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Old 02-15-2002, 11:27 AM   #1
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Milosevic Accuses NATO, Demands Clinton Testify

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THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Slobodan Milosevic (news - web sites) returned to the attack at his war crimes trial on Friday, accusing NATO (news - web sites) of ''bestial'' genocide in Yugoslavia and demanding ex-U.S. President Bill Clinton and other Western leaders come to testify.

``I'm asking what kind of tribunal this is if you refuse to try people for these crimes by the leaders and armies of NATO countries,'' Milosevic said to judges in the Hague.

The former Yugoslav president, in his second day of reply to his prosecutors' opening addresses, blamed the bloodshed of the 1990s entirely on his Balkan enemies and NATO.

On the fourth day of what is forecast to be a marathon case, he insisted the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians who fled Kosovo in 1999 during the NATO air war against Yugoslavia had been driven out not by Serbs, as internationally reported, but by their fellow Albanians.

The guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) ``referred to all Albanians who did not flee Kosovo as traitors,'' he said, creating an ``illusion of exodus.'' ``There were hundreds of cameras waiting at the borders to show alleged Serb misdeeds.''

The motive was to justify NATO's attack. Milosevic showed the court pictures of carbonized bodies of civilians killed by NATO bombs in Kosovo and the rest of Serbia in 1999.

NATO bombs destroyed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, in what Washington insisted was a mistake by Central Intelligence Agency (news - web sites) target planners using an outdated map.

``It is quite clear that Clinton wanted to go down in history as the first man to bomb Chinese territory by bombing the Chinese embassy,'' Milosevic said. ``This was no accident.''

But even more than the United States, it was Germany which Milosevic singled out for condemnation. He said it destroyed old communist Yugoslavia by its support from Slovenian and Croatian independence, and by secret backing of Albanian ''terrorists.''

``The German intelligence service rallied up criminals from all over Europe. They were pushed to Kosovo,'' he said.

CLUSTER BOMBS

Accusing NATO of the widespread use of especially lethal ''cluster bombs,'' he showed the court a photograph of a Serb peasant woman killed while plowing her field and the corpses of children dressed in their pajamas.

``This is an example of bestiality, targeting people in this way,'' he said, adding that NATO had bombed at night to maximize deaths among sleeping civilians.

He produced pictures of bomb-shattered hospitals, an old people's home, buses, houses and workplaces, some strewn with charred and bloodied bodies.

After NATO occupied Kosovo in June 1999, they allowed Serbs to be killed or forced out by Albanian ``terrorists'' and ''savages.'' More than 100 Serb Orthodox churches were razed in a campaign he likened to Taliban destruction of Buddhist statues.

Echoing the language of his own indictment, Milosevic said the West had committed ``genocide and crimes against humanity.''

``I am going to call witnesses here and I want it to be possible to question Clinton and Albright and Kinkel and Schroeder and Kohl and Dini... Kofi Annan (news - web sites)... Blair,'' he said, listing Western and U.N. leaders involved in Balkan peace talks.

In Moscow, which vehemently opposed the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, the Russian parliament on Friday branded the Hague tribunal a ``political'' court which had failed to charge NATO states for atrocities during the air war.

A Duma (lower house) motion expressed ``deep concern over the activities of the International Tribunal,'' saying it had ''ignored serious breaches of international humanitarian law carried out by the member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

``We are deeply concerned that the prosecution of individuals by the tribunal is of a political character,'' the Duma added.

MILOSEVIC TIRED BUT ``IN GOOD SHAPE''

The confident, forcefully-spoken Milosevic, who lampooned his prosecuting lawyers on Thursday from the dock where he sits before a deskful of documents, again goaded them personally.

``The prosecutor is probably bored, I can see him yawning,'' he said of one lawyer, as the court viewed grim photographs of burned and mutilated bodies of children on the monitor screens dotted around the high-tech tribunal chamber.

Milosevic was deported from Belgrade seven months ago to a jail cell in the Hague. He has been indicted for crimes against humanity in Kosovo in 1999 and in Croatia in 1991-2, and for genocide in the 1992-5 Bosnian war.

Earlier this week prosecutors portrayed him as the prime culprit in a decade of Serb aggression which led to massacres, torture, mass rapes and expulsions of populations from their homes across former Yugoslavia.

``He is tired... after so many hours in court but he's in good shape,'' his Belgrade legal adviser, Dragoslav Ognjanovic, said late on Thursday after visiting Milosevic in prison.

After addressing the international court for around four hours on Thursday, the 60-year-old spoke by telephone to his wife and loyal supporter, Mira Markovic, from the U.N. detention center at The Hague (news - web sites), Ognjanovic said.

Dressed in a navy suit and a tie in the red, blue and white Serbian colors, Milosevic sits flanked by seated guards in a courtroom sealed off from the public gallery by a bullet-proof glass wall and equipped with computer screens, cameras and simultaneous interpreters in four languages.

He is conducting his own defense, after refusing to appoint defense counsel or enter a formal plea on the grounds the court has no right to judge him, but is advised by Belgrade lawyers.

Judges have entered not guilty pleas on his behalf and appointed three lawyers as ``friends of the court'' to ensure Milosevic gets a fair trial. The ``friends'' on Friday appealed for him to be given leeway in the length of his address.

Observers said the legal value to his case of his counter-accusations against NATO was doubtful, but they could have a powerful political impact, especially in Yugoslavia.

The reformist Yugoslav government, which handed Milosevic to the Hague, on Friday called his testimony a ``disgusting'' misuse of images of death and destruction to deflect personal blame.

Milosevic could face life in prison if convicted at the end of an epic trial some expect to last at least two years.

So is this just a desperate attempt to deflect blame, or do you think he is making a valid point?
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Old 02-15-2002, 11:58 AM   #2
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Milosevic needs to be tried; there is no question about that.

However, he does bring up an interesting point of how these courts are run. Is it really looking to end war atrocities or is it just a case of victor's justice?

Of course, we know what the answer to that will be. NATO will never get investigated, but, honestly, I think it deserves to be just to prove that these courts are legitimate after all, rather than just the puppet of the Western allies.

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Old 02-15-2002, 04:09 PM   #3
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The man is a total butcher and a lunatic. I personally know several people (I should say 'knew') who died under the most horrific circumstances due to Milosevic's rampant nationalism.

He accuses NATO, well I accuse him of savagery, brutality, and genocide. I accuse him of ruining people's lives, of breaking up families, and leaving behind a generation of orphans. For shame. And where the hell are his butcher brethren? Mladic, Karadzic and the rest of those bandits? You know where? Mladic is seen at soccer matches in Belgrade. I give absolutely no respect to their new government, and on the one hand, I find it insulting that Milosevic is being made the posterboy for ethnic cleansing, while those beasts sit in cafes sipping an espresso. It disgusts me.
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Old 02-15-2002, 07:20 PM   #4
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Melon,
Thats not true that members of NATO are not subject to the same standards we place on others. An Army Sgt has already been prosecuted in the death and rape of a girl. But thats the only case I can think of against NATO members. The idea's that the butcher from Belgrade presents is sick. The US military and other NATO military are professionals who respect human rights and the established laws of war.
It is unfortunate that some Serbs civilians were killed in the bombing to save Kosovo, but they were unavoidable accidents. Light Years away from the INTENDED Rape, destruction of Women and Childern by members of the Serbian military under the direction of Slobo.
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Old 02-15-2002, 07:26 PM   #5
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I read that article in the newspaper not too long ago. Our newspaper (Pioneer Press) had an interview with a high powered highly knowledgable lawyer who was on the council of such and such who said that he though it would be worthwhile to have some of our people go on the stand as well. He said that although Milosevic is trying to use it to not look so guilty and alone in his crimes it is a good idea to put some of our people on the stand. I agree. Milosivec still needs to stand trial, but if there are others who have committed wrongs, they too need to be punished.

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Old 02-15-2002, 07:38 PM   #6
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NO ONE in NATO has committed war crimes! Who would go and the stand, and for WHAT? Makes about as much sense as putting you on the stand.
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Old 02-15-2002, 11:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lilly:
it is a good idea to put some of our people on the stand. I agree. Milosivec still needs to stand trial, but if there are others who have committed wrongs, they too need to be punished.

I must say I'm somewhat shocked by the implication we should send Clinton, Wesley Clark, etc. to stand trial while those butchers sit in Belgrade cafes and attend national soccer matches. I find it outrageous, in fact.
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Old 02-17-2002, 10:29 AM   #8
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Sorry, I should have clarified, not Clinton. The people mentioned in this article were not the President and they weren't necessarily affiliated with NATO, just Americans committing war crimes. I lumped the story into one un-clarified mess. Sorry.

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