SYNOPSIS - FEBRUARY 12, 2004: THE END OF THE PROSECUTION CASE - THE TESTIMONY OF
www.slobodan-milosevic.org - March 9, 2004
Thursday - February 12, 2004 – The French General, Philippe Morillon testified at the so-called “trial” of Slobodan Milosevic last month in what was ultimately the "grand finale" of the prosecution's case against Slobodan Milosevic.
Gen. Morillon served as deputy UNPROFOR commander in Croatia until September 1992 at which time he became UNPROFOR commander in Bosnia Herzegovina, a position he held until July 12, 1993.
During the examination-in-chief, Gen. Morillon testified that after the war in Bosnia began that he had a meeting with President Milosevic and that they discussed the fighting in Sarajevo. Morillon claimed that at the meeting Milosevic agreed to “use his influence in order to have this shelling stopped.”
Morillon explained to Mr. Groome with regards to the eastern enclaves in Bosnia that “These enclaves were partly occupied by forces, Muslim forces under the command of Naser Oric, who engaged in regular fights. So the possibilities of getting supplies of food for the population from Bosnia, which it was hoped would come both from Belgrade and from Split through Mostar were considerably hampered and hindered, and the Bosnian Serbs were telling us that it was due to the fighting which took place.”
The General went on to explain that Nasir Oric, the Muslim military commander of the Srebrenica enclave, “engaged in attacks during Orthodox holidays and destroyed villages, massacring all the [Serb] inhabitants. This created a degree of hatred that was quite extraordinary in the region.”
General Morillon described a meeting he had with Oric in chilling detail -- saying: “Naser Oric was a warlord who reigned by terror in his area and over the population itself. I think that he realized that those were the rules of this horrific war, that he could not allow himself to take prisoners. According to my recollection, he didn't even look for an excuse. It was simply a statement: One can't be bothered with prisoners.” Morillon described what the situation in Srebrenica as “hellish circle of revenge.”
In keeping with their usual tactics the prosecution provided President Milosevic with General Morillon’s witness statement at the very last minute. As Mr. Groome explained, “it was given to the accused just prior to the testimony today.” Of course this made it quite difficult for President Milosevic to prepare, but he did a good job any way.
Under cross-examination from Milosevic, Morillon confirmed that prior to the outbreak of war in Bosnia-Herzegivina that the Cutileiro plan had been agreed on, and that Karadzic, Boban, and Izetbegovic had all signed it, but that Izetbegovic withdrew his signature at the last moment upon receiving encouragement to do so from the U.S. Ambassador, Warren Zimmerman.
Morillon was quick to defend Izetbegovic. He was of the opinion that Karadzic also bore some of the blame for the outbreak of the war, and to demonstrate his point he talked about how “Karadzic’s men” opened fire on a peace rally from the Sarajevo Holiday Inn hotel in April of 1992.
Unfortunately for Morillon, the fire that was opened on that rally was opened by the Muslims, and not by Karadzic’s men as he had claimed. Aleksandar Vasiljevic’s testimony of February 17, 2003 is quite clear on this, and is well worth reading. Vasiljevic explains in exquisite detail how the Green Berets fired on the rally from the school next to the Holiday Inn, and how they had video tape and the intercepted radio communications of the Green Berets that proved it.
But that aside, Morillon accepted Milosevic’s claim that the Bosnian Serbs’ goal was to preserve Yugoslavia, and that they made a great concession in the interests of preserving peace when they signed the Cutileiro plan, and agreed to live in an independent Bosnia.
Morillon also agreed that prior to its withdrawal from Bosnia-Herzegovina that the JNA was a stabilizing factor. He explained in his statement that the so-called “siege of Sarajevo” began when the Muslims surrounded and laid siege on the Marsal Tito barracks, forcing the JNA to liberate its barracks and free its soldiers.
Morillon also confirmed that when the JNA withdrew from Bosnia, the Muslims attacked them as they were trying to leave. Milosevic cited the massacre of JNA soldiers at Dobrovoljacka Street in Sarajevo as an example. These solders were withdrawing, and the Muslims attacked them and killed them as they were trying to leave. Morillon remembered the event and said that it “was one of the dramatic events that I experienced on the spot and we all suffered because we didn't have the means to prevent it.”
Unfortunately, that was not the only example. Milosevic read out other examples where the JNA was attacked as it was trying to evacuate Bosnia. Hundreds of soldiers were killed in this way, not only in Sarajevo, but also in Tuzla and at other locations throughout Bosnia.
Morillon confirmed Milosevic’s claim that the influence that he had was a political influence, which he used to try and stop bloodshed from taking place in Bosnia. Morillon also confirmed that Bosnia was a civil war, and not some aggression waged by the Serbs or by Serbia. Morillon claimed that Croatia, on the other hand, had its regular army troops in Bosnia.
Morillon also testified that Muslims from Serbia, or “Sandzaki” as they were called came to Bosnia to fight on the side of the Bosnian Muslims, and were primarily deployed in and around Srebrenica.
Morillon discussed the role of Mujahedeens who came to Bosnia from the Middle East. He said that they were brought to Bosnia in 1993 and were especially active in the region of Vitez. To drive this point home President Milosevic read from the indictment of Zacarias Moussaoui, which states clearly that the Al Qaeda terrorist organization was active in Bosnia.
Milosevic read out a quite interesting quotation from Lord Owen’s book. Owen says, "in Sarajevo, it became increasingly clear that in fact there were two sieges of the town, one which was implemented by the Bosnian Serb army with shells, sniper fire and blockades, and another by the army of the Bosnian government which prevented their people from leaving through internal blockades and bureaucratic complications. Able-bodied men from 18 to 65 and women from 18 to 60 were not allowed to leave because they were essential for the defense of the town, but their main reason was a different one. The Serb siege in the propaganda war evoked compassion on the part of the world, and that is why they needed the elderly and the children to remain. That was their most emotional propaganda weapon to draw the Americans into the war, and they didn't want that to weaken."
In response Morillon said, “Well, I am not denying what Lord Owen may have written.” He then went on to say that “the Bosniaks used the presence of their population, as you have just said, to keep the attention of the world focused on their situation, it is true, but similarly they prevented the evacuation from Srebrenica.”
So not only did the Muslims hold their population hostage in Sarajevo as a propaganda ploy to win world sympathy, but they did the same thing in Srebrenica where, as Morillon explained earlier, Nasir Oric was terrorizing even the Muslim population.
Morillon explained in his statement that "The aim of the [Bosnian Muslim] Presidency from the very outset was to ensure the intervention of international forces for their own benefit, and that is one of the reasons why they never were inclined to engage in talks. In those days, the Serbs were ready for talks since they considered that they were winning. Whenever such an agreement was signed on humanitarian corridors, the problems came from the Presidency. Finally, the corridors would be accepted. The beginning of their implementation was to be the withdrawal of heavy weapons, which should have taken place at 1700 hours on the 24th of December. However, on that day, my residence in Sarajevo was shelled. The shell was fired by the Bosnian forces. That is quite certain."
In spite of the fact that the Muslims tried to kill him, Morillon apologized for Izetbegovic. He said, “there was a war. Izetbegovic had lost just then […] He had only the possibility of defending himself with whatever means he had at his disposal. And he was not in a position to strategically win a battle. […] I did everything at the time as the mandate I had was to try and establish peace. If you want me to say that it was not in Izetbegovic's interest to comply, I agree.”
Milosevic turned his attention to Srebrenica, and he read this passage out of Morillon’s testimony in front of the French parliament: "Mladic had entered an ambush in Srebrenica, a trap, in fact. He expected to find resistance, but there none. He didn't expect the massacre to occur but he completely underestimated the amount of hatred that accrued. I don't believe that he ordered the massacres, but I don't know. That is my personal opinion."
So according to Morillon, Mladic didn’t order any massacres, and he was tricked into coming to Srebrenica.
Morillon went on to say "I was convinced that the population of Srebrenica was the victim of a higher interest, of a state reason," as Morillon put it, "but this higher interest which was located in Sarajevo and New York but certainly not in Paris. Had I been able to evacuate all those who had wanted me to do so at the time that I intervened in Srebrenica, we could certainly have saved a number of human lives."
So, Morillon says that the population was the victim of some “higher interests” in Sarajevo, obviously these are some higher Muslim interests he is speaking of. Unfortunately, the French Government had its representatives in the court room, and the “court” unceremoniously went into closed session at their request, as if it wished to hide what these Muslim interests might be.
When the “tribunal” came out of closed
session, Milosevic continued reading out from Morillon’s testimony before the
French Parliament. Morillon said, "The authorities of Izetbegovic were the ones
who stood up against the [Srebrenica] evacuation of those towards Tuzla for all those who
wanted to, and there were many of them who wanted to. And I said that Naser Oric
in my opinion succumbed to the orders that he received from Sarajevo to leave
the area. I don't wish to say that Sarajevo intentionally created this drama.
This was done by the Presidency. This was done by Izetbegovic. Naser Oric in
Sarajevo listened to the Presidency."
Morillon continued by saying, "When I say that he, Mladic, entered into a trap and the trap was an intentional one, I'm not criticising Izetbegovic. In my opinion, he had no other way of causing what he wanted, that is to say the -- putting the international community on his side."
So according to Morillon, Izetbegovic intentionally provoked Mladic, and tricked him into entering Srebrenica precisely to provoke a reaction on the part of the international community against the Serbs. Of course Morillon didn’t like it when Milosevic put it that way, and so he tried to backpedal, but he didn’t have much success.
During the examination-in-chief, Morillon said that fire emanating from the FRY was directed against Srebrenica in 1993. In the cross-examination it was revealed that this fire was opened because Nasir Oric’s men were firing on the hydro electric dam at Bajina Basta. The VJ had to return fire in order to keep Oric from destroying the dam.
Morillon tried to accuse Milosevic of sowing nationalist hatred, but to no avail. Milosevic challenged Morillon to quote an example where either he, or the government of the FRY, or the government of Serbia undertook any actions to incite nationalistic hatred. Mr. Robinson warned Milosevic that this was a bold question, and asked him if he was sure that he wanted to put it. Milosevic said that he did indeed want to put the question, and Morillon fell flat on his face, he couldn’t think of any example where Milosevic incited ethnic hatred.
Morillon also tried to say that Milosevic controlled the Bosnian Serbs, and so Milosevic challenged him to give an example of where he issued orders, or used his influence for any purpose other than the pursuit of peace, and again Morillon had nothing.
Morillon believed that the Muslims attacked their own people on numerous occasions, including the breadline massacre, and the Markale market massacre. He wasn't sure on each instance, but he did believe that it happened.
To sum-up Milosevic read out a quote from General Nambiar saying: “Portraying the Serbs as evil and everybody else as good was not only counter-productive but also dishonest. According to my experience, all sides were guilty but only the Serbs would admit that they were no angels, while the others would insist that they were. With 28,000 forces under me and with constant contacts with UNHCR and the International Red Cross officials, we did not witness any genocide beyond killings and massacres on all sides that are typical of such conflict conditions.”
Morillon agreed with the quote, and with that Milosevic’s cross-examination ended. Mr. Tapuskovic then cross-examined the general.
Under cross-examination from Tapuskovic, Morillon admitted that he met Nasir Oric on several occasions and that Oric “admitted killing Bosnian Serbs every night.” Morillon said that Oric told him "that those were the rules of the game, and that in this type of partisan warfare, he cannot take prisoners." In other words Oric didn't take Serb prisoners, he just killed them instead.
Immediately after he clarified these points Tapuskovic asked the following question, “And when speaking about March and April in 1993 in that statement of yours, in paragraph 3 it says: ‘Naser Oric's reign implied a thorough knowledge of the area held by his forces. It appeared to me that he was respecting political instructions coming from the [Bosnian Muslim] Presidency.’ Is that correct too?”
Morillon answered by saying, “Yes. I don't see the point of the question. Naser Oric obeyed. He was head of a band. He was waging guerilla war in the enclave, but he himself considered himself to be a combatant in the service of the [Bosnian Muslim] Presidency.”
Obviously, the point of it is this: Oric boasted that he “killed Serbs every night,” and he was acting on instructions from Izetbegovic, therefore Izetbegovic is guilty together with him. That is the point.
Tapuskovic read out a quote from Morillon’s testimony to the French Parliament regarding the Kosevo Hospital in Sarajevo. Morillon said, “We saw a [Muslim] mortar there ready to provoke a reaction from the Serbs. They did that all the time. I know that some UN observers saw that mortar at Kosevo. Very frequently they used mortars at Kosevo for provocation purposes.”
Morillon confirmed that this was true and that he denounced that practice. It is unconscionable that anybody could be so evil that they would try to draw their fire on to a civilian hospital for the purposes of propaganda, but that is exactly what the Muslim authorities did in Sarajevo.
After Morillon withdrew, an employee of the Office of the Prosecutor testified. His name was Tore Soldal. He carried out an investigation into claims made by the secret witness C-48. You may remember that C-48 is the one who claimed to work for the Royal Casino in Novi Sad where he, on the basis of a diary, claimed that Milosevic was in the casino issuing orders to people that they should commit atrocities in Croatia.
C-48 claimed that this alleged diary was destroyed by his mother when he came to The Hague. Mr. Soldal, who works for the OTP, carried out an investigation to ascertain whether the diary ever existed in the first place.
The key questions are these:
MILOSEVIC: Very well. Now, is it true, then, that on the basis of your research and investigation, this doubtful testimony of the witness was rendered even more suspect because you didn't find anything, any of the things you were looking for?
SOLDAL: That's correct, I didn't find a diary.
MILOSEVIC: Mr. Soldal, a moment ago in response to a question from Mr. Nice as to whether you were able to establish anything that coincided with the events that that famous witness of yours talked about or, rather, the waiter from this place [i.e. C-48], you -- your answer was that you weren't able to establish or ascertain anything; is that right?
SOLDAL: Yeah, that's right.
In other words the whole testimony of C-48 is worthless. Even the prosecution’s own employee can’t bring himself to claim that this witness was telling the truth.
With this the prosecution's pathetic
excuse for a case against Slobodan Milosevic ended. And a fitting end it was.
The prosecutor's own employee forced to say that he can't confirm the
truthfulness of their own
witness's claims, and this witness was one of their most important witnesses,
because he was the only one who claimed to have seen Milosevic issuing orders to
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