Slobodan Milosevic skilfully stage-manages the Hague trial to put NATO on the stand.
The trial of Slobodan Milosevic is bound to cause some embarrassments in western circles, principally because he is due to reveal the exact events which led up to the Balkans conflicts in the 1990s. He declares that he will call present and past world leaders as witnesses in his case.
Presenting video evidence which points towards the flimsiness of the case against him, Slobodan Milosevic was defiant as he launched his own defence, telling the court that all he did was to defend the interests of his people, in combating terrorism.
Evidence was presented of NATO strikes against Albanian civilians who were returning home (probably to escape the clutches of the UCK), strikes perpetrated because the Albanians were supposed to be running away from the Serbs, not towards them. There was also evidence presented about the supposed massacre at Racak, which the prosecution claims was carried out by Serbs, while it now appears that the victims were transported there from different areas by the UCK, placed to simulate a massacre so as to justify the intervention of NATO.
Mr. Milosevic claims that most of the video evidence presented by the prosecution is the result of manipulation for which the media is famous. “This is just one atom, even less than an atom, of truth in a sea of lies”, he declared. Indeed, he complained that his trial was a farce for the media, as he pointed to the mass of journalists in court and shouted: “Look at this!”
Declaring that the procedure was unfair, since all he had as his defence was a public telephone, he claimed that he was being “crucified” by a great conspiracy composed by the west, the Court (whose legitimacy he does not recognise) and NATO, together with the participation of the media. “Everyone knows this is a political trial!” he snapped.
Mr. Milosevic added that it is ironical that he is on trial for war crimes when what he did was to combat terrorism (some units in Bosnia and Kosovo were linked to Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda organisation) in his own country, while “on the other side of the world”, the USA does the same thing. He complained that everyone considers this normal when it is done by Bush, while he is being tried as a criminal.
NATO will indeed be mentioned in Mr. Milosevic’s defence and the serious issue as to the legality of the campaign will be raised. The prosecution has decided to link the three theatres of war together (Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo) and to find him guilty has to prove that Slobodan Milosevic intended to carry out the crimes of genocide in the former two and war crimes in the third.
Given that the prosecution’s case is based on lies, fabrication and manipulation, and that Mr. Milosevic’s presence at the court is technically illegal under international law, since his “extradition” from Belgrade violated Serbian and Yugoslav law, constituting thus a case of kidnapping, it would fall apart in any normal court of law. However, that is exactly what this farcical institution with its ludicrous chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, is not.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru