Freedom for Slobodan Milosevic
Declaration of the International Committee for the Defense of Slobodan Milosevic
Belgrade, 12 November 2005
- We, the representatives of the International Committee for the Defense of Slobodan Milosevic, having met on 12 November 2005 in Belgrade under the auspices of the Sloboda (Freedom) Association, express our deepest indignation with respect to the continued proceedings against President Slobodan Milosevic conducted before the so-called International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
- During its twelve and a half years of operation, the ICTY has demonstrated to the world that rather than functioning as an institution of justice, it employs force and blackmail, and is subjected to flagrant pressure by the very powers who contributed the most to the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia and the civil wars waged within it. The ICTY has demonstrated that it is an institution of arbitrariness and absence of law, not of reconciliation.
- The ICTY’s activities, and in particular the treatment of and proceedings against Slobodan Milosevic, demonstrate that the ICTY is a means of retaliation against Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) citizens in general, and the Serbs in particular, because of their resistance to the breakup of the former Yugoslavia and their heroic defense against the NATO aggression in 1999.
- The indictment of Slobodan Milosevic shifted the responsibility for the aggression and acts of terrorism committed by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) onto its victims.
- The ICTY has thus shown to the whole world that its main role is to legitimize and legalize the most flagrant violations of international law, as well as the most serious crimes committed during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia and the NATO aggression against the FR of Yugoslavia. Therefore, the ICTY is not an institution of justice. Instead, it is a means for the accomplishment of specific political objectives, a symbol of discrimination and legal violence.
- The indictment against the former President of Serbia and the FR of Yugoslavia for alleged crimes in Kosovo and Metohija was brought on 24 May 1999 in the midst of NATO’s aggression against the FR of Yugoslavia. That illegal war was a direct breach of the NATO Charter, the UN Charter, and international law. That aggression represents a crime against peace, the supreme international crime.
- During the 78-day long criminal bombing of the FR of Yugoslavia, the aggressors killed and wounded thousands of civilians, destroyed the economic and transport infrastructure, tried to kill president Milosevic by bombing his residence, used cluster bombs and depleted uranium, and caused destruction amounting to more than $100 billion. In order for the irony to be complete, charges against Slobodan Milosevic were also brought for alleged crimes in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- However, the ICTY has not indicted any leader of the NATO member countries or any pilot for the crimes committed during the aggression. Instead, the indictment was raised by the ICTY, and sponsored by Clinton Administration, against Slobodan Milosevic, a democratically elected head of state who was leading his country in the defense against the aggression.
- President Milosevic, who was obliged to combat foreign-backed terrorism in his country, is in the wake of the “War on Terrorism”, being tried by those who were igniting ethnic conflicts and who created terrorist organizations in the territory of the former FRY. We do not accept that President Milosevic be tried by those who were supporting terrorism while it suited them and who claim to be fighting it today.
- By arresting Slobodan Milosevic illegally and by surrendering him to the ICTY both the Constitution of the FR of Yugoslavia and the Constitution of Serbia were breached. Therefore, the kidnapping and delivery of President Milosevic to the ICTY represent violence to the democratic constitution and a precedent in modern history. The perpetrators of that shameful act bear the responsibility before the citizens of Serbia, and before history.
- Currently, after only a portion of the defense witnesses have testified on President Milosevic’s behalf before the ICTY, one can note with certainty that the indictment that the so-called Hague Prosecution raised against him has suffered a debacle!
- Worldwide public opinion and experts have established, after the witnesses for the Prosecution were heard, that the indictment against Slobodan Milosevic for the crime of genocide is fully without grounds and is not corroborated by a single piece of objective evidence. It is not only that there is no evidence for the charge for genocide. There is no evidence for any of the counts of the indictment.
- Through the strength of arguing the truth, President Milosevic has completely destroyed all the lies alleged against him in the so-called Indictment.
- There is, naturally, no evidence against Slobodan Milosevic. However, there is a procedure in place. The machinery of the ICTY has tried, by enacting its own rules for the trial procedure, by shaping and adapting them to own political needs, to stop him in his presentation of the truth. This is the reason why the tribunal is now trying to limit the time needed for the witnesses he has invited to testify. This must be prevented!
- Presumption of guilt, unlimited duration of detention, retroactive responsibility, secret charges and secret witnesses, as well as the use of secret services for gathering evidence – these are only some of the more evident proofs that there is no justification for the existence of the ICTY as a legal institution, and even less as an institution operating under the auspices of the United Nations.
- We do not believe that the proceedings against President Milosevic are just. However, any acceleration of the tempo of the proceedings represents a boost for the enemies of truth and the establishment of facts.
- All of the above facts point to clear indications of a mistrial. That is why we demand that this mockery of a trial be suspended, and for President Milosevic to be released.
The following list details the most common types of abuse inflicted on President Milosevic.
- On 28 June 2001, President Milosevic was forcefully, unlawfully, and without the knowledge of his family and relevant legal institutions of the FRY, transported to The Hague penitentiary in violation of existing constitutional and FRY and international legal provisions. The appeal for Habeas Corpus to Dutch Courts was not sustained despite the evident facts, which proved that this was a case of abduction.
B. President Milosevic’s rights and privileges in The Hague penitentiary are thoroughly neglected.
1. Many times his inalienable rights to self-representation and defense have been questioned. Long periods of time were allocated to formal discussion, thus making the preparations for the defense more tedious and time consuming. The amount of material submitted by the Prosecution is not only irrelevant but enormous, and this has negatively affected the process itself as well as the health of President Milosevic.
2. Despite a gigantic struggle, supported by international public opinion, the improvement of President Milosevic’s health has not been obtained, due to the ICTY’s repeated obstructions. A satisfactory medical solution is not apparent, although the proceedings against President Milosevic have gone on four years. The ICTY, in the name of efficiency, imposed a strenuous schedule for the presentation of the defense, which has had harmful consequences on President Milosevic’s health. The Prosecution case was not subject to such constraints.
3. Restrictions put on visitation rights and phone contacts are inhuman and are basically devised to augment the psychological, physical and emotional stress of President Milosevic. These and other forms of harassment are applied to diminish President Milosevic’s capacities for his defense, and to achieve the further deterioration of his health.
4. Numerous and amply supported demands that president Milosevic should be temporarily released for medical treatment, supported by medical and legal experts and the public at large, have been until now repeatedly rejected owing to pressure from the Prosecution.
C. Abuses against and harassment of President Milosevic’s family
1. Matching the pressure placed on President Milosevic since his detention in The Hague Penitentiary, this persecution is augmented by the ill treatment and abuses inflicted on the members of his immediate family.
2. We would like to reiterate the unspeakable shame that his wife has for almost three years been forbidden to visit him. His son and daughter have not been able to visit him at all.
3. It is astonishing but true that all of the adult members of his immediate family have been charged with absurd accusations. None of these has been proven, and those against his son have been dropped. These ridiculous allegations and special decisions on restricted entrance to the EU that have been invoked against President Milosevic’s family make it impossible for his family to visit at the present time. These restrictions on entrance are enforced by the decisions of the Prosecution.
4. His wife is being charged without proof of illegal influence on a decision making body to allocate a flat to another person.
5. The charge against President Milosevic’s son that was in effect for almost four years, stating that he allegedly beat and intimidated a young member of an opposition political group, was revoked a month ago. Old untruthful accusations against him are repeated, and fresh ones are newly produced.
6. His daughter had to move to Montenegro to live unmolested. She has been persecuted by ongoing proceedings since 2002, with the aim of convicting her for her behavior during the night of President Milosevic’s abduction.
7. All of these accusations are viciously and purposely aired in different media trying to augment the manifold pressures put on President Milosevic.
8. To our knowledge, this is the first time that an indicted person has had members of his immediate family prosecuted as well, and for a series of invented crimes. These accusations stand as collateral pressure on President Milosevic. This is done with the intent of shattering his defense abilities.
In view of all of the above, we, members of the International Committee for the Defense of Slobodan Milosevic are demanding:
Of the UN Security Council:
That for the purpose of permitting President Milosevic to complete his defense, and in light of the facts that have been unambiguously proven:
1. discontinue the proceedings against Slobodan Milosevic.
2. the health and life of President Milosevic be protected.
3. all forms of pressure on President Milosevic and his family members be suspended.
4. the proceedings against President Milosevic be suspended so as to allow the stabilization of his health condition.
5. The International Committee for the Defense of Slobodan Milosevic notes the disastrous consequences of the breakup of the FRY, and the fact that the arrest and political trial of President Milosevic has provided further encouragement for the commission of acts of terrorism — including full-blown pogroms– in Kosovo and Metohija .
6. The Security Council must terminate the operations of the ICTY, as it has not contributed to the process of reconciliation. Instead, it has only worsened inter-ethnic relations in the territory of the former SFRY.
7. To immediately issue a decision granting additional time to President Milosevic so that the witnesses he has planned will have the opportunity to testify.
8. President Milosevic sought the unity of the Yugoslav Federation, and did so against foreign aggression and terror. Those who were spurring and supporting terrorism in the territory of the former SFRY, and particularly in the FRY – in Kosovo and Metohija — should be brought to justice regardless of their nationality and social position.
9. To immediately undertake any measure necessary in order to allow an adequate diagnosis of President Milosevic’s health condition, by allowing different medical teams to examine him.
10. To undertake any step necessary, including provisional release of President Milosevic, in order for his health to stabilize.
11. To immediately, without any delay, abolish all limitations on visits from President Milosevic’s family members.
12. All of the above are necessary for ensuring normal conditions for the resumption and finalization of the process being illegally conducted against President Milosevic before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
 “Terrorism” is here defined as designating acts of violence carried out against, and targeting, the civilian population of a sovereign state against which that state has the right (and the obligation) to protect its citizens, as well as acts of violence perpetrated against those state agents mandated to protect the civilian population (and constitution). The definition we propose is not that which continues to be used by the same powers that waged a war of aggression against Yugoslavia: that is, the exercise of lawful resistance of peoples to aggression and occupation.