Written by: Andy Wilcoxson

Prosecutor Geoffrey Nice concluded his cross-examination of Serbiaís former Assistant Interior Minister, Gen. Obrad Stevanovic at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic on Tuesday.

Mr. Nice asked Gen. Stevanovic some additional questions about the Skorpions. Nice had documents from the Serbian Interior ministry that listed members of the Skorpions as being reserve policemen.

Pursuant to the courtís request, Gen. Stevanovic checked with the Interior Ministry to see if certain members of the Skorpions, who Mr. Nice claimed were active in Bosnia as members of the Serbian MUP, had ever been employed by the Serbian Interior Ministry. Stevanovic got the answer that the Serbian Interior Ministry had never employed the eleven men in question.

Stevanovic stuck to his assertion that the Skorpions were never accepted into the reserve forces of the SAJ as an intact unit during the 1999 NATO bombing. He said that only certain individuals from the Skorpions were accepted as volunteers. The fact that eleven known members of the Skorpions were never employed by the MUP goes to show that Stevanovic is telling the truth. If the Skorpions had been taken as a group, then all of the Skorpions would have been listed as reserve policemen.

After Mr. Nice concluded his cross-examination Milosevic re-examined the witness. Milosevic focused the first part of his re-examination on Racak.

Mr. Nice is challenging the admissibility of several documents that the witness brought to court with him regarding Racak. Milosevic used the re-examination to further establish the provenance and reliability of the documents in question.

Milosevic questioned the witness about Izbica. The witness confirmed that all of the bodies exhumed from Izbica were autopsied and that death certificates were issued for them. There are also documents stating where the bodies were exhumed from and where they were supposed to be buried after the autopsies. The witness said that it was a real mystery how some of the corpses were reburied in Central Serbia.

The prosecution claims that corpses from Izbica were dug-up and reburied in central Serbia in order to hide evidence of killings. Milosevic pointed out that there could be no question of hiding evidence of killings when the autopsy reports and the death certificates for these people were filed in the public record.

Milosevic questioned the witness extensively about the orders that the police were given. The witness confirmed that police were ordered to protect the civilian population, that the police were never ordered to commit any crimes, and that the police always took steps to arrest the perpetrators of crimes even when the perpetrators were soldiers or other policemen.

However, most of todayís re-examination was spent analyzing the witnessís personal agenda book. During the cross-examination the Prosecution read some passages from the notebook out of context, and presented the book as if it were evidence of a massive Serbian conspiracy to ethnically cleanse Kosovo.

Milosevic meticulously went through the book page by page. This exercise showed that the activities Stevanovic spoke about in his notes were not aimed at ethnically cleansing Kosovo. The main theme stressed throughout the notebook was the protection of the civilian population.

Milosevic will continue the re-examination when Stevanovic continues his testimony tomorrow.

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