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Judge Refuses to Allow Further



Tanjug,  9 March 2002

Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG),  globalresearch.ca , 12   March 2002


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Judge May Refuses Milosevic’s Request to Have Kadriu Cross-Examined!

The Hague (Tanjug) – The continuation of the latest round of hearings, which commenced yesterday, suffered many interruptions by Judge Richard May today. At one point, the Judge intervened and warned the witness, as well as the defendant, “This is not a political manifestation but a trial”.

Mr. Milosevic cross-examined Sabit Kadriu, who claimed the Serbs did not flee Albanian violence but were "searching for a better life" outside of Kosovo & Metohia and that they were "selling their farms and estates to Albanians at steep prices". The witness claimed that he had no knowledge as to how many Serbs had fled the province and that the “regime” in Belgrade caused and then manipulated this situation.

Mr. Milosevic told the court that Albanian separatists persistently refused the Government’s proposal for the return of Albanian professors and students to state schools, while the witness claimed that, every September, when the school year traditionally starts, the Serbian government “prevented the Albanians” from enrolling.

Countering the witness’ claim that the “Serbian regime organized the return of the expelled Serbs back to Kosovo & Metohia in order to change the demographics”, Mr. Milosevic said that of all the expelled Serbs, only 5,000 returned to their homes, which is, as Mr. Milosevic said, less than 1% of the total number of Serbs who have been forced out of the province. The prosecution witness also claimed that there were no – and are no – mujahedins in Kosovo & Metohia. Mr. Milosevic then showed the FBI document, dated December 2001, which clearly indicated that Al-Qaida had been active in Kosovo & Metohia.

Kadriu said that “he knew nothing” about the killings of four policemen in the village of Chirez on March 3, 1998, which, as Mr. Milosevic said, was the result of a firefight between the Police and the KLA. The Ahmeti family lost their lives in this confrontation, which the witness claimed was a “massacre of unarmed civilians”.

In reference to the witness’ claim of a massacre of the Gerxhaliu family in May 1999, Mr. Miloshevich said that the investigating judge went to the scene immediately after the incident and made a report. The witness characterized this as an “obstruction” on the part of the “Serb forces” and claimed that such things “always occurred” and that “the Serbian police always called the court investigators after they committed crimes.”

The defendant then told the court about the murder of Rexhepi Bairami, an activist and a member of the LDK, the party headed by Ibrahim Rugova, who was killed in Vuchitrn “on the orders of the local KLA commander”. Kadriu then said that “he never heard of any Bairami”.

Mr. Milosevic then mentioned the fact that, in 1998 alone, 327 loyalist Albanians had been murdered, to which the witness replied that he “did not believe there were any loyalist Albanians” in Kosovo & Metohia. Mr. Milosevic, in turn, cited Faik Jashari, a member of the Interim Executive Council of Kosovo & Metohia, who had reported that, after the war, some 30,000 Albanians fled to central Serbia together with the expelled Kosovo & Metohia Serbs.

Kadriu described the KLA as a liberation army and stood his ground, claiming the army and the police “conducted an offensive against 27 Albanian villages on Mt. Chichevitsa and murdered 200 civilians and one member of the KLA”.

Mr. Milosevic then cited Kadriu, who had said earlier that “Adem Jashari was killed when he ran out of ammo”, and asked the witness how he could talk of a “massacre of civilians” when the police first asked Jashari to come out and give himself up, then gave him 2 hours to consider the offer – “during which a number of people had left the compound” – and that soon after, "a hail of bullets, fired from dozens of automatic rifles” came from the house toward the police, to which the police responded in self-defence and, as a consequence, killed 60 people inside the Jashari compound.

At this point Judge Robinson jumped in and remarked that Kadriu wasn’t present at the scene. Kadriu then said that he saw “bodies of dead women, children and elderly people”, that the action against the Jashari compound “lasted three days”, and that it served to paint a “false picture” in the media.

Mr. Milosevic then cited British Foreign Office reports, dating from early 1999, which revealed that there had been no political persecution of Albanians, but rather a confrontation with “military opponents” – the KLA - who controlled parts of Kosovo & Metohia.

The witness then said that, in 1999, the “Serbian forces had killed 15,000 and expelled 1,000,000 Albanian civilians”.

Mr. Milosevic responded by asking the witness about the kidnappings and killings of Serbs, the KLA detention centres in the village of Likovats, as well as the makeshift prison in the basement of a general store in Vuchitrn. The witness responded, saying such prisons “did not exist”, and he also denied any killings and kidnappings by the KLA.

The witness denied Mr. Milosevic’s claim that literally all citizens of Serbian nationality from 39 out of the 45 villages in the Vuchitrn Municipality had been ethnically cleansed and had their houses burned down, saying there “may have been” some “revenge attacks against the Serbs who committed war crimes.”

Alleging that all the Serbs who once lived in the town of Vuchitrn are war criminals, Kadriu acknowledged that there were no more Serbs in that town, and that they fled “of their own free will because they committed war crimes.” Branislav Tapushkovich, one of the amici curiae, reacted, drawing the court’s attention to the contradictions in Kadriu’s testimony.

Mr. Milosevic protested the court’s decision to limit the time for cross-examination and asked that the cross-examination be continued, which was rejected by Judge May. As a result, the trial will continue on Monday with fresh testimonies from new witnesses.

As the hearing was drawing to a close, the security officers in the courtroom asked Mr. Milosevic’s legal advisors from Belgrade to leave the room. They had been warned not to “gesticulate and communicate” with Mr. Milosevic. They later returned to the courtroom.

Copyright  Tanjug, 2002. Reprinted for fair use only.

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