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The Other Side of the Story
[16 February 2002]
On May 22, 1999, two months after the start of NATO aggression against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), Louise Arbour, chief prosecutor of the ICTY, brought a so-called indictment against Yugoslav leaders. Slobodan Milosevic, Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic and Vlajko Stojiljkovic were accused of crimes against humanity and violations of laws and customs of war.
Prior to the NATO aggression, there was a systematic anti-Serb campaign which accused the Yugoslav Army (Vojska Jugoslavije or VJ) and police forces of excessive force and repression against the Albanian civilian population.
Since this campaign preceded the NATO aggression, had it been based on fact, then an indictment of the top Yugoslav leadership for crimes against humanity would have been announced several months before the start of NATO bombing. This is especially true since the NATO Councils decision to initiate air and missile strikes against FRY was publicly explained as a humanitarian operation, with the basic objective of dealing with a humanitarian disaster that supposedly preceded the NATO aggression.
The indictment (Paragraph 25) claims that by October 1998, due to a campaign of shelling predominantly Kosovo Albanian towns and villages, some 300,000 people (15% of the total population) were displaced in Kosovo-Metohija.
This is utterly untrue on many counts.
The Yugoslav Army (VJ) did conduct anti-terrorist operations in Kosovo-Metohija from July 25 to September 28, 1998. These resulted in combat casualties among the terrorists as well as some movement of civilians. However that movement was not caused by expulsions by the VJ or by the shelling of towns and villages. In some cases, it involved the spontaneous flight of civilians from areas of combat. In other cases, civilians were ordered to leave their homes by secessionist leaders supported by foreign powers. The aim: to stage a humanitarian disaster to justify NATO bombing.
Secondly, the indictment uses the loaded term shelling. In doing this, the ICTY consciously disregards the fact that, with the exception of Orahovac, no town or village in Kosovo-Metohija could have been a target of artillery bombardment during 1998 because there were no terrorist operations in these towns and villages during that year. Only Orahovac (July 18-20, 1998) saw a sizeable counter-terrorist operation. The purpose was to free Serbian civilians held hostage by the terrorists and subjected to violence and murder and to free 134 officers of the Serbian Interior Ministry (MUP) under siege in two buildings.
Moreover, no anti-terrorist action during 1998 involved shelling of inhabited areas because the Yugoslav Army (VJ) Command specifically forbade such actions in its operational orders. (For details, see the refutation of Paragraph 25 further below).
There was no humanitarian disaster in Kosovo-Metohija in 1998.
Even those civilians who temporarily fled combat operations or established refugee columns and camps on KLA orders, returned to their homes and settlements at the end of anti-terrorist operations.
Thanks to the great efforts of the Serbian State and the FRY, no Albanian family in Kosovo-Metohija, as well as families of other ethnicities, had to face the winter of 1998-99 without housing. The media campaign claiming a humanitarian disaster that supposedly had already happened by the end of 1998 was manufactured in order to prepare the international community for the upcoming NATO aggression against Serbia and FRY
On the grounds that its purposes were humanitarian, the massive bombing was code-named Merciful Angel. But the fact that Slobodan Milosevic and his associates were not indicted until close to the end of the NATO aggression points to motives of a non-angelic nature.
U.S. political and military leaders, especially Madeleine Albright and Gen. Wesley Clark, publicly boasted that Yugoslav defense forces would capitulate after two or three days of massive air strikes. The Yugoslav political and military leadership would bow to the Rambouillet ultimatum it had previously rejected. (Appendix B of the Rambouillet "agreement" gave NATO the right to virtually occupy all of Yugoslavia. But the leaders didn't capitulate even after two months of round-the-clock strikes against civilian and also military objectives throughout the FR Yugoslavia. The will of the people to resist grew parallel to the death toll and infrastructure devastation.
VJ and Serbian security forces could not hope to militarily defeat a greatly superior enemy, whose economic potential according to some estimates was some 676 greater than that of FRY, sapped by a decade of embargoes and blockades. Yet its heroic defense and the moral support of the entire population caused significant losses to the enemy, while the Yugoslav Army suffered minimal casualties. Yugoslavia emerged from this greatly unequal contest as the moral winner.
This unexpected outcome of the NATO aggression disturbed its creators.
Blackmail, a decade of blockades and embargoes, media demonization and finally, the 78 days of air and missile strikes against 995 targets in Yugoslavia were not enough to force the capitulation of the country and its armed forces. That is why the North Atlantic Council and the U.S. government decided to declare Yugoslavias military and civilian leaders war criminals, thus attempting to mask the general impression of failure, and the responsibility of NATO for atrocities. Convictions and long sentences would send a powerful message to the next victims of aggression: do not even try to resist or the same fate will befall you.
Therefore, the ICTY indictments goal is not to prosecute real criminals, but to punish the defiance of those who refuse to submit to foreign Imperial forces driving towards a new world order [Novus Ordo Seclorum].
From the standpoint of future armed interventions by NATO and the U.S., their planners could not allow the Yugoslav model of decade-long resistance and especially the model of defending against 78-days of air and missile strikes, combined with multiple land attacks from Albania, in early 1999 to become an attractive model for defense doctrines in other small countries, aiming to preserve their national identity, liberty and independence.
Following is the so-called Indictment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) against Slobodan Milosevic, Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic, Dragoljub Ojdanica and Vlajko Stojiljkovica, for «crimes against Humanity and violations of laws and customs of war», along with the factual refutation of the allegations and incriminations listed therein, paragraph by paragraph.
Paragraph 1 of the Indictment gives general geographical and political information about Kosovo-Metohija and its immediate surroundings, to which we have no objections.
Paragraph 2 of the Indictment states: In 1990 the Socialist Republic of Serbia promulgated a new Constitution which, among other things, changed the names of the republic and the autonomous provinces. The name of the Socialist Republic of Serbia was changed to the Republic of Serbia (both hereinafter Serbia); the name of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Kosovo was changed to the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija (both hereinafter Kosovo); and the name of the Socialist Autonomous Province of Vojvodina was changed to the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina (hereinafter Vojvodina). During this same period, the Socialist Republic of Montenegro changed its name to the Republic of Montenegro (hereinafter Montenegro).
COMMENT: The reasons for and character of the 1990 constitutional changes in Serbia will be discussed in subsequent counts. All paragraph 2 does is establish that all the republics and provinces of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) struck the attribute Socialist from their name. Yet this assertion can in no way be related to the indicted, and thus does not belong in the indictment. Given the undeniable ideological bent and the clearly stated political objectives of the ICTY, this count would appear more favorable to proving the defendants innocence than their guilt. But as most of them were not in significant positions of authority in Serbia and Yugoslavia at the time of the 1990 constitutional changes, any connection between them and such changes positive or negative is out of place
Paragraph 3 of the Indictment says: In 1974, a new SFRY Constitution provided for a devolution of power from the central government to the six constituent republics of the country. Within Serbia, Kosovo and Vojvodina were given considerable autonomy including control of their educational systems, judiciary, and police. They were also given their own provincial assemblies, and were represented in the Assembly, the Constitutional Court, and the Presidency of the SFRY.
COMMENT: According to all the Constitutions of Second Yugoslavia (SFRY), Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metohija had certain autonomous rights, which had been constantly expanded as the country and its political system evolved. In the amendments to the 1968 and 1974 Constitution, those rights elevated these Provinces to the level of constituent components of the Federation. These constitutional changes significantly limited the sovereignty of SFRY and the Republic of Serbia. Serbias sovereignty had dual limitations on one side, just like the other Republics, because its Constitution was subordinate to that of the Federation; but on the other, the Provinces had a say in Serbia's Constitution. Yet the provinces had no such restrictions in promulgating their own Constitutions. Thus it ensued that the Provinces were more sovereign than the Federation, since Serbia had no say in the Constitutions of Provinces ostensibly within its territory.
This count of the indictment is misleading and essentially untrue. Even before the 1974 Constitution, the Republics of the SFRY (all six) had substantial authority and autonomy in their internal affairs. This was especially true following the 1963 Constitution.
Also, the Autonomous Provinces within the Republic of Serbia existed before the 1974 SFRY Constitution. The Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and the Autonomous Region of Kosovo-Metohija were already established during the Liberation War [the anti-Fascist resistance during World War II], as part of the administrative and territorial division of the antifascist movement.
The first Constitution of the Democratic Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (DFRY), in January 1946, determined that the Peoples Republic of Serbia included the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and the Autonomous Region of Kosovo-Metohija. Subsequently, the Autonomous Region of Kosovo-Metohija was also upgraded to the status of Province, but also within Serbia. Both provinces had their governments and administrative bodies long before the Constitution of 1974.
Amendments to the 1963 SFRY (Amendments XX, XXXII and XLI, adopted June 30, 1971, and included fully in the 1974 SFRY Constitution) made the autonomous provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metohija constituent elements of the Yugoslav federation. This constitutional change and the subsequent practice of both provinces have made them de facto and de iure federal components. This status put them practically outside of Serbia, and in some fundamental issues they had greater authority than the Republic of Serbia, even though they were theoretically still its components. For example, changes to the SFRY Constitution can be adopted when the wording proposed by the Federal Parliament is ratified by the Parliaments of all Republics and all Autonomous Provinces... [But] if the Parliament of one or more Republics or Autonomous Province do not ratify the changes to the SFRY Constitution adopted by the Federal Parliament, the proposed Constitutional amendments cannot be [returned] on the Parliamentary agenda before one year expires... (XXXII amendment).
On top of all that, the autonomous provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metohija had representatives on all levels of government in Serbia and the Federation, while Serbia had no prerogatives relating to the governments and administration of «its own» provinces.
Such a degree of provincial authority substantially infringed on the sovereignty of Serbia. It proved to be absurd in both the theory and practice of federalism, and had to be changed.
That led to changes in the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, which did not infringe in any way on the Federal Constitution, but took place under Section IV of the Serbian Constitution. These amendments, among other things, regulated the following:
* Changes to the Serbian Constitution will be made by the Parliament of Serbia. If changes to the Serbian Constitution relate to the issues of the entire republic, the Parliament of Serbia will make its decision with the agreement of provincial Parliaments. (Article 427).
* The Parliament of Serbia, after a public debate, establishes the proposed amendments to the Serbian Constitution relating to issues of interest to the entire Republic. The Parliament of Serbia then votes [on the amendments] with the agreement of provincial Parliaments. Changes to the Serbian Constitution are adopted in the Serbian Parliament if two-thirds of all delegates in the Parliament of Serbia votes in their favor. (Article 430).
Paragraph 4 of the Indictment says: In 1981, the last census with near universal participation, the total population of Kosovo was approximately 1,585,000 of which 1,227,000 (77%) were Albanians and 210,000 (13%) were Serbs. Only estimates for the population of Kosovo in 1991 are available because Kosovo Albanians boycotted the census administered that year. General estimates are that the current population of Kosovo is between 1,800,000 and 2,100,000 of which approximately 85-90% are Kosovo Albanians and 5-10% are Serbs.
It is misleading and scientifically inaccurate to consider the ethnic makeup of any region in the world, including Kosovo-Metohija, exclusively in the light of the last comprehensive Census, only 20 years old.
The historical right of an indigenous people to ancestral territory cannot be determined solely on the basis of the last Census, completely neglecting the reasons for that people shrinking in numbers from an indisputable majority to a marginal minority.
Any previous Census would have pointed to a different ethnic makeup of Kosovo-Metohija than what is stated in this Indictment, since this region is historically, culturally, spiritually and in all ways a center of the Serbian civilization and state.
Anthropological and ethnological research on the Medieval period (1455), indicates that, for example, the central Kosovo-Metohija area of Drenica had a total of 1,900 households, of which 1,873 were Serb and only 10 Albanian. The censuses from 1921 and 1931 also indicate that Albanians were not a majority in this region. At the peak of Medieval Serbias economic and cultural prosperity, its capital was in the Kosovo-Metohija city of Prizren; at the time, it was one of the largest cities in the Balkans, with 60,000 inhabitants. The belief of Serbs and not just the Orthodox clergy that Kosovo is the Serb Jerusalem is not unfounded. Without Kosovo-Metohija, Serbs would not be who they are they would cease being a historical nation, and become an amorphous demographic mass.
The Albanian character of Kosovo-Metohija emphasized by the Indictment is not a legitimate consequence of the natural disappearance of Serbs and the natural population growth of local Albanians. Forced Albanization began with the Islamization of the local populace during the Turkish occupation and has continued to the present day, always as a function of conquest and occupation by foreign powers. In addition to Albanization, the majority Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija have been systematic targets of expulsion and terror, until they were reduced to the proportions on which the ICTY Indictment is based. With regard to elementary justice such an essentially genocidal change of ethnic makeup in Kosovo-Metohija cannot be considered valid. It is generally understood in the legal science that changes achieved by force are considered null and void.
Paragraph 5 of the Indictment says: During the 1980s, Serbs voiced concern about discrimination against them by the Kosovo Albanian-led provincial government while Kosovo Albanians voiced concern about economic underdevelopment and called for greater political liberalisation and republican status for Kosovo. From 1981 onwards, Kosovo Albanians staged demonstrations which were suppressed by SFRY military and police forces of Serbia.
COMMENT: Serb concern over discrimination by the Kosovo Albanian-led provincial government is much older, and has involved much more than mere concern. The issue here is an expulsion of Serbs from Kosovo-Metohija which began in the latter half of 1960 after the Fourth Plenary session (the Brioni plenum) of the Yugoslav League of Communists (SKJ).
During the 1980s, after the death of J.B. Tito, the expulsions intensified, and were manifested in a variety of ways calculated to cause the mass exodus of Serbs from the province. According to expert though still incomplete analyses of the available data, it is estimated that over 200,000 Serbs were expelled from Kosovo-Metohija from mid-1960 to 1981, under various circumstances, commonly under pressure. The Albanian majority in Kosovo (77% per the Indictment and 74% according to the Federal Bureau of Statistics) came into being not just because of the well-known demographic explosion among the Albanians, but because of systematic expulsion of Serbs and other non-Albanians from the province.
Also, the 1981 Census was conducted by the predominantly Albanian provincial government and should therefore be viewed with suspicion. Even the Yugoslav public is unaware that Albanian census-takers were instructed to classify Croats, Roma, Turks, Gorani, Moslems and other non-Albanians as Albanians on the census form. The fact that most of these groups became targets of Albanian terrorists and other separatists after the withdrawal of VJ and FRY security forces from Kosovo-Metohija and the arrival of KFOR (June 1999), joining the Serbs in refugee columns heading into inner Serbia (and in some cases Macedonia) confirms the suspicions about this Census.
The concerns of Kosovo Albanians about economic underdevelopment that the Indictment quotes as a legitimate reason for Albanian revolt were borrowed from the propaganda quiver of the Albanian separatist movement. This movement cites that very reason to justify its separatist nature for a full 50 years. The Yugoslav public remembers that the Albanian riots in March and April 1981 began ostensibly over bad food in Pristina Universitys cafeteria.
Underdevelopment was debunked by the then-absolute leader of Kosovo Albanians, the member of the SFRY Presidium, Fadil Hoxha, in his address to the rioting demonstrators. On that occasion, among other things, he said:
The Albanian people of Kosovo has, together with the Serbs and other nations and nationalities of Yugoslavia, achieved development it never before had in its history. Since this soil knows of Albanians, Serbs, Montenegrins and others, Kosovo and its ethnic communities have never before had a faster and more dynamic growth. Not only that, but I can tell you that I know no other people who achieved this much progress in such a short time as the Albanians have in Kosovo. In only four decades, we have overcome the burden of feudalism and unprecedented cultural backwardness. Today, we Albanians have every opportunity to develop and nurture all the values that make up our national identity, like all the other peoples in Yugoslavia.
It is interesting that violent Albanian separatism appeared precisely at the time when this ethnic minority had the greatest rights and the widest possible autonomy within Yugoslavia, when the provinces of Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metohija were granted constituent status in the Federation and all the rights of Republics within Yugoslavia.
During 1968, there was an ongoing debate in Yugoslavia about amending the 1963 Constitution. The goal was to decentralize the powers of the Federal government and give more power to the Republics and autonomous provinces. It was in 1968 that Amendment VII made the autonomous provinces - Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metohija into constituent elements of the Federation.
Not even these rights were enough for the Albanian separatists, however. They demanded the province be granted the status of a separate Republic. That was the occasion for demonstrations and riots that began in Pristine on November 27, 1968.
A new separatist rebellion in Kosovo-Metohija (the third since World War Two) began in the spring of 1981. Again this had the purpose of fracturing Yugoslavia. It is interesting that the intensity of separatist force in the province grew parallel to the growth of overall prosperity in Kosovo.
To prove this claim, we will cite just some statistics: between 1954 and 1980, industrial production increased 18-fold; agriculture tripled; the entire province got electricity and a complete network of elementary, secondary and higher education institutions, encompassing all school-age children; modern roads, health care, social welfare and cultural facilities were constructed for the benefit of all inhabitants.
Since World War Two, Kosovo-Metohija rose from last in Yugoslavia to third in the education levels of its workforce. In early 1980, the total number of pupils and students in this province was 500,000, which meant that every third inhabitant was attending an educational institution (see Sebrian Bureau of Stattistic figures, published 1986 in Belgrade).
Rapid development of the province was spurred by a special fund within the Federal budget, established from taxes all over Yugoslavia. This fund financed 70% of all investments in Kosovo-Metohija between 1971 and 1985. Some 70% of the Fund was covered by taxes from Serbia. Between 1978 and 1985, the Fund also granted investment credits to KosovoMetohija collected through taxes to the extent of 1.83% of the national GDP at rates up to 25% more favorable than other undeveloped areas.
Therefore, the claim by Fadil Hoxha that the Albanian people have never before seen such gigantic progress was based on accurate indicators and statistics.
Paragraph 6 of the Indictment says: In April 1987, Slobodan MILOSEVIC, who had been elected Chairman of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia in 1986, travelled to Kosovo. In meetings with local Serb leaders and in a speech before a crowd of Serbs, Slobodan MILOSEVIC endorsed a Serbian nationalist agenda. In so doing, he broke with the party and government policy which had restricted nationalist expression in the SFRY since the time of its founding by Josip Broz Tito after the Second World War. Thereafter, Slobodan MILOSEVIC exploited a growing wave of Serbian nationalism in order to strengthen centralised rule in the SFRY.
COMMENT: The claim that Slobodan Milosevic, exploiting a growing wave of Serbian nationalism, went to Kosovo-Metohija in April 1987 and there endorsed a Serbian nationalist agenda" contradicts paragraph 5 of the Indictment, which talks about the Serbian "concern about discrimination against them by the Kosovo Albanian-led provincial government. So, which nationalism was dominant in Kosovo-Metohija in the 1980s, Serbian or Albanian?
Failure to crush the Albanian national-separatist movement that instigated the March-April 1981 riots resulted in the latter part of that decade in a veritable eruption of pent-up discontent among the Serbs in the province. Their demonstrations were sparked by arrests of several prominent Serbs from Kosovo-Metohija. Having failed to reach a negotiated solution with the provincial authorities, the demonstrators (some 500 of them) arrived in Belgrade on April 7, 1986. All they demanded from the Federal authorities at the meeting in Sava Center in Belgrade was peace, liberty and freedom of movement. They complained that even their children were not safe any more. We are not free. All we ask for is liberty, was their basic demand.
As the elected chairman of the Presidium of the Serbian League of Communists (SK) Central Committee, Slobodan Milosevic automatically became a member of the inner circle of the Yugoslav League of Communists (SKJ), according to the SJK Statute. In that capacity, he could not exercise influence to strengthen centralised rule in the SFRY, even if he wanted to.
Paragraph 7 of the Indictment says: In September 1987 Slobodan MILOSEVIC and his supporters gained control of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia. In 1988, Slobodan MILOSEVIC was re-elected as Chairman of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia. From that influential position, Slobodan MILOSEVIC was able to further develop his political power.
COMMENT: Slobodan Milosevic and his supporters did not gain control over anything. They were elected to the leadership positions of their party, during its Congress, according to rules and procedures, in a secret vote. What happens in any political party, including the Serbian SK, cannot under any criteria be a basis of any Indictment, not even that of the ICTY. Therefore, we believe this paragraph does not deserve a serious response.
Paragraph 8 of the Indictment says: From July 1988 to March 1989, a series of demonstrations and rallies supportive of Slobodan MILOSEVICs policiesthe so-called Anti-Bureaucratic Revolutiontook place in Vojvodina and Montenegro. These protests led to the ouster of the respective provincial and republican governments; the new governments were then supportive of, and indebted to, Slobodan MILOSEVIC.
COMMENT: Had the authors of the Indictment been concerned with its accuracy, this paragraph would have been left out. First of all, there was no so-called Anti-Bureaucratic Revolution, but a real mass movement of the people in favor of the previously heralded, then sabotaged, reforms of contemporary Yugoslav society. The character of this movement is best summed-up in a phrase The people happened! which was widely used to describe it at the time.
Reforms were resisted by the governments in both the republics and the provinces which were by then already under firm bureaucratic control and firmly allied with national-separatist movements in their communities.
The nature of these governments is best reflected in their attitudes towards the preservation of SFRY in the late 1980s and early 1990s. If only the anti-bureaucratic revolution had swept from power the governments in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia, and even the federal government, as it had in Montenegro and Vojvodina. Had this been the case, Yugoslavia would have survived as a union, spared from all its subsequent misfortunes and tragedies. It would have implemented the planned reforms and continued its prosperous development. In that regard, the objective assessment of the anti-bureaucratic revolution is favorable, rather than incriminating, to Milosevic and his supporters.
The entire process in Vojvodina and Montenegro from July 1988 to March 1989 was entirely an internal matter of Yugoslavia. Therefore, both this paragraph and paragraph 8 of the Indictment cannot represent a crime over which the ICTY would have jurisdiction.
Paragraph 9 of the Indictment says: Simultaneously, within Serbia, calls for bringing Kosovo under stronger Serbian rule intensified and numerous demonstrations addressing this issue were held. On 17 November 1988, high-ranking Kosovo Albanian political figures were dismissed from their positions within the provincial leadership and were replaced by appointees loyal to Slobodan MILOSEVIC. In early 1989, the Serbian Assembly proposed amendments to the Constitution of Serbia which would strip Kosovo of most of its autonomous powers, including control of the police, educational and economic policy, and choice of official language, as well as its veto powers over further changes to the Constitution of Serbia. Kosovo Albanians demonstrated in large numbers against the proposed changes. Beginning in February 1989, a strike by Kosovo Albanian miners further increased tensions.
COMMENT: Our refutation of Paragraph 3 already answered the question of why and how the changes to the Serbian constitution were made in March 1989. Demands of the Serbian public to amend the Constitution were aimed at Vojvodina and Kosovo-Metohija equally. Because of their obstructionist policies, both provincial governments were dismissed. The Vojvodina government resigned in October 1988, followed by that of Kosovo-Metohija in November. Montenegro's government did the same in January 1989, under popular pressure.
New governments were not appointed, as the Indictment alleges, but elected by popular vote.
It is an established fact that all countries, and especially federations, regard national security, economic issues, and education as key factors of state unity. Therefore, it is entirely logical that jurisdiction over these matters was transferred from the provincial level to the Republic. For example, when the Albanian separatists organized a violent and widespread armed rebellion in Pristina and the rest of Kosovo-Metohija, Serbian police and even the Special Forces of the Federal Interior Ministry were unable to intervene against the rebellion until the federal Presidium issued that order after an emergency session.
Allegations in the Indictment that the constitutional changes in Serbia denied Albanians their choice of language are false. The ethnic Albanian minority continued to have full rights to education in their native language, as well as the use of that language in communicating with all branches of government in the province.
Speaking of Paragraph 9, however, we must wonder why and on what grounds does this Indictment address the issues of changes in system and personnel in a legitimate, sovereign state undertaken, by the way, in full accordance with the Constitution and laws of that state? Also, in addressing these issues, why does the Indictment single out Kosovo-Metohija? At the same time, reforms took place in the province of Vojvodina and the republic of Montenegro.
Paragraph 10 of the Indictment says: Due to the political unrest, on 3 March 1989, the SFRY Presidency declared that the situation in the province had deteriorated and had become a threat to the constitution, integrity, and sovereignty of the country. The government then imposed special measures which assigned responsibility for public security to the federal government instead of the government of Serbia.
COMMENT: It is true that the Yugoslav Presidium, chaired at the time by Lazar Mojsov, declared a state of emergency (special measures) in one part of Yugoslav territory - the Autonomous Province of Kosovo though on March 1, not March 3, as alleged. This decision was issued on the authority of the National Defense Law (SFRY Official Gazette, Issue 21/8). The NDL stipulates, among other things, that a state of emergency may be imposed in case of imminent danger to the country. Under the Constitution, only the SFRY Presidium was authorized to issue such a decision. Therefore, this legitimate and entirely constitutional decision can in no way be attributed to the any of the five indicted leaders of Serbia, including Slobodan Milosevic.
Paragraph 11 of the Indictment says: On 23 March 1989, the Assembly of Kosovo met in Pristina and, with the majority of Kosovo Albanian delegates abstaining, voted to accept the proposed amendments to the constitution. Although lacking the required two-thirds majority in the Assembly, the President of the Assembly nonetheless declared that the amendments had passed. On 28 March 1989, the Assembly of Serbia voted to approve the constitutional changes effectively revoking the autonomy granted in the 1974 constitution.
COMMENT: We already refuted the allegations in Paragraph 11 in our refutation of Paragraph 3. We would only add that the provincial Parliaments, under the existing Serbian constitution, were not supposed to ratify the proposed amendments, only to vote on them. It was the Serbian Parliament that had the power to adopt the amendments. As we said already, under these amendments the provinces remained constituent elements of the federation, and their autonomy was not effectively revoked, as the Indictment alleges.
Paragraph 12 of the Indictment says: At the same time these changes were occurring in Kosovo, Slobodan MILOSEVIC further increased his political power when he became the President of Serbia. Slobodan MILOSEVIC was elected President of the Presidency of Serbia on 8 May 1989 and his post was formally confirmed on 6 December 1989.
COMMENT: Slobodan Milosevic became chairman of the Serbian Presidium on May 8, 1989 in an entirely legal manner, as regulated by the Constitution. Naturally, assumption of the highest governmental position in any state in and of itself means the assumption of the political authority that position entails. That fact is not by itself incriminating. It is puzzling that the ICTY Indictment dwells at all on who came into power and how in a sovereign state such as Serbia, then part of the sovereign and internationally recognized Yugoslav federation!
Paragraph 13 of the Indictment says: In early 1990, Kosovo Albanians held mass demonstrations calling for an end to the special measures. In April 1990, the SFRY Presidency lifted the special measures and removed most of the federal police forces as Serbia took over responsibility for police enforcement in Kosovo.
COMMENT: As it is untrue that "mass demonstrations of Kosovo Albanians, whether in the 1960s, 1970 or the 1980s (which were addressed in our refutation of Paragraph 5), no matter were caused by economic backwardness or repression by Serbian police or military forces, it is also untrue that the 1990s demonstrations had as their goal to lift the state of emergency (special measures).
This was only the official excuse, for public consumption. The real reason was always the same: a demand for secession from Yugoslavia and the creation of a Greater Albania.
How repressive the special measures were is best seen by the ease with which the Albanian separatists could organize and launch mass demonstrations. Behind these, and all earlier mass demonstrations of Kosovo Albanians, was a well-organized separatist movement. Its illegal branches (such as PASRJ, the Movement for the Albanian Socialist Republic in Yugoslavia and others) had infiltrated not only the entire province, but also the Yugoslav Peoples Army (JNA). Illustrating this is the fact that between 1981 and 1988, some 241 illegal cells of Albanian separatists were discovered within the JNA, with some 1,600 members among the enlisted men and officers. One of them was Pvt. Aziz Kelmendi; on September 2, 1987, Kelmendi killed four of his comrades and wounded another six, as they slept in their barracks in Paracin. This example illustrates the criminal and terrorist nature of this movement and its illegal organizations.
Paragraph 14 of the Indictment says: In July 1990, the Assembly of Serbia passed a decision to suspend the Assembly of Kosovo shortly after 114 of the 123 Kosovo Albanian delegates from that Assembly had passed an unofficial resolution declaring Kosovo an equal and independent entity within the SFRY. In September 1990, many of these same Kosovo Albanian delegates proclaimed a constitution for a Republic of Kosovo. One year later, in September 1991, Kosovo Albanians held an unofficial referendum in which they voted overwhelmingly for independence. On 24 May 1992, Kosovo Albanians held unofficial elections for an assembly and president for the Republic of Kosovo.
COMMENT: It defies understanding that the ICTY, officially a legal extension of the U.N. Security Council, takes the side of the entirely illegal and unconstitutional Albanian separatist organizations, recognizing both this assembly and its decisions. There is no country in the world that would allow separatist forces to achieve their goals in this fashion. The authors of this Indictment are probably familiar with the U.S. governments response to a relatively minor separatist group in Texas, which raised the issue of secession only to be mercilessly destroyed. (Yet U.S. diplomats urged the Albanian secessionists to hold such an Assembly, and since they could not do it inside the Provincial Parliament in Pristine, they urged them to hold it anyway, even if it had to be inside a bus.)
Paragraph 15 of the Indictment says: On 16 July 1990, the League of Communists of Serbia and the Socialist Alliance of Working People of Serbia joined to form the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), and Slobodan MILOSEVIC was elected its President. As the successor to the League of Communists, the SPS became the dominant political party in Serbia and Slobodan MILOSEVIC, as President of the SPS, was able to wield considerable power and influence over many branches of the government as well as the private sector. Milan MILUTINOVIC and Nikola SAINOVIC have both held prominent positions within the SPS. Nikola SAINOVIC was a member of the Main Committee and the Executive Council as well as a vice-chairman; and Milan MILUTINOVIC successfully ran for President of Serbia in 1997 as the SPS candidate.
COMMENT: This paragraph is not incriminating, therefore not meriting a comment. However, one note is necessary. The newly formed SPS was not the successor to the League of Communists", as the Indictment alleges, not by its Statute, its memberships or property. It is true that some of the members of the old SK joined the newly formed SPS, but it is also true that some of them continued their membership in the League of Communists-the Yugoslav Movement (SK-PJ), while others joined other political parties that appeared on the Serbian political scene at the time. Other Leagues of Communists in republics of the former SFRY joined up with other leftist parties after stepping down from power, yet none of them was ever labeled successor to the League of Communists. After the abortive 14th Congress of the Yugoslav SK, many of its members joined other political parties, and not only in Serbia.
Paragraph 16 of the Indictment says: After the adoption of the new Constitution of Serbia on 28 September 1990, Slobodan MILOSEVIC was elected President of Serbia in multi-party elections held on 9 and 26 December 1990; he was re-elected on 20 December 1992. In December 1991, Nikola SAINOVIC was appointed a Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia.
COMMENT: Since it is true, this Paragraph does not require a response. It might not be extraneous to add that Slobodan Milosevic won these multi-party elections in a landslide.
Paragraph 17 of the Indictment says: After Kosovos autonomy was effectively revoked in 1989, the political situation in Kosovo became more and more divisive. Throughout late 1990 and 1991 thousands of Kosovo Albanian doctors, teachers, professors, workers, police and civil servants were dismissed from their positions. The local court in Kosovo was abolished and many judges removed. Police violence against Kosovo Albanians increased.
COMMENT: As already mentioned, the autonomy of Kosovo was not revoked when this province was reintegrated into the Serbian constitutional system.
After the attempts by Albanian separatists to organize the so-called assembly, issue the so-called unofficial resolution and hold the unofficial but also illegal and illegitimate referendum, and their proclamation of the Republic of Kosovo, the separatists launched a general boycott of the Serbian State in the entire territory of Kosovo-Metohija.
One of the forms of boycott was the mass resignation of doctors, teachers, professors, workers, police and civil servants all Kosovo Albanians. This was not because their employment was terminated, but because the secessionist leadership called for their boycott of the Serbian state, since only with the aid of these professionals could it establish the so-called parallel state (as Paragraph 18 describes below).
The greatest victims of this lunacy were surely the generations of Albanian children, educated over the past decade in improvised schools without really gaining any knowledge. During this time, the children were exposed to intense nationalist and chauvinist indoctrination, which aided their recruitment into terrorist organizations (such as the Kosovo Liberation Army and others). A great percentage of these children were only instructed in criminal terrorism and hatred for all things non-Albanian. Therefore, this paragraph is incriminating only for the Albanian separatist leadership, and not the state of Serbia and its leaders.
Paragraph 18 of the Indictment says: During this period, the unofficial Kosovo Albanian leadership pursued a policy of non-violent civil resistance and began establishing a system of unofficial, parallel institutions in the health care and education sectors.
COMMENT: Everything mentioned in response to Paragraph 17 is applicable to this paragraph as well. We would add, however, that the Albanian separatist movements boycott of the Serbian state was nearly absolute when it came to civic obligations such as taxes and paying state-owned utility services (heating bills, power, water, vehicle license and registration, insurance, etc.).
Yet the boycott was not practiced when there was a need to use the expert services and facilities of the national health system (maternity care, treatment of serious diseases, complicated surgical procedures, etc.). That is why we would like to ask the authors of this Indictment if any country in the world would tolerate such behavior from its citizens? This boycott lasted for almost a decade, bolstered by former Yugoslavias dismemberment and the subsequent civil and ethno-religious wars, during which the so-called international community systematically demonized Serbia and FRY. Any efforts of the Serbian government to end this inexcusable state of affairs were immediately deemed repression against the Albanian population.
We will address in detail the notion of Albanian separatists non-violent civil resistance in Kosovo-Metohija in responding to Paragraph 23 of the Indictment.
Only the uninformed and ill-intentioned could classify the attempts of Albanian secessionists in the early 1990s to create a parallel state through a general boycott of the Serbian government in Kosovo-Metohija as pursuit of a policy of non-violent civil resistance. Such a policy was really a well-planned, long-term strategy, whose scope and implications eluded at the time even the Serbian and Yugoslav political leadership.
Only in the late 1990s, when the Albanian separatist leadership in Kosovo-Metohija decided to initiate widespread terrorist violence in conjunction with their foreign sponsors and allies, of course did it become apparent how important the period of so-called non-violent resistance was to the preparation of terrorist actions. For example, the unhindered mass indoctrination of classes of young Albanians with national-chauvinist ideas was possible only under a complete boycott of the Serbian government and its educational system. Some ten of thousands of fanatical youths in the so-called parallel schools were to be the recruiting pool for the KLA in the late 1990s.
The same goes for the fortification of areas controlled by parallel institutions i.e. the KLA. Anyone with the slightest awareness of the proportion and degree of fortification on some 50% of Kosovo-Metohijas territory over 5000 square kilometers has no doubt that the non-violent resistance and parallel institutions were necessary to complete preparations for the violent secession that was eventually launched.
Paragraph 19 of the Indictment says: In late June 1991 the SFRY began to disintegrate in a succession of wars fought in the Republic of Slovenia (hereinafter Slovenia), the Republic of Croatia (hereinafter Croatia), and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina (hereinafter Bosnia and Herzegovina). On 25 June 1991, Slovenia declared independence from the SFRY, which led to the outbreak of war; a peace agreement was reached on 8 July 1991. Croatia declared its independence on 25 June 1991, leading to fighting between Croatian military forces on the one side and the Yugoslav Peoples Army (JNA), paramilitary units and the Army of the Republic of Srpska Krajina on the other.
COMMNET: First of all, the SFRY did not disintegrate. It was violently fragmented through internal secessionist rebellions, organized and aided from foreign centers of power, primarily the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany. The only thing the Indictment gets right, perhaps inadvertently, is that the declarations of independence by former Yugoslav republics led to armed conflict. Decisions of Slovenian and Croatian separatists (on June 25, 1991) were illegal under the SFRY Constitution. A day after declaring independence, Slovenia took control of international borders with Italy, Austria and part of the border with Hungary. When federal authorities (Customs Service and police), accompanied by 2000 JNA troops, went to reclaim the usurped border crossings, they were ambushed by Slovenian police and paramilitaries and suffered casualties in men and vehicles. That is how the Slovenian armed rebellion began.
As in the case of Albanian separatism, this unconstitutional and illegal behavior merits an indictment of the leaders that pursued it (Milan Kucan, Franjo Tudjman and their associates), not Slobodan Milosevic and his associates. This, however, was never done.
Everything else in this Paragraph is false. There was no fighting between Croatian military forces on the one side and the Yugoslav Peoples Army (JNA), paramilitary units and the Army of the Republic of Srpska Krajina on the other, formed from territorial defense units while SFRY still existed. Until the premature recognition of Slovenia and Croatia as independent states (January 15, 1992), no armed formation except the JNA can be considered a regular force, nor can their actions be considered fighting between military forces as recognized by international laws of war. Even less appropriate is the Indictments mention of peace agreements between parties in conflict. What this refers to is the Brioni Declaration of July 7, 1991, in which representatives of all the republics and the federal government, with European Community mediation, agreed to a three-month moratorium on unilateral separatist acts by Slovenia and Croatia, with the purpose of finding a peaceful solution to the crisis. This abuse of the term peace agreement is highly inappropriate for the ICTY, which at least presents itself publicly as a legal institution of international repute.
Paragraph 20 of the Indictment says: On 6 March 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence, resulting in wide scale war after 6 April 1992. On 27 April 1992, the SFRY was reconstituted as the FRY. At this time, the JNA was re-formed as the Armed Forces of the FRY (hereinafter VJ). In the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the JNA, and later the VJ, fought along with the Army of Republika Srpska against military forces of the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Croat Defence Council. Active hostilities ceased with the signing of the Dayton peace agreement in December 1995.
COMMENT: Bosnia-Herzegovina declared independence on April 6, not March 6 as the Indictment alleges. It is also untrue that the well-known premature recognition of B-H resulted in a wide-scale war following the recognition. Armed incidents in the territory of former Bosnia-Herzegovina began as early as March 1, 1992, threatening to grow into a wider-scale ethno-religious and civil war.
(Some examples were the murder of Nikola Gardovic, a Serb and the grooms father, during a wedding in the Sarajevo district of Bascarsija; the murder of a Serb at the Sarajevo Vrbanja bridge; the attack of Croatian paramilitaries on Posavina region on March 27, and their massacre of Serbs in the village of Sijekovac, committed together with the Moslem paramilitaries; clashes between Moslem and Serbian militia on Vraca hill above Sarajevo on April 5, etc.)
During March 1992, representatives of both the Serbian and the Moslem sides attempted to avoid armed conflict and reach a peaceful solution to the impasse. The Lisbon conference (March 19, 1992) and the so-called Cutillero Plan represented the pinnacle of those efforts. Representatives of all three Bosnian peoples accepted the plan for cantonization of this republic, signing the agreement.
Its implementation was thwarted, however, by the U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia Warren Zimmerman, by persuading Moslem leader Alija Izetbegovic to renege on his signature, promising him full U.S. support in creating a unitary, Moslem-dominated Bosnia-Herzegovina. According to public admissions of Ambassador Zimmerman (in his book Origins of a Catastrophe) and Lord Peter Carrington (Intervju, issue 3338, Belgrade, October 20, 1995), the Lisbon plan wasnt that bad and it turned out I was wrong (Zimmerman), while Izetbegovic was in some way pushed into declaring independence (Carrington). Therefore, the so-called premature recognition of independent Bosnia-Herzegovina, forced by the U.S. government, as well as Ambassador Zimmermans sabotage of the Lisbon Agreement, were the main causes of wider-scale war in the former Bosnia-Herzegovina. Encouraged by support and promises, on April 14, 1992, Izetbegovic issued a classified order to his green beret militia and all armed Moslems to initiate attacks against all facilities, units and officers of the JNA in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Artificial disputes about the orders authenticity are dispelled by the events that followed. Moslem attacks against JNA units and Serb civilians escalated throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina, especially in the Drina valley (Foca, Gorazde, Visegrad, Srebrenica, Zvornik, Bijeljina). This situation forced the JNA to act in self-defense.
At the end of April 1992, the so-called international community issued an ultimatum demanding the pullout of all JNA units from Bosnia-Herzegovina within 20 days. This was an unreasonably and carelessly short deadline, for withdrawing an Army from its former territory. (We have in mind that the Soviet Army was scheduled to withdraw from the former East Germany within three years.) Even with this tight deadline, as the JNA withdrew from Bosnia-Herzegovina, its peaceful pullout was hindered by numerous ambushes. The most drastic examples are events in Tuzla and Dobrovoljacka Street in Sarajevo, the latter taking place in the presence of Izetbegovic and Maj. Gen. Lewis MacKenzie [UNPROFOR commander in Sarajevo]. This ambush resulted in the deaths of several enlisted men and officers, as well as one civilian. A JNA column peacefully retreating from Tuzla was attacked on May 15, 1992. Over 200 JNA troops were massacred (no one in Bosnia bothered to establish the exact number). These ambushes and massacres were remembered not only by their multiple innocent victims and the ruthless cruelty of Izetbegovics paramilitaries, but also because no one was ever called to face justice for them. What has the ICTY ever done about this?
Also false is the Indictment's assertion that the JNA fought in this territory after May 19, 1992 i.e. after its pulliut from Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is true that after the JNA pullout, many of its members, Serbs from Bosnia-Herzegovina, voluntarily stayed in their homeland and joined the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS), defending their people.
Paragraph 21 of the Indictment says: Although Slobodan MILOSEVIC was the President of Serbia during the wars in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, he was nonetheless the dominant Serbian political figure exercising de facto control of the federal government as well as the republican government and was the person with whom the international community negotiated a variety of peace plans and agreements related to these wars.
COMMENT: This paragraph, like many others, was formulated to be in maximum agreement with the expert study of Professor Andrew James Gow, commissioned by the ICTY with the goal of placing blame for Yugoslavias dismemberment on Serbia and its leadership (i.e. Slobodan Milosevic and his closest associates), rather than domestic separatists and their international sponsors.
The fact is that Serbia was only one of the six entirely equal republics in SFRY at the time (1991), so Slobodan Milosevic, even had he wanted to, could not exercise de facto control of the federal government as Paragraph 21 alleges. More so because Croats held the key positions in the federal government during 1990 and until the very end of 1991: Ante Markovic chaired the Federal Executive Council (SIV, the federal cabinet) while Budimir Loncar was the Foreign Minister, for example.
Clashes between the secessionists in Slovenia and Croatia and the JNA were over by November 1991, when Ante Markovic still ran the federal government with support from the United States.
The war in Bosnia-Herzegovina has even less to do with the federal government and any influence Slobodan Milosevic could have had on it. Contrary to what Paragraph 21 alleges, when war started in that former Yugoslav republic, the SFRY had already been dismembered, and its federal government was no more.
To compare the similarities between phrasing in Paragraph 21 and Paragraph 55 of Mr. Gows expert study, we quote the latter in full:
In 1990, several ideas regarding the future of Yugoslavia appeared. One of them, proposed by the then-chairman of the federal Presidium Borisav Jovic, ally of the Serbian President Milosevic, had the support of Serbia and the JNA. President Jovics proposal contained many of characteristics of the existing federation, and would strengthen the role of federal government, and Belgrade with it. [translated back from Serbian]
Yet this is how events in the SFRY unfolded in 1990: Organized efforts to find better and more acceptable solutions to the future of Yugoslavia were intensified. In that regard, the SFRY Presidium held exhaustive talks in mid-1990 (June 21 - July 23) with representatives of all republics and autonomous provinces, pointing to the growing concern and fear of citizens for the future of the country and its internal organization. It was emphasized that further aggravation of inter-republic and inter-ethnic relations could lead to an uncontrollable and undemocratic unraveling, with tragic consequences beyond prediction. Fundamental questions of Yugoslavias character were put to discussion: should it be a united state or a union of states, a federation or a confederacy; the issue of internal borders; the right to self-determination, including secession; and the means to resolve these issues. It was concluded that solutions for the future organization of the country could be reached only through democratic procedure and cooperation between the federal, republic and provincial authorities. A Program of measures and activities was prepared, detailing the actions to be undertaken by the Presidium, the SFRY Parliament and all the republics.
This was, then, a document adopted by the collective heads of government, not an individual. Instead of implementing the Program, however, some republics rapidly organized paramilitaries and prepared for armed rebellion against Yugoslavia (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina). The SFRY parliament received a detailed report about these activities on October 17, 1990.
During late 1990 and in early 1991, representatives of the republics and the federal government held talks on the constitutional reorganization of the country.
In early 1991, the SFRY Presidium issued an executive order that all irregular and paramilitary forces in the country had to be disbanded.
Slovenia and Croatia, however, openly informed the Presidium they would not allow this order to be executed in their territories. In the expanded session of the Presidium on March 21, 1991, it was decided to organize meetings between presidents of all republics and provinces, to discuss the issues of SFRYs future organization. Six such meetings were held before the unilateral and violent secession of Slovenia and Croatia, which destroyed all efforts to solve the Yugoslav crisis peacefully. This had a decisive impact on future evens in Yugoslavia - especially in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which ethnically represented a smaller version of the federation.
Everything cited above clearly indicates that while SFRY existed, Slobodan Milosevic was not the person with whom the international community negotiated a variety of peace plans and agreements related to these wars. Serbias representative in the SFRY Presidium, and a close associate of Slobodan Milosevic, was Dr. Borisav Jovic. In his last meeting with U.S. President George [H.W.] Bush, in October 1990, Jovic received U.S. promises that the United States gave its full support to the unity, independence and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia, and that the accidental meeting between President Bush and Croatias leader Tudjman, a handshake in the hallway, did not change Americas principled position on Yugoslavia. Jovic communicated this to Milosevic. Therefore, we do not consider Milosevics agreement at the time with the unity, independence and territorial integrity of Yugoslavia incriminating in any way.
Paragraph 22 of the Indictment says: Between 1991 and 1997 Milan MILUTINOVIC and Nikola SAINOVIC both held a number of high ranking positions within the federal and republican governments and continued to work closely with Slobodan MILOSEVIC. During this period, Milan MILUTINOVIC worked in the Foreign Ministry of the FRY, and at one time was Ambassador to Greece; in 1995, he was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs of the FRY, a position he held until 1997. Nikola SAINOVIC was Prime Minister of Serbia in 1993 and Deputy Prime Minister of the FRY in 1994.
COMMENT: This Paragraph in the Indictment is accurate, though there is nothing incriminating about the information it contains.
Paragraph 23 of the Indictment says: While the wars were being conducted in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the situation in Kosovo, while tense, did not erupt into the violence and intense fighting seen in the other countries. In the mid-1990s, however, a faction of the Kosovo Albanians organised a group known as Ushtria Çlirimtare e Kosovës (UÇK) or, known in English as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). This group advocated a campaign of armed insurgency and violent resistance to the Serbian authorities. In mid-1996, the KLA began launching attacks primarily targeting FRY and Serbian police forces. Thereafter, and throughout 1997, FRY and Serbian police forces responded with forceful operations against suspected KLA bases and supporters in Kosovo.
COMMENT: Though for the reasons cited earlier the Albanian separatist movement was not yet ready to join the separatist movements in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina in actively destroying the SFRY during 1990-1992, it did use the countrys deteriorating internal and international circumstances to expand preparations for its own armed rebellion certainly with support from outside sponsors. Compared to the environment in which separatist rebellions were organized in other parts of Yugoslavia, the Albanian separatists had a far better environment for their rebellion as the decade went on. The first part of this decade was characterized by a fierce assault by New World Order forces, achieving results that would have been unimaginable to their ideologues even a few years earlier:
1) The USSR was broken up. One of the two superpowers, which helped anchor the bipolar world order, thus simply disappeared from the international scene;
2) Secondly, only one of the major military alliances disappeared in the USSRs wake (the Warsaw Pact).
3) Germany united, and overnight asserted its dominant role in political reorganization, first inside the European Community and then outside its borders.
4) The SFRY was broken up, and its territory beset with several short and long ethno-religious and civil wars, in which the Serbian nation suffered the most and with it Serbia and Kosovo-Metohija as well.
Serbia was realistically unable to assert its full authority in Kosovo-Metohija, due to the necessity of aiding its compatriots across the Drina River and coping with the consequences of embargoes imposed by the so-called international community. Local government in Kosovo-Metohija was inefficient and corrupted by bribes from wealthy Albanians. Some opposition forces in Serbia sabotaged the state and acted as a fifth column, valuing the struggle for power over the struggle against Albanian separatism.
The indictment says that In the mid-1990s a faction of the Kosovo Albanians organised a group known as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).
This is only partially true. The origins of Albanian separatists terrorist organizations in Kosovo-Metohija date much earlier than the mid-1990s. A forerunner of the KLA was formed on February 17, 1982, when Albanian émigrés in Germany (FRG) established the National Movement for the Republic of Kosovo (NPRK). Four illegal organizations from Kosovo-Metohija joined the NPRK: the Movement for the Albanian Socialist Republic in Yugoslavia (PASRJ), the Marxist-Leninist Organization of Kosovo (OMLK), the Communist-Leninist Party of Yugoslav Albanians (PKMLSHJ) and the Peoples Red Front (FKB).
Until the early 1990s, NPRK organized the activities of several smaller, fanatical terrorist cells, well trained in Albania, Switzerland and FR Germany. Numerous indicators of their activity were cited in responses to previous paragraphs of the Indictment. Albania has always had the key role in instigating and aiding Albanian terrorism in Kosovo-Metohija. After Albania emerged from seclusion (following Enver Hoxhas death) in the latter 1980s, Turkey had a dominant influence on Albanian affairs, which included aiding the growing terrorist arm of Albanian separatists in Kosovo-Metohija.
In the late 1980s, however, German intelligence (BND) displaced Turkey as the dominant foreign influence in Albania, while U.S. intelligence (CIA) has had a strong presence in Albania and Kosovo-Metohija since the early 1990s.
The idea of closer military organization among the Albanian separatists dates back to the early 1990s and the declaration of a Republic of Kosova (at the July 2, 1992 Kacanik assembly), when it was decided to form illegal police and paramilitary groups. December 1994 was the first public encounter with the KLA, following the assassination of Lutvi Ajvazi, a police inspector from Srbica. On that occasion the KLA command issued a communiqué taking responsibility for this crime, also claiming several earlier assassinations of occupiers and traitors. Under the banner of liberating all territories in the Balkans inhabited by Albanians and uniting them in a single, Albanian state, the NPRK called its terrorist groups the Army of Kosova.
Yugoslavias dismemberment (1990-1992) was used by the Albanian separatists to accelerate weapons acquisition and paramilitary training. In the spring of 1993, the Serbian Security Service (SDB) succeeded in dealing a partial and temporary setback to the Albanian separatist paramilitaries; some 14 members of the so-called Republic of Kosova ministry of defense were arrested, and many incriminating documents seized. What they showed was that the ministry of defense planned to organize an army of some 40,000 men for the armed rebellion, with the appropriate modern weaponry. According to the documents, a total of 18 brigades were envisioned, (3 in Pristina, 2 each in Podujevo and Kosovska Mitrovica, 2 each in Gnjilane, one each Urosevac, Kacanik, Decani, Klina and Drenica), numbering 2,000-5,000 men each. Every brigade had a specified zone of operations (ZO). Since the KLA had a very similar organizational structure and distribution of ZO when it attacked the Serbian security forces and the VJ in 1998-99, this testifies to the long-term character of plans for armed rebellion in Kosovo-Metohija.
Facts decisively refute the Indictments allegation that the paramilitary formations of Albanian separatists were formed only in the mid-1990s, and definitely refute another suggestion: that the KLA was a faction of the Kosovo Albanians, isolated, almost autonomous, and a lone advocate of armed insurgency and violent resistance to the Serbian authorities. The KLA, much like paramilitary branches of other separatist movements (the Croatian National Guard Corps - ZNG, Bosnia-Herzegovinas Patriot League, ETAs military arm in Basque, and others in Corsica, Ireland, Chechnya, etc.), is part and parcel of the Albanian separatist movement in Kosovo-Metohija, its military arm without whose terrorist activities that movement would have never been able to cause a crisis in the Balkans and southern Europe, threatening the peace in the entire region.
Unlike the inadequate descriptions of aggressive and terrorist activities of Albanian separatists found throughout this Indictment, this Paragraph at least acknowledges that the so-called KLA in 1996 began launching attacks primarily targeting FRY and Serbian police forces. A question arises from this, essentially accurate, statement: which country or government in the world would fail to respond to such attacks with appropriate measures?
Certainly, the response of VJ and Serbian police was far less forceful than U.S. police and military action against the Texas separatists in 1999. Even though all the rebels there were killed in forceful actions by the U.S. security forces, no one deemed this an instance of excessive force, and there was certainly no condemnation by the so-called international community.
While not dwelling on the methods of fighting separatist terrorism in other countries (the UK in Northern Ireland, Spain in the Basque country, France in Corsica and Turkey in northern Kurdistan), we would like to point out the forceful actions of Macedonian armed forces against the Albanian liberation army in early 2001, using tanks and combat helicopters. Macedonia has not been declared an outlaw state. Yet the far less forceful operations by Serbian security and the VJ against that very same Albanian liberation army somehow merit the ICTY Indictment of Serbian and Yugoslav leadership as war criminals! What kind of justice is this, valid in one case but no other?
Further attention is merited by the condensed description of events in Kosovo-Metohija in the early 1990s, when the Albanian separatist rebellion did not erupt into the violence and intense fighting... such as in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Years of total boycott of the Serbian state and the development of some sort of parallel society (the Republic of Kosova) had created a perception, reinforced by indoctrination, in many Kosovo-Metohija Albanians that secession from Serbia and the creation of a Greater Albania were in their grasp. This was a vacuum in which the Albanian separatists could grow, strengthen its organization and enlist more support virtually unhindered. Especially important was the separatists' ability to connect with international factors that expressed interest in their goals, thus securing various forms of aid. Since this was an aggressive, separatist movement, determined to achieve its goals and those of its foreign sponsors through genocidal terrorism, its priority was obviously to create the appropriate paramilitary groups and arm and equip them for terrorist actions.
Therefore, the Indictments allegation that the Albanian separatist movement embraced non-violent resistance to Yugoslav and Serb authorities until the KLA appeared in the mid-1990s, is unsustainable. Rather to the contrary, this movement spent the first half of the 1990s preparing for armed rebellion, using the cover of wars in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia- Herzegovina.
Paragraph 24 of the Indictment says: After concluding his term as President of Serbia, Slobodan MILOSEVIC was elected President of the FRY 15 July 1997, and assumed office on 23 July 1997. Thereafter, elections for the office of the President of Serbia were held; Milan MILUTINOVIC ran as the SPS candidate and was elected President of Serbia on 21 December 1997. In 1996, 1997 and 1998, Nikola SAINOVIC was re-appointed Deputy Prime Minister of the FRY. In part through his close alliance with Milan MILUTINOVIC, Slobodan MILOSEVIC was able to retain his influence over the Government of Serbia.
COMMENT: Our response to this Paragraph is similar to what we said about Paragraph 22 above.
Paragraph 25 of the Indictment says: Beginning in late February 1998, the conflict intensified between the KLA on the one hand and the VJ, the police forces of the FRY, police forces of Serbia, and paramilitary units (all hereinafter forces of the FRY and Serbia), on the other hand. A number of Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs were killed and wounded during this time. Forces of the FRY and Serbia engaged in a campaign of shelling predominantly Kosovo Albanian towns and villages, widespread destruction of property, and expulsions of the civilian population from areas in which the KLA was active. Many residents fled the territory as a result of the fighting and destruction or were forced to move to other areas within Kosovo. The United Nations estimates that by mid-October 1998, over 298,000 persons, roughly fifteen percent of the population, had been internally displaced within Kosovo or had left the province.
COMMENT: The very first sentence demonstrates the bias of the ICTY prosecutors when qualifying the combatants in Kosovo-Metohija. First the KLA is referred to without any qualifiers, as if this was a regular armed force or a liberation movement of an internationally recognized state, rather than a separatist and terrorist paramilitary movement, beyond a doubt the most criminal of all that operated in the former Yugoslavia. At the same time, the Yugoslav Army, Serbian police and militias were lumped together (forces of the FRY and Serbia) which is both amateurish and not supported by facts.
Secondly, the conflict between the KLA and Serbian security forces did not intensify on its own, nor was this intensification bilateral.
Under direct influence of the U.S. and German governments, the Albanian secessionists decided to commence an open armed rebellion in Kosovo-Metohija. This decision was preceded by several exploratory trips, round tables and scientific gatherings (in Vienna, April 18-19, 1997, in Ulcinj on June 29, between Adem Demaqi and Momcilo Trajkovic in New York, etc.), with the help and participation of the official and semi-official representatives of many Western countries. The goal of these gatherings was to soften the Serbian State authorities to voluntarily accept the so-called international mediation of the Kosovo problem. Naturally, the hard-line position of the FRY and Serbian authorities regarding the demands for so-called international mediation was motivated by experiences with the so-called international community since Slovenias secession.
Direct involvement of the United States in preparing the Albanian separatists armed rebellion in Kosovo-Metohija was demonstrated (among other things) by the appointments of Ambassadors Holbrooke and Gelbard as special envoys for the southern Serbian province, and their direct contact with KLA headquarters. Encouraged by this U.S. behavior, Klaus Kinkel, German foreign minister at the time, called all European countries to follow the American example and make contact with the KLA. That was when the Albanian separatist leaders and their foreign sponsors estimated that their numbers, organization, armament, substantial separatist indoctrination and both the internal and external weakness of the Serbian state and FRY, offered them a chance to conquer the area of Kosovo-Metohija and force Serbia and FRY to accept the solutions imposed by foreign diktat.
So they attacked, fiercely, often without making any distinction between civilians and uniformed officials, between ordinary citizens and police, police and the military, or even Albanians and Serbs. According to statistics of the Serbian Interior Ministry (MUP), between February and June 1998 there were 409 registered terrorist attacks in Kosovo-Metohija over 80 attacks per month, an average of about three per day. This is also documented in the operational logs of the Pristina Corps HQ. It is worth pointing out that of those terrorist attacks, 261 of them targeted civilians and civilian buildings. In this period, terrorists killed 35 and injured 50 non-Albanians (29 seriously); 143 of their victims were non-Serbs (among them 26 killed and 43 injured Albanians). Serbian police forces were targets of 148 terrorist attacks, suffering 18 dead and 67 injured. An eye-opener is that the KLA terrorists killed more Albanians (26) than Serbian police (18), with a similar proportion among the injured. Such ruthlessness to those among their own people, who were reluctant to fully support the most violent expression of Albanian separatism, is unprecedented. Traditionally, Albanians did not kill other Albanians, since that would precipitate an almost endless blood feud. The so-called KLA violated even this traditional code. Whether it did so by itself, or under foreign influence, has never been established.
All the available battle reports of the VJ Pristina Corps from January to early April 1998 (classified orders number 122-3, 311-2, 78-8, 78-12, 78-18, 78-29 and 1/138-1) testify and prove that the Corps units took the following actions: measures taken to improve security of the border, transition to increased security of the interstate border with Albania in order to prevent the increasing number of illegal crossings from that country, field deployment of certain units, accompanied by preparation and deployment of field base camps, etc. The field camps did not conduct combat operations, but combat training of units and personnel of all services for the sake of improving preparedness of Task Forces. Since the deployment was undertaken in areas where Albanian separatists terrorist groups were operating, the organizational orders of April 11, 1998 emphasize (in section 7) that measures should be taken to avoid damage to the civilian population (such as disturbing pastures and fields), in order to thwart the terrorist goal of provoking hostility among the people towards the VJ. Orders also demanded appropriate behavior of all troops towards the local population in areas of training exercises, avoiding all provocations and possible conflicts with the local population. Since there was a realistic expectation that terrorist groups might launch surprise actions, the orders mandated security measures to protect personnel, equipment and data.
In early March 1998, due to a deteriorating security situation in the Corps area of responsibility, the Pristina Corps Headquarters ordered (classified order # 72-2 of March 1) that: in order to prevent armed conflict from escalating the Corps would reinforce security of the border towards Albania using peacetime formations trained for that purpose.
Later, in the second half of March 1998, given the complex security situation in Kosovo-Metohija, the escalation of terrorist attacks and illegal crossings from Albania, and the impending threat to communications with isolated military posts and border outposts, the Corps HQ ordered the deployment of forces to secure a wider strip along the border, according to the order establishing special measures of permanent security alert, so that certain Task Forces deployed along certain communication routes and camp sites along the border (classified order # 1/138-1, April 10, and #1/138 of April 11, 1998).
Obviously, all through mid-April 1998 the Yugoslav Armys Pristina Corps fostered friendly relations with civilians, even seeking to avoid damages to pastures and fields. The shelling of majority Albanian towns and villages in Kosovo alleged throughout the Indictment, as well as alleged expulsions of civilians from the KLAs areas of operation, is obviously nowhere near the truth. Moreover, Serbian police units could not have shelled anything; even though it had several heavy skirmishes with the terrorists (one of them is described in more detail below), it had no artillery.
All other orders of the Pristina Corps, Third Army and the VJ General Staff contain specific instructions for civilian relations, with the emphasis on the protection of person and property.
Soon after the orders cited above (April 11), the Pristina Corps CO issued another order, (classified #880-35 of May 16, 1998, instructing (section 4): Brigade and Task Force commanders will make contact with local Albanians and warn them that the VJ was not deployed against them, but for the purpose of regular combat training and suppression of terrorists. Warn the Albanian population not to attack the VJ, because the Army will respond to any attack with all available means. Sections 8, 9 and 11 of the same Order instruct:
- Without explicit orders from the Pristina Corps HQ, all Pristina Corps units and Task Forces in the field shall not undertake any actions that would needlessly involve them in combat. There shall be no expulsions or attacks on civilians.
- Without explicit orders from the Pristina Corps HQ , all Pristina Corps units and Task Forces in the field shall under no circumstances enter residential areas to conduct searches, sweeps, arrests of individuals and similar activities.
- In case of terrorist attacks on Pristina Corps units, and before responding to the said attacks, warn the attackers to cease fire and retreat, while notifying the civilians to leave the zone.
Serbian police forces, naturally, had to respond to terrorist attack by returning fire, as well as taking offensive action to neutralize terrorist groups, destroy their strongholds and establish effective control over communication routes and territory.
One of the first major engagements between the Serbian police and the so-called KLA was in securing the villages of Lausa, Gornje Prekaze and Donje Prekaze, in March, 1998.
A terrorist group led by Adem Jashari had attacked police patrols on February 28, killing four officers and injuring two. While the Serbian MUP forces dealt with this terrorist situation in the Drenica area, focusing on the villages of Prekaze and Jablanica and the road to Kalausa, the Pristina Corps HQ monitored their activities, documenting them in command reports of March 5 and March 6, 1998.
In these reports, the Corps commanding officer indicated some problems created by the MUP forces actions, such as the use of combat vehicles that were not painted blue or clearly marked. This could have created the impression that VJ units were involved in the operation, which was not the case (classified order 78-18 of March 9, 1998). This report also noted that the terrorists were using civilians as human shields when confronting the police, a practice which caused a number of unnecessary, civilian casualties. Civilians who defied terrorist orders to remain in the combat zone were nevertheless organized in a refugee column, to create the impression of expulsion or exodus. This practice, which was part of the standard tactic employed by the KLA", will be discussed separately.
Terrorist attacks throughout Kosovo-Metohija did not spare the VJ, targeting its units, command facilities and outposts, especially along the border with Albania. A coded report from the Pristina Corps HQ to the Security Directorate of the VJ General Staff, dated April 28, 1998, cites the number of killed (19) and captured (2) terrorists, as well as the precise quantity and composition of weapons and equipment captured around the border outposts, Morina, Gorozup, Kosare, Cestak and Orgusa: 169 assault rifles, 67 rifles, 4 anti-tank guns, 7 machine guns, one RPG, 6 machine pistols, 164 RPG rounds, 18 boxes of ammunition, 27,163 bullets (7.62 mm), etc.
Operational logs of the Pristina Corps HQ also show that on April 24, 1998, one group of KLA terrorists attacked a unit belonging to the 52nd Military Police Battalion from the position of Suka Vogelj, while on the same day the border outpost in the village of Babaloc came under fire.
Responding to the terrorist attack, units of the 52nd Military Police Battalion attacked Suka Vogelj and killed seven terrorists. The following day, VJ border patrol units engaged a terrorist group attempting a crossing from Albania near the border outpost, Kosare, killing 16 terrorists and capturing large quantities of weapons and ammunition. In April 1998, Albanian terrorists launched 11 attacks altogether against VJ units and positions. Only three and a half months after these initial terrorist attacks on the VJ did the Army begin offensive, counter-terrorist operations.
This ought to be enough to unequivocally answer the question of who initiated the use of force in Kosovo-Metohija. Attacks on VJ units apparently had the goal of forcing and accelerating its logical response, which was to be used by separatist and Western propaganda as evidence that a mass Albanian uprising was underway in Kosovo-Metohija, which rightfully expected NATO aid.
Therefore, in the first half of 1998 (from the end of February to mid-July), the VJ did not take offensive actions against the KLA, nor did it have paramilitary formations under its command, then or ever. The Armys general position on volunteers and possible emergence of militias was clear in the Directive of the Joint Command for Kosovo-Metohija of July 1, 1998. Among other things, it prohibits enlistment of volunteers on any basis or ethnicity, into these units, meaning the units belonging to the Joint Command for Kosovo-Metohija.
Finally, we point out that federal police never took part in fighting the Albanian terrorists, contrary to allegations in the Indictment.
Paragraph 26 of the Indictment says: In response to the intensifying conflict, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed Resolution 1160 in March 1998 condemning the use of excessive force by Serbian police forces against civilians and peaceful demonstrators in Kosovo, and imposed an arms embargo on the FRY. Six months later the UNSC passed Resolution 1199 (1998) which stated that the deterioration of the situation in Kosovo, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, constitutes a threat to peace and security in the region. The Security Council demanded that all parties cease hostilities and that the security forces used for civilian repression be withdrawn.
COMMENT: In responding to this Paragraph, we cited the numbers of KLA attacks on Serbian police forces, the VJ and civilians (on an average, three attacks per day) during February and March 1998, resulting in dozens of killed and wounded among civilians, police and military personnel.
The extent of these attacks is convincingly documented by the Interior Ministrys report to the Serbian government on March 10, 1998, on the topic of counter-terrorist activities in Kosovo-Metohija, stating, among other things:
Terrorist attacks in the region of Srbica, which for many months have endangered the security of several roads, led to numerous civilian casualties, and jeopardized the safety of citizens of all ethnicities, created a need to re-establish full control of the roads in this area through the use of police outposts. Adem Jasharis terrorist group tried to interfere with this operation on February 28, attacking police patrols and killing four, while wounding two officers. Sixteen terrorists were killed in a battle with this group. In the early morning hours of March 5, a terrorist group attacked another police patrol near the village of Donje Prekaze. After police returned fire, the terrorists retreated to their base and dug in at the Jashari family farm in that village... engagement with the terrorists lasted for 27 hours, with a total of 51 casualties. Unfortunately, it was later established that Jashari family members were among them. Terrorists physically prevented them from leaving the farm, despite the police invitation. The Interior Ministry expresses regret and bitterness that these victims were a direct consequence of cruelty and ruthlessness of Albanian terrorists. The police could not have known how many, if any, civilians were detained by the terrorists, since dozens of civilians did respond to the police invitation to evacuate the village. The fact that he personally shot his nephew to prevent him from surrendering testifies to Adem Jasharis cruelty. Two officers lost their lives in this action, and seven were seriously injured.
Here is a calendar of the KLAs terrorist attacks on Serbian police in late February and early March 1998:
February 28: in the village of Liposane, around 12:30, terrorists ambush an MUP vehicle and open fire with assault rifles; several kilometers ahead, terrorists ambush the backup MUP force, shooting up a Lada-Niva 4x4 vehicle; two officers are killed, two injured. Around 14:00, MUP special forces arrive, extracting the wounded officers and pursuing the terrorists. After the ambush, the terrorists retreat towards Gland Selo, battling the MUP, which is in pursuit. Three terrorists are killed, and three more wounded. For many hours, terrorists retreat towards the villages of Poljanci, Sirez and Gradica, where the battle continues. After a battle with the terrorists, MUP forces capture three Albanians in camouflage uniforms. In the village of Vrbovac, they find a vehicle used to transport weapons and ammunition to terrorists in boxes marked humanitarian aid. Fighting goes on throughout the night of February 28-March 1. One police officer is wounded and later dies. Terrorists open fire on an MUP observation helicopter with automatic weapons and a Zolja RPG launcher. One officer is killed, another injured;
March 1: Police force the terrorists to retreat towards Poljance, with sporadic fire by the fleeing terrorists;
March 5: At dawn, in the village of Lausa, a group of terrorists attacks a police patrol, wounding two officers. Reinforcements arrive and the battle moves towards Donje Prekaze and Gornje Prekaze. Women, children and the elderly villagers are evacuated. Terrorists are forced to scatter, carrying off their dead and wounded into the nearby woods. Two officers are killed and four injured. Twenty terrorists are killed. Eight terrorists surrender, emerging from a well-camouflaged bunker. Three large bunkers are discovered overall, two with medical equipment and one filled with ammunition, weapons and demolition explosives, which also served as the command center. Among the terrorists killed in Donji Prekaz are terrorist leader Adem Jashari (age 43) and Rexhep Sellami (age 29). Both had been sentenced in absentia to 29 years imprisonment.
March 6: Terrorists retreat towards the Albanian border, into Klina and Djakovica municipalities. They attack another MUP patrol near the village of Josanica.
Before the first significant counter-terrorist action by security forces in the villages of Lausa, Gornje Prekaze and Donje Prekaze (March 5, 1998) neither the U.N. Security Council (UNSC), not any other international body acted in any way to stop the terrorist acts of the KLA. All attempts to have the Security Council issue even a formal communiqué condemning KLA terrorism, or declare this paramilitary wing of the Albanian separatist movement a terrorist organization, were systematically blocked by the United States (three times in one month, in one instance). This impotence of the Security Council before American obstruction was publicly called a disgrace by the chairman, Brazilian Ambassador Salma Amorim. Nor did U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan ever bother to visit this region and personally ascertain which side was responsible for the intensifying conflict.
As soon as the terrorists suffered their first crushing defeat at the hands of the police, however, (in the battles of Lausa and Prekaze), a Security Council session was called immediately and the UNSC Resolution 1160 condemned the police for excessive use of force, against, as the Indictment alleges falsely, civilians and peaceful demonstrators in Kosovo. The only civilian casualties in those battles were those kept by Adem Jasharis terrorists as human shields in their fortified compound.
Six months later, in the same manner and with the same reasons, the UNSC issued its Resolution 1199, qualifying the deteriorating situation in Kosovo as a threat to peace and security in the region. This resolution was also passed at the insistence of the United States, in its interest and on its behalf. Therefore it is necessary to be reminded of some significant events that took place between July and September 1998, before Resolution 1199.
Early in this period, the situation in the province could already be qualified as dramatic, especially in the municipalities of Pec, Klina and Decani. Police forces, which had battled terrorists almost every day for months, taking casualties, were significantly weakened and unable to successfully counter the increasing numbers of KLA terrorists. At that point, the Supreme Defense Council of the FRY decided that Pristina Corps units should begin offensive counter-terrorist operations, aid the police forces in destroying terrorist flashpoints and establish order in the province.
This decision was motivated by the following:
(1) at the time (mid-July, 1998), the KLA controlled over 50% of Kosovo-Metohija territory, including all the routes from Kosovo into Metohija, except for the Urosevac-Strpce-Prizren highway;
(2) the size of KLA forces was estimated at some 25,000 well-armed terrorists, concentrated around Drenica, Malisevo and Jablanica;
the highest concentration of terrorists was in: Salja (ca.
2,500 armed terrorists), Zicevica (2,000), Drenica (3,500),
Suva Reka (3.000), Orahovac, (1,500), Glodjane (3,000),
Junik, (2,000), Zur (1,500), Jablanica (3,000) and Rugovo
(1,500). In each one of those towns the "KLA"
had a headquarters that directed terrorist actions and
the arming of local villages. There were three regional
HQs (Drenica, Jablanica and Malisevo), and the KLAs
general HQ was in Malisevo. At this time, the terrorists
had started adjusting their organizational structure, and
were about to form units of higher order (a division in
Drenica, for example).
Intervention by the Pristina Corps, i.e. a general counter-offensive against the terrorists, scuttled the organizational efforts of the terrorists and the establishment of a supply corridor with Albania, on the route Jablanica-Junik-Jasici, as well as the creation of a compact territory bordering Albania, in the area of Decani-Jablanica-Drenica-Salja.
Following the decision of the Supreme Defense Council, the Pristina Corps devised a plan for comprehensive counter-terrorist operations, which lasted a total of 65 days (July 25 September 29, 1998). Battle action reports estimated that over 20,000 terrorists were neutralized during the operation:
The counter-terrorist operation also had the following political results:
a) It stopped the mass influx of weapons and equipment from Albania as well as the infiltration of terrorists and the establishment of a corridor with Albania;
b) The further rise of terrorism in Kosovo-Metohija was stopped, the terrorists subdued and prevented from promoting of the KLA as a legitimate armed force of the separatist movement;
c) Terrorist forces were scattered and the territory they held was splintered. All headquarters were eliminated, and all the roads in Kosovo-Metohija secured;
d) In the aftermath, Albanian civilians who fled the terrorist pressure and combat operations near their homes were returned to their homes or taken to refugee accommodations.
However, all of that is described in Paragraph 26 as the deterioration of the situation that constituted a threat to peace and security in the region, which caused UNSC Resolution 1199.
The FRY was forced in September 1998 to halt its counter-terrorist operations before their completion, though blackmail and pressure (which we will address in our response to Paragraph 27).
One would expect that the Bush administrations decision to blacklist the KLA (June 2001) would spur the analysis and reassessment of the long-term support and protection the U.S. government gave this terrorist organization. But since the reassessment of this relationship would drag out many other skeletons from the previous (Clinton) administrations closet among which would certainly be the staged massacres in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war (breadline, marketplace I and II, and others), as well as Ambassador Walkers fabrication of the Racak incident into a pretext for aggression against the FRY it is more probable that the current administration will experience short-term memory loss and behave as if nothing had happened.
Paragraph 27 of the Indictment says: In an attempt to diffuse tensions in Kosovo, negotiations between Slobodan MILOSEVIC, and representatives of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) were conducted in October 1998. An Agreement on the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission was signed on 16 October 1998. This agreement and the Clark-Naumann agreement, which was signed by Nikola SAINOVIC, provided for the partial withdrawal of forces of the FRY and Serbia from Kosovo, a limitation on the introduction of additional forces and equipment into the area, and the deployment of unarmed OSCE verifiers.
COMMENT: This paragraph mentions nothing about events that preceded the Milosevic-Holbrooke negotiations in early October 1998. As mentioned earlier, the VJ Pristina Corps forces conducted joint operations with Serbian police from July to September 1998, destroying terrorist cells throughout Kosovo-Metohija. At that point, the United States government, through NATO, had issued an ultimatum demanding that all operations of the VJ and the Serbian police against Albanian terrorists cease immediately, and threatening aggression against the FRY. This was a serious threat to FRYs security.
The Milosevic-Holbrooke talks took place in this atmosphere of pressure. Because of the very real threat to FRYs security, substantial concessions to American demands were made:
1. counter-terrorist operations were halted before the final destruction of terrorist organizations was achieved;
2. a political approach to resolving the Kosovo-Metohija situation was accepted;
3. violence and terrorism were condemned as acts contrary to international norms;
4. it was agreed that every solution of the Kosovo-Metohija problem would respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the FRY;
5. every solution had to respect the equality of all citizens and all minorities residing in Kosovo-Metohija;
6. the future of Kosovo-Metohija was to be equality, integration, economic prosperity and tolerance;
7. local self-government in Kosovo-Metohija had to conform to the legal systems of Serbia and FRY, as well as international standards;
8. self-government would be practiced through the legislative, judicial and executive branches of government;
9. ethnic communities would have additional rights for the sake of preserving their ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity, in accordance with international standards;
10. local police will be established as part of the political agreement;
11. no person would be criminally prosecuted for the conflict in Kosovo, except for crimes against humanity and violations of international law, for the sake of full equality. Full and unhindered access would be allowed to foreign experts, including forensic pathologists, which would cooperate with state investigators;
12. for the purpose of one-time sentence reduction, the authorities would reassess sentences against members of ethnic communities in Kosovo-Metohija convicted of crimes motivated by political violence.
However, the statement of NATOs Secretary-general, Javier Solana, immediately after the agreement was signed, revealed the true extent of the U.S. and NATOs commitment to a peaceful resolution of the Kosovo-Metohija crisis, and their readiness to use force in order to establish a military presence in the area.
Parallel to the OSCE Verification mission, Solana had said, NATO will be a key element in verifying President Milosevics readiness to keep his word... NATO will carefully watch the area of Kosovo from the air, and constantly maintain the threat of force... it will remain ready and willing to intervene militarily if the agreement is not respected.
Surely it was after consultations with NATO that Austrias foreign minister Wolfang Schuessel requested the following day that the Alliances air patrols be extended over the entire territory of Yugoslavia, and demanded additional guarantees for OSCE Verifiers.
It was proven later that the arrogance of NATOs secretary-general and Austrias foreign minister had been grounded in the fact that the decision to attack the FRY had already been reached at the time. All that the Alliance was waiting for was a convincing pretext to start the aggression without a decision by the Security Council.
Retired German general Heinz Loquai (Berliner Zeitung, June 1999), later stated that before air strikes against the FRY, a good chance for a peaceful resolution in Kosovo-Metohija had been missed due to the biased, dismissive and one-sided position of most countries in the Alliance in favor of the Kosovo Albanians and against the Serbs.
According to Loquai, the United States had a firm intent to intervene militarily long before Rambouillet. Ambassador Walkers order at the end of January 1999 to prepare for the evacuation of the OSCE verifiers proves that the Kosovo dice were loaded. The OEBS mission was not yet complete, and there was obvious evidence that even its incomplete presence reduced tensions in the field.
This is demonstrated by Pristina Corps HQ orders (classified, #880-349 of October 23, 1998):
Based on the orders of the Third Army (classified, #168-319, of 23 October, 1998) and with the purpose of fulfilling Pristina Corps' (PrK) obligations from the agreement about OSCE and NATO's Verification Mission, in Kosovo-Metohija (K-M),
1. On October 24, 1998, return Task Force BG-15-1 from the village of Obrandza near Podujevo to the garrison K. Junaci in Pristina. Departure from the current position to start at 0900 hours, to be completed by 1500 hours on October 24, 1998 at the latest.
2. Redeployment shall proceed along the route Obrandza - Podujevo - Milosevo - Pristina.
3. 15th Armor Brigade HQ will make all the preparations for a planned, organized and secure redeployment, along with the necessary security during the march.
4. Commanders of BG-15-1 shall be aided in preparation and organization of the march, with the Task Forces own units handling the security of the column on the march.
5. Before departure, inspect all combat and other vehicles. Do not transport personnel in malfunctioning vehicles.
6. Before departure, perform a weapons check and retrieve all equipment and weapons deployed in the field. Upon arrival at the garrison, retrieve ammunition issued to enlisted men and officers. Through another weapons check, verify that no ammunition was missed.
7) In case of a deteriorating situation in K-M, stay on alert for intervention in areas under threat; this will be regulated by separate orders.
8) Submit a report on the completion of this assignment by 1700 hours on October 24, 1998, as part of the regular battle report.
[signed] Commander, Lt. Gen. Nebojsa Pavkovic
Only three days later, the terrorists abducted and murdered the deputy council chairman of Kosovo Polje municipality, Zvonko Bojanic. On New Years Eve, the terrorists continued their actions in the Podujevo municipality, first murdering Security Service inspector Milic Jovic by shooting him in the back on his way to work. Then they murdered Milovan Radojevic (age 65) at his doorstep in the village of Obradze, near Podujeva. He was murdered with his wife forced to watch, only because they were the last Serbian family remaining in the village. During Radojevics funeral, the terrorists shot at the mourners as well.
The first police casualty after the arrival of Walkers Verifiers was Nenad Stankovic, murdered in the village of Dragobilje on October 16. The following day, October 17, three officers were killed on the Pristina-Malisevo highway near the village of Orlate: Zivorad Kostic, Dejan Jakovljevic and Goran Markovic. One of the Walker Verifiers turned over a witness of this crime to the terrorists, and the witness was only returned because of the Yugoslav governments insistence and under public pressure.
On the same day, the terrorists ambushed and shot Olivera Simic of Klina, on the Pristina-Pec highway, injuring her seriously. By sheer chance, her three children, also in the car, were not injured. All of these crimes did not bother U.S. Ambassador [Christopher] Hill, who met with KLA representatives in Dragobilje (near Orahovac) on two occasions, November 6 and November 17.
The next criminal attack on the police took place on November 9, when officers Ilija Vujosevic and Dejan Djatlo were murdered near Malisevo. Some ten days later, officers Zoran Vrbaski and Janos Cizmadija were murdered in the village of Prilep near Decani. On December 11, terrorists murdered a local constable, Uka Mustafa, in the village of Babaj Bosku near Djakovica. On December 28, three officers were wounded in an ambush near Podujevo, and on January 8, 1999, three officers were murdered near Suva Reka: Milos Stevanovic, Dragan Tomasevic and Goran Boskovic. Since the terrorists attacked with RPGs, four more officers were injured, as well as two Serb and two Albanian civilians. In this period, two Tanjug journalists and eight VJ soldiers were abducted by the terrorists.
Paragraph 28 of the Indictment says: Although scores of OSCE verifiers were deployed throughout Kosovo, hostilities continued. During this period, a number of killings of Kosovo Albanians were documented by the international verifiers and human rights organisations. In one such incident, on 15 January 1999, 45 unarmed Kosovo Albanians were murdered in the village of Racak in the municipality of Stimlje/Shtime.
COMMENT: The claim that scores of OSCE verifiers were deployed throughout Kosovo is false. There were hundreds of them. As we said before, the Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement stipulated the deployment of 2,000 OSCE verifiers in the province. By the end of 1998, 1,400 of them were deployed.
In accord with the agreement, the VJ (Pristina Corps) units were withdrawn to garrisons, and Serbian police were pulled back to their stations. Army and police Special Forces, deployed in Kosovo-Metohija for counter-terrorist operations (July-September 1998), pulled out of the region and returned to their bases. The Yugoslav side fully complied with its obligations from the Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement, and was prepared to peacefully resolve the crisis in this southern Serbian province.
Albanian terrorists, however, used the benevolence and good will of the OSCE mission leader, Ambassador William Walker, to reorganize, regroup and regenerate after the defeats they suffered between July and September 1998, and continue their terrorist activities.
Effects of both the Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement and NATOs promised surveillance of events in Kosovo-Metohija are best demonstrated by the following statistics: from the day the agreement was signed till the end of January 1999, over 500 terrorist attacks by the KLA were registered in Kosovo-Metohija; in the same period, 35 villages were ethnically cleansed of Serbs and Montenegrins. During just the first 11 days of 1999, the KLA launched 80 terrorist attacks against the VJ, police and civilians, killing six civilians. Four police officers were killed, and another ten injured.
Evidently encouraged by the withdrawal of the Special Forces and the VJ, and the arrival of Walkers Verifiers, starting October 13, 1998 the Albanian terrorists committed new, more widespread and brutal crimes. The number of crimes from this period is a significant part of the total for 1998, which amounted to 1,854. Casualties from these attacks were 284 dead and 556 wounded, including 115 dead and 399 wounded police officers.
Most horrendous of all the crimes the terrorists committed during Walkers mission was the murder of four Serb youths at café Panda in Pec, on December 14, 1998. This deed demonstrated that Walkers KVM, instead of reducing tensions between Serbs and Albanians, preventing terrorism and securing peace for all residents of Kosovo-Metohija, managed to stoke the fire of Albanian terrorism with the obvious intent of provoking NATO intervention.
Paragraph 28, among other things, alleges: a number of killings of Kosovo Albanians were documented by the international verifiers and human rights organisations. It would be nice if the Indictment mentioned on what basis the KVM documented a number of killings of Kosovo Albanians. The Verifiers gave absolute preference to staying in Albanian homes during their mandate. When hiring translators, the Verifiers were again biased in favor of the Albanians. Therefore, the information about a number of killings of Kosovo Albanians was received from the Albanians. Additionally, the Indictment lists not a single example or piece of evidence that Albanians were murdered during the KVMs stay in Kosovo-Metohija. The only incident cited is Racak..
Since the powerful Western propaganda turned the casualties suffered by the terrorist KLA in fighting the Serbian police in this Albanian village into a false proof of atrocities against innocent Kosovo Albanians, this case certainly deserves an exhaustive review.
The alleged massacre of innocent Albanian civilians in Racak is only the last in a long line of recognizable scenarios already seen in separatist armed rebellions throughout the former SFRY over the course of the past decade, from Slovenia to Kosovo-Metohija. Most of them were staged by American experts for covert operations (black ops). Because this publication is limited in space and scope, we cannot mention all of them. We will, however, indicate a few.
- Firing on the helicopter transporting the French President Miterrand on the approach to the Butmir Airport, Sarajevo, in June 1992;
- Moslem shelling of Sarajevo on August 17, 1992, timed to coincide with the visit of British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd.
- Detonation of explosives set in front of TV cameras at the Sarajevo cemetery on August 4, 1992;
- Murder of U.S. journalist and producer David Kaplan on August 13, 1992;
- Downing of the Italian G-222 cargo aircraft en route to Sarajevo on September 3, 1992 and an attack on a U.N. food convoy several days later;
- The attack on U.N. headquarters of General Morillon (as he called it, a deliberate attack);
- The murder of civilians in a breadline in Vase Miskina Street, Sarajevo (May 29, 1992), and the even more mysterious explosions that killed people at the Markale market in February 1994 and August 1995 in the same city.
The large number of casualties stands as an indictment of those who staged these crimes, deliberately exposing hundreds of men, women, children and the elderly to grave danger for the sake of maniacal political and propaganda goals.
Despite the vast experience of those who staged such bloody provocations, there is no perfect crime. Thus none of the above-mentioned scenarios were executed so perfectly as to be believed absolutely and forever. It is simply impossible to force all the conspirators, witnesses and observers to lie, say they saw things they did not see, keep silent about what they did see, or cover up expert reports forever. This was the fate of many reports about the cited terrorist provocations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and even Kosovo-Metohija. Both then and now, powerful and well-paid contacts of high-ranking U.S. officials managed to either cover up the accurate reports about these events, or provide false testimony expecting, perhaps, that all will be forgotten with the passage of time. Expert reports on the Markale massacre were thus hidden in the files of the UN Security Council, just as the Finnish forensic experts report on Racak was hidden in the vaults of ICTY. European Commissioner for foreign relations Chris Patten thinks that the Finnish autopsy report according to which the Serb forces did not commit a massacre in that Kosovo village, should not be made available to the public, in order to avoid direct interference in the ICTYs investigation!
So what really happened in Racak on January 15, 1999?
A routine police patrol was ambushed by the KLA terrorists on January 14, killing officer Svetislav Prsic. The following day, January 15, 1999, a reinforced unit of the Serbian police followed the terrorists trail and launched a successful operation that inflicted great casualties on the terrorists. The unit had previously infiltrated the empty KLA fortifications (capturing the terrorist guard and obtaining from him all the warning signals), thus establishing a great advantage over the terrorists. Firing from up close, from the well-prepared entrenchments, they prevented a group of some 40 armed terrorists from deploying into the trenches from a nearby farmhouse, where they had slept to avoid the cold night temperatures. However, the police could not remain in the village due to heavy fire from terrorist positions on the nearby hills. William Walker and Pristina district attorney Danica Maksimovic came to the village the following day. Walker immediately made a statement (January 16, 1999): From what I personally saw, I do not hesitate to describe the crime as a massacre, a crime against humanity, nor do I hesitate to accuse the government security forces of responsibility. This verdict, before any of the experts could investigate the scene, was followed by the decision of the U.S. government and NATO to attack the FRY.
Maksimovics report was completely different. However, none of the world leaders paid it any heed. She said that a massacre of civilians in Racak was out of the question. At first, she was not even allowed to survey the scene.
Following Walkers scenario, the dead terrorists were not buried the same day (as Moslem custom calls for) but were dressed in civilian clothing and set on display in the nearby mosque, in order to send the images of massacred civilians to the world.
Still, because of the obvious discrepancies between reports on what happened in Racak, a neutral group of Finnish forensic experts was formed to conduct autopsies on the bodies and establish if they were civilians or KLA combat casualties. Though the Finnish experts report denies any massacre in Racak, Walker and his superiors managed to extort a statement from their leader, Dr. Helena Ranta (probably with a sizeable payoff), that the victims were probably civilians. A full report was classified just like the one about Markale in Sarajevo and stored in the vaults of Secretary Solana and General Clark. Those who ordered the criminal bombardment of Yugoslavia made the fabricated massacre in Racak into a pretext for their already planned aggression.
Only in early February 2001 did the Finnish experts report reach the ICTY. Its conclusions were printed in Forensic Science International, (quoted by the Berliner Zeitung of February 16, 2001), saying, among other things, that one cannot make a conclusion that security forces massacred Albanian civilians in Racak, as Walker had claimed.
If, at the time the Indictment was put together, its authors could possibly have believed Walkers statements, they cannot continue to treat them as key evidence now that the entire fabrication has been exposed. Cannot, that is, if they care for their reputation and integrity. Also exposed was the criminal character of U.S. Ambassador/General William Walker.
William Walker officially began his diplomatic career in Peru, in 1961. Between 1988 and 1992, he was the U.S. Ambassador in El Salvador. He really belongs to the inner circle of CIA experts for covert operations, with the likes of Oliver North, Morton Ambramowitz and others, who use diplomatic passports only as cover and protection. In this role, his greatest success was in Panama, alongside the former NATO commander Gen. Wesley Clark, and earlier in Nicaragua and El Salvador during the 1980s, when he fought their national liberation movements. Walker was even investigated though unsuccessfully over illegal armament and infiltration of the Contras into Nicaragua from their bases in El Salvador. At the time of Walkers service in El Salvador, local death squads trained and armed in U.S. covert operation camps (under Walkers supervision) committed numerous massacres.
In Kosovo-Metohija, Walker became famous for his extreme bias in favor of the Albanian separatist movement. He always had time to give speeches at the funerals of terrorist casualties, but he never had a moment to give his condolences to the families of murderer police officers, or abducted and murdered Kosovo Serbs, even when massacres of Serbs were found and clearly established (such as the crematorium in Klecka and the massacre site in Donji Ratis), including the murder of four youths at the café Panda in Pec.
If the ICTY really wanted to prosecute those responsible for crimes against humanity and violations of laws and customs of war it should first have indicted William Walker. Yugoslavias political leadership should answer to Yugoslav courts as to why such an obscure and unscrupulous character was allowed to become head of the OSCE Verification Mission in Kosovo-Metohija, especially following the extremely negative experiences that the leaders of Republika Srpska Krajina had with Walker in Eastern Slavonia.
Paragraph 29 of the Indictment says: In a further response to the continuing conflict in Kosovo, an international peace conference was organised in Rambouillet, France beginning on 7 February 1999. Nikola SAINOVIC, the Deputy Prime Minister of the FRY, was a member of the Serbian delegation at the peace talks and Milan MILUTINOVIC, President of Serbia, was also present during the negotiations. The Kosovo Albanians were represented by the KLA and a delegation of Kosovo Albanian political and civic leaders. Despite intensive negotiations over several weeks, the peace talks collapsed in mid-March 1999.
COMMENT: The so-called peace conference in Rambouillet was not a response to the continuing conflict in Kosovo but a continuation of the scenario to create an artificial pretext for NATOs aggression against the FRY. If one follows elementary logic, then the incident in Racak cannot be taken as evidence of the continuing conflict in Kosovo, especially since it has been established that the victims of this incident were not innocent civilians, but armed terrorists of the KLA
Rambouillet was preceded by a meeting of the so-called Contact Group in London, (January 29, 1999), which had previously discussed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, though lacking any mandate to do so. Acting on behalf of the so-called international community, this soi-disant organization created the well-known list of ten principles for resolving the crisis in Kosovo-Metohija:
Contact Group Non-negotiable Principles/Basic Elements, 30 January 1999
- Necessity of immediate end of violence and respect for a cease-fire
- Peaceful solution through dialogue
- Interim agreement: a mechanism for a final settlement after an interim period of three years
- No unilateral change of interim status
- Territorial integrity of the FRY and neighbouring countries
- Protection of the rights of members of all national communities (preservation of identity, language and education; special protection for their religious institutions)
- Free and fair elections in Kosovo (municipal and Kosovo-wide) under supervision of the OSCE
- Neither party shall prosecute anyone for crimes related to the Kosovo conflict (exceptions: crimes against humanity, war crimes, and other serious violations of international law
- Amnesty and release of political prisoners
- International involvement and full co-operation by the parties concerning implementation
Governance in Kosovo
- People of Kosovo to be self-governed by democratically accountable Kosovo institutions
- High degree of self-governance realized through own legislative, executive and judiciary bodies (with authority over, intern alia, taxes, financing, police, economic development, judicial system, health care, education and culture (subject to the rights of the members of national communities), communications, roads and transport, protection of the environment
- Legislative: Assembly
- Executive: President of Kosovo, Government, Administrative bodies
- Judiciary: Kosovo court system
- Clear definition of competencies at communal level
- Members of all national communities to be fairly represented at all levels of administration and elected government
- Local police representative of ethnic make-up with coordination on Kosovo level
- Harmonisation of Serbian and Federal legal frameworks with Kosovo interim agreement
- Kosovo consent required inter alia for changes to borders and declaration of martial law.
Even though these principles were formulated to be refused by Serbia and Yugoslavia, they were accepted at considerable surprise to their authors. The goal was to accept even the unfavorable points, in order to avoid the danger to the security of the nation posed by the oft-repeated threat of NATO aggression.
What happened was a reprise of events from August 1995 in Republika Srpska. At that time, the United States had offered a 12-point peace initiative, expecting the Serbs to reject it and prepared to use that as a pretext for NATO intervention in favor of Moslem and Croat forces. When the Serbs did accept the unfavorable U.S. platform, there was an explosion at the Sarajevo Markale market (August 28, 1995), killing 37 and injuring 45 civilians. Serbs were blamed right away, though all foreign and local experts claimed that the round could not have come from Serb positions. A day later, NATO began bombing the civilian and military targets in Republika Srpska.
By accepting the 10 Contact Group principles, Yugoslavia offered an Agreement on Kosovo-Metohija self-government in full accordance with those principles. The Agreement contained all the elementary principles of self-government in the province: from the basics to democracy, the assembly, a council of ministers, the judiciary, human rights, local police, amnesty for all prisoners except those responsible for war crimes, etc.
An embryonic core of this agreement was based on the Milosevic-Rugova agreement from early 1996 (the 3+3 treaty), among other things dealing with educational issues and the establishment of local, all-Albanian police in Djakovica.
That agreement had been accompanied by a pledge to implement the September 1, 1996 Education Agreement, signed by three Serb (Ratomir Vico, Goran PerCevic and Dobrosav Bjeletic) and three Albanian representatives (Fehmi Agani, Abdulj Rama and Rexhep Osmani), in the presence of three representatives of Comunità di SantEgidio, whose status was not exactly clear. This agreement specified the deadlines for activating the Pristina University Balkans Studies Institute (March 31, 1997), reopening three colleges at the Pristina University, with returning Albanian students and faculty (April 30, 1998), and the use of university facilities by non-Albanian faculty and students. Along with these measures, the Agreement established deadlines for reopening other Pristina University schools (May 31, June 30, September 30, 1998 etc.), along with a similar process for reopening the elementary and secondary schools. The 3+3 Committee pledged to secure funding for construction of new classrooms.
In other words, practice has shown that agreement on peaceful coexistence between ethnic communities in Kosovo-Metohija was possible. That is why the Albanian delegation in Rambouillet showed interest in negotiating with the Yugoslav delegation about this document. However, the U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia, Christopher Hill, interfered and prevented further discussions, following the recipe established when his colleague Warren Zimmerman scuttled the 1992 Lisbon agreement.
The Albanians had previously refused to sign the Contact Group principles, without even discussing them, let alone holding intense negotiations with the Yugoslav delegation. Therefore, the Rambouillet peace conference, (as the Indictment baselessly calls it) did not collapse because of some supposed uncooperative or uncompromising position of the Yugoslav delegation. Rather, the conference never had a chance because the Albanians, in consultations with the U.S. government, did not even agree to hold direct talks with the Yugoslav delegation, let alone sign the Contact Groups 10 principles. Certainly, they could anticipate the Americans next move. Having created a stalemate, the U.S. Secretary of State M. Albright stepped in with a set of entirely new, extremely unacceptable and humiliating demands the well-known Rambouillet ultimatum. Representatives of Serbia Yugoslavia couldnt possibly agree to them, because they were not authorized to sign an act of capitulation.
This ultimatum (officially, the Annexes to the Contact Group principles) demanded: a President, Prime Minister and government for Kosovo, its own Parliament, Supreme Court and an entire judicial system; also that Kosovo would have the authority to pass legislation without approval or revision by Serbia or the FRY, regulating taxes, economic, scientific, social, regional and technological development, as well as foreign relations on the same level as Serbia. Another humiliating, insulting and utterly unacceptable ultimatum, akin to deploy military forces... authorized to use necessary force in order to secure the implementation of the agreement. The head of CIM (Civilian Implementation Mission) would be authorized to issue directives binding for both sides regarding all important issues as he deems necessary, including appointing and dismissing officials and overriding institutions According to paragraph 8 of the Annex that deals with deployment of occupation troops in Yugoslavia, NATO forces were supposed to have unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY including associated airspace and territorial waters, free use of airports, roads, rails, and ports, as well as the right to make modifications to certain infrastructure to suit its needs. According to this annex, NATO troops would have full immunity from legal process, whether civil, administrative, or criminal. This would have encompassed murder, rape, pillaging, drug-running and other crimes.
In a press statement signed by Hashim Taqi [or Thaci ed.], the delegation of Albanian separatists unconditionally accepted the so-called Interim Agreement for Peace and Self-Government in Kosovo of 23 February 1999 i.e. the Contact Group Principles with the Annexes inserted by M. Albright. Taqis statement said:
Recognizing with gratitude the contribution to that goal made by the Contact Group members, the co-chairmen, the negotiators and the hosts of the conference, international institutions involved in the process of negotiations and implementation, and especially the tireless efforts of the U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright...the Kosovo delegation reiterates its agreement to the integral text as submitted and accepted on 23 February 1999. This is a definite text, which cannot be subject to further negotiations or changes, except purely technical ones.... As stated on 23 February 1999, Kosovo invites and expects quick deployment of NATO [troops], with complete and effective implementation of their foreseen functions, as well as others intended to implement the Interim Agreement, strictly in accordance with the modalities of command and control, and within the time frame set out in the Interim Agreement. Full implementation of this part of the Interim Agreement represents a key condition for the entire package, and for the agreement that Kosovo has given. Kosovo expects to be consulted regarding NATOs precise plan of deployment...
Such a humiliating ultimatum made even American newspapers (Washington Post, June 1999, Houston Chronicle on March 28 that year, and others) and many experts on international law ask if anyone could have expected the Serbs to accept such a thing. Would you have signed such an agreement?
So the Serbian and Yugoslav delegation cannot be blamed for the collapse of the Rambouillet negotiations, which never took place. The main responsibility for all that happened in Rambouillet, including the collapse of peace negotiations, lies with the United States policy represented by M. Albright.
Instead of honest negotiations with the purpose of peacefully resolving the crisis in Kosovo-Metohija, the U.S. through M. Albright had steered the Rambouillet and Paris meetings towards collapse from the very beginning, so it would have a justification to start aggression against the FRY. Such efforts are demonstrated, among other things, by the fact that Albright placed a call to Hashim Taqi in Tirana the day after NATOs air and missile strikes began (25 March 1999), demanding that the KLA begin a general armed insurrection in Kosovo-Metohija.
The most pertinent assessment of U.S. foreign policy towards the crisis in Kosovo-Metohija was given by H. Kissinger (New World Disorder, Newsweek, May 31, 1999), saying, among other things:
Several fateful decisions were taken in those now seemingly far-off days in February, when other options were still open. The first was the demand that 30,000 NATO troops enter Yugoslavia, a country with which NATO was not at war, and administer a province that had emotional significance as the origin of Serbia's independence. The second was to use the foreseeable Serb refusal as justification for starting the bombing.
Rambouillet was not a negotiation as is often claimed but an ultimatum. This marked an astounding departure for an administration that had entered office proclaiming its devotion to the U.N. Charter and multilateral procedures.
It is especially interesting that the Indictment refers to these non-negotiations as an international peace conference, since such conferences had in the past only been held at the end of major wars, between the victors and the defeated. One of the parties in Rambouillet was the KLA, i.e. a terrorist paramilitary of the Albanian separatist movement. According to general principles of the international community, there can be no negotiations with terrorists. The United States was among the first to build this principle into its foreign policy. Instead of dealing with the paradox of having the terrorist KLAs leader Hashim Taqi represented at an international peace conference, the Indictment cites for their presence the legitimate representatives of a sovereign and internationally recognized state - Milan Milutinovic and Nikola Sainovic!? Even this is inaccurate, since neither of them headed the Yugoslav/Serb delegation. Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, Prof. Dr Ratko Markovic, did. Other members of the delegation were Prof. Dr Vladan Kutlesic, deputy Prime Minister of the FRY, Sokoll Cuse (Albanian Democratic Reform Party), Faik Jashari (Kosovo Democratic Initiative), Vojislav Zivkovic (Kosovo-Metohija Serbs and Montenegrins), Zajnelabedin Kurjes and Guljbehar Sabaovic (of the Turkish community); Ibro Vajt (of the Gorani[Slavic Muslim] community), Refik Senadovic (of the Moslem/Bosniak community), Ljuan Koka (of the Roma community), and Cerim Abazi (of the Egyptian community).
Paragraph 30 of the Indictment says: During the peace negotiations in France, the violence in Kosovo continued. In late February and early March, forces of the FRY and Serbia launched a series of offensives against dozens of predominantly Kosovo Albanian villages and towns. The FRY military forces were comprised of elements of the 3rd Army, specifically the 52nd Corps, also known as the Pristina Corps, and several brigades and regiments under the command of the Pristina Corps. The Chief of the General Staff of the VJ, with command responsibilities over the 3rd Army and ultimately over the Pristina Corps, is Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC. The Supreme Commander of the VJ is Slobodan MILOSEVIC.
COMMENT: The Indictment is too vague when it refers to the violence in Kosovo continued during the peace negotiations. Every act of violence is committed by someone. This was also the case in Kosovo-Metohija, at every stage in the crisis. Only the ICTY Indictment chooses not to identify them whenever these perpetrators are Albanian terrorists of the KLA, so as not to identify the KLA as the main perpetrator of violence at the time of the so-called peace negotiations in France. Hence the use of passive voice (the violence continued...), so absurdly; it is not the terrorists who perpetrated the violence; rather, violence somehow perpetrated itself.
Another absurd claim in this part of the Indictment is that the forces of the FRY and Serbia launched a series of offensives against dozens of predominantly Kosovo Albanian villages and towns. Such phrasing suggests to the public that terrorists and their actions are wholly nonexistent in Kosovo-Metohija, so that the forces of the FRY and Serbia have nothing to do but attack the peaceful citizens of Kosovo Albanian villages and towns, out of sheer impunity or some other irrational motivation.
What was really happening in Kosovo-Metohija during, for example, mid-to-late February 1999, becomes obvious from the orders of the Pristina Corps (PrK) headquarters [Classified # 455-1, 16 February 1999] to destroy the Albanian terrorist forces in the area of Malo Kosovo; Drenica; Malisevo (marked on 1:50 000 map, sections: Novi Pazar - 4, Kursumlija - 3,4, Kosovska Mitrovica - 1, 2, 3 and 4, Pristina - 1, 2, 3. and 4, and Prizren - 1. i 2).
In section 1, this order defines the enemy:
Albanian terrorist forces (ATF) have been reorganized, rearmed with modern weapons and equipment, and trained for continued combat operations against the FRY forces.
ATF strongholds are the areas of Malo Kosovo, Drenica, Malisevo and Salja & Bajgora, where they have establish zones of operation (ZO) Lab (some 1800-2000 Albanian terrorists/AT); Drenica (25,000 AT), Drim-Pastrik (some 1500 AT), and Salja & Bajgora (some 600-800 AT), totaling some 6,800 armed terrorists in four zones of operation:
- LAB: Three KLA brigades (151st, numbering 300, with a command post (CP) in Bradas, with special force of 80-90 terrorists; 152nd, numbering 400, CP in Konjusevac; 153rd , numbering 180, CP in Zlas). CP of the ZO "Lab" is in the village of Lapastica.
Local militia units, numbering 60-100 terrorists, are deployed in the villages of Godisnjak, Brabonjic, Vaganica, and Slavkovce.
- SALJA & BAJGORA: two KLA brigades (141st, numbering 200, CP in Smrekovica; 142nd, numbering 250, CP in Sipolje). CP of the ZO Salja & Bajgora, with a special force of 70-80 terrorists, is in Bajgora.
- "DRENICA: five brigades (111th Special Brigade, numbering 300, CP in Gradica; 112th, numbering 450, CP in Likovac; 113th, numbering 300, CP in Donje Prekaze; 114th, numbering 300, CP in Glogovac; 140th, numbering 300, CP in Srbica).
CP of ZO Drenica is in Likovac, with a special force of 70-80 terrorists in Vocnjak.
Local militia units, numbering 50-70 terrorists each, deployed in Turicevac, Trtevac, Domanek, and Krajkovo. Armed sentries (100-150 terrorists) in Gladno Selo, Likosane, Prelovac and Trstenik.
The KLA counts on armed villagers (some 30-50 men) in the villages along Mt. Cicavica, Drenica, Prekaz and Gornja Drenica.
- DRIM-PASTRIK: two brigades (122nd, numbering 250, deployed in Drenovac; CP and special force of 70-80 terrorists, also in Drenovac; 124th, numbering 300, CP in Retimlje).
CP of the ZO and the KLA operational HQ in Maralija.
Local militia in villages of Dragobilje, Maralija, Gornje and Donjee Potocane, Naspale, Velika Krusa, Bace and Kravasarija. Armed sentries (30-50 terrorists) in Gajrak and on Mt. Milanovac.
The PrK orders then say:
Objectives of the ATF are to capture military, economic and civilian targets, expand and link their zones of operation, spread the rebellion, create conditions for controlling the entire territory of Kosovo-Metohija and declare an independent Kosovo.
"The ATF are armed with automatic rifles, light and heavy machine guns (also mounted on vehicles), anti-tank weapons ARMBRUST, RPG, zolja, osa [FRY-made AT missiles], AT guns and both 60- and 82-mm mortars.
"Expect mortar fire from Gornja Lapastica, Bradas and Bajgora; Likovac, Marina, Gornje and Donje Obrinje, Vocnjak, Blace, Kravasarije, Pagarusa and Dragobilje.
"Expect ambushes of units and supply convoys on all roads. Observation posts and skirmishers are deployed well in front of main ATF strongholds. AFT strongholds are being fortified with trenches and firing positions.
"Expect residential areas to be booby-trapped (schools, homes, shops), roads and trails obstructed by mines, ditches and barricades.
"To slow down, trap and inflict casualties on VJ and MUP forces, the ATF mined the areas around Obrandza, Sibovac, Gornja Lapastica, Zatric, Malisevo, Orahovac, Sobina, Orlate, Crni Lug, Vrasevce, Likovac, Lapusnik, Marina, Trnavce, Gornja Klina.
"The following roads have also been mined: Grebno-Kramovik, Jablanica-Dasinovac-Decane; Donji Ratis-Rznic- Decane, Sedlare-Crnoljevo, Stimlje-Suva Reka, Stari Trg-Rasane, Opterusa- Zociste, Likovac-Pluzina.
"Recruitment stations are in the villages of Kravaserije, Ratimlje and Pagarusa. Urban terrorist training centers are in Nisar, Ratimlje, and Pagarusa.
"We expect initial ATF resistance to VJ and MUP to be strong, but to fall off with casualties and loss of positions, eventually resulting in abandonment of strong points.
Objectives of the 52nd, Pristina Corps, were specified in clear military terms in the following order:
"Objectives: in cooperation with Serbian MUP forces, surround, break and destroy ATF in the area of Malo Kosovo, Drenica and Malisevo. Simultaneously, secure the border towards Albania and Macedonia, prevent infiltration of ATF from Albania and Macedonia, secure military outposts, roads and territory.
"Part of our forces is to prevent the retreat of ATF from Malo Kosovo, Bajgora and Drenica to Mt. Cicavica, and from Malisevo to Baranski Lug and Mt. Jezero.
"Afterwards, secure the major communication routes and establish full control over Kosovo-Metohija territory."
Given the estimated enemy force, deployment of his own troops and the objectives, the PrK commander decided to:
Attack with the bulk of the force along the lines: Krpimej-Gornja Lastica-Majance; Komorane-Trstenik-Srbica, and Klina-Malisevo-Suva Reka, and detach forces to secure the border, military outposts, roads and territory.
"Goal of the operation is to surround the ATF in the area of Malo Kosovo, Drenica and Malisevo; together with the Serbian MUP forces, from the surrounding positions attack and destroy the ATF along all the axes of advance.
"Continue with heightened alert along the borders towards Albania and Macedonia, preventing the infiltration of ATF from these republics. Secure military outposts, communications and territory.
"Part of the forces will prevent the retreat of ATF from Malo Kosovo, Bajgora and Drenica to Mt. Cicavica, and from Malisevo to Baranski Lug and Mt. Jezero.
"Afterwards, secure the major communication routes and establish full control over Kosovo-Metohija territory.
"Operation to last between three and five days.
Sections 10.2 and 10.6 of the same Order, both relating to security and psychological aspects of the operation, regulate the behavior towards captured terrorists, as well as civilians and their possessions:
Captured terrorists shall be taken to the following POW camps:
"- units operating in Malo Kosovo will establish a POW collection point at the poultry farm in the village of Goles;
"- units operating in Malisevo will establish a POW collection point at the administrative compound of TO Metohija vino winery in Siroko near Suva Reka.
"- the Corps will establish a POW camp at the warehouse of DP Vocar in Gracanica.
"All units will escort prisoners from the collection points to the main POW camp using their own forces and transportation.
"During the operation, it is specifically forbidden of all VJ troops: to enter residential areas on their own accord; to loot the property of local civilian; to violate international laws and customs of war; and to move the enemy dead and their weapons before the arrival of appropriate authorities.
10.6. Moral/Psychological concerns, and Information:
Individual soldiers are strictly forbidden to enter houses, and are to watch for possible surprise explosive devices.
So, in late February and early March there was no series of offensives against dozens of predominantly Kosovo Albanian villages and towns, as the Indictment alleges, but an operation to destroy very strong KLA forces in the above mentioned areas. Even so, despite such heavy deployment of the terrorists inside villages and towns, orders from the PrK Headquarters specifically forbid individual entry into homes and require respect for international laws and customs of war.
The above-cited sections of PrK HQ orders are in full agreement with the Instruction by the VJ General Staff regarding the VJ procedures for preparation and execution of operations in Kosovo-Metohija, order # 100 of February 3, 1999, signed by Col.-Gen. Dragoljub Ojdanic. This Instruction, aside from the general guidelines and conclusions, contains four sections: 1) Preparations for conducting combat operations, 2) Procedures for preparing to conduct combat operations, 3) Procedures during combat operations and 4) Procedures after combat operations.
In its general guidelines, the Instruction sets a basic principle for all procedures during the preparation and execution of combat operations, to be followed to the letter. As its main principle, the Instruction asserts that conduct of combat operations by VJ in endangered areas... must be thoroughly planned, organized, prepared, implemented, controlled and analyzed, which means it excludes improvisation and initiative that would make enable individuals, groups or units to engage in behavior not approved or uncontrolled by their commanders and the Headquarters.
We shall discuss command responsibility of Col-Gen. D. Ojdanic in responding to the following, Paragraph 31 of the Indictment.
Paragraph 31 of the Indictment says: The police forces taking part in the actions in Kosovo are members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia in addition to some units from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the FRY. All police forces employed by or working under the authority of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia are commanded by Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC, Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia. Under the FRY Act on the Armed Forces, those police forces engaged in military operations during a state of war or imminent threat of war are subordinated to the command of the VJ whose commanders are Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC and Slobodan MILOSEVIC.
COMMENT: The only truth in this Paragraph of the Indictment is that Vlajko StojiLJkovic was head of the Serbian MUP at the time, commanding the Serbian police. Everything else is false. But let's take it one thing at a time:
- It is not true that some units from the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the FRY took part in the actions in Kosovo-Metohija. No unit of the FRY Interior Ministry took part in any action in Kosovo-Metohija. We would also add that the FRY Interior Minister at the time, Zoran Sokolovic, never even visited Kosovo-Metohija in 1998 or 1999;
- the allegation that Under the FRY Act on the Armed Forces, those police forces engaged in military operations during a state of war or imminent threat of war are subordinated to the command of the VJ whose commanders are Colonel General Dragoljub Ojdanic and Slobodan Milosevic is untrue. There is no FRY Act on the Armed Forces. A non-existing law cannot regulate anything. The National Defense Act, Article 17, does say: In case of imminent threat of war, a state of war or martial law, units and agencies of the Interior Ministry can be used to conduct combat operations, whether in battle or other forms of armed resistance. While conducting combat operations, such units and agencies would be subordinated to the VJ officer in command of those operations.
So, Article 17 says that units and agencies of the Interior Ministry can be used The word can does not imply they must. Sticking to that interpretation, the units and agencies of the Serbian Interior Ministry did not want to be subordinated to VJ command, from the beginning to the end of the state of war.
There were attempts to subordinate police forces to Pristina Corps brigade commanders in Kosovo-Metohija, but they were unsuccessful.
Orders of the Third Army Command (classified, # 872-92 of April 20, 1999) say: 1) For the purpose of unified command in areas of operation, forces and agencies of the Interior Ministry shall be subordinated to the Pristina Corps and its subordinate commands in conducting combat operations; 2) Pristina Corps and subordinated commanders will additionally regulate the obligations of MUP forces and agencies in conducting combat operations in their areas of responsibility, according to the organizational structure of forces and agencies of the Interior Ministry; 3) All Interior Ministry agencies in Army areas of responsibility shall be notified of this order.
Based on these orders from the 3rd Army, the PrK commander issued an order to its brigades, regulating the subordination of police units in tactical operational zones.
Following the Third Army command orders (classified #872-125/1) of 8 May 1999, for the purpose of preventing further activities of ATF and destroying all terrorist groups in the PrK zone of responsibility:
1. "In the PrK zone of responsibility all security forces shall be engaged in establishing complete control of territory and maintaining open routes of communications.
2. "Through the deployment of VJ units and MUP units in brigade tactical operational zones, provide a planned and continuous engagement of manpower and materiel in the entire territory of Kosovo-Metohija; on the brigade level, engage in total destruction of the remaining terrorist forces in each brigades area of responsibility.
3. "MUP units shall be involved in controlling the territory, engaging in counter-terrorist, actions, protecting the flanks and rear areas of Army units, and generally participating in combat operations in the area, following orders of VJ brigade commanders.
"Part of the forces is to be engaged in regular
duties of providing public order and safety, protect the
lives and property of citizens, regulating traffic, etc.
5. "PrK Command order (classified #455-201) of 1 May 1999 subordinated all territorial defense and MUP units to VJ brigades, according to the MUP deployment map (attached) and territorial defense deployment plans, so that MUP and territorial defense companies can operate as units, engaging in combat under VJ control.
6. "Current deployment of MUP and territorial defense forces can be changed depending on the situation; brigade commanders will have the responsibility for such changes.
7. "Ensure a high level of accountability among all members of VJ, MUP and territorial defense units. Violators shall be held responsible and subject to disciplinary measures and criminal prosecution.
8. "Brigade commands and MUP headquarters will regulate with their superiors all other issues in regard to combat operations by the VJ, MUP and territorial defense units, providing for consistent implementation of this order. MUP units will be deployed in agreement with Interior Ministry offices in local areas of responsibility...
None of this was implemented, however, because the police refused to be subordinated to VJ commanders. A report from the commanding officer of the 37th Motorized Brigade (20 May 1999) thus states:
Despite Your orders and the meetings held so far with MUP officials, their subordination to brigade commanders in the PrK area of responsibility is proceeding very slowly and with substantial resistance of police officers in regard to their deployment. Following your proposals, we propose the following: to approach the police command in order to regulate the subordination of MUP units in brigade zones of responsibility, thus enabling their deployment in areas of responsibility in the role of combat elements attached to the corresponding brigades, and for the purpose of maintaining control of [Kosovo-Metohija] territory...
"To define the relationship between forces at the appropriate level, for the purpose of combating ATF and in the [Corps] area of responsibility, so that the situation in the field would conform to realistic needs and the tactical situation.
Finally, Paragraph 31 puts forward that the VJ commanders were Colonel-General Dragoljub Ojdanic and Slobodan Milosevic.
This claim is also not true. Colonel-General Dragoljub Ojdanic was never a commander of the Yugoslav Army, nor the police, had it ever agreed to be subordinated to VJ brigade commands.
According to the FRY Constitution (Article 135), The Yugoslav Army is commanded by the President in times of both war and peace, in agreement with decisions made by the Supreme Defense Council, to be composed of the FRY President and presidents of member republics.
The FRY president also chairs the Supreme Defense Council.
The Law on the Yugoslav Army (Articles 3 and 4) says: Command in the Army is based on the principles of unified command and control in regard to use of forces and materiel, chain of command and following orders and directions of superior officers. (Article 3), and that The Yugoslav Army is commanded by the President in times of both war and peace, in agreement with decisions made by the Supreme Defense Council. (Article 4).
Colonel-General Dragoljub Ojdanic was Chief of Staff at the Supreme Command. Historically, chiefs of staff on all command levels in the Yugoslav Army and in the armies of Serbia, the Yugoslav Kingdom and SFRY never had command authority, but only staff duties. Therefore, they cannot bear responsibility for actions of lower-level command officers in the armed forces.
Paragraph 32 of the Indictment says: Prior to December 1998, Slobodan MILOSEVIC designated Nikola SAINOVIC as his representative for the Kosovo situation. A number of diplomats and other international officials who needed to speak with a government official regarding events in Kosovo were directed to Nikola SAINOVIC. He took an active role in the negotiations establishing the OSCE verification mission for Kosovo and he participated in numerous other meetings regarding the Kosovo crisis. From January 1999 to the date of this indictment, Nikola SAINOVIC has acted as the liaison between Slobodan MILOSEVIC and various Kosovo Albanian leaders.
Paragraph 33 of the Indictment says: Nikola SAINOVIC was most recently re-appointed Deputy Prime Minister of the FRY on 20 May 1998. As such, he is a member of the Government of the FRY, which, among other duties and responsibilities, formulates domestic and foreign policy, enforces federal law, directs and co-ordinates the work of federal ministries, and organises defence preparations.
COMMENT: Not just in these two, but in eleven other paragraphs Nikola Sainovics name is mentioned, though the Indictment offers no specific incriminating information, or even suspicion that he committed a single criminal act.
If his constitutional powers were listed in addition to his positions (deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister of the Serbian government, deputy Prime Minister of FRY), it would have been clear that everything Nikola Sainovic did, even according to the Indictment, was squarely within the bounds of his constitutional and legal authority.
All the duties cited in Paragraph 33, as well as many other duties of the Federal government have been clearly outlined by the FRY Constitution in Article 99. (Section 1. Formulating domestic and foreign policy and enforces federal laws, regulations and other acts; Section 2. Maintaining relations between the FRY and other states and international organizations;.... Section 7. Directing and coordinating the work of federal ministries with other federal agencies and organizations, with the ability to nullify their decisions; ... Section 9. Ordering a general mobilization and organizing preparations for defense; etc.)
Therefore, as Deputy Federal Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic was in charge of foreign policy and he worked strictly in accordance with the government policy and constitutional authority. All that considered, why is his name on the list of the indicted at all?
This needs to be emphasized in relation to the allegation in Paragraph 32 that Nikola Sainovic was Slobodan Milosevics representative for the Kosovo situation. Nikola Sainovic was part of the delegation composed of federal and Serbian officials whose purpose was to contribute to the peaceful solution of the Kosovo-Metohija crisis.
The allegation that Sainovic took an active role in the negotiations establishing the OSCE verification mission for Kosovo is not incriminating and should stand in his favor, since this demonstrates his efforts to peacefully resolve the Kosovo-Metohija crisis.
The Fabricated Humanitarian Disaster
Paragraph 34 of the Indictment says: During their offensives, forces of the FRY and Serbia acting in concert have engaged in a well-planned and co-ordinated campaign of destruction of property owned by Kosovo Albanian civilians. Towns and villages have been shelled, homes, farms, and businesses burned, and personal property destroyed. As a result of these orchestrated actions, towns, villages, and entire regions have been made uninhabitable for Kosovo Albanians. Additionally, forces of the FRY and Serbia have harassed, humiliated, and degraded Kosovo Albanian civilians through physical and verbal abuse. The Kosovo Albanians have also been persistently subjected to insults, racial slurs, degrading acts based on ethnicity and religion, beatings, and other forms of physical mistreatment.
COMMENT: By claiming that forces of the FRY and Serbia... in a well-planned and co-ordinated campaign of destruction of property owned by Kosovo Albanian civilians... made entire regions uninhabitable for Kosovo Albanians, this Paragraph makes, in addition to crimes of genocide (which will be discussed later), one of the gravest and most untrue allegations in the entire 100 Paragraphs of the Indictment. Namely, it insinuates the so-called humanitarian disaster, created as part of a media campaign to establish a pretext for NATO (led by the U.S.) military intervention against the FRY, with aims that have been discussed earlier.
Such a situation in Kosovo-Metohija was to be blamed entirely and solely on the forces of the FRY and Serbia, i.e. their military and civilian leadership. Paragraph 34 simply bristles with explicit allegations made to sound as if they were based on incontrovertible evidence, and therefore impervious to doubt. This formulation suggests to the public that the Prosecutors already have all the necessary evidence, which has been left out simply because of spatial limitations in the Indictment.
In refuting Paragraph 34, however, we will not adhere to any spatial limitations.
On the other hand, the following paragraph (35) presents the alleged rendering of Kosovo-Metohija uninhabitable for Kosovo Albanians as a consequence of a planned and coordinated campaign of deliberate destruction of civilian property in Kosovo in both (markedly different) stages of the Kosovo-Metohija crisis: (a) before and (b) during NATOs air aggression against the FRY, combined with multiple attempts of land invasion from Albania (March-June 1999).
Both periods involve mass columns of refugees - not just Kosovo Albanians and temporary refugee camps of short or longer duration, but for different causes. The allegedly deliberate shelling of towns and villages and burning of homes, farms, and businesses by the forces of the FRY and Serbia, calculated to render the region uninhabitable for Kosovo Albanians, played no significant part (or none altogether) in any of those causes.
The main causes of refugee columns and temporary refugee camps appearing in the territory of Kosovo-Metohija during 1998-1999 were: (a) organized, premeditated (by the KLA commanders, not the forces of the FRY and Serbia) movements in order to fabricate evidence of persecution of Kosovo Albanians, thus creating a media pretext for direct military involvement of NATO in the Kosovo-Metohija crisis; (b) a separatist rebel tactic, familiar since Slovenia, of involving the civilians and residential areas in their rebellious acts, primarily as human shields, to counter the military supremacy of state security forces; (c) exodus of civilians from residential areas where KLA forces had fortified themselves, at the invitation of "forces of the FRY and Serbia", before attacks on these fortified terrorist bases; (d) voluntary exodus of Albanian civilians from combat operations in and around residential areas which had been turned into KLA fortifications; and finally, (e) exodus of all civilians, Albanians and non-Albanians alike, from the 78 days of NATOs massive and indiscriminate missile and air strikes, the brunt of them against Kosovo-Metohija.
Rounding out this qualification of the framework for the alleged humanitarian disaster in Kosovo-Metohija during 1998 and 1999, we would like to add and perhaps repeat that the "forces of the FRY" specifically the Pristina Corps and the Third VJ Army behaved towards Kosovo Albanian civilians in a fashion completely opposite to that alleged in the Indictment. Some exceptions will be mentioned later. We cannot neglect the fact that most of the officers in the Pristina Corps and the Third Army, i.e. those responsible for all the acts by those units, were educated and commissioned in the former Yugoslav Peoples Army (JNA) and rooted in the traditions of heroism and chivalry of the Serbian Army, Montenegrin Army, and the Peoples Liberation Army (Yugoslav Partisans), built around the moral foundation of loyalty to the people, ethical behavior and adherence to laws and customs of war. This is one of the oldest modern armies in Europe. Over the past 150 years, it has fought for a total of 17 years in numerous difficult and cruel wars always in self-defense and liberation. In these wars, support and aid of the people has always represented a primary factor of victory.
Unlike most modern European armies, the VJ (a product of JNAs transformation) did not enter the fight against Albanian terrorism without experience. It could not have been surprised by the involvement of manipulated and terrorized civilians that either aided the terrorist paramilitaries of various separatist movements, or was used by them as human shields. As early as 1991, in Slovenia, and subsequently in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the JNA faced strong paramilitary forces of local secessionists, which used civilians in towns and cities as human shields. In order to protect these civilians from any harm, JNA garrisons suffered protracted sieges (lacking power, water, food and medical supplies) and even casualties (often surrendering without a fight). Having tested the JNAs reaction to civilian involvement, separatist regimes in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina reached the conclusion that the JNA will not fire into the crowd. Only this way can one explain their risky, irresponsible and adventurous decision to besiege JNA garrisons located inside cities. Had the besieged units decided to actively resist and break out of encirclement, they had at their disposal enough firepower and ammunition to literally destroy those cities. It is well known that the sieges in Zagreb, Karlovac (Koranj bridge), and Sarajevo (Dobrovoljacka Street) ended with bloodbaths of JNA soldiers, especially the one in Skojevska Street in Tuzla (May 15, 1992). Trained and educated to be an army of the people, the JNA/VJ was always ready to suffer casualties and humiliation rather than violate its sacred oath, enshrined in the salute of units at roll call: We Serve the People!
Respect for Laws of War and Military Ethics in the VJ
Leaders of the Albanian separatist movement and the KLA incorporated their awareness of these principles into their strategy of widespread terrorist violence, developing it to an unprecedented extent with the help of its foreign sponsors.
They were surprised, therefore, by the Yugoslav Armys decision to deploy the PrK units in the field before the beginning of KLAs general terrorist offensive. In this way, the VJ preempted the blockade of its garrisons with all the disastrous consequences the JNA had to suffer. At the same time, it gained maximum freedom to choose the type of combat operations which would best enable the protection of civilians. Because of this, there is not a single document in the entire battle archive of PrK and the Third Army related to counter-terrorist operations and defense from NATO aggression that does not insist on protecting the civilians, and for that purpose order the commands and members of VJ to take appropriate actions. In addition to all we said responding to Paragraph 25 (first half of 1998) about the relations between PrK commands and units and the civilian population, we will begin documenting this relationship in the latter half of 1998 with a classified order of Pristina Corps Command (# 873-367, 4 May 1998) regulating the return of civilians to abandoned villages:
By the authority vested in me by the FRY and Serbia, and based on the talks between PrK and government representatives with the inhabitants of Batusa village on 4 June 1998,
1. Approve the return of civilians who left their homes along the Ponosevac-Batusa highway, to the villages of Brovina, Molic i Batusa;
2. Commanding officers of PrK units controlling the aforementioned communications route shall demand from village elders to give them complete information about the households and inhabitants of the villages, a list of names of people returning home, and information about their property (fields, pastures and wells);
3. Behave towards all inhabitants of the aforementioned villages with every courtesy. During the return, all VJ members shall render all necessary assistance;
4. All harassment, damage to property, or seizure of food, water and spirits from local population is expressly forbidden;
5. During the return of civilians to their villages, establish controls to prevent the smuggling of weapons, ammunition and explosives. In case of incoming fire from these villages, issue warnings and demand the surrender of weapons and terrorists. If these demands are rejected, open fire on the houses from which hostile fire came.
6. This order shall come into force on 5 June 1998. at 0800 hrs.
7. Inform all enlisted men and officers (signature of acknowledgement required) with this order and ensure its full implementation.
At the end of the first phase of anti-terrorist operations in the area of the 53rd Border Brigade, when VJ units accomplished their mission of securing the territory along the state border and removing the blockade of roads towards outposts Morina and Kosare, a meeting took place at the PrK forward command post in Djakovica on June 5, 1998. At the meeting, attended by the CO of units in charge of the area, the accomplished mission was analyzed and the following order (classified # 873-375 of 5 June 1998) was issued by the PrK Command. We quote the relevant parts relating to measures for protection of civilians:
1. Actions of all units and must conform fully to previous decisions and orders issued by this command;
2. Ensure that all orders are fully implemented in subordinated units, and inform their officers and enlisted men of their specifics to the extent necessary to perform combat operations and other duties;
3. All mines are to be fully documented, according to standing operating procedures, with one copy of each report sent to the PrK Command and the forward CP by 10 June 1998. All subsequent reports shall be sent within three days;
5. Deployment of all improvised mines in all areas shall be forbidden. When leaving an area, the unit CO shall attest that the area is clean of all mines and booby-traps;
6. Personnel exhibiting reckless, hesitant and deviant behavior shall be immediately removed from all units, in order to prevent their influence on other enlisted mens behavior and unit morale...
14. All units shall sweep their areas of responsibility, remove all ammunition and shrapnel and stow it in crates. The deadline for this is 8 June 1998;
15. In areas of deployment and operation of all units, ensure the discipline of officers and enlisted men and prevent theft of property from ethnic Albanian citizens. All property that has been taken so far from homes and yards shall be returned. In the future, all personnel violating this order shall be disciplined and criminally prosecuted.
16. All units shall check their rosters of officers and enlisted men, paying close attention to reserve personnel, and consistently implement earlier orders regarding personnel control before and after each mission;
17. In combat areas impose martial law, preventing uncontrolled movement of individuals during both day and night. This will be the responsibility of PrK Commands Chief Security Officer (CSO).
18. Compose a status report on the situation found in the village of Ponosevac upon arrival of VJ forces and at present. For the villages of Brovina and Molic compose reports about VJ actions (damages to houses and other buildings and their nature) and the situation in them...
20. Prevent the use of alcohol in all units, and take appropriate measures towards violators.
However, the Albanian separatist leaders and KLA commanders would not accept the defeats they suffered along the border (at outposts Kosare and Morina), and especially the return of civilians to their homes under VJ escort and protection. In coordination with their foreign advisors and sponsors, they organized some 40-50,000 civilians from the Djakovica, Decani and Prizren municipalities, with the intention to form refugee columns and cross the border into Albania illegally, of course, without documents (passports, visas) and away from regular border crossings. PrK Command learned of this plan in time, and issued an order marked extremely urgent (classified #873-380) on June 6, 1998, which among other things said:
Based on available information, we are expecting a mass movement of ethnic Albanian minority citizens from the municipalities of Decane, Djakovica and Prizren towards the Republic of Albania.
Mass movement of some 40,000 to 50,000 is possible in the directions: Decani-Gegaj, Djakovica-Zogaj and Prizren-Kuks, probably via tractors, wagons, cars and beasts of burden.
This action by ethnic Albanian minority citizens has as its purpose to create an image of forced exodus for the international community and world opinion, so as to provoke their reaction.
In order to prevent mass movement of ethnic Albanian minority citizens from FRY territory to the Republic of Albania along the indicated roads,
1. Establish contact with police in the cited areas of responsibility, for the purpose of timely discovery of rallying points and organizers of the mass movement of citizens, requesting the MUP units to engage in preventing the entry of civilians into the border zone. This shall be the responsibility of the PrK CSO.
4. Upon learning of movement, and if MUP units are unable to stop and turn back the ethnic Albanian minority citizens, take the following measures:
- close the crossing points by deploying the necessary forces, while avoiding the deployment of combat vehicles such as tanks;
- barricade the roads towards crossing points;
- announce over the loudspeakers that the border zone is a restricted area, and that force will be used if the movement continues;
- in case of violence towards VJ personnel, fire warning shots into the air;
- if necessary, fire smoke;
Use force only in self-defense and protection of personnel and vehicles. It is absolutely mandatory to video-tape the entire action.
5. In case any VJ personnel come under fire, return fire, making sure to identify and target the attacker, and not the non-combatants (women, children, elderly and other civilians). If this is not possible, or if it jeopardizes the safety of civilians, find a way to immobilize the attacker without opening fire.
6. Inform the HQ of all new developments and activities via coded messages and regular battle reports.
"KLA commanders responded to this measure with renewed terrorist attacks, especially in the areas where refugee columns were concentrated (near border outposts Djeravica and Kosare), having been prevented from crossing the border. This prompted another extremely urgent order, for the purpose of efficiently performing the mission, complete protection of units involved and prevention of civilian casualties (classified #873-458/1 of 17 June 1998):
...2. Enable the displaced population to return to their homes. If possible, contact the local population directly and explain their obligations and the role of the VJ.
While securing the international border, act with special care in areas where displaced population has gathered.
3. In areas of deployment and directions of advance, make preparations for access of humanitarian and other organizations per decisions of state authorities. In possible contacts with personnel of humanitarian and other organizations, prevent any unauthorized personnel from giving any statements.
As fighting over civilians between the KLA commanders who wanted to manipulate them and the PrK which wanted to pacify and protect them grew more complicated, further directions for mission performance were issued to VJ personnel in the territory encompassed by terrorist activities. One such instruction was issued by Military Police Command 7357 Pristina (classified #10/21, dated 22 June 1998) to all PrK units. We cite parts of the instruction sent to MP Command 4445 Pristina, with a note to make copies and distribute to commanders of companies and batteries
Section 4 of the instruction deals with procedures and behavior while detaining the members of terrorist- saboteur groups (TSGs): As long as members of TSG are using weapons and offering resistance, treat them according to the rules of combat. After they lay down their arms and cease resisting, deal with them in the following way:
- collect them and gather them in one place, stripping them of all weapons and armament,
- separate them by sex, age, rank and role in the TSG,
- ascertain their identities by gathering basic information,
- ascertain the role of every individual in the TSG; depending on that and reasonable suspicion, decide about release or further detention,
- every TSG member, their associates, helpers or inciters shall be detained and interrogated about the circumstances and role of their membership in the TSG,
- everyone has the right to detain a TSG member caught in the act of engaging in terrorism, and turn them over to a magistrate,
- while detaining individuals, search them thoroughly and impound all items, objects, notes, inscriptions on clothing, strip-searching the detainee for any markings,
- start a file for every detainee, containing basic information (full name, fathers name, date and place of birth, education, occupation, workplace, ethnicity, language proficiency, military training - if and if, where, and which specialty - if they were trained abroad - if yes, when and how - since when theyve belonged to the TSG), then demand of them to make a statement about involvement in the TSG, their organization, armament, bases and supply lines,
- unit commanders have the right to interrogate detainees about matters of military nature,
- after interrogation by commanders, military police and security forces have the right, as Interior Affairs officials, to gather information of prior crimes by the detained TSG member, and extend their detention on that basis,
- persons for which there is reasonable suspicion that they committed criminal acts should be turned over to the military magistrate, with a criminal charge filed,
- transfer of detainees to the magistrate should be humane, adhering in all respects to appropriate Military Police regulations,
- detainees should be subjected to examination by a physician, who should ascertain their health condition and establish a medical file,
- families of the detained should be notified, and immediately placed under surveillance, for the purpose of finding out whom they will contact with the information that the specific TSG member had been detained.
IT IS FORBIDDEN:
- to kill detainees,
- to injure, mutilate, torture and mistreat them,
- to sentence them and carry out those sentences without a verdict by a court-martial,
- Note that female TSG members should be treated with all courtesy due to their gender.
Further, this order regulates actions towards citizens and property during combat operations against TSGs as follows: (Paragraph 4):
During combat operations against the TSG seek to avoid using weapons and force against noncombatant civilians, religious facilities (churches, mosques, monasteries, etc.), industrial facilities whose destruction would cause major damage to property and environment, medical facilities (first-aid stations, emergency care, hospitals), schools, barns and so forth;
- however, if civilians join TSG members in armed insurrection, offer food and shelter to the TSG, supply the TSG with weapons and ammunition, in that case they are to be considered members of the TSG and treated as such.
- if schools, hospitals, religious or industrial facilities are used by the TSG for observation, reconnaissance and opening fire, consider these facilities to be TSG positions and deal with them as with all TSG positions used to attack the [Army] forces.
- All property without established ownership found in the theater of combat shall be gathered, assessed, entered into evidence and turned over to the authorities.
...6. Procedures for dealing with casualties (KIA)
Upon finding casualties, immediately inform the local military courts investigators, so they may investigate the scene. If the military investigators are unable to survey the scene, inform the civilian investigators. In case they, also, are unable to investigate the scene, establish a team for that purpose, composed of a forensic technician (team leader), a physician and another official.
As the counter-terrorist operations of the VJ and MUP escalated in July and August 1998, a series of orders were issued to prevent any renegade acts and unintended consequences (classified orders #1104-6 of 6 June, #880-74 of 7 July, and #880-80-101 of 16 July), which:
Forbid any operations without the knowledge and approval of the Joint Command Authority every operation must be accompanied by approved documents: maps, orders and an operational plan. It is strictly forbidden to use 122-, 128- and 155-mm artillery, as well as 100-mm main tank guns without the approval of Corps Command.
Fire from other weapons can be used at brigade commanders discretion, solely for the purpose of eliminating targets that endanger lives, such as bunkers, buildings where no civilians are present, mortar positions (60 mm, 82 mm and 120 mm) and large groups of personnel attacking the positions of VJ and MUP units.
...3. Open fire on Albanian terrorist targets only if absolutely certain there are no foreign diplomats or observers among them. Show maximum restraint in opening fire, except in dire need.
4. Inform all unit commanders and commands of this order.
While opening fire, exclusively engage targets outside of residential areas, where no civilians, humanitarian aid workers, reporters and observers are present.
During August and September of 1998, joint forces of the PrK and the Serbian police conducted several major counter-terrorist operations:
1) destruction of the terrorist KLA forces in the general area of Crnobreg - Rznic, Glodjane - Gramocelj - Prilep, in zones Pec 3 and 4, Djakovica 1 and 2, shown on the 1:50,000 map, (PrK command, classified order #873-758/3 of August 10);
2) destruction of the KLA forces in the area of Lipovic, in zones K. Mitrovica 4, Pristina 3, Prizren 2 and Urosevac 1, shown on the 1:50,000 map (PrK command #1104-14 of August 20);
3) destruction of KLA forces in the area of Dobrodeljane, zone Prizren 1, shown on the 1:50,000 map (PrK command, classified order #880-207 of August 27);
4) support to MUP forces in destroying a TSG in and near the village of Ratis, zone Pec 4 and Djakovica 2 shown on the 1:50,000 map (PrK command, classified order #880-214 of September 5);
5) support to MUP forces in destroying a TSG in the area of Lug, zones Pec 4, Djakovica 2 and K. Mitrovica 3, shown on the 1:50,000 map (PrK command, classified order #880-220 of September 9);
6) support to MUP forces in destroying a TSG in the area of Jezerce, zones Urosevac 1 and 3, Prizren 3 and 4, shown on the 1:50,000 map (PrK command, classified order #880-256 of September 25, 1998).
All the orders cited above, following the strict VJ regulations for composition of battle documents, regulated the issues of dealing with the civilian population. We cite the relevant excerpts, in the order they were issued:
To the loyal ethnic Albanian civilians emphasize the need for correct behavior of the troops, especially towards refugees and civilian property. Prevent all media access to combat areas without special permission.
"Extract civilians from areas of combat operations, making sure they are not used as human shields by the retreating terrorists. Open fire only at buildings from which the terrorist are firing, and prohibit the entry of troops into other homes and buildings during combat operations, to prevent looting of property.
"During combat operations, shelter and protect displaced civilians. Secure and bypass locations where larger groups of displaced civilians have taken shelter, and inform units charged with aiding the displaced. MUP units tasked with aiding the displaced shall perform triage, offer medical aid, shelter them from inclement weather, distribute the necessary food, water, clothing, and offer any other humanitarian aid. After sweeping the residential areas which the civilians fled, organize their return to their homes.
Threats of Aggression Save the KLA from Defeat
In the six aforementioned counter-terrorist operations which the PrK-VJ conducted on its own or in coordination with the MUP forces, all the terrorist strongholds were destroyed and heavy casualties inflicted upon the KLA. Adding these August and September defeats to those from July 1998, it becomes clear that the KLA was facing final defeat at the end of this period. The terrorist Headquarters in Switzerland called the defeat catastrophic at the time, and for good reason.
Parallel to the growing awareness of defeat, pressure mounted from the so-called international community, with the aim to save the separatist forces from complete destruction since that would have derailed all other designs on Kosovo-Metohija. An entire machinery of propaganda was put on the case, first recasting the counter-terrorist operation of the Yugoslav forces as repression against the disenfranchised Albanian civilians, with excessive use of force. Subsequently, entire villages were ordered to disperse by the KLA, which at the time had to flee its fortified positions in these villages before the Army and police forces, often without firing a shot. This was then described as a humanitarian disaster caused by excessive force.
Synchronized with this pressure were numerous other initiatives. Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz tried on behalf of the KLA to arrange a ceasefire and negotiations in late July. Members of the U.S. Congress, Sattack [sp] and Dole, after investigating the situation, began a campaign in the U.S. to halt the humanitarian disaster in Kosovo. Chairman of the Democratic League of Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova, appealed at the end of August to all relevant bodies of the international community to urgently intervene in order to stop the operations of Serb forces in Kosovo and force the Belgrade regime to withdraw its forces from Kosovo in order to avoid an unprecedented humanitarian disaster. Among others, we will mention Albanian president Rexhep Meidani, Austrian Foreign Minister (at the behest of Veton Surroi) and the head of EUs observer mission, Franz Parak [sp].
All the factors [Editors note: that is, NATO and U.S. officials, the mass media, so-called human rights groups, and so on - J.I.] involved in the campaign to stop the excessive use of force and withdraw the Serb forces from Kosovo did so at the same time, using the same claims presented as urgent arguments, constantly repeating the same phrases. Like a Sword of Damocles, above all the appeals and staged complaints, accompanied by appropriate horrifying images, supplied by the omnipresent and all-powerful CNN, was the threat of a U.S./NATO air attack on Yugoslavia in case their demands were not met.
One analysis of a Republican committee in the U.S. Senate indicates that plans for a NATO intervention were well along in August 1998, but that at the time there was no acceptable media event that could serve as a political alibi for an interventions. The road from showing concern for the fate of refugees fleeing Serbian repression and terror to UNSCR 1199 and open preparations for air and ground attack on Kosovo-Metohija was very short indeed.
It was in this climate, which threatened to degenerate into terrorist air strikes by NATO forces against Yugoslavia, that the 11-point Milosevic Holbrooke agreement was reached on October 13, 1998.
A session of the Supreme Defense Council was held after the talks between President Milosevic with Ambassador Holbrooke on October 4. Opening the session, the President said that the VJ General Staff had made estimates of the current military and political situation in the region, especially the threats by parts of the international community against the FRY in regard to the situation in Kosovo-Metohija.
Later during the meeting, the chairman of the SDC first reiterated the general commitment of the FRY to resolve all issues peacefully, and stated several arguments proving this commitment. First among them was the cessation of hostilities; second, the withdrawal of forces into garrisons upon the cessation of terrorist activities, as agreed with the Russian president Yeltsin; third, freedom of movement for representatives of UNHCR and International Red Cross, in order to help the resolution of humanitarian problems, and fourth, our readiness for dialogue and resolving the situation peacefully.
Yugoslavia had fulfilled all the demands despite all the objections to the Resolution [UNSCR 1199], he continued, since the FRY represented no threat to peace and other countries security. Yugoslavias neighbors understood that such allegations were not true, since they had underestimated the terrorism in Kosovo. He added that combat operations had stopped six days before the session; counter-terrorist units were returned to garrisons; full freedom of movement was given not only to UNHCR and ICRC, but also to diplomatic missions and the media something the resolution never required.
Yet the Albanian side had not fulfilled any of its obligations articles 1, 2, 3 and 6. Article 7 concerned Albania, but it continued to smuggle military equipment, arms and ammunition into Yugoslavia, though hindered by efforts of Yugoslav border patrol.
Yugoslavia had, therefore, respected all the demands in UNSCR 1199, and that had been summarized in the Foreign Ministers letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
President Milosevic reminded the SDC members of the meeting with the Contact Group ambassadors, at which he reiterated the positions of the Serbian Parliament regarding the resolution of the Kosovo-Metohija crisis. He also informed them of Russias position, having met with the Russian delegation that very day. The Russian delegation was headed by Foreign minister Ivanov and Defense Minister, Marshall Sergeyev, who said that Russia would user her Security Council veto if a resolution to attack the FRY were proposed. They expected Yugoslavia to prove the commitment to implement UNSCR 1199, and readiness for dialogue.
At the end of the debate, President of the FRY and Chairman of the SDC suggested that the conclusions of the session be summarized in one sentence:
Yugoslavia is firmly committed to peace, and ready to solve all issues in a peaceful manner. If we are attacked, however, we will defend the country by any means necessary.
This was deemed necessary because of the general political climate in the country. He repeated that Yugoslavia would do everything to avoid conflict, adding, If need be, we must defend the country. That is our duty. Both members of the SDC president of Serbia Milan Milutinovic and president of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, agreed with this proposed conclusion.
Finally, the SDC agreed that Yugoslavia was facing an imminent threat of war.
This is how the unit headquarters within the PrK reacted to requests for reports of the alleged massacres of civilians and claims of various representatives of the so-called international community that forces of the FRY and Serbia had used excessive force in battling the Albanian terrorists.
Report that the 549th Motorized Brigade (classified, #2351-2, of 5 October, 1998) sent to the PrK Command (regarding the classified order #880-274 of 3 October 1998), says:
Item 2: We have no information of any massacres committed against the civilian population in our zone of operations. Our units gave a wide berth to groups of displaced civilians. Neither they nor their vicinity were targeted. Triage and check-ups were performed by members of the Serbian MUP.
Chief of Staff of the PrK, reporting from the advanced Command Post on October 5, (classified #873-1125/2) on combat operations between the 26th and 27th of September, said:
1. Operations conducted on 26 and 27 September, 1998 followed the orders and instructions of the PrK Command without deviation.
2. PrK units committed no massacres against civilians in their zones of operation. We do not have information on the actions of MUP forces, which we had supported in pacifying the village of Gornje Obrinje.
3. Between 1 April 1998 and 29 September 1998, there were no deviations from PrK orders regulating the procedures and actions of PrK units in the area affected by the operations of terrorists and saboteurs.
After receiving reports of civilian discontent after the approved return of displaced persons, the PrK command issued the following order from its advanced CP (classified #873-1147/1) on October 6, 1998:
1. Immediately vacate furnished private homes.
2. All private property found in homes is not to be touched, and their seizure is expressly forbidden.
3. Units are to be billeted on public property, and possibly in private homes that had been abandoned and vacated of furnishings.
4. Responsibility for complying with this order lies personally with commanding officers of brigades and task forces.
Humanitarian Disaster as a Consequence of NATO Aggression
After the Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement and the arrival of OSCEs Kosovo Verification Mission, led by W. Walker, leaders of the Albanian secessionist movement, KLA commanders and their foreign allies saw an even better opportunity than before to reorganize, replenish and re-arm the terrorist paramilitaries, thus preparing them for becoming the first echelon of NATO aggression, which had already been decided upon.
In early 1998, the KLA numbered some 7,000 armed terrorists, growing by July of that year to over 20,000. These terrorist forces had been largely destroyed and scattered by the counter-terrorist operations of the forces of the FRY and Serbia by the end of September 1998. After the Milosevic - Holbrooke agreement was signed and the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission was deployed, in almost four months the KLA grew back to 25,000 men. This terrorist organization was stronger in numbers and better equipped in January 1999 than it had been in June 1998. Instead of observing the situation in the province, the KVM had established favorable conditions for the revival of the KLA, which had been shaped into the first wave of NATOs aggression against the FRY. With the help of the KVM, terrorists seized control over much of Kosovo-Metohija. They even infiltrated cities, which made it possible to organize some of the cities population to become refugees, in order to convincingly stage a humanitarian disaster of vast proportions.
The Albanian terrorist paramilitary grew in numbers not only from an unhindered mobilization the KLA had organized throughout Kosovo, but also in the form of mercenaries and volunteers from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, some Western European and Islamic countries. According to verifiable VJ intelligence, at any time the KLA had between 300 and 800 foreign mercenaries, paid some DM 2000 a month, and issued forged identity papers in order to conceal their identities in case of capture.
The withdrawal of PrK units into garrisons and the removal of many MUP checkpoints had significantly weakened the control of Yugoslavias borders with Albania and Macedonia, along the border itself as well as deeper inside Kosovo. This created favorable conditions for growth of the KLA beyond what it had been before the KVMs arrival, and the influx of new, modern weapons and equipment from abroad. The terrorists were now supplied with Sig-Sauer 7.62 mm sniper rifles with fragmentation bullets, German sniper rifles SSO 99, American M-16 assault rifles, Browning .50-cal. heavy machine guns, Armbrust anti-tank missiles, British-made mine detectors, U.S.-made sniper rifles with a range of up to 2 kilometers, communication systems (hand-held radios and long-range devices as well), satellite telephones and medical supplies from NATOs inventory, large quantities of medication from humanitarian aid packages, X-ray machines, surgical equipment and operating tables, etc. It is a grave, but completely true, allegation that the KLA was replenished through members of the KVM, and humanitarian organizations which had intensified their operations in Kosovo-Metohija. Especially notable was the role of an organization known as Mother Theresa.
Death tolls testified of increasing terrorist activities by the regenerated KLA. Here are some statistics just for the first three months of 1999 (January 1 to March 24): there was a total of 606 terrorist attacks, 355 of which were aimed at buildings and members of the MUP, and 251 at civilians and their property. In these attacks, a total of 138 people were killed - 25 police and 113 civilians while 274 were injured (106 police and 168 civilians).
Using the environment established by the Milosevic - Holbrooke agreement and the presence of the KVM, the North Atlantic Council embarked on several important operations in this period: Eagle Eye, Determined Guarantor and Determined Force.
Operation Eagle Eye followed directly from the Milosevic Holbrooke Agreement. Its main purpose was to provide the KVM with additional information through NATOs daily one-hour reconnaissance flights. Based on that information (and the reports of KVM verifies in the field) NATO was able to plan and coordinate its activities. The purpose behind this was to diminish the effectiveness of the VJ and MUP in battling terrorism, and enable the KLA to consolidate and continue escalating the crisis in Kosovo-Metohija.
Eagle Eye was blind in the eye that was supposed to monitor the consolidation and terrorist activities of the KLA Members of the KVM from NATO countries showed an emphatic lack of interest in the systematic violence perpetrated by the KLA. Certain U.S. verifiers even offered military expertise and other aid to the terrorists, contrary to their mission parameters.
The North Atlantic Council approved the plans for Operation Determined Guarantor, in November 1998, with the purpose of extracting KVM verifiers from Kosovo-Metohija in case their safety was endangered. A decision to deploy extraction forces into Macedonia was made in early December. On the other hand, terrorist formations of the KLA were incited to act with support in arms and training, which was mentioned previously. This operation, in addition to its public aim to protect the verifiers, aimed to continue the pressure on FRY and create conditions to deploy NATO troops in Kosovo-Metohija and maintain a long-term NATO presence in the region.
In late October 1998, NATO had initiated the procedure for implementation of plans for a military intervention against the FRY, within the Operation Determined Force. There were, essentially, two plans for a military intervention against the FRY: 1) a limited operation in Kosovo-Metohija alone, which predicted cruise missile strikes with the possibility of using air force, and 2) a radical option for attacking the entire territory of Serbia, involving missile strikes and aerial bombardment of civilian and military targets throughout Serbia.
OSCEs KVM was preceded by another diplomatic mission to Kosovo-Metohija the Kosovo Diplomatic Observer Mission (KDOM), made up of accredited diplomats from the Contact Group, and formed to deal with the situation in Kosovo-Metohija. Members of this mission came from the United States, Germany, France, Britain and Russia. With the permission of VJs General Staff, KDOM members toured all battle groups and PrK units in their garrisons on October 27 and 28, 1998, inspecting their heavy weapons. In their contacts with VJ officers, members of the mission indicated that their report to the North Atlantic Council in Brussels would determine whether the NATO decision to attack selected targets in Yugoslavia would be rescinded.
This decision to allow KDOM members to enter the garrisons and inspect weapons was later shown to have been a major mistake. It was later shown that this mission was mapping the position of VJ garrisons and battle groups in Kosovo-Metohija through portable GPS devices, establishing their exact position for later NATO air strikes.
In addition to sporadic border incidents since November 1998, KLA terrorists also began attacking army convoys. By conducting an intensive campaign of psychological warfare and propaganda through incessant provocations, open movement throughout the province and intimidation of loyal Albanians, the KLA hoped to cause defeatism and derail political activities aiming at stabilizing the situation in the province.
At the end of November 1998, the KLA Headquarters issued a general call for mobilization to the entire Albanian population in Kosovo-Metohija. KLA set up checkpoints on side roads throughout the province. By December, KLA would set up checkpoints on all roads in Kosovo during the night, stopping all travelers.
By early January 1999, masked KLA members began appearing in urban areas. Terrorists thus made an effort to move the confrontation with security forces from the open country into urban close quarters, in order to provoke a response by the security forces and civilian casualties thus provoking a reaction by the international community. Albanian émigrés in Germany and Switzerland had formed a fund, Homeland Calling, which raised money to finance terrorist activities in Kosovo-Metohija.
Meanwhile, intense training of new terrorists took place in Albania, while large quantities of weapons from Germany were smuggled into that country. In mid-January 1999, some 6,000 terrorists waited in Albania to be infiltrated across the border to Kosovo-Metohija and join the KLA. Because the border between Kosovo and Albania had been mined, infiltration was redirected through Montenegro and Macedonia, along the following paths: Tropola - Gusinje - Rugovska ravine - Pec; Shkoder Shkoder lake - Tuzi and Tetovo - Globocica - Urosevac.
Through the KVM, the terrorists were pressuring the Serbian authorities to withdraw all security forces from municipalities inhabited almost entirely by Albanians (Kacanik, Stimlje, Glogovac, Srbica, Orahovac, Malisevo). This was the heartland of Kosovo, which the terrorists intended to declare liberated territory so they could bring in weapons from Macedonia without hindrance. To support the terrorists and further pressure the FRY, the Albanian arm mobilized on January 16, 1999, and deployed along the Yugoslav border.
In certain Kosovo-Metohija villages which had been "ethnically cleaned" of non-Albanians villages, residents were systematically organized to burn leaves and tires, offering the KVM images of mass exodus as a result of alleged repression by "the regime," wishing to provoke/justify additional NATO pressure on the FRY and Serbia. At the same time, the KLA escalated its terrorist activities, attempting to provoke the security forces into reacting and thus causing foreign intervention and the establishment of an international protectorate in Kosovo-Metohija.
Deviating from their mandate to suit the plans and purposes of certain world powers, representatives of the KVM attempted to accelerate the escalation of the Kosovo crisis through allegations of massacres, mass graves and humanitarian disaster, baselessly accusing the Yugoslav government and terming its actions against the terrorist KLA as terror against Albanian civilians. Threats of NATO aggression became increasingly present.
Judging that the so-called negotiations in Rambouillet and Paris (December 2-24, 1999) were most likely to end with the Serb and FRY authorities rejecting the humiliating ultimatum contained in Appendix B, and in order to further pressure the FRY and bolster the already full-fledged anti-Serb campaign in the media, the KVM began leaving Kosovo-Metohija on February 19, 1999 obviously, following someones instructions. This was a certain indicator that NATOs aggression against the FRY was imminent.
In addition to helping the KLA regain strength, KVM verifiers had left behind 480 locator beacons, used shortly after their departure by NATO planes in striking selected targets in Kosovo-Metohija. These locator beacons certainly served their sinister purpose, thus making some of the KVM verifiers certified accomplices to NATOs terrorist aggression.
In preparing a defense from NATOs aggression, forces of the FRY and Serbia logically initiated offensive operations immediately after the verifiers departure, with the goal of fracturing and destroying Albanian terrorists forces, as quoted in the February 16 order of the PrK cited at the beginning of the response to Paragraph 30 of the Indictment.
Naturally, the KLA forces that had grown during the KVM mission could not have been completely destroyed before the NATO aggression began, so operations against the continued during the air strikes.
Having deployed part of its forces along the borders with Albania and Macedonia, in order to defend from ground attacks, forces of the PrK and the Third Army could not tolerate a presence of a 25,000-strong terrorist paramilitary in their rear. The outset of NATOs air and missile strikes, which focused on civilian and military targets in Kosovo-Metohija throughout the aggression, further complicated the position of the Third Army. History is hard pressed to come up with another example of circumstances as complex and demanding as those which the Yugoslav Army faced throughout the FRY and especially in Kosovo-Metohija during the aggression. The VJ was forced to simultaneously conduct defensive operations on three fronts:
1. to protect its personnel and weapons from substantial harm, and protect civilians from casualties due to the intensive air strikes against both military and civilian targets;
2. to foil several attempts of Albanian ground invasion, accompanied by repeated threats of NATO forces to invade from Albania as well;
3. to fracture and destroy the terrorist KLA, which had been prepared by the KVM to act as the first wave of the aggressors land invasion deep inside Kosovo-Metohija.
Even with such long odds, the VJ managed to save its troops and materiel from major losses. Contrary to expectations and daily pronouncements of NATO officials, echoed by sympathetic world media, that the Yugoslav Army had suffered significant casualties both in men and materiel, when the aggression ceased after 78 days it turned out that those losses were minimal, and that almost all combat material had been saved. Meanwhile, the VJ had incessantly protected civilians from massive, indiscriminate air strikes. It also repelled several attempts of invasion from Albania and simultaneously crushed the KLA terrorists in Kosovo-Metohija. Only some 1,500 terrorists remained active at the moment when hostilities ceased, hiding in the ravines and mountains of Kosovo.
Even under such unimaginable conditions, the Third Army and the PrK never acted against the civilian population, but rather continuously cared for its safety not only with statements, but with specific actions evident from battle reports and command archives from that time.
Three days after the NATO aggression began (March 27, 1999) the Third Army Command issued an order (classified #250-152/7) explicitly forbidding theft, looting and pillaging:
In order to prevent theft, looting and pillaging of private and state property in the 3rd Armys area of responsibility I,
1. Prevent all forms of theft, looting, pillaging and other destruction of private and state property inside and outside the combat operation areas, especially focusing on profiteering.
2. Find the perpetrators of said actions in the shortest possible time frame, and turn them over to investigative authorities, Corps courts-martial and military district commanders.
3. Military courts have a duty to sentence the perpetrators to the highest possible penalties under the law, observing the rules of express procedure.
4. Inform the public appropriately, through local media, of efforts to prevent profiteering and theft, and publicize the penalties for such acts while a state of war is in force.
5. Responsibility for carrying out this order will be on unit commanders, military police, military courts and departments of public relations.
(This order was telegraphed to all units, which indicates its urgency)
Yet the Third Army did not only order its units to care for civilian lives and property, or protect them from the ravage of war. After a successful operation against the KLA in the region of Drenica, PrK orders (classified #706-1 of 29 March 1999) demanded from the local unit commanders to submit special battle reports on the issue of
... 6. Treatment of civilians during combat operations, notably the respect for international laws and customs of war....
This is how one of the units responded to the Corps request that very day, and a day later (CO of the 52nd Air Defense Artillery Brigade, classified #660-3/2 and #660-3/4 of 29 and 30 March 1999):
The city of Djakovica has been largely deserted and all shop windows have been shattered. Looting takes place in broad daylight. The garrison commander communicated through the local media the order strictly forbidding all looting. We have already mobilized a platoon of military police, but the call-up rate has only been 47%, so we lack sufficient forces to stop all the looting in the city.
The March 30 reports says: ... in order to prevent looting in the city, we have formed joint units from military police and members of the Djakovica law enforcement. We have already seen some results.
Based on these and other reports of its units, the PrK issued an order on March 30, 1999 (classified # 455-101) which was coded and sent via couriers to all units. It said:
In the past few days, our attention has been called to incorrect behavior of certain units towards civilians abandoning the high-risk areas due to attacks by Albanian terrorists and NATO air operations. In order to protect civilians leaving the high-risk areas, and prevent incorrect behavior of individuals and units towards them, I
1. All civilians leaving the high-risk areas shall be given free passage on roads leading from Kosovo-Metohija to Albania and Macedonia.
2. Issue orders that will protect the population from inappropriate behavior of individuals and groups, ensuring safe passage along the desired routes. Relations towards civilians shall be governed by strict adherence to international laws of war and the Geneva Convention.
3. If individuals violate international laws of war, their superior officers must initiate the procedure to penalize them according to the law.
4. Population leaving the high-risk areas, on foot or by motor vehicles, shall be channeled along the roads towards Albania and Macedonia. All inappropriate behavior towards civilians is strictly prohibited.
5. Upon finding dead bodies of civilians killed in any units area of responsibility, inform the military investigators so they could establish the cause of death and submit the proper documentation. Clean up of the battlefield shall be conducted according to standing operating procedures.
6. Inform all unit members of this order.
To establish order and provide safety to the remaining population in Djakovica, on March 31, 1999 the PrK ordered (classified #12-277/2) that Djakovica territorial defense (militia) should be put under VJ command and engaged in aiding the civilians. This order also says:
Starting March 31, 1999 at 1600 hrs, the Djakovica VT [militia] will be put under direct command of the Pristina Corps Command group and engaged in the following operations: providing security for vital facilities in Djakovica the post office, city hospital, the emergency room and municipal government building; together with the Djakovica law enforcement, it shall patrol the city in order to prevent looting of private property and businesses...
Even though the 52nd Air Defense Artillery Brigade reported on March 29 that The City of Djakovica has been largely deserted... some 5-6000 residents did remain in the city despite the intensive bombing in the first few days of the aggression.
Measures cited above were supplemented with additional orders, issued to match developments in the field. Thus the PrK commanding officer issued an order to ensure the safety of civilians on April 16, 1999 (classified #814-1), saying:
Due to the targeting of civilians by the NATO air forces and the remaining Albanian terrorists, civilians in the PrK zone of operations have been subjected to everyday attacks, which gravely endanger its safety. For the purpose of preventing and minimizing civilian casualties due to the aggressors attacks, I
1. All units of the Corps will form special units part of the order of battle to ensure the safety of civilians. Their task shall be to: in close cooperation with MUP and the civil defense, forewarn the civilians of impending attacks by the NATO aggressors and Albanian terrorists; aid the civilians in finding shelter and evacuating; ensure the optimal conditions for sheltering of the civilian population; assist in providing supplies, health care and economic assistance, maintain order and protect life and property, prevent any violations of civilians freedoms and rights, unless they endanger their security or the safety of PrK units.
2. In all areas of responsibility establish full cooperation with local administration and military judicial authorities in ensuring the safety of civilians. Appoint commissioners among the civilians, for the purpose of more efficient organization.
3. With the help of local authorities, establish the number of civilians in every units area of deployment, and on that basis make up lists of necessary food supplies and other necessities.
4. In all areas of responsibility establish full control of the territory and prevent further actions by Albanian terrorists, their reinforcement or escape.
5. In all other segments of interaction with civilians deal with them humanely, responsibly and according to all VJ regulations, international laws and customs of war.
6. Notify all Corps personnel of this order. I will hold unit commanders personally responsible for its consistent implementation.
7. All violators of this order will be subjected to the harshest disciplinary measures.
8. Reports on the implementation of this order shall accompany regular battle reports.
Removing The Traces of Crime or Battlefield Cleanup?
In accordance with the cited instructions of the VJ General Staff, the issues of caring for casualties and battlefield cleanup in Kosovo-Metohija were handled through appropriate orders of the Third Army and PrK commanders. Ethical, humanitarian and economic concerns over a sharp increase in the number of dead civilians and animals, among the VJ and police, the KLA, but also among the civilians, demanded additional measures and procedures. It is preposterous that, in order to accuse the VJ of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war, one routine and well-known practice known in all armies throughout history cleanup of the battlefield has been twisted through propaganda into removing the evidence of crimes! This wide-spread campaign was launched after an announcement by the spokesman of the VJ General Staff (on April 25, 2001) that a number of VJ members have been arraigned on charges of murder, looting, rape, arson, etc, in the course of fighting against the Albanian terrorists and defense from the NATO aggression (1998/1999).
According to the twisted logic of the masterminds behind this campaign, the fact that the VJ General Staff publicly admitted, two years after the hostilities in Kos-Met ceased, that some VJ members were convicted, proves the precepts on which the ICTY Indictment is based. Would any army in the world, during an armed conflict, publicize information that would be used against it in public? A honorable and moral military, respecting the principles of military ethics and international customs of war to the maximum, even under extremely adverse circumstances, will do everything in its power to prevent any misbehavior of its members towards civilians especially murder, arson and looting or punish the perpetrators if such acts do occur. It is the militarys right and duty, and no international institution has a right to interfere with it, especially when it comes to internal crises and conflicts such as Kosovo-Metohija.
As soon as NATOs air and missile strikes and attempts to invade from Albania produced large numbers of casualties, the PrK command addressed the issue of battlefield cleanup in an March 31, 1999 order (classified #28-141, marked URGENT):
Based on standing procedures for battlefield cleanup and international conventions, and for the purpose of preventing the contamination of water, food, ground and air, I
1. Cleanup of the theater (finding and gathering of human and animal corpses, their removal from the theater of operations and burial, removal of anything that could endanger the health of humans and livestock) shall be organized and implemented either immediately after, or during the fighting and bombing, as soon as dangers for cleanup crews have been eliminated (removal of landmines, decontamination, etc.).
2. Cleanup shall be conducted by VJ and MUP units in their areas of responsibility, with the cooperation of local authorities municipal governments, military prosecutors, etc.
3. Rescue teams shall first aid the wounded and the ill, and only then decontaminate, clean up debris, fight fires, bury the dead, remove animal carcasses and refuse. In case of nuclear attack, all units shall adhere to measures of nuclear, biological and chemical (ABC) protection.
4. When necessary, regimental and brigade commanders should establish special detachments for cleanup detail.
The cleanup detail should generally be composed of a section, composed as follows: investigator, section commander, deputy section commander, a rifle squad, a medical technician, a veterinarian, 4 orderlies, 2 veterinary assistants, an NCO from companies that have suffered casualties, and two 2 ½ ton vehicles. The section can be reinforced with ABC detachments and combat engineers.
5. According to the intensity of clashes, form and equip appropriate work details in each municipality for the purpose of removal and burial of human beings and animals.
6. Chief Supply Officer shall issue the cleanup sections special protection suits as prescribed in the SOP, organize the procurement of plastic bags and the manufacture of coffins and gravestones in local workshops; he shall oversee the reception of supplies gathered by the cleanup sections, organize the distribution of meat from slaughtered livestock and the collection of livestock to be slaughtered; he shall also organize the reception, preparation and evacuation of skins from the deceased, killed or slaughtered livestock.
7. Chief Medical Officer shall issue all the necessary medical instructions for conducting the cleanup; organize the receiving stations for the wounded; regulate the procurement of the necessary disinfectants to be used in the cleanup; and survey the area to determine the locations for burial of our own as well as hostile combatants.
8. Chief Veterinary Officer shall issue all the necessary veterinary directions for conducting the cleanup; he shall organize veterinary receiving stations and corrals for the livestock.
9. Chief Technical Officer shall regulate the reception of all technical equipment retrieved by the cleanup detail.
10. Chief Transportation Officer shall organize the transport of retrieved military equipment and personal effects from the gathering points to the warehouse facilities.
11. Every burial detail shall be guided by the investigator, and commanded by the section CO, in the presence of a municipal representative and a registrar.
After the burial detail is complete, the section CO will give all of these representatives a copy of the full list of the buried, along with a sketch of the burial site.
Deceased or killed civilians shall be turned over to civilian authorities for burial. Personal effects of unidentified casualties shall be turned in to the garrison command posts or outposts.
12. Stragglers and the wounded shall be given first aid and evacuated to the nearest receiving station.
13. All injured hoofed livestock shall be gathered and offered aid, then sent to a veterinary receiving station. Hoofed animals with no need of medical assistance, as well as those marked for slaughter, shall be sent to gathering areas. Stray dogs and cats should be shot.
14. All the deceased or killed persons shall be transferred to burial sites. Deceased or killed persons shall be buried in individual or common graves; before burial, they shall be individually wrapped in plastic bags or put into coffins.
All military property shall be retrieved; personal effects shall be collected and listed, then packaged and sent to designated warehouses.
After the finished cleanup, all reports, lists of burials and sketches of burial sites, along with the personal effects of the buried, shall be turned over to garrison commands or local military sections.
15. Cleanup duties in the border zone shall be organized and implemented by the Army, and everywhere else by the MUP. For any questions regarding the cleanup procedures, consult the Battlefield Cleanup Manual or the Corps Command...
This order was supplemented by a new order of the PrK Command on April 8, 1999 (classified # 28-141/3):
1. Removal of bodies of our and hostile combatants form the battlefield along the border zone of operations shall be the responsibility of Army Brigades. For that purpose, they shall enlist the military investigators from the judicial section of the PrK Command, physicians and other members of the cleanup detail
2. Removal of bodies outside of the border zone of Kosovo-Metohija shall be the responsibility of Army brigades in their areas of responsibility, under the jurisdiction of MUP and county investigators, aided by local sanitation crews and work details...
4. Brigade commands are responsible for the battlefield cleanup in their areas of responsibility. For that purpose, they shall designate the responsible individuals and specify the procedures for establishing the necessary contacts with other authorities within the MUP and local judicial and executive authorities, provide the timely flow of information about the location of the bodies, and if needed, offer direct assistance.
Cleanup should be monitored regularly, and all reports forwarded to the Command.
Naturally, under the circumstances (intense NATO bombing of military and strategic civilian targets in residential areas, as well as constant clashes with the terrorists), not all the said cleanup measures could be implemented in all parts of Kosovo-Metohija. This is indicated in the report of the PrK command (classified #991-1) to the Kosovo-Metohija Provisional Administrative Council, dated May 13, 1999:
CO of the 37th Motorized Brigade reported on multiple occasions, starting on May 3, 1999, that the situation in Glogovac and the surrounding villages is alarming and can potentially have dire consequences. The town and its surroundings have no power or water supply, nor medical protection. They are running out of food supplies. Civilian authorities in Glogovac have been defunct since February 26, 1999, when they moved to Kosovo Polje. No cleanup was done in Glogovac or the surrounding area... There is a real danger of outbreaks of deadly diseases, which would further complicate the already complex situation. We suggest the following:
- that provincial authorities and civil defense forces urgently review this report and take the necessary measures to stabilize the situation, with the focus on feeding the population, providing medical assistance and cleaning up the area.
Protection fo Civilians VJ Commanders' Permanent Mission
The 78 days of intense and indiscriminate air strikes of NATO forces against military and civilian targets throughout the FRY, and especially in Kosovo-Metohija, caused heavy casualties and the exodus of civilians. These strikes began and ended in Kosovo-Metohija, with the first bombs hitting the Slatina airport near Pristina (2000 hrs on March 24, 1999), and the last impacting on the village of Kololec, NE of Gnjilane (June 9, 1999). According to the Serbian MUP, of the total of 3381 air and missile strikes by NATO between March 24 and June 9, 1999, most of them were directed against Pristina (406), Prizren (342), Djakovica (265), and only then Belgrade (251), Urosevac (224), Kraljevo (154), Uzice (152), Novi Sad (133), Prokuplje (121), Kosovska Mitrovica (116), Gnjilane (113), Nis (112), Pec (108) etc.
Of these 11 hardest-hit cities in the FRY, seven are in Kosovo-Metohija; at the top three places on the list are the Kosovo cities of Pristina, Prizren and Djakovica.
Given that military garrisons (Djakovica, Gnjilane, Kacanik, Pristina, Lipljan, Pec, Prizren, Srbica, Suva Reka and Urosevac) were located in the middle or near residential areas, and that police stations are almost always located in the midst of residential areas (Decani, Djakovica, Glogovac, Pec, Prizren, Suva Reka, Stimlje, Urosevac), it is not hard to conclude that the civilians had little choice but to leave the cities en masse and flee for their lives.
Indiscriminate targeting and the number of civilian casualties caused a justified panic among the civilians, causing them to seek salvation in organized or spur-of-the-moment exodus. It is well known that NATOs targets in Kosovo-Metohija included: residential areas, roads (1 international highway, four interstate highways, 2 regional roads and one local highway), railways (3), rail and road bridges (24), bus depots (3), rail stations (2), three airports (passenger airports, as well as recreational and agricultural airstrips), power stations and power distribution networks (3), power lines (6 lines), telephone and radio relays (1), TV and radio transmitters (16), post offices and the telephone system (3), warehouses (4), gas stations (4), water works (7), industrial facilities (24), agricultural facilities (13), hospitals, health care and rehabilitation centers (8), schools and kindergartens (11), public buildings (3), monuments and memorials (3), monasteries (8), mosques (3), cemeteries (4), refugee convoys and columns (4), refugee camps with refugees from Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (3, etc.
Since the final death toll of NATOs air and missile strikes among civilians has not yet been established, we can only cite specific incidents in Kosovo-Metohija between March 24 and June 9, 1999, in order to illustrate the extent of the humanitarian disaster the bombing had caused:
Djakovica (Prizren), refugee column, 75 killed, around 100 injured; Doganovic (Urosevac) 5 killed, 2 injured; Gnjilane, 4 dead, 19 injured; Istok, around 100 dead and 200 injured; Korisa, 87 dead and 70 injured; Morino, 6 dead and 8 injured; Nagovac, 11 dead, 5 injured; Pristina, 10 dead and 8 injured; Prizren, 5 dead, 32 injured; Radoste (DJakovica) 2 dead and 1 injured; Srbica, 10 dead, etc.
Most residents of towns and villages, Albanians as well as other residents of Kosovo-Metohija, did not join the refugee columns. They remained in their homes, many under arrangements with family members who did join the flow of refugees. The main reason behind this was to preserve property. The fact that many families chose to split up like this testifies that the VJ did not persecute civilians (deport or forcibly resettle, as the Indictment alleges). Small-scale deportations or resettlement definitely do not qualify as ethnic cleansing. This is supported by the fact that Albanians remaining in towns and cities in Kos-Met were not tortured, abused or otherwise harmed (with a few exceptions we shall address separately). Masses of Albanians which greeted the arrival of KFOR in towns and cities throughout Kos-Met (captured on camera) clearly indicate that the VJ did not engage in ethnic cleansing. If any of these allegations were true, there would have been no one to greet KFOR upon its arrival.
Refugee columns and camps, whether those organized during the VJ and MUPs counter-terrorist operations (June September 1998) or those formed in March 1999 (until the beginning of NATOs aggression) were mostly used by CNN camera crews and other such media to give the world authentic stories of humanitarian disaster. It is necessary to add that these columns and camps were organized and run by special teams of trained separatist activists, with a well-defined objective: to create an image of humanitarian disaster and ethnic cleansing as a reason for NATO to militarily intervene in the Kosovo conflict.
These refugees were in many ways different from, for example, Serb refugees from Western Slavonia in 1991, or from Knin and Krajina, Lika, Kordun and Banija in the summer of 1995. Even externally, these refugees presented a well-prepared look: covered trailers, reserves of fuel, clothing, canned and dried food, gas burners, first-aid kits, radios, TVs and communications devices. Refugees from the Serbian Krajina had moved out at the very last moment, convinced they would soon be able to return to their homes many of which they left unlocked in a hurry. PrK signal intelligence intercepted numerous radio messages and other communications between KLA activists and leaders of refugee columns, with information on when to move out, in which direction and which roads to take.
Part of the civilian population left their homes in Kosovo-Metohija fearing NATOs air and missile strikes, and also fleeing the fighting between the VJ and KLA terrorists, since the terrorists had used them as human shields. Even those whose exodus was organized by the Albanian separatist activists were treated as friendly civilians by the VJ command, with an obligation to protect them in any way possible under very difficult and dangerous circumstances. Documents from VJ commands we have already cited clearly show concern for the safety of civilians. This practice continued even under the dire circumstances caused by the NATO aggression. Here are some indications of that.
A warning sent by the PrK command (classified #455-164 of April 18, 1999) to all unit commanders, says:
According to our information, there were several instances when the behavior of individuals during combat operations did not conform entirely to the Instructions for Conduct in Combat and the international laws of war... Certain commands and units did not pay sufficient attention to instances of looting and criminal behavior.
Based on the warning of the Third Army command (classified # 36-50-2, dated 17 April 1999) and for the purpose of completely respecting the provisions of international laws of war, and increased security in all units and commands... I order:
1. During combat operations, you will fully implement all provisions or international laws of war and the Instruction for behavior of VJ members in conducting operations in K-M (classified #100-2 of 2 March 1999), composed by the VJ General Staff, and which you received...;
3. All commands authorities will take effective measures for prevention of all forms of criminal conduct (looting, seizure of private property, etc), as regulated by Corps orders.
Inform all members of the PrK of adverse consequences of all forms of criminal behavior to the reputation and morale of the PrK. All spoils of war have to be treated in accordance with the existing orders and instructions.
Another PrK order (classified #455-168, dated 19 April 1999) is even more explicit in regard to the causes of civilian movement in Kos-Met during the air and missile strikes by NATO. It says:
Since the NATO air strikes caused massive population movements in the Pristina Corps area of responsibility, I
1. All PrK units shall make an estimate of the current situation regarding the movement and camping of civilians. Whenever possible, protect the civilians and prevent any mass movement and spillover. If civilians end up in combat zones, or under fire by NATO aggressors and Albanian terrorist force, evacuate them to safety and protect them from hostile fire.
2. All units shall establish safe areas in their zones of responsibility: villages, homes and other buildings capable of temporarily sheltering civilians.
3. Reports on measures undertaken to protect civilians and proposals for optimal locations for sheltering refugees shall be sent to the PrK command by 1600 hrs on 20 April 1999.
On April 21, 1999, Third Army command issued a reminder to all units (classified #38-8-2): Rules of Engagement for Army Personnel along with a booklet Fundamentals of International Laws of War, stressing that all operations should be conducted with absolute insistence on respecting the Geneva Convention and international laws and customs of war.
Concerned for the safety of civilians in Kosovo-Metohija, the military sought to return civilians to their homes as soon as opportunity arose. In that regard, the PrK actively addressed the issue of protecting the abandoned property in villages and cities from possible looting, destruction and theft. This is evidenced by the warning the PrK command issued on May 20, 1999 (classified #12-378):
Since the outbreak of hostilities, we have registered a large number of criminal activities manifested in various forms, in units directly engaged in combat operations as well as units deployed for the purpose of controlling territory and providing security for vital facilities....
Characteristic forms of criminal actions by individuals, and recently even small groups of VJ soldiers, are: abandoning the order of battle for the purpose of going into cities (Djakovica, Pec, Prizren) and procuring and consuming alcohol; theft of automobiles, appliances, tools and other valuable property; as a general rule, units largely ignore this sort of behavior. Violent excesses have been manifested through armed threats, opening fire on homes, physical and sexual harassment...
Despite the increased activity of military police and numerous criminal proceedings, the desired result in reducing or eliminating crime were not accomplished. Therefore, I order:
1. Unit COs shall take all the necessary measures to completely root out all illegal and harmful actions and especially criminal behavior by individuals or groups in their units.
2. Hold meetings at unit levels, for the purpose of preventing and rooting out the aforementioned behavior.
3. Immediately undertake appropriate legal measures and prosecute all perpetrators of criminal activities, in each units area of responsibility ".
All the facts cited in war reports at all command levels of the Yugoslav Army, and their comparison to events in Kosovo-Metohija during 1998 and 1999, especially during the NATO aggression against the FRY (March 24 June 10, 1999), prove in its entirety the thesis that it was NATO aggression that caused a humanitarian disaster in Kosovo-Metohija. The horrifying mass air strikes against cities and towns in this province inevitably caused mass exodus of civilians, who tried to flee from harm in all directions. Yugoslav Army commanders did everything to save the civilians from peril caused by the NATO aggression.
Paragraph 35 of the Indictment says: The unlawful deportation and forcible transfer of thousands of Kosovo Albanians from their homes in Kosovo involved well-planned and co-ordinated efforts by the leaders of the FRY and Serbia, and forces of the FRY and Serbia, all acting in concert. Actions similar in nature took place during the wars in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1991 and 1995. During those wars, Serbian military, paramilitary and police forces forcibly expelled and deported non-Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina from areas under Serbian control utilising the same method of operations as have been used in Kosovo in 1999: heavy shelling and armed attacks on villages; widespread killings; destruction of non-Serbian residential areas and cultural and religious sites; and forced transfer and deportation of non-Serbian populations.
COMMENT: In its first sentence this Paragraph cites a legal paradox of unlawful deportation. The very definition of deportation includes three possibilities: 1. expulsion from a country of a foreign national, based on the decision of a court or another organ of authority; 2. internment of civilians from an occupied territory; and 3. forcible relocation of ethnic groups from their territory to mandatory residences. None of these has ever been applied in Kosovo-Metohija. We would like to dwell for a moment on the third case, in which occupation authorities deport civilians for the purpose of forced resettlement or internment. Forces of the FRY and Serbia defended Kosovo-Metohija as part of their own territory, against violence that had as its goal the secession of this province from Serbia and the FRY.
During their counter-terrorist operations, the Yugoslav Army and the Serbian MUP did temporarily relocate civilians from residential areas used by the terrorists as strongholds, but this was done to protect the civilians from danger, since their homes had become a theater of battle against the terrorists. As soon as the terrorists were destroyed and evicted, civilians were organized and returned by the VJ and the police into their residences. Examples of such behavior by the VJ have been cited in our response to Paragraph 34.
Since the Indictment cites forcible transfer of thousands of Kosovo Albanians from their homes, it should at least cite one name of a town or village from which these Albanians were forcibly transferred, or a place where they were forcibly transferred to. Since there are no such examples, the Indictment is based on a general, abstract allegation backed up with no evidence whatsoever.
Also, this Paragraph makes an analogy between the events in Kosovo-Metohija and events in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1991-1995. Among other things, the Indictment claims that During those wars, Serbian military, paramilitary and police forces forcibly expelled and deported non-Serbs
It is by this claim that the Hague Tribunal demonstrates its unprecedented bias and anti-Serb inclination.
In the interest of truth, we would like to remind the public of some events in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Let us start with Croatia. It is a tragic facet of historical fate that many more Serbs than Croats fought and died for the present-day borders of Croatia, claimed persistently by the current Croatian government. Having served Hitler faithfully as a quisling puppet-state until the very end of World War Two, Croatia ended the war as one of the victorious Allies much more because of its Serb population than its Croatian residents. That is why the ZAVNOH (Anti-Fascist Council of Peoples Liberation of Croatia) had decided on its Topusko session in 1944 that Croats and Serbs were two equal peoples in this federal republic of the Second Yugoslavia. Immediately after the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) rose to power in 1990, it changed the Constitution, took away the status of Serbs as a constituent people in Croatia and reduced them to an ethnic minority. Additionally, all the surviving Ustasha [Nazi quisling] émigrés from the time of Pavelic returned to the country. Greater Croatian chauvinism rose to the level of euphoria, with the checkered flag and the prefix Croatian attached to everything. Such symbols and speech evoked strong memories of the WW2 Ustasha state and its genocide against the Serbs, and quite logically, alarmed the Serb population.
Anti-Serb propaganda in Croatia not only against Yugoslavia and Serbia, but also against the Croatian Serbs was causing rampant Serbophobia among the Croatian people, turning eventually into mass chauvinist hysteria. Six weeks after the establishment of Pavelics Independent State of Croatia, on May 25 1941, the Ustasha fuehrer issued a decree dismissing the Serb governor of Vukovar and appointed a German settler, attorney Jakob Eliker, in his place. Fifty years later, on July 25 1991, barely a month after the official secession of Croatia from Yugoslavia, the new Croatia fuehrer Franjo Tudjman issued a decree dismissing the democratically elected Vukovar town council and suspended its Serb chairman, Slavko Dokmanovic, appointing a Croat, Marina Vidic, in his place even though Croats were a minority in Vukovar.
Two and a half months before the new Croatian government was to secede, on March 24, 1991, the 204th Brigade of the National Guard Corps [Croatian militia] was formed under the command of the new Ustasha., later to become a war criminal, Tomislav Mercep.
The decision to ethnically cleanse Vukovar of Serbs was made in February 1991 (4 months before Croatia seceded from Yugoslavia), by Mercep and members of the Croatian parliament Vladimir Seks, Ivan Vekic and Branimir Glavas. Their meeting focused in the impending actions of ethnic cleansing of Serbs, especially from this area. Everyone present agreed that the cleansing should be conducted in the following manner: dismissal of all Serbs from public service in the entire Vukovar municipality; intimidation of Serbs for the purpose of provoking their exodus from this municipality; and finally, physical liquidation of Serbs who did not succumb to previous measures. The agreement was implemented quickly.
Ten years later, testimonies of then-leaders of the Croatian secessionist movement answer the question of who did the expulsion for themselves. One of these leaders, Tudjmans first Interior Minister Josip Boljkovac, on multiple occasions (interviews in December 1998 and May 2001) described in detail how the first bloodshed in Croatia (Borovo Selo near Vukovar, May 2, 1991.) was organized and perpetrated by the former émigré Gojko Susak (later secessionist Croatias Defense Minister) and Vice Vukojevic. According to Boljkovac, the bloodshed in Borovo Selo (12 dead, 31 wounded) the Croatian side used as a sort of a detonator for initiating violent secession, and the very essence of this violent act was the general expulsion of Serbs from Croatia.
Croats and Moslems were the first to expel Serbs in Bosnia-Herzegovina as well. The first act of the ethno-religious, civil war in that former Yugoslav republic was the public burning of the Serbian flag and the murder of Nikola Gardovic, father of the bride in a Serbian wedding procession in downtown Sarajevo, on March 1, 1992, committed by Moslem fundamentalists. Not only was the murderer not prosecuted, but the Moslems subsequently celebrated him as a hero.
A massacre of Serbs in the village of Sijekovac (near Bosanski Brod) occurred before the outset of the Bosnian war, on March 26, 1992. This crime was committed by the Croatian troops, in cooperation with local Moslem paramilitaries. They burst into this Serbian village, seized and killed all the menfolk (some 15 of them), looted all the homes and then torched the village.
Also before the war in Bosnia officially started (April 3-10, 1992) Croat and Moslem forces in Kupres committed a series of mass crimes against the local Serbs. Whomever they caught in Kupres was either killed or sent to camps. Ten Serbs were killed in the village of Donji Malovan, and 92 imprisoned in a camp. Nine more Serbs were killed in Kupres suburbs. From April 4 to April 7, 1992, 21 Serbs were killed throughout Kupres, especially in the suburb of Kratez, in their homes or while trying to flee the besieged town. In a forest behind Mt. Crni Vrh, three Serbs from the village of Rilic were executed. A similar fate befell the Serbs from the neighboring village of Zanagline, and five of them were shot in the nearby forest. The eldest among them, Trailo Spremo, was 83. The village was torched. Three more members of the Spremo family were killed in the village of Botin. Between April 5 and April 7, 1992, 173 Serb civilians were taken from their homes, led camps in Western Herzegovina where they suffered horrible torture. Some of these people were later transferred to the Lora camp in Split, Croatia.
Bosnian Serbs made multiple attempts to reach a peaceful agreement with the Moslem leaders, but were cruelly double-crossed. One example is the Sarajevo suburb of Ilidza. After a series of skirmishes between Serbs and Moslems in this area, a non-aggression agreement was reached between the Serbs in Ilidza and Moslems in the nearby settlement of Sokolovic colony. However, the Moslems began an unprovoked, massive attack on Ilidza on April 22, 1992, from multiple directions, and most fiercely precisely from Sokolovic colony and nearby Hrasnica. Attacks came from the Rehabilitation Institute grounds, where Moslem snipers had infiltrated wearing physicians white lab coats. Only a quick intervention of the Sarajevo garrison of the JNA, which deployed between the warring sides, prevented further bloodshed. Even so, the Serb defenders of Ilidza suffered heavy casualties 15 dead and 50 wounded.
In both Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, therefore, Croats and Moslems initiated the persecution and murder of Serbs.
Paragraph 35 alleges that Serbian military, paramilitary and police forces forcibly expelled and deported non-Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, yet never mentions the expulsion of Serbs from these former Yugoslav republics. According to official data from the Red Cross and the Serbian Refugee Commission, almost 600,000 refugees from the 1991-1995 wars, mostly Serbs, had sought shelter in Serbia at one time. From Croatia, there were 215,000; Bosnia-Herzegovina, some 330,000; Slovenia, 37,000 and Macedonia, 3,000.
COMMENT: In many places, the Indictment mentions facts about refugee columns in Kosovo-Metohija, never mentioning the largest refugee column ever seen in Europe for the past 100 years that of Serbs leaving Croatia in August 1995. This column numbered over 200,000 adults and children. The ICTY never even mentioned the issue of responsibility for this exodus, though it is well known that this column was under fire from artillery and airplanes from Knin to Banja Luka and from Vojnic to Dvora na Uni. No one counted the number of civilians killed in these attacks.
We do not deny that Serb militias (but not the regular armed forces of the FRY or Serbia, as the Indictment alleges), committed acts of violence, expulsion of civilians and even physical liquidation of some non-Serbs, when the ethno-religious and civil wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina went into full swing. Still, we wish to point out that the Indictment in paragraph 35 does not indicate that hundreds of thousands of Serbs had been expelled from former Yugoslav republics, nor that their property was torched, looted, or expropriated. Paradoxically, though, it blames all the expulsions and ethnic cleansing exclusively on the side that suffered them the worst!
Paragraph 36 of the Indictment says: On 24 March 1999, NATO began launching air strikes against targets in the FRY. The FRY issued decrees of an imminent threat of war on 23 March 1999 and a state of war on 24 March 1999. Since the air strikes commenced, forces of the FRY and Serbia have intensified their systematic campaign and have forcibly expelled hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians.
COMMENT: Everything the response to paragraph 34 mentioned in regard to counter-terrorist operations of the VJ in from mid-February to March 1999 is applicable to this Paragraph as well.
One puzzling thing that cannot be answered without insulting the intelligence of those who wrote the Indictment is the claim that On 24 March 1999, NATO began launching air strikes... The FRY issued decrees of ... a state of war..., as forces of the FRY and Serbia have intensified their systematic campaign and have forcibly expelled hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians!
Authors of the Indictment certainly knew that under a state of war imposed by NATO, forces of the FRY and Serbia did not intensify any campaign of expulsion against Kosovo Albanians, but intensified their operations against the terrorist forces of the KLA. When the state of war was declared, the danger to Serbia and the FRY did not come from hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians but from the well-armed forces of the KLA. These allegations of mistaken priorities in national defense are downright insulting to the Yugoslav leadership. Our guess is that propaganda prevailed over reason when this Paragraph was written. Still, no rational human being could be deceived by the allegations that some 25,000 well-armed KLA terrorists were hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians. Forces of the FRY and Serbia, having found themselves in a war against NATO, focused their resources (except for the air and missile defense systems) on crushing and destroying the KLA terrorists, considering them to be the first echelon of NATOs ground invasion. It is our assessment that the leadership of any country determined to defend its freedom and independence would have acted in the same or similar fashion.
Paragraph 37 of the Indictment says: In addition to the forced expulsions of Kosovo Albanians, forces of the FRY and Serbia have also engaged in a number of killings of Kosovo Albanians since 24 March 1999. Such killings occurred at numerous locations, including but not limited to, Bela Crkva, Mali Krusa/Krushe e VogelVelika Krusa/Krushe e Mahde, Dakovica/Gjakovë, Crkovez/Padalishte, and Izbica.
COMMENT: Many paragraphs in the Indictment, including this one, mention forced expulsions of Kosovo Albanians as well as a series of offensives against dozens of predominantly Kosovo Albanian villages and towns during the peace negotiations in France, (Paragraph 30), and since March 24, 1999, i.e. the beginning of NATOs aggression against the FRY.
However, nowhere does the Indictment mention the subversive military branch of the Albanian separatist movement, which has operated in every corner of Kosovo-Metohija, nor the organized paramilitary units and the large numbers of uniformed KLA members, their weapons, training, and logistical support in Kosovo and from abroad. Thus it presents to the public a completely distorted perception that in all stages of the conflict in Kosovo-Metohija including its culmination with the NATO aggression against the FYR forces of the FRY and Serbia engaged in campaigns of forcible expulsion of Kosovo Albanians, massacres, deportation and forcible relocation of civilians. Only Paragraph 23 mentions that in the mid-1990s a faction of the Kosovo Albanians organised a group known as UÇK which advocated a campaign of armed insurgency and violent resistance to the Serbian authorities.
If only there had been just a faction of terrorists, however extreme, operating in Kosovo-Metohija! If that had been the case, this "faction" would have been destroyed long ago, and the territory of this multi-ethnic and multi-religious southern Serbian province would have known peace and normal life for the entire population. Unfortunately, for non-Albanians and Albanians alike, during the 1990s the KLA had grown from a faction into a dangerous terrorist monstrosity, with characteristics that superseded all the similar paramilitary movements in the former Yugoslavia.
This factions metastasis into the KLA was certainly aided by experiences of similar paramilitaries from Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Not to be discounted is the varied and comprehensive foreign aid, arriving for many years unhindered from Albania, especially after the collapse of its government in January 1997. Unlike the paramilitaries of other separatist movements in the former Yugoslavia, which received foreign aid and weapons under strenuous conditions, the Albanian separatist movement and the KLA could count on the neighboring Albania, which the international community did not consider a responsible state after 1997. That very same international community prevented the FRY from doing anything to protect itself from this neighbors support to Albanian separatism in Kosovo-Metohija, except patrol its own border a right which it should have had anyway.
Turkey, as a NATO member, launched massive counter-terrorist operations even inside the neighboring Iraq, and the international community never made any objections. Subjected to demonization, sanctions, blockade, pressures and threats from that very same international community, the FRY did not even dare send a protest to the Tirana government over flagrant violations of international law and interference with internal Yugoslav matters. All it could do was to patrol its difficult border with Albania and through heightened vigilance attempt to slow down the bustling traffic between Kosovo-Metohija and subversion centers in Albania organized and supported by the KLA and foreign powers.
The structure of the terrorist KLA, its regional headquarters, and all of its units, as well as their strength, are clearly visible in the attached facsimiles of their original documents (translated to Serbian):
[facsimiles of KLA documents will be posted here...]
Against these terrorist units the forces of the FRY and Serbia did launch a campaign, but not since March 24, 1999 as the Indictment alleges, but in late February, as described in the refutation of Paragraph 30 above.
Paragraph 38 of the Indictment says: The planning, preparation and execution of the campaign undertaken by forces of the FRY and Serbia in Kosovo, was planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted by Slobodan MILOSEVIC, the President of the FRY; Milan MILUTINOVIC, the President of Serbia; Nikola SAINOVIC, the Deputy Prime Minister of the FRY; Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC, the Chief of the General Staff of the VJ; and Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia.
COMMENT: Planning an execution of counter-terrorist operations against strong terrorist and separatist forces in Kosovo-Metohija during later February and March 1999, as well as the planning and execution of FRY defense against the NATO aggression starting March 24, 1999, were conducted, commanded and directed by the very five people listed in the Indictment. In this difficult situation, with grave danger to the FRY, the five of them made up the countrys war leadership. As such, they were the most responsible for the countrys defense and ultimate fate. Should someone be indicted for standing in defense of his nation and directing that defense? Only the ICTY has done such a thing, proving beyond a doubt that it is not an institution of justice, but merely an instrument of the aggressive and hegemonic policy that aims to establish dominion over the world.
What the five men cited in Paragraph 38 had done was not planning, preparation and execution of the campaign undertaken by forces of the FRY and Serbia against civilians. As leaders most responsible for the fate of the country, they made decisions about its defense and preservation in the most difficult wartime circumstances. For that, they will be remembered by history as courageous and uncompromising defenders of the nation.
Paragraph 39 of the Indictment says: By 20 May 1999, over 740,000 Kosovo Albanians, approximately one-third of the entire Kosovo Albanian population, were expelled from Kosovo. Thousands more are believed to be internally displaced. An unknown number of Kosovo Albanians have been killed in the operations by forces of the FRY and Serbia.
COMMENT: The number of 740,000 Kosovo Albanian refugees by May 20, 1999 (when the Indictment was issued) is arbitrary and unproven. The Indictment never cites where all these expelled Albanians ended up.
True, a large number of civilians, Serbs and Albanians alike, fled their towns and villages due to NATOs round-the-clock air and missile strikes. Albanians fled towards Albania and western Macedonia, Serbs and others deeper into Serbia. They all tried to escape the danger to their lives from NATO air strikes, and not because of some aggressive expulsion by Yugoslav forces. Quite to the contrary, in response to previous paragraphs of the Indictment we have cited much incontrovertible evidence that the VJ did all in its power to protect civilians (Albanians and non-Albanians alike) and help them as much as possible under the circumstances i.e. the constant fight against the KLA terrorists and the ongoing NATO aggression.
Paragraph 39 cites an unproven number of 740,000 Albanian refugees, but it makes no mention of Serbs and other non-Albanians who fled Kosovo-Metohija. These people also fled the NATO bombing. Finally, it has been reported many times that since the bombing, and especially after the deployment of UNMIK and KFOR, some 250,000 people fled this Serbian province, expelled under violent attacks by the KLA and other Albanian chauvinists.
Paragraph 40 of the Indictment says: Slobodan MILOSEVIC was born on 20 August 1941 in the town of Pozarevac in present-day Serbia. In 1964 he received a law degree from the University of Belgrade and began a career in management and banking. Slobodan MILOSEVIC held the posts of deputy director and later general director at Tehnogas, a major gas company until 1978. Thereafter, he became president of Beogradska banka (Beobanka), one of the largest banks in the SFRY and held that post until 1983.
Paragraph 41 of the Indictment says: In 1983 Slobodan MILOSEVIC began his political career. He became Chairman of the City Committee of the League of Communists of Belgrade in 1984. In 1986 he was elected Chairman of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Serbia and was re-elected in 1988. On 16 July 1990, the League of Communists of Serbia and the Socialist Alliance of Working People of Serbia were united; the new party was named the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), and Slobodan MILOSEVIC was elected its President. He holds the post of President of the SPS as of the date of this indictment.
Paragraph 42 of the Indictment says: Slobodan MILOSEVIC was elected President of the Presidency of Serbia on 8 May 1989 and re-elected on 5 December that same year. After the adoption of the new Constitution of Serbia on 28 September 1990, Slobodan MILOSEVIC was elected to the newly established office of President of Serbia in multi-party elections held on 9 and 26 December 1990; he was re-elected on 20 December 1992.
Paragraph 43 of the Indictment says: After serving two terms as President of Serbia, Slobodan MILOSEVIC was elected President of the FRY on 15 July 1997 and he began his official duties on 23 July 1997. At all times relevant to this indictment, Slobodan MILOSEVIC has held the post of President of the FRY.
Paragraph 44 of the Indictment says: Milan MILUTINOVIC was born on 19 December 1942 in Belgrade in present-day Serbia. Milan MILUTINOVIC received a degree in law from Belgrade University.
Paragraph 45 of the Indictment says: Throughout his political career, Milan MILUTINOVIC has held numerous high level governmental posts within Serbia and the FRY. Milan MILUTINOVIC was a deputy in the Socio-Political Chamber and a member of the foreign policy committee in the Federal Assembly; he was Serbias Secretary for Education and Sciences, a member of the Executive Council of the Serbian Assembly, and a director of the Serbian National Library. Milan MILUTINOVIC also served as an ambassador in the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and as the FRY Ambassador to Greece. He was appointed the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the FRY on 15 August 1995. Milan MILUTINOVIC is a member of the SPS.
Paragraph 46 of the Indictment says: On 21 December 1997, Milan MILUTINOVIC was elected President of Serbia. At all times relevant to this indictment, Milan MILUTINOVIC has held the post of President of Serbia.
Paragraph 47 of the Indictment says: Nikola SAINOVIC was born on 7 December 1948 in Bor, Serbia. He graduated from the University of Ljubljana in 1977 and holds a Master of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. He began his political career in the municipality of Bor where he held the position of President of the Municipal Assembly of Bor from 1978 to 1982.
Paragraph 48 of the Indictment says: Throughout his political career, Nikola SAINOVIC has been an active member of both the League of Communists and the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS). He held the position of Chairman of the Municipal Committee of the League of Communists in Bor. On 28 November 1995, Nikola SAINOVIC was elected a member of the SPSs Main Committee and a member of its Executive Council. He was also named president of the Committee to prepare the SPS Third Regular Congress (held in Belgrade on 2-3 March 1996). On 2 March 1996 Nikola SAINOVIC was elected one of several vice chairmen of the SPS. He held this position until 24 April 1997.
Paragraph 49 of the Indictment says: Nikola SAINOVIC has held several positions within the governments of Serbia and the FRY. In 1989, he served as a member of the Executive Council of Serbias Assembly and Secretary for Industry, Energetics and Engineering of Serbia in 1989. He was appointed Minister of Mining and Energy of Serbia on 11 February 1991, and again on 23 December 1991. On 23 December 1991, he was also named Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia. Nikola SAINOVIC was appointed Minister of the Economy of the FRY on 14 July 1992, and again on 11 September 1992. He resigned from this post on 29 November 1992. On 10 February 1993, Nikola SAINOVIC was elected Prime Minister of Serbia.
Paragraph 50 of the Indictment says: On 22 February 1994, Nikola SAINOVIC was appointed Deputy Prime Minister of the FRY. He was re-appointed to this position in three subsequent governments: on 12 June 1996, 20 March 1997 and 20 May 1998. Slobodan MILOSEVIC designated Nikola SAINOVIC as his representative for the Kosovo situation. Nikola SAINOVIC chaired the commission for co-operation with the OSCE Verification Mission in Kosovo, and was an official member of the Serbian delegation at the Rambouillet peace talks in February 1999. At all times relevant to this indictment, Nikola SAINOVIC has held the post of Deputy Prime Minister of the FRY.
Paragraph 51 of the Indictment says: Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC was born on 1 June 1941 in the village of Ravni, near Uzice in what is now Serbia. In 1958, he completed the Infantry School for Non-Commissioned Officers and in 1964, he completed the Military Academy of the Ground Forces. In 1985, Dragoljub OJDANIC graduated from the Command Staff Academy and School of National Defence with a Masters Degree in Military Sciences. At one time he served as the Secretary for the League of Communists for the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) 52nd Corps, the precursor of the 52nd Corps of the VJ now operating in Kosovo.
Paragraph 52 of the Indictment says: In 1992, Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC was the Deputy Commander of the 37th Corps of the JNA, later the VJ, based in Uzice, Serbia. He was promoted to Major General on 20 April 1992 and became Commander of the Uzice Corps. Under his command, the Uzice Corps was involved in military actions in eastern Bosnia during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1993 and 1994 Dragoljub OJDANIC served as Chief of the General Staff of the First Army of the FRY. He was Commander of the First Army between 1994 and 1996. In 1996, he became Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the VJ. On 26 November 1998, Slobodan MILOSEVIC appointed Dragoljub OJDANIC Chief of General Staff of the VJ, replacing General Momcilo Perisic. At all times relevant to this indictment, Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC has held the post of Chief of the General Staff of the VJ.
Paragraph 53 of the Indictment says: Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC was born in Mala Krsna, in Serbia. He graduated from the University of Belgrade with a law degree, and then was employed at the municipal court. Thereafter, he became head of the Inter-Municipal Secretariat of Internal Affairs in Pozarevac. Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC has served as director of the PIK firm in Pozarevac, vice-president and president of the Economic Council of Yugoslavia, and president of the Economic Council of Serbia.
Paragraph 54 of the Indictment says: By April 1997, Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC became Deputy Prime Minister of the Serbian Government and Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia. On 24 March 1998, the Serbian Assembly elected a new Government, and Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC was named Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia. He is also a member of the main board of the SPS. At all times relevant to this indictment, Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC, has held the post of Minister of Internal Affairs.
COMMNET: All 15 Paragraphs relate to biographical information of the defendants, which are mostly accurate. Yet anyones political biography, whether they are Yugoslav and Serbian government officials or not, can not by itself be incriminating. Therefore, there is no reason for refutation or comment on Paragraphs 40-54 of the Indictment.
There are, however, several imprecise, untrue and even malicious formulations which we feel obligated to address. Thus in Paragraph 50 Nikola Sainovic is said to have been designated by Slobodan Milosevic as his representative for the Kosovo situation. Based on the premise that Slobodan Milosevic was a dictator, which the Indictment does, it appears as if Sainovic was Milosevics hatchet-man. Yet devoid of a priori, baseless insinuations, the reality is quite different.
The Yugoslav and Serbian leadership, seeking a resolution to the Kosovo-Metohija crisis, had formed a committee of highest officials which included Nikola Sainovic that had followed the events in Kosovo-Metohija daily and attempted to steer them towards a peaceful solution. This working group included Milomir Minic, then speaker of the House of Citizens in the federal Parliament, Andreja Milosavljevic, a Serbian government minister, Zoran Andjelkovic, Serbian government minister and chairman of the Provisional Administrative Council for Kosovo-Metohija, as well as Dusko Matkovic, economic expert. Therefore, it was a staff of serious and responsible officials, two of which represented the FRY and three the republic of Serbia. Thus committee had been preparing a platform for political dialogue with Albanian leaders spearheaded by a Serbian government delegation, led by Prof. Ratko Markovic. Ten times this delegation went from Belgrade to Pristina, intent to meet with Kosovo Albanian representatives; yet the Albanians never showed up for any of the publicly announced meetings, even though they were initiated by the so-called international community.
Equally futile was the declaration Serbian president Milan Milutinovic made about the political process in Kosovo-Metohija, dated March 18, 1998. Here it is, in its entirety:
Of Milan Milutinovic, President of the Republic of Serbia
On the political process in Kosovo-Metohija
Hesitation and postponement of direct political dialogue between Serbian government representatives and Albanian political parties in Kosovo-Metohija is unjustified and harmful. It delays the reduction of tensions and blocks the political process of resolving issues which determine the equality of all citizens and the affirmation of peace, tolerance and mutual respect in Kosovo-Metohija.
I appeal to the leaders of ethnic Albanian minority political parties in Kosovo-Metohija that they engage in political dialogue without further delays or conditions. As President of the Republic of Serbia, I am ready to be the guarantor of such talks, based on the principles of territorial integrity and discussion of self-government in Kosovo-Metohija within Serbia.
Political and peaceful means are the only acceptable way to resolve the problem in Kosovo-Metohija. Only dialogue can accomplish lasting solutions to all issues, based on the elementary principle that all citizens are equal and all minorities have equal rights, in accordance to the highest standards of the UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe.
I stress the importance of continued presence and engagement of the International Committee of the Red Cross in conducting humanitarian activities. The authorities will continue to provide all the necessary conditions for its normal operations.
I consider that the international community, and especially the countries in this region, need to follow the accepted international standards and refrain from all actions that would increase tensions, encourage separatism, or represent interference in our internal affairs.
The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as a European country, holds dear the values and principles of the UN Charter, the Helsinki Charter, and the Paris Charter, and is determined to actively participate in modern processes of integration. Within the FRY, Serbia is interested and open to cooperation with OSCE, in case the FRY is restored its membership rights and obligations in that organization. In that regard, there should be renewed cooperation through a longer-lasting OSCE mission on a contract basis, akin to an earlier OSCE mission whose work showed positive results back in 1992 and which presented a more objective picture of the situation in Kosovo-Metohija to the international public.
I stress my conviction that the future of our citizens in Kosovo-Metohija, as well as in Serbia and the entire country, lies not in ethnic, religious or cultural isolation or divisions, but in peace, equal rights, integration and coexistence.
I am convinced that all the citizens and the authorities in Serbia and the FRY support the policy of equal rights for all citizens, preservation of sovereignty and territorial integrity, and open, equal cooperation with other countries and the international community.
In Belgrade, March 18, 1998.
Consistent with its policy of seeking peaceful and mutually acceptable solutions for Kosovo-Metohija, the government of Serbia expressed its readiness to renew and intensify dialogue even in the midst of the criminal aggression by NATO against the FRY (April 18, 1999), in the joint statement of Serbian president Milan Milutinovic and one of the leading Albanians, dr. Ibrahim Rugova. [See Appendix]
Paragraph 51 alleges that General Dragoljub Ojdanic served as the Secretary for the League of Communists for the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) 52nd Corps, the precursor of the 52nd Corps of the VJ now operating in Kosovo. This is a malicious suggestion that General Ojdanic, through the League of Communists, somehow subjected the 52nd Corps to criminal indoctrination! As Secretary of the League of Communists, Gen. Ojdanic could have only advocated ethnic tolerance, which was enshrined in the program of the Yugoslav League of Communists. At that time, the 52nd Corps was multi-ethnic in nature, so any nationalist or chauvinist indoctrination would have been impossible.
Finally, Paragraph 52 introduces another insinuation: Under his command, the Uzice Corps was involved in military actions in eastern Bosnia during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since the Indictments authors deliberately avoided citing the time of the Uzice Corps involvement in eastern Bosnia, they have maliciously left room for all sorts of insinuation and uninformed conclusions, such as the idea that the Uzice Corps was an agent of a foreign power, an aggressor!
First of all, the Uzice Corps was deployed in early April 1992 (April 14, to be exact), before the so-called international community demanded from the JNA (which the Uzice Corps belonged to) to leave Bosnia- Herzegovina. The Corps area of responsibility did not include the entire eastern Bosnia, but only a part of the Drina valley (Visegrad and Gorazde). The Corps had a duty to re-establish order in its area of responsibility, stop the already flaring interethnic and inter-religious conflicts, and especially prevent the environmental disaster from the threatened destruction of the Visegrad dam.
This time period was characterized by a struggle of Islamic fundamentalists for total control of the Drina river valley, including the section from Visegrad to Gorazde. By February and March or 1992 (before Bosnia-Herzegovina seceded from Yugoslavia), Islamic paramilitaries had already seized control of almost all roads and facilities in this region. This enabled them to install roadblocks and checkpoints, control traffic, identify Serb travelers and then beat or mistreat them. The Croat-Moslem coalition at the time planned to cause disturbances and interethnic conflict in the Drina valley, in order to claim in the West that Serbia committed aggression against Bosnia-Herzegovina. Another objective was to establish a border for the soon-to-be recognized independent Bosnia-Herzegovina, and maybe at some later date a greater Independent State of Croatia. They counted on succeeding because they knew there were no significant JNA units in this area, and possible resistance from the Serb populace was discounted as insignificant.
Terror of the Patriotic League against the Serbs in Visegrad lasted until April 14, 1992, when units of the JNA Uzice Corps entered the town. Evidence of terror against the Serbs, systematically conducted by Moslem fundamentalists, was partially apparent from flyers and slogans aimed against the Serbs (such as Know the Serb so you can hate him more). The fundamentalists objective was to create an ethnically clean Moslem territory between Visegrad and Gorazde, which could then be used to link up with Moslems to the northwest and southeast, along the so-called green traverse.
Even before the premature recognition of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the start of war on its territory, the crisis in Visegrad culminated with the threat of Moslem fundamentalists, particularly one Murat Sabanovic, to blow the dam of the Visegrad power plant and unleash the water from the lake down the valley. This would have caused a human and environmental disaster down the entire length of the Drina. Only the successful action of the Uzice Corps managed to prevent this disaster from happening.
Since the Uzice Corps, like the rest of the JNA, retreated from Bosnia-Herzegovina within the deadline set by the so-called international community, and that while deployed in its area o responsibility it had not been engaged in military operations, its role can be qualified solely as a useful projection of force that, albeit temporarily, stopped the wider inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflicts in this area. Therefore the role of the Uzice Corps in eastern Bosnia cannot be taken against its commanding officer. More likely, unbiased foreign observers would describe this role as humanitarian.
Paragraph 55 of the Indictment says: Slobodan MILOSEVIC was elected President of the FRY on 15 July 1997, assumed office on 23 July 1997, and remains President as of the date of this indictment.
Paragraph 56 of the Indictment says: As President of the FRY, Slobodan MILOSEVIC functions as President of the Supreme Defence Council of the FRY. The Supreme Defence Council consists of the President of the FRY and the Presidents of the member republics, Serbia and Montenegro. The Supreme Defence Council decides on the National Defence Plan and issues decisions concerning the VJ. As President of the FRY, Slobodan MILOSEVIC has the power to order implementation of the National Defence Plan and commands the VJ in war and peace in compliance with decisions made by the Supreme Defence Council. Slobodan MILOSEVIC, as Supreme Commander of the VJ, performs these duties through commands, orders and decisions.
Paragraph 57 of the Indictment says: Under the FRY Act on the Armed Forces of Yugoslavia, as Supreme Commander of the VJ, Slobodan MILOSEVIC also exercises command authority over republican and federal police units subordinated to the VJ during a state of imminent threat of war or a state of war. A declaration of imminent threat of war was proclaimed on 23 March 1999, and a state of war on 24 March 1999.
Paragraph 58 of the Indictment says: In addition to his de jure powers, Slobodan MILOSEVIC exercises extensive de facto control over numerous institutions essential to, or involved in, the conduct of the offences alleged herein. Slobodan MILOSEVIC exercises extensive de facto control over federal institutions nominally under the competence of the Assembly or the Government of the FRY. Slobodan MILOSEVIC also exercises de facto control over functions and institutions nominally under the competence of Serbia and its autonomous provinces, including the Serbian police force. Slobodan MILOSEVIC further exercises de facto control over numerous aspects of the FRYs political and economic life, particularly the media. Between 1986 and the early 1990s, Slobodan MILOSEVIC progressively acquired de facto control over these federal, republican, provincial and other institutions. He continues to exercise this de facto control to this day.
Paragraph 59 of the Indictment says: Slobodan MILOSEVICs de facto control over Serbian, SFRY, FRY and other state organs has stemmed, in part, from his leadership of the two principal political parties that have ruled in Serbia since 1986, and in the FRY since 1992. From 1986 until 1990, he was Chairman of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the League of Communists in Serbia, then the ruling party in Serbia. In 1990, he was elected President of the Socialist Party of Serbia, the successor party to the League of Communists of Serbia and the Socialist Alliance of the Working People of Serbia. The SPS has been the principal ruling party in Serbia and the FRY ever since. Throughout the period of his Presidency of Serbia, from 1990 to 1997, and as the President of the FRY, from 1997 to the present, Slobodan MILOSEVIC has also been the leader of the SPS.
Paragraph 60 of the Indictment says: Beginning no later than October 1988, Slobodan MILOSEVIC has exercised de facto control over the ruling and governing institutions of Serbia, including its police force. Beginning no later than October 1988, he has exercised de facto control over Serbias two autonomous provincesKosovo and Vojvodinaand their representation in federal organs of the SFRY and the FRY. From no later than October 1988 until mid-1998, Slobodan MILOSEVIC also exercised de facto control over the ruling and governing institutions of the Montenegro, including its representation in all federal organs of the SFRY and the FRY.
COMMENT: All six Paragraphs cited above (55-60) deal with constitutional authority of Slobodan Milosevic as president of the FRY and Chairman of the Supreme Defense Council from July 15, 1997 to May 22, 1999, i.e. the date of the indictment. When it literally cites constitutional powers (e.g. order implementation of the National Defence Plan through commands, orders and decisions), the Indictment is accurate, and deserves no comment.
However, in paragraphs 58, 59, 60 and 62 the authors stray from legal logic and introduce into their interpretation of constitutional and legal powers of the Yugoslav president a division between de jure and de facto powers, the latter being, in their regard, primary. According to their interpretation, de facto powers enabled Slobodan Milosevic to exert extensive control over numerous institutions essential to, or involved in, the conduct of the offences alleged herein, as well as control over functions and institutions nominally under the competence of Serbia and its autonomous provinces, including the Serbian police force; control over numerous aspects of the FRYs political and economic life, particularly the media; having, between 1986 and the early 1990s progressively acquired de facto control over these federal, republican, provincial and other institutions. He continues to exercise this de facto control to this day, including the governing institutions of Montenegro, its representation in all federal organs of the SFRY and the FRY. Given all these "de facto" powers, the implication is that Slobodan Milosevic would be responsible for acts of his subordinates in the Yugoslav Army and all the police forces, federal and Serbian, which allegedly committed crimes in the province of Kosovo-Metohija since 1998.
In other words, despite all the marking of multi-party democracy instituted in Serbia in 1990 and the FRY from the beginning, their elected and re-elected president has been a dictator who held de facto power over all aspects of life and all government institutions. This is the message behind this description of the supposed de jure and de facto powers that Slobodan Milosevic had as president of Serbia and the FRY.
Authors of the Indictment even bothered to divine the origins of this de facto absolute power and control: Milosevics leadership of the two principal political parties that have ruled in Serbia since 1986, and in the FRY since 1992 (Serbian League of Communists and the Socialist Party of Serbia), as Paragraph 59 indicates.
Reality, however, is markedly different from the social and political landscape of the 1990s FRY painted by the Indictment.
1. When the Socialist Party of Serbia appeared on the political scene in 1990, it was not the successor party to the League of Communists of Serbia, but just one of some twenty other political parties and movements (Serbian Renewal Movement [SPO], Serbian Radical Party [SRS], Democratic Party, New Democracy, Serbian Democratic Party, Communist Party of Yugoslavia, New Communist Movement, etc.). The direct successor to the League of Communists, both in the financial and ideological sense, was the League of Communists Movement for Yugoslavia (SK-PJ), which later fragmented. Many former members of the Serbian League of Communists joined the new Socialist Party of Serbia, but their number among the total membership soon became a minority.
2. Until the fall 2000 elections, the SPS has indeed been a leading political party, winning most elections but not all. In the last decade of the 20th century it did not have an absolute parliamentary majority, in Serbia or Yugoslavia, so it formed coalitions and power-sharing arrangements with other parties (SPO, SRS, New Democracy). The balance of power between coalition parties in the Parliament and the government precluded any politician, including the President of the FRY Slobodan Milosevic, from establishing de facto control over federal, republican, provincial and other institutions.
3. All the important decisions regarding the national interest were made through referenda, the Federal and the Serbian Parliament, and the Supreme Defense Council; every time, leaders of the opposition parties in the Parliament were consulted. This prevented any individuals de facto control. We cite only some of the more important decisions:
a) rejection of the so-called international mediation to resolve the Kosovo-Metohija crisis in April 1998, was the result of a referendum by the citizens; b) decisions to involve the Yugoslav Army against the terrorist and separatist movement of Kosovo Albanians and oppose any form of foreign intervention were reached unanimously by the Supreme Defense Council of the FRY; c) the SDC also discussed (on October 4, 1998) the talks with U.S. Ambassador R. Holbrooke, in which Serbian President Milutinovic took part, as well as the agreement that the talks produced; the platform for the talks was adopted by the FRY Parliament on October 5, 1998; d) the Serbian Parliament adopted the 10 Principles of the Contact Group as a platform for the Rambouillet talks, and e) decisions to declare imminent danger of war on March 23, and to declare a state of war at the outbreak of NATOs aggression on March 24, 1999, were made by the FRY government based on its constitutional authority.
4. The Indictments imputation that Slobodan Milosevic exercised de facto control over governing institutions in Montenegro between 1988 and 1998. Before his election to the FRY presidency (July 1997) Slobodan Milosevic did not have, nor could have, any influence on political and other developments in Montenegro, since he had neither de jure nor de facto authority in this republic. When he was elected President of the FRY, the SFRY had already been destroyed; separatist movements raging throughout its former territory had not bypassed Montenegro, weakening the federal influence on this republic and with it the influence of Slobodan Milosevic as the federal President. Since the schism in the ruling Socialist Party of Montenegro, this republics governing institutions have openly advocated secession and de facto acted as a separate, sovereign nation. Under these circumstances, powers of the FRY President have been reduced only to his de jure authority, and even that has been usurped by the Montenegrin authorities. Slobodan Milosevics influence in this member of the federation was virtually nil.
5. Paragraph 58 cites a claim of Slobodan Milosevics de facto control over numerous aspects of the FRYs political and economic life, particularly the media, which is also far from the truth. Since the introduction of multi-party politics in Serbia and Yugoslavia, i.e. since the appearance of political parties and movements, numerous media newspapers, magazines, radio and TV have come into existence. All major opposition papers have their newspapers and magazines. Only the SPS had no such paper until it lost power. Several dailies that have styled themselves independent have been hostile towards the SPS from the start. Without a doubt, foreign donations (for example, a donation from the CIA Balkans Institute in January 1999, within the so-called program for promotion of democracy in Yugoslavia) have played a significant role in the appearance and survival of these media. Slobodan Milosevic could not have had any influence over such actions, let alone de facto control.
Therefore, the division of presidential authority into de jure and de facto is really an attempt to present Yugoslavia as a dictatorship. Such a presentation has no basis in reality, and should hence be relegated to the category of low-brow propaganda that certainly does not belong in documents of an international legal institution, which the ICTY claims to be.
Paragraph 61 of the Indictment says: In significant international negotiations, meetings and conferences since 1989, Slobodan MILOSEVIC has been the primary interlocutor with whom the international community has negotiated. He has negotiated international agreements that have subsequently been implemented within Serbia, the SFRY, the FRY, and elsewhere on the territory of the former SFRY. Among the conferences and international negotiations at which Slobodan MILOSEVIC has been the primary representative of the SFRY and FRY are: The Hague Conference in 1991; the Paris negotiations of March 1993; the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia in January 1993; the Vance-Owen peace plan negotiations between January and May 1993; the Geneva peace talks in the summer of 1993; the Contact Group meeting in June 1994; the negotiations for a cease fire in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 9-14 September 1995; the negotiations to end the NATO bombing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 14-20 September 1995; and the Dayton peace negotiations in November 1995.
COMMENT: Paragraph 61 cites, not very accurately, the main foreign policy involvements of Slobodan Milosevic in dealing with crises in the former SFRY from 1991 to 1995. Citing 1989 as the starting year for such engagements is inaccurate, since Yugoslavias foreign policy at the time was formulated by the federal Presidium, Parliament and Executive Council. Given the well-known, constructive and peaceful role of Slobodan Milosevic in all these negotiations, from the 1991 Hague Conference to the 1995 Dayton talks there is nothing incriminating in this paragraph. Quite to the contrary, in all the negotiations cited in the Indictment Slobodan Milosevic was a desirable and notable negotiator (though some thought he played hardball), and this was publicly admitted by many of his negotiating partners, either immediately or later on. We will mention several examples that confirm Slobodan Milosevics constructive and peaceful engagement in international conferences, talks and negotiations regarding the Yugoslav crisis, from 1991 to 1995:
a. The 1991 Hague Conference, where Slobodan Milosevic represented only Serbia, was intended to decide upon the dissolution of Yugoslavia as a federation, according to the Badinter plan and with agreement of all six presidents of federal republics. Only Slobodan Milosevic opposed this intent. Soon it was shown that this plan was to provide a basis for the premature recognition of seceded republics as independent states (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia). Multiple bodies of the so-called international community have since agreed that this had been a mistake, as well as one of the causes of the long civil and ethno-religious war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, certainly one of the most horrible wars ever waged in this region.
b. from the beginning to the end of the ethno-religious war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Slobodan Milosevic on many occasions took active part in talks and negotiations, consistently supporting a cessation of hostilities and search for a peaceful solution to the crisis (through supporting the Vance-Owen plan, visiting Pale with the then-President of the FRY Dobrica Cosic and the Greek Foreign Minister Mitsotakis, etc.). It is well known that Lord David Owen blamed the U.S. government, not Slobodan Milosevic, for lengthening the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The crowning achievement of Mr. Milosevics efforts to achieve peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina is the Dayton Agreement, even though many of its provisions were not favorable to the Serbs.
Paragraph 62 of the Indictment says: As the President of the FRY, the Supreme Commander of the VJ, and the President of the Supreme Defence Council, and pursuant to his de facto authority, Slobodan MILOSEVIC is responsible for the actions of his subordinates within the VJ and any police forces, both federal and republican, who have committed the crimes alleged in this indictment since January 1999 in the province of Kosovo.
COMMENT: As President of the FRY, and the President of the Supreme Defence Council, Slobodan Milosevic has been the supreme commander of VJ in both war- and peacetime, not de facto, but de jure, based on his constitutional powers. As the supreme commander, he is responsible for the actions of the military, but not the police. As we said earlier, federal police took no part in counter-terrorist operations in Kosovo-Metohija, or defending this province from NATO aggression. Forces of the Serbian MUP are responsible to their superiors in the Serbian government. Police forces in Montenegro are also responsible to the government of their republic. Although the Defense Law gives an option of subordinating the police units to operational VJ commands in case of war or imminent danger of war, police refusal prevented this course of action.
In January 1999, the OSCE Verification mission deployed throughout Kosovo-Metohija while VJ units withdrew to their garrisons. In the latter half of February 1999, until and throughout the NATO aggression against the FRY, VJ forces and the Serbian MUP conducted counter-terrorist operations. However, as it was already proven in responses to previous paragraphs of the Indictment, the VJ did not commit any war crimes, anytime, anywhere, nor did it act in any way against the international laws of war. Therefore, its supreme commander bears no criminal command responsibility, and this accusation is groundless.
Paragraph 63 of the Indictment says: Milan MILUTINOVIC was elected President of Serbia on 21 December 1997, and remains President as of the date of this indictment. As President of Serbia, Milan MILUTINOVIC is the head of State. He represents Serbia and conducts its relations with foreign states and international organisations. He organises preparations for the defence of Serbia.
Paragraph 64 of the Indictment says: As President of Serbia, Milan MILUTINOVIC is a member of the Supreme Defence Council of the FRY and participates in decisions regarding the use of the VJ.
Paragraph 65 of the Indictment says: As President of Serbia, Milan MILUTINOVIC, in conjunction with the Assembly, has the authority to request reports both from the Government of Serbia, concerning matters under its jurisdiction, and from the Ministry of the Internal Affairs, concerning its activities and the security situation in Serbia. As President of Serbia, Milan MILUTINOVIC has the authority to dissolve the Assembly, and with it the Government, subject to the proposal of the Government on justified grounds, although this power obtains only in peacetime.
Paragraph 66 of the Indictment says: During a declared state of war or state of imminent threat of war, Milan MILUTINOVIC, as President of Serbia, may enact measures normally under the competence of the Assembly, including the passage of laws; these measures may include the reorganisation of the Government and its ministries, as well as the restriction of certain rights and freedoms.
Paragraph 67 of the Indictment says: In addition to his de iure powers, Milan MILUTINOVIC exercises extensive de facto influence or control over numerous institutions essential to, or involved in, the conduct of the crimes alleged herein. Milan MILUTINOVIC exercises de facto influence or control over functions and institutions nominally under the competence of the Government and Assembly of Serbia and its autonomous provinces, including but not limited to the Serbian police force.
Paragraph 68 of the Indictment says: In significant international negotiations, meetings and conferences since 1995, Milan MILUTINOVIC has been a principal interlocutor with whom the international community has negotiated. Among the conferences and international negotiations at which Milan MILUTINOVIC has been a primary representative of the FRY are: preliminary negotiations for a cease fire in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 15-21 August 1995; the Geneva meetings regarding the Bosnian cease fire, 7 September 1995; further negotiations for a cease fire in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 9-14 September 1995; the negotiations to end the NATO bombing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, 14-20 September 1995; the meeting of Balkan foreign ministers in New York, 26 September 1995; and the Dayton peace negotiations in November 1995. Milan MILUTINOVIC was also present at the negotiations at Rambouillet in February 1999.
Paragraph 69 of the Indictment says: As the President of Serbia, and a member of the Supreme Defence Council, and pursuant to his de facto authority, Milan MILUTINOVIC is responsible for the actions of any of his subordinates within the VJ and within any police forces who have committed the crimes alleged in this indictment since January 1999 within the province of Kosovo.
COMMENT: We have no comment regarding the largely accurate biographical information and the list of functions performed in Serbia and the FRY from August 1995 to January 1999. However, several inaccuracies in the above-cited paragraphs do need to be addressed:
1. Paragraph 63 cites that Milutinovic, as President of Serbia, represents Serbia and conducts its relations with foreign states and international organisations. He organises preparations for the defence of Serbia.
The 1990 Constitution of Serbia (Article 93, Paragraphs 4 and 5) does give the Serbian President the powers that the Indictment mentioned. However, this article would be valid only if Serbia were to become a separate sovereign state a situation regulated by Article 135 of the same Constitution. Since Serbia is still within the FRY, these powers are vested in the Federal government, under the FRY Constitution.
2. In two paragraphs (67 and 69) the Indictment refers to de facto authority, always unconstitutional and greater than de iure authority. This is especially clear in paragraph 67: In addition to his de iure powers, Milan MILUTINOVIC exercises extensive de facto influence or control over numerous institutions essential to, or involved in, the conduct of the crimes alleged herein and has influence or control over functions and institutions nominally under the competence of the Government and Assembly of Serbia and its autonomous provinces, including but not limited to the Serbian police force.
In addition to what we already said on the topic of the de jure and de facto authority, (see responses to paragraphs 55-60), we wish to add that: a) neither the previous, nor these paragraphs of the Indictment cite any evidence that would point to how this de facto authority was used, or when and on what topic did Milosevic, Milutinovic, or anyone else make any decisions outside the Constitution. Therefore, the Indictments mention of "de facto" authority is but empty talk, and certainly not proof of anyones guilt; b) it is self-contradictory, and therefore unsustainable, to claim that two statesmen Milosevic and Milutinovic had or could have unlimited de facto authority at the same time, in the same state.
3. Paragraph 69 says that Milan Milutinovic, as a member of the Supreme Defense Council, pursuant to his de facto authority is responsible for the actions of any of his subordinates within the VJ and within any police forces who have committed the crimes alleged...
In any of the functions Milan Milutinovic served, he never had under his command one single soldier. Responses to other parts of the Indictment have already proven that the VJ committed no crimes in Kosovo-Metohija. Even if Milan Milutinovic had had any authority over the VJ, there would have been nothing for him to be responsible for.
The Serbian police is under the jurisdiction of the Serbian Interior Ministry. According to the Constitution and governing laws of this republic, the Ministry is responsible to the Government and the Parliament of Serbia. The Constitution of Serbia (Article 83) does not give the President any authority over the Ministry of Interior and its units or bodies. Neither the Indictment, nor the documents of the Serbian government contain anything that could incriminate President Milutinovic for any decision on using the Serbian MUP forces in counter-terrorist operations in Kosovo-Metohija, or for defense from NATO aggression in 1998-99.
4. Paragraph 68 cites activities of Milan Milutinovic while he was FRY foreign minister. Since this position by itself is not incriminating in any way, further comment is unnecessary. What Milutinovic did is done by all other foreign ministers in the world. Milutinovic was present in Rambouillet as the Serbian President, but he was not officially a member of the FRY delegation. As the Serbian president he, naturally, had an interest in closely monitoring the outcome of these negotiations, however staged they were.
Paragraph 70 of the Indictment says: Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC was appointed Chief of the General Staff of the VJ on 26 November 1998. He remains in that position as of the date of this indictment. As Chief of the General Staff of the VJ, Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC commands, orders, instructs, regulates and otherwise directs the VJ, pursuant to acts issued by the President of the FRY and as required to command the VJ.
Paragraph 71 of the Indictment says: As Chief of the General Staff of the VJ, Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC determines the organisation, plan of development and formation of commands, units and institutions of the VJ, in conformity with the nature and needs of the VJ and pursuant to acts rendered by the President of the FRY.
Paragraph 72 of the Indictment says: In his position of authority, Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC also determines the plan for recruiting and filling vacancies within the VJ and the distribution of recruits therein; issues regulations concerning training of the VJ; determines the educational plan and advanced training of professional and reserve military officers; and performs other tasks stipulated by law.
Paragraph 73 of the Indictment says: As Chief of the General Staff of the VJ, Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANICor other officers empowered by himassigns commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers and soldiers, and promotes non-commissioned officers, reserve officers, and officers up to the rank of colonel. In addition, Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC nominates the president, judges, prosecutors, and their respective deputies and secretaries, to serve on military disciplinary courts.
Paragraph 74 of the Indictment says: Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC carries out preparations for the conscription of citizens and mobilisation of the VJ; co-operates with the Ministries of Internal Affairs of the FRY and Serbia and the Ministry of Defence of the FRY in mobilising organs and units of Ministries of Internal Affairs; monitors and, proposes measures to correct problems encountered during, and informs the Government of the FRY and the Supreme Defence Council about the implementation of the aforementioned mobilisation.
Paragraph 75 of the Indictment says: As the Chief of the General Staff of the VJ, Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC is responsible for the actions of his subordinates within the VJ and for the actions of any federal and republican police forces, which are subordinated to the VJ, who have committed crimes since January 1999 within the province of Kosovo.
COMMENT: In addition to everything we said about Colonel-General Dragoljub Ojdanic in the responses to paragraphs 31, 51 and 52, we will only add that everything in paragraphs 70-75 fits the duties of the Chief of the General Staff, as set out in the laws regulating the Yugoslav Army and national defense, as well as the VJ standing operating procedures. Given that, it is surprising that these paragraphs were included in the Indictment. This is even more puzzling since it is known that Chiefs of Staff in any world army, the VJ included, have no command authority and therefore, no command responsibility. The claim in paragraph 75 that Colonel-General Dragoljub Ojdanic as the Chief of the General Staff of the VJ responsible for the actions of his subordinates within the VJ and for the actions of any federal and republican police forces, which are subordinated to the VJ... is therefore unsustainable.
Paragraph 76 of the Indictment says: Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC was named Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia on 24 March 1998. As head of a Serbian government ministry, Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC is responsible for the enforcement of laws, regulations and general acts promulgated by Serbias Assembly, Government or President.
Paragraph 77 of the Indictment says: As Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia, Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC directs the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and its personnel. He determines the structure, mandate and scope of operations of organisational units within the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He is empowered to call up members of the Ministry of Internal Affairs reserve corps to perform duties during peace time, and to prevent activities threatening Serbias security. The orders which he and Ministry of Internal Affairs superior officers issue to Ministry of Internal Affairs personnel are binding unless they constitute a criminal act.
Paragraph 78 of the Indictment says: As Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia, Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC has powers of review over decisions and acts of agents for the Ministry. He considers appeals against decisions made in the first instance by the head of an organisational unit of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Moreover, he is empowered to decide appeals made by individuals who have been detained by the police.
Paragraph 79 of the Indictment says: On 8 April 1999, as Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia, Vlajko STOJILJKOVICs powers during the state of war were expanded to include transferring Ministry employees to different duties within the Ministry for as long as required.
Paragraph 80 of the Indictment says: As Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia, Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC is responsible for ensuring the maintenance of law and order in Serbia. As Minister of Internal Affairs, he is responsible for the actions of his subordinates within the police forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia who have committed crimes since January 1999 in the province of Kosovo.
COMMENT: Biographical information, takeover of duties in the Ministry of Interior, legal and other authority have been cited accurately in all five Paragraphs (76-80) of the indictment. All the authority cited is in accordance with Serbia's Internal Affairs Law and other laws regulating this department of the government.
Evidence of any crimes committed by members of the Serbian Interior Ministry in Kosovo-Metohija had not been made public by the day of the indictment.
Paragraph 81 of the Indictment says: At all times relevant to this indictment, a state of armed conflict existed in Kosovo in the FRY.
COMMENT: The ICTY Indictment specifically states its frame of reference to be January-May 22, 1999. For parts of that time period, a state of armed conflict did not exist in Kosovo-Metohija.
Until the last week of February 1999, the VJ had been in the barracks (garrisons), where it retreated according to the Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement supervised by the OSCE Verification Mission. MUP forces were withdrawn to their peacetime stations. With that in mind, the first month and twenty days of 1999 there was no state of armed conflict in Kosovo. There was, however, a state of unhindered regeneration of the KLA and its increased terrorist activities. Detailed information about those activities was cited in responses to previous paragraphs of the Indictment.
OSCEs KVM, led by William Walker, contributed the most to the regeneration and rearmament and recruitment of the KLA forces in Kosovo-Metohija, helping them reach a strength of over 25,000 men after the defeats they suffered in the latter half of 1998. All this took place between November 1998 and February 1999.
After Walkers fabrication of the Racak incident and the refusal of Serbia and Yugoslavia to accept the U.S. ultimatum in the Rambouillet and Paris negotiations, it was obvious that NATO will commit aggression against the FRY. KLA attacks on the Army, police and civilians intensified again at this time. The situation made it imperative for the VJ and Serbian police forces to launch a counter-terrorist offensive in late February 1999, in order to defeat the terrorist forces in Kosovo-Metohija, if possible, before the NATO aggression began.
Paragraph 82 of the Indictment says: All acts and omissions charged as crimes against humanity were part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against the Kosovo Albanian civilian population of Kosovo in the FRY.
COMMENT: This allegation is unsustainable and never proven. The leadership of Serbia, Yugoslavia and the Serbian MUP has never had the aim to attack the Albanian civilian population in Kosovo-Metohija. History shows countless irrefutable evidence to that effect. As previous refutations of the Indictment have said, Kosovo Albanians have enjoyed their greatest windfall of prosperity precisely in Serbia and Yugoslavia.
It has also been said that the Albanian terrorists - KLA- have murdered Albanians loyal to the legitimate provincial government.
Refutations of previous Paragraphs offer sufficient evidence that the Albanian civilian population was fully protected, both during the counter-terrorist operations against the KLA, and during the NATO aggression against the FRY, and especially during the Alliances air strikes against targets in Kosovo-Metohija.
Only those who, for the sake of dishonorable interests and goals, ignore the long history of Albanian expansionism, exemplified over the past 150 years in genocidal expulsion of non-Albanians from this region, can flip the truth around and mistake protagonists and victims of expulsion.
Paragraph 83 of the Indictment says: Each of the accused is individually responsible for the crimes alleged against him in this indictment, pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Tribunal Statute. Individual criminal responsibility includes committing, planning, instigating, ordering or aiding and abetting in the planning, preparation or execution of any crimes referred to in Articles 2 to 5 of the Tribunal Statute.
Paragraph 84 of the Indictment says: In as much as he has authority or control over the VJ and police units, other units or individuals subordinated to the command of the VJ in Kosovo, Slobodan MILOSEVIC, as President of the FRY, Supreme Commander of the VJ and President of the Supreme Defence Council, is also, or alternatively, criminally responsible for the acts of his subordinates, including members of the VJ and aforementioned employees of the Ministries of Internal Affairs of the FRY and Serbia, pursuant to Article 7(3) of the Tribunal Statute.
Paragraph 85 of the Indictment says: In as much as he has authority or control over police units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the VJ, or police units, other units or individuals subordinated to the command of the VJ in Kosovo, Milan MILUTINOVIC, as President of Serbia and a member of the Supreme Defence Council, is also, or alternatively, criminally responsible for the acts of his subordinates, including aforementioned employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia, pursuant to Article 7(3) of the Tribunal Statute.
Paragraph 86 of the Indictment says: In as much as he has authority or control over the VJ and police units, other units or individuals subordinated to the command of the VJ in Kosovo, Colonel General Dragoljub OJDANIC, as Chief of the General Staff of the VJ, is also, or alternatively, criminally responsible for the acts of his subordinates, including members of the VJ and aforementioned employees of the Ministries of Internal Affairs of Serbia and the FRY, pursuant to Article 7(3) of the Tribunal Statute.
Paragraph 87 of the Indictment says: In as much as he has authority or control over employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, including any other regular or mobilised police units, Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC, as Minister of Internal Affairs of Serbia, is also, or alternatively, criminally responsible for the acts of his subordinates, including employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Serbia, pursuant to Article 7(3) of the Tribunal Statute.
Paragraph 88 of the Indictment says: A superior is responsible for the acts of his subordinate(s) if he knew or had reason to know that his subordinate(s) was/were about to commit such acts or had done so and the superior failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent such acts or to punish the perpetrators thereof.
Paragraph 89 of the Indictment says: The general allegations contained in paragraphs 81 through 88 are re-alleged and incorporated into each of the charges set forth below.
COMMENT: Individual criminal responsibility of Slobodan Milosevic, Milan Milutinovic, Colonel-General Dragoljub Ojdanic and Vlajko Stojiljkovic in paragraphs 83-89 is predicated on the assumption that crimes against humanity and violations of laws and customs of war have been committed, which has not been proven by a single count of the indictment. According to paragraph 83, Individual criminal responsibility includes committing, planning, instigating, ordering or aiding and abetting in the planning, preparation or execution of any crimes..., but all those crimes remain in the realm of conjecture. Before any of them can be proven, they cannot be used to posit individual criminal responsibility. In that sense, paragraph 83 of the Indictment is nonsensical, since it cites qualifications without any evidence.
Refutations of previous paragraphs of the Indictment have repeatedly shown that the VJ did not «plan, instigate, order, or aid and abet any crimes or expulsion of civilian population. Therefore, there can be no command responsibility cited in the Indictment. Individual criminal actions of VJ members, contrary to orders and instructions of their commanders, violating internal Yugoslav and Serbian laws as well as international laws of war, have all been identified and timely stopped by the VJ command, turning over those responsible to the courts-martial for conviction. All that was done long before the Hague Tribunal Indictment was issued. Detailed information regarding the prosecution of domestic and international laws will be documented and addressed later in the refutation of this Indictment.
Refutations of previous paragraphs of the Indictment clarified that federal police forces took no part in any actions in Kosovo-Metohija, as well as that the Serbian MUP was at no time subsumed under the VJ chain of command. Therefore, Slobodan Milosevic cannot have command responsibility for any action of the police.
Colonel-General Dragoljub Ojdanic, as member of the General Staff, did not have a command position, and therefore could not have command responsibility for any actions of VJ or the MUP in Kosovo-Metohija, although VJ certainly committed no crimes in the province.
Milan Milutinovic, though member of the Supreme Defense Council, had no one under his command in the VJ. Also, there is no documented evidence that he, as President of Serbia, influenced actions of the police in Kosovo-Metohija.
Vlajko Stojiljkovic was at the time Seria's Interior Minister, and he is responsible for actions taken by the police. However, the Indictment cites no evidence that the Serbian police committed any crimes between January and May 22 of 1999.
COUNTS 1 - 4
Paragraph 90 of the Indictment says: Beginning in January 1999 and continuing to the date of this indictment, Slobodan MILOSEVIC, Milan MILUTINOVIC, Nikola SAINOVIC, Dragoljub OJDANIC, and Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted in a campaign of terror and violence directed at Kosovo Albanian civilians living in Kosovo in the FRY.
Paragraph 91 of the Indictment says: The campaign of terror and violence directed at the Kosovo Albanian population was executed by forces of the FRY and Serbia acting at the direction, with the encouragement, or with the support of Slobodan MILOSEVIC, Milan MILUTINOVIC, Nikola SAINOVIC, Dragoljub OJDANIC, and Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC. The operations targeting the Kosovo Albanians were undertaken with the objective of removing a substantial portion of the Kosovo Albanian population from Kosovo in an effort to ensure continued Serbian control over the province. To achieve this objective, the forces of the FRY and Serbia, acting in concert, have engaged in well-planned and co-ordinated operations as described in paragraphs 92 through 98 below.
COMMENT: In many responses to previous Paragraphs, we have proven citing numerous classified VJ documents detailing the units that engaged in counter-terrorist operations on Kosovo-Metohija during 1998 and 1999 that there was no systematic expulsion of Albanian civilians, but that this territory was a theater of conflict between the Yugoslav Army and Serbian Interior Ministry forces on one side, and the KLA terrorists on the other. No doubt, Albanian civilians and their property were damaged in the course of that fighting, and especially during the intense NATO air and missile strikes in Kosovo-Metohija. Any individuals belonging to the VJ who were responsible for such damages were prosecuted upon discovery to the fullest extent of the law. This issue will be addressed in detail a little later. The claim of Paragraphs 90 and 91 that the forces of the FRY and Serbia, acting in concert, have engaged in well-planned and co-ordinated operations or a campaign of terror and violence... directed at the Kosovo Albanian population, is not only invalidated by the aforementioned classified documents regarding the VJ combat orders and battle reports, but also by the documents captured in KLA command posts and headquarters:
1. General table of organization for the KLA with headquarters in Switzerland and Kosovo-Metohija;
2. Division of Kosovo-Metohija into seven KLA zones of operation;
3. Table of organization for the KLA HQ in Dragobilje (Kosovo-Metohija), seven zones of operations and some 30 brigades, with names and numbers;
4. Maps of zones of operation and KLA units belonging to them;
5. Organizational scheme of KLA units and command posts in Kosovo-Metohija.
No doubt the authors of the Indictment resorted to inverted arguments, substituting the alleged expulsion of Albanian civilians for the VJs real goal of eliminating the KLA terrorists and restoring peace to Kosovo-Metohija and all its residents.
In addition to other evidence, this claim is also invalidated by the oath of KLA members, which among other things says: As a member of the Kosovo Liberation Army, I swear I will wage war for the liberation of occupied Albanian territories and their unification... The same oath has been taken by KLA members in Macedonia in early 2001. Separatist leaders in that country, as all secessionists in former Yugoslavia are prone to do, indoctrinate their followers with phrases about liberating the occupied territories, while enjoying full support in that endeavor from numerous institutions and influential bodies of the so-called international community, including the wholehearted backing of the ICTY.
It is, or should be, impossible that the learned authors of the Indictment do now know that Albanian expansionism, with a goal of creating a Greater Albania is over 120 years old, and that its militant manifestation, the KLA, is only one in a series of efforts to fulfill that pledge by force. According to the inverted logic of the ICTY, the Indictment could be equally applied to every Serbian government since 1912, from the Kingdoms of Serbia and Yugoslavia to the SFRY and the FRY. In this 90-year period, the Albanian separatist movement tried to expel non-Albanian residents from Kosovo-Metohija and separate this Serbian province from its motherland through the force of arms and other forms of violence. As a general rule, this project of ethnic cleansing always had support of imperial powers with interests in the region. In no other incarnation did the international community accuse Serb and Yugoslav leaders of criminal responsibility for the necessary use of force in combating the terrorism of Albanian separatists, until the present so-called community and the U.S.-founded Hague Tribunal. No one criticized the state and military leadership of Macedonia for its justified use of force against the aggressive Albanian separatists in 2001. As in all similar situations in other countries (Northern Ireland, Corsica, Basque, Chechnya, etc.) resistance to separatist terrorism has always been considered an internal purview of every sovereign and internationally recognized state.
The Indictments claim (Paragraph 91) that operations were undertaken with the objective of removing a substantial portion of the Kosovo Albanian population from Kosovo in an effort to ensure continued Serbian control over the province is absurd, factually and historically groundless and unsupportable. The fact that Serbs represented a majority in Kosovo-Metohija as late as the beginning of the 20th century points to a different conclusion. It is perhaps a unique incidence in Europe, and maybe even the world, that the majority Serbs over time and due to circumstances became a minority in Kosovo-Metohija, the very cradle of their state, without assimilating or in other ways maintaining as a minority the numerous Albanian population in the province. The notion that such a people suddenly exhibited a drive for supremacy and ethnic cleansing they had never exhibited before, is inexplicable and unsustainable. Under the SFRY, the Serbs were even ready to learn and accept the language of the community (i.e. Albanian) and not resist its elevation on par with the official Serbian language and alphabet, as part of living in a common state.
Paragraph 92 of the Indictment says: The forces of the FRY and Serbia, have in a systematic manner, forcibly expelled and internally displaced hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians from their homes across the entire province of Kosovo. To facilitate these expulsions and displacements, the forces of the FRY and Serbia have intentionally created an atmosphere of fear and oppression through the use of force, threats of force, and acts of violence.
COMMENT: Responses to paragraphs 30, 34 and 91 indicate that the forces of the FRY and Serbia engaged in counter-terrorist operations against the KLA terrorists across the entire province of Kosovo since mid-February 1999, and not some systematic expulsion of civilians, as numerous paragraphs of the Indictment stubbornly repeat. The geographic distribution of these operations was imposed by the deployment of KLA forces across the entire province, which is illustrated by facsimiles of original documents from unit and general headquarters of this terrorist paramilitary.
Responsibility for :an atmosphere of fear and oppression through the use of force, threats of force, and acts of violence which facilitated the mass flight of refugees, both Albanians and non-Albanians, from Kosovo-Metohija especially after March 24, 1999, primarily lies with NATO and its intense air and missile strikes all across the province and the FRY in general. It is known that residents of cities and larger towns throughout Serbia fled their homes in the face of increasingly indiscriminate NATO strikes against civilian targets, later cynically described as collateral damage. Therefore, the mass flight of civilians from NATOs aggression in the first half of 1999, was not confined to Kosovo, but represented a reality for the entire FRY.
Paragraph 93 of the Indictment says: Throughout Kosovo, the forces of the FRY and Serbia have looted and pillaged the personal and commercial property belonging to Kosovo Albanians forced from their homes. Policemen, soldiers, and military officers have used wholesale searches, threats of force, and acts of violence to rob Kosovo Albanians of money and valuables, and in a systematic manner, authorities at FRY border posts have stolen personal vehicles and other property from Kosovo Albanians being deported from the province.
COMMENT: Every war, and especially armed rebellions with terrorist characteristics and the terrorism of Albanian separatists in Kosovo-Metohija definitely represents the very pinnacle of this category is a criminal affair. Chaos generated by such a war is even more conducive to occurrence and exacerbation of atrocities and criminal activities in general.
A decade-long campaign of organized destruction that the Albanian separatist movement in Kosovo-Metohija conducted against the Serbian state (1989-1999) had degraded the authority of Serbian government in the eyes of both Albanian and non-Albanian residents. This relatively long process of degradation and impotence of state authority was naturally accompanied by the citizens increased propensity to lay claim to the property of others. Widespread terrorist attacks of the KLA, the extensive counter-terrorist operations by the forces of the FRY and Serbia in 1998-99, and especially the NATO aggression, created chaos in Kosovo-Metohija unprecedented in modern Old World history. In parts of Kosovo-Metohija under KLA control (50% of the province at one time in 1998), towns and villages with non-Albanian population were targets of all sorts of criminal activities by KLA members. The persecution, plundering and atrocities by Albanian terrorists merit not a single word in the Indictment. Without them, however, it is impossible to fully comprehend the situation in Kosovo-Metohija during NATOs aggression against the FRY which fanned the flames of looting, murder and other forms of criminal violence. In such circumstances, the only organized force that paid any heed to principles and reputation, military and warrior ethic, as well as provisions of international laws and customs of war, was the Yugoslav Army.
Without any outside pressure, abiding by domestic and international laws of war, its warrior ethic, orders, instructions and other acts binding for all its members, the Yugoslav Army regulated all matters of dealing with civilian population, prisoners of war, casualties, protection of civilian property, etc. All VJ decisions were imperative in character, and all VJ members who violated laws and military orders were disciplined, prosecuted under criminal law and severely punished.
There are many specific examples of VJ commanders consistency in abiding by domestic and international laws of war and their orders. For example, the PrK report to the Third Army command about its counter-terrorist actions and defense from NATO aggression in 1998-99 contains a list of all military personnel (enlisted men, NCOs and officers) who acted in violation of laws and orders and were subsequently punished by the courts. This report cites 172 names of persons who were held responsible for their actions. This percentage of convictions seems high, but if one takes into account that the PrK forces in Kosovo-Metohija at the time numbered about 160,000 men, then it follows that only one in every thousand VJ members committed some sort of crime. Realistically, this is a negligible percentage. It is not negligible that by far most of the military personnel charged and convicted for violations were Kosovo-Metohija residents more than two thirds. This indicates that VJ personnel from this province often resorted to some sort of vigilantism because of murdered family members and other suffering at the hand of Albanian terrorists.
Courts-martial strictly punished all violators of international laws and customs of war. Their harshest convictions were reserved for those who committed war crimes against the civilian population, under Article 142 of the FRY Penal Code. For example, Lt. Col. S.S. and five privates, who murdered six ethnic Albanians in the village of Gornja Klina between April 10 and April 15 1999, were arrested, tried and sentenced as soon as the crime was uncovered.
Those who engaged in rape, plunder and extortion were prosecuted as well. For example, privates T. M, T. M, and M.D, were arrested on April 17, 1999, for going of their own will into the village of Crmljane, where they entered a courtyard between several houses where several families of ethnic Albanians were hiding from NATO air strikes; these three defendants seized two young women and took them away to one of the rooms and forced sexual acts on them... All three privates were severely punished.
Sergeant P.I. and private D.J.. I were charged with robbery and convicted under Article 168, paragraph I of the Serbian Penal Code, stemming from Article 22 of the FRY Penal Code, because: on 16 April 1999, between 2300 and 2400 hours, on the local road between Vlasnje and Zur, intend on illegally obtaining property, threatened with weapons the lives of Albanian refugees moving down that road and extorted from them 180 German Marks, 475 Yugoslav dinars, one golden coin on a chain, 6 rings, a set of earrings, a brooch and a bracelet (defendant Sgt. P.I.); 3,245 German Marks, 3,150 dinars, one necklace, 6 rings and a set of earrings (defendant Pvt. Dj.I.). All these items were found on the defendants at the time of their arrest.
Also exemplary is the case against professional soldier Pvt. J.B., charged with first-degree robbery under Article 166, Para. 1. Section 5 of the Serbian Penal Code, because between the end of March and 21 May 1999, during his units deployment in the vicinity of Glavnik village near Podujevo, he on multiple occasions engaged in illegally taking property from abandoned houses belonging to unidentified citizens with the intention of illicit personal enrichment, using the misfortune of persons who were forced to flee their homes by NATO air strikes...
As these examples show, all known perpetrators of crimes were prosecuted those who committed war crimes against civilians, rape and other forms of violence, as well as those who plundered with the intent of illicit personal enrichment.
Paragraph 94 of the Indictment says: Throughout Kosovo, the forces of the FRY and Serbia have engaged in a systematic campaign of destruction of property owned by Kosovo Albanian civilians. This has been accomplished through the widespread shelling of towns and villages; the burning of homes, farms, and businesses; and the destruction of personal property. As a result of these orchestrated actions, villages, towns, and entire regions have been made uninhabitable for Kosovo Albanians.
Paragraph 95 of the Indictment says: Throughout Kosovo, the forces of the FRY and Serbia have harassed, humiliated, and degraded Kosovo Albanian civilians through physical and verbal abuse. Policemen, soldiers, and military officers have persistently subjected Kosovo Albanians to insults, racial slurs, degrading acts, beatings, and other forms of physical mistreatment based on their racial, religious, and political identification.
Paragraph 96 of the Indictment says: Throughout Kosovo, the forces of the FRY and Serbia have systematically seized and destroyed the personal identity documents and licenses of vehicles belonging to Kosovo Albanian civilians. As Kosovo Albanians have been forced from their homes and directed towards Kosovos borders, they have been subjected to demands to surrender identity documents at selected points en route to border crossings and at border crossings into Albania and Macedonia. These actions have been undertaken in order to erase any record of the deported Kosovo Albanians presence in Kosovo and to deny them the right to return to their homes.
COMMENT: These three paragraphs of the Indictment rehash the oft-repeated general accusations against forces of the FRY and Serbia, which allegedly engaged in a systematic campaign of destruction of property owned by Kosovo Albanian civilians through widespread shelling of towns and villages, and persistently subjected Kosovo Albanians to insults, racial slurs... etc.
Our detailed refutation of Paragraph 34 gave plenty of arguments to dismiss the claim of widespread shelling of towns and villages in Kosovo-Metohija, not only in form of appropriate orders regulating distance engagements (forbidding the use of artillery and high-caliber tank guns), but also by citing very specific orders specifying the procedures for eliminating terrorist groups when they use residential areas as strong points and fortifications. It would be superfluous to repeat this evidence.
The only new and somewhat more specific allegation is mentioned in Paragraph 96, relating to the alleged systematic seizure and destruction of personal identity documents and licenses of motor vehicles, so as to supposedly erase any record of the deported Kosovo Albanians presence in Kosovo and to deny them the right to return to their homes.
This allegation, however, does not take several factors into consideration, thus leaving the uninformed in belief that the forces of the FRY and Serbian indeed engaged in systematic, planned expulsion of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo-Metohija. However, this is what the Indictment does not mention: during a decade that the Albanian separatists boycotted the Serbian state in Kosovo-Metohija, Serbian Interior Ministry in charge of issuing personal identity documents to citizens could not perform this duty properly. A sharp increase in the number of Albanians in Kosovo-Metohija since 1974 (when the new SFRY Constitution came into force) was not just a consequence of the well-known and undisputed demographic boom among the Kosovo Albanians, but also of uncontrolled and incessant illegal immigration of Albanian citizens and their settlement in Kosovo-Metohija. Receptive local authorities and corrupt bureaucracies, Albanian or Serb, provided these illegal immigrants with identity documents and employment. This influx of immigrants from Albanian peaked in the latter half of the 1990s, when the KLA was being formed and men and weapons crossed into Kosovo-Metohija unchecked.
Any country would use the situation caused by the NATO aggression to rid itself of illegal immigrants through inspection of identity documents. Confiscation of identity documents, however, is not the way to achieve such a goal. Given the centralized computer register of all citizens, it is always possible to quickly replace the missing identity papers of other documents within a very short time frame, regardless of how they were lost. Individual cases where identity papers were confiscated cannot be excluded, but a systematic campaign to that purpose can be, since it would be irrational.
We need to add one more thing. In the proposal for self-government in Kosovo-Metohija offered by the Yugoslav delegation at Rambouillet, Article II (confidence-building measures) states: signatory parties shall respect the fact that all refugees and displaced persons shall have the right to return to their homes. The appropriate authorities will take all the necessary measures to facilitate the return of refugees and displaced persons, including the issuing of all the necessary identity documents, provided that the refugees are citizens of the FRY.
Previous paragraphs of the Indictment also make allegations that the forces of the FRY and Serbia expelled Kosovo Albanians from their homes, directing them towards the borders of Kosovo with Albania and Macedonia i.e. deporting them, as this attempt of the civilian population to escape the NATO air and missile strikes was maliciously reinterpreted by the Indictment. We refuted this insinuation in our detailed response to Paragraph 34, where we showed the care of PrK commanders and units for the civilian population. This care is here misconstrued as planned deportations, during which the seizure of identity documents was supposed to prevent the return of these people to their homes. Of course, this fails to explain the allegation from Paragraph 94 about the burning of homes, farms, and businesses that was supposed to ensure future Serb control of what? Scorched earth? But since this is not the only contradiction in the Indictment, we deem it unworthy of a response.
Paragraph 97 of the Indictment says: Beginning on or about 1 January 1999 and continuing until the date of this indictment, the forces of the FRY and Serbia, acting at the direction, with the encouragement, or with the support of Slobodan MILOSEVIC, Milan MILUTINOVIC, Nikola SAINOVIC, Dragoljub OJDANIC, and Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC have perpetrated the actions set forth in paragraphs 92 through 96, which have resulted in the forced deportation of approximately 740,000 Kosovo Albanian civilians. These actions have been undertaken in all areas of Kosovo, and these means and methods were used throughout the province, including the following municipalities:
a. Dakovica/Gjakovë : On or about 2 April 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia began forcing residents of the town of Dakovica/Gjakovë to leave. Forces of the FRY and Serbia spread out through the town and went house to house ordering Kosovo Albanians from their homes. In some instances, people were killed, and most persons were threatened with death. Many of the houses and shops belonging to Kosovo Albanians were set on fire, while those belonging to Serbs were protected. During the period from 2 to 4 April 1999, thousands of Kosovo Albanians living in Dakovica/Gjakovë and neighbouring villages joined a large convoy, either on foot or driving in cars, trucks and tractors, and moved to the border with Albania. Forces of the FRY and Serbia directed those fleeing along pre-arranged routes, and at police checkpoints along the way most Kosovo Albanians had their identification papers and license plates seized. In some instances, Yugoslav army trucks were used to transport persons to the border with Albania
COMMENT: This Paragraph brings out in the open the goals of the Indictment. Those who defended their country and their people were to be cast as criminals, while the aggressors (NATO and its followers) would become victims. Such a conclusion is backed fully by the allegations in this Paragraph. Namely, the indicted are being charged with events in Kosovo-Metohija from January to May 22, 1999, when the Indictment was issued. Yet in the time between January and March 24 (when NATO began its aggression against the FRY), the indicted are being charged only with the Racak incident. Medical experts have proven and publicly said to the entire world that the Racak incident was staged by U.S. envoy William Walker, as a pretext for the NATO attack.
Events in Kosovo-Metohija that allegedly happened after the NATO aggression began casualties, refugees, destruction, etc. are blamed on the defendants in order to deflect responsibility from the real criminals who caused them. The appearance of refugee columns and the mass exodus from Kosovo-Metohija were caused by NATOs terrifying air strikes. Its targets were somewhat specific in the first few days, becoming increasingly random thereafter, as time passed. Another cause for refugee columns was the synchronized assault of NATO and the KLA on Kosovo-Metohija. Columns of expelled Albanians appeared some 5-7 days after the bombing began. When the aggressors realized that the FRY would not capitulate within 3-5 days, and that it planned a prolonged defense, they organized with KLA assistance a mass exodus of civilians so they could justify their aggression by so-called humanitarian concerns.
Let us address this Paragraph now, one issue at a time, and describe what really happened, how and why:
Between the start of NATO aggression and April 2, the date cited in the Indictment as the beginning of alleged mass expulsion of civilians from Djakovica, is a period of 7-8 days. In that time frame, tons of missiles and bombs fell on this city. We mentioned already that, after Pristina and Prizren, Djakovica was third most frequent target of air and missile strikes (265). In addition to VJ barracks and the Interior Ministry building, other targets in Djakovica were the Efendi bridge on Erevik, the highway bridge on the Ribnica, the Djakovica-Klina highway bridge over the Beli Drimu, the highway bridge in Panosevac, as well as industrial facilities, farms, power lines, etc. According to incomplete information, casualties of air and missile strikes amounted to some 100 dead and 75 injured civilians. In a town the size of Djakovica (pop. 35,000), this intensity of air strikes inevitably caused the citizens to flee.
Strategically speaking, Djakovica is the heart of Metohija and sits astride the main highway from Albania into Kosovo. Given the estimated likelihood of land invasion of terrorists from Albania (armed and trained in camps around (Tropoje and Kukes), parts of the Albanian military and NATO special forces stationed in the region, it is logical that the forces of the FRY and Serbia deployed along the border and set up in-depth defenses. Deployment of mobilized reserves to the prepared defense positions in this area coincided with the appearance of refugee columns from Djakovica and the surrounding areas, which intended to cross into Albania. Given the intensity of incessant air strikes, had this movement not been regulated by the VJ, especially along a barely passable road over a difficult border, chaos would have ensued. Channeling the refugees along pre-arranged routes aimed to prevent civilian casualties in minefields and prevent interference with the deployment of VJ reserves along the prepared defensive positions. Anything else is malicious insinuation.
Also, the fact that tens of thousands of Djakovica Albanians greeted the first KFOR units as they entered the town (Italian unit Garibaldi, which also taped the event) clearly testifies that Kosovo Albanians were not expelled from Djakovica.
b. Gnjilane/Gjilan: Forces of the FRY and Serbia entered the town of Prilepnica/Përlepnicë on or about 6 April 1999, and ordered residents to leave saying that the town would be mined the next day. The townspeople left and tried to go to another village but were turned back by police. On 13 April 1999, residents of Prilepnica/Përlepnicë were again informed that the town had to be evacuated by the following day. The next morning, the Kosovo Albanian residents left in a convoy of approximately 500 vehicles and headed to the Macedonian border. Shortly after the residents left, the houses in Prilepnica/Përlepnicë were set on fire. Kosovo Albanians in other villages in Gnjilane/Gjilan municipality were also forced from their homes, and were made to join another convoy to the Macedonian border. Along the way, some men were taken from the convoy and killed along the road. When the Kosovo Albanians reached the border, their identification papers were confiscated.
Refugees from Gnjilane and the surrounding area, promptly formed on April 6 according to plan, are a typical example of synchronized actions by NATO and the KLA commanders in Kosovo-Metohija. When NATO leaders became aware that the capitulation of the VJ and the FRY, expected within 3-5 days after the air and missile strikes commenced, was not going to happen, and that the people of the FRY were increasingly determined to defend their country, they decided to stage a humanitarian disaster of hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians for their public and the world, in order to justify the extension of their aggression against military and civilian targets throughout the FRY.
Earlier in the text, we proved that these refugee columns were well prepared (with well-fueled tractor-trailers, covered wagons and trucks, 2-3 weeks worth of food, first-aid kits, etc.), for the purpose of justifying the criminal air strike campaign codenamed Merciful Angel through propaganda presentations. Yugoslav Army SigInt (signal intelligence) units were able to intercept messages between NATO and KLA commanders about the forming and timing of these refugee convoys.
c. Kosovska Mitrovica/Mitrovicë : In late March 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia began moving systematically through the town of Kosovska Mitrovica/Mitrovicë . They entered the homes of Kosovo Albanians and ordered the residents to leave their houses at once and to go to the bus station. Some houses were set on fire forcing the residents to flee to other parts of the town. Over a two week period the forces of the FRY and Serbia continued to expel the Kosovo Albanian residents of the town. During this period, properties belonging to Kosovo Albanians were destroyed and Kosovo Albanians were robbed of money, vehicles, and other valuables. A similar pattern was repeated in other villages in the Kosovska Mitrovica/Mitrovicë municipality, where Kosovo Albanians were forced from their homes, followed by the destruction of their villages by forces of the FRY and Serbia. The Kosovo Albanian residents of the municipality were forced to join convoys going to the Albanian border. En route to the border, Serb soldiers, policemen, and military officers robbed them of valuables and seized their identity documents.
There were no VJ units in Kosovska Mitrovica during the fist few days of NATO aggression against the FRY. The brigade that garrisoned this city was at the time engaged in counter-terrorist operations in Drenica. Only some MUP forces were deployed in K. Mitrovica, to maintain order. During the first 5-8 of the aggression, numerous columns of troops from the north came through K. Mitrovica on their way further into Kosovo, down the Raska road. These columns passed through K. Mitrovica quickly and in good order, intent on urgent deployment to defense positions along the border. There was also a threat of NATO air strikes, which, as in Djakovica, were intense (Kosovska Mitrovica was ranked 9th in the number of air and missile attacks 116). Unlike other towns in Kosovo-Metohija, Kosovska Mitrovica was targeted by NATO because of a large arms and ammunitions depot at Bair Hill, just above the town. NATO aircraft attacked the depot on April 5 and 6. Explosions of leftover ammunition went on for days, which in addition to air attacks against other targets was most responsible for mass exodus of civilians. Columns of refugee heading towards Albania certainly had to be directed along regulated routes; first, so they would not enter minefields; second, so they would not interfere with defensive positions of the VJ along the border and third, so they would not hamper troop movements and reinforcements.
d. Orahovac/Rahovec: On the morning of 25 March 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia surrounded the village of Celine with tanks and armoured vehicles. After shelling the village, troops entered the village and systematically looted and pillaged everything of value from the houses. Most of the Kosovo Albanian villagers had fled to a nearby forest before the army and police arrived. On 28 March, a number of Serb police forced the thousands of people hiding in the forest to come out. After marching the civilians to a nearby village, the men were separated from the women and were beaten, robbed, and had all of their identity documents taken from them. The men were then marched to Prizren and eventually forced to go to the Albanian border.
On 25 March 1999, a large group of Kosovo Albanians went to a mountain near the village of [Nagavac] Nagafc, also in Orahovac/Rahovec municipality, seeking safety from attacks on nearby villages. Forces of the FRY and Serbia surrounded them and on the following day, ordered the 8,000 people who had sought shelter on the mountain to leave. The Kosovo Albanians were forced to go to a nearby school and then they were forcibly dispersed into nearby villages. After three or four days, the forces of the FRY and Serbia entered the villages, went house to house and ordered people out. Eventually, they were forced back into houses and told not to leave. Those who could not fit inside the houses were forced to stay in cars and tractors parked nearby. On 2 April 1999, the forces of the FRY and Serbia started shelling the villages, killing a number of people who had been sleeping in tractors and cars. Those who survived headed for the Albanian border. As they passed through other Kosovo Albanian villages, which had been destroyed, they were taunted by Serb soldiers. When the villagers arrived at the border, all their identification papers were taken from them.
Everything we said in responding to Paragraph 34 is applicable here. Orahovac was inside the KLA zone of operation Pastrik, composed of seven terrorist brigades.
In the cited period (March 25 - April 2, 1999), fierce battles raged in this area between VJ forces and the KLA. Quite normally, civilians fled areas of fighting during combat operations. Most of the time, VJ units called for the civilians, held as human shields by KLA terrorists is fortified strongholds, to leave the se strongholds and fortified residential areas, in order to avoid civilian casualties. Having in mind that NATOs aggression was taking place at the time, the VJ acted intensively to destroy the terrorist formations of the KLA correctly assessing that they represented the first echelon of NATOs ground invasion. That is why the VJ used both artillery and tanks. Even so, the Army adhered to previously issued orders not to open fire on residential areas, but solely against firing positions and fortifications.
The Indictments claim that expulsion of civilians was the VJs main objective is senseless for at least three reasons: first, Orahovac is over 50 km away from the Albanian border; second, the VJ forces objective was to quickly and efficiently destroy the armed groups of the KLA, and it did not even occur to them in the process to expel unarmed civilians; third, at the time, the VJ had deployed in depth along the border with Albania, in order to defend from ground attacks from Albanian territory. For that reason, the last thing the VJ would want would be columns of refugees passing through its defense positions.
e. Pec/Pejë : On 27 and 28 March 1999, in the city of Pec/Pejë , forces of the FRY and Serbia went from house to house forcing Kosovo Albanians to leave. Some houses were set on fire and a number of people were shot. Soldiers and police were stationed along every street directing the Kosovo Albanians toward the town centre. Once the people reached the centre of town, those without cars or vehicles were forced to get on buses or trucks and were driven to the town of Prizren. Outside Prizren, the Kosovo Albanians were forced to get off the buses and walk approximately 40 kilometres to the Albanian border where they were ordered to turn their identification papers over to Serb policemen.
There were no Kosovo Albanian refugee convoys leaving Pec at the end of March (27-28). Some Albanians who harbored KLA terrorists did flee, since their activities were known to local Serbs and they feared retaliation. At the same time, some richer Pec Albanians, who did not want their sons conscripted into terrorist units, burned their houses or outbuildings and left their homes in order to have an alibi for the KLA. Finally, the chaos in Pec after the beginning of NATOs aggression was greatly aggravated by terrorist attacks against a VJ garrison (which suffered 3 casualties two enlisted men and one officer), from the residential suburb of Brezanik. These attacks provoked retaliation by Serb residents, otherwise known for tolerance. As in Djakovica, the Pec Albanians greeted the arriving KFOR in great numbers (over 30,000), a fact which best refutes all allegations of expulsion.
f. Pristina/Prishtinë : On or about 1 April 1999, Serbian police went to the homes of Kosovo Albanians in the city of Pristina/Prishtinë and forced the residents to leave in a matter of minutes. During the course of these forced expulsions, a number of people were killed. Many of those forced from their homes went directly to the train station, while others sought shelter in nearby neighbourhoods. Hundreds of ethnic Albanians, guided by Serb police at all the intersections, gathered at the train station and then were loaded onto overcrowded trains or buses after a long wait where no food or water was provided. Those on the trains went as far as General Jankovic, a village near the Macedonian border. During the train ride many people had their identification papers taken from them. After getting off the trains, the Kosovo Albanians were told by the Serb police to walk along the tracks into Macedonia since the surrounding land had been mined. Those who tried to hide in Pristina/Prishtinë were expelled a few days later in a similar fashion.
During the same period, forces of the FRY and Serbia entered the villages of Pristina/Prishtinë municipality where they beat and killed many Kosovo Albanians, robbed them of their money, looted their property and burned their homes. Many of the villagers were taken by truck to Glogovac in the municipality of Lipljan/Lipjan. From there, they were transported to General Jankovic by train and walked to the Macedonian border. Others, after making their way to the town of Urosevac/Ferizaj, were ordered by the Serb police to take a train to General Jankovic, from where they walked across the border into Macedonia.
It has already been mentioned that Pristina was the most important target of NATOs air and missile strikes. Of a total of 3,381 strikes on Yugoslavia, 406 were registered in Pristina. In addition to an unidentified number of strikes against the military and civilian airport in Slatina, NATO also targeted purely civilian structures inside the city: the post office, bus terminal, gas stations, industrial and food processing plants, power stations and lines, roads and bridges, as well as residential areas, refugee camps (where refugees from Bosnia and Croatia lived), etc. Pristina is the largest city in Kosovo-Metohija, with the most diverse population. Therefore, it had the most refugees, of all faiths and ethnicities. Everyone fled the 78 days and nights of hell, created there by NATOs bombs and missiles, desperately seeking safety. Though no one counted how many Pristina residents, Albanians and non-Albanians, ended up in refugee columns, certainly many of them stayed inside the city throughout the aggression. Those familiar with the situation in the city know that one or two family members would stay behind to protect their property, after others had fled. No one ever bothered them. Since families of VJ officers lived in the city throughout the aggression, they frequently interacted with Albanian residents in the streets, in shops and cafes. It was not unusual for good neighbors to protect each others lives and property, though there were certainly cases of contrary behavior.
Characteristic for Pristina, unlike other towns and cities in Kosovo-Metohija, is that no fighting between the VJ and the KLA terrorists took place in its immediate vicinity. This made the residents lives somewhat easier even during the NATO aggression. At the same time, this was the reason most of Pristinas Albanian residents remained in their homes, to eventually greet KFOR units. Certainly, there would have been more of them, had the terrorist commanders and separatist activists not organized refugee convoys through Urosevac and Djeneral Jankovic to Macedonia, with the purpose of creating and propagating the stories about a humanitarian disaster.
g. Prizren: On 25 March 1999 the village of Pirana was surrounded by forces of the FRY and Serbia, tanks and various military vehicles. The village was shelled and a number of the residents were killed. Thereafter, police entered the village and burned the house of Kosovo Albanians. After the attack, the remaining villagers left Pirana and went to surrounding villages. Some of the Kosovo Albanians fleeing toward Srbica were killed or wounded by snipers. Serb forces then launched an offensive in the area of Srbica and shelled the villages of Reti e Utlet, Reti and Randobrava. Kosovo Albanian villagers were forced from their homes and sent to the Albanian border. From 28 March 1999, in the city of Prizren itself, Serb policemen went from house to house, ordering Kosovo Albanian residents to leave. They were forced to join convoys of vehicles and persons travelling on foot to the Albanian border. At the border all personal documents were taken away by Serb policemen.
Prizren was in the same strategic position as Djakovica, mentioned above. It sits on an important route from Albania into Metohija and deeper into FR Yugoslavia. Because of its geographic and strategic position, Prizren ranked second (right after Pristina) the number of NATO air and missile strikes (342). Naturally, the Pristina Corps commander gave due consideration to Prizren while estimating the strategic importance of the Kukes(Albania)-Prizren approach to FRY. Multiple attempts of overland invasion by the KLA and Albanian armed forces in this direction and towards Djakovica, failed despite NATOs heavy missile and air support. That fact testifies to the depth of deployment and determination of the units defending this section of the border, including the rear area where Prizren was located.
We also need to add the constant attacks of the KLA terrorists in the rear areas of VJ units facing the Albanian border. VJ forces were forced to eliminate these terrorist groups quickly and decisively, since their actions direct attacks on VJ units and spotting targets for the incoming NATO bombers were synchronized with land attacks from Albania and NATO air strikes. For that reason, in this area more than elsewhere, the terrorists used their favorite tactic of using civilians as human shield, which made these civilians lives particularly miserable.
As on the route Djakovica-Tropoja, military necessity and security concerns for the columns themselves, made it necessary to channel the flow of refugees along the specifically marked roads. Movement of civilians across the Armys fortified defense positions would have resulted in fatalities.
h. Srbica/Skenderaj: On or about 25 March 1999, the villages of Vojnik, Lecina, Klladernica, Turiqevc, Broje and Izbica were destroyed by shelling and burning. A group of approximately 4,500 Kosovo Albanians from these villages gathered outside the village of Izbica where members of the forces of the FRY and Serbia demanded money from the group and separated the men from the women and children. A large number of the men were then killed. The surviving women and children were moved as a group towards Vojnik and then on to the Albanian border.
Contrary to the Indictments allegations, at this very time (March 24-29, 1999) heavy fighting took place between VJ forces and KLA terrorists in the abovementioned area. The area in question is in the middle of Kosovo-Metohija, around Drenica, where the terrorists had the bulk of their forces (the 111th, 112th, 113th, 114th and the 140th Brigade, all in all some 2,500 terrorists). Details of KLA deployment in their Drenica Zone of Operations can be found in the refutation of Paragraph 30. At the time in question, only the 145th VJ Brigade was present in this region. The 145th sealed off Drenica and the headquarters of the terrorists ZO, but was attacked by terrorists before it could launch an offensive. The fiercest attacks came precisely from the villages mentioned in the ICTY Indictment. After five days of heavy fighting, the 145th VJ Brigade managed to break the terrorists, inflicting substantial casualties. During the battle, the VJ did everything in its power to avoid civilian casualties. Obviously, the ICTY Indictment converted terrorist casualties from the fighting in this are into innocent civilians done here not the first, or the only time.
i. Suva Reka/Suharekë : On the morning of 25 March 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia surrounded the town of Suva Reka/Suharekë . During the following days, police officers went from house to house, threatening Kosovo Albanian residents, and removing many of the people from their homes at gunpoint. The women, children and elderly were sent away by the police and then a number of the men were killed by the Forces of the FRY and Serbia. The Kosovo Albanians were forced to flee making their way in trucks, tractors and trailers towards the border with Albania. While crossing the border, they had all their documents and money taken.
On 31 March 1999, approximately 80,000 Kosovo Albanians displaced from villages in the Suva Reka/Suharekë municipality gathered near Bellanice. The following day, forces of the FRY and Serbia shelled Bellanice, forcing the displaced persons to flee toward the Albanian border. Prior to crossing the border, they had all their identification documents taken away.
Everything in the response to sub-paragraph (h) (Srbica Urosevac) is also applicable to the area of Suva Reka. A strong KLA presence (their 121st, 123rd and 124th Brigades, totaling about 1,000 men), made for numerous combat operations in this area as well. Despite the serious defeats inflicted on them by VJ forces during March and April, even though they used civilians using human shields, these forces managed to maintain a strong concentration of terrorists in the area. After the NATO aggression and the Kumanovo agreement, one brigade of the Pristina Corps leaving Suva Reka could not retreat along the pre-set route because it was cut off by the KLA terrorists. This was confirmed by KFOR commanders and international observers, and the VJ brigade changed its withdrawal route in order to avoid further confrontation with KLA terrorists.
The story of some 80,000 Kosovo Albanians fleeing towards Albania supposedly due to VJ shelling is a complete fiction. Suva Reka is some 50 km from the Albanian border. Given the situation and the in-depth deployment of VJ forces along the border, this exodus would have been impossible.
j. Urosevac/Ferizaj: During the period between 4 and 14 April 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia shelled the villages of Softaj, Rahovica, Zltara, Pojatista, Komoglava and Sojevo, killing a number of residents. After the shelling, police and military vehicles entered the villages and ordered the residents to leave. After the villagers left their houses, the soldiers and policemen burned the houses. The villagers that were displaced joined in a convoy to the Macedonian border. At the border, all of their documents were taken."
We have repeated many times already, proving it with authentic battle orders and general orders of both the 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps, as well as the lower levels of command, that so-called fire from a distance (shelling) were explicitly forbidden, and used only against clearly identified terrorist firing positions during actual combat operations. In the time frame indicated by this sub-paragraph, (April 4-14) the counter-terrorist operations of the VJ were mostly completed.
In the indicated time frame, the VJ unit in the vicinity of Urosevac was engaged in tracking one of the downed NATO pilots, spotted as he bailed out from his stricken aircraft. The search of this area naturally involved searches of homes and other buildings, even interrogation of some locals in order to establish the whereabouts of the enemy pilot. This, and not expulsion of local Kosovo Albanians, was the only reason for searches conducted in this area. The search turned out no results. With the help of their civilian sympathizers, the KLA terrorists had managed to hide the downed pilot.
Paragraph 98 of the Indictment says: Beginning on or about 1 January 1999 and continuing until the date of this indictment, forces of the FRY and Serbia, acting at the direction, with the encouragement, or with the support of Slobodan MILOSEVIC, Milan MILUTINOVIC, Nikola SAINOVIC, Dragoljub OJDANIC, and Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC, have murdered hundreds of Kosovo Albanian civilians. These killings have occurred in a widespread or systematic manner throughout the province of Kosovo and have resulted in the deaths of numerous men, women, and children. Included among the incidents of mass killings are the following:
a. On or about 15 January 1999, in the early morning hours, the village of Racak (Stimlje/Shtime municipality) was attacked by forces of the FRY and Serbia. After shelling by the VJ units, the Serb police entered the village later in the morning and began conducting house-to-house searches. Villagers, who attempted to flee from the Serb police, were shot throughout the village. A group of approximately 25 men attempted to hide in a building, but were discovered by the Serb police. They were beaten and then were removed to a nearby hill, where the policemen shot and killed them. Altogether, the forces of the FRY and Serbia killed approximately 45 Kosovo Albanians in and around Racak. (Those persons killed who are known by name are set forth in Schedule A, which is attached as an appendix to this indictment.)
Everything that needed to be said about this fabrication by Walker was already said in the response to paragraph 28. This Kosovo Markale cannot be the basis of accusations against the Yugoslavs. The Racak incident, as a pretext for launching a criminal aggression of NATO against the FRY, is the criminal responsibility of U.S. Ambassador William Walker as the head of OSCEs KVM, its organizers, and the leaders of NATO.
Two facts need to be made clear at this point. First of all, the no FRY forces took part in the Racak incident, i.e. the VJ was in its barracks, according to the terms of the Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement. Secondly, the contents of the Indictments Paragraph 98(a) are identical to all the other allegations in this category (paragraphs 97, 98 and 99). That, by itself, casts serious doubt as to the accuracy of other paragraphs in the Indictment.
b. On or about 25 March 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia attacked the village of Bela Crkva (Orahovac/Rahovec municipality). Many of the residents of Bela Crkva fled into a streambed outside the village and sought shelter under a railroad bridge. As additional villagers approached the bridge, a Serbian police patrol opened fire on them killing 12 persons, including 10 women and children. The police then ordered the remaining villagers out of the streambed, at which time the men were separated from the women and small children. The police ordered the men to strip and then systematically robbed them of all valuables. The women and children were then ordered to leave. The village doctor attempted to speak with the police commander, but he was shot and killed, as was his nephew. The other men were then ordered back into the streambed. After they complied, the police opened fire on the men, killing approximately 65 Kosovo Albanians. (Those persons killed who are known by name are set forth in Schedule B which is attached as an appendix to the indictment.)
c. On or about 25 March 1999, the villages of Velika Krusa and Mali Krusa/Krushe e Mahde and Krushe e Vogel (Orahovac/Rahovec municipality) were attacked by forces of the FRY and Serbia. Village residents took refuge in a forested area outside Velika Krusa/Krushe e Mahde, where they were able to observe the police systematically looting and then burning the villagers houses. On or about the morning of 26 March 1999, Serb police located the villagers in the forest. The police ordered the women and small children to leave the area and to go to Albania. The police then searched the men and boys and took their identity documents, after which they were made to walk to an uninhabited house between the forest and Mali Krusa/Krushe e Vogel. Once the men and boys were assembled inside the house, the Serb police opened fire on the group. After several minutes of gunfire, the police piled hay on the men and boys and set fire to it in order to burn the bodies. As a result of the shootings and the fire, approximately 105 Kosovo Albanian men and boys were killed by the Serb police. (Those persons killed who are known by name are set forth in Schedule C which is attached as an appendix to this indictment.)
No VJ units were present in these areas on the said dates (March 25-26, 1999).
d. On or about the evening of 26 March 1999, in the town of Dakovica/Gjakovë , Serb gunmen came to a house on Ymer Grezda Street. The women and children inside the house were separated from the men, and were ordered to go upstairs. The Serb gunmen then shot and killed the 6 Kosovo Albanian men who were in the house. (The names of those killed are set forth in Schedule D which is attached as an appendix to this indictment.)
On the said date, (March 26) no "forces of the FRY and Serbia" took part in any battles with Kosovo Albanians in Djakovica. As sub-paragraph (d) clearly indicates, these were gunmen civilians, Serb or Albanian, fighting amongst themselves and settling old scores, perhaps.
e. On or about 27 March 1999, in the morning hours, forces of the FRY and Serbia attacked the village of Crkolez/Padalishte (Istok/Istog municipality). As the forces entered the village, they fired on houses and on villagers who attempted to flee. Eight members of the Beke IMERAJ family were forced from their home and were killed in front of their house. Other residents of Crkolez/Padalishte were killed at their homes and in a streambed near the village. Altogether, forces of the FRY and Serbia killed approximately 20 Kosovo Albanians from Crkolez/Padalishte. (Those persons killed who are known by name are set forth in Schedule E which is attached as an appendix to this indictment.)
See the response to sub-paragraph (d).
f. On or about 27 March 1999, FRY and Republic of Serbia forces attacked the village of Izbica (Srbica/Skenderaj municipality). Several thousand village residents took refuge in a meadow outside the village. On or about 28 March 1999, forces of the FRY and Serbia surrounded the villagers and then approached them, demanding money. After valuables were stolen by the soldiers and policemen, the men were separated from the women and small children. The men were then further divided into two groups, one of which was sent to a nearby hill, and the other of which was sent to a nearby streambed. Both groups of men were then fired upon by the forces of the FRY and Serbia, and approximately 130 Kosovo Albanian men were killed. (Those persons killed who are known by name are set forth in Schedule F which is attached as an appendix to this indictment.)
The village of Izbica (Urosevac municipality), was a fortified position of KLA terrorists, and at the time an objective of Pristina Corps counter-terrorist operations along with several other fortifications. Pristina Corps forces, overcame the terrorist stronghold in Izbica and inflicted casualties on thee enemy. Whether the terrorist death toll was 130, the Pristina Corps battle reports do not say. After the fact, following Walker's Racak recipe, terrorist casualties are as a general rule cited here as "innocent civilians" and presented to the public as victims of war crimes. Sub-paragraph (f) makes is no mention of KLA forces in Izbica, as if they never existed. Izbica belonged to the KLA operational command "Nerodimlje," which included two brigades of the terrorists. That fact sheds light on the obvious intent of the Indictment to declare terrorists the victims, and present anti-terrorist fighters as criminals.
In responding to Paragraph 97, we cited the reports of the 3rd Army military prosecutor, which contained the information that his office was gathering facts and information about whether the fresh graves found in Izbica were only those of the KLA casualties, or if some of them contained civilian casualties.
g. On or about the early morning hours of 2 April 1999, Serb police launched an operation against the Qerim district of Dakovica/Gjakovë . Over a period of several hours, Serb police forcibly entered houses of Kosovo Albanians in the Qerim district, killing the occupants, and then setting fire to the buildings. In the basement of a house on Millosh Gilic Street, the Serb police shot the 20 occupants and then set the house on fire. As a result of the shootings and the fires set by the Serb police, 20 Kosovo Albanians were killed, of whom 19 were women and children. (The names of those killed are set forth in Schedule G which is attached as an appendix to this indictment.)
The Kerim/Qerim district of Djakovica was the more affluent quarter of the city. Most of its wealthy inhabitants attempted to distance themselves from the terrorists extremism which caused dissatisfaction among the KLA. No VJ unit was subject to any harassment while passing through this quarter of Djakovica. They had no reason to deploy in the quarter, so they did not. However, the wealth of Kerim residents could have made them a tempting target for bands of marauders. The VJ, however, had nothing to with that.
Paragraph 99 of the Indictment says: Beginning on or about 1 January 1999 and continuing until the date of this indictment, the forces of the FRY and Serbia, acting at the direction, with the encouragement, or with the support of Slobodan MILOSEVIC, Milan MILUTINOVIC, Nikola SAINOVIC, Dragoljub OJDANIC, and Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC, have utilised the means and methods set forth in paragraphs 92 through 98 to execute a campaign of persecution against the Kosovo Albanian civilian population based on political, racial, or religious grounds.
COMMENT: There is no need to repeat here everything that has already been said in the refutation of paragraphs 92-98 of the Indictment.
Paragraph 100 of the Indictment says: 100. By these actions Slobodan MILOSEVIC, Milan MILUTINOVIC, Nikola SAINOVIC, Dragoljub OJDANIC, and Vlajko STOJILJKOVIC planned, instigated, ordered, committed or otherwise aided and abetted the planning, preparation or execution of:
Count 1: Deportation, a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, punishable under Article 5(d) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
Count 2: Murder, a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, punishable under Article 5 (a) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
Count 3: Murder, a VIOLATION OF THE LAWS OR CUSTOMS OF WAR, punishable under Article 3 of the Statute of the Tribunal and recognised by Article 3(1)(a) (murder) of the Geneva Conventions.
Count 4: Persecutions on political, racial and religious grounds, a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY, punishable under Article 5(h) of the Statute of the Tribunal.
Claims made in paragraph 100 of the Indictment, under counts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are baseless, since they have not been proven in any way.
The Indictment issued by the ICTY Prosecutor against Slobodan Milosevic, Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic and Vlajko Stojiljkovic, on account of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war, is groundless and based on empty assertions. This form of indictment is unknown to Yugoslav legal theory and practice, and most probably in its European counterpart as well. It is a general rule that indictment have to be based on facts and evidence, precisely indicating what happened, when, who perpetrated the crime, which evidence is being offered, etc.
Any FRY court would dismiss without a second thought any indictment based on assumptions, probabilities imprecise notions and especially unfounded suspicions of when and how the crimes transpired. In Yugoslav legal theory and practice, as well as in most European countries, there is a principle of in dubio pro reo (if in doubt, acquit). This indictment is entirely based on unfounded suspicions.
The time frame of the indictment (January May 22, 1999) clearly denotes the basic aim of the indictment to declare the defenders of Yugoslavia war criminals and absolve the aggressors as victims. In the period of January March 24, 1999, when the NATO aggression started, the defendants are only accused of the Racak affair, which occurred January 15, 1999. Both domestic and international forensic experts have proven that there was no massacre of civilians in Racak, but that the terrorist KLA casualties were dressed in civilian clothes in order to blame the Yugoslav authorities. Prosecutor Arbour certainly knew this, yet she kept repeating the fabricated deception. It is known that the man behind it was William Walker, then head of the OSCE Kosovo Verification Mission.
All other instances listed in the Indictment occurred during the NATO aggression against the FRY. Thousands of bombs and missiles had hit towns and villages in Kosovo-Metohija, most often at random. These horrifying air strikes caused numerous casualties among the civilian population, and forced the people to flee in all directions. Albanians were not the only ones fleeing the chaos of bombing; so were non-Albanian inhabitants of the province. The Indictment seeks to blame all this on the FRY leadership, without even mentioning the NATO aggression and the consequences of its air strikes. Also neglected are several attempts of overland invasion from Albania.
Most paragraphs of the Indictment accuse the forces of Serbia and FRY. The only FRY force in Kosovo-Metohija was the VJ. It was the VJ, however, that did everything in its power to protect and aid the civilians in the chaos of bombing. All the orders, from those of the General Staff to those of brigade and battalion commanders, prove this beyond a reasonable doubt. There is not a single directive, a single order or instruction in the chain of command that does not include the instructions to protect and care for the civilian population. When NATO air strikes began, command of the 3rd Army and the Pristina Corps received special orders regulating specifically the protection of civilians and care for their property. All of this has been documented in numerous refutations of the Indictment listed above.
Documents issued by the VJ commanders regarding the protection of civilians and private property had the status not of declarations, but of direct orders. Numerous documents from the military judiciary system indicate that all the VJ members (and there were individual instances) who committed crimes, violent acts or looting were promptly prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
An important characteristic of numerous paragraphs in the Indictment was a series of deliberately misleading interpretations of Serb and Yugoslav political history. Instead of identifying the role of foreign powers, the Indictment seeks to assign criminal intent to the indicted leaders, casting them as primary culprits, even instigators, of second Yugoslavias dismemberment and the long civil or ethno-religious wars that occurred in the aftermath. Authors of the indictment base these interpretations on the entirely legal and legitimate amendments to the Serbian Constitution in March 1989. They see nothing wrong in praising the 1974 federal Constitution in paragraph 3, only to denounce it in most of the rest of the Indictment. The entire ICTY Indictment is filled with similar, mutually contradictory, interpretations.
Another contradiction is with the time frame and reasoning behind the Indictment. Here is why. First, if the mass expulsion of Albanian civilian population from Kosovo allegedly committed by forces of the FRY and Serbia that reached the proportions of humanitarian disaster was indeed the main reason for NATO to launch an aggression against the FRY (i.e. in order to stop this disaster), then the ICTY should have issued the Indictment before the random and criminal air strikes were launched against the entire territory FRY, and cynically codenamed Merciful Angel. Second, the defendants are in multiple paragraphs accused of alleged crimes between January and May 22 1999 (when the Indictment is issued), but not the alleged humanitarian disaster that supposedly occurred earlier. Even more scandalous is the fact that all the alleged crimes (save the so-called Racak incident of January 15, 1999), including refugee movements, occurred after March 25, 1999. So the Indictment unwittingly admits that the so-called NATO air campaign was really undertaken for different reasons and not, as publicly stated, to halt the humanitarian disaster, since there had been no disaster before the bombing.
The Indictment accuses Slobodan Milosevic for starting the destruction of Yugoslavia through his anti-bureaucratic revolution and constitutional changes, claiming he is the most responsible for its collapse.
There are plenty of arguments and evidence to the contrary. Slobodan Milosevic fought for the freedom of the Serbian people, who lived in large numbers outside the republic of Serbia. Some 2.5 million Serbs lived in the republics of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. These people were guaranteed full liberty and equality only in a common state, such as the SFRY. It is not an accident, therefore, that of all six republican presidents within SFRY only Milosevic sharply objected to the Badinter plan for dissolution of SFRY through granting independence to the republics. At the 1991 Hague Conference, Milosevic justly claimed that Yugoslavia was not created by foreign diplomats, and hence could be destroyed by it them either. Since the Indictment twists every word, it is not surprising its twists this fact as well.
Many paragraphs speak of the de jure and de facto powers of the FRY President. Nowhere does the Indictment enumerate the alleged de facto powers, not even by citing an example of their use. By so doing, it makes malicious implications, attempting to portray the Yugoslav president as a dictator. The Indictment thus embraces a diverse propaganda campaign against Slobodan Milosevic coming from the United States and other Western countries, as it always comes against leaders of countries that refuse to obey American diktat. Refuting several paragraphs in the Indictment, we cited that the FRY President make all the decisions vital to the country with full Constitutional authority and agreement with other government members. The decision to defend the FRY from NATO aggression was reached unanimously by the Supreme Defense Council on October 4, 1998; the platform for negotiations with Ambassador Holbrooke in October 1998 was previously adopted by the FRY Parliament; the negotiating platform for the Rambouillet and Paris talks was adopted by the Serbian Parliament. Even the plan for cessation of hostilities in June 1999 was formulated through consultations with opposition leaders throughout the FRY.
The alleged de facto powers of the FRY president, repeated in many sections of the Indictment, realistically represent but an empty propaganda phrase, whose aim is crystal clear.
Two completely identical situations in former SFRY that were treated and even perceived differently clearly testify about double standard and blatant biases of Western Europe and especially the United States and with them, the ICTY prosecutors. The West has consistently criticized and berated the Yugoslav Army for alleged excessive force. When the VJ launched an offensive against the Albanian terrorists in July 1998, NATO and the U.S. threatened to attack our country unless the offensive was halted immediately. We must add that the VJ never used the air force or heavy artillery against the Albanian terrorists, adhering faithfully to its orders not to shell towns or villages and only engage enemy firing positions. On top of all that, the Western media and official communiqués never referred to the KLA as a terrorist organization.
When the KLA took its terrorist violence across the border into Macedonia two years later, with the purpose of carving out a Greater Albania, no one in the West not even the U.S. opposed the Macedonian Armys use of heavy weapons (airplanes, tanks, helicopters, APCs, missiles and artillery) against the terrorists. It is clearly Macedonias right to use all the available means to defend itself from an internal, secessionist rebellion. Now Western Europe and the United States correctly refer to the KLA as a terrorist organization. But when that very same terrorist militia fought against the Yugoslav Army and Serbian security forces in Kosovo-Metohija, in the West it had the reputation of freedom fighters.
There seem to be no boundaries in the ICTY Indictments arbitrary bias. Inspired, perhaps, by colonial precedents of forcible expulsion of natives and creation of white settler majorities in other peoples ancestral lands, the authors of this Indictment base their claim of Albanian majority in Kosovo-Metohija solely on the 1981 Census, or even the dubious projections of that populations growth over the past two decades! Using conquistador logic, they have no interest in the historical character of Kosovo-Metohija as the cradle of Serbs civilization and culture, or even in how the recent Serb majority was displaced by the Albanians. This displacement occurred not because one nation naturally receded into extinction, but as a direct consequence of Albanian expansionism that escalated in the latter 20th century. From its beginnings, this separatism has acted in concert with (and serving the interests of) foreign conquerors. Were the Hague Tribunal to judge on the basis of even the most elementary jurisprudence, it would never have considered legitimate an essentially genocidal change in the ethnic makeup of Kosovo-Metohija.
Accepting the Austro-Hungarian propaganda line about Greater Serbian hegemony, invented as early as the 1908 Bosnia annexation crisis, the Indictment unsuccessfully tries to establish its genesis. Yet it takes no stand regarding the very real Greater Albanian expansionism, which is never even mentioned. Due to this unbalanced approach, the Indictment does not use the same standards and criteria, nor does it have the same approach to parties to the conflict in Kosovo-Metohija. That, among other things, makes the Indictment lose even the outward characteristics of a legal document, turning it into a purely political pamphlet. Because of such an approach to the realities of Kosovo-Metohija, not one of the one hundred paragraphs makes any mention of the secessionist movement and its publicly declared objectives (creation of the ethnically pure Kosovo-Metohija, its secession and annexation to Greater Albania), the KLA as its most militant manifestation, terrorism as the predominant form of struggle, numerous victims of that terrorism, etc.
Authors of the Indictment maliciously ignored the very existence of Albanian terrorism and its perpetrators as the main cause of the crisis in Kosovo-Metohija. Using the method established by Ambassador W. Walker, terrorists killed in battles with the forces of the FRY and Serbia are at any cost and without any evidence presented as civilian victims of Serbian repression or excessive use of force! Even when they are forced to acknowledge the existence of secessionists in Kosovo-Metohija, authors of the Indictment want to portray it as non-violent, and its widespread terrorist activities which did not spare even the ethnic Albanians loyal to the Serbian government purposefully attempt to minimize it to a level of one faction that advocated armed rebellion and violent resistance to Serb authority. It is an established fact that this perception of the Albanian separatist and terrorist movement is diametrically opposed to reality. Probably the most unsustainable claim in the Indictment is the recognition of illegal sessions of the so-called Republic of Kosova, and its establishment of parallel authority, since the Indictment thus takes the side of subversive efforts that have been outlawed by the entire civilized world. This being the case, the Indictment cannot possibly be a basis for objectively judging the events in Kosovo-Metohija during the 1990s.
Indeed, the ICTY Indictment supports nonviolent resistance as a legitimate claim for greater ethnic rights and social justice of Kosovo Albanians. It neglects, however on purpose or out of ignorance, it doesnt matter that the economic, cultural and every other form of prosperity the Albanians enjoyed in SFRY was unprecedented in the history of ethnic minority relations in Europe and the world. In some 30 years, this ethnic minority increased its economic potential eighteen times, also rising from the almost entirely illiterate to the third most educated group in SFRY. This was the only ethnic minority ever to be granted the status of constituent element of the Federation. Its leaders at the time, Fadil Hoxha and Sinan Hasani, have on two occasions been President or Vice President of the SFRY Presidium, not to mention the other high-ranking government positions in Serbia and Yugoslavia that Albanians were awarded according to ethnic quotas. Without any merit, the ICTY Indictment willfully neglected the economic and overall prosperity of Kosovo-Metohija within Serbia and FRY, while emphasizing as legitimate the separatist goals of Kosovo Albanians. Yet this movements goal has been an ethnically cleansed Kosovo that would secede from Yugoslavia and Serbia not equal ethnic rights within that state. Any other interpretation is simply deceitful. Experience has clearly demonstrated that the levels of separatist rebellion and terrorist violence grew in direct proportion with unconditional and constant increase in autonomy and ethnic rights. This proved the Marxist theory of ethnicity as a historical category, based on which the SFRY practiced the illusion of national self-expression, to be deeply flawed and in practice nearly fatal. The well-known principle that autonomy of certain minority communities is directly dependent on their loyalty is likely to remain for a long time the cornerstone of minority policy in multiethnic states.
The most controversial claim in the entire ICTY Indictment is surely the so-called humanitarian disaster of the Kosovo-Metohija people, created by the planned and coordinated campaign of shelling towns and villages, burning homes, farms and businesses, with deportation, forced migration and expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians. It directly follows from this claim that during 1998/99, the forces of the FRY and Serbia in Kosovo-Metohija did nothing but persecute the local Albanian population! The reality was, of course, entirely reversed. On top of everyday battles with KLA terrorists and defense from NATO air strikes, the VJ units did everything in their power, under the circumstances, to protect the civilians regardless of their ethnicity or religion. It is absolutely untrue that the expulsion of Kosovo Albanian civilians was the main goal of the VJ. Quite to the contrary, the main adversaries of the VJ were KLA terrorists and NATO forces.
Main causes of mass refugee columns and temporary evacuations of civilians in Kosovo-Metohija during 1998/99 (i.e. before and during the NATO aggression) were: (a) organization and advance preparation on KLA orders (not the forces of the FRY and Serbia), thus manufacturing evidence of repression against Kosovo Albanians with the purpose of creating a pretext for direct military intervention by NATO in the Kosovo-Metohija crisis; (b) well-known practice of separatist movements since the secession of Slovenia, to involve civilian population in the rebellion, primarily as human shields against the objectively superior government forces; (c) evacuation of civilians, at the invitation of forces of the FRY and Serbia, from residential areas fortified by the KLA terrorists, prior to government attacks against terrorist fortifications; (d) willful, spontaneous escape of Albanian civilians from impending danger of fighting in and around their homes, which had been converted into firing positions by the KLA terrorists; and (e) exodus of all civilians Albanians and non-Albanians alike in the face of mass air and missile strikes by NATO forces, which targeted most areas within Kosovo-Metohija.
Until the NATO aggression, Kosovo-Metohija was involved in a separatist armed rebellion through the means of widespread terrorist violence. Jurisdiction over the international armed conflict in which war crimes were possibly committed is exclusively a matter of FRY and NATO. Therefore, based on the present norms of international laws of war, the humanitarian disaster in Kosovo-Metohija cannot be classified as a crime against humanity or violation of laws and customs of war.
There is no mention in the ICTY Indictment of the real humanitarian disaster: the genocidal expulsion of non-Albanians after the end of NATO aggression, after the forces of the FRY and Serbia withdrew and Kosovo-Metohija was occupied by so-called U.N. peacekeepers, in reality NATO military forces. Its proportions and the number of casualties it has caused, this exodus of non-Albanians (first and foremost the Serbs) from the province is far greater than the one perpetrated by Albanian extremists in 1941-44, as collaborators of German and Italian fascist occupiers.
The fact that NATO representatives demanded, during the June 1999 Kumanovo talks, that Yugoslav forces withdraw from Kosovo-Metohija independently from NATOs deployment in the province clearly speaks of their intent to give the Albanian terrorists unhindered opportunity to ethnically cleanse this territory. This is precisely what happened, to a yet unprecedented degree. In just a few days, over 250,000 Serbs and uncounted numbers of other, non-Albanian inhabitants left Kosovo-Metohija; two years later, there is no hint they would be able to return.
In the same time period, with KFOR and UNMIK fully deployed in the province, some 1,600 Serbs disappeared (i.e. were murdered). Nothing is known of their fate, either. The efficient ICTY, which managed to indict the Yugoslav leadership for war crimes before the said war was even over, has failed to indict even any of the Albanian terrorists or their NATO sponsors two years since KFOR and UNMIK arrived to Kosovo-Metohija. This is obviously the way to make Ambassador Holbrookes 1998 message that Serbs should have nothing to do with Kosovo any more a reality.
To fabricate a humanitarian disaster, the Indictment even re-interpreted a regular and well-known, inevitable duty of all armies in the world battlefield cleanup as removing the evidence of crime. In any war, both sides experience mass casualties. War also causes casualties among both domestic and wild animals, along with damage dangerous to human health. That is why all armies in wartime have battlefield decontamination, or cleanup crews. Were that not the case, areas where combat took place would soon be uninhabitable, crawling with diseases and causing lethal epidemics in nearby areas.
Military command in VJ has regulated this process very precisely. All the deceased, be they members of the VJ or enemies, are systematically examined by teams of forensic experts comprised of judges, prosecutors, physicians, veterinarians and other qualified personnel before they are buried or turned over to their families for burial. In each case, a detailed record is made. This necessary and well-regulated procedure can be classified as removing evidence of the crime only by the ill-intentioned, or the ignorant.
The U.N. Security Council had no authority to establish or authorize any judicial body that would prosecute alleged perpetrators of international crimes, including the ICTY. Hence the Indictment of this artificial and quasi-legal creation, imposed on the world by the U.S. administration with the goal of justifying its criminal role in destruction of SFRY and aggression against FRY, has no legal standing under international law. Any crimes committed by anyone during the counter-terrorist operations in Kosovo-Metohija, all jurisdiction falls squarely into the hands of the courts FRY, and not some bastard chimera of the so-called international community.
ICTY has no legal basis in the U.N. Charter, or international law. It was established by a body that lacked any jurisdiction to do so. U.N. Security Council thus violated the limits of its jurisdiction, as well as by promulgating the ICTY Statute and giving the ICTY jurisdiction for certain crimes.
The Indictment of that tribunal against the individuals who made up the Supreme Command of the FRY defense during the NATO aggression contains no evidence of their guilt. It is founded on assumptions, insinuations and assertions.
Extradition of the arch-villain Slobodan Milosevic to ICTY in The Hague was an act of an unauthorized branch of government. Namely, by abducting Milosevic the Serbian government violated the federal Constitution, the Constitution of Serbia, the ruling of the federal Supreme Court and the jurisdiction of the Belgrade District Court.
In order to eliminate these monstrous creations from international relations and prevent their criminal rampage altogether, it is necessary for the world in general and its intellectual leaders in particular to offer organized resistance. Even the silent acquiescence to false tribunals and their accusations means amnesty for the real culprits and declares their victims criminals.
1. United Nations Charter, UN Information center, Belgrade 1977.
2. International Court Statute, UN Information center, Belgrade 1977.
3. SFRY Constitution, SFRY Official Gazette, Belgrade 1974.
4. Constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Military Publications Center (VINC), Belgrade 1993.
5. Constitution of Serbia, Republic of Serbia Official Gazette, Belgrade 1990.
6. Yugoslav Army Act, FRY Official Gazette, #67, 29. November 1993.
7. Zakon o odbrani, FRY Official Gazette, #67, Belgrade 1993.
8. Yugoslav Army's Protocols of Service, VOJSKA publishing, 1996.
9. Yugoslav Army - Application of international law in armed conflict, VOJSKA publishing, Belgrade 2001.
10. ICTY - Indictment as published in "Vecernje Novosti", April 7-13, 2001.
11. Command document of the Yugoslav Army for 1998 - 1999., related to operations against Albanian terrorists in Kosovo-Metohia and defense of the FRY from NATO aggression.
12. Dusan Vilic & Bosko Todorovic, Destroying Yugoslavia 1990 - 1992, Knjizevne novine - Enciklopedija, Belgrade 1995.
13. Bosko Todorovic & Dusan Vilic, Crises - Causing and Manipulating Crises, Grafomark, Belgrade 1977.
14. Dusan Vilic & Bosko Todorovic, New World Order Through Terrorism, Grafomark, Belgrade 1999.
15. Bosko Todorovic & Dusan Vilic, The Mamula Affair, Grafomark, Belgrade 2001.
16. Col. Momir Stojanovic, Experiences from the conflict between FRY security forces and the «Kosovo Liberation Army», term paper at the National Defense College of the VJ General Staff, Belgrade 2000.
17. The Dayton Accords, as published in "Nasa Borba", Belgrade 1996.
18. Conclusions of the Contact Group at the London meeting on 21 January 1999, as published by "Politika", Belgrade on 31 January 1999.
19. Basic elements of full autonomy in Kosovo - text of the Serbian government proposal for amending the political agreement on Kosovo-Metohia in the Rambouillet talks, as published by "Politika", Belgrade on 19 March 1999.
20. Agreement on Kosovo-Metohia Self-government - proposal of the Serbian government based on the Contact Group's 10 principles, as published by "Politika", Belgrade 2 March 1999.
21. Military-technical Agreement between International Security Forces (KFOR) and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Serbia.
22. White Book - Truth about the Hague Tribunal, "Sava", Belgrade 2001.
23. UNSC Resolution 1244, 10 June 1999.
24. Noam Chomsky, New Military Humanism, Belgrade 2000.
25. Kosovo-Metohia in Greater Albanian Plans 1878-2000, Institute for Contemporary History, Belgrade 2001.
26. Kosta Cavoski, The Hague Vs. Justice, Belgrade 1998.
A Soldier's Oath
A soldier's oath of allegiance is a solemn act, marked by human, national, moral and political values that are deeply etched in any soldiers mind.
Content of the KLA oath
I pledge that, as a member of the Kosovo Liberation Army, I shall fight for the liberation of all occupied Albanian territory and their unification; that I shall always be a reliable soldier, a worthy freedom fighter, cautious, courageous, disciplined and always ready to fight to defend all the interests of the fatherland, even without regard to my life. If I violate this oath, I am ready to be subjected to the harshest laws of war, and if I betray it, may by blood be forfeit.
Dated: _______________ Signed by:___________________
* * *
Kosovo Liberation Army
Brigade Zone of Operation #3
2nd Batt. Personnel File
Name, Fathers name, Surname: ARSIM (GANI) HYSENAJ
Date of Birth: April 12, 1980.
Birthplace: Kotradin (near Pec)
Physical fitness: fit
Marital status: single
Date of joining the KLA: July 14,1998
Issued: semi-automatic rifle (20) #10245422
The above-mentioned information was entered in the log under number 54.
Signed by: ____________________ Commanding Officer ______________________
* * *
Kosovo Liberation Army
June 29, 1998
Report on reorganization of formations and transfer of officers to HQ at the village of RAMAC
Based on the orders by the Dukadjini Operational Headquarters, and with the purpose of raising battle readiness and simplifying command and control, I
1. That 1st Battalion commander will be AFRIM BERISA (Abi), in charge of KLA units in the area of villages Smonica, Nec, Ramac and Madanaj.
2. That the 3rd Company will be commanded by HYSENA BITINI (Veselli), responsible for defense and tactical training of that unit.
3. That for the purpose of reorganization and establishment of battalion command, all village commands in the above-mentioned area shall disband and submit to the authority of 1st Battalion commander AFRIM BERISA (Abi).
For the execution of this order I hold responsible Capt. AFRIM BERISA (Abi). For non-compliance or hindering of this order, the cited person shall be responsible to a court-martial.
Commander of Operational HQ Dukadjin Vetim
1st Btn. Command
* * *
REPUBLIC of KOSOVO
PARANAN August 26, 1998.
For the premises owned by MARK DAKAJ of Bardocin, for the needs of the 2nd Brigade of undetermined duration.
Commanding officer Rustem Tetaj [note: former YNA officer]
* * *
Of the KLA unit members located on OSTROZUB premises.
Unit established July 24, 1998.
2. MUHAMET BYTYNI - deputy commander
2. ISMAJLJ PAAA - deputy commander
2. TEFIK OLURI - deputy commander
* * *
By the Operational HQ DRENICA
Soldiers Naim Bazaj and Murat Kukaj are permitted to exit the Kamen 1 zone on July 10, 1998. from 0500 hours to 2400 hours, between Kamen 1 - Mitrovica, for military purposes.
* * *
Dated July 10, 1998.
Commander Jahir Demaku, KLA
PERMIT FOR FREE PASSAGE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE IN THE ENTIRE REKA TERRITORY
[sticker for free passage of vehicle through KLA-controlled territory]
* * *
All for propaganda: Under CNN cameras, the KLA buries its dead in coffins, contrary to Albanian funeral rites.
* * *
Kosovo Liberation Army
Local Operational HQ NINEVICA
LIST OF PERSONS TO VISIT GLOZANE VILLAGE FOR ARMING:
* * *
REPUBLIC OF KOSOVA - CLASSIFIED
KLA - 3rd Brigade File # - 04
BARAN, July 31, 1998
To Dukagjini HQ:
Given the circumstances in the Baran Valley, and for the purpose of successfully countering enemy operations, based on order ref. 24/06.1998, we issue a
For the generator owned by Bajram Yosaj of Kotrodin.
He is ordered to report to the 3rd Brigade HQ by August 4, before 1700 hours.
This order shall be implemented according to section 6 (six) of the order cited above.
Commander: Rustem Berisa
* * *
Translator - Nebojsa Malic
Editor - Jared Israel
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