INDICTED Part 10
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.
[EDITOR'S NOTE: At the time in question, Yugoslavia was under attack by:
* 1- the combined air power of the NATO countries;
* 2- a terrorist army trained by NATO special and covert forces (regarding which see, for example, the article, 'CIA Aided Kosovo guerrilla army,' London Times, 12 March 2000)
*3 - Constant invasion attempts by "KLA" forces in Albania.
A mass exodus of civilians could only intensify problems for the VJ, obviously under great strain from the massive NATO threat.. Even if FRY leaders were anti-Albanian, they could not possibly have attempted the massive job of evicting huge numbers of people while simultaneously fighting off terrorists, guarding a difficult border, and under massive air attack.. And what would they have gained? Bad publicity and increased support for KLA, which many Albanians detested. Moreover, at this very time, the VJ was organizing Albanians to defend themselves from the "KLA," which used threats and violence against ethnic Albanians who withheld support.
On the other hand, the appearance of mass expulsion was very good for NATO and the "KLA." That is why the "KLA," not the VJ, ordered ethnic Albanians to leave Kosovo and attacked and called in air strikes against those who resisted or who tried to return to their homes.]
The VJ's policy of strictly distinguishing between civilians and active terrorists contrasts sharply with the behavior of the British and U.S. governments during the Second World War.
Upon entering the war against Germany in 1939, the government of the United Kingdom not only arrested all German agents in Britain, but also sent to internment camps all Germans in territories under its control. The U.S government sent its own citizens of Japanese ethnicity to internment camps after Pearl Harbor, as the U.S. joined the war against the Axis in 1941.
Consider the differences:
1) Serbia did not intern masses of Albanians. For example, throughout the bombing, Albanians lived quite normally right in Belgrade.
2) Neither the British nor the U.S. government were dealing with an army of ruthless terrorists, but only with potentially hostile civilians.
3) Indeed, in the case of the US internment of Japanese, racial hostility was obviously involved, since an entire population was interned without regard to the activities or even the opinions of individuals. In many cases, their property was seized. - END OF EDITOR'S NOTE]
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.
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