INDICTED part 11

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 country’s war leadership. As such, they were the most responsible for the country’s 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 NATO’s 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 Serbia’s 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 SPS’s 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 Serbia’s 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 anyone’s 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 “Milosevic’s 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]

[Milutinovic-Rugova statement]

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 Indictment’s 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.

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