Well said WLR. Also remember that senior KLA commanders have admitted to ordering out the Kosovo Albanians in 1999 and the prosecution in the Milosevic trial were unable to find a single Kosovo Albanian who could testify that they were told to leave Kosovo for Albania by the Serb security forces. They played us like a Stradivarius
He witnessed the evacuation lists drawn up before the war and how the KLA asked the people to leave for Albania and Macedonia and used satellite phones to set up the routes:
My impression was more and more that things were being staged. The KLA seemed to be advised by a very good PR agent. There were situations where refugees were kept in the woods until Western journalists visited the refugee camps. There were situations where the civil population were kept in the villages which were being attacked by the Serbian security forces, and the civilians were prevented from leaving the villages.
It was very clear that at that time the KLA had a very great deal of interest in calling on people to flee their villages. So they actually purposefully created fear by telling people that the villages would in the future be attacked here, Straza, Ivaja, and Picevac up in the north. There the people living in the villages were asked to leave the villages, go into the woodland areas and were actually prevented from returning to their villages again.
As I observed it, the normal pattern of behaviour when Serb security forces had attacked a village and left again, the people tended to return to their villages and came to sort of arrangements again with conditions of life, which were hard enough for the civilian people already. But here the people were kept in these forests in order to initiate a refugee crisis.
A. Okay. The behaviour to the village population was such that this intensified in autumn. I had evidence of people being prevented going back to their villages, or they were called upon to leave their villages. In spring 1999, at least you can see there was a certain systematic approach to this.
Q. And the population having been prevented by the KLA from going back went where having moved from their villages? In what you saw.
A. Well, they finally went into the woods. At the Kacanik offensive, the KLA, there was a larger refugee camp in this forest south-east of Kacanik, in this area. There was a refugee camp to the south of Kotlina towards Pustanik. About 800 to 1.000 civilians were there from the entire region. There was a refugee camp in the border area at Straza where people were kept.
Q. This period from February down to March and the NATO bombing, was your concern largely, if not exclusively, that area south of Urosevac down to Kacanik and the elephant foot? Is that where you were?
A. As I said, until mid-March, I was in this area. About the 10th, 11th of March, again I went to Malisevo along this road to Kacanik, Urosevac, through the woods to Stimlje Racak, to this street the Dulje pass, it was Malisevo, and what I saw in the two and a half weeks in this region was precisely that.
Q. The population, then, that was being told to leave the villages and go into the woods or elsewhere, what sort of numbers are you able to tell us were concerned with this?
A. Well, I'd rather talk about what I saw in the refugee camps, because there you have rough numbers. In this southern area of Kacanik and west of Kacanik, I would talk about, say, 5.000, and this would have to be multiplied by the number throughout Kosovo in its entirety. This is an estimate. It is simply my own opinion, but I think you're talking about a six-figure number.
A. The KLA commanders and in the brigades were called upon to set up a list of priorities for the evacuations of the towns and villages. To indicate the villages, to pass on this information, a messenger service of the KLA command was set up. They had contact with satellite telephones with safe links to Albania. These officers had identification papers with them whereby they were able to take over the command of certain areas if necessary.
There was a communications system which was supported electronically, on the one hand, but it was also screened, and there was direct communication with these selected officers on the one hand and the individual regional commanders on the other. And they could give direct orders as to which villages should be evacuated where.
So the population was then asked, for example, to leave the village in the direction of Albania or Macedonia.
Q. Again so that we can get a picture of this, are you able to identify on the atlas the regions you're talking about where you were able to observe this happening? And if you could do that slowly so that the Court is able to identify for the record.
A. For example, the location of the village of Malusha, close to Malisevo, were one of the first to be asked to leave the village in the direction of Macedonia. The population of Gajre, here, was also asked to leave the village. The military objective was to have an area around Malisevo which could be used by their own operations command, and there were very hard and bloody battles in this town, so that the civil the civilian population were taken out of the combat area, but also this rovided a possibility of using these towns and villages for the purposes of the KLA.
Q. And we're looking at map page 10. Again, any other areas where you were able to see this happening after the NATO bombing started on the 24th of March?
A. Yes. The same happened with the KLA between Orahovac and Suva Reka. This is on page 11, in this area. These were on the list of priorities of the villages which were to be evacuated, where the population was asked to leave.