Vladimir Kršljanin: Truth vs. Crime: The 4th Anniversary

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On 12 December 2005, President Milosevic requested to be provisionally released in order to obtain medical treatment in Bakulev Scientific Institute in Moscow, headed by Professor Leo Bockeria, Main Cardiosurgeon of the Russian Federation. On the basis of President Milosevic’s request and opinions of leading international medical specialists, including Professor Bockeria himself, the Government of the Russian Federation issued appropriate state guarantees to the Hague Tribunal on 17 January 2006. Decision of the Trial Chamber is still pending.

 What preceded was a dramatic warning about the state of President Milosevic’s health, made by an international doctor’s consilium on 4 November 2005, recommending urgent break in the proceedings, six weeks of total rest and additional examinations and treatment in a specialized medical institution. That warning was echoed by the ICDSM in its special session in Belgrade on 12 November, when an urgent public appeal was signed by ICDSM co-chairs Ramsey Clark and Velko Valkanov and Vice-President of the Russian State Duma Sergei Baburin. Subsequently, groups of medical specialists from Serbia and Germany also went public with their own appeals. Sloboda collected in only two days 25000 signatures to put the issue on agenda of the Serbian Parliament (something that never happened, in spite of the Serbian Constitution). Russian Duma unanimously adopted a resolution expressing serious concern about the President Milosevic’s health.

 The tribunal is acting slowly, bureaucratically and hypocritically. Six weeks of urgently necessary rest were granted to President Milosevic (who in the meantime almost collapsed in the court room) only in connection to usual court Christmas recess. And in spite of all medical arguments and state guarantees presented, the decision on provisional release has not been made yet. All this in confirmation of Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who, welcoming the possibility that President Milosevic comes to Moscow, stated on 21 January that President Milosevic’s situation “is a disgrace for a European court, which instituted legal proceedings against him without sufficient reasons, kept him under arrest for several years and now does not know what to do. All their accusations fell apart, and now they are trying to put a good face on the matter … They do not want to apologize to Milosevic for several years that have been crossed out of his life”, adding that there should be a rule in the judicial practices, under which the judges who made a mistake should be kept in custody as much time as the person, who was illegally arrested through their fault.

 But the most precise summary of what the four years of the Hague proceedings represent was made by President Milosevic himself in one of his most powerful addresses in this process (of course, totally bypassed by the Western media) – on 29 November (by chance, the National Day of Yugoslavia) 2005, when he was, ill, forced to smash (with the help of legal arguments of ICDSM and other international lawyers) the attempt of the Tribunal to severe three indictments against him (united before the beginning of the process).

 President Milosevic told the judges:

 “The present situation is the direct result of a megalomaniac ambition by the other side and most probably by the desire to have the quantity of material replace any serious proof and evidence against me. Quantity over quality. Because you cannot have evidence and valid proof for untruths. And you have supported the other side through your tolerant relationship with them, and asking them to be limited in their scope.

 I am the main victim of having been bombed by various documents, material witnesses, and so on, that the opposite side has been allowed to present with the go-ahead from you. I think that this is a form of torture and a form of cynicism to put that burden of responsibility upon me, all the more so if this is linked to my health situation, which has been significantly impaired because of the torture I have been exposed to.

“And what is this phantom of a joint criminal enterprise that is being discussed here? And what is it that is exactly being alleged? People who are sitting here, including me, including you, on the one hand, simply cannot know all the things that are referred to in all these documents that Mr. Nice served – a million pages, no less – and no one knows what the Prosecutor is prosecuting, including the Prosecutor herself. She doesn’t know it either. I think that even Franz Kafka would feel that he did not have great imagination compared to this.

“This entire Court was envisaged as an instrument of war against my country. It was founded illegally on the basis of an illegal decision and carried through by the forces that waged war against my country. There is just one thing that is true here: It is true that there is a joint criminal enterprise, but not in Belgrade, not in Yugoslavia as its center, but those, who, in a war that was waged in Yugoslavia from 1991 onwards, destroyed Yugoslavia.

“Do you want to tell me who pays your salary? Do you wish to claim that you receive a salary from the United Nations? Who finances this Court, Mr. Bonomy? Who established this Court, Mr. Bonomy? Who effected an aggression against my country, Mr. Bonomy? Your country. And who am I asking to come in to testify? Your presidents and Prime Ministers.

“Yugoslavia did not disintegrate or disappear in some manner, but it was destroyed in a planned manner, forcefully, through a war, and that war is still being waged, is still going on. And one of the instruments of this war is your illegal Tribunal.

“Let me say straight away, as far as your judgements are concerned and rulings in joinders or not joinders, I’m not afraid of them at all, because if you judge according to the law and the truth, then there would never have been this trial in the first place. But as we do have a trial, it can end only in one way: A decision on the non-existence of culpability. And if you don’t rule based on justice and truth, then your ruling will disintegrate and will burst like a bubble of soap, because the court of the world and the court of justice and the truth is stronger than any other court. It is up to each one of us, and each one of you gentlemen, to opt and choose what place we’re going to have before that court of history, and what its decision will be. So don’t harbour any illusions on that score.

“Let us hear what the truth is, and let the actual perpetrators of what happened in Yugoslavia actually be exposed, although you said yourself, Mr. Robinson, at one point in time, that you are not in charge of trying NATO for what they did, although you know what they did and you know that the basic tenet of any law in the world is that the law that does not apply to one and all is not law at all.”

 

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