On December 16 and 17 1999, the trial of the six Albanian students at the University of Belgrade continued in the Palace of Justice in Belgrade. Petrit Berisa, 29, and Driton Berisa, 26, of Pec; Dritan Meca, 27, of Djakovica; Skodran Derguti, 31, of Pristina and Abdulah Isam, 31, of Dragas are accused of joining the National Movement of Kosovo, an illegal political group, and gathering money from Albanian businesspeople in Belgrade to fund the weapons purchases of that organization. They are charged with terrorist actions in times of impending war and in times of war.
The main search that led to the charges was described during the questioning of the witness Salko Vujić, who worked in a jewelry shop with Zef Paljuca. Vujic also stayed in Paljuca’s apartment in Belgrade for a time. Paljuca was charged along with the five students, but he is in Croatia and will not be tried. Vujic and his family, refugees from Kosovo, were present during the search of Paljuca’s apartment, and during an earlier search of the jewelry shop. “I was in shock. I was sleeping. I was in my pajamas when they searched the room and put me in handcuffs at 7 in the morning,” Vujic began his testimony about the search of the apartment. He emphasized numerous times that he did not notice everything because he was in shock. The judge questioned the witness with curt questions, which were often repeated in slightly rephrased forms and interrupted Vujic's responses.
From his testimony, it is clear that eight to ten police officers and inspectors in civilian clothes, searched Paljuca’s apartment and found plastic explosives in the bathroom, first in the washing machine and then, while Vujic was present in the room, in the hot water heater. Until then, Vujic had not noticed anything unusual, even though he regularly used all of the appliances in the apartment. During the search of the jewelry shop, a plastic explosive was found in the toilet water tank. Neither Vujic nor any of the other witnesses present observed this discovery because the bathroom was just big enough for one inspector. The prosecutor had no additional questions.
When the defense asked if he knew the accused and if he had ever seen them in Paljuca’s shop, Vujic answered that he knew them, but mainly by sight, but that he had never seen most of them in Paljuca’s shop. He said, “Isam came to the jewelry shop, but I must emphasize that he came because of me, and not because of Paljuca. Isam and I are friends and we were roommates at one time. Isam has never been in the shop at the same time as Paljuca because he came to see me and I work when Paljuca is not there. When he came, we never stayed in the shop. At my insistence, we always immediately left the shop to go somewhere for coffee; I did not want to receive guests in the shop there because of the valuables.”
The next witness was Dragoslava Aleksic. Aleksic is the aunt of Valentina Petrovic and the owner of the flat where they both live, in which four bombs were found during a search. Since 1995, Petrović has dated Skodran Derguti and Derguti was frequently Petrovic’s guest in Aleksic’s apartment. Aleksić began her testimony, “on the day of the search, I came home from work around 3pm. I made myself comfortable and started to cook some food. At 5pm, Valentina entered the apartment with two inspectors. A few minutes later, Škodran entered with more police officers. There were many of them; I don’t know exactly how many. All were in civilian dress.” During the search, Aleksic was in the living room and entry room alongside Derguti in handcuffs. Inspectors never called for them to observe the search of the rest of the apartment. At the end of the testimony, when the judge asked if she had anything more to say, Aleksić said, “Skodran always had warm and friendly relations with our family. I am sure that Skodran did not put these [bombs] in my home. The two of us and my grandchildren, who often visit me, believe that Skodran could never have done this. He knows my grandchildren and loves to play with them.”