Playing down the role of the police general Sreten Lukic, his defense counsel remind the court that witnesses described Lukic as ‘smallest cog’, ’the tenth violin’ and ’just an ordinary adjutant’. Like the defense teams of the other five accused, Lukic’s defense urges for his acquittal

Sreten Lukic in the courtroomSreten Lukic in the courtroom

The defense of Sreten Lukic, former head of the MUP Staff for Kosovo, contends that he didn’t exercise command over the police in the province; it was therefore impossible for him to take part in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at expulsion of Albanian population. Lukic was indicted together with five other former high-ranking Serbian officials for crimes against Kosovo Albanians in 1999. In the conclusion of its closing argument, his defense called for his acquittal.

The prosecution tendered into evidence the decision to establish the MUP Staff signed by the Serbian police minister on 16 June 1998; the document indicates that the role of the body was to ’plan, direct and manage’ all police troops on Kosovo. Lukic’s defense counsel, Branko Lukic today said that this document was never implemented ’either in terms of personnel or function’. In other words, the defense believes that the Staff had no command authority over the special police units (PJPs), the secretariats of the interior or police stations in the province. Moreover, they contend that Milorad Ulemek and Zivko Trajkovic, commanders of the special units, were never members of the Staff. The military and police operations in Kosovo in 1999 were planned by the army, the defense claims; special police units did take part but not under the command of the Staff and Lukic.

The defense of general Lukic focused in particular in their closing argument on the evidence given by prosecution witness Bozidar Protic, police officer who participated in the transfer of bodies from Kosovo to mass graves in Serbia. Protic’s claims that he was instructed by Lukic were labeled ‘egregious lies’ by the defense counsel. According to the defense, Protic’s testimony is the result of a personal grudge against Lukic. Lukic once refused to give his approval to Protic’s request for an apartment. Protic was then transferred to the south of Serbia and retired prematurely, again on Lukic's orders.

As his defense counsel put it, Sreten Lukic ’had no role’ in the planning and implementation of the police operations in Kosovo. He was only involved in ’the exchange and provision of information’ with the units in the field. In an effort to prove that their client was not a particularly important figure in police hierarchy in 1999, Lukic’s defense counsels listed several statements given by prosecution witnesses and one of his co-accused. They reminded the court that General Aleksandar Vasiljevic in his statement to the OTP investigators described Lukic as ‘the smallest cog in the machinery’. Protic spoke of Lukic as ’the tenth violin’. General Dragoljub Ojdanic, the defense counsel contends, called Lukic nothing but an ’adjutant’ at a meeting held in April 1999.

In the previous days, the defense counsel of Milan Milutinovic, Nikola Sainovic, Dragoljub Ojdanic, Nebojsa Pavkovic and Vladimir Lazarevic urged the Trial Chamber to acquit their clients in their closing arguments. The prosecution on the other hand called for their conviction and sentences ranging from 20 years to life in prison.