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RTS Chief Arrested for NATO bombing;
Miloshevich Stripped of Security

By Milos Zorich - Special to Emperor's Clothes
Translated by N. Malich

BELGRADE, Thursday, February 15, 2001 – Several hundred demonstrators rallied yesterday outside the Serbian Parliament in Belgrade. They were protesting the arrest of Dragolyub Milanovich, former director of Serbian Radio-Television (RTS).

Officially, Mr. Milanovich is being detained under suspicion that he could have prevented the deaths of sixteen RTS employees killed when NATO warplanes bombed the RTS studios on April 23, 1999.

The remarkable accusation that the Serbian TV chief is guilty for the NATO attack originated from Carla del Ponte, Chief Prosecutor of the War Crimes Tribunal.

After her January trip to Belgrade, Ms. Del Ponte was asked what she planned to do about NATO crimes like the RTS bombing. She countered by charging that former Yugoslav President Slobodan Miloshevich was guilty because he had been "notified in advance" of NATO’s decision to bomb the TV network in the heart of Belgrade. She claimed that he and top RTS managers wanted workers to be killed to score a propaganda victory.

Ms. Del Ponte promised to produce evidence; she has not. Demonstrators accuse del Ponte of launching a propaganda campaign to shift the blame for NATO's war crimes onto Yugoslav shoulders.

They charge that Belgrade District Court judge Vuchko Mirchich lent credibility to del Ponte when he ordered Mr. Milanovich detained for a month. The judge has justified his order on the grounds that the former national TV network chief could 'influence witnesses' or perhaps leave the country, though his passport had been voided.

Demonstrators answer that it is the judge and, behind him, the DOS leaders who are trying to 'influence witnesses', that by arresting Milanovich DOS hopes to create a climate of intimidation in which some RTS employees or former employees may be induced to make scripted accusations against Milanovich and/or Miloshevich. (1)

Parliament Sets Up Miloshevich

The demonstrations Tuesday in front of the Serb Parliament and a little later at the Palace of Justice did not hinder DOS' legislative activities. The coalition’s parliamentary majority passed several strange laws, mostly nullifying previous legislation.

Alas, the Serb Parliament appears to function like an assembly line. The Government sends proposals to the Legislative Committee which immediately presents them as bills on the floor. Every government proposal is automatically approved by all representatives of the ruling coalition's two thirds majority. The opposition – Socialists and Radicals – disputes the proposals fiercely, but is voted down. Many opposition deputies are so frustrated and outraged, they simply abstain from voting.

Perhaps the most bitter debate on Tuesday resulted from certain amendments to the law on "Special Rights and Obligations of Heads of State". These amendments, passed by the DOS 19-party majority, were clearly aimed at former president Miloshevich.

Under the newly amended law, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which controls law enforcement, would reduce Miloshevich's security staff to one bodyguard. Both Socialists and Radicals opposed this decision. Radical parliamentary leader Tomislav Nikolich told representatives, "You do not need this law unless you are setting the stage for Miloshevich’s abduction!"

Branislav Ivkovich, the Socialist parliamentary leader, (2) pointed out that Washington has offered $5 million (US) for the kidnapping of Milosevich. Therefore stripping Miloshevich of protection was an open invitation to bounty hunters. Ivkovich called the amendments a "shameful insult to the state."

According to widespread public rumors, the amendments were ordered by the so-called international community.

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

In Yugoslavia, the DOS-controlled mass media presents the 'Miloshevich Question' as a choice between trying him at home or turning him over to The Hague. Yet the charge that Miloshevich is guilty of war crimes is supported by exactly zero evidence. He is simply presumed guilty and the presumption of his guilt and by extension of Serbia's is causing serious divisions in Yugoslav political circles. There is a mounting feeling of injured dignity, revulsion and contempt for those who close their eyes to the real crimes (NATO's aggression) and its real perpetrators (NATO leaders). Federal Prime Minister Zoran Zhizhich said two days ago that Miloshevich would not be extradited to the Tribunal as long as he is head of the Yugoslav government. Serbian Justice Minister Batich responded in the press, saying that the Federal PM is not authorized to make such decisions. "Others will decide the fate of Miloshevich," Batich stated.

"Others will decide"? What "others"? Where are they located? In Belgrade?

Or in Washington, London and Berlin.

I will discuss other legislation passed by DOS in a subsequent dispatch.

-- Milosh Zorich

***

Further reading

1) The War Crimes Tribunal has from its inception employed what might be called 'Instructive Detention.' It works as follows. Prospective witnesses are arrested and put through a Kafkaesque hell. This instructs them in the importance (for their own consciences) of bearing false witness against others. If the attempted instruction fails it is customary for the slow learner to die. This is unfortunate, however his or her death may be instructive for awakening the consciences of future witnesses.

See Prof. Kosta Cavoski's 'Unjust from the Start: The War Crimes Tribunal vs. General Djordje Djukic' It can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/cavoski/c-1.htm

2) Emperor's Clothes has conducted two interviews with Socialist Parliamentary leader, Branislav Ivkovich. The first part, entitled 'What's happening in Serbia - the Other Side', has been published. It can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/interviews/ivkovic1.htm

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