Describing the beginnings and development of the KLA, former chief of the analysis section in the Pristina Security Service office Zoran Stijovic says there were several KLA strongholds, such as those in the villages of Prekaze, Jablanica and Glodjane. They were run by Jashari, Brahimaj and Haradinaj families. In early 1998, the Haradinaj clan, headed by Ramush Haradinaj, took over

Zoran Stijovic, witness in the Haradinaj trialZoran Stijovic, witness in the Haradinaj trial

Last week, Zoran Stijovic described in detail the way in which the Serbian police obtained intelligence on KLA operations. Today, the former chief of the analysis section in the Pristina office of the Serbian State Security Service spoke about the intelligence itself. Before the spring of 1998, he says, the KLA operated in groups, attacking Serbian police patrols and the so-called collaborationists – local Albanians who were believed to be collaborating with the Serbian authorities. The witness said that the ‘shoot and run’ attacks had often been synchronized, indicating that the KLA groups were in contact with each other in this period.

In May 2007, the prosecution called former KLA spokesman Jakup Krasniqi and tendered into evidence a number of press releases in which the KLA assumed responsibility for the majority of attacks on the Serbian forces in 1996 and 1997. Krasniqi claimed that the press releases were ‘a conscious exaggeration’ designed to convince the Albanians about the strength and seriousness of the KLA. The journalists ‘misinterpreted’ the contents. Now, the prosecution used Stijovic’s testimony to prove that the claims in the KLA press releases were true. He confirmed that the intelligence the Pristina State Security obtained almost always tallied with the KLA press releases, giving the example of the attack on the Serbian refugee settlement in the village of Babaloc in February 1996.

Before the armed rebellion started in earnest in early 1998, the main KLA strongholds were in the villages of Prekaze, Jablanica and Glodjane, the witness said. They were controlled by the Jashari, Brahimaj and Haradinaj families. In 1997, the KLA tried to set up a corridor in the Drenica area, leading to the Albanian border. Glodjane was one of the major strategic points on that axis. This was a factor that contributed to the strengthening of the Haradinaj clan and to establishing Ramush Haradinaj as the first man in the KLA in that area. After the beginning of 1998, and in particular after the battle of Glodjane against the Serbian police was won on 24 March 1998, Ramush Haradinaj was the ‘alpha and omega’ in the Dukagjin area, Stijovic said.

Stijovic’s evidence was interrupted frequently by defense objections. The defense contended he was presenting his opinions, rather than facts. His testimony will continue tomorrow.