch
3 employee named Fred Abrahams?
4 A. No, no.
5 Q. And you weren't aware of a report he wrote about Serb victims in
6 Kosovo in 1998/1999?
7 A. I don't know about that report, I'm not aware of it.
8 Q. So you have not reviewed all the KVM reports or all the reports
9 of those international organizations, have you?
10 A. No, I haven't reviewed them. It was my job to take the
11 journalists where they said there was a mass grave for them to see
12 whether there was or wasn't a mass grave there. I myself did not know
13 whether there was or was not a mass grave at that particular place.
14 Q. Let me stop you. I'm not talking about Orahovac right now. I'm
15 talking about your statement in paragraph 27 when you say: "It was as if
16 Serbian civilians did not exist" and how members of all these
17 international organizations bombarded the public with news of abuse of
18 Albanians. And I'm just trying to get at the basis of your opinion for
19 stating that. The fact is you have not reviewed all those materials
20 because if you had, you would have seen that some of those organizations
21 were writing about Serb civilians as victims.
22 A. I didn't see anywhere the information that about a dozen villages
23 in Metohija had been emptied of Serbs, that there were no longer any
24 Serbs in those villages.
25 Q. Okay. In paragraph 36 you talk about when the NATO bombing
1 started and that there was fear of the bombs, fear of the KLA, among the
2 Albanians there was fear of the police and the army fighting against the
3 KLA. That was a problem for many of the Albanian civilians, wasn't it,
4 the fighting between the army, the police against the KLA because
5 civilians sometimes got caught in the middle, got injured or killed,
7 A. Yes, you could never distinguish on the ground civilians from the
8 KLA to a large extent. There were people who wore civilian clothes but
9 carried weapons. You could see that from the cars even when we were
10 driving along the roads towards the villages.
11 Q. In paragraph 37 you mention that you published news on BBC that
12 the police arrested over 700 people who had committed crimes. When did
13 you publish that report approximately if you can recall?
14 A. I don't recall the exact date, but I think it was in May 1999. I
15 received this information from the chief of the Kosovo district, and this
16 information was heard at the session of the interim Executive Council
17 which was held on that day or the day before and this was a rather
18 reliable source of information regardless of the chaos prevailing in
19 Pristina at the time.
20 Q. So from the chief of the Kosovo district, would that be
21 Mr. Odalovic or are you talking about Mr. Andjelkovic? I'm not clear on
22 the --
23 A. Mr. Odalovic.
24 Q. Thank you. And did that information have a breakdown of the
25 types of crimes for which those 700 people were arrested?
1 A. No.
2 Q. So you don't know if any of those 700 crimes were war crimes
3 against civilians, right?
4 A. No, I don't know. I think they were different kinds of crimes.
5 Q. Do you know that -- whether the majority of them were for theft
6 and property-related crimes?
7 A. No, no, I don't know.
8 Q. You say in paragraph 38 that on the day that the Kumanovo
9 Agreement was signed, the streets of Pristina were suddenly full of
10 Albanians, which convinced me that only a small number had left
12 Were you not in Pristina every day basically in March and April
13 of 1999?
14 A. Not all day, but mostly in the evening I would be in Pristina.
15 Q. And in your travels from the field and from home to and from the
16 media centre during that time-period, you didn't notice hundreds or
17 thousands of civilians being directed toward the train station?
18 A. I didn't observe them being directed. I did, however, see groups
19 of people going in the direction of the railway station.
20 Q. Huge groups of people, right?
21 A. Well, let's say dozens of people in a group, just as I saw groups
22 of people moving towards the railway station in Kosovo Polje and towards
23 the bus station in Pristina.
24 Q. Did Mr. Filic share information with you from the MUP about the
25 number of Siptars or Albanian -- Kosovar Albanian civilians who had left
1 the country in the first four or five weeks of the war?
2 A. I don't think he did. We received information of that type from
3 the foreign media, who reported larger and larger numbers every day.
4 Q. And did you accept their reports as credible?
5 A. I had no possibility of transmitting those -- that information.
6 I could only see that CNN and other stations were broadcasting this
7 information, but I did not have any opportunity to go and see for myself
8 in Macedonia those camps.
9 Q. And you didn't make any inquiry of your sources from the VJ or
10 the MUP about the number of civilians that had left or were leaving?
11 A. No, I didn't have many contacts with Mr. Filic at the time. I
12 saw him very rarely.
13 MR. HANNIS: Your Honours, could we take the break now?
14 JUDGE BONOMY: In a moment, yes, Mr. Hannis.
15 Was there no reporting from the border or the area near the
16 border by Serb media?
17 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No. I can explain why.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, I'd be interested to know.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The Serbian media from Pristina
20 found it very difficult to move to the borders with Albania and Macedonia
21 because parts of the road were cut off and they couldn't move. There
22 were check-points held by the police in some places, by the KLA in
23 others, so you couldn't pass through.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
25 We need a break at this stage, Mr. Mihajlovic, so while we have
1 that could you please leave the courtroom with the usher and we shall see
2 you in 20 minutes.
3 We shall resume at five minutes past 4.00.
4 [The witness stands down]
5 --- Recess taken at 3.46 p.m.
6 --- On resuming at 4.06 p.m.
7 [The witness takes the stand]
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis.
9 MR. HANNIS: Thank you, Your Honour.
10 Q. Mr. Mihajlovic, would it surprise you to learn that in a MUP
11 report of the 1st of May, 1999, it was being reported by the MUP staff in
12 Pristina to the Ministry of the Interior in Belgrade that approximately
13 715.000 Siptars had left the country by April 30th of 1999? You were
14 aware that those kind of numbers of people were leaving, weren't you?
15 A. I knew that a number of people were leaving the province, but
16 that figure would surprise me because at that point I thought the number
17 was just too high.
18 Q. But you have no reason based on your personal experience to
19 disagree with what's in the MUP reports, do you?
20 A. If that is an accurate information, then I have no reason to
22 Q. I'd like to show you an exhibit, it's P3111, this is a
23 photograph, and I want to ask you if you can identify any of the people
24 in this particular photo.
25 A. Yes, I can recognise the guy who I guess is sitting in blue
2 Q. Second from the left on the front row?
3 A. Correct, yes.
4 Q. Who is he, what's his name?
5 A. I think this is the cameraman of Associated Press. I think his
6 name is Srdjan.
7 Q. Do you know his last name?
8 A. I think it's Nedeljkovic, but I'm not sure.
9 Q. And the Associated Press from where? Do you know what office he
10 was from?
11 A. I think it's Associated Press from Belgrade.
12 Q. Do you not recognise any of the other people in the photograph?
13 A. Not as far as I can see.
14 Q. Okay. I want to ask you about where your offices were in the
15 Grand Hotel, what floor were you on?
16 A. My offices were on the first floor of the Grand Hotel.
17 Q. And from April 1998 until June 1999?
18 A. Yes.
19 Q. Were you aware of in the summer of 1998 a number of politicians
20 coming down from Belgrade, specifically Mr. Minic, Mr. Andjelkovic,
21 Mr. Matkovic, and Mr. Sainovic? Did you know about that?
22 A. Yes, it wasn't only them. Numerous ministers from the Government
23 of Serbia used to come as well as vice-deputy prime minister Vuk
24 Draskovic, all of them would come occasionally to Pristina and I would
25 normally see them either at the Grand Hotel or at some public functions
1 that they attended. Naturally Milutinovic, president of Serbia, came to
2 have talks with Albanians a bit prior to that.
3 Q. Were you aware of a creation of a body known as the temporary or
4 provisional Executive Council for Kosovo?
5 A. Yes, yes.
6 Q. And who was a member of that as far as you knew or who was the
7 head of that?
8 A. Zoran Andjelkovic headed the provisional Executive Council, and
9 as for members there was Bosko Drobnjak for information. For information
10 of minorities the name of the member -- he was a journalist from the Roma
11 desk of Radio Pristina. I can't -- I will remember his name a bit later,
12 it will come to me. And I think that they were split up in various
13 fields, agriculture, economics. I remember the name of the person for
14 agriculture and then there were various other fields that people were in
15 charge of.
16 Q. Were you aware or did you ever hear of a body called the Joint
17 Command for Kosovo and Metohija? Have you ever heard that term?
18 A. In 1998 and in 1999 I never heard of that term and I didn't know
19 that there existed some sort of a Joint Command.
20 Q. My question is: Did you ever hear of the term before today?
21 A. I think that I read in some Belgrade papers recently, in recent
22 months, about that term; prior to that, I didn't know about it.
23 Q. Did you -- how often did you see Mr. Minic, Mr. Andjelkovic, and
24 Mr. Matkovic, and Mr. Sainovic in Kosovo in 1998, let's say between July
25 20th and the end of October 1998, just during that time-period, how often
1 would you see them?
2 A. Perhaps five or six times.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Fila.
4 MR. FILA: [Interpretation] Your Honours, I have nothing against
5 these questions, but if somebody poses a question relating to a group:
6 How many times did you see four people, then that insinuates something
7 because previously the witness spoke about there being more politicians.
8 Well, why doesn't he ask about five persons rather than four. Did you
9 understand what I meant.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: I think, Mr. Hannis, that this has to be put in a
11 different way.
12 MR. HANNIS: I understand, Your Honour. I was trying to save
13 time, but I think I lost it.
14 Q. How often during that time-period did you see Mr. Sainovic
15 between mid-July 1998 and the end of October 1998 in Pristina?
16 A. Perhaps three or four times.
17 Q. And during that time were you in Pristina every day?
18 A. Almost every day.
19 Q. And I think you told us before, especially in the evenings,
20 right, because you might be out in the field during the day?
21 A. Correct.
22 Q. Thank you. I want to ask you about an incident that occurred in
23 the area of Donje and Gornje Obrinje at the end of September 1998. Do
24 you know what I'm referring to?
25 A. I don't know which one you have in mind.
1 Q. You're not aware of an event in which it was alleged that a
2 number of civilians had been massacred by Serbian forces in the area of
3 those villages around the 26th of September, 1998?
4 A. Could you help me with this, how was this done?
5 Q. Well, there was a lot of international press about this event.
6 You don't recall it?
7 A. Just tell me how that event came about and then it will come to
9 Q. Well, it's alleged that several members of a family called
10 Delilaj, D-e-l-i-l-a-j I think is one of the spellings, including a few
11 small children under the age of 10 were killed during the anti-terrorist
12 actions in that area. And you don't know about that?
13 A. If this involves a group of people who were killed on a
14 trailer -- on a tractor-trailer, then yes, I remember that event.
15 Q. No, it's not on a tractor-trailer, it's in their homes and in the
16 forest where they were running and hiding around their home. That still
17 doesn't ring a bell for you?
18 A. No, not at all.
19 Q. Well, let me show you Exhibit P2827, if I could. This is a memo
20 to President Milutinovic from the deputy minister of information. That's
21 the cover sheet, and if we could go to the next page in both English and
22 B/C/S. You see this is dated I think the 1st of October, 1998, and the
23 deputy minister is advising President Milutinovic that: "Reports in the
24 western media and in the Albanian press about an alleged massacre of
25 Albanian civilians by Serbian police in Gornje Obrinje village in Kosovo
1 has assumed the proportions of a campaign in the international media."
2 And the second paragraph says: "It's obvious that the publicity
3 about the alleged massacre is media manipulation."
4 And near the third paragraph starts: "Officials of the Ministry
5 of the Interior deny that its members conducted operations against
6 civilians, adding that an investigation would be launched."
7 If we could go to the third page of the English.
8 "An investigation would be launched into the alleged crime which
9 they learned about from the Western media."
10 So the MUP knew about it, the deputy minister of information knew
11 about it and was reporting it to President Milutinovic. You didn't know
12 about it?
13 A. I don't remember. Most likely I had a news report on this, but I
14 don't remember this particular event. There were quite a lot of them.
15 Q. Quite a lot of them that reached the level of the president of
16 the republic?
17 MR. IVETIC: Objection, calls for speculation.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, I think that may be right.
19 MR. HANNIS: Okay.
20 Q. And, sir, I will advise you that this matter was also discussed
21 in a meeting of the Supreme Defence Council on the 4th of October, 1998,
22 with Mr. Milosevic, but I guess --
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. -- if you didn't hear about it, you didn't hear about it.
25 And none of your Western colleagues who were hanging around the
1 media centre at that time mentioned it to you?
2 A. Most likely they told me, but I truly don't remember that
3 particular detail.
4 Q. But you told us before that it was your practice to check out
5 stories when you heard things. In your statement you told us about how
6 you rushed to the stadium when you heard Western media reports about
7 100.000 civilians locked up in the stadium. Wouldn't you have tried to
8 check this out if you had been told about it, the killing of small
9 children by Serbian police?
10 A. Correct.
11 Q. Was there a procedure for vetting the journalists that were going
12 to be allowed to stay in Kosovo once the NATO bombing started, do you
13 know about that?
14 A. I think that in Belgrade there was a set procedure whereby from
15 military press centre they received some passes. In Pristina all of the
16 foreign and domestic journalists could stay throughout the entire time,
17 before bombing and during the bombing without any formal procedures or
18 passes. They just needed to have a formal ID from their media house.
19 That's all they needed, at least in the media centre.
20 Q. Well, it was not your job in the media centre to make that kind
21 of decision, right, about what foreign journalists were allowed to stay;
22 that wouldn't be for you, would it?
23 A. No, that wasn't my job, I wasn't authorised to make such
25 Q. And you're not -- do you -- did you know a journalist named
1 Antonio Russo who was in Kosovo in 1999 before the war?
2 A. I can't remember. As I told you, there were 2500 journalists
3 there and I couldn't remember all their names.
4 Q. And you're not aware that there was a contingent of foreign
5 journalists who were told shortly before the bombing that they would have
6 to leave because they weren't considered good journalists or the kind
7 that was wanted?
8 A. That was the decision of the Government of Serbia, or to be more
9 precise, Ministry of Information, we had no dealings with them.
10 Q. If we could look at Exhibit P2900. Mr. Mihajlovic, I have a
11 couple questions for you about that. This is part of a report from Zoran
12 Andjelkovic as president of the Executive Council, and it was sent to
13 President Milutinovic. I would actually like to go to page 13 of the
14 English and I think we need page 9 of the B/C/S.
15 Sir, on the screen can you see the paragraph headed: "The
16 information secretariat"? I think it's the first full paragraph on that
18 A. [In English] Mm-hm.
19 Q. Under that the second paragraph reads in my translation: "A week
20 before the criminal aggression, with the involvement of the Ministry of
21 Information, newspapers in the Albanian language which were sowing hate,
22 discord, inviting NATO to come, and which contributed to a great extent
23 to the aggression of the NATO criminals, were abolished."
24 You knew about that, right?
25 A. Just a minute, please, so I can see this. Yes, I knew about
2 Q. And the next paragraph says: "On the eve of the bombardment, a
3 meeting was held with the directors and editors of electronic media and
4 newspapers in Kosovo and Metohija, and the heads of the Pristina bureau.
5 Preparations for working in the conditions of war were discussed on that
7 Did you attend that meeting?
8 A. I don't think I was at the meeting. There was Miladin Jovic
9 there, director of Radio TV Pristina.
10 Q. Okay. And do you know who the heads of the Pristina bureau would
11 be that are referred to in that sentence?
12 A. Yes, I do. Heads of offices Tanjug, Beta, and there was some
13 other media outlets who had their field offices in Pristina, and I guess
14 this pertains to field offices of the Belgrade media outlet.
15 Q. Okay. And you received no information from the information
16 secretariat about any foreign journalists that were being disapproved of
17 and asked to leave at this time?
18 A. No, I received no information from the secretariat of
19 information. I just saw that people packed up their belongings, got into
20 the cars, and left Pristina.
21 Q. And the last thing I want to ask you about is a report attributed
22 to you. This is Exhibit P3123. And I'm sorry, Mr. Mihajlovic, I don't
23 have this in Serbian. We just have it in English. It's a story that was
24 attributed to you as a report that you made in February of 1991 reporting
25 about matters in Kosovo. And I want to go down to the sixth paragraph --
1 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, if I could just intervene at this
2 point. I don't know -- this is the second time we've received something
3 from the OTP that appears to have some sort of redaction at the top that
4 I can't see quite why there would even be a redaction at the top. I'm
5 wondering if this is going to become a practice, I want to have official
6 copies of documents. I don't know why -- what is being redacted here
7 would possibly be redacted for.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Hannis, can you help?
9 MR. HANNIS: It has nothing to do with content, Your Honour, it
10 has to do with a source, received from. And I don't think it's pertinent
11 or necessary for the question I want to ask this witness about something
12 he may or may not have written.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah. Probably you should have indicated that was
14 the basis for it in your intimation of this document to avoid this
15 anxiety in the presentation and also to give the Defence an opportunity
16 to consider the position fully. So please try to do that as far as
17 possible in future.
18 MR. HANNIS: I will, Your Honour.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Proceed with your question.
20 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
21 Q. Actually, I guess I'll start with the sixth paragraph. It says:
22 "A survey by the most popular Albanian-language newspaper," I can't
23 pronounce the name, "Zeri i Rinise, indicated that most Albanians think
24 the solution to Kosovo's problems lies in the province merging with
25 Albania. More than half of the respondents thought that this could
1 happen very quickly with the intervention of a foreign force. Only 7 per
2 cent of the respondents supported dialogue with the Serbs, while 31 per
3 cent were in favour of an armed struggle against Serbia."
4 The next paragraph is where I have a question. You say: "On the
5 ordinary side, the Serbian authorities did not have much choice when it
6 comes to Kosovo and Metohija. They can continue the present policy in
7 which Albanians have to all intents and purposes been eliminated from all
8 leaderships, although it must be admitted that in the political and
9 particularly economic sense, this policy costs a lot and produces few
11 Is that correct, that in 1991 most of all the Albanians had been
12 removed from leadership positions both in government and business in
13 Kosovo; that's correct, isn't it?
14 A. That's correct except for the term "removed" as far as I
15 remember, and I remember that period well. All of the Albanians signed a
16 statement to the effect that they did not wish to work for as long as
17 Serbia ruled Kosovo and they left their jobs at the urging of Ibrahim
18 Rugova, leader of the Democratic Alliance.
19 Q. Well, I'm reading an English translation that says "eliminated
20 from all leaderships." So you disagree that that's the term you used in
21 the -- your report?
22 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, again, we do not know this is the
23 report -- I've been told this is the only copy of it, so I don't know how
24 it's now become a translation --
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic, the question is being asked based on
1 this English version of the report.
2 MR. IVETIC: From a source that we don't know.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Let's hear what the man who wrote the article has
4 to say unprompted by you, please.
5 Mr. Hannis.
6 MR. HANNIS: Thank you.
7 Q. Well, I guess in fairness, sir, do you remember writing this
9 A. No need for that. Somebody can eliminate you or you may
10 eliminate yourself; at any rate, you are eliminated.
11 Q. Do you remember writing this article? You'll have to answer out
13 A. I suppose that I wrote it.
14 Q. And on the second page there's one other thing I want to ask you
15 about, it's the third paragraph up from the bottom. And you mention:
16 "... that the Albanians make up 90 per cent of the population." Did you
17 write that?
18 A. Yes, I wrote that.
19 Q. And that was accurate at that time, wasn't it, in 1999 in Kosovo?
20 A. At that time that was the fact circulated in all Albanian media
21 sources in Pristina, and I as journalist used that fact.
22 Q. And I assume you used it because you believed it was accurate and
23 correct, right?
24 A. Yes, certainly. That was the customary fact circulated by the
1 Q. Thank you.
2 MR. HANNIS: Your Honour, I have no further questions.
3 Q. Thank you, Mr. Mihajlovic.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Hannis.
5 Questioned by the Court:
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Mihajlovic, on the last part of your evidence
7 just now you referred to Albanians signing a statement that they didn't
8 wish to work for as long as Serbia ruled Kosovo and they left their jobs
9 at the urging of Rugova. We've heard some evidence of a requirement that
10 employees had to sign a declaration of loyalty to the Serbian state and
11 that that caused resentment around the time that you're talking about.
12 What's the relationship between that and the statement that you're
13 referring to?
14 A. I saw one such statement at the time. These are individual
15 documents and some heads of some companies demanded that their workers do
16 that, but that wasn't a widespread occurrence throughout Kosovo.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: I have one other question. It may be I've not
18 picked up the answer and should have done. In your outline of your work
19 experience you say that in 1999 and 2000 you were an AFP reporter. What
20 is AFP reporter?
21 A. I was a producer at AFP for the team of journalists that were in
22 northern Kosovo, Agence France-Presse, that's what they are.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: And it goes on also to say that you were an ATPN
24 producer, what is that?
25 A. Associated Press Television News.
1 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
2 [Trial Chamber confers]
3 JUDGE CHOWHAN: May I request you for some information. Now, you
4 were associated with the BBC?
5 A. Yes.
6 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Did you ever write any story for the BBC
7 pertaining to this crisis and with your suggestions about any solution to
8 this problem? Can you think of, can you give a date about it? Thank
10 A. Yes, I can remember. I worked for the Serbian section of the
11 BBC; however, they do not publish commentary or columns. They only carry
12 news reports and interviews of course. So I never really had occasion to
13 present my own opinion.
14 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Were you interviewed by BBC on this crisis, on
15 this problem?
16 A. I was interviewed by the BBC in 2000, when I had already left
17 Kosovo, and it had to do with the crisis.
18 JUDGE CHOWHAN: But that related to the crisis or something else?
19 A. In relation to Kosovo.
20 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Do you remember its date, no?
21 A. No, I don't.
22 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Did you mention about this report that you have
23 given in February 1991, did you refer to this in your interview with the
24 BBC in 2000?
25 A. I don't think so. I don't remember whether I mentioned it.
1 JUDGE CHOWHAN: You were never questioned on this report by the
2 BBC correspondent?
3 A. No, no.
4 JUDGE CHOWHAN: Thank you.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic, re-examination?
7 MR. IVETIC: No, Your Honour.
8 Thank you, Mr. Mihajlovic.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Mihajlovic, that completes your evidence.
10 Thank you for coming here to give evidence. You may now leave the
11 courtroom with the usher. Thank you.
12 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
13 [The witness withdrew]
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic, your next witness?
15 MR. IVETIC: Our next is Mr. Aleksandar Kostic.
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
17 [The witness entered court]
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Good afternoon, Mr. Kostic.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Good afternoon.
20 JUDGE BONOMY: Would you please make the solemn declaration to
21 speak the truth by reading aloud the document now being shown to you.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I solemnly declare that I will
23 speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you. Please be seated.
25 You will now be examined by Mr. Ivetic on behalf of Mr. Lukic.
1 Mr. Ivetic.
2 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
3 WITNESS: ALEKSANDAR KOSTIC
4 [Witness answered through interpreter]
5 Examination by Mr. Ivetic:
6 Q. Good day, Mr. Kostic.
7 A. Good day.
8 Q. If I could ask you just for purposes of the record if you could
9 please enter your full name, first and last.
10 A. My name is Aleksandar Kostic.
11 Q. And could you also give us a brief overview of your biography,
12 including a synopsis of your educational background.
13 A. I was born on the 25th of March, 1965, in Belgrade. I have a
14 degree in law. I started working in the Ministry of the Interior in
15 1997. My first job was at the department for the border police foreign
16 nationals in the seat or headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior of
17 the Republic of Serbia. From there I was sent to train for working in
18 the crime police, and that took a while. Then I was the disciplinary
19 judge in the Ministry of the Interior from 2000 to 2004, and on 2001 I
20 was assigned to work in the department for combatting organized crime and
21 I work in the division for searching for missing persons. I still work
22 there and now I head this service that is now called the service for
23 revealing war crimes at the crime police department of the MUP of the
24 Republic of Serbia.
25 Q. We'll get back to that specific service or department that you
1 worked for and are now still at later on. First I'd like to ask you,
2 after the conclusion of the war in -- that is to say that -- the war in
3 Kosovo with NATO, when was it that the Serbian MUP began intensifying its
4 efforts to try to conduct investigations into uncovering potential war
5 crimes that may have occurred during the course of that war?
6 A. As far as I know, in May 2001 after mass graves were found in the
7 territory of the Republic of Serbia, the Ministry of the Interior took
8 measures in order to collect information and evidence in relation to
9 these mass graves. With that in mind, a working group was set up by the
10 minister of the interior, to the best of my knowledge, and the then chief
11 of the public security sector, Mr. Sreten Lukic, was the head of that
12 group. This group consisted of professionals from the crime police
13 department, people who were capable of dealing with this subject matter
14 and who had no dilemmas in terms of prosecuting their colleagues and all
15 other people responsible for those crimes. Of course the primary task
16 was to discover whether these mass graves and these bodies were the
17 result of crimes and to establish how it was that they were killed and
18 whether these people were victims.
19 As the proceedings went along, they were based on where the mass
20 graves were found. So for Batajnica, for the mass grave there, it was
21 the district court in Belgrade that was in charge; for the mass grave in
22 Perucac, the district prosecutor's office and the district court in
23 Uzice; and for the Petrovo Selo mass grave it was the prosecutor's office
24 and the court in Negotin that had jurisdiction. What I know is that the
25 material collected by this work group was based on masses of interviews
1 with all the persons who could have some knowledge about the mass graves.
2 All these reports were submitted to the prosecutor's offices that were in
4 After that, on the 1st of October, 2001, a division for
5 investigating war crimes was established, and this is the first
6 organizational unit that was specialised for this in the Republic of
7 Serbia. If we look at all the state authorities that had to do with the
8 investigation of war crimes, I can say that the war crimes prosecutor's
9 office and the chamber for war crimes of the district court in Belgrade
10 were established only two and a half years after that. That is to say
11 that the MUP then expressed its readiness to have the truth uncovered in
12 relation to war crimes in the territory of the former SFRY.
13 Q. And you mentioned that this was at the time when Mr. Sreten Lukic
14 was head of the -- chief of the public security sector. Do you know when
15 Sreten Lukic became chief of the public security sector of the MUP of the
16 Republic of Serbia?
17 A. I can say that after the armed conflict in Kosovo was brought to
18 an end, Sreten Lukic was transferred to become head of the department of
19 the -- the department for border police and foreign nationals at the seat
20 or headquarters of the Ministry of the Interior, and at the same time he
21 was assistant chief of the public security sector. He was in that
22 position until January 2001, the 31st of January, 2001, when he was
23 appointed chief of the public security sector after the democratic
24 changes took place in the Republic of Serbia.
25 Q. Now, if we could take things step by step. You've talked about
1 the various organs within the MUP that were activated to undertake an
2 invigorated investigation into these matters. Irrespective of the
3 precise position that you held, at what point in time did you personally
4 begin to work or were tasked in the MUP with trying to uncover potential
5 war crimes as one of your primary functions?
6 A. On the 1st of October, 2001, a division for investigating war
7 crimes and searching for missing persons was founded in the department
8 for combatting organized crime in the Ministry of the Interior. The head
9 of this division, Dragan Furdulovic, was a member of the work group that
10 had dealt with the uncovering of war crimes on behalf of the ministry.
11 So that shows the continuity and the work involved. I specifically on
12 the 27th of November, 2001, went to work in the division for war crimes
13 and I have been working on the investigation of war crimes since then.
14 Q. After the democratic changes, as you stated, took place in Serbia
15 in the change-over from the previous government of Slobodan Milosevic to
16 the democratic coalition, who within the MUP of the Republic of Serbia
17 were the impulses for this increased intensification upon investigating
18 or uncovering war crimes?
19 A. At that time Dusan Mihajlovic, the minister, and the chief of the
20 sector, Sreten Lukic, gave that impulse to have the perpetrators of war
21 crimes investigated and uncovered and also to deal with the mass graves
22 that were found in the territory of the Republic of Serbia. They gave
23 this initial impulse in the ministry, and as I said this was the first
24 organizational form that dealt with this professionally in the Republic
25 of Serbia, that dealt with war crimes professionally that is.
1 Q. If we could focus a little bit more on some more concrete details
2 beyond this initial impulse given by the minister and Mr. Lukic. Could
3 you tell us, you mentioned, I believe, the working group. What kind of
4 authority did this working group receive from the minister and the chief
5 of the public security sector Sreten Lukic in performing its tasks?
6 A. As far as I know, the work group had the broadest possible
7 authority, that is to say that the members of the work group could
8 conduct interviews with all persons that could lead to knowledge in
9 relation to mass graves, that is to say members of the MUP irrespective
10 of their rank, position, as well as civilians who had some knowledge
11 about that. That is indeed something that the work group did carry
13 Q. And you said -- I believe you said at the time that the resulting
14 documentation from this group was handed over to the competent
15 prosecutors in the various regions. I don't think you mentioned when
16 precisely the special prosecutor's office for war crimes was created, if
17 you could just finish that part of the picture.
18 A. Since the first initiative came from the MUP to have war crimes
19 investigated and these crimes were being dealt with by regular courts
20 that did not have the capacity to deal with something like that, and as a
21 rule it was the prosecutor's offices that were in charge of the
22 proceedings, it was believed at the time that there was a need to have a
23 specialised prosecutor's office and a special court. Before the law was
24 passed on what the role of the state organs would be in respect of
25 prosecuting war crimes, and that is when the organs were stated that
1 would be dealt with, it is regular prosecutor's offices and courts that
2 actually dealt with this beforehand with more or less success.
3 As far as I know, this new law was passed in 2003, and that is
4 when the special prosecutor's office was established and the court, or
5 rather, a special chamber in the Belgrade district court. This also
6 established the service that had already existed within the MUP, that is
7 to say that the law only confirmed something that had already existed as
8 an organizational form within the Ministry of the Interior.
9 Q. Now, you discussed the initial impulse relating to the mass
10 graves at Batajnica and two other locations. What else did the MUP do
11 concretely to try to uncover war crimes during the reign of Sreten
12 Lukic's authority as chief of the RJB and as assistant minister of the
13 interior? What other cases were opened and investigated?
14 A. The first case done by the MUP of Serbia at the time when Sreten
15 Lukic was not the chief of the sector was the Podujevo case which is well
16 known. It concerns the murder of 19 civilians during the armed conflict
17 in Kosovo in late March, and that was the first case to be prosecuted in
18 the Republic of Serbia. It was prosecuted, or rather, a criminal report
19 was filed with the prosecutor's office in Prokoplje, and the trial was
20 held by the Court in Prokoplje. The trial could not be completed
21 successfully in Prokoplje, so that it was delegated to the district court
22 in Belgrade. At that time the task of the department for investigating
23 war crimes was to help collect evidence concerning the paramilitary unit
24 of Skorpions, which was practically within the reserve units of the MUP,
25 to identify the perpetrators, to find witnesses, and provide security for
1 them because the witnesses were Albanians travelling to testify from
2 Great Britain and from Kosovo. Also, to help with the protection of a
3 witness testifying in the case, this was Goran Stoparic, who also
4 testified here. MUP conducted all the activities concerning his
5 protection. This was a case which started during the armed conflict in
6 Kosovo and continued later on after the conflicts had ended and the
7 department for the detection of war crimes was in charge of it. As
8 regards war crimes, a working group of the department identified two
9 cases based on evidence collected concerning mass graves. The first of
10 these cases concerned the identity papers of the Berisha family, so that
11 was the Berisha Suva Reka case; the second case was the Bytyqi brothers
12 case, those brothers were found in the mass grave at Petrovo Selo. The
13 first two cases which the department for the investigation of war crimes
14 and search for missing persons dealt with were these two.
15 Immediately after that, the next case was opened, and that was
16 Sjeverin. It concerns the kidnapping and murder of more than 17 persons
17 in 1992 in a place called Mioce. The first criminal report was filed by
18 the department against six persons for which there were grounds to
19 suspect that they had committed this crime, these were Milan Lukic and
20 five others. Milan Lukic was unavailable, the other five were arrested
21 and detained and brought to the investigating judge in the district court
22 in Belgrade. At the time it was the district prosecutor's office in
23 Belgrade in charge, and Vladimir Vukcevic, the deputy prosecutor, was put
24 in charge of the case. He then became the prosecutor for war crimes.
25 These were the first cases we dealt with.
1 What I omitted to say was the following. Sreten Lukic initiated,
2 and the minister of the interior of course, initiated the gathering of
3 documentation concerning all security-related events on the territory of
4 Kosovo and Metohija, all the available documentation, that is, which were
5 to be the basis for the prosecution of all persons responsible. This is
6 called the dossier for Kosovo and Metohija. Also, in the Ministry of the
7 Interior activities were undertaken with a view to collecting information
8 on all kidnapped and missing persons on the territory of Kosovo and
9 Metohija, and a file was created compatible with the files of
10 international organizations. Documentation and information was collected
11 about missing and kidnapped persons, with a view to prosecuting those
13 At the beginning of the department's work, documentation was also
14 collected on crimes committed by the KLA in Kosovo so that in cooperation
15 with the other security structures work was carried out on collecting and
16 sorting documentation concerning those crimes. These were sorted by
17 place of commission, by person, and the entire documentation was
18 delivered to The Hague Tribunal through the Ministry of Justice. So this
19 was a vast amount of work for a new organizational unit, a newly
20 established one, so to speak.
21 Q. Just so that we can go back and highlight some things you
22 mentioned the one incident Sjeverin. Am I correct that that relates to a
23 time-period even before the Kosovo war? Were there other cases -- and if
24 so, were there other cases that predated the Kosovo conflict for which
25 the new MUP leadership for which Minister Mihajlovic and Assistant
1 Minister Sreten Lukic undertook efforts to investigate and uncover
2 potential war crimes?
3 A. Yes, I can say that these were three cases, the first was Severin
4 which I mentioned, the second was Strpce, it's an event from 1993, a
5 kidnapping of persons of Muslim ethnicity in Bosnia-Herzegovina and that
6 trial was conducted before the high court in Bijelo Polje against Nebojsa
7 Ranisavljevic and the role of the department for investigating war crimes
8 was to identify witnesses, to secure witnesses, and to successfully bring
9 them before the high court in Bijelo Polje. That was a complex task
10 which required cooperation with the Montenegrin police based on an order
11 issued by the president of the high court in Bijelo Polje and all these
12 witnesses came from the territory of two towns in Serbia, Jagodina and
13 Despotovac. All these individuals were provided with security and
14 support. They testified before the high court in Bijelo Polje, and the
15 president of the high court sent a letter to the ministry thanking him
16 for the cooperation of the members of the MUP of Serbia.
17 The third case, one of the best-known cases, was the murder of
18 200 prisoners on the Ovcara farm in November 1991 --
19 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Kostic, Ovcara is way off beam as far as this
20 trial is concerned. You referred to a case called Sjeverin. Now, is
21 that the name of a place, is that the name of people involved, what is it
22 and has it got anything to do with Kosovo?
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] It has nothing to do with Kosovo --
24 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Now, that's enough for me for the
1 Please listen to the questions you're being asked. Please --
2 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, he did listen to the question I asked.
3 I specifically asked about items outside of Kosovo to show the new
4 leadership and the route that they were taking. So he's answering
5 exactly the question I asked.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah. Mr. Ivetic, I'm more concerned also with
7 the fact that it's in 1992, and I'm principally concerned that we're
8 losing track of all these -- at least I am losing track, I'm sorry.
9 You're giving answers that are far too long for me to correlate them as
10 you go along. And there you are, there's a good example, I've lost the
11 thread of what the questioning is because of the way in which you're
12 answering these questions. Please listen and just -- obviously I 've
13 made a mistake in thinking you shouldn't have been dealing with that
14 area, but please try to concentrate your answer, give us briefer answers
15 that deal only with the essential facts. And if Mr. Ivetic wants more
16 information, then he can ask you for more information.
17 Mr. Ivetic.
18 MR. IVETIC: Thank you.
19 Q. And you mentioned Ovcara, I think that's enough for that. And
20 are these all cases that had not been -- strike that. I think the
21 point's made with respect to that.
22 Now, these cases are all now pending within the -- within the
23 domestic courts of the Republic of Serbia or the -- in some cases now
24 it's the Republic of Montenegro; is that correct?
25 A. Yes, yes. Your Honour, I just wish to clarify that the
1 department for the investigation of war crimes and the search for missing
2 persons is competent for the territory of the entire former FRY -- SFRY,
3 the former Yugoslavia. So we need not deal with crimes in Kosovo alone
4 but all crimes committed on the territory of the former Socialist
5 Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. That is why I replied as I did.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Kostic, you're much younger than I am and
7 therefore have more time in hand to deal with the issues of the Balkans,
8 but I have more than enough on my plate dealing with issues relating to
9 Kosovo and how they were handled rather than exploring what happened
10 throughout the whole of the former Yugoslavia.
11 Mr. Ivetic.
12 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honour, but I would also note it
13 goes to show the type of police officer Sreten Lukic was when he came
14 into a position where he had power to investigate crimes and undertake
15 actions, which I believe is a vital part of these proceedings.
16 Q. Now, Mr. Kostic, we've seen some documentation from some various
17 organs, and you've mentioned several of them. Could you just very
18 briefly take us through the genesis of the original working group up
19 until the -- the -- um -- organization as it is now known so that we
20 could just find out exactly what -- when we were talking about the
21 documents -- talking about the groups we're talking about the same
22 essential structure within the MUP.
23 A. In the course of May 2001 a working group was formed dealing with
24 the investigation of war crimes, and in view of the fact that a need
25 arose to establish a permanent organizational unit to deal with this. On
1 the 1st of October the department was formed within the section for
2 organized crime and Dragan Furdulovic was the first chief --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Can I ask you a question about that. That's twice
4 you've called it an organizational unit, but you also told us that it was
5 only officially established at the same time as the war crimes
6 prosecutor's office was established two years later. Now, what actually
7 happened in 2001, was there a decision issued, some sort of order that
8 established it, or was it just informally set up?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Your Honour, the entire
10 organization of the MUP is regulated by the rules on the internal
11 organization of the MUP, and these rules envisage the establishing of a
12 new organizational unit, the administration for combatting organized
13 crime, and within that unit the department for dealing with war crimes
14 was established to deal over a prolonged period of time with
15 investigating specific crimes, crimes against humanity and international
16 law. So this was not an ad hoc situation, it was envisaged in the rules
17 on the organization of the MUP.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: So no decision was required? I mean, how was it
19 done? Who -- how did you establish a department?
20 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The department was established
21 based on the rules on the internal organization of the ministry.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: So --
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The rules are an internal document
24 describing all the job descriptions and all the posts and all the
25 organizational units within the ministry. It's an internal organization
1 document regulating the work of the entire ministry.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: What was it then happened in 2003 at the time the
3 war crimes prosecutor's office was established?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In 2003 a law was passed on the
5 competency of state organs against perpetrators of war crimes, and the
6 prosecutor's office for war crimes was established by that law as a
7 special organ, a separate organ, separate from other prosecutor's
8 offices --
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, but was something done in relation to your
10 office at that time?
11 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] That law envisages what had already
12 been done in 2001. Within the Ministry of the Interior a specialised
13 unit was to be formed to investigate war crimes.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you for trying to help me, but I'm sorry I
15 don't understand it.
16 But if it is important, Mr. Ivetic, you can explore it further.
17 MR. IVETIC:
18 Q. This institution of the -- the rules of the internal organization
19 regulating the work of the entire ministry that made a specific
20 department for investigating war crimes, which administration within the
21 MUP brought this rule book into existence? Who was the minister and the
22 assistant minister at that time?
23 A. At the time of Dusan Mihajlovic, who was the minister of the
24 interior, he was authorised to enact the rules, which is bylaw, and if
25 you wish me to explain, Your Honours, if in the ministry crimes are
1 recognised that somebody should deal with, then an organizational unit is
2 established within the ministry to deal with them and people are trained
3 to deal with such crimes. As in the MUP, it was recognised that war
4 crimes had to be investigated. Such an organizational unit was formed
5 two and a half years before the law was passed, and this was permissible.
6 Q. Thank you, Mr. Kostic. For our purposes, it's important to show
7 which administration brought that --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, please move on, Mr. Ivetic.
9 MR. IVETIC: I will.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: I suspect that my intervention hasn't helped, so
11 you deal with it your way.
12 MR. IVETIC: Okay.
13 Q. Now, when eventually you became the chief or head of this service
14 for investigating war crimes, when was that?
15 A. That was on the 3rd of April, 2006.
16 Q. And when you became head of this service, was the -- was the
17 chief of the RJB Sreten Lukic or someone else?
18 A. No, it was Miroslav Milosevic, he was the chief; and Dragan Jocic
19 appointed me, he was the minister and Milosevic was chief of the sector.
20 Q. What can you tell us about your knowledge of the type of
21 relationship -- strike that.
22 What can you tell us about your knowledge of the assistance
23 offered by Sreten Lukic to the working group and the other nascent
24 entities for investigating and uncovering war crimes that eventually
25 became the service that you are a head of?
1 A. According to what I know, Mr. Sreten Lukic, who at the time was
2 chief of sector, provided full support to members of the working group in
3 order to gather all information relating to perpetrators as well as
4 evidence. At the time when I started working in the department, there
5 was a large number of documents, meaning consents or approvals, that
6 Sreten Lukic issued and signed that enabled successful work of the
7 department aimed at working on and interviewing all persons who
8 potentially had any knowledge about war crimes. I can mention a document
9 that was done on the 18th of June, 2002, where Sreten Lukic gave his
10 consent to interview Obrad Stevanovic; Goran Radosavljevic, who at the
11 time was commander of gendarmerie; Milovan Vucelic, who at the time was
12 chief of secretariat in Prokuplje; Radomir Djeric, senior officer in the
13 gendarmerie; Ljubomir Aleksic, deputy chief of police administration, so
14 nobody was untouchable. The department was authorised to talk to all of
15 the members of the MUP who could potentially have any knowledge about war
16 crimes. The case that I'm referring to now specifically is the Beti qi
17 brothers case. I can also tell you about Berisha Suva Reka case. We had
18 similar authorisations, that is to say written consents from Sreten
19 Lukic, to conduct interviews with anybody who might potentially know
21 I can tell you what that meant to us in practice, that meant that
22 nobody could challenge the authority of Sreten Lukic and failed to show
23 up for such an interview, which meant that our work was made a great deal
24 easier by that.
25 Q. Thank you. Now, in the course of undertaking your official
1 duties, did you have any opportunity to personally come into contact with
2 General Lukic at the time that you were both at the border
3 administration; and if so, could you give us your impressions of him as a
4 professional policeman in that regard, how he ran that administration?
5 A. I've worked in that administration since 1997, that's border
6 police administration and administration for foreigners. After 1999
7 Sreten Lukic became head of that administration or chief of that
8 administration. What I'm aware of is that when Sreten came to that
9 position he looked for all laws that dealt with that administration, all
10 rules, all instructive dispatches that regulate the work of that
11 administration, and he wanted law to be applied consistently. And this
12 is something that is very typical of him. He strictly adheres to law.
13 That was the principle he applied when he was head of that
15 Q. Thank you. Now if we can move on to a concrete incident that was
16 investigated, the initial refrigerated truck case or the transportation
17 of bodies of persons from Kosovo to within mass graves in Serbia. In the
18 course of your work in this -- in that investigation, did you have an
19 occasion to interview or listen to a certain witness by the name of
20 Bozidar Protic?
21 A. Yes. While working on that case I talked several times to
22 Bozidar Protic, and when I say "several times," I mean more than 15
23 times. Minutes were not made after each interview, rather, after four or
24 five interview minutes would be made about interviews with Bozidar
1 Q. And in the course of your interviews with Mr. Protic on these
2 various times, did his story remain the same or did it change?
3 A. His story frequently changed depending on his mood, mental
4 stability. Sometimes he was confused, sometimes he cried, sometimes he
5 was stable, and he frequently changed his story and did not repeat what
6 he said on a previous occasion.
7 Q. Were there any contradictions in the various statements he gave
8 to your service in investigating the Batajnica and Betiqi matters?
9 A. There were frequent contradictions because he could not remember
10 the events specifically. Some events which took place after the armed
11 conflict in Kosovo were linked by him to events which took place during
12 the armed conflict in Kosovo. He was confused frequently about persons
13 with whom he did certain things related to armed conflicts in Kosovo. So
14 there were frequent contradictions, and we had to verify all of that. We
15 came to conclusion that some of the things that he told us were not true.
16 Q. When is the first time that Mr. Protic ever mentioned Sreten
17 Lukic in regards to the whole affair of the removal of bodies from Kosovo
18 to sites within Serbia?
19 A. He mentioned him for the first time in the spring of 2006 during
20 those interviews.
21 Q. How many -- how many interviews had he undertaken with you prior
22 to that time when he had not mentioned Sreten Lukic's name, if you could
23 give an approximate number?
24 A. More than seven I can say.
25 Q. And you indicated that you tried to verify some of the
1 information he gave you and that you found out that items were not true.
2 Could you give us some examples, if you can, if you're able to, off the
3 top of your head, of some of the things the MUP tried to verify from his
4 interviews that turned out not to be true?
5 JUDGE BONOMY: You've been asked to do this off the top of your
6 head. Are there no records of these interviews?
7 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There are minutes or record -- but
8 I told you that we would talk to him several times and then a record
9 would be drawn up because he was quite confused a lot of the times and he
10 gave contradictory accounts. So we couldn't create a contradictory
11 record before establishing facts. If somebody gives a different story in
12 two days, we can't draw up two different records that are contradictory,
13 no. We would go to establish the truth.
14 JUDGE BONOMY: Try to confine yourself to answering my questions.
15 Where are the records that you did compile?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] In the service for uncovering war
18 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
19 Mr. Ivetic.
20 MR. IVETIC: I believe certain of those are in evidence in this
21 case in one form or another or were disclosed to the parties. I could
22 perhaps try and track down and provide the Court with a list of those at
23 the conclusion of this witness's testimony if that would allow the Court
24 to see what is in evidence of that documentation.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, thank you.
1 MR. STAMP: I could just put it on the record now, there's 586,
2 the note of his statement of the 4th of June, 2001, that is P586; there
3 is P2816, the record of his statement to the -- to investigating judge
4 Milan Dilparic; and there's P2817, the record of the statement taken by
5 the Belgrade war crimes prosecutor dated 29th of June, 2006. And --
6 JUDGE BONOMY: Only one of these is potentially a MUP statement?
7 MR. STAMP: There is another MUP statement, Your Honours, that is
8 6D196, an extract of it was produced at some point in time. I've been
9 trying to get a copy of the full statement from the Defence. As a matter
10 of fact, to be quite candid, the Prosecution should have made efforts to
11 obtain a copy of this some time ago, but it is just one of those things
12 that slipped under the crack. The Defence had promised from 2007 that
13 they would furnish a copy to us so that we could have it translated for
14 the Court, but I don't think that has been done.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Can you help on that, Mr. Ivetic?
16 MR. IVETIC: I am told that Mr. Stamp talked to my colleague
17 Mr. Lukic I guess just in the past day or so about that and we are
18 working on getting that to them. There were also statements from 2006
19 that the Prosecutor's office just gave us a couple months ago. But let
20 me ask --
21 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
22 MR. IVETIC: Let me ask the witness to clarify some things.
23 Q. Were members of the MUP also present for some of the interviews
24 before the investigative judge or could you explain the role in that
1 A. Not before the investigative judge, but deputy prosecutor for war
2 crimes. That is to say after several interviews were conducted with
3 Bozidar Protic in order to confirm all of the facts that he gave, we
4 invited deputy prosecutor for war crimes to the premises of the MUP of
5 Serbia to be present, and in accordance with the law he was present
6 during interview and based on that record of interview was drawn up.
7 That is to say members of the MUP conducted the interview and deputy
8 prosecutor for war crimes was present during the interview, his name was
9 Dragoljub Stankovic. This record was drawn up after several interviews
10 were conducted with Bozidar Protic.
11 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, are we at the break now or do we still
12 have five minutes?
13 JUDGE BONOMY: Yeah, it's convenient to do it now, Mr. Ivetic.
14 MR. IVETIC: Okay.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
16 Mr. Kostic, we need to have a break at this stage for half an
17 hour. Could you please leave the courtroom with the usher while we have
18 this break.
19 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Thank you.
20 [The witness stands down]
21 JUDGE BONOMY: And we shall resume at 6.00.
22 --- Recess taken at 5.29 p.m.
23 --- On resuming at 6.02 p.m.
24 [The witness takes the stand]
25 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic.
1 MR. IVETIC: Thank you, Your Honours.
2 Q. Mr. Kostic, we left off talking about Mr. Protic. I'd like to
3 ask you a question specifically with respect to this incident that -- the
4 so-called refrigerated lorry case that Mr. Protic was interviewed about.
5 How many other persons were interviewed with respect to this incident and
6 has any other such person in any way mentioned the involvement of Sreten
8 A. I can't remember the exact number of people, but everybody who
9 was in any way involved in the event was interviewed. I think that when
10 it comes to drivers that was less than ten people. Nobody ever mentioned
11 Sreten Lukic as a person they had contact with.
12 Q. Okay. And my last topic with respect to Mr. Protic. Based on
13 the contact that your services had with him and the steps that you have
14 undertaken to try to verify the information given to him, do you consider
15 it his -- his information to be credible for purposes of issuing a
16 criminal --
17 MR. STAMP: That is --
18 JUDGE BONOMY: Don't -- please don't answer that question for the
20 Mr. Stamp.
21 MR. STAMP: I think, Your Honour, he can testify about the facts
22 of his observations, but the judgements which are really the -- reserved
23 for the Court I don't think he's entitled to do that at this stage.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Ivetic.
25 MR. IVETIC: Do you want me to respond with the witness in the
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Yes.
3 MR. IVETIC: Okay. The question I'm asking is whether the
4 Serbian MUP has information to do a criminal report or criminal
5 denunciation which would be the first step showing that they had
6 justifiable cause to show that someone has committed a crime. So I'm not
7 asking for him to comment on what the outcome this Court has to make, but
8 I'm trying to determine whether in fact the Serbian MUP has made a
9 decision based upon the witness's information whether, in fact, there
10 exists credible evidence to issue a criminal charge or criminal report,
11 we still have that issue on what the proper translation for a "krivicna
12 privaja" would be.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: That's not the question you've asked so far, I
14 note that the question was not completed, but it seems to be confined to
15 the credibility of Protic. Have I understood you wrongly?
16 MR. IVETIC: Well, since no other witness has issued --
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well. Thank you.
18 MR. IVETIC: -- [indiscernible] yeah.
19 [Trial Chamber confers]
20 JUDGE BONOMY: We will sustain the objection. It is not for one
21 witness to comment on the credibility, in other words, to assess the
22 credibility of another witness, and that is the nature of the question
23 asked here. So please move on to something else, Mr. Ivetic.
24 MR. IVETIC: With the Court's permission can I ask the general
25 question of whether a criminal report has ever been issued for Sreten
1 Lukic arising out of this matter?
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Certainly, but the answer probably is: Yes, it
3 has, by the ICTY.
4 MR. IVETIC: By the Serbian MUP.
5 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, okay, if you make it as specific as that --
6 MR. IVETIC: Yes.
7 JUDGE BONOMY: --then you may do so.
8 MR. IVETIC: That would be my question.
9 Q. Mr. Kostic, based on the investigation that has been undertaken
10 into this matter, has the Serbian MUP ever issued a "krivicna privaja,"
11 which here we've been calling a criminal report or a criminal
12 denunciation for Sreten Lukic?
13 A. No. During the criminal investigation conducted by the MUP, it
14 was not established that Sreten Lukic had participated in it --
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Kostic, you have answered the question.
16 Nothing further in the way of comment is called for.
17 Mr. Ivetic.
18 MR. IVETIC: And I'm moving on to a different topic.
19 Q. Now, we've mentioned a variety of cases that are -- that the MUP
20 has completed investigations on and has submitted to the relevant
21 prosecutors and court systems for processing. I have to move on to a
22 more sensitive topic. Is it my understanding that there are also other
23 ongoing investigations being undertaken by the MUP; is that correct?
24 A. That's correct. Cases that are completed as far as the MUP is
25 concerned is the case Suva Reka, the murder of the Berisha family, that
1 case was commenced in 2002 when Sreten Lukic was chief of sector. The
2 entire documentation, statements, and everything else was sent to the war
3 crimes prosecutor when that office was established, and then in 2005
4 seven members of the MUP, either current or former, were arrested.
5 Q. Okay. Please finish.
6 A. Yes. The other case was the murder of the Bytyqi brothers. The
7 case was opened after the mass graves were found in Petrovo Selo, and
8 currently proceedings are underway against six persons before the war
9 crimes chamber in Belgrade. There are also other cases that were opened
10 and are still ongoing. Criminal reports were submitted, these are
11 complex cases and it is difficult to finalise them.
12 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
13 JUDGE BONOMY: There's an overlap there, Mr. Ivetic.
14 MR. IVETIC: I'm sorry.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: But in any event, something does need to be
17 The Suva Reka case is ongoing as well, is it not?
18 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The trial is in progress; however,
19 what MUP has done so far was to correct -- collect evidence, to arrest
20 persons, and the case is currently on trial before the war crimes chamber
21 in Belgrade.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: I understood that, but are you saying that in
23 relation to the Bytyqi brothers the MUP investigations are ongoing?
24 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] There are proceedings pending
25 before the district court in Belgrade against six persons. MUP, however,
1 has not found direct perpetrators and MUP is currently working on finding
2 direct perpetrators of the crime.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
4 Mr. Ivetic.
5 MR. IVETIC: Okay.
6 Q. Now, the question I have is a far-reaching one. Apart from the
7 one instance that we've already discussed, in all these other interviews
8 that you've had with various persons, witnesses, et cetera, on all these
9 allegations of war crimes from Kosovo and Metohija that are being
10 processed by the MUP and/or the Serbian judiciary, has any one of those
11 other persons interviewed for any of those other cases ever implicated
12 Sreten Lukic's involvement in any way whatsoever in any of those other
14 MR. STAMP: I don't know if the answer would be of any
15 assistance, so perhaps there is no point in objecting, but I don't think
16 this is --
17 JUDGE BONOMY: It is probably --
18 MR. STAMP: -- evidence.
19 JUDGE BONOMY: I think it probably is relevant evidence,
20 Mr. Stamp, and there's certainly no basis for objecting other than on
21 relevance. So we will allow the question to be answered.
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Based on the entire documentation
23 that was collected and based on the interviews conducted, it was not
24 established that Sreten Lukic was involved in war crimes in the territory
25 of Kosovo and Metohija.
1 MR. IVETIC:
2 Q. Okay. You've already mentioned the KiM dossier --
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, that's not quite the answer to the question,
4 and in fact the answer that you were -- well, the question you were asked
5 was whether anyone had ever implicated him, and it follows I think that
6 the answer is no. But you have answered a question you were not asked.
7 Mr. Ivetic.
8 MR. IVETIC:
9 Q. I think you've already explained the KiM dossier for our
11 MR. IVETIC: If Your Honours have more questions about the KiM
12 dossier, I would let you know that we do have a witness coming up who
13 exclusively dealt with the KiM dossier personally so he'd probably have
14 more information than Mr. Kostic, but I will not be asking Mr. Kostic any
15 more questions about that --
16 JUDGE BONOMY: Very well.
17 MR. IVETIC: -- collection.
18 Q. One other area I have to ask you about is we had a witness in
19 this case, a protected witness, who talked about allegations of
20 certain -- of certain events and certain crimes that he alleged were
21 committed. There was a newspaper article that came out in Danas
22 newspaper about it. Rather than go into the details which might cause us
23 to have to go into private session to protect the witness, I can talk
24 about my Defence witness and with the leave of Mr. Stamp, I have one
25 photograph I would like to show just so we all know what case we are
1 talking about, that would be P2629, but it was not on our list for
2 production for this witness. I think it's -- I think it's easier to
3 identify the incident with the picture rather than going into the details
4 which might provide information that is protected.
5 MR. STAMP: I'm not sure what the question is, but I think the
6 photo is in evidence so if the witness has knowledge about this, I
7 suppose he could be asked.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: It's a shorthand way of avoiding going into
9 private session, apparently.
10 MR. IVETIC: Yes.
11 So if we could have 2629 -- P2629 up on the screen.
12 Q. And I'm going to ask you, sir, if you are familiar with the
13 investigations. We have one of my witnesses, Dragan Milenkovic, also
14 known as Sisarka, who was investigated by a judge with respect to this
15 incident. And is this an investigation that you are familiar with in the
16 Serbian system?
17 A. We investigated several photographs, ones that we got from NGOs
18 and those that were published in the media; however, I don't think that
19 we investigated this particular photograph.
20 Q. Thank you. Just one moment then.
21 I think that completes my direct examination. Thank you again
22 for your time, Mr. Kostic.
23 MR. IVETIC: Your Honours, I have finished my direct examination.
24 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Ivetic.
25 You will now be cross-examined by the Prosecutor, Mr. Stamp.
1 Mr. Stamp.
2 MR. STAMP: Thank you very much, Your Honour.
3 Cross-examination by Mr. Stamp:
4 Q. Good afternoon.
5 A. Good afternoon.
6 Q. What I'd like to do first is just to clarify the chronology of
7 events. You testified to a variety of things. The indictment in this
8 case charging the several accused or some of the accused with war crimes
9 in Kosovo was proffered -- was issued in March or became public in March
10 1999. Where were you employed then, in March 1999?
11 A. In March 1999 I worked at the border police department that
12 involved foreign nationals as well at the headquarters of the Ministry of
13 the Interior in Belgrade.
14 Q. Mr. Lukic or General Lukic became head of the public security
15 division on the 31st of January, 2001; is that what you said?
16 A. Yes.
17 Q. Where were you employed then?
18 A. I was still working at the department of the border police for
19 foreign nationals at the same place, the headquarters of the Ministry of
20 the Interior.
21 Q. The working group to investigate the bodies that were found were
22 set up in May 2001. Where were you employed then?
23 A. I held the same job.
24 Q. Now, in May 2001 did you participate in any of the meetings and
25 discussions with the minister or General Lukic in regard to setting up
1 this working group?
2 A. No.
3 Q. You said that General Lukic was the main impetus behind it,
4 behind setting it up. What is the basis of that opinion?
5 A. When I started working in the division for prosecuting war
6 crimes -- investigating war crimes and searching for missing persons, I
7 had documents from the working group and I had information on the
8 establishment because Dragan Furdulovic was my superior and he was a
9 member of that working group. Also, Dragan Karleusa, who was my superior
10 and who was deputy head of the UBPOK was also a member of the working
11 group, and on the basis of what they said in their conversations with me,
12 I have this knowledge.
13 Q. I see. When this working group was set up, was there in the FRY
14 at the time -- how should I put this?
15 Was this something, the fact that bodies had been found in the
16 Danube and taken off and concealed, was that something that was all over
17 the press, so to speak, in Serbia?
18 A. On the basis of the information that was published in the media,
19 particularly in Timocka Revija 92, this information was obtained and that
20 was the initial basis for setting up the work group and investigating
21 these events.
22 Q. In other words, and perhaps we could look at -- have P586 on the
23 screen. This working group was set up as a result of the publication by
24 private media which revealed that bodies had been found in 1999 and were
25 concealed thereafter. And the public prosecutor for Negotin thereafter
1 confirmed that bodies had been found in 1999 and were concealed.
2 A. What's the question?
3 Q. Those were the circumstances in which this working group was set
4 up, it was set up as a result of the national press coverage and the
5 confirmation by the prosecutor from Negotin that, in fact, the bodies had
6 been discovered in 1995 -- 1999 and concealed thereafter.
7 A. It was established in order to check all this information out, or
8 rather, the accuracy of this information.
9 Q. You see before you a record of the interview or interviews of
10 Bozidar Protic on the 4th of June -- it's dated the 4th of June, 2001.
11 Where were you employed on the 4th of June, 2001?
12 A. As I've already said, I was working in the border police
13 department and I did not work on the uncovering of war crimes. I started
14 working on the uncovering of war crimes on the 27th of November, 2001.
15 Q. I see. Now, the office for war crimes, your office for war
16 crimes, was set up when?
17 A. On the 1st of October, 2001, as a follow-up to the working group.
18 Q. So you went there after it was set up -- well, that much is
19 obvious. Let me ask you this: Do you know whether or not there were
20 international initiatives and local initiatives by diplomats and various
21 political figures pressing for a war crimes investigative body in Serbia
22 or in the former FRY to investigate allegations of war crimes? Do you
23 know about that?
24 MR. IVETIC: Your Honour, I would object to the foundation.
25 We're getting actually to a risky area, so we might actually -- the
1 witness has stated where his knowledge comes from. I don't know if
2 Mr. Stamp -- well, to further discuss this we might need to go into
3 private session to discuss the third party.
4 JUDGE BONOMY: I'm not following you. It seems a perfectly
5 straightforward question. Does he know whether or not there were
6 international initiatives and local initiatives.
7 MR. IVETIC: Okay. Fair enough. If --
8 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Let's --
9 MR. STAMP: Yes.
10 Q. You can -- without going into details, do you know whether or not
11 there were?
12 A. This initiative followed in 2002 and 2003. At the moment when it
13 was established there was no such initiative as far as I know.
14 Q. As far as you know. So you did not participate in any
15 discussions for -- in respect to investigating war crimes in Serbia in
16 that period?
17 A. I participated later in conferences that were organized by NGOs
18 and international organizations when organs were being established and
19 when the law was being passed on the role of state authorities in
20 identifying perpetrators of war crimes. The representatives of
21 international organizations didn't know that a decision for investigating
22 war crimes had already been established in the MUP. I familiarized them
23 with the fact that such a unit already existed in the MUP, and they
24 wanted to have specialised agencies established within the Serbian state
25 and government. I assume that there was no initiative or perhaps the
1 initiative came much later.
2 Q. [Previous translation continues]...
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Mr. Stamp, the -- there was no pause there and the
4 question that you've just asked was not translated.
5 MR. STAMP: I was merely trying to stop the witness.
6 JUDGE BONOMY: I see.
7 MR. STAMP:
8 Q. So I take it in 2001 you personally did not participate in any of
9 the discussions relating to the formation of the working group or the war
10 crimes investigating division?
11 A. That's right, I did not participate.
12 Q. Very well. All your evidence here about what the impulse was and
13 who pressed it, et cetera, is based on what you were told after?
14 A. No. I got some direct knowledge as well, immediate knowledge, in
15 my conversations with the representatives of the international community.
16 At that time they did not know that a division for investigating war
17 crimes had been established at all.
18 Q. Well, did you in 2001 speak with representatives of the ICTY?
19 A. No.
20 Q. Do you know whether or not representatives from the ICTY were
21 visiting Kosovo and making representations?
22 A. I know about that from the media.
23 Q. I see.
24 A. As for direct contacts, I did not have any until I started
25 working in this division.
1 Q. So let's go on with the chronology a little bit. You were not
2 involved in taking the first record of Mr. Protic's statement, but you
3 were involved in taking a record of one on the 2nd of October, 2002;
4 that's correct?
5 A. Correct.
6 Q. Did you participate in recording any other statement from
7 Mr. Protic, that is, when I say "recording," I mean reducing it to
9 A. Yes, in 2006 as well.
10 Q. Now, if we could look at 6D196. This is an excerpt of this
11 statement which we were promised a copy of, but do you recall
12 participating in the taking of this statement -- well, you had just said
13 you did. Did you bring a copy with you when you came here just recently?
14 A. No.
15 Q. You were the recording clerk, I see from the record here. Who
16 were the members of the operative team?
17 A. The members of the operative team were Gvozden Gagic and there
18 was Dusan Lakcevic. Of course I also took direct part in the taking of
19 this statement, but I also physically recorded it. That's why I signed
20 it as the recording official. But I did take part in the actual taking
21 of the statement.
22 Q. What was your rank then?
23 A. I was the lieutenant in terms of rank, and I was an officer who
24 was directly involved in the war crime investigations and the searches
25 for missing persons within that department.
1 Q. Yes, I -- you have said that on a number of occasions before. I
2 just want to know were the persons who were members of the operative team
3 senior to you during this statement?
4 A. Gvozden Gagic was the lieutenant-colonel in terms of rank. Dusan
5 Lakcevic is a retired MUP employee who became a lawyer and who was
6 engaged by the MUP to be a member of the operative team. So officially
7 he was not a member of the MUP, but he was engaged for this particular
8 work by the Ministry of the Interior. He has a doctorate and his
9 profession is that of a lawyer.
10 Q. Have you had an opportunity to read the record of the interview
11 taken -- sorry, the record of the interview of Mr. Protic of the 4th of
12 July, 2001?
13 A. Yes, before we talked --
14 Q. What --
15 A. -- we familiarized ourselves with all the documentation.
16 Q. What are the contradictions between that one and the one that you
17 were involved in a few months after you joined the war crimes unit?
18 A. The contradictions are not evident in the record, but it was
19 noticed during the interview how many trips were made when the corpses
20 were transported, how they were transported, which was the first trip,
21 which was the last trip, was there more or less than four. So there were
22 many contradictions that cropped up that are not reflected in the record
23 because the record is his final statement on what it was that had
24 actually happened.
25 Q. I see. So --
1 JUDGE BONOMY: If you don't keep a record of contradictions, how
2 can you justify the decision you make about whether to rely on that
3 person's evidence or not in deciding to formulate a criminal
5 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] When a person is interviewed, the
6 said person can say something and then change his statement during the
7 course of the interview, and we do not record all these corrections. We
8 finalise the statement when he says, Yes, this is what I remember, that
9 is what we record. But during the interview we do note certain
10 contradictions in the statement of a witness, that he confuses events,
11 that does not remember things exactly, or quite simply that he doesn't
12 speak with accuracy because there is other knowledge that indicates facts
13 that had been confirmed by other persons. Our job is to collect
14 information in a reliable manner, and we do it.
15 JUDGE BONOMY: So where are these notes?
16 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] The finalised notes are the notes
17 that are in front of you right now, this statement.
18 JUDGE BONOMY: You just said that: "During the interview we do
19 note certain contradictions in the statement of a witness that he
20 confuses events, that he does not remember things exactly ..."
21 Now, where are these notes?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] If you have enough time, that
23 question requires a more thorough answer. I need to explain the
24 methodology of our work to you, then it's going to be clear to you.
25 JUDGE BONOMY: My question's a simple one: Where are these
2 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Notes are made by investigators who
3 conduct the interview, they note down what a person is saying. These
4 notes are not formal. These are in their personal notebooks, and then
5 finally when a person says that this is his personal -- final personal
6 statement, then that is recorded as that person's final statement. All
7 the rest is informal.
8 JUDGE BONOMY: Did you bring your personal notebook with you?
9 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Of course not.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Well, why'd you say "of course not"? It seems a
11 crazy thing to come here to give evidence about this event, when you have
12 a notebook that records the contradictions, and not bring the notebook
13 with you.
14 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] Every document -- well, actually,
15 there is documentation that is official and there is documentation
16 pertaining to the conducting of an interview. The record that is before
17 you now is an official document; all the rest is unofficial and cannot be
18 used. That is why I said "of course not."
19 JUDGE BONOMY: So the official one's rubbish and the unofficial
20 one is what we should be relying on but we don't have access to it; is
21 that what you're saying?
22 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] No, I don't wish to say that.
23 JUDGE BONOMY: All right.
24 Mr. -- let's go back to Mr. Stamp then. Thank you.
25 MR. STAMP:
1 Q. Specifically in respect to the one in front of you, did you
2 personally take notes in respect to this interview?
3 A. I wrote down what the witness was saying, and I wrote that down
4 not in a notebook but on an A4 piece of paper.
5 Q. This is your record of it or are there other notes that you made?
6 A. That's right. No, there are no other notes. There are -- there
7 is an outline of what I wrote down, it is what I jotted down while the
8 witness was speaking. And this skeleton outline is used in order to
9 compile this final record that the interviewee is prepared to sign as his
11 Q. Very well. So let's move on to the statement that Mr. Protic
12 gave in 2006. You are saying --
13 MR. STAMP: Could we call up P2817 -- before ...
14 [Trial Chamber confers]
15 JUDGE BONOMY: Sorry, Mr. Stamp. Please continue.
16 MR. STAMP:
17 Q. You are saying that you also played a role in taking this
18 statement. Now, without going through the statement, the statement does
19 not reflect your role or does it? Does the statement reflect that you
20 played a role in taking this one?
21 A. I took part in the taking of this statement, and that is
22 reflected in the initials that are up here.
23 Q. Very well --
24 A. Underneath the heading of this document. Underneath the heading
25 there is DJ/AK. I can explain why it was written that way, if you wish.
1 Q. Those are your initials, AK?
2 A. Yes.
3 Q. Very well.
4 A. So I was present when the interview took place, I was present
5 throughout, but I was not present when the record was written. The
6 record was compiled by Dragan Jenic, my colleague, and that is why my
7 name is not on the record because I was away on official business at the
8 moment when the record was being typed out, but my initials are there as
9 proof of the fact that I attended and that I conducted the interview.
10 Q. Well, wasn't the interview conducted by the deputy war crimes
11 prosecutor, Stankovic; is that I think what you said earlier in chief?
12 A. Dragoljub Stankovic was present, he worked together with us, that
13 is to say that this interview was conducted by Dragan Jenic, myself, and
14 Dragoljub Stankovic, the three of us that is to say.
15 Q. Very well. And if we could move on to P2824 -- well, we don't
16 really need to see that or to get into that exhibit. May I just ask you
17 this: Were you involved in the case charging certain police officers or
18 former members of the MUP for participation in concealing bodies in
19 Petrovo Selo? This case I think was heard in 2007.
20 A. What case are you referring to specifically?
21 Q. We have a record, and that is the one in front of you, which is a
22 transcript of the testimony of Bozidar Protic before the war crimes
23 chamber of the Belgrade district court, and this is in respect to the
24 case relating to bodies found at Petrovo Selo. Were you a party to that
25 particular investigation or that case?
1 A. I was a party in two cases concerning Petrovo Selo, the mass
2 grave in Petrovo Selo, and the murder of the Bytyqi brothers. These are
3 two cases linked to Petrovo Selo and this is why I asked you which case
4 you were referring to specifically, whether the Bytyqi brothers or the
5 mass grave in Petrovo Selo case. The two cases are linked, but I can't
6 see from this which of the two this refers to.
7 Q. Not the Bytyqi brothers, the mass grave. Can you look at the
8 reference number and not know if you were involved in that case, it's the
9 top left hand of the document.
10 A. That's the number of the district court, it doesn't mean anything
11 to us.
12 Q. Very well.
13 A. So I can't identify the case by that number.
14 Q. Do you know that Protic testified in the Belgrade district court
15 in respect to Petrovo Selo in 2007?
16 A. That's the -- for the investigating judge, he's competent to do
17 that. He -- I assumed he testified, but now we're talking about
18 proceedings before an investigating judge.
19 Q. No --
20 A. May I clarify.
21 Q. Do you know whether or not Protic testified? Do you know that he
23 A. Protic told me when I talked to him that he had testified more
24 than once before investigating judge Milan Dilparic, so I am aware of
1 Q. Is it the Belgrade district court?
2 A. Yes. He is the investigating judge of the court for war crimes
3 in Belgrade, and you can see that in the document.
4 Q. Is the war crimes chamber of the Belgrade district court the same
5 as office of the investigating judge?
6 A. The war crimes chamber is part of the Belgrade district court, it
7 has trial chambers or trial judges and investigating judges. In the
8 chamber there are two investigating judges and several trial judges, the
9 war crimes chamber, that is.
10 JUDGE BONOMY: Is this the only page we have?
11 MR. STAMP: No, Your Honours. It's probably -- could we move on
12 to page 2 of the document.
13 JUDGE BONOMY: See if there's a reference there to the status of
14 the judge.
15 MR. STAMP:
16 Q. Can you tell us from that record whether or not this transcript
17 relates to a trial or the proceedings of an investigating judge?
18 A. This is a transcript before the investigating judge -- in fact, I
19 think so because I haven't seen the judge who signed this. No, excuse
20 me, it says "presiding judge," then it must be the trial. I do
21 apologise, it must be the trial.
22 JUDGE BONOMY: It also says it's a trial.
23 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] So it's probably the Bytyqi
24 brothers trial because the mass graves case is still in the investigation
25 stage, whereas the Bytyqi brothers case is in trial now. That's why I
1 asked you what case this was.
2 JUDGE BONOMY: Have you spoken to Protic since the 8th of
3 February, 2007?
4 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I spoke to Protic before he came to
5 testify before the Hague Tribunal because the service for the detection
6 of war crimes is authorised to act on requests coming from The Hague
7 Tribunal and the investigating judge and he was to be a witness. My
8 interviews with him in that period were about that because he refused to
9 appear as a Prosecution witness, and I then tried to explain his role to
10 him and to explain to him that he was duty-bound to respond to the
11 summons from the Court.
12 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
13 Mr. Stamp.
14 MR. STAMP:
15 Q. How many drivers did you interview in respect to the allegations
16 that bodies were transported from Kosovo to Serbia and concealed?
17 A. I can't give you the precise number, but everyone who
18 participated in it, less than ten who had direct or indirect knowledge
19 about this.
20 Q. Protic is one driver.
21 A. Yes.
22 Q. Do you recall any of the others that you interviewed?
23 A. I may have misspoken. Everyone who participated in the
24 transport, not just the drivers but those who were providing security as
1 Q. [Previous translation continues]... drivers three times. I am
2 asking you about drivers. No, I understand that you may have misspoken.
3 Very well. Did you interview any other driver apart from Protic?
4 A. The drivers, no, but the security, yes, the people who sat with
5 them in the vehicles. Somebody was driving the vehicle and he was the
6 driver, if one might put it that way.
7 Q. Yes, I understand that. But Protic said as driver -- well, we
8 won't go into that. I just wanted to know about the drivers. You spoke
9 about two cases that your team investigated, one being the Suva Reka
10 case. You handed over the file in 2002?
11 A. In 2003, that's when we handed over the file to the prosecutor's
12 office for war crimes, that's when that office was established. That's
13 when we completed the police investigation and established precisely what
14 had happened there.
15 Q. Well, the indictments, you know, were issued in that regard in
16 2005 -- sorry, on the 25th of April, 2006. Do you know that?
17 A. Yes, when the prosecutor's office received that material they
18 requested from the investigating judge an investigation, and then from
19 2003 to 2005 the investigating judge conducted an investigation based on
20 the documentation submitted by the MUP. Based on that documentation, it
21 was established that there were grounds to suspect that some people
22 perpetrated a crime and these people were arrested, seven persons were
23 arrested subsequently.
24 Q. You mean you are saying that it took the prosecutor three years,
25 approximately, between the time when you submitted your records to study
1 them and then based upon those records indict, or is it that the
2 prosecutor had to conduct his own investigation?
3 A. No. The prosecutor submitted a request to the investigating
4 judge. It was the investigating judge who conducted an investigation,
5 and it's true that it lasted for two years.
6 MR. STAMP: Thank you very much, Your Honours. I have nothing
7 further for this witness.
8 Q. Thank you very much, Mr. Kostic.
9 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you, Mr. Stamp.
10 Just one point that I perhaps should have picked up earlier.
11 Were you personally involved in the investigation of the finding of
12 bodies at Petrovo Selo or is your personal involvement confined to the
13 Suva Reka case and the Bytyqi brothers case of the cases that you've
15 THE WITNESS: [Interpretation] I participated personally in all
16 the cases.
17 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
18 Mr. Zecevic.
19 MR. ZECEVIC: Your Honours, just to correct the transcript, on
20 page 81, 4, 5, 6, it was said that the indictment in this case was issued
21 in March 1999 and became public in March 1999, which is incorrect, it was
22 May. 81, 4, 5, 6, my learned friend Mr. Stamp --
23 JUDGE BONOMY: All right. Thank you very much.
24 MR. ZECEVIC: Thank you.
25 Mr. Ivetic, re-examination?
1 MR. IVETIC: No, I don't think so, Your Honour. We finished this
2 witness right on time.
3 JUDGE BONOMY: Thank you.
4 Mr. Kostic, that does complete your evidence. Thank you for
5 coming to assist us. You may leave the courtroom with the usher. Thank
7 [The witness withdrew]
8 JUDGE BONOMY: We shall resume here at 2.15 tomorrow.
9 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 6.59 p.m.,
10 to be reconvened on Wednesday, the 12th day of
11 March, 2008, at 2.15 p.m.