STEVANOVIC DAY 13: THE VIDEO CLIPS THAT MR.
NICE DIDN'T PLAY PROVE THAT THE SKORPIONS WERE NOT A SERBIAN POLICE UNIT
www.slobodan-milosevic.org - June 8, 2005
The re-examination of defense witness Gen. Obrad
Stevanovic continued at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic on Wednesday.
Stevanovic, who formally served as Serbia's Assistant Interior Minister,
testified for the 13th day today.
Milosevic continued to question Stevanovic about his personal notebook. During the cross-examination the prosecution read certain passages of the witness's agenda notebook out of context and tried to present it as proof of a genocidal conspiracy.
Milosevic used the re-examination to go through the notebook line by line and page by page. This exercise, while time consuming, dispelled any illusions that anybody might have had about this notebook. The main themes of the notebook were the protection of the civilian population, the resolution of crimes, and the high ethical and legal standards of the Serbian Interior Ministry.
In connection with the notebook, Milosevic presented a copy leaflet that the KLA distributed to Kosovo-Albanians during the war. The leaflet instructed the Albanian population leave Kosovo and travel in large groups towards Macedonia and Albania. The witness had written the text of a similar leaflet into his notebook, and during the cross-examination Mr. Nice had tried to present that text as if the witness was concocting some sort of plan to expel the Albanians from Kosovo.
This notebook is the witness's personal notebook, it is was his day planner throughout 1999. The witness jotted down all sorts of things in the notebook, some things were work related, others were personal, and the notes were only intended for the use by the witness as personal reminders. Sometimes he wrote down things that other people had said, and sometimes he jotted his own thoughts down.
The notebook was seized by the prosecution when they investigated Stevanovic as a suspect in 2000. It has been a useful exhibit for Milosevic. It confirms his case that the police acted lawfully, and it confirms various points that he has made in his defense case related to particular events such as the NATO bombing of the Dubrava Prison. The notebook is a contemporaneous record written for the private use of the witness so there can be no accusation that it was written for political purposes.
After questioning Stevanovic about his notebook, Milosevic turned his attention towards the now infamous video played by Mr. Nice last week. Mr. Nice claimed that the video depicted a unit known as the Skorpions executing six Muslims from Srebrenica. Mr. Nice falsely claimed that the Skorpions were a unit of the Serbian Interior Ministry (MUP).
It turns out that Mr. Nice was selective in the clips he chose to play. The videotape proves beyond any shadow of doubt that the Skorpions were not a unit of the Serbian Interior Ministry.
On part of the tape that Mr. Nice did not play
you can see the vehicles that the Skorpions' had. The vehicles' license plates
were visible and they were issued by the Army of Republika Srpska Krajina. You
can see a Skorpion insignia painted on the vehicles, also painted on the
vehicles are the words "Army of Republika Srpska Krajina - Boca Detachment."
"Boca" refers to the nickname of the Skorpions commander, Slobodan Medic (aka
This corresponds perfectly to the testimony of prosecution witness, Milan Milanovic, who said that the Skorpions were a unit of the Army of Republika Srpska Krajina. Milanovic, having been Deputy Defense Minister of the RSK, would certainly be in a position to know which units belonged to his army and which ones didn't.
There is no question about it, the Skorpions were not a unit of the Serbian Interior Ministry when the video was filmed. Mr. Nice is lying, and the media has been reporting the lie as if it were gospel truth.
After proving beyond any shadow of doubt that the Skorpions were not a unit of the Serbian Interior Ministry, Milosevic turned his attention to some troubling irregularities on the tape itself.
Milosevic noted that the date is visible on the tape all the way up until the execution scene is filmed. At that point the date goes away, which is a possible indication that this portion of the video had been edited on to the end of the tape from somewhere else.
Milosevic also pointed out that the audio track on the tape had been doctored. There are parts of the tape where the audio track has been deleted, and there are parts where the voices sound like they have been digitally scrambled.
Mr. Nice became extremely agitated when Milosevic called the authenticity of the tape into question. Nice suggested that the tribunal should shut Milosevic up by having Ms. Higgins conduct the re-examination instead.
Milosevic, unfazed by the prosecutor's threats, persisted in raising questions about the tape. For example there is absolutely nothing on the tape that identifies the people getting shot as being from Srebrenica. Mr. Nice claims, although there is no proof of it on the tape, that the killings took place in Trnovo. Milosevic pointed out Trnovo is over 160 km away from Srebrenica. Milosevic also noted that there is nothing on that portion of the tape that would indicate when it was filmed. Milosevic questioned whether the film had anything to do with Srebrenica at all.
Reeling from the beating that he took over the tape, Mr. Nice admitted that he did not have any real proof that the tape depicted Srebrenica Muslims being killed in Trnovo in July 1995. But he did say that he would get a witness to testify to the tape's authenticity sometime later on.
When confronted with the allegation that the audio on the tape had been doctored, Mr. Nice could only say "We've got what we've got."
Milosevic will continue to re-examine Gen. Stevanovic when the trial resumes next Wednesday.
# # #