John Crossland estimates that in 1998 the KLA had only 400 hardcore soldiers but allows that his estimate might be inaccurate. Yet he is sure that their defense positions were "immature and dumb". The judge warned the defense counsel against asking irrelevant questions and "Milosevic-style cross-examination". Crossland will testify at the trial of Ramush Haradinaj
Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic, Nebojsa Pavkovic, Vladimir Lazarevic and Sreten Lukic in the courtroom
John Crossland, former British military attaché in Belgrade, was cross-examined today at the trial of the Kosovo six. He made some corrections to his former statements as regards his meeting with the accused general Dragoljub Ojdanic, but didn't change the main thrust of his argument.
In his evidence at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic in 2002, Crossland said he had been with Lord Ashdown when he had handed to General Ojdanic the tape with footage of the shelling of villages near Decani in Kosovo. The meeting was in late August 1998. Yesterday he said that Ashdown had not been there with him. The defense counsel asked him why he changed his evidence now. The witness said, "Ashdown called me late last year and reminded me that he hadn’t attended that meeting. I thus had to revise my previous statement". In addition to that, the witness admitted he hadn’t given the tape to Ojdanic. He actually gave it to Negovan Jovanovic, Ojdanic’s associate. That is why he couldn't be sure that Ojdanic ever saw the tape.
The defense counsel contested Crossland's claim that in 1998 the KLA was a badly equipped and poorly organized "terrorist organization" with only "400 hardcore fighters". The witness was presented with a series of estimates by the VJ and the EU Monitoring Mission at the time: they all estimated that the KLA had more troops. He admitted those estimates might be true, noting however that the KLA, no matter its strength, had "immature and dumb defense positions". He couldn’t understand why the Serbian forces allowed them to control almost half of Kosovo’s territory.
In the cross-examination, the defense counsel quoted the parts of the statement Crossland had given to the OTP as a prosecution witness in the forthcoming trial of Ramush Haradinaj. Crossland confirmed he still considered the KLA to be "a terrorist organization" and that Ramush Haradinaj and his brother Daut were "up to their necks in criminal activities".
The presiding judge often interrupted the cross-examination today cautioning the defense counsel against asking irrelevant questions. He warned Vladimir Lazarevic's defense counsel not to conduct "Milosevic-style” examination, where the only thing that matters is presenting his views despite the fact that the witness clearly couldn't comment on them.
The trial of Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic, Nebojsa Pavkovic, Vladimir Lazarevic and Sreten Lukic continues tomorrow with the evidence of protected witness K-20.