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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
04THEHAGUE176 2004-01-26 14:05:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy The Hague
Cable title:  

ICTY: MILOSEVIC PROSECUTION HEADING TOWARDS

Tags:   BK HR KAWC NL PHUM PREL SR ICTY 
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					C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 THE HAGUE 000176 

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR S/WCI - PROSPER/RICHARD, EUR/SCE -
STEPHENS/GREGORIAN/MITCHELL, L/EUR - LAHNE, INR/WCAD -
SEIDENSTRICKER/MORIN, USUN FOR ROSTOW/WILLSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: FIVE YEARS AFTER ICTY CLOSURE
TAGS: BK HR KAWC NL PHUM PREL SR ICTY
SUBJECT: ICTY: MILOSEVIC PROSECUTION HEADING TOWARDS
CONCLUSION


Classified By: Clifton M. Johnson, Legal Counselor, for reasons 1.5 b,
d



1. (C) Summary. The trial of Slobodan Milosevic before the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia
(ICTY) resumed on January 13 after a three-week winter break,
which had begun just after the high note of General Wesley
Clark's testimony. Prosecution witnesses included a Serb
journalist, a German genocide scholar, and a senior member of
Croatian President Tudjman's administration. Milosevic
remained in seemingly good health. Meanwhile, high profile
(and risky) witnesses may be called in the few weeks
remaining in the prosecution case, including former RS
co-president Biljana Plavsic (see below, paras 8-9).
Separately, the Appeals Chamber has upheld the Trial
Chamber's decision that Milosevic will have three months from
the date the prosecution closes its case-in-chief to prepare
his defense, which means we can expect an opening statement
by Milosevic sometime in late May or early June. End Summary.



--------------------------


New Year's Witnesses


--------------------------





2. (SBU) The first witness to follow the holiday break was
Serbian journalist Nenad Zafirovic, who covered the wars in
Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s. The testimony was intended
to demonstrate Milosevic's close coordination with leaders of
Republika Srpska on two occasions - the 1993 Geneva peace
talks, and a follow-up 1993 Republika Srpska assembly session
in Pale. Regarding the Geneva negotiations, Zafirovic
testified "from all the information I gathered as a
journalist, the accused was the head of the Bosnian Serb
delegation and everything depended on him", stating that the
Bosnian Serbs referred to Milosevic informally as "the big
boss" and "big daddy". Milosevic was unfazed by the
testimony, arguing that he served as an advisor to the
Bosnian Serbs and consistently advised them to seek a
peaceful solution to the Bosnian conflict. He also noted
that Presidents from the other Yugoslav republics were
present in Geneva in an advisory role.



3. (C) The prosecution's main interest in Zafirovic was his
authentication of a recording of a closed session of a 1993
Republika Srpska Assembly session, into which Zafirovic had
smuggled a tape recorder with the help of an RS Assembly
member. The recording contained an address by Milosevic to
the RS assembly on May 5, 1993, and highlighted Milosevic's
repeated use of the word "we" when referring to the goals of
the RS. In a particularly ominous section (from the
prosecution's perspective), Milosevic discusses the need for
"amalgamating" Serb economies in Serbia proper and RS
territories, and he then says, "I suppose it doesn't take too
much imagination to realize where this process is heading."
When the recording was first introduced several months ago,
Milosevic argued that the statements should be taken in
context because he knew the session was public. Zafirovic,
however, provided evidence that the session was closed,
excluded journalists and was secured by armed guards, casting
the speech in a different light. Milosevic exclaimed that he
used the word "We" because he was a Serb, and he was urging
all Serbs to accept peace. Still, one senior prosecutor
suggested that the recording of Milosevic was among the most
important pieces of evidence identifying a common plan among
Belgrade and Pale leadership.



4. (SBU) Ante Markovic (last Federal Prime Minister of
Yugoslavia 1989-91): Markovic (who was resuming testimony
from October 2003) implicated Milosevic in several key
events, most notably reiterating his testimony that Milosevic
and Croatian President Tudjman had agreed to partition Bosnia
and Herzegovina (BiH). He also implied that Milosevic was
responsible for a missile that was fired to disrupt a meeting
between Tudjman and Markovic in Croatia in 1991. Milosevic
denied the allegation, referencing a news article stating it
was a "mock attack". In addition, Markovic testified about
Yugoslav Defense Minister Kadijevic's plan to arrest Slovene
and Croatian leaders in order to consolidate power. Markovic
implied that Milosevic was behind the plot, which Milosevic
denied. During Markovic's cross examination, Milosevic
produced his original business diaries for his last years as
prime minister - documents OTP has been trying to secure for
years -- indicating that Milosevic is able to retain at least
some control over key archival materials that has not
provided to OTP, despite specific requests.


5. (SBU) Berko Zecevic (Munitions Expert): The prosecution
introduced the testimony of a munitions expert who prepared
an investigative report following the bombing of the Markale
marketplace on February 5, 1994. The witness, who also
teaches at a Belgrade university, presented evidence that the
bomb was fired from a Serbian position. In addition, Zecevic
testified that a source of significant quantities of
ammunition used by the Bosnian Serb Army came from Serbia in
violation of the existing arms embargo. Milosevic argued
that UNPROFOR had not been able to determine the bomb's
origin in weeks of investigations, yet the witness was able
to examine the marketplace and prepare a report in just
thirty hours. He also accused Zecevic of bias, noting the
Zecevic had most recently worked as a civilian for the BiH
army. The witness, however, was very confident of his
findings and his own expertise, and held up well under
cross-examination.



6. (SBU) Ton Zwann (German Professor): The prosecution called
Zwann, a German professor and specialist on genocide, to
testify on an academic report he prepared that explores the
definition of genocide. The witness's report defined
genocide from a historical and sociological - as opposed to
legal - point of view, allowing the prosecution to present a
broad definition of genocide for consideration by the Chamber
and assert that the preconditions for genocide in BiH
existed. The report was prepared at the request of OTP,
however the witness testified that it was a general analysis
of genocide that was not tailored to specific events in
Bosnia. Milosevic attacked the relevance of a report that
failed to included a legal analysis of the basis and
definition of genocide.



7. (SBU) Hrvoje Sarinic (Senior official in Croatian
President Tudjman's administration): The prosecution
introduced the testimony of Hrvoje Sarinic, a senior advisor
in the administration of Croatian President Tudjman. Nice
asked Sarinic about numerous meetings that took place during
1993 to 1995 and introduced into evidence his book, "All My
Secret Negotiations with Slobodan Milosevic." Each

SIPDIS
individual meeting carried pieces of relevant evidence
purporting to illustrate Milosevic's complicity with the
Bosnian Serbs regarding key events in the wars in Croatia and
Bosnia. For example, Sarinic testified that during a meeting
on November 12, 1993, Milosevic said of Serbian paramilitary
Arkan, "I have to have someone who is going to do part of the
job for me." Asked about a December 3, 1993 meeting where
Tudjman was negotiating to give Bosnian Serbs and Muslims
access to a portion of the Croatian coast, Sarinic testified
that Milosevic "had authorization to negotiate on behalf of
Republika Srpska." Asked about a 1995 meeting with Milosevic
and RS Premier Borislav Mikelic in Belgrade, Sarinic
testified that Milosevic demonstrated his leadership and
control over the Bosnian Serb leader, telling Mikelic to "sit
down, sit here, and don't ask any questions." Sarinic also
provided testimony that Tudjman and Milosevic had considered
partitioning Bosnia, and that Milosevic had insisted to
Tudjman that with the establishment of Republika Srpska, he
had resolved "95 percent of the Serbian national question, as
(Tudjman) did with Herceg-Bosna." The testimony resulted in
evidence suggesting that Milosevic had played a crucial role
in Serbian aggression in Croatia and Bosnia. During
cross-examination, the testimony degenerated into a lengthy
back and forth blame session between Milosevic and the
witness on a range of events in Bosnia and Croatia. When
Milosevic asked whether Sarinic truly believed that Milosevic
had organized the shelling of Dubrovnik, Sarinic replied, "I
don't believe that you organized it, but you knew about it."



--------------------------


Future Witnesses


--------------------------





8. (C) A senior prosecutor told Embassy legal officers on
January 26 that "Mrs. P" (Biljana Plavsic) will testify for
the prosecution on February 4. She will be appearing under
what is now a confidential subpoena, and this particular
prosecutor considers her to be "hostile." The prosecution's
main interest in Plavsic, who is serving out an eleven-year
sentence in Sweden following her guilty plea to one count of
crimes against humanity (persecutions), relates to her
evidence tending to show that Milosevic controlled Karadzic
to a significant degree. She will testify, for example, that
Karadzic on at least one occasion gave a speech to the RS
Assembly based on notes from Milosevic's own handwriting.
She will also testify, it is hoped, to payments from Belgrade
to Mladic through the 1990s. Still, Plavsic is said to
present a high risk -- and not only to the Milosevic
prosecution. The content of her testimony against Milosevic,
for instance, remains uncertain even to the prosecution,
while there is also the risk that she could contradict or
repudiate details in the "agreed facts" that were integral to
her plea. The chief prosecutor is said to feel very strongly
that Plavsic must testify in the case.



9. (C) It also remains possible that Momcilo Perisic,
formerly Milosevic's chief military adviser but with whom he
had a falling out, will testify against Milosevic in early
February. The fact that Perisic, who is already in The
Hague, has long been considered a possible indictee by the
Tribunal may also affect his testimony, as well as his
credibility as a witness. A senior prosecutor has told
Embassy legal officer that Perisic would present the
prosecution with a high risk, as his testimony against
Milosevic could be coupled with protestations of ignorance
regarding crimes such as those at Srebrenica in 1995. In
addition, prosecutors have serious questions as to whether
his testimony could be influenced by legal proceedings
against him in Serbia.



--------------------------


Appeals Decision on the Defense


--------------------------





10. (SBU) The Appeals Chamber, in a decision issued early in
the week, upheld the Trial Chamber's decision that Milosevic
has three months from the date of the prosecution's close of
its case-in-chief to prepare his defense. However, it notes
that additional adjournments are possible if the Chamber
finds that the accused lacks sufficient time or resources.
The decision notes that the accused must accept
responsibility for his decision to defend himself by
accepting that his decision has disadvantages.



--------------------------


Comment


--------------------------





11. (C) The looming conclusion of the prosecution case took
on an added sense of reality during the past weeks. Most
immediately, the prosecution has to make its final selections
concerning witnesses, and in the case of Perisic and Plavsic
in particular, it needs to weigh the potential risks against
the significance they would lend to the evidence already
presented over the past two years. Plavsic's testimony, for
instance, could be one of the trial's critical moments. The
appeals chamber decision provided a longer view of the
proceedings, reminding observers that the prosecution's rest
will bring to a close only the first portion of the trial.
Beginning in the spring or early summer, in all likelihood,
observers will finally get to see whether Milosevic puts on a
serious defense against two years of evidence the prosecution
has put forward to prove the charges arising out of the
Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia indictments. End comment.
RUSSEL