Centre for Research on Globalisation
Centre de recherche sur la mondialisation

The Hague Kangaroo Court:

“Evidence” in the “Milosevic case:

What’s behind Carla’s promises?

by Cathrin Schütz

Junge Welt, 19 August 2003 (translated from German)
URL of original article in German: http://www.jungewelt.de/2003/08-19/005.php
www.globalresearch.ca 27 August 2003

The URL of this article is: http://globalresearch.ca/articles/SCH308B.html

As stated by chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte, in the upcoming months the prosecution in the trial against former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague will focus on “Sarajevo“ and “Srebrenica“.[1]

According to some official reports, between 7.000 and 8.000 Bosnian Muslims were killed in July 1995, when Serb units launched an attack on the UN “save heaven” of Srebrenica. Doubts continue to surface regarding the extent and nature of these alleged crimes because the official side of the story is in many respects lacking in factual verification.[2]

After del Ponte herself had to admit that the Kosovo-case (which originally served as the grounds for the Milosevic indictment and the former president’s abduction and delivery to the Hague tribunal) lacked the charge of genocide because there is no evidence for that, the prosecution came up with additional indictments for Croatia and Bosnia and accused Milosevic for genocide in Bosnia, a point which is mainly based on the events around Srebrenica.

Recently, the prosecution suffered from another big disappointment when Slobodan Milosevic’s predecessor - former Yugoslav president Zoran Lilic - testified in The Hague on June 17. Lilic stated that Mr. Milosevic had not been involved in the Srebrenica massacre. The next day media headlines announced “Srebrenica »outraged« Milosevic“.[3]

But just one day later, this positive message for Milosevic disappeared and the international press reported an opposite line, saying: “Paper could link Milosevic with massacre“.[4]

The paper in question is an official document provided to the prosecution by the London-based “Institute for War and Peace Reporting“ (IWPR). It is an order signed on July 10, 1995 by Bosnian-Serb Interior Minister Tomislav Kovac, which instructs that a Serbian police unit should be moved from Sarajevo to Srebrenica to “crush the enemy offensive being carried out from the UN safe heaven of Srebrenica“.[5]

But the statements appearing on the occasion of the presentation of the paper appear to be to the advantage of former president Milosevic. Some unusual comments were made about the lack of any evidence for the involvement of Milosevic – except the new-found document. IWPR bureau chief in The Hague, Stacey Sullivan, while praising the paper, stated: “Up until now, it was generally assumed that there was no link between what happened in Srebrenica and Belgrade.“ As stated in the NYT on June 19, an official in the prosecutors office said “for the moment, this is the first such document relating to the July 1995 massacre”.[6] SFOR news confirms this. Reporting about the new-found document, SFOR news states on June 20, 2003: “To date, it was mostly assumed that until the summer of 1995, Serbia had cut off all of its ties to the Bosnian Serb leadership and that the former Serbian forces had not participated in the military operation in Srebrenica”.[7]

According to Sullivan, the document shows for the first time that police from Serbia participated in this operation. The “Coalition for International Justice“ in Washington pointed out the contrary by saying that the document does not prove any involvement of those units. And what is still unknown, and what Sullivan had to admit herself, is whether Milosevic actually knew about those troops.

The NYT, usually in line with the rest of the corporate media in pre-convicting the former president, suddenly choose to leave no doubts about the awareness of any lack of evidence against Milosevic in the Srebrenica case. “Witnesses and even participants in the massacre have told the tribunal the roles played by the army, police and paramilitary fighters in the blood bath. But even during the trial of Gen. Radislav Krstic, one of the commanders at Srebrenica, who was sentenced to 46 years in prison for genocide, prosecutors had no documents linking the atrocities to Belgrade”.

Recalling the reactions following the first presentation of the paper, it now looks like it got more attention than it actually deserved. Apparently, it provides no "new evidence" against Milosevic. Florence Hartmann, spokesperson of the prosecution, called the document later only “an element“, and announced there will be additional elements and special witnesses for Srebrenica. The assumption remains that the document was presented at the exact moment when Lilic’s testimony of Milosevic’s innocence was the number one topic, in order to deflect attention from news headlines which could undermine the prosecution’s credibility. The IWPR assertion that the paper had been “overlooked” seems to be highly questionable. The assumption that the Institute (which with its branch in The Hague enjoys a physical closeness to the tribunal) played in the prosecutors hands, is bolstered by a look on their own list of cooperating organizations and partners. Among these is the “Open Society Institute“ of US-American Billionaire George Soros, who also provides funds directly to the tribunal. With “USAID“ the institute receives money from the US-government. Aid is also coming from the US-American organization “International Research & Exchanges Board” (IREX). At the same time, IREX is financing basically a long list of journalists from former Yugoslavia reporting from the Milosevic-trial in The Hague – providing training, apartments, computers, etc. According to their own web-side information, IREX receives funds from the US Department of State as well as from media giant CNN-AOL-Time Warner, the latter also contributes financially to the ICTY.[8]

Since Slobodan Milosevic is not permitted by the ICTY to give press-statements, Vladimir Krsljanin, one of his Belgrade assistants, comments for junge Welt: “Carla del Ponte recently boasted to the press that she was able to prove all charges – except that genocide would be more difficult. But even that she said will succeed in the upcoming months. But that was only her attempt to hide her complete failures in this regard from the public, because even her position as chief-prosecutor has come under question. Slobodan Milosevic’s guilt cannot be proven because it does not exist. Everybody knows that he publicly and consistently condemned every extremism and crime. In his opening statement, he announced that he would prove the complicity of Western secret services in the worst crimes in Bosnia and Croatia.“

Indeed, this enterprise seems more likely to be successful than the prosecution’s attempt to present evidence for a connection between Milosevic and the massacre at Srebrenica. And the report of the commission of the Dutch Institute for War Documentation (NIOD), led by Cees Wiebes, agrees. “For five years, Professor Cees Wiebes of Amsterdam University has had unrestricted access to Dutch intelligence files and has stalked the corridors of secret service headquarters in western capitals, as well as in Bosnia, asking questions.“[9] The German Berliner Zeitung in April 2002, in reference to the Dutch report, stated, there were “no hints for a direct involvement of Milosevic and Serb authorities from Belgrade“ in the attack on Srebrenica. Meanwhile, the same report according to The Guardian, revealed the direct involvement of external forces: “America used Islamists to arm the Bosnian Muslims, The Srebrenica report reveals the Pentagon's role in a dirty war. The official Dutch inquiry into the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, released last week, contains one of the most sensational reports on western intelligence ever published.“ “Weapons flown in during the spring of 1995 were to turn up only a fortnight later in the besieged and demilitarized enclave at Srebrenica. When these shipments were noticed, Americans pressured UNPROFOR to rewrite reports, and when Norwegian officials protested about the flights, they were reportedly threatened into silence“, reports The Guardian.

If del Ponte wants to keep her promise of proving the genocide charge, she may need to follow what seems to be her common routine of manipulating witnesses, as was seen in the case of Rade Markovic. The former head of state security, supposedly a witness on behalf of the prosecution, stated in his testimony that he was offered a deal in order to deliver a statement against Slobodan Milosevic.[10] Del Ponte’s mid-July statement – in which she hoped that indicted senior political and military figures during Milosevics 13 years in power would testify against their former leader[11] - sounds more and more like an announcement of new attempts to “incriminate testimony for extenuating circumstances“.

[1] In: Arthur Max, UN Prosecutor to Show Milosevic Evidence, Associated Press, July 16, 2003

[2] Among many, see Jürgen Elsässer, Anatomie einer Tragödie, Der Fall von Srebrenica (I): Horrorzahlen und seriöse Untersuchungen, junge Welt, 10.07.2003 and Jürgen Elsässer, Srebrenica – kein Völkermord, Jahrestag der Einnahme durch serbische Truppen (II): Massakeropfer und Gefechtstote auf beiden Seiten, junge Welt, 11.07.2003; see also: George Pumphrey, Srebrenica: 5 Years Later, And Still Searching, http://www.balkanpeace.org/cib/bos/boss/boss12.shtml

[3] Srebrenica “outraged“ Milosevic, The Guardian, June 18, 2003

[4] e.g. Marlise Simons, Prosecutors say Document links Milosevic to genocide, NYT, June 19, 2003

[5] Milosevic linked to Srebrenica, Radio Netherlands Wereldomroep, June 20, 2003, http://www.rnw.nl/hotspots/html/icty030620.html

[6] Marlise Simons, Prosecutors say Document links Milosevic to genocide, NYT, June 19, 2003

[7] SFOR main news, June 20, 2003, www.nato.int/sfor/media/2003/ms030620.htm

[8] See www.irex.org and for the information of funds going to the ICTY, see Christopher Black, An Impartial Tribunal, Really?, http://www.swans.com/library/art5/zig036.html

[9] Richard J Aldrich, America used Islamists to arm the Bosnian Muslims, The Srebrenica report reveals the Pentagon's role in a dirty war, The Guardian (London), April 22, 2002

[10] see Klaus Hartmann, Wegschauprozeß geht weiter, junge Welt, September 26, 2002

[11] Arthur Max, UN Prosecutor to Show Milosevic Evidence, Associated Press, July 16, 2003


Published in junge Welt (Berlin), "Beweisnot in Den Haag", August 19, 2003  ©  Copyright Junge Welt 2003  For fair use only/ pour usage équitable seulement .