Source Pravda.Ru

The Hague’s Nightmare: Milosevic Strikes Above the Belt

The first stage of the trial of Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, which was devoted to Kosovo, concluded on September 11. The prosecution failed to provide any important witnesses, and the accused defended himself and artfully conducted cross-examinations. Here are the reports of Russian news agencies about the case.

The trial of the former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who is accused of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, has recommenced in the Hague last week. The first stage of the hearing devoted to Kosovo is already over, and the second stage is dedicated to Bosnia and Croatia (the events of 1991-1995 are to be covered). The Milosevic trial has arlready been forgotten in the West, and criticism of Milosevic is less harsih in the foreign mass media. Observers say that Milosevic produces rather crushing facts and his opponents have nothing to respons with. The trial on the whole and all the charges are very obvious. It is better in this situation not to set up a clamor and use the trial to demonstrate to the world what will happen to those who disagree with the opinion of the "world community" (the USA and NATO in particular).

On Friday, Slobodan Milosevic declared that the “nationalism of Croatia’s local authorities” who came to power in Zagreb in 1990 was the main cause of the war in Croatia. Rebellions in Croatia’s Serbian enclaves incited continual persecutions and humiliation of Serbs. Croats intended to drive them out of the republic. Serbs were persecuted everywhere, those who disagreed were severely beaten, Serbian settlements were destroyed and plundered, ect. According to RIA Novosti, Milosevic cited official statements from the Croatian press at the time and official declarations made by Croatian officials.

When nationalist Franjo Tudjman came to power in Croatia, the record of Serbs as of an ethnic group living on Croatian territory was withdrawn from the constitution completely. There were people who argued to set up special ghetto and resettle the Serbs there.

Duting the trial, Milosevic spoke a lot about the atmosphere of “national hysteria and ethnic hatred,” which had been spread by Zagreb. As it turned out, the problem wasn’t at all that Serbs didn’t want to live in Croatia themselves, as the Hague Tribunal says.

BBC quotes Milosevic as saying that the slaughter in Srebrenice in 1995, when thousands of Muslims were killed, had been especially planned by people intending to satanize Serbs in the eyes of the whole world. These people also needed a reason for a war in Bosnia. “French secret services and the Bosnian Muslim government” actively participated in preparation for this action. The slaughter had been planned in July 1995, just several days before the events in Srebrenice. Assassins obediently fulfilled the will of their customers and committed mass assassinations. Milosevic said: “The information I obtained proves that the then-leader of the Bosnian Muslims, Alija Izetbegovic, used Srebrenice as means for his personal manipulations and held it in reserve for further political machinations.” He added: “I want the world community to know the truth about this terrible crime.”

It is an open secret that relations between Slobodan Milosevic and leader of Bosnia Serbs Radovan Karadjic were rather complicated at that time. It was even said that Karadjic was going to testify against Milosevic during the trial. These rumors by the way have turned out to be an unpardonable lie and just another psychological attack on Serbs. However, the ex-president of Yugoslavia hurled no accusations against Karadjic during the trial and denied any blame of Serbian republic President Ratko Mladic for the bloodshed in Bosnia.

Slobodan Milosevic declared: “Radovan Karadjic swore he had known nothing about the events in Srebrenice. I am sure that the military honor of Mladic and Krstic wouldn’t let them punish the civilian population. The truth is directly opposite to what you are saying. It was the Serbian population that was persecuted, threatened, and assassinated; it was they who were really in danger.” Milosevic says that the ethnic conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia were incited by the West, which aimed at destroying the united Yugoslav state.

The Hague trial is to proceed this week when incumbent Croatian President Stipe Mesic will appear. Mesic will be held responsible by Milosevic. Slobodan Milosevic blames Mesic for inciting Croatian nationalism, as a result of which the Yugoslav republic broke up. In addition, US Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, “the initiator of the Bosnian peace treaties,” concluded on the bones of the Bosnian civilian population, is also to appear at the trial.

Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/09/28/47702.html

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