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ICDSM Statement on the Contempt Charges Brought Against Kosta Bulatovic and the Imposition of In Absentia Proceedings Against President Slobodan Milosevic
21 April 2005
The ICTY has now charged a defense witness for Slobodan Milosevic, Kosta Bulatovic, with contempt, for refusing to continue testifying in the course of proceedings-- known as in absentia-- carried out in absence of the accused, who was kept at the ICTY's detention unit, as he was too ill to attend the day's proceedings.
First, in violation of basic legal rights, and indeed of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Slobodan Milosevic was denied the right to represent himself. The Trial Chamber held that he was too ill to ensure his own representation, and rather than order an adjournment of the proceedings, or a stay, or a mistrial, or indeed, any other resonable legal measure routinely employed by legitimate courts around the world, they instead imposed counsel upon an unwilling accused, counsel who'd previously acted as parties in the proceedings, a glaring, formal conflict of interest.
The ICTY has now compounded this violation by carrying out in absentia proceedings, and by bringing criminal charges against a defense witness who refuses to cooperate with this exceptionally transparent attempt to remove the accused fromm his own defense, and perhaps to gag him entirely.
It is increasingly clear that the proceedings undertaken by the ICTY against Slobodan Milosevic are themselves in contempt. In contempt of the basic rules of International Law and indeed of principles of human decency. An accused person has the right to represent himself and obviously has a right to be present for, and participate in, his own trial. To go so far as to criminally charge a witness who refuses to cooperate with massive violations of rights guaranteed by international instruments such as the the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights has brought this institution to a new low, and threatens the future of International Law.
These contempt proceedings are absolutely illegitimate and can only serve to set further back the cause of justice and indeed the truth.
These in absentia proceedings appear to be the result of a deliberate design, and were wholly predictable from the very moment, last summer, that former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's two previous employees, David Scheffer and Michael Scharf, publicly lobbied in the International Herald Tribune and the Washington Post, respectively, for the imposition of the very measures being carried out today. Mr. Scheffer did not hide his contempt for internationally recognized basic human rights by demanding that late Trial Chamber President Richard May "permanently pull in his well-worn leash" by gagging President Milosevic, then "pumping the proceedings into his cell". Neither Scheffer nor Scharf, in their public demands for the gagging of President Milosevic, concealed their view that the ICTY is a political rather than legal body. They are both architects of the institution, and therefore they would know. Their lobbying appears to have been successful and will have devastating effect, as appears to be their intention, on any future international criminal proceeding. Indeed, both have made clear at different moments that their intention is to insure that Saddam Hussein, for example, would not have the right to claim U.S. aggression against Iraq.
President Milosevic has always maintained his opposition to this body-- as one that was illegally constituted and is employed to justify aggression and violate national sovereignty-- as well as his firm undertaking to the people of Yugoslavia that he would establish that the so-called Balkan wars were in fact one war - a war against Yugoslavia, carried out in violation of International Law.
In order to prevent him from doing this, the most fundamental tenets of criminal procedure and indeed of international law must be further violated and its future jeopardized.
There is only one positive aspect of these perverse proceedings: they bring clarity to the situation and make clear once and for all that the ICTY is not a legal body but instead abuses power that it does not even legally possess.
URGENT FUNDRAISING APPEAL
President Milosevic has the truth and law on his side. In order to use that advantage to achieve his freedom, we must fight this totally discredited tribunal and its patrons through professionally conducted actions which would involve the Bar Associations, the European Court, the UN organs in charge and the media.
Our practice has shown that ad hoc voluntary work is not enough to deal properly with these tasks. The funds secured in Serbia are still enough only to cover the expenses of the stay and work of President Milosevic's legal associates at The Hague (one at the time). The funds secured by the German section of the ICDSM (still the only one with regular contributions) are enough only to cover minimal additional work at The Hague connected with contacts and preparations of foreign witnesses. Everything else is lacking.
Please organize urgently the fundraising activity and send the donations to the following ICDSM accounts:
Peter Betscher Stadt- und Kreissparkasse Darmstadt, Germany IBAN: DE 21 5085 0150 0102 1441 63 SWIFT-BIC: HELADEF1DAS
Vereinigung für Internationale Solidarität (VIS) 4000 Basel, Switzerland PC 40-493646-5
All of your donations will be used for legal and other necessary accompanying activities, on instruction or with the consent of President Milosevic. To obtain additional information on the use of your donations or to obtain additional advice on the most efficient way to submit your donations or to make bank transfers, please do not hesitate to contact us:
Peter Betscher (ICDSM Treasurer) E-mail: [email protected] Phone: +49 172 7566 014
Vladimir Krsljanin (ICDSM Secretary) E-mail: [email protected] Phone: +381 63 8862 301
For truth and human rights against aggression! Freedom for Slobodan Milosevic! Freedom and equality for people! On behalf of Sloboda and ICDSM, Vladimir Krsljanin, Foreign Relations Assistant to President Milosevic
SLOBODA urgently needs your donation. Please find the detailed instructions at: http://www.sloboda.org.yu/pomoc.htm
To join or help this struggle, visit: http://www.sloboda.org.yu/ (Sloboda/Freedom association) http://www.icdsm.org/ (the international committee to defend Slobodan Milosevic) http://www.free-slobo.de/ (German section of ICDSM) http://www.free-slobo-uk.org/ (CDSM UK) http://www.icdsm-us.org/ (US section of ICDSM) http://www.icdsmireland.org/ (ICDSM Ireland) http://www.pasti.org/milodif.htm (ICDSM Italy) http://www.wpc-in.org/ (world peace council) http://www.geocities.com/b_antinato/ (Balkan antiNATO center)
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