VOJISLAV SESELJ – DAY 2: THERE WAS NO
www.slobodan-milosevic.org - August 23, 2005
Written by: Andy Wilcoxson
Vojislav Seselj continued his testimony at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic on Tuesday. The leader of the Serbian Radical Party began the day by speaking briefly about the history of Kosovo.
Dr. Seselj explained that pro-Nazi Albanian fascists cleansed Kosovo of much of its Serbian population during World War II, and that the communist regime of Josip Tito prohibited the displaced Serbian population from returning to their homes after the war.
Seselj explained that in the 70s and 80s Kosovo-Albanian nationalists were Marxist-Leninists who were loyal to the communist regime of Envir Hoxa. Their goal was to break Kosovo away from Serbia and link it up to Albania.
Dr. Seselj said that the topic of Kosovo-Albanian nationalism was taboo in Yugoslavia until the riots in Pristina in 1981 forced the issue to center stage.
Milosevic read out an article written by prosecution witness Ivan Kristan, published in the Yugoslav magazine “Socialism” in 1981. In his article, Kristan presented data showing that non-Albanians, especially Serbs and Montenegrins, were fleeing Kosovo due to the pressures of Albanian nationalism. The data showed that non-Albanians were leaving Kosovo in droves during the 1970s and early 1980s, while Albanians were radically increasing their numbers.
The main purpose of Seselj’s testimony today was to demonstrate what the Serbian government knew and when it knew it. Seselj was the deputy prime minister of Serbia during the Kosovo war, and he knew what the government knew.
Seselj insisted that there was no conspiracy aimed at expelling Albanians from Kosovo. On the contrary, he said that the Army and police tried to get Kosovo-Albanians to stay in their homes. He said that the KLA and the NATO bombing inspired them to flee.
The entire indictment depends on the existence of a conspiracy. Milosevic is not accused of participating in or ordering a single crime. The indictment alleges that he was the mastermind of a massive conspiracy or “joint criminal enterprise” and that he is therefore criminally responsible for any crimes committed in the pursuit of the conspiracy.
Vojislav Seselj was the deputy prime minister of Serbia at the time the conspiracy is alleged to have existed. There is no way that such a massive conspiracy could have existed without his knowledge. His denial of the conspiracy’s existence scores a key point for the defense.
Command responsibility is another plank of the indictment. Seselj added his name to the long list of previous witnesses who have testified that they never knew of an occasion where the Yugoslav justice system failed to act when they learned that a crime had been committed.
Seselj testified about the actions of the Serbian government. He said that the Serbian government desperately wanted to find a political solution to the Kosovo problem, and that it did everything it could to reach out to the Albanian side. Seselj said that negotiation failed because the Albanian side would not negotiate since Washington had given them promises of independence and military assistance.
Seselj was asked about the movement of corpses from Kosovo to central Serbia. The prosecution alleges that approximately 800 corpses were dug-up from Kosovo, trucked to central Serbia, and reburied to hide evidence of crimes.
Seselj explained that this story first materialized in 2001 in a magazine called “Timocka Krimi Revija.” This magazine, he explained, was owned by a disgraced employee of the Serbian State Security service who had been fired from his job because he was a thief.
He said that the sloppy method of the bodies’ disposal proved that the state was not involved. The state had access to crematoriums and could have cremated the bodies, instead of doing clumsy things like driving truckloads of them into the Danube River on the Romanian border.
Several hundred of the corpses have been dug-up at the SAJ police facility in Batajnica near Belgrade. Seselj just so happens to have lived in the Batajnica area. He explained that the Batajnica area was bombed quite heavily and that several civilian targets were hit. He said that it was rather odd that NATO never bombed the SAJ facility there.
He also made note of the fact that some of the corpses that have been dug up already had their postmortem documents written. Autopsies were performed and documents were generated regarding these people’s deaths, and the documents are freely available. Why, Seselj asked, would the state try to hide evidence of somebody’s killing after publicly documenting his or her death years earlier?
Seselj explained that the bodies could have been moved to central Serbia after the war, or by CIA operatives who had infiltrated the Serbian government. He said that he had information that Gen. Perisic and the former Serbian intelligence chief Jovica Stanisic had been involved with a CIA plot to overthrow Milosevic. He said that John Deutsch was in charge of the CIA operation and that the CIA field office used for this operation was located in Vienna.
Seselj denied that Serbia was a police state under Milosevic. He says that the pro-Western regime of Zoran Djindjic was far more corrupt and authoritarian in its nature.
In 2001, after Milosevic had been overthrown, Seselj was part of a parliamentary inquiry looking into the assassination of Yugoslavia’s former defense minister, Pavle Bulatovic. One of the officials who testified in front of the inquiry was Serbia’s former RDB chief Rade Markovic.
Markovic told the committee that he had been illegally removed from prison by the police and taken to see Serbia’s then-Interior Minister, Dusan Mihalovic. He said that Mihalovic offered him money, a new identity, and a new house in any country in the world if he would agree to falsely accuse Milosevic for the attempted assassination of Vuk Draskovic.
Seselj speculated that Zoran Djindjic was behind the assassination attempts on Draskovic, because Djindjic had connections in the mafia and Draskovic was siphoning votes away from him.
Seselj said that Slavko Curuvija, like Zoran Djindjic, also had dealings with organized crime and most likely got himself killed that way.
The hearing ended today with Seselj explaining that the Serbian Radical Party provided volunteers to the army and was never affiliated with a paramilitary group called the White Eagles. The trial will resume on Wednesday.
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