THE HAGUE | 11.03.2005.

ENCOUNTERS WITH COMMANDER ÇELIKU

Former KLA member testifies with full protective measures – under the pseudonym and with facial and voice distortion – about his war-time encounters with the first-accused Fatmir Limaj, known as Commander Çeliku

Testifying with full protective measures – under the pseudonym and with facial and voice distortion – a former KLA member took the witness stand today at the trial of the three men accused for the crimes in the Lapusnik camp. After he described that he had joined the KLA in April 1998, and that he had gone to Albania to get weapons and then fought against the Serbian security forces, protected witness L-95 spoke at length about how his unit had gone into the Berisha mountains in late July 1998. They had been sent “help Commander Çeliku’s forces”. Commander Çeliku is the nom de guerre of the first accused Fatmir Limaj. According to the indictment, the Kosovo Albanians had been evacuated from the Lapusnik camp before an offensive launched by the Serbian forces. Ten Albanian detainees were executed in the Berisha mountains in late July 1998.

The witness’s unit was met in Novoselo by Commander Çeliku. He addressed the witness by his nom de guerre, appointed him commander and told him to come to the Main Staff if he had any problems. Unlike other KLA members who claimed, as unwilling prosecution witnesses, that at that time Limaj had been just a commander of “one of the Çeliku units”, witness L-95 says that everyone knew at the time that Commander Çeliku was in command of the Lapusnik zone.

Three or four days after the encounter in Novoselo, the witness says that he had been picked up by some people in a red Golf car and taken to the headquarters in Klecka. He met with Çeliku and some other KLA commanders, whom he identified by their noms de guerre Kumanovo, Gazetari, and a man who was the commander of the Buri unit. Before the end of the hearing today, the witness said that they had discussed the situation in the area and in the KLA units.

Protected witness L-95 will continue his testimony on Monday.