Two Unbelievable Documents from The Hague by Jared Israel

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A Look at Two Unbelievable Documents from The Hague
by Jared Israel
[Posted 12 December 2002]

Note: Some have asked for a reading list on Slobodan Milosevic. We'll prepare one. Meanwhile, a good start is Prof. Gil-White's article, "Media Misrepresentation of Slobodan Milosevic" at


Next week (16 December) Attorney Tiphaine Dickson, Nico Varkevisser and I are going to The Hague Tribunal at the invitation of the prisoner, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Our goal: to discuss strategy and to defend Milosevic and the truth about Yugoslavia. We urgently need help to cover the costs of this effort. At the end of the text is an appeal for funds.

I have just read two documents from The Hague Tribunal. Both include statements that are simultaneously so outrageous and at the same time so matter-of-fact that I thought, "This man cannot possibly be saying what it appears he is saying." But in both cases, "This man was saying exactly what it appeared he was saying."

The documents are a) a note from Hague Tribunal President Claude Jorda and b) cardiologist P.R.M. van Dijkman's November 18th report on Slobodan Milosevic. Both are posted below.

Two thoughts about these documents.

First, The Hague's treatment of Slobodan Milosevic, such as the deliberate withholding of proper medical care and the worsening of his already life-threatening conditions, amounts to torture. That was the ruling of the UN Commission on Human Rights in a situation involving a much less serious medical condition. For more on that UN ruling, see

Second, the torture of Milosevic is an analogue for NATO's torture of Yugoslavia: systematic, brutal and politically motivated.

Let us read and analyze the documents.

Judge Claude Jorda is President of The Hague Tribunal (ICTY). The November 27th letter was his response to an October 13th letter from Freedom Foundation (Sloboda) in Belgrade. Sloboda requested urgent action to prevent the death of Slobodan Milosevic. So: Freedom Foundation writes Jorda on October 13; Jorda responds to Freedom Foundation November 27. That's 44 days. How long does he take when it is *not* an emergency?

More comments after the letter:

[Start Letter]

United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia

H. E. Judge Claude Jorda President

The Hague, 27 November 2002

Dear Mr Raicevic,

I received your correspondence dated 13 October 2002 in which you share your concerns about Mr Milosevic's medical condition and request his provisional release so that he may receive appropriate medical treatment in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

I wish firstly to inform you that your request does not fall within the province of the President of the International Tribunal. Pursuant to Rules 65 and 74 bis of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, it is for the Trial Chamber seized of the case to order the medical examination of an accused and to rule on requests for provisional release. I am taking the liberty of pointing out to you that Trial Chamber III ruled on the matter on 6 March 2002.

Moreover, the question of organising the hearings is the responsibility of the Trial Chamber which ensures the proper conduct of the proceedings with respect for the rights and health of the accused. In this respect, Trial Chamber III is taking due consideration of Mr Milosevic's medical condition when scheduling the hearings. Furthermore, like all the detainees, Mr Milosevic is receiving close medical attention of a high quality from the medical staff of the United Nations Detention Centre. As Registrar of the Tribunal, Mr Holthuis is following the situation closely and will, if necessary, keep you informed of changes in Mr Milosevic's medical condition. Yours sincerely,

/signed/ ___________________ Claude Jorda

Monsieur Igor Raicevic
President Assembly of the Freedom Association [Sloboda]

[End Letter]

Ok, some comments on Judge Jorda's letter:

On March 6, the trial chamber did indeed rule on Freedom Association's first request for the provisional release of Slobodan Milosevic. However, contrary to Mr. Jorda's assertion, that request *did not even mention* Mr. Milosevic's health. Moreover, the court made its ruling without considering arguments by the amici (court-appointed attorneys who comment on the proceedings) or for that matter by Mr. Milosevich, who has some interest in the outcome of the decision.

President Milosevic's health has deteriorated sharply since then. The deterioration was publicly admitted by Judge Richard May, President of Trial Chamber III. Judge May stated on July 26 that:

"We have received a doctors' report which in its conclusion states that the accused is a man exposed to a serious cardiovascular risk which requires careful health monitoring in the future. The authors of the report advise a reduction in the workload of this trial and advise further treatment by a cardiologist." - ICTY transcript, 26 July 2002.

Following the resumption of proceedings after the summer recess the trial chamber did *not* decrease Mr. Milosevic's trial schedule. Instead they increased his hours in court to a full day, that is, to a greater workload than was the case when Judge May addressed the issue on July 26!

The focus of Freedom Foundation's October 13th letter was precisely to criticize the Trial Chamber's blatant disregard of the medical report:

[Start Excerpt from October 13th Letter]

October 13, 2002
Dear Mr. Jorda,

After our several letters to ICTY and many appeals of organizations and individuals from Yugoslavia and other countries, aiming to secure the proper life and health conditions for President Slobodan Milosevic, we came to the conclusion that the whole construction of the process against President Milosevic has as one of its intentions to break the health and threaten the life of President Milosevic. In spite of the oral promises of Mr. Richard May and the Trial Chamber that they would follow the recommendations of the ICTY-appointed physicians, that President Milosevic should get a cardiologic check-up, appropriate health monitoring and therapy, as well as that intensity of the process should be slowed down - in spite of those promises, the only thing that happened is that the Trial Chamber has returned to whole-day-long proceedings. That is why we demand release of President Milosevic and his return to Yugoslavia for recovery and appropriate specialists' medical treatment.

Yours sincerely,
Igor Raicevic
President Assembly of the Freedom Association [Sloboda]

-- Full text at

[End Excerpt from October 13th Letter]

Obviously this is not your typical request for provisional release or a typical statement of concern about medical issues.

It is a complaint about *abuses* inflicted by the Trial Chamber. It was directed to Judge Jorda because Judge Jorda presides over the whole operation. So Judge Jorda receives a complaint about Trial Chamber III, to which the learned Judge replies: 'That should properly be addressed to the Trial Chamber III.'

Disregarding the content of the Freedom Foundation's complaint, Judge Jorda states that:

"I wish firstly to inform you that your request does not fall within the province of the President of the International Tribunal."

But in the same document, he also states:

"...the Trial Chamber III is taking due consideration of Mr Milosevic's medical condition when scheduling the hearings."

If the request by Freedom Association is not within Jorda's province, then why does he respond to it? Out of one side of his mouth he says, 'This is none of my business.' But out of the other side of his mouth he says, 'We're handling this correctly.' Thus he concedes a) that Mr. Milosevic's life is potentially in danger and b) that he has authority to deal with the issue.

Judge Jorda gives The Hague high marks for the medical care it is providing to Mr. Milosevic:

"Furthermore, like all the detainees, Mr Milosevic is receiving close medical attention of a high quality from the medical staff of the United Nations Detention Centre."

First, Mr. Milosevic is not like all the detainees. He has a life-threatening heart condition.

Second, the medical staff referred to consists of: one doctor (a general practitioner) and one nurse. Mr. Milosevic is visited daily by the one nurse, not by the doctor. She gives the President a pill. The doctor is not a heart specialist. The nurse is gone on weekends.

To describe this as constituting "close medical attention of a high quality ...medical staff" for a man with a life-threatening heart condition leaves me speechless.

Third, on what basis does Judge Jorda make this evaluation? Is it a matter of faith? That is, having *faith* that The Hague Tribunal always gives good medical care, is it therefore revealed to him that of course Mr. Milosevic must be receiving good medical care? Is Mr. Jorda a judge or is Mr. Jorda a priest? Because if this Tribunal is ruled by Priests, why don't they just name it Inquisition and get it over with?

Or perhaps Jorda 'knows' Mr. Milosevic is getting good care because after receiving the Foundation's letter he investigated the matter. But wouldn't such investigation itself constitute admission that Jorda has jurisdiction concerning the issues raised? And if he did investigate why did he not consult the Foundation which had brought the complaint?

And given the life-threatening issues and most serious charges in the Freedom Foundation letter, why did it take Judge Jorda 44 days to reply that he is not the right person to consider the issue?

Why didn't he a) immediately send the letter to the right person and b) immediately contact Freedom Foundation to tell them he had done so? What took him 44 days?

Moreover, on 2 November Freedom Foundation sent Judge Jorda *and* Judge May (i.e., the President of Trial Chamber III) a *second* letter raising the same issues, indeed more sharply, and citing UN rules that *require* the Chamber to deal adequately with President Milosevic's heart condition. This letter can be read at

Judge Jorda and Judge May received this second letter 25 days before Jorda's reply - but Judge Jorda entirely ignores the second letter.

Judge Jorda's response is even more shocking in light of the report by the Dr. P.R.M. van Dijkman, the cardiologist who was - finally and only once - told to examine Slobodan Milosevic on Nov. 17th.

*How a UN Doctor Deals with UN Medical Abuse *

[Start Report]

"Cardiac case history: Essential hypertension with secondary organ damage: hypertrophy of the left ventricle. (...) In recent weeks during trial again steep increase in blood pressure up to around 220/130 mmHg. (...) During the tiring process of the trial, Mr Milosevic experiences a condition that looks like hypertensive urgency.

(...) The treatment of increased blood pressure with medication generally reduces the possibility of death by 11 percent, of coronary heart disease by 14 percent, of cerebovascular accident by 33 percent and of vascular diseases (coronary heart disease or CVA) by 22 percent. (Source: Revised Guidelines for Increased Blood Pressure, CBO Quality Institute for Health Care).

(...) It can be concluded that with a combination of sufficient rest and medication, the level of Mr Milosevic's blood pressure will be an acceptable one.

(...) However, it has become apparent time and again during the trial that there are moments which cause Mr. Milosevic's blood pressure to "get out of hand". My advice on the matter as formulated in the letter of 19 August 2002 remains unchanged: sufficient rest periods in combination with antihypertensive medication to keep the blood pressure at an acceptable level.

(...) I leave it to the Tribunal to decide in what way sufficient rest periods can be incorporated into the trial. "

-- The doctor's full report may be read at

[End Report]

This report is truly remarkable.

1) The doctor admits that the chances of Mr. Milosevic suffering a sudden stroke or heart attack and possible death are directly related to his work load and amount of rest;

2) The doctor all but states that his recommendations have not been followed:

[Start quote]

"However, it has become apparent time and again during the trial that there are moments which cause Mr. Milosevic's blood pressure to 'get out of hand'.

"My advice on the matter as formulated in the letter of 19 August 2002 remains unchanged..."

[End quote]

3) Prior to Nov. 17th, no heart specialist examined Mr. Milosevic.

Yet this cardiologist states that he made recommendations for care two months earlier - on 19 August. That is, he made medical recommendations regarding a patient who suffered a manifestly life-threatening condition *without examining the patient.* And why did he prescribe without examining the patient? Because The Tribunal did not *want* him to examine the patient.

This behavior of a specialist *working for the United Nations* in a case in which we charge the United Nations is acting as a weapon of NATO - this behavior illustrates the urgency of our demand that Mr. Milosevic be transferred to Belgrade's superb military hospital. There he will be examined by the best doctors, who are familiar with his medical history, and who do not follow Hague Tribunal orders to violate their Oath by prescribing treatment without properly examining the patient.

That said, van Dijkman did at least state that the court urgently needs to change Mr. Milosevic's conditions. But then look how he concludes the report:

"I leave it to the Tribunal to decide in what way sufficient rest periods can be incorporated into the trial."

He leaves it to the Tribunal! First Dr. Dijkman agrees to prescribe without examination, and then, when at last he does examine, he surrenders his professional duty to prescribe treatment to Dr. Richard May et al at Trial Chamber III.

Slobodan Milosevic has requested to meet with a delegation from his support committee, the ICDSM. That delegation is going to The Hague next week. It includes Quebec Attorney Tiphaine Dickson, whom the ICDSM has retained as counsel, as well as ICDSM Vice-Chairmen, Nico Varkevisser and myself, Jared Israel.

It is very possible that on Wed., 18 December, the Tribunal will rule on two vital issues. One is whether and how to adjust the trial proceedings to remove the mortal threat to Mr. Milosevic's life. The second is whether to force unwanted counsel on Mr. Milosevic. It is very important that we be there to help fight for Mr. Milosevic - and the truth - through publicity and legal measures.

We are desperately short on cash to cover the expenses of this trip. If you can help please do so. You may make contributions by going to

Thank you!

We're Taking on The Hague Dec. 16th! Please Help Get us There!

Slobodan Milosevic has refused to bow. We are going to The Hague to support this brave and principled leader.

Please help get us there. We need funds for airfare, an eight-day stay and a press conference. We have received some contributions - for which thank you! - but we are several thousand dollars short.

It is crucial that we go!

If possible, please help!

-- Jared Israel

You can contribute any amount - $30 $60 $100 $250 $500 or more. (More would be wonderful!)

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