1 Friday, 15 March 2002
2 [Open session]
3 [The witness entered court]
4 [The accused entered court]
5 --- Upon commencing at 9.31 a.m.
6 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, I wonder if I may make just a brief
7 statement before the Court starts its session.
8 JUDGE MAY: Well, Lord Ashdown, we don't usually allow the
9 witnesses to do so.
10 THE WITNESS: I hope it will be helpful to the Court.
11 JUDGE MAY: If it's relevant, yes.
12 THE WITNESS: The Prosecution counsel very kindly said yesterday
13 that I have a pressing engagement and I would wish to be away from here,
14 if at all possible, by 1.00. I just want to make it clear that my
15 engagements are not as weighty as the matters before the Court, and I
16 think it would be helpful if you were to know that I am at your disposal
17 for today as long as you wish, and any other subsequent day. It seems to
18 me that these matters are far more weighty than anything else I have to
20 JUDGE MAY: Thank you.
21 WITNESS: PADDY ASHDOWN [Resumed]
22 Examined by Mr. Nice: [Continued]
23 Q. The system of -- listening to the French at a distance, Lord
24 Ashdown, apparently is causing a problem, because it feeds through to
25 them, so I'm going to give up that --
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the counsel please speak into the
2 microphone. Thank you.
3 MR. NICE:
4 Q. -- speak sufficiently slowly and leave a long enough gap not to
5 cause a problem.
6 Yesterday we heard from you about your observations from the hills
7 above Suva Reka and how you spent an hour looking at villages being
8 destroyed. You gave us the account of the weaponry you believed to have
9 been deployed.
10 There's a short video, and may we now, please, see that. It lasts
11 about three minutes, and it may be that, providing there's no sound coming
12 over, you'll add the odd comment to it as it's coming, but it will largely
13 speak for itself, I think.
14 [Videotape played]
15 MR. NICE:
16 Q. This is you, of course, with binoculars. Now, at what are we
17 looking here?
18 A. You're looking at villages in the area, which I can point out to
19 you later on the map, but roughly in the area between Suva Reka and
20 Budakovo, and the villages are being fired --
21 Q. Just pausing there. My screen is almost impossible to see.
22 A. Yes, as indeed is --
23 Q. -- the same. It's too light. Perhaps the booth may be able to
24 help. I'm not sure.
25 A. Yes. That's better.
1 Q. Thank you. So here you'll be able to point out the villages.
2 A. I think they are self-evident there, the ones that are burning.
3 We're looking across the Suva Reka valley, and you can see various
4 villages burning, to the left and in the centre of the screen now. We
5 were able to see -- this is one of the houses taken later in the day. We
6 were able to see in amongst those fires the burst of shell fire. I should
7 point out --
8 Q. What are we looking at here?
9 A. This is really the following day.
10 Q. Let's pause there for a minute.
11 A. I wish perhaps to come to this on the following day.
12 Q. Thank you. Just pause there. We'll come back to that video in a
13 minute, and let's just deal with what we've already seen. As you say,
14 self-explanatory appearance of villages burning. And I think at the first
15 stage, what was your impression about the amount of destruction that was
16 going on?
17 A. Well, it was very extensive. I think I counted that day some 16
18 villages on fire. I should add that we were also able to see in the
19 valley occasional large articulated trucks driving down the road.
20 THE WITNESS: It may be helpful if you had the map, Your Honour --
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
22 THE WITNESS: -- at this stage. I may be able to point out
23 precisely --
24 MR. NICE:
25 Q. I can't remember the --
1 A. -- the location.
2 Q. -- number, I am afraid.
3 A. We were able to see a number of articulated trucks driving up into
4 the villages. The villages, it appeared to me --
5 Here we are. Thank you.
6 So I was positioned approximately here near the village of
7 Pecani. The -- as we calculated, the guns that were firing were up here
8 in the area of Blace. The villages we were looking at were the villages
9 of Budakovo, which is here, through to Vranic, which is over here,
10 Maciteve, which is here, and Krusica. Both Gornji Krusica -- Gornji
11 Krusica is up here, and Krusica is down here. All these villages were
12 aflame, subject to bombardment and had been put to the flame.
13 The trucks that we saw were in the area around here, which we were
14 looking down on, on the main road between Prizren and Pristina, and some
15 making their way up this small road here as far as I could tell. I'm
16 bound to say that -- my conclusion, as indeed was that of the British
17 Ambassador, was that this was indiscriminate in its nature, inconsistent
18 with precise military targeting, systematic, and of a nature designed to
19 terrorise or to drive out the general civilian population.
20 While I was there, the British Ambassador set up his satellite
21 phone on the bonnet of the Land Rover and contacted the Foreign Office and
22 said to the Foreign Office that, absolutely contrary to undertakings given
23 by then-President Milosevic and the Yugoslav government, that these
24 indiscriminate attacks on the civilian population conducted by main battle
25 units of the Yugoslav army, which had been taking place in the Drenica
1 area, would be stopped, the undertaking given that they would be stopped
2 that day or the day previously.
3 I heard the ambassador say to the Foreign Office in London that
4 contrary to that clear undertaking given to the international community,
5 these operations had not stopped but were still probably, in an
6 intensified fashion, continuing. Not in the Drenica region but had now
7 been expanded to the Suva Reka region.
8 Q. Thank you. The following day to which the video has already
9 brought us, and we'll ask them to turn the video back on in just a second
10 or so, you returned to the same Studencani area, did you?
11 A. It may be helpful if I relate a brief story before that. We were
12 met by a garage owner who showed us his house which had been destroyed and
13 his business, who informed me that previous to -- in the last couple of
14 days the village of Studencani, which is just below where we were -- where
15 we were standing --
16 Q. Yes, to the west --
17 A. It's just approximately --
18 Q. -- of Suva Reka.
19 A. -- just below -- it's here in this area. It had been visited by
20 the Serbs. He described them as the Serbs. I don't know whether they
21 were the MUP or the army - I suspect the former - who had informed the
22 village that they were to surrender weapons on the following day. The
23 village claimed they didn't have any weapons. They went out. They were
24 saying, "He told us to raise the money from the village, 10.000
25 Deutschmarks," as he described it, "to go and buy weapons on the black
1 market." The villager informed us that the specific threat made was to
2 point to the villages aflame around the rim of the valley during that day
3 and to point out that this is what would happen to them if they did not
4 surrender weapons.
5 The ambassador and I, together with a military attache, then drove
6 down into Suva Reka, sought to be able to get into the region that was
7 under bombardment, was stopped by, I think, MUP forces and decided that it
8 was time to return to Pristina so that we would get back before the
10 We did so by going back through, as I recall, the Podgerusa
11 valley, which runs up to Malisevo. So back on the map again. It runs up
12 through here and then join the main Pec-Pristina road close to Kumerane.
13 At this point, we saw a large armoured convoy comprising perhaps
14 of 20 T55 tanks and associated military armoured vehicles moving out of
15 the Drenica area to the north of this road and moving, as we thought,
16 towards the Suva Reka operation.
17 We went back to Pristina that night and decided that it was
18 necessary to seek to get back into this area on the following day so that
19 we could observe these operations.
20 The ambassador had to return to Belgrade. I, however, met up with
21 the head of UNHCR, Mrs. Morgan Morris, and we arranged to leave the
22 following day at dawn to get back into this area of operations as early as
24 We did indeed do that the following morning, arriving in the
25 Studencani area I should think around about 8.30, having made a very early
1 start. The villages were still aflame. Indeed, by now, there were more
2 villages aflame across the amphitheatre I've described. We've --
3 Q. How did the -- how did the percentage of houses destroyed accord
4 with your earlier expectations when you had been seeing things from a
6 A. I was not able, I fear, to get into the villages at this time,
7 though we sought to do so. And if I may just explain how that happened,
8 but I think it is necessary for the Court to hear a little of the
9 preceding events, if I may describe them, Mr. May [sic].
10 We descended into the village of Studencani where we met with the
11 elders of the village, old men in their 70s or 80s. We questioned them
12 about the story we had heard the day previously in relation to arms. They
13 described to us again the story of how they'd been visited, been given a
14 deadline of noon that day, and after some persuasion agreed to show us the
15 arms they claimed to have purchased.
16 They took us to a house, to an upstairs room, and they showed us a
17 collection of arms that they were due to hand over to the Serb authorities
18 that day. These arms were in no way hidden. They were in a cupboard.
19 They were not in use. I inspected them. Some of them could have been
20 immediately serviceable, but many were rusted beyond use. There were some
21 hand grenades there which were fully armed, highly rusty, and in a deeply
22 unstable state, and I recommended that these should be handed over as soon
23 as possible.
24 JUDGE MAY: So we can follow this, they were saying that the Serb
25 authorities or somebody had told them to purchase arms?
1 THE WITNESS: No, sir. No, Your Honour. They were told that they
2 were to give up arms at a deadline, which was noon that day. They were
3 informed that if they did not, their village would be subject to what they
4 were seeing going on around them.
5 They claimed that they had no arms in the village. They claimed
6 that they therefore gathered together 10.000 Deutschmarks and went out to
7 purchase arms on the black market.
8 JUDGE MAY: They did that, as it were, of their own initiative --
9 THE WITNESS: They did that --
10 JUDGE MAY: -- having been told --
11 THE WITNESS: -- because they knew if they did not deliver up arms
12 to the Serbs when they returned, then their village would suffer the same
13 fate as the others.
14 They described - I have no way of knowing whether this is true -
15 that there was a sort of circular operation. And I -- I'm bound to say,
16 Your Honour, that I do not believe that this means there were not arms
17 being used by the KLA in any of these villages. I can only relate to what
18 I was- informed. They said that the routine was that the Serbs would
19 descend on a village - they described them as Serbs - descend on the
20 village like their own, demand arms against the deadline with the threat
21 that the village would be burnt.
22 They said that what happened was that they went out and raised the
23 money in the village, purchased the arms on the black market, handed the
24 arms over to the Serb authorities. Those arms then went back onto the
25 black market so that the next villagers had arms to buy. And it was a
1 circular means of removing the villagers from their money.
2 Now, I have no way of knowing whether that's true, nor does that
3 in any way indicate that there were not other forces of the KLA operating
4 with effective arms in that area. All I can say is that about 30 per cent
5 or 40 per cent of the arms that I saw, which were in no way hidden and
6 prepared to be handed over - indeed, we recommended they should be handed
7 over - could not have been usable and were not used and could not have
8 been usable in somewhat of a deeply unstable state.
9 Q. Right. Now -- sorry.
10 A. May I just continue so that the story is absolutely clear?
11 Following that, we sought to get into the area being bombarded by the
12 Serbs and the area of the burning villages. We moved onto the main
13 Suva Reka-to-Prizren road, which is -- Suva Reka-to-Prizren road. May I
14 just -- here we are. And we were stopped almost immediately by a MUP
15 checkpoint, interior police checkpoint, who ordered us to go to Prizren.
16 We did not do that, Your Honour. We decided that it was more
17 important that we should see what was happening at close quarters in this
18 area, and we therefore drove down the road and then turned off before the
19 village of Glinovc, which is here, and by my estimate, made our way across
20 rough tracks to the village of -- around the area of Sopina, which is just
21 here. And this is where we came across a dreadful convoy of refugees -
22 and the video shows what we found - on the back of tractor trailers,
23 sheltering under plastic sheets. A few old men, women, young children,
24 some babes in arms, a mother who was pregnant and due to give birth in the
25 very near future, tumbled together on the back of tractors under the
1 pouring rain. These were the human tide of refugees that had been pushed
3 Q. Now, we've got the video and we've reached the place --
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, I wanted to find out from Lord
5 Ashdown: He has said that he had no way of knowing whether this story was
6 true, the story that they went to purchase arms in order to meet the
7 demand from the Serbs for arms. But in the circumstances, did you find it
8 to be credible?
9 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, it was consistent with other stories we
10 heard of the same sort, and I'm bound to say I did find that to be
11 credible. Now, I'm not saying that there were not other units operating
12 which were effective, military operations, but there were three factors
13 that made me believe this to be credible.
14 The first was that these weapons were in no way hidden. They were
15 not weapons that were, as it were, tucked away somewhere where people
16 couldn't find them. They had been gathered together in a cupboard, in a
17 house, in the village.
18 Secondly, that the weapons themselves were either wrapped in
19 greaseproof paper, i.e., showing no signs of immediately having been used,
20 or indeed rusty beyond use. And that led me to believe that they were
21 indeed weapons that could have been - could have been - passed from hand
22 to hand in the way described by the villagers.
23 Thirdly, that they were not deployed in any form which would have
24 been -- enabled them to be immediately used. They were not deployed in a
25 military formation or in the hands of people who would have been using it.
1 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you.
2 MR. NICE:
3 Q. Was this something you heard only about on this particular
4 occasion that this --
5 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone for the speaker,
7 A. Yes. It was a fairly --
8 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Nice, the microphone.
9 MR. NICE: Sorry. Thank you.
10 Q. Was this something you heard about only in relation to this
11 particular site, or did you hear about it in respect to any other sites?
12 A. No. It was a fairly commonly expressed story about what happened
13 in these villages.
14 Q. Can we go back to the video? Because we've seen a burning house.
15 And where we pick the video up - and we're going to ask them to start it
16 again any second - you're talking about a woman in a street.
17 [Videotape played]
18 MR. NICE:
19 Q. First of all, without running back to it, can you remember where
20 the burning house was? It doesn't much matter in the sense that it's just
21 a burning house. Can you --
22 A. No, sir. I just can't remember. I saw so many burning houses
23 that day that I can't accurately remember where that was.
24 Q. Very well. The position where we're going to pick the video up,
25 can you tell us which village or town this was?
1 A. Well, my -- it's difficult, of course, in a map of such large
2 scale, but my view is that it was in the area of Sopina. We arrived in
3 this village, we saw the convoy at a distance, we came up to it. It was a
4 convoy of women, children, young babies, on the back of tractors. There
5 were some men in attendance, as you can see. And they said that they had
6 been moved out of the other villages; that they had been given a deadline
7 to go; that if they were told if they did not go, they would be subject to
8 bombardment; that they had left their village, they said, as the
9 bombardments began; that they had been driven by these bombardments down
10 the valley towards the village of Sopina; and that they had just received
11 information that this village too was about to be subject to bombardment,
12 and they were trying to flee desperately down the valley to get away from
13 this, and they begged our help to escort them down the valley.
14 Q. Well, let's play the rest of the video - it's very short - and see
15 what your comments will be. Thank you.
16 [Videotape played]
17 MR. NICE:
18 Q. Does this particular part of it trigger any particular --
19 A. Yes. I found it very difficult to cope with at the time, but this
20 woman here with the blue shawl is actually sheltering a young child in
21 arms, and you can see the old women and children around there sheltering.
22 It was pouring with rain. I'm talking here to the interpreter, to the
23 people we found. They were desperately frightened. And I found it a
24 deeply terrible sight. I think the rest of the video speaks for itself.
25 Q. [Microphone not activated]
1 A. They were absolutely clear, I should say, as indeed the soundtrack
2 on this shows, that they fled the villages because of the bombardment.
3 They described the routine to be that the bombardment -- the threats came
4 first, then the bombardment. Then, as they described it - and other
5 witnesses later on were consistent in their description - after the
6 bombardment, the Serb forces move in. They described them as Serb.
7 Whether they were Serb or Yugoslav army, I do not know. And first looted
8 the houses. The articulated trucks that we had seen were consistent with
9 their story that the houses were systematically looted and the goods taken
10 away in these large articulated trucks, after which parties of soldiers,
11 as they described them, came in and put the houses to fire.
12 Q. And here, what are we looking at here?
13 A. This is just another one of four or five trailerloads of desperate
14 people, frightened out of their skins about what was happening, and
15 fleeing from what they thought was an imminent further bombardment.
16 Q. Well, now, following your visit to that area, including the
17 village of Sopina, did you travel on, I think, the same day to Belgrade?
18 A. Yes, I did. But first of all, I should explain that we sought to
19 get further into this area. Having seen these refugees to safety, as we
20 thought, we sought to get further into this area and were subsequently
21 stopped a little further on than Sopina by an army checkpoint. They were
22 dressed in blue uniform. I think they were probably MUP, who were highly
23 correct but absolutely insistent that we should leave the area
24 immediately. By this time we were within --
25 Q. On the grounds -- what grounds did they give --
1 A. For our own safety. They said that terrorist operations were
2 taking place and that we had to be escorted from there. They absolutely
3 insisted that we should go. I was keen to press on. I subsequently
4 learnt that probably at about the time we were there in the village of
5 Vranic, which of course is very close -- perhaps I could just identify
6 Vranic again. Vranic is this village here. There was a massacre of
7 civilians taking place almost at the time we were there. However, we had
8 no alternative, not least because of the Albanian interpreters that were
9 with us were at this stage being threatened to leave.
10 So we left through Suva Reka, passing again up the Podgerusa
11 valley and back to Pristina. On the way, Morgan Morris, the head of the
12 UNHCR, took me to a group of 500 or 600 refugees she found in the forests,
13 living in the forests. We actually met up with these people. They had
14 been driven out of their villages in preceding operations. They had been
15 living, they said, for six weeks, hiding in the forests. They had only
16 recently been found, I think just clandestinely, by Morgan Morris, who had
17 supplied them with food. They were all old men, women, and children, and
18 they said they had been living off berries, cherries, at the time of year,
19 for some weeks. I took a bag of cherries from them and told them that I
20 was seeing then-President Milosevic the following day and would deliver
21 them to him.
22 We returned to Pristina that night and immediately left for
23 Belgrade, because I knew that I had an interview with President Milosevic
24 on the following day. So by around 11.30 that night we were in Belgrade.
25 Q. I'm going to deal with a report you've prepared of this visit of
1 yours a little later, because it encompasses everything, but I think
2 overnight you and Ambassador Donnelly took some legal advice; is that
4 A. It is correct. We had -- the Ambassador Donnelly had access to
5 some legal advice, and we described what we both had jointly seen. I
6 should point out that Ambassador Donnelly had gone back to Belgrade the
7 day before, and so he was not with us on the second day. He had been to
8 see then-President Milosevic. President Milosevic had said that none of
9 this action was going on, and he told him that it was. And he got access
10 to legal advice which indicated that what we had seen was clearly in
11 breach of international law and the options of the Geneva Conventions.
12 Q. You got a copy of a relevant document. As a politician and so on,
13 of course you've had a lot to do with the law, but you're not yourself a
14 lawyer, and therefore you got a copy of a Geneva Convention document, I
16 A. Mr. Nice, I did, and I should point out that it's been quite
17 difficult for me to recall precisely what the document was, which was
18 subsequently suitably marked up and we took with us to see President
19 Milosevic. I've sought from my notes to recover what that document was.
20 Q. Your best estimate, I think, is that --
21 MR. NICE: Perhaps we can look at this and produce it as an
22 exhibit. Coming your way in a second.
23 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 75.
24 MR. NICE: Thank you very much.
25 THE WITNESS: Mr. Nice, here I'm --
1 JUDGE MAY: Just one moment.
2 THE REGISTRAR: The videotape will be marked Exhibit 76.
3 MR. NICE: Thank you very much. If we can lay a copy of this on
4 the ELMO, just to begin with, the overhead projector, just to begin with,
5 so that viewers may see it. And this document, whether it is the precise
6 document or not, but this document is the protocol additional to the
7 Geneva Conventions of the 12th of August of 1949 and relating to the
8 protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts.
9 THE WITNESS: Mr. Nice, I wonder if I may interrupt you for a
10 moment. I'm at some embarrassment, Your Honour, because I gave the best
11 evidence I could to Mr. Nice when he was constructing this. I had a look
12 again at my notes overnight. I've always wondered whether or not this was
13 the actual document we referred to when, as I shall subsequently relate,
14 we went to see Mr. Milosevic. But on looking through my notes last night,
15 I am now able with greater certainty to establish what that document was.
16 Indeed, I'm almost certain that I'm now able to tell precisely what the
17 document was. My embarrassment is that it isn't this document.
18 Q. Very well. Having reviewed -- that's not a problem at all,
19 because we --
20 A. I have the document with me and I'm happy to produce it.
21 Q. Well, if you can produce it, we'll have it copied and that will be
23 MR. NICE: Perhaps we can withdraw this exhibit, then.
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes. We'll return this document.
25 THE WITNESS: I'm bound to say that is my view, although I'm not a
1 lawyer, that the document I shall put forward, which I'm now almost
2 certain is the document to which I referred Mr. Milosevic, refers to this
3 document and indeed draws from it, so it's not wholly irrelevant, but --
4 MR. NICE: May I see it? Because obviously we haven't been in
5 contact at all since last night. May I just see the document myself first
6 so that I can know what it is. Is it something we can print without --
7 A. It is, in fact, the founding Statute of this Court. Article
8 8(2)(d) of the Statute of this Court is the one that which I referred to.
9 Q. Thank you very much.
10 A. It's on page 3.
11 Q. Yes, certainly. Well, the document you've produced has got some
12 handwritten annotations on it. Is that annotations you made last night
13 or --
14 A. It is.
15 Q. Very well -- and the underlinings are made recently?
16 A. Those underlinings were made last night and reflect the marked-up
17 document that I know I took to see Mr. Milosevic.
18 MR. NICE: I think our own Statute doesn't require to be
19 exhibited. May the witness have the document back?
20 Q. Lord Ashdown, you're now satisfied from further consideration of
21 your contemporaneous records that it was this document that you took with
23 A. Yes.
24 Q. It's, of course, a document of public record. Which parts of it
25 do you --
1 A. Shall I place it on the --
2 Q. Yes, do place it on the ELMO. You've underlined it in certain
3 places, and if you'll just take us to the parts --
4 A. The document is --
5 Q. -- you've underlined.
6 A. -- the Statute of the International Criminal Court, this court, of
7 July 1998. And although this says it was as amended by 10th of November,
8 1998, in fact the original passages to which I shall refer are in the
9 original document of July 1998.
10 Q. Very well. Well, let's have a look at the passages that you had
11 in mind overnight, having taken advice.
12 A. Having referred to my notes, actually. But Article 8, War
13 Crimes. "For the purpose of this Statute, `war crimes' means:
14 "(a) Grave breaches of the Geneva Convention of the 12 August
15 1949, namely, any of the following acts against persons or property
16 protected under the provisions of the relevant Geneva Convention."
17 And then it highlights article subparagraph iv.
18 "Extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not
19 justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully or wantonly."
20 Q. Thank you very much.
21 JUDGE MAY: It's the International Criminal Court.
22 MR. NICE: Ah. Sorry.
23 JUDGE MAY: So it appears from the top.
24 MR. NICE: In which case then it probably should be produced as an
25 exhibit, and we can deal with that. But I think it would be preferable
1 for the Chamber to have an unmarked copy as a --
2 JUDGE MAY: Yes, indeed.
3 MR. NICE: So we can deal with it.
4 JUDGE MAY: But for these purposes we can go on as we are.
5 MR. NICE: Yes.
6 THE WITNESS: My apologies to the Court for that confusion. It's
7 been -- I'm not a lawyer, and I'm afraid it took me some time to uncover
8 the precise document.
9 MR. NICE:
10 Q. Let's turn now to the meeting. Just reminding the Chamber that,
11 of course, you were permitted access to the country and it was known that
12 you were travelling. Would that be correct?
13 A. Correct.
14 Q. You --
15 A. I was also bearing a letter from Mr. Blair --
16 Q. Yes.
17 A. -- as indeed I had borne a letter from Mr. Blair to the presidents
18 of Macedonia and of Albania.
19 Q. Yes. Your meeting with the accused was at the presidential palace
20 in Belgrade. The meeting lasted about how long?
21 A. About an hour.
22 Q. The language?
23 A. The language was in English. We were in the presence of the
24 British ambassador, and as I recall it, a note-taker for Mr. Milosevic.
25 Q. Did the accused have any --
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speakers kindly make pauses between
2 questions and answer for the interpreters. Thank you.
3 A. -- very high order.
4 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nice, you were asked to have a pause between
5 question and answer.
6 MR. NICE: Sorry. Slow down. I will.
7 Q. Let's deal then, first of all, with that letter from the Prime
8 Minister. Did you hand that over to the accused at some stage?
9 A. I did. I think, if I recall, at the start of the meeting.
10 MR. NICE: Can we produce that, please?
11 JUDGE MAY: Do you have the date of the meeting for me?
12 MR. NICE: Yes, certainly.
13 Q. The date of the meeting, Lord Ashdown, please?
14 A. 29th of September.
15 THE REGISTRAR: This exhibit will be numbered number 75.
16 MR. NICE: Thank you. And if the usher could stand by the ELMO
17 and move the letter up as I read the text so that viewers may see it.
18 Q. Dated from the 24th of September to the Prime Minister:
19 "Dear President Milosevic. I wrote to you in June to express my
20 deep personal concern about the situation in Kosovo and to appeal to you
21 to take the necessary steps to work for a peaceful resolution of this
22 difficult problem.
23 "I have continued to take a close personal interest in
24 developments in Kosovo. I have to say that I have been disturbed and
25 perplexed by the evidence of continuing hostilities and the rapidly
1 worsening humanitarian crisis. As I said in my previous letter, no one
2 disputes your right to deal with security problems. But the excessive and
3 indiscriminate use of force by your security and armed forces is having an
4 intolerable impact on innocent civilians who are being forced to flee
5 their homes and whose livelihoods are being destroyed. The prospect of
6 tens of thousands of people facing the winter without proper shelter is
7 one which the international community cannot ignore.
8 "The Resolution adopted by the United Nations Security Council on
9 23 September underlines the deep international concern at the impending
10 humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo and the lack of progress towards a
11 political solution. What is required is an immediate end to the current
12 violence and rapid action to address the humanitarian situation. Above
13 all, there must be speedy progress on a political dialogue, since only by
14 resolving the core problem of the status of Kosovo can there be a lasting
15 solution to the humanitarian problem.
16 "I am sending this message with Paddy Ashdown. I know that he
17 shares my concerns, and will wish to discuss these issues with you
18 following his visit to the region. I reiterate that Britain and our
19 Contact Group and EU Partners stand ready to work with you in the search
20 for a peaceful resolution. But the present situation is intolerable and
21 cannot be allowed to continue.
22 "Yours sincerely, Tony Blair."
23 You handed that letter over. Can you recall one way or another
24 whether the letter was perused and apparently read by the accused at the
25 time or not?
1 A. I think the accused, as I recall it, and it is difficult to recall
2 this four years later or so, but the accused, if I recall, looked at the
3 letter, read it, and I -- read it quickly but read it, in my view, in
5 Q. Now, the meeting lasted an hour, and we want it, I'm afraid, very
6 much in summary form because that's all we require.
7 Did you give the accused an account of what you'd seen on the
8 previous day?
9 A. I did.
10 Q. How did you describe it, in the most general terms, to him?
11 A. I said to him that what I had witnessed could only be described as
12 the actions of the main battle units of the Yugoslav army in an action
13 which could only be described as indiscriminate, punitive, designed to
14 drive innocent civilians out of their properties, could not be explained
15 by any targeting military operation, that this was, in my view, not only
16 illegal under international law, damaging to the representation of the
17 Serbs and his nation, but also deeply counter-productive.
18 Q. What was his response to the account of things that you said you'd
20 A. He first of all denied that these things were going on and said
21 that they were not happening, and I informed him that they were because I
22 was there on the previous day and saw them with my own eyes.
23 Q. Did he give any alternative explanation to things you'd seen on
24 the basis that what you'd seen may have been accurate?
25 A. No. He said that in that case, he conceded that they may indeed
1 have been going on but that they were the responsible -- they were the
2 actions of forces beyond his control and that he would take steps to put a
3 stop to them immediately and bring those responsible for any breaches of
4 international law to account.
5 Q. Now, you had a document, and you believe it to be the document --
6 or a version of the document that you've produced this morning. How did
7 you deal with that, and how did you deal with the issues of law upon which
8 you'd been advised overnight along with Ambassador Donnelly?
9 A. Here again, I have to tell the Court that there is a slight
10 difference of view here. It is my clear recollection and indeed was noted
11 in my diary afterwards that having specifically pointed to the Geneva
12 Convention, having specifically, as I recall it, referred to the
13 paragraphs I have shown to the Court, I left the document with
14 Mr. Milosevic.
15 I have subsequently checked the recollections of Ambassador Brian
16 Donnelly, who was present. He remembers me doing the first of those two
17 things, that is, specifically referring to the Geneva Conventions and
18 specifically referring to the passages that I have shown the Court, but he
19 does not recollect me leaving the document there.
20 Q. Did you, in the event, find yourself, as you recall it, still in
21 possession of the document you'd taken?
22 A. I was in a very hurried programme. I do not -- I cannot recall
23 having possession of the document, and I cannot recall leaving with that
24 document. I certainly haven't found it since, but that does not
25 necessarily mean that the only solution is I left it behind in the office
1 of Mr. Milosevic. But that is my clear recollection, and that's what I
2 put in my diary, dictated about 90 minutes after this meeting.
3 I should point out --
4 Q. What -- sorry, yes.
5 A. I should point out if I may, Mr. Nice, that Mr. Milosevic said to
6 me in response to my description, as I recall the conversation, that what
7 was happening was consistent with actions against terrorists and that his
8 state had a right to act against terrorists. I said I accepted that
9 right, that this was, however, not actions against terrorism.
10 Mr. Milosevic said to me I knew nothing about terrorism, and I told him
11 that I had indeed fought in four terrorist campaigns, had lost good
12 friends to terrorists, and I knew that the kind of actions he was taking
13 would not destroy terrorism. They would only create more terrorism.
14 Q. Can you remember any -- I'm sorry. I'm probably going too fast.
15 Can you remember any particular exchange or -- yes, exchange with
16 the accused about the Geneva Conventions or anything of that sort?
17 A. Yes. I recall specifically saying that the actions that he was
18 taking were, in my view, clearly in breach of the Geneva Convention. As I
19 have explained to the Court, I identified the passages of the Geneva
20 Convention to which we have already referred. And I told him that in my
21 view, if he were to continue with these operations, he would make himself
22 indictable for war crimes because he was personally responsible for any
23 further continuation after this meeting.
24 Q. You told us how on the previous day, when you visited the forest,
25 you had made a promise to the people there about what you conveyed to
1 their president. How did you deal with that?
2 A. I have to say, and I somewhat regret it since, that I did not
3 deliver -- I took the bag of cherries with me, but I did not deliver it to
4 Mr. Milosevic. I believed at this stage that it would be an act of
5 rudeness, but I did draw his attention to the condition of the refugees.
6 I said I found it disgraceful that the president of a country could treat
7 its citizens of whatever their ethnic origin, women, children, old men, in
8 such a fashion. I told him that in my view, there was, as the winter
9 approached, an impending humanitarian catastrophe of massive proportions.
10 Mr. Milosevic told me that he thought the number of refugees in the woods
11 was of a very small number. I said in my view there were probably, by the
12 UNHCR's best calculations, some 20.000 people living in the woods and
13 forests of Kosovo in similar conditions to those which I had seen and that
14 any impending humanitarian catastrophe, if these people were not fed and
15 housed, would --
16 Q. The last --
17 A. -- would --
18 JUDGE MAY: Just a moment, let the interpreters finish. Yes.
19 MR. NICE: I may have cut you off.
20 A. Would inevitably fall to his responsibility.
21 Q. Two more things about the meeting. What, if anything, was said
22 about the possibility of intervention by force by the international
24 A. I said, in more blunt terms than I think is strongly hinted at in
25 Mr. Blair's letter, that if these gross, flagrant breaches of
1 international law continued, the international community would be left
2 with no option but to seek to intervene. And if Mr.,
3 then-President, Milosevic, were to underestimate the gravity of the
4 situation or the determination of the international community to ensure
5 that international law was upheld, then he would be making a very grave
7 Q. You made a note of this meeting, of course, in your diary, and it
8 may be that it will be a good idea just to have this extract produced. I
9 don't know if we've got copies of it. If we have, I'll ask that it be
11 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I don't think I've got enough copies of it
12 in the form I think will be most valuable.
13 THE INTERPRETER: Could counsel please speak into the microphone,
14 please, for the interpreters.
15 MR. NICE: -- but --
16 JUDGE KWON: Mr. Nice, could you speak close to the microphone.
17 MR. NICE: Yes, certainly.
18 Q. I'll produce that over the break at the very latest, but you have,
19 I think, from your diary produced a little passage that is your best
20 recollection at the time of how you really ended the meeting with the
21 president; is that right?
22 A. Mr. Nice, I do have that. I can spend some time looking it up,
23 but it might be most helpful if I could use the one you have available. I
24 can, however, summarise it very simply to the Court.
25 Q. I think it would be better if we had the words as you best
1 recorded at the time.
2 A. Could I then just make it clear that, as is made clear in the
3 preface of my diaries, I do not pretend that these are verbatim. I merely
4 say they are reconstructions of the conversation as best as I could
5 produce it as I recall. My diary was recorded on the plane back, that is,
6 90 minutes after the end of the meeting. So although I cannot vouchsafe
7 that these are perfectly the word-for-word statement that I used when I
8 finished my meeting with Mr. Milosevic, it is, I believe, a very close
9 reconstruction of that.
10 "Concluded the meeting by saying, 'Mr. President, you have been
11 generous with your time, and if I may say so, also in allowing me to come
12 to your country. I shall have some harsh words to say about what I have
13 seen but I like the Serb people and I do not believe that you can condemn
14 a nation. I must tell you, however, that the international community will
15 act if you do not stop. You are, in my view, employing a policy that is
16 entirely counter-productive and allowing the good name of the Serb people
17 to be dragged down. I beg you to put a stop to this action which
18 besmirches the representation of your country.'"
19 I also made it clear to Mr. Milosevic that he was personally
20 responsible for any further continuation of these policies and that that
21 could lead ultimately to his indictment before this Court.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 77.
23 MR. NICE: May we now please look at, as the next exhibit, your
24 report or, to be precise, an extract from the report you made in respect
25 of this visit.
1 THE REGISTRAR: Prosecution Exhibit 78.
2 THE WITNESS: Perhaps it would be helpful, Mr. Nice, if I were to
3 point out that this extract is merely the extract published in my book and
4 that the editing of this was simply to take out extraneous matter which
5 was regarded by the editors as being boring.
6 MR. NICE:
7 Q. So the current -- thank you for that. So the current situation
8 is -- it's on the -- yes.
9 "While I was there, the Yugoslav army was ending its operation in
10 the Drenice area and shifting it to the Suva Reka region, south-east of
11 Pristina. President Milosevic told me that the operations had ended. I
12 told him this was not so as I had seen myself. However, since the main
13 Yugoslav objectives have now been achieved, I anticipate that Yugoslav
14 operations will end very shortly and their main units will return to
15 barracks, so as to give no pretext for NATO action ..."
16 That was your judgement at the time, was it?
17 A. It was.
18 Q. Then under the heading "What we should do: Military action."
19 Your report suggested that: "Troops on the ground in this phase would
20 not, I believe, be militarily possible."
21 A. Indeed this was, because that was a discussion much -- currently
22 going on in public and in private, and I believed that it was not a viable
23 option at this stage.
24 Q. "Though they will be needed to guarantee a cease-fire and oversee
25 the transitional phase that Hill," that's Ambassador Hill, "envisages."
2 A. Correct.
3 Q. "With the weather closing in and the Yugoslav troops returning to
4 the barracks having achieved their objectives, it's almost too late to use
5 air power, too. However, the air power option should be maintained on
6 a `hair trigger' and used if Milosevic does not stop his current
7 operations and returns to the use of excessive force. In due course this
8 is bound to happen."
9 JUDGE ROBINSON: What was bound to happen?
10 THE WITNESS: My calculation was that the actions taken by the
11 Yugoslav forces were bound to produce a stronger, more aggressive KLA, but
12 contrary to what Mr. Milosevic claimed, the KLA would come back in greater
13 force and determined to exact revenge. In other words, that -- as I say,
14 that they were likely to re-occupy ground that they had been driven from
15 by the Yugoslav army. And my calculation was, I regret, that this would
16 provoke again Mr. Milosevic into the use of excessive force. In other
17 words, that we were bound to get to a position where that would happen.
18 MR. NICE:
19 Q. And indeed you set that out in the next sentence.
20 A. And indeed it is what happened.
21 Q. Yes.
22 "The KLA have not gone away, are likely to re-occupy the ground
23 they have lost and will certainly return to (more effective) aggressive
25 "Urgent and unfettered access must be provided for accredited UN
1 aid agencies and diplomatic observers to all refugee or internationally
2 displaced persons sites. I was stopped by Serb police, in the company of
3 UNHCR and a British Embassy diplomatic representative, from accessing a
4 reported 18.000 IDPs in the middle of a battle zone `For our own safety'."
5 Pausing there, that's the incident you described to us this
7 A. It is.
8 Q. "This cannot be allowed to continue. The humanitarian drive
9 should be to get people back to their homes as quickly as possible, after
10 which large scale resources will be required to make these habitable and
11 to heat them. Since, in most of Western Kosovo, the crops have not been
12 harvested and the Serbs have been deliberately targeting grain supplies,
13 it is likely that food will also be a problem through the winter.
14 "The Hill plan," can you --
15 A. This was --
16 Q. -- remind us?
17 A. This was the plan currently being discussed by Ambassador Hill to
18 bring a space for a peaceful resolution to the Kosovo crisis. And as you
19 will see, I specifically recommend that that is the best way forward
20 rather than military action, that we should pursue that plan.
21 Q. Saying in this paragraph that:
22 "The Hill plan offers the only realistic proposal on the table.
23 It will need some adjustment to take a more intermediate position between
24 the Serbs and the Albanians. But it should be supported. There is not
25 time to `do a Dayton' where the West held the ring while the protagonists
1 produced their own solution. This time, the West must put its own plan on
2 the table together with appropriate sticks and carrots to encourage
3 acceptance from both sides. This needs to be based around a cease-fire,
4 an interim period, greater autonomy for Kosovo, along the lines of
5 a `third republic' and a strong and enforceable framework to protect
6 minority rights (in this case, those of the Serb population in Kosovo).
7 We should not exclude outright independence for Kosovo as a long-term aim,
8 even if we cannot yet foresee circumstances when it would be wise or safe
9 to achieve it."
10 I'm not going to ask you to expand on the opinions there. Others
11 may. But does that collection of opinions represent what you felt as a
12 result of what you had seen?
13 A. It does.
14 Q. You went on to conclude on this, and shortly, on the following
16 "But Kosovo is not a Yugoslav problem. It is a regional one and
17 will need a regional solution. There will be no point in stabilising
18 Kosovo if, in particular, Albania, but also Macedonia, remain in such a
19 precarious state. Action to support the present Albanian government
20 against the mischief of Berisha is important -- "
21 A. Sali Berisha.
22 Q. " -- especially to enable Tirana to regain effective control of
23 the border area of Tropoje, which is, at once, Berisha's home and the area
24 through which the main route for arms to the KLA pass. Regaining control
25 of this area would diminish the power of Berisha and give us real leverage
1 over the KLA."
2 Of course, these topics you touched on yesterday --
3 A. Indeed.
4 Q. -- Macedonia's vulnerability --
5 A. Indeed.
6 Q. -- the area of lawlessness and the passage of arms.
7 A. Indeed.
8 Q. Your report, so far as the extract is concerned, concludes:
9 "The Hague trials have had a profound effect on senior Serbs. If
10 it is now too late to use military sanctions against the Serbs for their
11 latest actions, then the British should ask the International Court to
12 investigate the recent Serb operations in Drenica and Suva Reka and, if
13 appropriate, take action against any guilty parties. I believe that this
14 would have a profound effect, both on local military commanders and on
15 their political directors in Belgrade and could make them think twice
16 about doing it again."
17 The last point of the evidence that I want --
18 [Technical difficulty]
19 [Microphone not activated]
20 MR. NICE:
21 Q. -- is your follow-up visit on the 12th, and between the 12th and
22 the 17th of December of 1998. On that visit, did you go to some of the
23 villages that you had seen being attacked earlier on the occasion when we
24 see you with binoculars looking down from the hill?
25 A. I did. I paid in particular -- I wanted in particular to see the
1 village of Vranic, which I referred to earlier, and the site of the
2 alleged massacre there. I visited, I think, probably three or four of the
3 villages I had seen under bombardment.
4 Q. What was your impression of the damage done? How did it compare
5 with what you had expected?
6 A. Well, I had expected to see whole villages burnt down. That's
7 what I had seen previously. And indeed, if you've seen the video, you'll
8 see why I believed that was what I was likely to see. What I discovered,
9 however, was that although there was extensive damage to a large number of
10 properties - it's been estimated that in some of those villages up to 50
11 or 70 per cent of the houses were fired - in fact, it was individual
12 houses which had been deliberately fired by the troops who had moved in,
13 and these houses, I was told, were those which had been earlier earmarked
14 as houses where there were either KLA sympathisers or people who the
15 Yugoslav government believed should suffer reprisals. The houses
16 themselves, however, had been deliberately fired, and the evidence of
17 indiscriminate shell fire, which I had seen, whose purpose could only have
18 been to drive out the population, was also evident.
19 Q. Just yes or no to this, please, Lord Ashdown. I think you also
20 had a visit on one of the days, I think Thursday, the 17th, probably, with
21 Miroslav Sainovic?
22 A. Nikola Sainovic. I think there's a mistake there.
23 Q. Yes. Nikola Sainovic. Thank you. The mistake was indeed in the
24 original document. Thank you for the correction. He then being the
25 Deputy Prime Minister?
1 A. That's correct.
2 Q. You formed a view of him, which you've set out in your statement?
3 A. I'll need to be reminded of what I said in my statement.
4 Q. I'm not going to take you through it. I'm just observing that
5 it's there for others to ask you about it if they wish to.
6 MR. NICE: Your Honour, subject to producing a full version of the
7 witness's diary entry for the meeting with the accused, which is on its
8 way down, as a exhibit, that's all I ask of the witness. Thank you.
9 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
10 Cross-examined by Mr. Milosevic:
11 Q. [Interpretation] Do you think that everyone who is responsible for
12 war crimes --
13 A. I wonder if I could have the translation of that again. I was on
14 the French at the time.
15 Q. Do you think everyone who is responsible for war crimes -- do you
16 think that everyone who is responsible for war crimes should be held
18 A. That's a matter for the courts. I am against war crimes and I
19 believe that all those who are responsible should be subject to
20 investigation and, if the courts believe appropriate, to the Court
22 Q. Everywhere in the world or only in Yugoslavia?
23 A. There is a legal statute that requires everybody who has signed up
24 to those legal statutes and international law to be subject to those
25 tribunals and investigations.
1 Q. I'm asking you about your opinion. I'm not asking you for a legal
2 interpretation; I'm asking you about your views on this. You're a
3 politician, a diplomat, a military man, according to your curriculum
4 vitae. So do you think that those who committed war crimes should be held
6 A. That's exactly what I've said. The answer is yes.
7 Q. Yes. Everywhere in the world or only in Yugoslavia?
8 A. Everywhere in the world. The statutes are international and they
9 should be enacted.
10 Q. And what do you think? Why are people not being held accountable
11 for war crimes except for Yugoslavia? What are the reasons for that?
12 A. Mr. Milosevic, I'm not here to speculate upon the reasons for
13 that. You and I may have opinions. I'm here to give evidence about a
14 particular series of events, which I presented to this Court. You and I
15 can have a long, extensive political discussion about this, but this does
16 not seem to me to be the appropriate time for that. I have presented
17 evidence to this Court about specific events which occurred during the
18 periods that I have referred to. I'm happy -- I'm happy to --
19 Q. I understand what you are saying, but could you please just answer
20 my questions.
21 JUDGE MAY: No. The witness is right. He's come here to give
22 evidence, not to proffer opinions. Now, ask him about that.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That's what I'm asking him about.
24 He explained here that he had a conversation with me about all issues,
25 even the Geneva Conventions and the Second Protocol. These are the most
1 general of issues. So I'm asking him about that.
2 JUDGE MAY: Ask him about the conversation. That's what's
3 relevant in this case.
4 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
5 Q. Are you aware of the war crimes of your country committed in the
6 territory of the former Yugoslavia, together with the crimes --
7 JUDGE MAY: That is a total irrelevance. It's not what he's
8 giving evidence about.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] He represents a country that took
10 part in the war against Yugoslavia. I'm asking this witness, who is a
11 politician from that country, whether he is aware of the war crimes
12 committed by his country against Yugoslavia. Are you forbidding me to put
13 such a question?
14 JUDGE MAY: He is not here as a representative of any country;
15 he's a witness giving evidence about what he saw and heard, including a
16 conversation with you. Now, if you want to suggest he's biased in some
17 way, of course you can, but you've got to put the grounds for it.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. You spoke about the Geneva Convention, about the Second Protocol.
20 You mentioned that now, during your testimony. Do you believe that the
21 aggression against Yugoslavia constituted a violation of the UN Charter?
22 A. Mr. Milosevic, if you're asking me for an opinion, I'll give you
23 one, but it is wholly irrelevant to the information I have provided here
24 today. I'm ready to be questioned on that information about a specific
25 incident and a series of incidents, and I look forward to hearing your
1 questions on those incidents, which perhaps you'll come to in a moment.
2 My opinions are completely irrelevant. Now, if you want my opinion to
3 your question, the answer is no.
4 JUDGE MAY: Just one moment. One moment, Mr. Milosevic.
5 [Trial Chamber confers]
6 JUDGE MAY: We've been considering this. The question you ask is
7 wholly irrelevant. Now, what may be relevant is your case that there was
8 aggression against Yugoslavia by the KLA. Now, about that, the witness
9 may be able to help, so you can ask him about that, but his general
10 opinions as a politician or as an individual are irrelevant to this
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] As concerns the NATO aggression,
13 that the entire world is aware of, that is irrelevant for you; did I
14 understand you correctly?
15 JUDGE MAY: You can ask this witness if he knows anything about
16 the NATO aggression, if he can give any evidence about it; not about his
17 opinions, which are irrelevant, but you can ask him if he knows anything
18 about it, the NATO aggression, as alleged by you.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Thank you for this suggestion. That
20 is precisely how I'm going to put it to the witness.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. Do you know anything about the NATO aggression that was carried
23 out against Yugoslavia on the 24th of March, 1999?
24 A. Mr. Milosevic, the evidence I've given before this Court took
25 place before that date and is therefore -- that event is wholly
1 irrelevant, I would put it to you, to the evidence I have presented. This
2 took place six months before that took place. Furthermore, I think it's
3 worth pointing out that the estimates are that in this period, long before
4 the NATO aggression, more than 300.000 Albanians had been driven from
5 their homes by the action of your troops. So these were entirely the
6 responsibility of you, of your troops, or perhaps of some other reasons
7 that you may be identifiable -- that it may be able to identify. They are
8 nothing to do with the NATO aggression. Indeed, if I may remind you, the
9 very purpose of my visit was to seek to persuade you to take action which
10 would have prevented that intervention. I said to you, in specific terms,
11 that if you went on acting in this fashion, you would make it inevitable
12 that the international community would have to act, and in the end they
13 did have to act. And I warned you that if you took those steps and went
14 on doing this, you would end up in this Court, and here you are.
15 Q. Very well. Very well. This is the question that we are going to
16 explain right now. But could the witness please answer my questions
17 rather than make speeches.
18 JUDGE MAY: He's dealt with it. Now, move on to another topic.
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Later on you are going to say that I
20 have used up the time that was used up by this witness, as you usually
21 do. That's why I'm saying this. Otherwise, as far as speeches are
22 concerned, he can make as many as he wants.
23 JUDGE MAY: We would all get on much more quickly if you asked
24 short questions. If the witness is too long in his answers, we will tell
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation] All right.
2 Q. So let us just briefly go through this. You believe that the NATO
3 aggression against Yugoslavia did not violate the UN Charter, the Geneva
4 Conventions --
5 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, we've already ruled that as
6 irrelevant. Now, go on to another topic.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. Well, I'm going to continue along the lines of your speech, that
9 this action against terrorism caused an escalation. Are you aware that
10 until the end of 1997, it was quite calm and peaceful in Kosovo, until
11 before the end of 1997, that is to say, for a total of ten years? Are you
12 aware of that?
13 A. I am aware that although, as I recall this period, and I can't
14 pretend to be an expert on it, but as I recall this period, the province
15 of Kosovo, the Kosovo area, was relatively calm and peaceful, but behind
16 that there was what many regarded, certainly Kosovar Albanians regarded,
17 as a long campaign of discrimination against their nation.
18 Q. This, for instance, is an example of a question that can be
19 answered by a simple yes or no, without going into big explanations. Are
20 you aware that until before the end of 1997, it was peaceful in Kosovo?
21 Yes or no. So could you please save up time as much as possible. Because
22 you are the one who is opposing a discussion. As far as I'm concerned, I
23 can engage in a discussion, but as you can see --
24 JUDGE MAY: Let's not have a commentary.
25 Lord Ashdown, the question is simply: Were things calm, leaving
1 aside discrimination or anything of that sort, to your knowledge.
2 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Are you aware that in October 1997, at Crete, a Summit conference
5 was held of the south-eastern European countries, a Summit conference,
6 including Turkey, Greece, Romania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania, at which
7 an exceptionally high degree of understanding was reached with regard to
8 mutual cooperation, including the establishment of proper cooperation
9 between Yugoslavia and Albania, and the statement of then-Prime Minister
10 of Albania Fatos Nano, that the problems of Kosovo are the internal affair
11 of Yugoslavia? Are you familiar with that and do you remember that, as a
12 politician who has been following events in the former Yugoslavia?
13 October 1997, the Summit in Crete: A high degree of understanding,
14 similarity of views, statement by the Albania Prime Minister, my statement
15 before the cameras, Nano's statement before the cameras, Kosovo being an
16 internal affair of our country.
17 JUDGE MAY: [Previous translation continues]... the question.
18 A. The answer, Mr. Milosevic, is no. But then I've never denied,
19 neither did the British government, nor did I, in any of the visits that
20 I've made, that the responsibility, the sovereignty, of Kosovo lay with
21 the Yugoslav government.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. I am putting this question to you because I would like to give an
24 introduction to the time that you say you have been assessing here and
25 now. Are you aware that at that point in time, and after ten years of
1 peace and prospects for a large-scale cooperation, that after about a
2 month or two, after that Summit, that is, an initiative was launched by
3 the German diplomacy Kinkel Vadrin - they wrote a letter expressing their
4 concern about Kosovo - and, at the same time, actions taken by the BND and
5 the other services in order to instigate, organise, train, and establish
6 terrorism in Kosovo under the guise of this so-called KLA? Are you aware
7 of that?
8 A. No.
9 Q. No.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Could you please be so kind as to
11 show this? You'll see. I have this here. It has explanations in the
12 English language. This is a survey of terrorist attacks in the Autonomous
13 Province of Kosovo and Metohija, dated January 1991 to the 20th of June,
14 1999. You will see what this looks like.
15 Let me just make a few notes in this regard. During all these
16 years - the first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, even the seventh
17 year - involved terrorist attacks against policemen or buildings are in
18 the single digits, or double digits at the most. However, after the
19 seventh year, the number sky-rocketed to 1.865, as a consequence of what
20 I've been saying, and in 1999 it went down as a consequence of the
21 extinction of the KLA. But --
22 JUDGE MAY: Let us see this document. Yes. Let it be put on the
24 But Mr. Milosevic, you could tell us where you got it from, where
25 those figures come from.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] These are official figures that were
2 published every year. I can give you the exact source.
3 JUDGE MAY: Who by?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] By the Yugoslav government, official
5 figures, the government of Serbia.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Please take a look at this.
8 A. I'll need my screen on. For some reason or another, it seems to
9 have gone off. No, it doesn't appear. I can read it here, though.
10 Q. Yes. As you can see, all the way up to 1998 -- at the end of 1997
11 it went up a little bit, but that is nothing compared to the action that
12 was coordinated because the Crete Summit sounded an alarm for all of those
13 who wanted to destabilise Yugoslavia. All of a sudden, in 1998, there was
14 this immense terrorist activity launched. And, as you can see, I have
15 here another one that can perhaps give a better explanation of all of it.
16 Terrorist attacks against citizens belonging to the Albanian national
17 minority that were launched by members of the so-called KLA. In 1991,
18 1992, 1993, there aren't any; two in 1994; four in 1995; two in 1996; and
19 towards the end of 1997 it went up to 13; but in 1998, 327 Albanians were
20 attacked; and in 1999, of course, again it went down because the KLA was
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Please show both. Please show
23 both. You can see here both, both the charts and also the consequences
25 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Let the witness see this.
1 THE WITNESS: I'm not sure what the question is, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MAY: We're waiting for the question. Would you look at
3 those two documents, please.
4 Now, Mr. Milosevic, the witness has seen the documents. What is
5 the question?
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. Is the witness aware of anything related to external activities?
8 I mentioned in this sense Kinkel's letter, and, along parallel lines, the
9 activity of the BND in order to render support to these terrorist
10 activities. So do you know anything about these activities coming from
11 the outside in order to destabilise Kosovo and thereby Serbia and
12 Yugoslavia as well?
13 A. Beyond that which has been given in my evidence, no, by which I
14 mean, of course, Your Honour, the evidence that I provided. Indeed, I've
15 provided the evidence to this Court as well, if it wants to use this at
16 some future time in similar trials, for instance, against those who
17 perpetrated these actions against the Yugoslav government and Yugoslav and
18 Serbian citizens, that there was KLA activity, that there was external
19 support through the northern areas of Albania. Indeed, I made
20 recommendations as to means to put that to an end. But beyond that, I
21 have no knowledge of the sort that Mr. Milosevic is asking me.
22 Q. All right. And why was it necessary, then - I'm getting to what
23 you've been saying - to establish the structure and the way in which the
24 KLA functioned? You spoke of your visit to Albania, when it was a
25 well-known fact that these were terrorists, that this was a terrorist
2 A. Mr. Milosevic, I never denied that it was a terrorist
3 organisation. I've never in any sense sought to excuse the suffering, the
4 pain, the murder of innocent Serbs or Serb civilians by this
5 organisation. I took steps, indeed, to make recommendations as to how
6 that could be ended. I have never denied, either in my evidence or, so
7 far as I know, in any other speeches or articles that I've written, that
8 there was KLA activity, that innocent Serbs were suffering. But none of
9 this, none of it, justifies or excuses the use of excessive, outrageous
10 force by your armed forces, under your control, in an indiscriminate,
11 punitive manner, across the whole of the civilian population, in direct --
12 Q. You've already said that.
13 A. -- contravention of international law. So you can prove this --
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Lord Ashdown, you have said that.
15 THE WITNESS: My apologies.
16 JUDGE MAY: One more question, Mr. Milosevic, and then it's time
17 to adjourn.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. This question that you've just answered when you said that you
20 never denied that this was a terrorist organisation, I can tell you that
21 you are the first person sitting in that chair who said during these
22 proceedings that he does not deny that the KLA was a terrorist
23 organisation. Everybody before you denied that.
24 JUDGE MAY: That's a matter of comment, and on which note we will
25 adjourn. We will return those documents. Mr. Milosevic, if you want to
1 produce those figures, you can do so in due course and they will be
2 exhibited as part of your case. Meanwhile, they will be returned to you.
3 Could you be back, please, Lord Ashdown, at half past 11.00.
4 --- Recess taken at 11.00 a.m.
5 --- On resuming at 11.30 a.m.
6 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. We saw on the previous graph in 1998 a figure of over 1.800
9 terrorist attacks. Does that figure seem to you be frightening and
11 A. Mr. Milosevic, any single terrorist attack is frightening and
12 alarming. Having been the subject of them myself, I'm only too aware of
13 that. My case is simple, that none of these facts that you present to the
14 Court, and I can't vouch for the accuracy or inaccuracy of the figures you
15 have presented to us, though I note that you claim a decline in 1999 was a
16 significant fact. I think the significant fact was that things were so
17 bad at that stage that NATO was forced to intervene, and you presumably
18 were not --
19 JUDGE MAY: Lord Ashdown, I think we've said that's all
21 THE WITNESS: The point is that these figures, accurate or
22 inaccurate, do not justify the actions that I saw on that day.
23 I wonder if I may, Mr. Milosevic, direct you -- return you to the
24 conversation you and I had on the 29th of September, 1998, in which I
25 reminded you that in Northern Ireland, we in Britain had fought a campaign
1 against terrorists, in which I was personally involved, for 30 years. I
2 dare say the figures of terrorist attacks, the numbers killed, the extent
3 of terrorist actions, was even greater than those you now present to us,
4 but the British government has never used tanks, artillery, looting,
5 burning, driving people away from their homes. And if we had, we would be
6 before this Court; and because you did, you are.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
8 Q. You, therefore, consider that we in Yugoslavia perpetrated crimes
9 and that you didn't anywhere.
10 JUDGE MAY: It doesn't matter about anything that the British
11 government may or may not have done in Northern Ireland. What matters is
12 what happened in Yugoslavia.
13 Perhaps you could deal with that part of it, Lord Ashdown.
14 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, the witness mentioned Northern
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes, but it wasn't relevant.
17 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. And it is common knowledge -- actually, the event is well known.
19 It was called the Bloody Sunday incident.
20 JUDGE MAY: We're not concerned with that. Now, the witness can
21 deal with Yugoslavia.
22 THE WITNESS: I merely drew the comparison as to whether or not
23 the actions of the Serb forces were justified on these days. None, it
24 seems to me, of the information Mr. Milosevic has presented to us so far
25 justifies actions which were in gross breach of international law.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. And did you during your stay and trip, which was designed to
3 inform you of the situation in the field, were you at all interested in
4 the facts and figures with respect to the victims of terrorist
5 activities? Were you interested in that?
6 A. Yes. As I've given evidence, I went to view an alleged site of
7 executions of Serb citizens, as I understand, by terrorist forces. I
8 collected that information. I've put that information before this Court,
9 and I stand ready to make sure that that information is used in this Court
10 against the perpetrators of those crimes too.
11 Q. You witnessed one event, as far as I was able to gather from your
12 testimony. There were seven or eight bodies, as you yourself said. It
13 was in the village of Gllogjani, which is where the execution took place
14 over large -- over many people. There were 39 bodies, in fact, 39
15 corpses. Did you happen to see that?
16 A. I didn't see any of the corpses, as my evidence made clear. I saw
17 the area after those bodies had been removed. Who perpetrated those
18 actions, how many corpses, how many people were killed, I do not know.
19 The evidence that I have indicates that this was an execution. It was,
20 therefore, a crime. The evidence I have is presented to this Court. But
21 none of that justifies the actions of your forces which I have described
22 to this Court.
23 Q. And did you have information at the time, amongst the other
24 information that you had with respect to victims and casualties,
25 information and facts and figures about the fact that the terrorists
1 killed Albanians, too?
2 A. I was aware of that claim. I cannot either substantiate nor
3 reject it. But again, none of that justifies the actions I saw your
4 forces taking on that day.
5 Q. Well, you've already said that, around your position is clear on
6 that point as to the explanations and justification for the NATO
7 aggression. What I'm asking you is: Did you ever ask yourselves why they
8 were killing Albanians civilians and policemen?
9 A. Of course I asked myself that question, but none of that is
10 relevant to the facts I presented to this Court, which is that --
11 irrelevant. It is not relevant as to what the provocation was. The
12 actions your forces took on that day were illegal under international
14 Q. All right. A moment ago, you said that what was relevant or what
15 was irrelevant is something that the courts should ascertain. That is
16 what you declared a moment ago. So I assume that you wish to be
17 consistent in your position there on that point.
18 JUDGE MAY: There's no need to answer that.
19 What's the next question?
20 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. Are you aware of the fact that at that particular time, precisely
22 when you were there in 1998, when you were visiting Kosovo, that in many
23 villages a police force was set up, made up of the Albanians themselves, a
24 local police force made up of local policemen, and these policemen were
25 elected by the inhabitants of the villages for these people to be able to
1 see to law and order in the village, and the state provided them with
2 uniforms and with weapons, but they were selected and elected by the
3 Albanians themselves in those villages to do the kind of things that the
4 normal police force does? Are you aware of that?
5 A. I was aware that that was going on, but I don't see how that
6 justifies the actions taken by your forces.
7 Q. You met - and you spoke about this a moment ago - Christopher
8 Hill, and I know full well that he was abreast of the broad drive to set
9 up this local police force in the Albanian villages. Did he speak to you
10 about that?
11 A. No.
12 Q. Do you know that the terrorists of the KLA very frequently
13 targeted the local Albanian policemen and that many of those local
14 policemen were either killed by them or wounded?
15 A. I know that many innocent people suffered on both sides. I know
16 that there were claims and evidence of terrorist activity against both
17 Albanians and Serbs. Nothing that I say here excuses that. But that is
18 completely irrelevant, it seems to me, to the central question, which is
19 that the actions taken by your forces on this day were contrary to
20 international law, irrespective of what actions had been taken by the
21 terrorists beforehand, that you were responsible for that and that you did
22 not take the steps necessary to stop that.
23 Q. Mr. Ashdown, you have repeated that several times, and I see no
24 reason for you to repeat it in each of your answers.
25 A. Mr. Milosevic, if I may suggest to you, it is the central point.
1 Whatever happened -- and I am not able to confirm or deny your conspiracy
2 theories or, indeed, such facts as you have that you can prove, but the
3 central question is this: Did any of these actions that you claim
4 happened or that did happen justify your forces taking indiscriminate,
5 excessive action against civilians in the way that you did, contrary to
6 international law? My judgement on that matter - ultimately, that's for
7 the Court to decide - is that they did not.
8 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Lord Ashdown, you've made the point. There's no
9 need to repeat it. And as you rightly say, it's going to be a matter for
10 the Court to determine that or not.
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. We'll come to that question of international law in due course. I
13 am talking about the legitimate right of a state to fight against
14 terrorism, and you are questioning that right.
15 JUDGE MAY: No. He --
16 Lord Ashdown, there's no need to reply.
17 He has made the point that the use of force was excessive. Now,
18 that is the point that he's made.
19 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, if I may, I most explicitly said
20 before, during -- during my meeting with Mr. Milosevic and afterwards,
21 that I did not question the right of the Yugoslav forces to take such
22 action as was consistent with international law to control the threat of
23 terrorism. I have never denied that. Indeed, I explicitly made that
24 right clear and my support for that right to Mr. Milosevic during our
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. Where's the problem, then?
3 JUDGE MAY: What does the question mean?
4 A. Mr. Milosevic --
5 JUDGE MAY: What do you mean, Mr. Milosevic?
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, the witness says that he
7 doesn't question the right of a state to fight against terrorism. The
8 state in this case did fight against terrorism, and in those battles
9 against the terrorists, of course, and necessarily the citizens who
10 happened to be in the area contained in the conflict fled from those
11 conflicts. Therefore, where is the problem? And it is, of course, quite
12 clear that the state took care of those refugees. It fed them, it
13 assisted them, it returned them --
14 JUDGE MAY: One thing at a time.
15 Lord Ashdown, what is put to you is that this was a fight against
16 terrorism, and the citizens who happened to be in the area of the conflict
17 fled. Now, in relation to what you saw in Kosovo and what you saw in the
18 various villages which you've described, is that a fair description of
19 what was happening or not?
20 THE WITNESS: No, Your Honour. What is a fair description of what
21 was happening is that excessive force was used, with the deliberate aim of
22 a policy of scorched earth, with the intention of driving innocent
23 civilians indiscriminately from their villages, burning their houses,
24 destroying their means of livelihood and looting their property, all of
25 which is illegal under international law, as I understand it.
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
2 Q. And on what basis do you conclude that it was the intention of the
3 authorities to exert pressure or commit crimes against the innocent
4 population? Why would anybody do that?
5 A. Well, Mr. Milosevic, I can only present the evidence that I have.
6 The refugees told me that they were fleeing from the bombardment of your
7 forces. I have no reason to doubt that. It may be that you will claim
8 that in the operations that I saw, it was necessary and part of a targeted
9 military operation to shoot cattle, to burn houses, to break up the
10 individual stoves in those houses, to urinate on or otherwise destroy seed
11 corn, that all of these were part of a targeted campaign. That is for you
12 to prove to this Court. I have to say to you that the most likely
13 evidence - indeed, I would have said to any rational person the only
14 conclusion you can draw from those actions - is that they were part of a
15 campaign of indiscriminate terror operated against a civilian population
16 as a punitive attempt to drive them from their houses, in ways which have
17 not been seen as perpetrated by a government since the days of the German
18 occupations, and that those are illegal, as is explicitly stated under the
19 terms of the Geneva Convention which I have quoted.
20 Q. This does not refer to what you are claiming, but we'll get to
21 that in due course.
22 Do you know anything about the activities of the Government of
23 Serbia and Yugoslavia to assist those refugees?
24 A. I know a little about it. I also know that I saw many hundreds
25 and believe there to have been many thousands of refugees who were so
1 unconvinced by that activity that they would prefer to have lived for
2 weeks, some claim months, in the forests off what they could gather. They
3 were so frightened of your forces that they put themselves under pathetic
4 forms of camouflage and lived under conditions of extreme privation
5 because they believed that that was the only and safest option open to
6 them to survive.
7 I know the testimony of a woman that I found amongst others, 500
8 or 600 others from a village, in the forests on the day that I referred
9 to, who when I asked her whether she would return to her village in the
10 forthcoming bitter winter of Kosovo said that she would rather die in
11 those forests of cold and starvation with her children than to submit
12 herself again to what you claim is the care of your government.
13 Q. I still claim that in the forests, apart from brief periods, there
14 were not many refugees. I still claim that, that there weren't many. Do
15 you know that when the citizens fled from the conflict area they usually
16 went to villages where they had family or cousins, or other cities where
17 there were no terrorists activities? They didn't wander around the
18 forests, as you claim, for days and weeks.
19 A. Mr. Milosevic, I know certainly that some did that. Indeed, I
20 referred to that in my testimony. But there were many hundreds. I saw,
21 as I said, a very considerable number who preferred, nevertheless, to
22 remain hidden from your forces, from your government that you claim was
23 prepared to care for them, and were prepared, as they described to me, to
24 die there than to return to the care of your forces and your government.
25 Now, I think you must reflect on whether or not that belief was
2 Q. You claimed that there were 20.000 of them, 20.000 who had fled
3 from the effects of those activities. A moment ago, you said that there
4 were even 300.000. Where do you come to this astonishing figure? Who
5 gave you that astonishing figure of 300.000?
6 A. Mr. Milosevic, you may have misunderstood or wanted to
7 misunderstand. I said I saw of the order of 300 - not 300.000, 300 - in
8 the particular forest which I visited. Not 300.000, 300.
9 I was told, on the calculation of UNHCR, who I believe probably
10 had a more accurate judgement of the total numbers, that in their views,
11 there were up to 20.000 either living in the forests - of which the 300
12 individuals that I saw were obviously a very tiny proportion - who were
13 either living in the forests or in the forthcoming winter would be at
14 jeopardy for their lives as a result of the conditions which your forces
15 brought about in Kosovo.
16 Q. That was our -- do you know that in the autumn of 1998, to all
17 practical terms the KLA had been defeated, that they returned weapons and
18 that all the refugees returned to their homes and that the state helped by
19 giving construction material and money for them to be able to rebuild
20 their houses, the houses which had been damaged or destroyed during the
21 terrorist activities? Are you aware of that fact?
22 A. I am aware from a return visit that I made in December that as a
23 result, I must say, of the enactment of the Hill proposals there was a
24 brief ceasefire and that during that ceasefire the KLA intensified their
25 operations, just as I told you they would as a result of what you did,
1 that there was some return of refugees to their houses. But I have to say
2 to you that that was nothing to do with the Yugoslav government. It was
3 far more to do with the internationally policed ceasefire in operation at
4 that time.
5 Q. And are you bearing in mind the following fact, and how can you
6 actually explain the fact that as terrorism had been defeated, as the
7 situation had quieted down and as the Verification Mission had arrived,
8 then once again terrorist activities began to be on the increase? Do you
9 bring -- do you connect those two facts?
10 A. I certainly believe that the ceasefire broke down in part because,
11 as I predicted to you would happen, the KLA returned to aggressive action
12 in part, in my view, because your own forces did what they could to
13 undermine the effectiveness of the international monitoring and indeed to
14 return to the aggressive action which, in my view, had caused this, at
15 least in part, in the first place. But with respect, Mr. Milosevic, I
16 don't believe that any of the events that happened subsequent to the days
17 of which -- upon which I have given evidence to this Court are at all
18 relevant to the circumstances that I have given evidence upon, and so --
19 JUDGE MAY: Let us be the judge of that.
20 THE WITNESS: Although we --
21 JUDGE MAY: Yes, Mr. Milosevic.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. You therefore claim that these efforts, the efforts to maintain a
24 calm situation during the time of the Verification Mission, was destroyed
25 by the forces of Serbia and Yugoslavia. Am I reading you correctly?
1 A. Mr. Milosevic, you and I can wander the thickets of what happened
2 afterwards at very great lengths. We will have our competing views of
3 what happened. They are, I submit to you, not relevant to the events that
4 I have provided about these events on these particular days, and I really
5 would be very willing to answer any more questions you have on the events
6 about which I've given evidence to this Court.
7 JUDGE MAY: What you can tell us about -- just a moment. One
9 What you can tell us about, Lord Ashdown, what you saw or directly
10 heard yourself. If you have any evidence on those matters, you should
11 give it. But when I say "heard," I mean on visits and that sort of thing
12 or any direct knowledge which you have which can shed light on these
13 matters. But hearsay and the rest and what you read in the papers, that
14 sort of thing, isn't of any great assistance.
15 So if the -- the accused can ask questions about what happened
16 afterwards. If you've got any direct evidence about it, tell us. But if
17 you haven't, it's merely general knowledge, then say so.
18 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
19 Q. I wanted to clear up one matter. You said a moment ago and what
20 you're saying here now is also part of your testimony, and a moment ago
21 you said that this situation of calm or ceasefire, as I think you said,
22 was disturbed by the Yugoslav side and violated by the Yugoslav side.
23 A. I said I had opinions that in my view that a subsequent ceasefire
24 which took place - what? - three months after the events which I am giving
25 evidence before the Court, was unfortunately -- did not, unfortunately,
1 hold, and that my opinion, if you seek them, as to the reasons for that
2 was that it was a combination of both a return to aggressive action by the
3 KLA and the actions of your forces in undermining that ceasefire. But
4 that's an opinion.
5 Q. Can I read out to you a passage which speaks of something
6 different? And it is the following --
7 JUDGE MAY: Lord Ashdown, do you have any direct knowledge of what
8 happened when the ceasefire broke down? Do you have any direct experience
9 yourself of it?
10 THE WITNESS: I visited Kosovo again in, if I recall, Your Honour,
11 December of the -- December of the same year, 1998, and made a trip
12 including, as I've already referred to in my evidence here, back into this
13 area to inspect the damage that was done. I spent some time with the KVM,
14 the Kosovo Verification Mission, in the Prizren area. At that time, I
15 watched the actions of the Yugoslav armed forces. I was there when a
16 terrorist outrage took place in Pec in which some Serb civilians were
17 killed. I condemned that action. I was there when there was a KLA
18 incursion from Albania. I have opinions as to why that ceasefire
19 subsequently broke down and why we then moved to the next stage of the
20 events which forced NATO finally to intervene, but I can only express
21 those as opinions.
22 JUDGE MAY: You can ask the witness about what he saw or heard,
23 but his opinions are completely irrelevant.
24 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The witness is presenting his
25 opinion as testimony, and I should like to ask him a question after
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 reading out a brief quotation by his Minister for Foreign and Commonwealth
2 Affairs, dated the 18th of January, 1999.
3 THE WITNESS: Mr. Milosevic, if I may -- I apologise for the
4 discourtesy of interrupting you. I'm seeking not to present my opinions
5 as testimony. That's exactly what I'm seeking not to do. I'm seeking to
6 present facts as testimony.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation] But this is contrary to the facts
8 that you are presenting, contrary to them.
9 JUDGE MAY: What is it that you want him to comment on? Let us
10 hear it, and then we'll see if he can.
11 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The basic point that the witness is
12 making and claiming is that disturbing the situation is the fault of the
13 Yugoslav and Serb government, and I would like to read out something which
14 speaks of quite the opposite being the case. May I read it out? It's not
15 a lengthy passage.
16 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Bear in mind the interpreters.
17 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] What? Yes, I will. I will bear in
18 mind the interpreters.
19 I'll skip over a portion, to make it briefer, but here it is. And
20 it is Robin Cook, at a meeting, an official meeting. This is a report
21 from the meeting:
22 [In English] "[Previous translation continues] ... Army has
23 committed more breaches of ceasefire and until this weekend was
24 responsible for more deaths than the security forces. It must stop
25 undermining the ceasefire and blocking political dialogue. Neighbouring
1 countries, in particular, Albania -- "
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Mr. Milosevic, could you stop? We don't have on
3 the monitor who has committed, and I think that is quite important. That
4 didn't come out in translation. Could you just read that again, and give
5 us the date as well.
6 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This is -- what you have on the ELMO
7 is the graph. The monitor shows the graph, and I see this on my screen,
8 too. What I'm reading out to you is a report, and they are the words of
9 Robin Cook, in fact. Have you got that?
10 [In English] "[Previous translation continues] ... Liberation Army
11 has committed more breaches of ceasefire and until this weekend was
12 responsible for more deaths than the security forces. It must stop
13 undermining the ceasefire and blocking political dialogue. Neighbouring
14 countries, in particular, Albania, must be more resolute in halting the
15 flow of weapons which fuels the conflict. The Kosovo Liberation Army
16 cannot defeat the Yugoslav army, and instead of liberating the people of
17 Kosovo, can only prolong their suffering. The Kosovo Liberation Army has
18 repeatedly broken the ceasefire, and last month seized a number of Serb
19 hostages. Part of the complexity now applying pressure to the Kosovar
20 Albanian side is that there are different perspectives from the elected
21 leadership of the Kosovar Albanian around Dr. Rugova and from members of
22 the KLA, who do not regard Dr. Rugova as someone from whom they will
23 accept leadership or as a representative of their people. That makes it
24 difficult to build a meaningful negotiating team from the Kosovar Albanian
1 [Interpretation] There is a reaction to this by one of the
3 JUDGE MAY: Just one moment. Let us find out: What is the date
4 of this statement by Mr. Cook?
5 THE ACCUSED: The date is 18 January 1999, 18 January 1999.
6 Mr. John ^ Randall:
7 [As read] "We are all aware of sanctions and threats that have
8 been used against Belgrade. As the Foreign Secretary said, that
9 responsibility for the breakdown of ceasefire could be placed equally with
10 the Yugoslav forces and KLA."
11 What sanctions and threats could be used against the KLA?
12 Mr. Cook:
13 [As read] "We have vigorously denounced the KLA in just about
14 every international forum. We have also, through Security Council
15 resolution, called on states neighbouring Kosovo, and on others in Europe,
16 to act to try to cut off the flow of both funds and weapons to the KLA.
17 We are actively reviewing what more we can do to apply pressure to the
18 checkpoints in the supply of weapons to the KLA. We are not dealing with
19 the state or, indeed, an organisation with any clear political leadership
20 or representation," and so on.
21 And then again Mr. Cook:
22 "The position taken by the International Community, in all its
23 different manifestations, including the European Union, the Contact Group,
24 and the Security Council, is that we do not support independence for
25 Kosovo. That is partly because the countries in the neighbourhood would
1 strongly resent and resist any attempt to establish an independent Kosovo
2 because of the destabilising effect on themselves, and we should always
3 remember that the agenda of the KLA is not independence for Kosovo but
4 Greater Albania."
5 That is Mr. Cook saying.
6 "It would also have an effect in Bosnia, about which all
7 Honourable Members should be concerned. It would be very difficult to
8 resist the demand of Republika Srpska for independence if Kosovo were to
9 succeed in achieving it."
10 And so on. So --
11 JUDGE MAY: What is the question for the witness? Now, you've
12 read out a very lengthy statement by the British Foreign Secretary in
13 January 1999. Now, what is the relevance of that to the evidence of the
14 witness about what he saw in Kosovo the previous autumn?
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The relevance is because this shows
16 that it is quite incorrect that the Yugoslav government, the Yugoslav
17 authorities, the Yugoslav army, the police of Serbia, attacked and
18 terrorised the population. This was a conflict with the KLA, and the KLA,
19 as a terrorist organisation, which even the witness is not questioning,
20 bears the responsibility for destabilisation and for the conflicts that
21 took place, not the army and the police, who legitimately tried to bring
22 law and order in their own territory. That is the relevance.
23 JUDGE MAY: Very well. Very well. That is -- that is -- just a
24 moment. Just a moment, so we can understand the position. That is your
25 case, and it is the case which this Trial Chamber is going to have to
1 judge to see whether that account is correct or not. It will be a matter
2 for the Trial Chamber, at the close of the case, to weigh the evidence to
3 determine what happened. Meanwhile, this witness can't answer for the
4 statements of Mr. Cook in January 1999. What you can ask about is what
5 he's told you: what he saw and heard in Kosovo in September, and in
6 particular, his meeting with you. Those are the matters you should be
7 asking him about, as opposed to a general political discussion. Now, have
8 you any questions about the evidence?
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This is not any kind of general
10 political discussion. I have been presenting facts.
11 JUDGE MAY: You have presented your case and you've put a
12 statement which was made, which I have already described, and I'm not
13 going into again. What I've ruled is that it's not a matter for the
14 witness to comment on, and what you should ask him about are the matters
15 he can deal with, his evidence.
16 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. We shall then continue
17 with direct testimony, because this obviously denies the essence of his
18 examination-in-chief, and this is quite logical to everyone. That's why
19 I've been saying it. That's why I've been presenting this.
20 THE WITNESS: Mr. Milosevic, again, forgive me for interrupting
21 you. To be honest, I'm rather disappointed that you've quoted Mr. Cook's
22 statement when you could have quoted mine, on many occasions over that
23 period, which said exactly the same thing. Now, what you didn't mention,
24 of course, was the massacre at Racak, and so on.
25 I never said that the breakdown of the ceasefire was wholly and
1 solely the responsibility of the Yugoslav government. It was a complex
2 matter in which both the Yugoslav government, in my view, and the KLA
3 contributed. But that is, if I may say so, completely irrelevant to the
4 evidence that I have given here. And I note so far that you have
5 challenged none of the specific evidence relating to these three days, not
6 January, but 27th, 28th, 29th of September 1998. That's what I'm here to
7 provide the Court with.
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. I shall challenge that. Don't you worry.
10 I am referring to your testimonies regarding your first mission to
11 Albania. Since it is quite clear that you consider the KLA to be a rebel
12 terrorist organisation and that it had its structure in Albania, in your
13 report, did you bring up this issue how a rebel terrorist organisation
14 that operates on the territory of a neighbouring state can have a
15 structure of its own in a neighbouring state which has its own army and
16 police and, therefore, this structure has to constitute an illegal factor,
17 as far as they are concerned?
18 A. Well, of course, Mr. Milosevic. That's precisely what I said in
19 my testimony, that in my view, the right way to control, to end, the
20 activities of the KLA was, as I clearly said, for the Western nations to
21 help Albania take control of the lawless spaces in north Albania through
22 which that organisation was getting arms.
23 Q. You were saying that you wanted to familiarise yourself with the
24 command structure of the KLA. On that occasion, with which high
25 commanders of the KLA did you talk to when you visited Albania?
1 A. On that occasion, as I recall, none.
2 Q. And on other occasions?
3 A. On another occasion, I think, when I visited Albania later on, I
4 had a meeting with somebody claiming to be a representative of the KLA in
5 Tirana, and I made it clear to them, exactly as I have to you, that the
6 actions of the KLA were, in my view, illegal, destabilising Kosovo. And I
7 said no more than I have said here.
8 Q. And in your statement in relation to your visits to Albania or
9 that particular visit, does it say that they were in a position to assist
10 logistically and in other ways? I mean, the state of Albania to help the
11 KLA, that the KLA was helped by the Albania government. Well, yes, answer
12 that part of the question first.
13 A. Mr. Milosevic, I can't answer to all of your conspiracy theories.
14 We heard some of them earlier on.
15 The reason why, in my view, the KLA was able to use Northern
16 Albania for the supply of arms was because that it was a criminal space
17 outside the rule of law of the Albanian government. And in recommending
18 to my government what action we could take about that, I recommended that
19 we should assist the Albanian government to take control of that space in
20 order to control that activity.
21 Q. Yes. But during your first statement, you said that the head of
22 the Albanian regional police indicated to you that a truckload of weapons
23 was intended for the KLA; is that right?
24 A. Correct. It wasn't, in fact, the head of the Albanian police, as
25 I understood. It was an Albanian politician who either at that time -- I
1 think actually beforehand had been the Minister of the Interior. He took
2 me to the area. He showed me the matters on which I have given evidence
4 It became immediately evident to me that the police force that
5 were operating in that area were incapable, I mean physically incapable.
6 They didn't have the materials, and they didn't have the forces on the
7 ground to be able to assert the rule of law in Northern Albania. It was
8 for that reason that I recommended to my government that one of the
9 actions we could take to end the activity of the KLA was to assist the
10 Albanian government with materials and with advice and with positive
11 assistance to enable them to take control of that area.
12 Q. However, the fact remains uncontested that this entire operation
13 of procuring weapons for the KLA was taking place with the knowledge of
14 the Albanian authorities. If the chief of the regional police knows that,
15 it means that the Albanian authorities, the Albanian government, know
16 about that. That fact is not being contested; right?
17 A. I cannot attest to what the Albanian government knew, but I
18 imagine they knew that they had a problem of lawlessness in Northern
19 Albania. It would have been difficult enough for them to think
21 I don't contest for a moment the reason I went to Northern Albania
22 was to look at this. It was a deeply dangerous, lawless area in which
23 people were regularly shot.
24 My judgement, if you wish for it, is that the Albanian government
25 knew that. The Albanian government of that time was serious about seeking
1 to impose the rule of law in that area. It would not have been in their
2 interest to do otherwise since that area was controlled by Mr. Sali
3 Berisha, who was doing his very best to undermine the Albanian government
4 of the time, that the supply of weapons to the KLA through that area was,
5 however, principally organised by criminal elements who delivered weapons
6 to the area from where the KLA collected them. That is my view of what I
8 Q. Does that mean that it is your claim that the supply of weapons
9 for the KLA did not take place under the auspices of the Albanian
11 A. Mr. Milosevic, I simply am unable to give a firm and definite
12 answer on that matter. I can only give you the opinion which I drew from
13 what I saw, and I've given you that.
14 Q. Since there was a UN Resolution 1160 that prohibited the supply of
15 weapons, did you think that the Albanian government was duty-bound to
16 abide by that Resolution?
17 A. Mr. Milosevic, again, I'm going to say to you that I think the
18 Albanian -- you asked me for an opinion, and I'll give you one.
19 I think the Albanian government was doing its best, that Albanian
20 government was doing its best to ensure that it had control of Northern
21 Albania and that it was seeking to apply the UN Resolution. That's the
22 impression I gained. But I cannot be considered to be an expert, and I do
23 not come before this Court as an expert on what the Albanian government
24 knew, what it thought, what it was doing, openly or secretly. I can
25 merely tell you of the evidence that I have presented this Court of what I
1 saw in Northern Albania.
2 Q. All right. But you drew a conclusion of your own. The Albanian
3 government did its best in order to prevent the KLA from doing things, and
4 the Yugoslav government did its worst in its domain and in suppressing
5 terrorism in its own territory. That is your own conclusion.
6 A. I did not draw that conclusion, Mr. Milosevic. I mean, I
7 understand --
8 Q. Well, that's what can be inferred. That's what can be inferred on
9 the basis of what you've been saying?
10 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness finish.
11 THE WITNESS: Mr. Milosevic, I didn't say that at all. I said --
12 I gave an opinion as to what was happening in Northern Albania. I merely
13 said that whilst it is the Yugoslav government's absolute right to combat
14 terrorism and lawlessness in its own area - I never denied that - some of
15 the methods that you used in order to do that were illegal under
16 international law. That's my case; no more, no less.
17 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. You mentioned also in your statement and now during your comments
19 that en route to Tropoje, or to be more precise, that point at the border
20 where you were viewing things from the Albanian border, you saw this black
21 market, this arms black market, with your very own eyes, and your comment
22 in this respect was that this is a zone, an area where there was
24 Later on, you said that someone from the Serb police, when weapons
25 were being taken away from Albanians, returned these weapons to the black
1 market, if I understood you correctly.
2 Since there could not have been such a black market of this nature
3 in Kosovo or anywhere in Yugoslavia, are you trying to suggest that
4 Yugoslav policemen were taking these weapons to the black market in
5 Albania in order to resell it there? I mean, today for the first time in
6 my life I heard that, that the Yugoslav police were selling weapons in the
7 black market, weapons that had been seized. So I'm looking for some kind
8 of an explanation.
9 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness answer.
10 THE WITNESS: No, Milosevic, I never suggested that Yugoslav or
11 Serb police were operating a black market in Albania, as I think you very
12 well know. What I said was an account that was narrated to me,
13 subsequently repeated in consistent detail by others, that there was a
14 circulating internal market, that weapons were demanded from a village.
15 If a village could not provide those weapons, they had to go out and
16 purchase them locally. I don't say they went back to Albania. They did
17 those from the black market. They believed that the weapons they then
18 handed over to the MUP or to Yugoslav forces were then by some means
19 returned to that localised black market from which they purchased them.
20 I'm merely passing on a hearsay story that was given to me. I
21 claim it to be no more, although it was confirmed in consistent detail by
22 others. There was no involvement with Albania, and nor do I claim any.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. Fine, Mr. Ashdown, but if you know anything about Kosovo or the
25 Kosovo Albanians, you will certainly not deny the fact that over there,
1 there was not a single house where there were not weapons. There was not
2 a single family that did not have weapons. I'm going to say right now
3 that I believe that even now, there's not a single house in Kosovo without
4 any weapons.
5 Do you know about that? That is simply a tradition there. Are
6 you aware of the fact that everybody has weapons there?
7 A. Mr. Milosevic, unfortunately, one of the curses of the Balkans is
8 that weapons are indeed readily available on all sides. Albania is awash
9 with weapons. No one has to go very far to get hold of weapons.
10 I do not say that I believe the story that was told to me. I am
11 aware that in circumstances like this, all sorts of rumours will
12 circulate. I am not so naive as to believe every one of them. I have
13 simply related to this Court the story that was told to me.
14 Q. All right. You are talking about descriptions. Did it occur to
15 you, in view of the assumption that everybody has weapons, that this story
16 that they did not have weapons and that they had to buy weapons in order
17 to hand it over to the police, was that for your ears only? Who could
18 believe that first assumption, that they did not have weapons? Who could
19 believe that? Only a person who would be naive, and you are not naive,
21 A. And I am not so naive as to consider the fact that I may have been
22 being told something less than the truth. I present it to this Court as
23 no more than the story they told me confirmed by others. It is up to
24 others to decide whether or not that's true. I merely say this: that from
25 what I saw, that is that these weapons were not in any way hidden, that
1 they were not usable, some of them, indeed that some of them were in a
2 deeply dangerous state, that they were not hidden, they were just in a
3 cupboard in a house, that that seemed to be consistent with the story that
4 was told to me that they did not readily have available weapons to hand
5 over to the Serbs. Any other story about a circulation or a black market
6 was their claim. I cannot comment on it. I did not see evidence to prove
7 it. I am not so naive as to believe every word that I am told. I present
8 this story to the Court because it is consistent with other stories of a
9 similar nature which you may or may not have heard on previous occasions
10 and on the basis that it was hearsay alone.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Lord Ashdown, how many weapons did you see?
12 THE WITNESS: I think it's difficult --
13 JUDGE ROBINSON: I'm talking about the weapons that --
14 THE WITNESS: In the -- in the house that I -- the weapons that
15 were said to be collected?
16 JUDGE ROBINSON: Yes. For this purpose, to meet the Serb demand.
17 THE WITNESS: I think, Your Honour, there were six or seven. They
18 ranged from Klashnikovs to a Simonov rifle and some hand grenades and a
19 number of rounds. Of those - and this is from memory - of those, if I
20 recall, one or two were wrapped in greaseproof paper, two or three were in
21 readily operable condition, and the remainder, three or four, were in a
22 condition which, in my view, they were unusable. They were completely
23 rusted up and totally unusable.
24 JUDGE ROBINSON: Did you have any information as to whether other
25 weapons of the same kind and for the same purpose could be found
2 THE WITNESS: None. I was told the story the day before, if you
3 recall, when I visited on the 27th, by the garage owner we met, that the
4 village had been told that they should provide weapons, that they didn't
5 have any, that they had to raise 10.000 Deutschmarks, that they were going
6 out to buy the weapons on the black market. I can relate no more than the
7 story that I was told. I place no veracity on it except as a piece of
8 hearsay. Apart from the fact that I saw the weapons and the weapons and
9 their means of -- of, as it were, storage were consistent with the story I
10 was told.
11 JUDGE ROBINSON: Any information as to whether the weapons you
12 saw, the quantity, would have cost the --
13 THE WITNESS: I --
14 JUDGE ROBINSON: The sum of 10.000 Deutschmarks?
15 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, I can't -- unhappily, weapons are very
16 cheap. So I can't tell you what they would have cost. I can tell you
17 that on the subsequent visit, I took it -- I was very concerned indeed
18 about this village because I was worried that the people I had seen may
19 well have been subjected to the treatment by Yugoslav forces as I believe
20 that I had seen on that day on the hill surrounding. So I returned to the
21 village in December, sought out the same people.
22 The village had not been attacked, had not been burnt, had not be
23 subject to the looting and depredations I had seen in the other villages.
24 I was told that the Serbs had turned up, Yugoslav forces, Serbs had turned
25 up at the appointed time, some two hours after we were there. The weapons
1 were handed over and that was the end of it.
2 JUDGE ROBINSON: Thank you. Mr. Milosevic.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. For this entire question of weapons, in order to make it clear, do
5 you remember that during the preceding year in relation to your visit,
6 there was that chaos in Albania when all military warehouses were looted
7 in Albania, when several hundreds of thousands of weapons of the Albanian
8 army went through various criminal channels into arms trafficking?
9 According to reports I read then, they were selling automatic
10 rifles for 100 Deutschmark or 50 Deutschmark, even when there was a large
11 supply. To put it quite simply, if you remember correctly, a large amount
12 of these weapons went to Kosovo. And this was general knowledge.
13 Does it seem to you then that it is illogical that the police was
14 searching houses and looking for --
15 JUDGE MAY: Let's just, first of all, establish whether the
16 witness knows anything about these events in Albania before we go any
18 THE WITNESS: Yes, Your Honour, I do. In fact, that formed part
19 of my report from the first visit, that obviously Albania was awash with
20 weapons. What had happened when the pyramid scandal collapsed and Sali
21 Berisha fell from power was that the arsenals of the Albanian security
22 forces were broken open and that there were literally millions of weapons
23 in circulation. So, yes, I was fully aware of that.
24 JUDGE MAY: When did that happen?
25 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, I'm sorry. I think --
1 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation] 1997.
2 THE WITNESS: On this matter at least, I think the witness's [sic]
3 knowledge and -- is probably better than mine.
4 JUDGE MAY: 1997, I think he said. 1997.
5 THE WITNESS: 1997.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation] I beg your pardon?
7 JUDGE MAY: 1997; is that right?
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation] Yes, yes, 1997.
9 Q. If you remember, that's when the pyramid scheme went down, when
10 they robbed their own people. There was chaos all over and there was
11 total unrest and lawlessness, and that's when they broke into all the
12 military warehouses. And more than a million weapons was the figure that
13 was being bandied about, and all those weapons found themselves in free
14 circulation. Kosovo was a magnet that attracted these weapons?
15 A. I think that anywhere of instability was a magnet that attracted
16 these weapons. I suspect a certain number ended up with the IRA in
17 Ireland as well. Wherever there is -- forgive me. Sorry to go so fast.
18 Wherever there is conflict, it attracts the sales of weapons. There is
19 good evidence to say that this huge stock of weapons passed into criminal
20 hands and will have ended up in conflicts across the world.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. And it is precisely at this point that we come to your testimony
23 about the zone of Junik. Do you know that it was precisely in this zone,
24 the Junik zone, that there were more mountain paths and passages via
25 which, mostly at night and in the early morning, large convoys were
1 passing by with horses and weapons for Kosovo; and that the army that you
2 saw, because you were looking at this from the border points, secured the
3 border and reacted to this infiltration of terrorist groups from Albania;
4 and the infiltration of these convoys loaded up -- where animals were
5 loaded up with weapons? Are you aware of that fact?
6 A. Yes. Having participated in similar operations against terrorists
7 in other countries, I was well aware of that fact. However, I have to say
8 that what I saw was consistent with an army which may or may not have been
9 fulfilling those duties but was also indiscriminately attacking a civilian
10 population, not specific military targets, with the intention of causing
11 the refugees - who may have contained amongst them individuals, but the
12 large proportion were women and children - to flee their homes, in what I
13 can only describe, once again, as an indiscriminate attack consistent with
14 the policy of scorched earth.
15 Q. Do you have any idea of the distance between what you've just
16 mentioned -- you mentioned watching this from this vantage point. I heard
17 you say Gegaj - did you? - at the Albanian border, and the place called
18 Junik, in Kosovo, from which you were observing the tanks that you saw
19 across the way from Yugoslavia.
20 A. I think I said that in my testimony. I think the distance from
21 where I was observing, which is above the border crossing, a little bit
22 further up the border, on a higher piece of ground, was of the order of
23 two kilometres. Junik is further away, of course, but I was -- in my
24 testimony, I said it was in the area of Junik. There were some houses
25 below us, which I would estimate at about two kilometres range, perhaps
1 slightly less, that were being individually targeted by a tank. Further
2 away, on a small knoll, there was a deployment, standard military
3 deployment, of what I believe to have been a mortar platoon, with
4 associated armoured vehicles. There were other villages in the valley,
5 and there were collections of armoured personnel carriers and tanks
6 gathered, waiting to conduct further attacks. And as I recall it, there
7 were two tanks going away from me, towards Djakovica, in that direction,
8 who were on the roadside and were systematically, and in turn, firing at
9 one house in the village after another, from the roadside.
10 I should say that it was perfectly possible to hear small-arms
11 fire as well as tank fire. Indeed, before we reached the ridge on which I
12 spent three or four hours, we could quite clearly hear the rattle of
13 machine-guns: light machine-guns and heavy machine-guns, as you would have
14 on a tank, and indeed the individual small-arms fire. So I could hear
15 small arms from this distance. It was a very warm, still summer's
16 afternoon. And although I cannot, of course, say to the Court that there
17 was no return fire from any of these houses, I can say that I never heard
18 or observed any return fire from these houses.
19 Q. Yes, but that means, in fact, that there were people there who
20 were shooting at the army and the police, or the army. You mentioned the
21 army in this case.
22 A. Well, I understand that although certain armoured vehicles were
23 occasionally handed over to the MUP and repainted in blue, unless
24 Mr. Milosevic has contrary information, no tanks were handed over to the
25 MUP and all tanks remained under the control of the Vojska Yugoslavia, the
1 Yugoslav army. Mr. Milosevic says there were people in these houses. I
2 have to say to you that I saw no return fire from these houses. I cannot
3 tell you whether or not there were innocent civilians in those houses. I
4 saw no return fire, and so far as I was concerned, the scene below me was
5 consistent with a deliberate and systematic attempt to use heavy weapons
6 of the Yugoslav army to destroy citizens' houses.
7 Q. And at what distance were the tanks from the houses that were
9 A. Dear, this is three or four years ago, but I would have said 200
10 metres, 300 metres.
11 Q. A tank targeted a house from a distance of 200 metres: Is that
12 what you saw?
13 A. Not one tank, Mr. Milosevic; several.
14 Q. And do you know that when we're talking about these terrorist
15 groups of the KLA, KLA terrorist groups, that the most usual form of
16 weapon that they used against armoured vehicles was a hand-held mortar,
17 that they used extensively, and they used these hand-held mortars to shoot
18 at police stations, police vehicles, military transporters, and so on and
19 so forth, these hand-held launchers? Are you aware of that?
20 A. Mr. Milosevic, the translation that came through to us was
21 "mortars" that you used, and I --
22 THE INTERPRETER: The interpreter apologises. It was launchers.
23 A. Well, it was, if I may say so, precisely for that conclusion that
24 I reached the conclusion that the tanks were not under attack. No tank
25 would position itself as close as 200 metres to a position in which there
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 were anti-tank weapons. A tank would do what it was more normal for a
2 tank to do, which would be sit at about two or three thousand metres in
3 order to target these, and it is for precisely the reason you have just
4 described that I believe that these tanks were not under attack from the
5 villages on the houses they were about to destroy.
6 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
7 Q. You know what Albanian houses look like and the large walls that
8 they have around each house. I'm sure you saw this, didn't you?
9 A. Yes. I've been to many Albanian houses, Mr. Milosevic, in my
10 time. You, however, are imagining that these were substantial Albanian
11 farmhouses. I have to tell you they were not. They were rather thin
12 structures, built, as I'm sure you have seen on many occasions, of this
13 very light construction: red - how do I describe it? - halfway between
14 brick and concrete block. But they're very easy to knock down, and as I
15 saw when I was there. We're not talking about a traditional Albanian
16 farmhouse of some hundreds of years old here. We're talking about a very
17 poor population living in recently constructed, rather modern-looking
19 Q. Yes, but Junik was a real fortress. Have you ever been to Junik?
20 A. Indeed. I went to Junik when I was subsequently there. I have to
21 say to you that I saw no particular sign of Junik as a fortress. It may
22 have been, you would claim, a concentration of KLA activity, but I do not
23 recall seeing a town which was a fortress. Indeed, when I subsequently
24 visited Junik, most of the houses were destroyed. I don't claim for a
25 second that there was not KLA activity in this area. There clearly was.
1 What were the weapons going over the mountains that I was seeing going to
2 be going for? All I say is that what I saw was consistent with an army
3 not targeting a military enemy but indiscriminately attacking the houses
4 and livelihoods of citizens in order to drive them out, a scorched-earth
5 policy of the sort that Yugoslavs will remember very well from the days of
6 German occupation.
7 Q. You couldn't have known what had happened before that. You just
8 saw an excerpt. So if I understood you correctly, you first said that you
9 saw Serb forces shelling Junik, and then you said that you saw Serb forces
10 shelling the zone where the refugees were, and then you said that you did
11 not see a single shell which had exploded or fell on the positions where
12 the refugees were, but you saw their trajectory and that it wasn't in the
13 direction of the village. Now, I'm not quite clear what we're talking
14 about. If I understood you correctly, of course.
15 A. Well, then let me say it again. I didn't say "Junik." I said,
16 "the villages in the Junik area." I've described what I saw. I was very
17 clear in saying that the, I presume, mountain gun that I saw firing in the
18 opposite direction was firing to the - let me get this right - to the
19 north-west, that is, along the ridge where there were no villages. There
20 were forests and there were the passes through which the refugees passed.
21 I'm not saying, nor did I -- I specifically did not say that it is not
22 impossible that they were shelling those passes because those were the
23 passes being used by the KLA. All I was saying was that the fact that
24 they were shelling to the north-west, where there was no habitation, and
25 into the areas through which, by description, the refugees told me they
1 had passed, that was, therefore, consistent with the stories that the
2 refugees told me in Bajram Curri about where and how they had been injured
3 on their flight from their homes in Kosovo.
4 Q. Let's move on to your visit to Kosovo from the 26th to the 29th of
5 September. If it is true and correct that Ibrahim Rugova - if, I say if
6 that is correct - that Ibrahim Rugova did not have control over the
7 mainstay of the KLA, but just the DSK, which organised units, as he said,
8 for the defence of the village, did you establish how and in what way the
9 DSK managed to arm the civilians? Did you, when you talked to him --
10 A. You have to give me -- I don't --
11 Q. -- discuss that question?
12 A. I don't pretend to be an expert on Kosovo. I'm merely giving
13 evidence on the days that I saw the -- the DSK. Can you explain? As far
14 as I know, Mr. Rugova is the head of a party called the LDK. Is that to
15 what you're referring?
16 Q. I understood that you said that Rugova did not have any influence
17 on the KLA. I understood you to say that.
18 A. No. Actually, my report says rather the contrary. It says that
19 Mr. Rugova claimed to have control over the KLA. I asked him
20 specifically: If the KLA were -- if you were to call for a ceasefire,
21 would that be obeyed by the KLA forces? He told me it would. It was my
22 judgement, however, that Mr. Rugova did not have control, as he said, over
23 the KLA. I think Mr. Rugova had effective control, through the LDK
24 structure, of the rural areas of Kosovo, but he was not in such a powerful
25 controlling position over the urban areas of Kosovo.
1 Mr. Milosevic, it may help if I were able to explain that my view
2 at the time was that there were, in effect, three KLAs. There was a KLA
3 which was a village defence force, little more. I suspect that Mr. Rugova
4 did have effective control - and this is an opinion, no more - over the
5 what you might call Home Guard elements of the KLA. I suspect that this
6 was predominantly the case in rural areas.
7 There was a second KLA, which was probably the KLA which I saw
8 more clearly in the Bajram Curri area, probably much better organised
9 politically, over whom, in my view, if Mr. Rugova had control, it was a
10 diminishing control, if you like, the radicalised KLA.
11 Then there was a third KLA, which was known as FARK - and I have
12 no doubt you're aware of them - who were of a different political
13 persuasion, and the control lines from them, it seemed to me, ran back to
14 Mr. Sali Berisha.
15 Now, if you -- those are opinions, judgements. I can't prove any
16 of them, but that was what I said. And in my view, Mr. Rugova had a good
17 control over the LDK elements in the countryside and therefore of the Home
18 Guard elements of the KLA. We used "KLA" as a - I'm sure you did, too -
19 as a sort of umbrella term within which, I think, several organisations
21 Q. Did you become aware of, if not then, then later on, of the fact
22 that the KLA killed some of Rugova's functionaries, the functionaries of
23 the DSK or LDK?
24 A. Of course I'm aware of that, and it may well have continued,
25 indeed, in more modern times. That all goes to show that my suggested
1 model for KLA structure - although what that has to do with the events
2 that I saw is a matter which is perplexing me at the moment - the
3 suggested KLA structure was as I've described it.
4 Q. And at that time, or perhaps later on, did you learn anything
5 about the links between Al Qaeda and the KLA?
6 JUDGE MAY: We're going well outside what's relevant to this case
7 in terms of what evidence this witness can give. We're dealing with his
8 evidence, not about his opinions or anything like that.
9 Now, you haven't yet mentioned the meeting, Mr. Milosevic, which
10 you had with Lord Ashdown. If you want to ask him some questions about
11 that, if you dispute anything that he said that happened at that meeting,
12 you should do so, because, as you know, your time will not be unlimited.
13 The witness is only here today. It may be that the amicus has some
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, yes, we can end there.
16 There's no problem, Mr. May, on that score. But this is an essential
17 point. It is important to define who it was that was the protagonist of
18 all those terrorist attacks in Kosovo and who was involved in them.
19 That's why I asked him whether he knew anything about that, because
20 Mr. Ashdown was involved with all those matters. Does he know about Al
21 Qaeda links? If he doesn't, he doesn't, and we can move on. But I quoted
22 here and demonstrated --
23 JUDGE MAY: Just one moment. Just one moment.
24 We don't want an opinion, Lord Ashdown. Can you give any direct
25 evidence about the matters which Mr. Milosevic raised?
1 THE WITNESS: None, Your Honour.
2 JUDGE MAY: No. Let's move on.
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Let me explain to Mr. Ashdown. I
4 showed him a moment ago the congressional statement of the FBI which
5 indicates the presence of Al Qaeda in Kosovo. I spoke about a few days
6 ago --
7 JUDGE MAY: He can't give any direct evidence. Let's move on. If
8 you've got evidence about these matters, you can put it in front of us,
9 Mr. Milosevic, but there's no point wasting time with this witness.
10 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I assumed that Mr. Ashdown was very
11 well informed, is a very well-informed man, and that he knows what the FBI
12 knows, for instance, or that he at least receives that kind of information
13 which a broader circle than the one in which he himself moves receives.
14 THE WITNESS: I'm sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Milosevic, but I
15 have not received it, I do not know it, and what is absolutely certain is
16 I knew nothing about it at the time.
17 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
18 Q. Very well. Did you have any idea of what the objectives of the
19 offensive was, the KLA offensive, from the spring to the autumn of 1998?
20 You came at an opportune moment, at the end of September, that means, so
21 you had in front of you, before you, all those events. In contacts that
22 you had with them, and in Albania and in Kosovo, were you able to assess
23 the object and goal of the KLA offensive from the spring to the autumn in
24 the year of 1998?
25 A. No.
1 Q. No?
2 A. No.
3 Q. You spoke about the fact that in travelling to Pec, on your way to
4 Pec, you saw the destroyed village of Prilep.
5 A. No, Mr. Milosevic. I don't want to correct you on your geography
6 of Kosovo - no doubt you know it, for reasons historically we are all
7 aware of rather well - but it was travelling not to Pec but from Pec to
8 Gjakove, or Djakovica, as it was known in Serb.
9 Q. That's not important. It doesn't matter.
10 A. It certainly is if I got it wrong, Mr. Milosevic, so I just wanted
11 to correct it when you did. But do go on, anyway.
12 Q. Yes. Do you know that in that particular offensive, led by the
13 KLA, that one of the essential characteristics of it was, one of the vital
14 goals, was to block several main roads in Kosovo so as to block all normal
15 life and food supplies, and movement generally, movement of citizens and
16 the free passage of citizens and goods? And I needn't explain to you what
17 a blockade means, what it means to block a main road. And it was
18 precisely in that particular village - do you know that? - in that
19 particular village, which was predominantly emptied of the inhabitants and
20 then turned into a stronghold which was to have held and controlled the
21 blockade on the main road. And can you envisage any single government
22 which would accept a group of bandits --
23 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, this is a speech. Now, what is the
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Well, the question is: In the
1 witness's opinion, is there a single government in the world which would
2 tolerate the blockade --
3 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, that's not a relevant question. Now,
4 you're putting, are you, that in this particular village there was a
6 Now, Lord Ashdown, can you help about that or not?
7 THE WITNESS: I think the witness [sic] is right in saying that
8 there was a degree of KLA aggressive action in this area and that Prilep
9 may have been the centre of it. Whether or not the operation of a
10 guerrilla force, a terrorist force, if that's what they were, committing
11 terrorist acts, entitles a government to use, as I believe they did,
12 aircraft to attack the village and raze it to the ground, drive out the
13 population, whether that was the use of excessive force, I think I have to
14 leave this Court to decide.
15 I am well aware what terrorists do. I have myself experienced
16 terrorist blockades, terrorist closing of roads. I have never felt it
17 necessary to drive out a civilian population, to use tanks and aircraft
18 rockets in order to resolve that issue. I've always regarded that as
19 being illegal under international law and an excessive use of force, in
20 the circumstances, indiscriminately against a civilian population.
21 Q. I cannot confirm that aeroplanes were used, but armoured vehicles
22 were certainly used to break down this fortress that had been built up on
23 this road, and that's why I'm asking you. Do you know that it wasn't an
24 ordinary roadblock, a barricade or anything like that, but that the whole
25 village had been turned into a fortress and that this main road had been
1 blocked as proof of KLA power to stop normal life in the area -- in this
2 area of Metohija. And it is the Pecka region where the large number of
3 inhabitants, factories, and it is an administrative centre as well and so
4 on and so forth, not to have to enumerate everything it is.
5 A. Mr. Milosevic, you give your own description of events. No doubt
6 others will have a different description of events. I cannot comment on
7 that. I did not see it. I saw a consequence which I have described to
8 you. If you argue that all of the destruction of this village, the
9 shooting of its cows, the smashing of individual stoves, the destruction
10 of seed corn, the driving out of the inhabitants, all these things were
11 necessary as part of a targeted and specific military operation, I cannot
12 deny you that chance to make that case. All I can see -- all I can say is
13 that what I saw at the time was more consistent with a policy of scorched
14 earth carried out indiscriminately, and certainly what I saw later that
15 day in the Suva Reka region was, in my view, without question such an
17 Q. You mean military operation.
18 A. Well, the military operation I saw in Suva Reka. Of course. I
19 mean, you would have to make the case that using self-propelled, heavy
20 artillery and tanks from a distance of ten kilometres was a specific
21 operation against specifically-targeted KLA positions. Now, I know the
22 Serbs are good gunners. You have a reputation for such. But I think this
23 is being excessive in claim even for the head of a state which was
24 directing these armies.
25 Q. And do you have any idea as to how many soldiers and policemen had
1 been killed in those operations, killed by KLA terrorists in conflicts and
2 clashes of that nature?
3 A. I can't put a precise figure on it, but I venture to say it's
4 rather fewer than the number killed in Northern Ireland when I was there.
5 Q. And had those figures -- I don't want to present those figures.
6 I've already presented them. But had those figures of killed Serb
7 policemen and soldiers, were they ten times greater, could that have been
8 considered that -- could it have been considered that we had not used
9 overly excessive force in suppressing activities of that kind? Should we
10 have allowed ten times more people to have been killed in order to use
11 what you call excessive force?
12 A. Mr. Milosevic, the rules, I think, in international law are very
13 clear. Excessive force is force greater than that necessary to resolve
14 the problem. I think frankly you would find it difficult, whatever the
15 numbers were, to show that it is legal in pursuit of individual terrorists
16 to destroy the livelihoods, the lives, the houses, of individual civilian
17 population with an attempt to terrorise them and drive them out of their
18 homes, and that your operations against terrorists must be very
19 specifically targeted and bombarding villages from ten kilometres away in
20 an indiscriminate matter, looting properties, which is what I'm told
21 happened and consistent with what I saw, burning those properties, is not
22 consistent either with international law, targeted military operations,
23 or, I am bound to say to you, the actions of a civilised nation.
24 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, we're going to bring this to an end.
25 It's time for the break. These are all matters for the Trial Chamber.
1 Matters of law are for the Trial Chamber, and matters of deciding what in
2 fact occurred in Kosovo are all for the Trial Chamber to decide, not for
3 this witness, who can give evidence about what he saw and heard.
4 Now, he is only here this afternoon. The amicus has some
5 questions. We've considered the question of time, and, Mr. Milosevic,
6 we'll give you another hour, if you need it --
7 THE ACCUSED: One hour?
8 JUDGE MAY: One hour we will give you. It means you will have had
9 three hours, which is more than adequate for this witness. We don't
10 encourage you to take up that time, but if you want it, you can but no
11 more. We will adjourn now.
12 MR. NICE: Your Honour, I'm not proposing to have another witness
13 here this afternoon, if that's acceptable to the Court.
14 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Half past two.
15 --- Luncheon recess taken at 1.00 p.m.
1 --- On resuming at 2.31 p.m.
2 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, we have a request from the interpreters
3 that you leave a gap while the answer, the witness's answer to your
4 previous question, is being interpreted before you ask the next one, or
5 otherwise the interpretation of your question is lost. So would you bear
6 that in mind, please.
7 And Lord Ashdown, could you bear the interpreters in mind, too.
8 THE WITNESS: I will try to.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. I shall make longer
10 pauses, I hope not at the expense of the time that you have allotted me.
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation].
12 Q. You spoke yesterday about your visit to Klina and the surrounding
13 area, and you saw a hamlet which had no doubt been the field of some kind
14 of conflict. Did somebody inform you that in the immediate vicinity, in
15 the village of Volujak, where there is an abandoned bauxite mine, there
16 were several Serbs who were thrown into pits and that there were clashes
17 with the KLA there, not any kind of brutal attacks on this hamlet, as you
18 had concluded? Did anybody inform you about this? Just tell me yes or
20 A. I was not informed about that, no.
21 Q. All right. Thank you. And did they inform you that near Suva
22 Reka, in Musutiste, several citizens were kidnapped then and two brothers
23 were killed?
24 A. Are you answering for me, Mr. Milosevic?
25 Q. No. No?
1 A. Is there a question?
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. Forgive me. Was the question: Was I informed of that?
4 Q. Yes. Were you informed of it then because you were there?
5 A. No, I was not informed of it, nor was I informed of every
6 activity, of terroristic activity by the KLA. I knew they took place, and
7 indeed I visited the sites of one of them.
8 Q. All right. Now I'm talking about the days when you were there,
9 for example, the 27th. I'm just going to take these examples. The entire
10 summer abounds in examples, but the 27th, when you were in Kosovo, 114
11 participants were arrested from the KLA, with uniforms and weapons, and
12 they were taken into custody to the police station in Prizren. Did they
13 inform you about that? You were there during those days.
14 A. No, though I met with, if I recall, certain members of the
15 Yugoslav armed forces and representatives. They never informed me of
16 that. But it's never been my case that there were not terroristic
17 activities taking place. It's never been my case that the Yugoslav forces
18 did not have the right to take sufficient action against those. It has
19 always been my case, however, that what I saw was the use of excessive
20 force in the conduct of those operations.
21 Q. I'm bringing this up because when you were answering one of the
22 questions, you said individual cases, individuals, terrorists, et cetera.
23 Here, Savrovo, Budakovo, and Bukos are three villages where 114 of them
24 were arrested, a great many fled. Do you know that these were not
25 individual cases but considerably strong groups that were operating
1 against the army and the police?
2 A. No doubt, Mr. Milosevic, it's your right to present that evidence
3 to the Court as justification for the action, but are you suggesting to me
4 that because individual terrorist activities of the sort that you are
5 describing took place, you are justified in bombarding, with heavy
6 artillery and the main battle units of the Yugoslav army, from ten
7 kilometres' distance, was an appropriate reaction to that -- to those
8 cases that you mentioned? Is that your suggestion?
9 Q. I have precisely been speaking about the non-individual, because a
10 group of several hundreds, and only 114 of them were arrested, is not an
11 individual terrorist action. It is indeed a military operation. Do you
12 believe so? Yes or no?
13 JUDGE MAY: The witness -- the witness knows nothing about these
14 arrests, so let's move on to another topic.
15 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
16 Q. All right. You concluded in a way that there were major pressures
17 on the Albanians in general, and then you came to Pec, and then you saw
18 for yourself, as you had put it, that it's quite peaceful there, that
19 citizens are living normally. Did it seem logical to you -- how was it
20 possible for it to be so calm and peaceful in Pec if there is some kind of
21 a general intention - how should I put this? - of persecuting Albanians in
22 Pec? There are far more than in some of the hamlets that you had seen.
23 A. Mr. Milosevic, I'm -- I'm sure that you know the details of Kosovo
24 as well as anybody else. One of the most bizarre things in Kosovo -
25 indeed, I sometimes think it was one of the aspects which misled so many
1 international observers - was that in the towns, I mean Pec itself, in
2 Pristina, you could enjoy a perfectly normal, perfectly stable, perfectly
3 apparently peaceful life. But a few kilometres from you, where perhaps
4 not so much of the international observers went so frequently, there could
5 be devastating and appalling actions, terrorism, as you've just mentioned,
6 no doubt on occasion but also perpetrated by the Yugoslav forces. That
7 was a reality in Kosovo.
8 One of the problems is that some people perhaps misunderstood the
9 extent of the rural campaigns which were taking place, because they did
10 not see evidence of those in the town centres. But that was what the
11 reality of Kosovo was like in those days, as I think you know very well.
12 For instance, during the Drenica operation, Pristina was perfectly
13 calm. During the Suva Reka operation, Pristina was perfectly calm. There
14 was -- it was like living in two different countries, as you well know, to
15 experience what was happening in the countryside of Kosovo, largely but
16 not exclusively by your forces, and to contrast that with the peace of the
17 towns like Pec or the cities like Pristina.
18 Q. Are you generalising now? Do you mean the entire rural area or
19 are you referring to a specific rural area?
20 A. Of course I'm referring to a specific area since I only visited a
21 specific rural area. I can't make broader generalisations. If you want
22 my opinion, it's probably the case the areas of Southern Kosovo were more
23 deeply affected by these operations than other areas, but I can only speak
24 about the areas that I visited.
25 Q. You mentioned Drenica. Do you know that this area of Drenica,
1 this triangle of Drenica, was the focal point of the terrorist
2 organisation of the KLA there?
3 A. I know that that's what's claimed. I do not believe that that is
4 a justification for the extensive indiscriminate actions taken by your
5 forces in pursuit of those terrorists.
6 Q. Do you perhaps know that in this area of Drenica, after the Second
7 World War, for seven years the army was chasing gangs of these broken
8 units that had served in Hitler's army during the Second World War? They
9 were still hiding in the hills of Drenica seven years after the end of the
10 Second World War?
11 JUDGE MAY: What's the relevance of that?
12 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The relevance is that this is a
13 hotbed of destabilisation. It had been that for a long time. A source of
14 banditism, looting, and even during the two world wars the Royal Army --
15 JUDGE MAY: We'll put that to the witness to see if he knows.
16 Lord Ashdown, do you know that this was a hotbed of banditry, et
18 THE WITNESS: I know that it was so claimed, and I have no reason
19 to doubt that. I also know that in this area some appalling crimes were
20 committed against Albanians, including the dreadful massacre of family
21 while I was there - I didn't see it so I haven't given evidence of it - in
22 which they were not only massacred as a family, men, women, and children,
23 the elderly and the young, and appalling mutilated in the process. I
24 cannot give evidence of that because I didn't see it myself, though no
25 doubt others can.
1 None of this alters my evidence, which was that in tackling, as
2 they were legitimately entitled to do, the issue of terrorism and disorder
3 in their country, Mr. Milosevic forces used means which were excessive,
4 indiscriminate, designed to drive out the civilian population and, as I
5 would say, illegal under international law. And I believe that it is also
6 relevant that Mr. Milosevic was informed of this at our meeting --
7 JUDGE MAY: You told us about that. Just one moment.
8 Mr. Milosevic, you remember that you finish at half past three.
9 You have not yet asked any questions about the meeting. If you wish to
10 ask any questions about the meeting, if you dispute any of the witness's
11 evidence about the meeting, you should do so in the time that is allotted
12 to you.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Oh, but of course. But please bear
14 in mind that the witness has been taking up most of the time. It would be
15 very easy if time were spent by me receiving answers to my questions.
16 Does he know things or does he not know things? Every time invariably the
17 witness makes a speech.
18 JUDGE MAY: I would say it's six of one and a half dozen of the
19 other. But let's get on with it.
20 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. You mentioned killings, et cetera, awhile ago. Are you aware of
22 the fact that this same police that you have been ascribing killings to,
23 even during the chaos of war, arrested several hundreds of Yugoslav
24 citizens because of killings, rapes, lootings, et cetera, precisely in
25 order to prevent and punish these killings? Are you aware of that? Are
1 you aware that there was an order by the Supreme Command for every such
2 illegal activity and perpetrated crime to be punished rigorously, to have
3 the perpetrators arrested immediately, and brought before legal
4 institutions? Do you know anything about that or do you not know anything
5 about that?
6 A. I know because you informed me that that's what would happen. I
7 also know that on many occasions you said things would happen which never
8 did happen, including that the operations to which I have referred would
9 stop, I think, two days before we observed them going on. Mr. Milosevic,
10 I'm afraid there was a considerable gap, well-identified by many, between
11 what you personally and your government said and what actually happened.
12 Q. Well, I assume that I was somewhat better informed than you, but
13 let me move on to another question.
14 A. If I may interrupt you --
15 JUDGE MAY: Let's move on.
16 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
17 Q. In addition to Decani, did you visit any other Serb monasteries or
18 churches? Just say yes or no, please.
19 A. As you well know from my evidence, I didn't have time to do so,
20 but I made certain that I did visit Decani.
21 Q. All right. Have you heard of -- of at least one event or several
22 events that a Serb monastery or a church or an Orthodox cemetery were
23 targets of terrorist attacks?
24 A. I not only know that, I've seen the photographs presented to me by
25 Serb authorities, at least afterwards, of incidents where that happened.
1 I didn't in any way seek to indicate by visiting Decani and finding it in
2 pristine condition that that applied to any other Serb religious site.
3 Q. Do you know, for example, that only from the arrival of KFOR and
4 UNMIK there, 108 Serb churches were demolished in Kosovo under the
5 patronage of the KFOR? Do you know that?
6 A. I indeed know that that has occurred since the necessity of NATO
7 intervention because you wouldn't heed the warnings. I have publicly
8 condemned those, but I don't see what relevance that has to the issues on
9 which I'm giving evidence.
10 Q. All right. In relation to the question that you brought me, the
11 question of Prime Minister -- the letter of Prime Minister Blair, I assume
12 it is clear that the point of our meeting was to have Prime Minister
13 Blair's letter delivered.
14 A. No. The point of our meeting was, by the by, to have Prime
15 Minister Blair's letter to be delivered. I undertook to perform that
16 service for him, as you well know. But the point of our meeting was for
17 me to give you my impressions of what was going on and, in the light of
18 the conclusions I reached, to warn you, specifically and in perhaps
19 blunter terms than was in Prime Minister Blair's letter, that you should
20 not underestimate the determination of the international community to
21 uphold international law; that if you continued to operate grossly and
22 flagrantly in contravention to that law, that intervention would
23 inevitably be followed and that you were personally indictable for any
24 instance of that that occurred that you knew about, and you did know about
25 them after my visit.
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 Q. You've already said that several times, so let's save time, if
2 possible. Is it clear, therefore, that I received you because you were an
3 envoy of the Prime Minister of Great Britain and since you were bringing
4 his letter?
5 A. I don't know why you received me, Mr. Milosevic. I was grateful
6 to you that you did. But I don't think you could have been in any doubt
7 at the end of that meeting what the purpose of that meeting was, and it
8 was for me to tell you my impressions and to give you those warnings.
9 Q. We read the letter. You gave it out here as well, this concern,
10 et cetera. However, do you remember that the core of the matter was the
11 comment on what Prime Minister Blair had said, that he wished to join in
12 the efforts to find a peaceful solution, and that that was the core of the
13 matter, as far as both sides were concerned, the wish and the idea -- the
14 key word, so to speak - how shall I put this? - was a peaceful solution?
15 A. Mr. Blair must account for the meaning of his letter, but I would
16 have thought you knew that very clearly from the text of the letter. My
17 purpose was to give you my impressions and to make the warnings that I
18 made. I delivered the letter to you from Mr. Blair. This is his letter,
19 not mine.
20 Q. Yes, but this was a letter that you brought, that I read in front
21 of you, and it must have been a subject of our comments. So I'm asking
22 you now: Since that was underway then, precisely this quest for a
23 peaceful solution, do you remember what I said to you what I considered to
24 be the key: that we are proposing - and that was already written in these
25 documents - for a peaceful solution? Do you remember that?
1 A. To be honest, Mr. Milosevic, I cannot remember you saying those
2 words, but I don't exclude that possibility, since I was also in favour of
3 a peaceful solution. But I warned you that such a peaceful solution could
4 not happen if you continued with the actions that I had just seen, and you
5 would then, by your actions, make NATO intervention absolutely inevitable.
6 Q. Mr. Ashdown, let me just remind you: Since this was a very simple
7 formula that we had been offering, I told you - and of course the
8 Americans knew that as well, those who were talking to us about this, and
9 all the rest who were involved - that a political solution had to be found
10 based on the principle of equality of citizens and equality of ethnic
11 communities, that is to say, both one and the other, and that therefore we
12 proposed this. And we agreed on all points except that from our point of
13 view there were some unprincipled reservations, that this equality of
14 citizens and equality of the national minorities in Kosovo should be
15 expressed in such a way that the parliament of Kosovo would have two
16 Chambers. One would be the Chamber of Citizens that would be elected
17 according to the principle "one man, one vote," and the second one would
18 be the Chamber of Ethnic Communities, in which every ethnic community
19 would delegate on the basis of parity and number of its own delegates.
20 That was the essence. Do you remember that?
21 A. Indeed I do because, as you've seen from my report, I recommend
22 that those negotiations towards a peaceful solution should be continued.
23 You've seen that very clearly from my evidence. But I warned you that you
24 would destroy these chances for a peaceful solution if you continued in
25 the use of excessive force, contrary to international law, and that you
1 would then bring about the necessity of a NATO intervention and involve
2 yourself, as well, in the possibility of indictment.
3 Q. All right. I'm going to skip a few questions in order to abide by
4 this time limit, although I don't think I can fit into this remaining half
5 hour or so.
6 In writing here, and in this written statement that you gave and
7 also during your testimony here, you said several times -- or rather, you
8 referred to the Geneva Convention several times and the Second Protocol.
9 First of all, is it clear that the Geneva Convention relates to war
10 conflicts between states?
11 A. Well, if I may read you the Second Protocol -- and I have to say
12 to you, Mr. Milosevic, you're a lawyer, I'm not, so I must leave the
13 judgement of these matters to this Court. But I'm happy to leave you
14 to -- to give you, if you haven't got it, or to read out the specific
15 items of Protocol II.
16 JUDGE MAY: It may be, Lord Ashdown, most helpful if we dealt with
17 what was said at the meeting rather than in generalities, which we appear
18 to have been doing so far. What was the reference at the meeting?
19 THE WITNESS: The reference at the meeting, as I remember it, Your
20 Honour, was exactly that given in my testimony, which referred to the item
21 which we introduced as evidence. It was paragraph 8(d) of the founding
22 Statutes of the International Court. I haven't got the document with me
23 here, but I can read it again if you wish.
24 MR. NICE: We now have that document. Can I distribute that?
25 It's rather more substantial than the copy that Lord Ashdown has entered
1 this morning, and I haven't, of course, been able to check how many pages
2 he has, but here it comes in full. So as not to interrupt you further --
3 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Allow me, please, to have these
4 things clarified first. Of course, this can be handed out. Anything can
5 be handed out. But I keep looking at the time, and you're limiting my
6 time. Let us clarify one thing.
7 JUDGE MAY: Ask the question.
8 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The fact that the Geneva Convention
9 relates to conflicts between states, not internal conflicts, and the fact
10 that in the Second Protocol there are provisions that are related to
11 internal conflicts, and because here this is mentioned a great deal, I
12 would like you to bear in mind paragraph 2.1 of the Second Protocol, which
13 says quite clearly:
14 [In English] "This Protocol shall not apply to situations of
15 internal disturbances and tensions, such as riots, isolated and sporadic
16 acts of violence and other acts of similar nature, as not being armed
18 JUDGE MAY: Now, Mr. Milosevic, none of this has to do with the
19 witness's evidence. You can make these points to us in due course, as a
20 matter of law, of course, but the witness's evidence has nothing to do
21 with this.
22 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Please, it has a great deal to do
23 with it, because the witness, a countless number of times, pointed this
24 out, and the rest that is stipulated here is even clearer. It's one
25 minute. So please allow me to clarify this. Article 3 reads:
1 [In English] "Nothing in this protocol shall be invoked for the
2 purpose of affecting the sovereignty of a State or the responsibility of
3 the government, by all legitimate means, to maintain or re-establish law
4 and order in the State or to defend the national unity and the territorial
5 integrity of the State."
6 [Interpretation] And the next paragraph says -- let me just
8 [In English] "Nothing in this Protocol shall be invoked as a
9 justification for intervening, directly or indirectly, for any reason
10 whatsoever, in the armed conflict or in the internal or external affairs
11 of the High Contracting Party in the territory of which the conflict
13 [Interpretation] Therefore, this protocol -- well, please, let me
14 put a question, because I've read this --
15 JUDGE MAY: Mr. Milosevic, we've allowed you to read this, but it
16 is totally irrelevant. This is purely a matter of law. You can address
17 us on it in due course. In any event, the witness was referring to a
18 different document, which you can have now in front of you. If you want
19 to ask him some question about what was said at the meeting, of course you
20 can, but there's no point wasting time on matters of law at this stage.
21 There will be a stage in which you can address us on it. Now, have you a
22 further question for the witness?
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think it is important, because the
24 witness pointed out the Second Protocol, and I've read the Second Protocol
25 to you, and it says something that is quite contrary.
1 JUDGE MAY: Let us ask Lord Ashdown that. Just a moment.
2 Did you refer to the Second Protocol, Lord Ashdown, in the
4 THE WITNESS: No, Your Honour. As I made clear in my statement,
5 and I've sought to assure myself of the document that I left with
6 Mr. Milosevic, it was not, indeed, the Second Protocol, though I note in
7 passing -- and again this is -- I'm not able to comment on the
8 legalities. Mr. Milosevic's quotation carefully do not include Article 1
9 of part I, which I think defines this conflict.
10 JUDGE ROBINSON: That is exactly why we should not be getting into
11 this argument now. It's a question of law.
12 THE WITNESS: But may I just help the Court in this sense, Your
13 Honour, that the document that I left with or referred to Mr. Milosevic is
14 not part II. It is, indeed, the Statutes of the International Criminal
15 Court, and if I recall, the International Court had established that a
16 conflict existed in Kosovo prior to my visit in the terms of that Statute,
17 and the reference I made to Mr. Milosevic was the one that I quoted,
18 Article 8, which says this:
19 "For the purposes of the Statute, war crimes in a conflict ..."
20 It doesn't say -- but "'war crimes' means grave breaches of the Geneva
21 Convention, namely, any of the following acts against persons or property
22 protected under the provisions of the relevant Geneva Convention."
23 And then it lists as subpara 4 --
24 THE INTERPRETER: Could the speaker please slow down. It is too
25 fast for interpretation.
1 THE WITNESS: I'm so sorry. It lists, under paragraph
2 4, "Extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by
3 military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly."
4 JUDGE ROBINSON: What is significant is more the fact of your
5 having referred Mr. Milosevic to that document than any particular legal
6 interpretation of it, because the legal interpretation is not a question
7 that we are going to deal with at this time. And I think we'll only waste
8 time if we continue to delve into that matter.
9 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Please, awhile ago the witness said
10 he had not mentioned the Second Protocol. In the text of his statement it
11 says: "The excessive use of force, which is in contravention of the
12 Geneva Convention from 1977 and the Second Protocol."
13 That's what it says here in the written statement, in his written
15 JUDGE MAY: Yes. You pointed that -- you have pointed that out,
16 and it's been pointed out to you what the relevance of all this is for
17 this part of the trial. Now, if you have any questions about -- about
18 this matter, about what the witness said to you, you should put it to him
19 rather than trying to argue matters of law now.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] This is relevant, because one has to
21 point out the legal nature of the conflict. The conflict between the
22 legitimate and legal authorities --
23 JUDGE MAY: We are ruling it is irrelevant for this witness, and
24 it is pointless to go on arguing about it.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't think you should switch off
1 my microphone during the cross-examination, Mr. May.
2 JUDGE MAY: It will be switched off if you go on asking irrelevant
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Otherwise, as for crimes and
5 internal conflicts, it is that Second Protocol, Article 6, which indicates
6 the authorities of the national courts which we in fact did do.
7 JUDGE MAY: No. Next question.
8 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
9 Q. Do you have an explanation, for example, for the events that are
10 taking place in Macedonia, that the Macedonian army is using planes,
11 helicopters, heavy artillery, tanks, against Albanian terrorists and
12 nobody has characterised that conflict as a war conflict or anybody
13 threatened them with any bombing or aggression?
14 JUDGE MAY: It's not relevant to the witness's evidence. I notice
15 that you haven't challenged anything that was said at the meeting. So we
16 can therefore assume that it's not disputed.
17 MR. NICE: On that topic, Your Honour, may I -- on that topic, the
18 fuller extract from the diary is now available. I promised it would be.
19 It could be distributed usefully at this stage.
20 JUDGE MAY: Yes, but quickly.
21 THE REGISTRAR: The Rome Statute of the International Criminal
22 Court --
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Please. What the Prosecution is --
24 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Just quickly deal with this.
25 THE REGISTRAR: The ICC Statute will be numbered Prosecution
1 Exhibit 79, and the diary Prosecution Exhibit 80.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] The Prosecution cannot interrupt my
3 cross-examination, Mr. May. May I continue?
4 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
5 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
6 Q. As -- according to what I have on page 8 of your statement of the
7 18th of October, 2000, paragraph 8.3, you present your views about the
8 independence of Kosovo as a long-term objective. And 5.1 and 5.2, you
9 advocate the use of air force against the army in Kosovo, airstrikes. My
10 question is the following --
11 THE WITNESS: Your Honour, I apologise if I'm taking up more
12 time. I need to know precisely what document he's referring to here.
13 A. Is this the report on the visit to Kosovo?
14 Q. I can't find my way in these heaps of paper, but you can check it
15 out later on.
16 JUDGE MAY: I think it's the -- the witness statement for the
17 Tribunal, 18th of October.
18 THE WITNESS: I don't --
19 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] That's right. The 18th of October,
21 JUDGE MAY: Have you got that, Lord Ashdown?
22 THE WITNESS: I can't immediately lay my hands on it, Your Honour,
23 I fear.
24 JUDGE MAY: There's a copy coming up.
25 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Not to lose time, may I continue?
1 JUDGE MAY: Yes, but just tell the witness where you're reading
2 from so he knows.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. Page 8 of the statement of the 18th of October, 2000, 8.3
5 paragraph, the "Independence of Kosovo as a long-term objective," and
6 paragraphs 5.1 and 5.2, "Advocating Airstrikes in Kosovo against the
7 Yugoslav army."
8 THE WITNESS: I'm so sorry, Your Honour. The document -- perhaps
9 the clerk could help me towards where there is, because I don't have a
10 page 8 here. I don't wish to take up the time of the Court, but I simply
11 do not have --
12 MR. KAY: I think the document is that headed "Report on Visit" --
13 THE WITNESS: Ah, yes. I --
14 MR. KAY: -- "to Kosovo" --
15 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
16 MR. KAY: -- "26th to 29th of September."
17 THE WITNESS: Excellent. I have that.
18 Mr. Milosevic, could you direct me to where you are referring on
19 that document, which presumably is --
20 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. As I said a moment ago, you knew your position, that you strove
22 for the bombing of Yugoslavia. You advocated that; is that correct?
23 A. Absolutely not, Mr. Milosevic, as you know well. I told you --
24 Q. All right. You said no. You say no.
25 A. My interview with you, Mr. Milosevic, was to warn you that if you
1 continued, the intervention of NATO was inevitable. I sought to avoid
2 that intervention. That was the purpose of our interview.
3 Q. Well, you said about the NATO intervention that it was legal and
4 was not in contravention to the United Nations Charter a moment ago when I
5 asked you about that today here.
6 A. I was commenting on an opinion about an event that happened well
7 after this. Your contention that I came to you proposing the use of
8 bombing against Kosovo is completely incorrect. That was neither the
9 purpose of my meeting nor was it the substance of my report. Indeed, I
10 came to warn you to precisely avoid that outcome. I said to you, if you
11 continued, that would be the inevitable outcome. I was trying to avoid
12 it. What happened subsequently, the NATO intervention, was nothing to do
13 with what I said, it was to do with what you did.
14 Q. And you saw what we did even several months after that meeting of
15 yours, the meeting you had with me, from the quotation that I gave you
16 quoting your own Foreign Minister, Robin Cook, and the other participants
17 in that meeting.
18 You did not answer my question, the question about your position
19 and stand as to Kosovo's independence.
20 A. I expressed a view that in the end, the long-term independence of
21 Kosovo would probably be the outcome, but I expressed it in exactly the
22 terms which are laid out in this report. But, Mr. Milosevic, my view
23 about the outcome of the final status of Kosovo is nothing to do with the
24 events that I saw on this trip.
25 Q. The fact that you're talking about the independence of Kosovo,
1 does that -- when you say that, do you have in mind the fact that after
2 this indictment, the May 1999 one when the war was stopped, when G7, G8
3 sent Antisari and Chernomyrdin to Belgrade and after that the UN
4 resolution that was adopted, that it guaranteed the sovereignty and
5 territorial integrity of Yugoslavia and that was a condition for the war
6 to cease because agreement had been reached on that point?
7 JUDGE MAY: This is well outside the evidence which the witness
8 has given.
9 THE WITNESS: There may have --
10 JUDGE MAY: You can ask him about the report, of course, but
11 nothing else.
12 THE WITNESS: And perhaps it might help the Court and perhaps even
13 Mr. Milosevic, who may not have read my words precisely, if I were to
14 quote what I said. I did not recommend the independence of Kosovo. I
15 said, "We should not exclude that possibility as a long-term aim, even if
16 we cannot yet foresee circumstances in which it may be wise or safe to
17 achieve it."
18 Indeed, if I am right, that is precisely the basis of the final
19 settlement of this dispute. No one has said what the long-term position
20 of Kosovo will be, but it is not excluded.
21 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
22 Q. But don't you think that you cannot make a long-term status for
23 Kosovo of any kind which would be contrary to the final settlement for the
24 war which guaranteed the sovereignty and territorial integrity of
1 A. Mr. Milosevic, that may or may not be a correct description of the
2 outcome of this contest -- of this -- of this event, but the reality of it
3 is that that was an opinion which I expressed to my government, and as I
4 understand it, it remains the basic international position today. We have
5 not yet resolved the long-term status of Kosovo, although I am bound to
6 say that does not have any relevance to the evidence that I have given
7 about these particular events on these particular days.
8 Q. Well, if you guarantee the territorial integrity and sovereignty
9 of Yugoslavia, what do you -- it's not up to you to determine and resolve
10 the status of Kosovo. Why should you do so?
11 JUDGE MAY: This is a hypothetical question which has nothing to
12 do with the witness's evidence.
13 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] It's not a hypothetical question,
14 Mr. May, because I asked a question. I said, "In what capacity would --
15 ought they to resolve the status of Kosovo if you guarantee the
16 sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia as a condition to the
17 end of war and Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council."
18 THE WITNESS: And the question for me?
19 JUDGE MAY: No. No question.
20 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. Very well. I have to
21 hurry up with my questions.
22 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
23 Q. You said that in 1992, you were in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the
24 first time. Do you remember events from those days when a British
25 television crew made a false film about an alleged concentration camp
1 which was filmed from inside a warehouse and filmed through a barbed wire,
2 from the inside outwards?
3 JUDGE MAY: This refers to events in Prijedor; is that right?
4 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I don't know where it was, but I do
5 know that Mr. Ashdown, at that time, after those false, rigged pictures on
6 British television, asked the British government to bomb the Bosnian
7 Serbs. Was that right or not? Did you do that or did you not?
8 A. No. I recommended early international intervention in order to
9 suppress this conflict and suppress the crimes being committed on both
10 sides. And I'm bound to say, Mr. Milosevic, that if that recommendation
11 had been followed, many tens of thousands of lives, including the lives,
12 livelihoods, and homes, of many thousands of Serbs would have been saved.
13 And if I may reflect that the consequences of your actions, both
14 in that and in previous and subsequent actions, has led to a situation
15 where there are three-quarters of a million Serbs who have lost their
16 homes, many of their livelihoods, many of their lives.
17 Q. Yes, please, but time is passing, and you have more or less used
18 your time, used up your time.
19 JUDGE MAY: Let the witness -- let the accused ask his question.
20 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
21 Q. How many lives would have been saved had the Vance-Owen Plan of
22 1993 have been accepted on the 1st of May in Athens, for example? And --
23 JUDGE MAY: We are now getting a long way from the witness's
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation] Very well.
1 Q. You started off your testimony here with a menu of some kind from
2 a dinner with Franjo Tudjman. I didn't understand very well what this has
3 to do with this trial. And what do I care about your dinner with Franjo
5 JUDGE MAY: That would be a matter for the Trial Chamber to decide
6 in due course, whether it's relevant or not.
7 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation] All right.
8 Q. But that was in 1995, already then. And I don't have to ask you
9 that but that's what it says, in 1995.
10 In 1995, in the autumn, the Dayton Agreement was signed.
11 Therefore, even Tudjman at that time was clear as to which direction a
12 solution would follow. So that I don't understand what it is that was the
13 subject of your conversation or, to make things brief, what language did
14 you talk in?
15 A. English, if I recall. But, Mr. Milosevic, I've given my evidence
16 on this, indeed I've -- the second court I've given it in. That evidence
17 rests. I'm happy to answer any questions on it.
18 I note, however, that you have not on any occasion refuted the
19 details of the operations which I gave, which I witnessed on the 28th,
20 27th of September --
21 JUDGE MAY: Lord Ashdown -- Lord Ashdown, we must stop you.
22 If you have further questions about the menu.
23 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
24 Q. My question is linked to precisely that. That is to say that that
25 alleged conversation with Tudjman at that time was used in the public as
1 some sort of -- as the existence of some sort of agreement as to the
2 division -- between Belgrade and Zagreb on the division of
3 Bosnia-Herzegovina, which never existed. It was never an agreement and
4 that that was a sort of justification for the crime that Croatia committed
5 when in that same year it committed one of the greatest massacres and
6 ethnic cleansing operations in the region of Krajina. Do you remember
8 A. I remember many speculating that that might have been the case.
9 Q. And it was rumoured and it was common knowledge that it was an
10 operation which was covered by and in which the American company took
11 part, NBRI, the American company NBRI, and mass crimes were committed
12 against the Serbs?
13 JUDGE MAY: What's the question for the witness?
14 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
15 Q. The question was: How could a conversation with Tudjman at a
16 dinner, during a dinner, be used as alleged proof and evidence of the
17 existence of an agreement of some kind about the division of Bosnia
18 between Serbia and Croatia, especially when it was common knowledge that
19 three years before that, prior to that, in 1992, when --
20 JUDGE MAY: We are wasting time here. The witness cannot tell you
21 what others made of the conversation. That is for the others to say. All
22 he can give evidence about is the conversation.
23 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] All right. I'm quite clear. It's
24 clear to me.
25 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
1 Q. Did you, in the spring of 1999, during the NATO aggression, say
2 publicly that you have evidence to show Serb war crimes committed in
3 Kosovo? Because I saw here a film which shows you talking to a group of
4 refugees in Kosovo. Is that the evidence and proof you were referring to,
5 what we saw here?
6 A. The evidence -- I haven't seen this film and I do not know of its
7 existence, but the evidence that I have of crimes contrary to
8 international law is that that I have presented to this Court.
9 Q. Well, we saw that evidence, your conversation with a few women and
10 children. We saw that.
11 A. Mr. Milosevic, the evidence that I presented this Court is the
12 evidence in toto. It is the evidence of your guns, your artillery, your
13 tanks bombarding from a distance of ten kilometres indiscriminately
14 villages, driving out the civilian population, burning their houses,
15 looting them. That's the evidence in toto.
16 Q. What you saw in those two days; is that it?
17 A. What I saw over the period that I've given evidence before this
18 Court, the evidence that I warned you about, and the evidence which
19 supports the position which I said to you, if you continued, you would
20 make it impossible for the international community not to intervene.
21 Q. Mr. Ashdown, is it customary for a leader of a small opposition
22 party to visit, some ten times, a region in which there's a war going on,
23 in some way on behalf of the government or in the name of the government?
24 Is that customary, standard practice, in Great Britain?
25 A. I don't think it's customary at all, and it's not what I did. I
1 visited as the leader of a political party, on my own account, in order to
2 inform myself of what is going on. I did not visit either as an envoy or
3 on behalf of the British government, although in every case I thought it
4 proper and right when I returned to provide for the Prime Minister of the
5 time, whatever their party, a report on my findings.
6 JUDGE ROBINSON: Lord Ashdown, how did you come to carry a letter
7 from the Prime Minister?
8 THE WITNESS: On this occasion, the Prime Minister knew. Indeed,
9 it was public knowledge, Your Honour, that I was going out. He asked me
10 to convey a letter for him. I acted as postman.
11 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
12 Q. I'm asking you whether this could be interpreted perhaps as a
13 double method, a dual method, in connection with the relationship towards
14 Yugoslavia. Let me explain what I'm asking, in fact. I have here, for
15 example, The Observer, dated May 2000, the 28th of May, which says the
17 [In English] [As read] "[Previous translation continues] ...
18 Balkan war military sale to Slovenia flouted Tory foreign policy. Britain
19 flouted its own foreign policy by approving the sale of millions of
20 pounds' worth of military equipment to former Yugoslavia, a republic, only
21 days before the outbreak of the bloody Balkan war. [Indiscernible] has
22 established eight days before Slovenia became the first area to break from
23 unified Yugoslavia. In 1991 a British firm delivered," and so on,
25 [Interpretation] Does this in some way fit into the double methods
1 that they have been writing about, that the British press has been
2 referring to as well?
3 A. Mr. Milosevic, perhaps it will help you -- I mean, I've always
4 found you to be somebody who is rather well informed on British politics,
5 but I think you seem to have somewhat misunderstood the situation. I was
6 an opposition politician. Indeed, the fact that I raised the issues of
7 Bosnia and of - particularly Bosnia, and later of Kosovo - was very
8 unpopular at the time. I was shouted down in the House of Commons. The
9 Prime Minister insulted me on several occasions. If what you are
10 proposing is that somehow or another I was acting as an instrument of the
11 British government, then I must only assume that you don't know about the
12 politics of my country, because that is a laughable proposition, as any
13 casual observer of those events would have known.
14 Q. Very well. You said, I think it was in The Guardian, in June of
15 1998, that the Balkans was quiet only when it was under the control of the
16 big powers, the Ottoman Empire, the Austro-Hungarian and the Communists.
17 I assume you remember saying that.
18 A. It's always been my view, unhappily. I hope we'll move to a
19 different period in the Balkans in which each of the countries, as
20 independent, peaceful neighbours, can establish the dominance of their own
21 affairs through their own hands.
22 Q. And do you know that Serbia rid itself of the Ottoman occupation
23 as early on as the nineteenth century, that the uprising against the Turks
24 was in 1804?
25 A. Mr. Milosevic, I'm not as much of an expert in the history of your
12 Blank page inserted to ensure pagination corresponds between the French and
13 English transcripts.
1 country as you, but I am aware of that broad historical thrust for your
2 country. And so the point of this question?
3 Q. The point of the question is very clear, because if a politician,
4 a British politician at that, who considers the fact that peace in the
5 Balkans is possible only under the authority of the big powers and who,
6 for example, is now a representative of the international community in
7 Bosnia-Herzegovina becomes an international representative, does that mean
8 consistency along the lines of the idea of an occupying presence,
9 occupation presence, which in continuity has existed since the
10 Austro-Hungarian Empire in the region, and does that indicate the
11 idea -- indicate the motives to subjugate Yugoslavia, perhaps?
12 A. Mr. Milosevic, with the greatest respect, I've heard some
13 fantastic theorising, some fantastic conspiracy theories from you, but
14 this, I think, is the one that exceeds all others. Let me remind you that
15 it is the apparently avowed intent of all of the previous Yugoslav
16 countries, the ones that have left Yugoslavia under your government, to
17 wish to join Europe, of their own free will. That provides precisely the
18 kind of overarching structure which we in the European nations have
19 enjoyed as an alternative to war. Now, surely that's what we would prefer
20 to see. The idea that that is some great conspiracy of hegemony by
21 Western powers to run other countries is, I think, so farfetched that I
22 cannot even believe you believe it.
23 JUDGE MAY: Yes. Mr. Milosevic, we're going to bring this
24 political point to an end. You have a minute or two to put any more
25 questions which are relevant to the indictment, not irrelevant ones.
1 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I have a few more questions, and I
2 don't know why you want to put an end to this cross-examination now.
3 MR. MILOSEVIC: [Interpretation]
4 Q. As a function of that, as a function of that, therefore - and we
5 have heard mention of a peaceful solution, the proposal from Rambouillet,
6 which implied the occupation of Yugoslavia - isn't that consistent with
7 what I said a moment ago and claimed a moment ago and what you yourself
8 are in fact saying, that peace is possible in the Balkans only under
10 JUDGE MAY: Do you have -- Lord Ashdown, do you have any direct
11 knowledge of this matter rather than views and opinions?
12 THE WITNESS: No, Your Honour.
13 JUDGE MAY: Thank you. Yes.
14 Now, a relevant question or we'll bring this to a close.
15 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] I think that a relevant question is
16 whether that particular thesis, which is not only Mr. Ashdown's thesis but
17 might be a widespread one of the Balkans under occupation, is perhaps an
18 explanation of the so-called agreement from Rambouillet, which envisaged
19 Yugoslavia's occupation and which posed an ultimatum to Yugoslavia to
20 accept that occupation in order to avoid war.
21 JUDGE MAY: This is not a matter for this witness. He's not come
22 here to give evidence about it and he hasn't done so. In due course, no
23 doubt you can explore it with a witness who can give relevant evidence. I
24 said that you would have one hour. You've now had it, and this
25 examination is brought to an end.
1 Mr. Kay.
2 THE ACCUSED: [Interpretation] Mr. May, this is not the first time
3 that you have cut off my cross-examination, so I'm not really affected by
5 JUDGE MAY: Yes.
6 Questioned by Mr. Kay:
7 Q. Lord Ashdown, I want to go into some --
8 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please. Microphone, please, for Mr.
10 MR. KAY:
11 Q. Lord Ashdown, I want to go into some particular detail about your
12 visit of the 23rd of June, 1998, when you were on the Albanian side of the
13 border, and you'll recollect your evidence that that was the day you saw
14 arms on the Albanian side and you were accompanied by someone who was a
15 member of the Albanian police.
16 A. I understood him to be a member of the Albanian police, yes.
17 Q. Was he wearing a uniform?
18 A. Oh, dear, Mr. Kay. I don't believe he was, no.
19 Q. If I can help you, I know that there's a statement that you gave
20 more lately to the Tribunal, dated the 18th of October, 2000.
21 MR. KAY: I don't think Your Honours have a copy of that, do you?
22 Perhaps the Prosecution would be so kind as to supply one to each
23 of the Judges and Lord Ashdown.
24 Q. It would presumably have been taken from your own sources, Lord
1 A. Presumably, yes.
2 Q. I'm looking at page 2 of the statement, in the middle.
3 A. Indeed, I can see the point you're making entirely and I can only
4 say to you that my memory must be playing me false if it is the case that
5 I said in this witness statement that I believe that Mr. Cengi was dressed
6 in a uniform and insignia of the Albanian police. I can only say that I
7 believe that must have been the case.
8 Q. I just want to explore the issues about that particular visit. It
9 refers -- this passage of the statement refers to an earlier statement
10 that you gave to the Office of the Prosecutor.
11 A. Indeed.
12 MR. KAY: The date we're concerned with is the 23rd of June, 1998,
13 if the Court want to cross-reference this passage.
14 Q. You're on the Albanian side of the border. You refer to this man
15 in the statement as being Chief of Police.
16 A. Yes. I believe he was, though I can't be absolutely certain. It
17 was a very small and rather chaotic area. He was described to me, if I
18 recall, as Chief of Police, but it would mean the chief of the police of a
19 very small police station in Bajram Curri.
20 Q. You were uncertain whether he was a member of the border police or
21 regular police or special police.
22 A. I just draw your attention, if I may, to the phrase that I
23 constantly use: "I believe" and "I think," et cetera, yes.
24 Q. So there was an uncertainty about you as to exactly what his role
25 as a policeman was?
1 A. I think I'd say I was uncertain about what his duties may have
2 been, but I'm absolutely certain of the fact that whatever his defined
3 duties, he had neither the numbers nor the materials - that is, vehicles,
4 radios, et cetera - to carry out those duties effectively.
5 Q. You had met this particular person, had you, in Tirana?
6 A. No. This is not to be confused with Mr. Neritan Ceku, who was the
7 person who I believe was either at that time or had been previously a
8 Minister of the Interior. He was the person who organised this visit at
9 my request, and he was the person who introduced to me to the local, as
10 it's referred to here, police chief, Milaim Cengi.
11 Q. So you met this man at the place you were, near the border?
12 A. At Bajram Curri.
13 Q. Yes. And you believed that he was carrying a sidearm. That's
14 your best recollection?
15 A. I am sorry. This is some time ago and this is my best
17 Q. Yes. It's in your statement here and we accept the
18 qualification. He had other policemen with him, did he?
19 A. Not on this occasion. There were some other policemen back at the
20 police station. Dear, I'm trying to recall. Two or three perhaps. But
21 he was the one who came with me. I subsequently learned that he was, in
22 fact, asked by Mr. Neritan Ceku to act as my bodyguard in this matter.
23 This was regarded as a very dangerous area, and I had insisted, contrary
24 to Mr. Ceku's recommendation, that rather than simply flying in and out in
25 the same day, I should spend at least 24 hours in the area, including
1 spending the night there.
2 Q. When the statement says Mr. Cengi was accompanied by other members
3 of, I believe, Albanian border police units, was that a group that he was
4 with and you were with?
5 A. That was a group that he was accompanied with at the police
6 station, but when we went up to the border, I drove up with the -- as I
7 recall, with the ECMM, the European Community Monitoring Mission, in their
8 LandRover, and he came along with them as, as I later understood, a
9 bodyguard for him.
10 Q. You've said that this was a lawless area. What other police
11 presence was there at the time other than that you've told this Court?
12 A. Almost none. I mean, to give you an example, whilst the arms
13 traffickers were driving around in four-wheeled vehicles, lorries, I think
14 the police had available to them one broken-down, dilapidated, as I recall
15 it, Yugoslav car, which was incapable of even getting to the edge of the
16 town. They had no radio at all and they were seeking to control an area
17 whose border frontage must have been 30 or 40 miles, with a detachment of,
18 as I recall it, not much more than eight to ten people.
19 Q. The summary of your evidence was that this appeared to be a
20 cross-border shopping place for members of the KLA, or whomsoever,
21 whatever group, to go and purchase arms?
22 A. Correct.
23 Q. I just want to go into that a little bit more. You referred in
24 this statement to observing a truck heavily laden with arms. First of
25 all, can you give a description of the truck so we've got that in mind?
1 A. I really can't. The tracks in this area are indescribably bad.
2 The truck, as I recall it, was a flat-bed truck, non-military in its
3 appearance, bumping and grinding along a road with very deep potholes,
4 considerable gradients, a dirt track. Slung over it was a tarpaulin, and
5 as we came up behind it, the tarpaulin blew to one side and I could see
6 boxes which I would recognise as containing small arms or small-arms
7 ammunition piled in the back. The truck was very heavily laden. I
8 cannot, I fear, tell you who was driving it. It was covered in a cloud of
9 dust at the time.
10 Q. And it was going in which direction?
11 A. It was going from Bajram Curri towards Tropoje.
12 Q. So towards Kosovo?
13 A. Towards Tropoje, closer to the Kosovo border. Perhaps I should
14 explain that this is an area dominated by the Berisha clan, Sali Berisha,
15 the ex-Prime Minister of Albanian. He has a very large farmhouse in this
16 area -- sorry. I'll slow down. In this area of Albania, when you say
17 "farmhouse," you mean small fortress. And it was widely rumoured, though
18 I can't prove it, that that was the centre of what was basically an
19 international criminal drugs-trading - sorry - arms-trading centre, based
20 on or around this farmhouse, and particularly in the village of Tropoje,
21 towards which this truck was heading.
22 Q. The truck itself, from your description, wasn't a military truck.
23 It seemed to have been a private truck. And you've mentioned
24 four-wheel-drive vehicles circulating in the area.
25 A. If you went into Bajram Curri town, you would find all sorts of
1 vehicles and all sorts of extraordinary characters. It was like a Wild
2 West town. I didn't see four-wheeled trucks, as I recall, making the same
3 journey we made, but I have no doubt they did or that they could.
4 Q. And presumably, from your perspective at this time, the area of
5 conflict where the majority of fighting was going on wasn't on the
6 Albanian side, but it was over in Kosovo.
7 A. Entirely so.
8 Q. And that led to your conclusion that these arms were part of the
9 Kosovo conflict at the time.
10 A. Absolutely.
11 Q. In dealing with the precise weapons in the back, you've referred
12 to boxes that you recognised as containing boxes of small arms. By that,
13 do you mean hand-held weapons?
14 A. Sure. I mean, the -- I went -- we went into Tropoje village. I
15 saw a number of people cleaning arms and handling arms. I saw some
16 backpacked parties moving up the very steep mountain ridges that rise out
17 of here to a height of 6.000 feet over the passes, and I saw, and had
18 reported to me by the ECMM, that there were occasionally mule trains going
19 over the top of these mountains. My estimate is that the biggest armament
20 they could have carried over would have been around a .5 machine-gun.
21 Anything bigger would have been impossible.
22 Q. All going in the direction of Kosovo?
23 A. All going in the direction of Kosovo.
24 Q. And again your conclusion at the time was, and because it was
25 consistent within the atmosphere and place where you were, that these were
1 all destined for the KLA?
2 A. I have no doubt it.
3 Q. Yes. They weren't destined for Serbs from that place?
4 A. Self-evidently not.
5 Q. Absolutely. The police officer who was there with you, he didn't
6 stop that truck?
7 A. He couldn't have stopped that truck. He did not have the
8 military or the police resources to do so. We went into Tropoje and I
9 said to him, "These arms are destined for the KLA, aren't they?" And he
10 shrugged his shoulders in a knowing way and said, "No doubt they're
11 destined for Albanians."
12 Q. And it was clear nothing was going to be done about it?
13 A. For that, I don't believe you should blame the police. I found
14 them committed, desperate for the extra resources, but it was perfectly
15 clear that they were completely -- that this was an area given over to
16 criminality, where the writ of criminals ran, not the writ of police, and
17 whatever the best intentions of the police on the ground, they did not
18 have the resources to cope with the problem they were faced with.
19 Q. The mix of people in this area was Albanians as well as Kosovar
21 A. Predominantly Albanians. There were others there whose origins I
22 wouldn't like to have guessed at, but they were predominantly -- the
23 natural population of Bajram Curri would be very small, swollen at the
24 time by many visitors from outside, not many Western observers. And there
25 is a tension between Albanians and Kosovar Albanians. There is no
1 particular love lost between them. So the Kosovar Albanian refugees that
2 this small community was putting up were not entirely welcome visitors.
3 Q. So the identities or background of the groups going from this area
4 towards Kosovo, with arms on their backs and packs, were you able to
5 determine whether they were Albanians or Albanian Kosovars?
6 A. Listen, I think they were a mixture of Kosovar Albanians who had
7 put up with repression and the actions taking place for a very long time,
8 local Albanians and, I have no doubt, members of the Albanian diaspora,
9 and probably others, soldiers of fortune.
10 Q. I was going to come on to that, because you mentioned outsiders,
11 and that's been mentioned as an issue in this case. Groups from outside
12 the particular area of this part of -- or Albania as well as Kosovo,
13 Muslim groups you may well --
14 A. I'm guessing here. I'm presuming that that is the case, given
15 that there was a polyglot mixture of people there at the time. I can't
16 identify any particular origins of any particular people.
17 Q. I want to move on now to --
18 A. But perhaps, if your point is were there Arabs there, I must be
19 clear that I never saw any.
20 Q. Right. Your best judgement on it was that it was a highly mixed
22 A. My best judgement is that those were members of -- either Albanian
23 Kosovars, Albanians, or members of the Albanian diaspora. That is my best
24 judgement about the majority of people there.
25 Q. The box you saw on the vehicle, was that a new box of arms, or
1 were you able to tell?
2 A. I don't think I can comment on it, actually. The box, as my
3 memory recalls it, was in reasonably pristine condition, but if you had
4 bumped your way up the tracks of Albania to Northern Albania, something
5 which started out as a new and pristine box could easily be in a much
6 worse condition by the time it gets to the other end.
7 Q. It's just a matter of detail that might be important on the
8 equality of arms. I'd like to move now to another subject.
9 MR. KAY: I'm turning to page four, Your Honours, of that same
10 statement that we're looking at.
11 Q. It's the top paragraph on page 4, and it describes the place you
12 went to, which had been a scene of an execution of some Serbs, although
13 you did not see the bodies.
14 A. A scene of an alleged execution, but all the evidence that I found
15 there is consistent with that allegation.
16 Q. And you were with a BBC film crew at the time; is that right?
17 A. Correct. And the British ambassador, and the military attache of
18 the British embassy, and my own assistant, Mr. Roger Lowry.
19 Q. Yes. It was just the BBC film crew I wanted to ask you about.
20 Presumably they filmed this particular spot.
21 A. They did, and indeed Mr. Lowry's tape, which was also -- he was
22 carrying a small video camera. That's also recorded this incident, and
23 those tapes have been handed over with this evidence to the Tribunal.
24 Q. It was told to you that they were Serbs, and from your evidence,
25 are we right in thinking that this was an area of obvious interest; there
1 was people looking at it, scrutinising it?
2 A. No. It was an area well away from any habitation. I'll tell you,
3 if you wish, the speculation about how these executions came to
4 place -- to take place, but they can only be speculation.
5 Q. Right. It's just that the actual location of it isn't really that
7 A. Indeed, it isn't clear, because it's in the middle of a piece of
8 farmland, well away from -- well away from any habitation. The belief of
9 the military attache, Colonel Crossland, who was with me, was that these
10 were some hostages taken by a KLA group who then came under attack from
11 the Serb or Yugoslav forces and, in their flight, hastily disposed of
12 their hostages. That is what was believed to have taken place.
13 Q. So far as any information that was given to you, were these
14 civilian Serbs or were they policemen or military people?
15 A. I can't be sure of this, but certainly the impression that I got
16 was that they were civilian.
17 Q. I want to go now to the third paragraph on page 4, when you
18 describe going to the Podgerusa valley.
19 A. Yes. I think the spelling here isn't quite conformed to that on
20 the map, but as you probably know, all place names in Kosovo have two
21 forms: One is the Serb form and the other is the Albanian form. It's
22 quite clearly marked on the map that we saw earlier on, and I can identify
23 if you wish.
24 Q. North-east of Orahovac; is that right?
25 A. It's just south of Malisevo. It's spelt, I think, on this map
1 here, g-o-r-u-s-a, but I think you probably have it.
2 Q. I don't know whether I've got the right place, though. That's the
3 point. It might assist the Court if it can be --
4 A. If you follow -- I can find it for you relatively easily.
5 Q. We'll put it on the overhead projector.
6 A. Could you pull it a little bit closer? Is that possible? I'm
7 just trying to find Malisevo. Malisevo is here.
8 The main road runs from Pristina to Kumerane, and we then followed
9 the road through to Malisevo. And then this here is a backroad. All of
10 these areas here were the subject of Yugoslav army operations --
11 THE INTERPRETER: Could the witness please speak into the
12 microphone. The interpreters cannot hear him.
13 A. I'm sorry. We followed the road from Pristina -- sorry. We were
14 returning. Is this the next day, is it?
15 MR. KAY:
16 Q. This is the 28th of September.
17 A. 28th. Very well. We left Pristina very early in the morning. We
18 came down to Kumerane. There's a Serb checkpoint there.
19 Q. Yes.
20 A. We then came down to Malisevo. Our aim was to get into this area
21 south of Suva Reka without using the main roads.
22 Q. Yes.
23 A. All these main roads were the subject of - and the areas around
24 them - were the subject of extensive Serb military operations, Yugoslav
25 military operations. So we chose to take a small backtrack down through
2 Q. Yes.
3 A. It's an unmade-up track, very bumpy. We call it the Podgerusa
4 valley because of the name of this village here, Podgerusa. Perhaps it
5 may help you if I were to say that in Malisevo there was a Yugoslav army
6 unit. I think it was a Yugoslav rather than MUP. There were checkpoints
7 here which we had to negotiate, and when we came to here, we found a KLA
8 checkpoint, and we had to negotiate that as well.
9 Q. That's what I want to ask you about. You met a KLA checkpoint.
10 How was that set up?
11 A. It was set up with -- well, what astounded me was that these
12 people were a thousand metres apart, but I saw no sign of any battles, any
13 exchange of fire, any sentries out, on either side, I'm bound to say.
14 The KLA position was very rudimentary. There were soldiers there
15 with new uniforms bearing KLA militia signs on them, carrying Kalashnikov
16 weapons, and around the sides were really, I have to say, pathetically
17 prepared military positions, all the signs of people who have got -- had
18 no military training. And if it had been the Yugoslav Serb intention in
19 the area of Malisevo to overrun this position, they could have done so
20 terribly easily.
21 Q. Yes. So what you've got is you've got a Serb position up the road
22 a kilometre away, and then this KLA checkpoint which was operating as a
23 checkpoint. Presumably it stopped you, did it?
24 A. No. I think it was very early in the morning. We found some
25 soldiers warming themselves in the sun. There was no barrier there that I
1 could see. It had been a cold night. We stopped, and I wanted to see
2 what their uniforms were like. We were not stopped. I mean, I have to
3 say that of the three KLAs I described earlier, it struck me this was the
4 village defence KLA.
5 Q. But they had weapons?
6 A. Had weapons. They --
7 Q. How many of them in total?
8 A. I think we saw only three.
9 Q. How many soldiers were there?
10 A. Three.
11 Q. Three soldiers?
12 A. If I recall, three, maybe four.
13 Q. What I've got in this statement here is: "I saw between five and
14 ten KLA soldiers."
15 A. At this point I saw only three. Between -- as we passed down the
16 Podgerusa valley, there were a few more scattered around.
17 Q. Right.
18 A. But at this point there were only three or four.
19 Q. From your evidence, it seems that there's a stronger Yugoslav
20 military presence within the area further north.
21 A. Yes. I mean -- yes, I believe so. I mean, what we knew is that
22 there'd been extensive operations in the Drenica region. This map is not
23 terrifically clear, but it's sort of around this area here.
24 Q. Yes.
25 A. And from what we'd seen the night before as we came up to
1 Kumerane, we saw a column of Serb tanks moving down this road here, and we
2 actually got entangled with them slightly as they moved up here, and our
3 view was that they were going to reinforce the operations being conducted
4 in the Suva Reka region.
5 Q. Yes. So what we had, then, was a group of soldiers, no matter how
6 many were poorly trained, but that they were there with rifles and were
7 there to take part in military operations?
8 A. Sure, absolutely. I think they were -- their purpose there was
9 almost certainly to provide a defence against what they believed was going
10 to happen to them, which was the same thing that had happened in the Suva
11 Reka region. I don't know that it ever did, but it was a light, rather
12 pathetic defence force.
13 Q. You met a KLA commander, did you?
14 A. We met a KLA commander on the previous night. On the previous
15 night, coming back from Suva Reka, we first traced our way back to
16 Pristina up the Podgerusa valley, and it was growing dark. We were
17 concerned to get back in time. The Ambassador wanted to get back to
18 Belgrade, and I was -- it was suggested to me that I should chat with the
19 local KLA commander, yes.
20 Q. Did you know his identity or anything --
21 A. No.
22 Q. -- like that?
23 A. No. He struck me as being a local man who had just been put in
24 charge of the local defence force.
25 Q. Was he in uniform?
1 A. Yes.
2 Q. Did he have a rifle or a weapon with him?
3 A. I can't specifically recall that he did, but it's highly likely
4 that he did.
5 Q. The building that you saw him in, what sort of building was that?
6 A. One of -- just an ordinary house. He sat in the upstairs room in
7 complete darkness. I wasn't able to see him terribly clearly. And we had
8 a conversation extending to about ten minutes.
9 Q. So unless you would have known it was there or been shown it, you
10 wouldn't have known that it was the place where the local KLA commander
12 A. No. Indeed, I don't think it was the place the local KLA
13 commander was. He was simply brought there to meet me. I suspect his
14 headquarters were elsewhere.
15 Q. If that was the day before, then, just in the context of accuracy,
16 that would have been the 27th of September?
17 A. Right.
18 Q. So just looking at your journey and just putting it into a whole,
19 it seems that from one moment you're driving into a Serb area, where
20 there's Serb military, then they're driving down the road in countryside
21 and you're moving to an area where there's KLA soldiers --
22 A. Yes. What you have here is the reflection of pattern which
23 probably applied quite extensively. There were areas, the more rural
24 areas, where the Serbs hadn't bothered to go, there was no particular
25 attempt to establish law, and where, I suspect, the KLA were looked on as
1 protectors against the depredations and attacks of the Serbs.
2 Q. Turning now to one other matter which is also on this page. It
3 concerns a radio message. It's the second-to-last paragraph on page 4.
4 It says in the statement:
5 "I recall I heard a radio message reporting the death of a number
6 of Serb youths. They'd been killed during a grenade attack on a bar in
7 Pec. I'm not aware of any other details about this incident."
8 A. Yes. I'm -- I should say that although it's not evident from
9 here, this refers not to this visit but to a later visit in December. I
10 apologise if that's not clear. In December I revisited these areas.
11 Q. Yes.
12 A. I was in the Prizren area and was there when there had been a
13 substantial KLA incursion across the Albanian border which had been caught
14 by Yugoslav forces in an ambush, in a purely military-to-military
15 engagement. And on the night this news broke, as I recall, the news also
16 broke that there had been a grenade attack. It was, I think, this being
17 December 1998, the first evidence that the KLA -- that I knew of, that the
18 KLA had done an outrage in an urban area in Pec, and I think I'm right in
19 saying three Serb youths were killed.
20 Q. The winter of 1998 was meant to be, so to speak, a reduction in
21 hostilities between the parties. Is that right in the context of what
22 we're looking at?
23 A. Yes. This was the time when the Hill agreement, the introduction
24 of the KVM, the KDOM, was in operation as observers. And when that
25 agreement was announced, I said that in the absence of any armed presence
1 to back that up, inevitably the KLA would get more active as a result of
2 the fact that the operations of the Yugoslav government had acted as a
3 recruiting sergeant for the KLA, and that the Yugoslav forces would
4 seek -- would begin to undermine the peace. So you are beginning to see
5 the re-, as it were, descent back into violence, which culminated in the
6 massacre of Racak and, of course, the necessity for Rambouillet.
7 Q. As far as the news about the bar in Pec was concerned, was that on
8 a local radio or some other kind of police radio?
9 A. No, it was on the local radio.
10 Q. On the local radio.
11 A. It was the subject of a series of press conferences given the
12 following day.
13 Q. And presumably in your mind, then, was -- were the thoughts:
14 Well, the KLA have started again.
15 A. I don't think I needed to be told that. The KLA were already
16 beginning incursions across the border. The flaw of the Hill plan was
17 that without NATO forces to police the ceasefire, it was bound to be
18 eroded, and it was eroded by both sides.
19 MR. KAY: Thank you. I have no further questions.
20 MR. NICE: One question.
21 Re-examined by Mr. Nice:
22 Q. Lord Ashdown, you say that as a result of your interest in Bosnia
23 and later Kosovo, you were consulted by either one or more Prime Ministers
24 and shouted down in the House of Commons. Over what period of time, if
25 you can be a little more precise, did your interest in Kosovo lead to
1 negative reaction from the government at home?
2 A. I must be clear that it didn't lead to negative reaction in the
3 case of Kosovo. I was referring to the case of Bosnia.
4 Q. Thank you. And the years or year when you were drawing that sort
5 of reaction? If you can remember. Don't guess, if you can't.
6 A. 1992 to 1994 probably. When I used to stand up at Prime
7 Minister's question time, I was often referred to as the Member of
8 Parliament for Sarajevo because I was trying to draw the government's
9 attention to this. By 1993 or 1994, I think most people were concluding
10 that the action that I had been recommending was indeed going to be
12 MR. NICE: No other questions. I have one minute of
13 administrative matters about next week's witnesses after the witness has
15 Questioned by the Court:
16 JUDGE KWON: Please correct me if I'm wrong --
17 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone, please.
18 JUDGE KWON: I'm sorry. Please correct me if I'm wrong. What is
19 suggested by your overall evidence seems that the accused had the
20 knowledge what had been actually happening in relation to the actions of
21 the military or police, which has been described by you as a campaign of
22 indiscriminate terror operated against a civilian population as a punitive
23 attempt to drive them from their houses. Am I right?
24 A. Yes. I'm bound to say that I cannot conclude that the accused did
25 not have that knowledge, because the very purpose of Mr. Blair's letter
1 was to warn about the examples that had already occurred in the Drenica
2 region of the use of excessive force.
3 JUDGE KWON: For clarification, may I ask it this way: Do you
4 mean that the accused came to know about such atrocities perpetuated by
5 the Serb forces because of your information or your warning, or could you
6 articulate more on the basis of such judgement of yours?
7 A. Well, on the grounds that the international community was, as in
8 the case of the Blair letter, warning him even before I arrived of the
9 consequences of the use of excessive force in this nature, I must presume
10 that he knew about it, but I wanted to make explicitly clear that from the
11 moment I had informed him and had drawn his attention to the provisions of
12 international law, the Geneva Convention, from that moment onwards, he
13 could not then deny knowledge of these facts if they were to continue.
14 JUDGE KWON: Thank you.
15 JUDGE MAY: Thank you for coming, Lord Ashdown, to give your
16 evidence. You are free to go.
17 THE WITNESS: Thank you.
18 [The witness withdrew]
19 THE INTERPRETER: Microphone for Mr. Nice, please.
20 MR. NICE: While the witness is -- while the -- exhibits, I think
21 the Statute already has a number.
22 THE REGISTRAR: Yes.
23 MR. NICE: And the longer version of the diary entry needs a
24 number. And may the witness statement, if it's to be produced, also have
25 a number.
1 THE REGISTRAR: The witness statement will be numbered Prosecution
2 Exhibit 81.
3 MR. NICE: And the longer version of the extract has already been
4 given the original number.
5 THE REGISTRAR: It has already been exhibited, yes.
6 MR. NICE: Thank you. Before we go, if we may, for one-minute,
7 into private session, can I alert the Court publicly to the fact that the
8 probabilities are that the first two sessions, at least, on Monday will be
9 in closed session, pursuant to orders of the Chamber. May we then, with
10 the Court's leave, have a private session to assist the accused in his
12 JUDGE MAY: Yes, into private session.
13 [Private session]
8 Page 2499 – redacted – private session.
17 --- Whereupon the hearing adjourned at 4.10 p.m.,
18 to be reconvened on Monday, the 18th day
19 of March, 2002, at 9.30 a.m.