THE HAGUE | 17.06.2005.

INSPECTOR JASOVIC'S ORDEAL

In the cross-examination, the prosecutor challenges the credibility of Milosevic's defense witness, noting that former police inspector from Urosevac was a "cog in the mechanism of the police state implementing the policy of the accused in Kosovo", in vain attempting to "cover up the evidence of the crime in Racak"

Slobodan Milosevic came to know about his defense witness Dragan Jasovic "through Mr. Nice's kindness", as he said in late April during the direct examination. Mr. Nice drew his attention to the fact that at the trial of three KLA members the former police inspector from Urosevac had presented some information that might be important for the defense of the former president of Serbia and Yugoslavia.

Bearing in mind the course Dragan Jasovic's cross-examination has taken in the past three days, and the penchant of the accused for conspiracy theories, it will not come as a surprise if Mr. Milosevic were to accuse Mr. Nice of setting him up to call the witness.

Apart from tendering evidence about beatings, torture, electro-shocks and murders of Albanians brought to the Urosevac police station for questioning, and the participation of the accused in such incidents, the prosecutor tried to show that inspector Jasovic had taken part in the efforts to cover-up and justify the crime committed in Racak on 15 January 199.

According to the prosecutor, Jasovic's role was to gather statements from Kosovo Albanians that would paint the victims from Racak as KLA members. A mere day after the event, on 16 January 1999, Jasovic obtained a statement from a sixteen-year-old boy identifying as many as 10 Racak victims as "members of the so-called KLA". The next day, 17 January, Jasovic took a statement of Muhadin Gjeladini, describing in detail the location and circumstances of the killing of a local KLA commander Sadik Mujota, his underage daughter and four alleged terrorists. They were killed in the yard of the building where the KLA HQ was. Despite the fact that the statement is very detailed, Jasovic was unable to explain whether Gjeladini had witnessed the event or had heard about it from someone else. He was unable to answer Judge Bonomy's question about the purpose for all those statements because in the judge's opinion such statements could not be used to prosecute someone.

This was not the end of Jasovic's ordeal. The OTP investigators have recently found Gjeladini and took a statement from him about the circumstances in which he had signed the document Jasovic brought to The Hague. Gjeladini claims that Jasovic beat him with a police baton and that he was forced to sign the statement, although he knew some of the people listed there were not KLA members. Jasovic claims this is not true, adding that he understands why the man is denying his previous claims now, as he might have problems otherwise. Jasovic used the same arguments to reject the statements made by other Albanians to OTP investigators about the methods by which the police inspector in Urosevac obtained their statements.

In addition to statements made by Gjeladini and others, the prosecutor confronted Jasovic with the photographs of the bodies of two men. The defense claims they were killed in the yard of the KLA HQ, while in fact they were killed in the ditch on the hill near the village, where more than 20 bodies were found. Jasovic was unable to explain how those bodies got to be in the ditch on the hill. He was likewise unable to explain how all those persons killed in the ditch were listed as KLA members, and only one of 34 persons discovered in another house was listed as such. The first group was taken out of Sadik Osmani's house and killed, while the other group was discovered in Drita Emini's house by the police and ordered to walk towards the ditch, but they managed to escape.

Milosevic now faces a difficult task of rehabilitating his witness in his re-direct examination and challenge the claim made by the prosecution that all those persons – inspector Jasovic, his boss Janicevic, investigative judge Marinkovic, Major Radosavljevic who commanded the attack on Racak, his superior General Djordjevic and "others who worked for the accused … acted as common criminals trying to cover up the evidence of the crime which cannot be justified in any way, and failed to do so."