Day: August 19, 2016

No exoneration

 Časlav Ninković of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) in Belgrade sent this letter out, in response to statements by Serbian government ministers Ivica Dačić and Aleksandar Vulin claiming exoneration for Slobodan Milošević: 

Responding to the claims of certain analysts and bloggers, according to whom the former president of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) Slobodan Milošević was „exonerated“ of the charges for crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina by the ICTY judgment rendered in the case of Radovan Karadžić, Serbian government ministers Ivica Dačić and Aleksandar Vulin have rushed to accept such a view and to conclude that „the ICTY has confirmed the legitimacy of Milošević’s policy“. The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) strongly condemns statements the purpose of which is to deny the facts about the wars in the former Yugoslavia and to restore Milošević’s policy. The HLC demands that the state authorities of Serbia start a broad social debate on the past and initiate setting up the Regional Commission for the establishment of the facts about war crimes and other serious violations of human rights committed in the former Yugoslavia from January 1, 1991 until December 31, 2001 (RECOM).
The HLC takes this opportunity to remind the public that during the Radovan Karadžić trial, the evidence presented related to the criminal responsibility of the indicted wartime president of the Republic of Srpska, and no one but him could be convicted or acquitted by the judgment. Therefore, there can be no judgment of acquittal for Milošević or anyone other than the person who was charged in the actual case; and in this case, the indictee (Karadžić) was sentenced by the first instance judgment to 40 years in prison for genocide and other crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The role of Slobodan Milošević and the Serbian leadership in the wars of the 1990s can be seen in numerous ICTY judgments, including the Radovan Karadžić judgment, but it cannot be inferred by selective reading of individual sentences and paragraphs, only by an overall assessment of the evidence and judicial facts. Thus, any conclusions about Milošević’s innocence and the alleged validity of his policy are contradicted by citations from other ICTY judgments (such as in the cases Milan Martić and Vlastimir Đorđević) in which he is described as a participant in various joint criminal enterprises in the wars in the former Yugoslavia, as well as by judicially established facts in the Karadžić case about the role of the state of Serbia (led by Milošević at that time) in helping the wartime leadership of the Republic of Srpska throughout the entire war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. One can see in the judgment, for instance, that Karadžić maintained regular contact with Milošević during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that Serbia sent help to the Bosnian Serb army in the form of money and fuel, as well as special police units such as the Crvene beretke (Red Berets) and „Arkanovci” (units under the command of Željko Ražnatović Arkan). (See, for example, paragraph 3287 of the Karadžić judgment).

In addition, a lot of evidence was presented during the trial of Slobodan Milošević on charges of crimes committed in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, which pointed to his role in the crimes for which he was allegedly exonerated by the Karadžić judgment. After the prosecution had presented its case, the Trial Chamber dismissed the motion of the amicus curiae for Milošević to be acquitted at that stage of the proceedings. In the Decision on the Motion for Judgment of Acquittal of June 16th, 2004, it is stated that „there is sufficient evidence that the accused (Milošević) was a participant in a joint criminal enterprise“ which included the perpetration of genocide and other crimes against Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Read more

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