General Obrad Stevanovic presents an original theory as to who moved the remains of the dead Kosovo Albanians and buried them in mass graves in Batajnica and why that was done

Slobodan Miloševic during the cross examinationSlobodan Miloševic during the cross examination

Although he admits that "this continues to be a mystery" to him, General Obrad Stevanovic, now into his sixth day of testimony as Slobodan Milosevic's defense witness, presented an original theory as to who had moved the remains of Kosovo Albanians to mass graves in central Serbia, in Batajnica, Petrovo Selo and around the Perucac lake, and why that had been done.

As a seasoned police officer, General Stevanovic started with the motive. According to him, the bodies were exhumed in Kosovo and transported to Serbia to be reburied, "not in order to cover up the crimes, but to prove the alleged crimes and blame them on the state." The general did not say who had, or could have had this motive, but he did stress that the special anti-terrorist unit (SAJ) centre in Batajnica had not been bombed once during the NATO air campaign. The largest mass grave was found in the compound there. NATO dropped bombs often on the airfield and other MUP facilities in Batajnica, but never on the SAJ centre. According to general Stevanovic, this is "illogical, unexpected and incredible", all the more so since SAJ centers in Novi Sad and Pristina were bombed the very first day of the air strikes. A logical conclusion is that NATO "kept safe" the Batajnica SAJ centre for some other purpose.

A second important piece of information, according to General Stevanovic, is that during the air strikes the SAJ centre in Batajnica "was not under the police control", since all the police units had moved to "fallback positions". Stevanovic did not say, nor did Milosevic ask him, who controlled the SAJ centre in Batajnica. The impression was that it was not under anyone's control, that during the air strikes it was an open facility.

Since NATO was unable to dig up the mass graves in Kosovo, transport the bodies, dig new mass graves in Serbia and bury the bodies there, all from the height of 10,000 meters, it must have had an accomplice on the ground to do its dirty work. Neither General Stevanovic nor the accused Milosevic did speculate today who it might have been.

During the prosecution case, Milosevic challenged the testimony of police insiders and forensic evidence of the exhumations of mass graves in central Serbia by claims about the "conspiracy" of Carla Del Ponte and the new authorities in Belgrade with the aim of paving the way for his surrender to the ICTY.

General Stevanovic will continue his testimony tomorrow afternoon.