The cross-examination of Colonel John Crossland at the trial of the three former KLA commanders resembled closely his examination-in chief at the Kosovo six trial. Haradinaj’s defense counsel was mostly interested in the activities of the Serbian security forces, more so than in the actions the KLA launched in the Dukagjin area

Brahimaj, Balaj and Haradinaj (from left to right) in the courtroomBrahimaj, Balaj and Haradinaj (from left to right) in the courtroom

In his cross-examination today at the trial of Ramush Haradinaj, Idriz Balaj and Lahi Brahimaj, British colonel John Crossland had to answer questions identical to those he was asked recently by the prosecution at the trial of six former Serbian officials charged with crimes against Kosovo Albanians.

Ben Emmerson, Haradinaj’s defense counsel – just like the prosecutor at the trial of Kosovo six – focused on what the witness knew about the Serbian security forces. He barely mentioned his client and the KLA. Speaking of the deployment and the activities of the Serbian forces in 1998 Crossland said that two VJ brigades had been active in the western part of Kosovo and in the Dukagjin area. There were also regular Interior Ministry units, special police units and other special forces such as the SAJ and the JSO.

He agreed that these forces had been considerably stronger than those of the Albanian guerrilla fighters and the prosecution’s statement that the KLA had “total control over the Dukagjin area making it a no-go area for the Serbian forces” was not entirely true. The defense counsel did not insist on clarifying whether Haradinaj had commanded the KLA units in Dukagjin, regardless of whether the KLA controlled the whole area or only a part of it. He did not even ask for an explanation of what the witness had said yesterday: that Haradinaj personally told him that he had control over Dukagjin.

The defense counsel tried to discredit two future prosecution witnesses, Bozidar Delic and Dragan Zivanovic, former commanders of the VJ 125th and 549th Brigade respectively. According to Emmerson, the two of them had to know of the burning, looting and destruction of villages near Decani in the summer of 1998 described by the witness at the trial of the Kosovo Six. Crossland agreed that they had to have known about or given their approval for the crimes committed by VJ units.

As in previous three times he testified, John Crossland did so with image distortion and non-disclosure of his date and place of birth as protective measures.

The trial of former KLA leaders continues on Monday.