“I plead guilty,” Bosnian Serb wartime leader Biljana Plavsic said speaking by video-link from a tribunal office in Yugoslavia yesterday. Thus, Plavsic is the first high-ranking suspect who pleaded guilty to crimes against humanity during the Balkan crisis in 1991. Meanwhile, Slobodan Milosevic had sharp exhanges with Mesic, and judges had to interrupt him several times.
“I plead guilty,” Bosnian Serb wartime leader Biljana Plavsic said speaking by video-link from a tribunal office in Yugoslavia yesterday. Thus, as the BBC reports, Plavsic is the first high-ranking suspect to plead guilty to crimes against humanity during the Balkan crisis in 1991.
After the ex-president pleaded guilty to genocide and war crimes, the prosecutor dropped all other charges against her. Plavsic was a close comrade to the leader of Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzik, who is still free. Earlier, he promised that he would never surrender alive to the Hague Tribunal.
Biljana Plavsic is to testify in the Hague once again. Everyone is wondering what she will say against the ex-president of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic.
According to the Russian newspaper Kommersant, Biljana Plavsic, who is currently 72, is a legendary person. Her name was written on most armored vehicles during the Bosnian war. Plavsic took the presidential post in Serbia in 1996 and held it for two years, but she lost the next election. She voluntarily surrendered to the UN Tribunal in January 2001. At the same time, she openly declared that she would be able to prove her innocence.
Meanwhile, Milosevic devoted the first half of the day yesterday to his cross-examination of the incumbent Croatia President, Stipe Mesic. The BBC informs that main issues during the examination concerned the right of the former Yugoslav republics do self-determination and the events in the early 1990s when armed conflicts broke out in Croatia first and then in Bosnia.
Slobodan Milosevic harshly critcized Mesic, and the judges had to interrupt him several times. Milosevic was told that he should ask questions only, “not make his own speeches or give evidence to crimes of other people who are not witnesses in the actual case.” Milosevic in his turn responded that everything he was saying “concerned the trial, because it discredited the witness.” Milosevic accused then-speaker of the republican parliament Mesic of organizing assassinations of Serbs in Croatia.
Western observers who were present at the trial say that Mesic avoided Milosevic’s eyes and looked at judge Richard May only. BBC journalists report that Milosevic was wonderfully prepared for the trial and artfully used testimonial evidence.
Sergey Stefanov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/10/03/47930.html