Azem Vllasi

Rubofc | Date: July 23, 2021 | Duration: 150 minutes

I took Adem and Sellma to Prishtina in my car around four or five in the afternoon to take them to Nadira’s family in Bijeljina, Bosnia, which is 140 kilometers away from Belgrade. I thought they should be safe and spared from the horror that was going to happen. I don’t know, whatever happens, happens. When I… I was listening to the meeting in Belgrade on the radio all day long. By chance, like in movies, while I was driving through Belgrade to continue into Bosnia and Bijeljina at Nadira’s family, I heard them [Slobodan Milošević] talk in the meeting and promise imprisonment, this and that. 

I took my children there. The next day I wanted to return to Prishtina. Whatever happened, I had to go back to deal with the situation, you can’t escape yourself and your country. I didn’t have reason to flee, I hadn’t broken any laws. The next day I talked to Nadira on the phone, she said, ‘Wait for me,’ she said, ‘Tomorrow because there’s a colleague of mine Jelena Lavorić from Zagreb here, she’s coming back by car and she will go through Bijeljina. I will stay, then we will come back together.’ ‘Okay,’ I said, ‘I’ll stay one more day.’ Late at night they activated the mechanism for imprisonment. They followed me, they knew where I was going and that mechanism was so that if I weren’t Prishtina, a request was made to the Bosnian police to find me in Bosnia, to bring me to Prishtina.

Late at night the Bosnian police come and knock on Nadira’s family door. ‘We’re sorry.’ ‘What is it?’ ‘They told us to bring you back to Prishtina’. I said, ‘I’m going to Prishtina  tomorrow with my car.’ ‘No, they said you have to come with us’. ‘Let’s go!’ Nadira had already left and I couldn’t inform her. I headed from Bosnia to Prishtina in a police car, Nadira was headed from Prishtina towards {explains with his hands} Bosnia with her colleague, Jelena Lavorić’s car. Later we talked about it, we said, ‘We passed each other at some point, we don’t know where.’

Anita Susuri (Interviewer), Korab Krasniqi (Interviewer), Besarta Breznica (Camera)

Azem Vllasi was born on December 23, 1948 in Rubovc, Kamenica. Vllasi graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Prishtina. In the time period of 1974-1978, he was head of the Socialist Youth League of Yugoslavia. Meanwhile, in May 1986, he was elected president of the League of Communists of Kosovo, a position he held until the fall of 1988. Vllasi later worked as a lawyer and political advisor to notable Kosovar politicians. In 2005, he became an adviser to the then-Prime Minister of Kosovo, Bajram Kosumi, and later to Agim Ceku. Vllasi is married to journalist Nadira Avdić – Vllasi and the father of two children.