WERE KOSOVO ALBANIANS "EXPELLED" OR "RELOCATED" BY THE ARMY?
Former VJ army volunteer today continued to change and "clarify" his statement given to the OTP in 2002. He had to be subpoenaed to testify. It is still not clear whether the army "relocated" or "expelled" Kosovo Albanians, "looted" or "searched" the villages. The witness is also not sure if he saw just two members of Frenki's Unit or the whole Special Operations Unit near Korenica and Meja when several hundreds of Kosovo Albanians were killed
Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic, Nebojsa Pavkovic, Vladimir Lazarevic and Sreten Lukic in the courtroom
The cross-examination of protected witness K-90 began in the same vein as most of his examination-in-chief yesterday at the trial of the Kosovo Six. It was marked by the amendments to the statement he gave to the OTP in 2002. In it he described the killings and expulsions of Kosovo Albanians from the villages near Djakovica in March and April 1999. Today he repeated the "clarification" he gave yesterday: contrary to the 2002 statement, the VJ unit that he had joined as a volunteer never looted and expelled Albanian civilians. The army just "searched the terrain" and "relocated people" to the safer areas. The looting was done by “individuals from the army ranks, not the army as a whole”.
The prosecutor himself said he was caught by surprise by this development. As he said, the witness was offered a chance to change his statement several times, but refused to do so. He added that witness K-90 had come to give his evidence in The Hague only when he had been issued a subpoena.
The defense counsel of the three indicted generals tried to prove that the witness had misrepresented the events of 27 April 1999. In his statement, the witness said that the police had expelled and killed the Albanians from Korenica and Meja villages. But his evidence doesn’t tally with the war log of his brigade. The witness said that the Meja and Korenica action lasted just one day, contrary to the war log where it says that it took two days. The witness doesn't know "who, when and why" made such a report, and stood by his previous claims. At the same time, he agreed with the claim made by Vladimir Lazarevic's defense counsel that all soldiers and officers in his unit had been "angry and outraged" by the police conduct. Still, as he said yesterday, they were not able to calm their "anger" by preventing the crimes or informing their superiors of them.
Today the witness claimed that on 27 April 1999, when several hundred Albanians were killed, he had seen only two Frenki’s men. He “recognized them by the small hats they were wearing". But his 2002 statement says he saw the whole Special Operations Unit near Meja on that day.
Knut Vollebaek will testify tomorrow at the trial of Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic, Nebojsa Pavkovic, Vladimir Lazarevic and Sreten Lukic. The former Norwegian foreign affairs minister was the head of OSCE in 1999.
- Case : Sainovic et al.
- 2007-01-29 POLICE KILLED, MILITARY SAID NOTHING
- 2007-01-25 THE ARMY FORCED CIVILIANS TO DRESS IN UNIFORMS
- 2007-01-24 POLICE CHIEF OR “LAST HOLE IN THE FLUTE”?
- 2007-01-31 THOUSANDS OF TRACTORS, MILE LONG COLUMNS
- 2007-02-01 LOOTING TO IMPROVE MORALE
- 2007-02-02 POLICE PUSHED OUT THE KLA AND BURNED DOWN THE VILLAGE