JUDGE REMINDS MILOSEVIC THAT HE IS ON TRIAL
Judge Robinson reminded Milosevic today that, in case the accused has forgotten, he was “on trial and not at large” to speak about what he wanted.” Testimony about “the general situation” and “widely known” circumstances of departures of Albanians from Kosovo.
Slobodan Miloševic during the cross examination
On the third day of testimony of General Obrad Stevanovic, Presiding Judge Robinson found it necessary to remind Milosevic that he was “on trial and not at large” to speak about what he wanted. He also reminded him that the evidence he was presenting should be relevant to the specific crimes he was charged with and not to “the general situation” in Kosovo, which is what the accused has been examining the defense witness about over the past three days. The courtroom “is not a place where [Milosevic] can achieve some other intentions or objectives that are not of an evidentiary nature”, the judge said.
Only after this reminder and warning did Milosevic switch to topics that could be relevant to his defense case. Milosevic asked General Stevanovic, who served as Assistant Minister of the Interior of Serbia during the time relevant to the Kosovo indictment, to comment on orders issued by the MUP (Ministry of the Interior) Staff in Kosovo and communiqués by the Supreme Command, which spoke of efforts to “eliminate numerous cases of killing, arson and looting” and which said that hundreds of perpetrators of criminal offenses had been arrested. General Stevanovic said he did not know of any case of “illegal order” to members of the MUP or of any case of a perpetrator of a criminal offense being “identified, but not punished”.
What certainly is relevant to the charges against Milosevic are daily reports describing security-related events and containing information of importance to security, which the MUP Staff in Kosovo sent to the Ministry in Belgrade every day. The report dated 1 May 1999 says among other things that 715,158 “members of the Siptar (Albanian) national minority” fled Kosovo from 24 March to 30 April.
Since Milosevic is charged with the forcible deportation of more than 800,000 Kosovo Albanians, Judge Bonomy asked the witness if daily reports described the circumstances under which those people had fled Kosovo. General Stevanovic replied that the MUP Staff in Kosovo “did not go into deeper analysis and explanations of what happened in those areas.” His assumption is that that was not done because “it was widely known” under what circumstances and why the Albanians were leaving Kosovo. The judge said he was not interested in the witness’s assumptions, but Milosevic nevertheless asked “what was it that was widely known?”
According to General Stevanovic, it was “widely known” that people were leaving the war zone for safety reasons and that “the trend of departures from Kosovo increased with the start of the NATO aggression.”
Milosevic announced today that he would examine General Obrad Stevanovic for two more days – tomorrow and next Wednesday.
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