SKORPIONI - RESERVE FORCE OF THE INTERIOR MINISTRY
As General Stevanovic's cross-examination continued, the prosecutor claims that the entire Skorpioni unit, including its commander Slobodan Medic a/k/a Boca and other participants in the video-taped massacre in Trnovo, became part of the reserve force of the Serbian MUP Special Antiterrorist Unit after the end of the war in Bosnia. In February 1999, it was dispatched to Kosovo
Slobodan Miloševic during the cross examination
General Obrad Stevanovic does not deny that in July 1995 the Skorpioni were in the Srebrenica area. What he does deny is that they belonged to the Public Security Sector of the Serbian MUP. He claims he doesn’t know whether the Skorpioni operated as part of the Public Security Sector.
Last Wednesday, when the video recording of the execution of six Bosniak boys and young men was shown in the courtroom – the Skorpioni had brought them to Trnovo from Srebrenica as their "booty" – Stevanovic claimed that this paramilitary group had "nothing to do with the Serbian MUP". He did not make any distinction between the public and state security sectors at that time.
From Srebrenica and Trnovo in 1995, the prosecutor moved on to Kosovo in 1999, as he continued to cross-examine Slobodan Milosevic's defense witness. This is when the group re-emerge, again as perpetrators of a monstrous crime in Podujevo, where 19 bodies were found. Eight of them were children, six women. A criminal report was filed against two members of the reserve force of the Serbian MUP Special Anti-terrorist Unit: Sasa Cvjetan and Dejan Demirovic. The former has been arrested and tried, the latter is still at large.
General Stevanovic confirmed that at that time this unit had been part of his sector, which was the Public Security. Then, before the prosecutor asked him anything, he added that he had "read in the papers that those men had something to do with the Skorpioni…"
The prosecutor claims that the entire Skorpioni unit, including its commander Slobodan Medic a/k/a Boca and other participants in the video-taped massacre in Trnovo – some of whom were arrested last week, became part of the reserve force of the Serbian MUP Special Antiterrorist Unit after the end of the war in Bosnia. Then, in February 1999, it was dispatched to Kosovo.
General Stevanovic, however, claims this is "impossible." According to him, "units are not transferred to the reserve force, only individuals who meet the requirements stipulated by law." He says that the one hundred and fifty Scorpions could only be in the Special Anti-terrorist Unit as individuals, not as a unit, because the reserve force is "a set of individuals, not of units." He admitted that the interior minister might have made a decision to transfer an entire unit into the reserve force, but he thinks he "would have known" had the then minister Vlajko Stojiljkovic made such a decision.
After the crime in Podujevo was discovered, the Skorpioni were withdrawn from Kosovo, only to return a few weeks later on the orders of Vlastimir Djordjevic who headed the Public Security Sector in Kosovo at that time.
As the cross-examination continued, the prosecutor tried to challenge the credibility of the documents presenting the official versions of the Serbian MUP on the incidents in Racak and Izbica and the prosecution of MUP personnel for crimes committed against Albanians. Noting that in the nineties there were only three cases in which Serbian MUP personnel were prosecuted (the Cvjetan, Strpci and Sjeverin cases), the prosecutor claims that the police and the military had the same attitude: they turned a blind eye to the crimes committed by their personnel and only prosecuted them when forced to do so. General Stevanovic denies this. His marathon testimony will continue tomorrow.
- Case : Milosevic Slobodan - "Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia"
- 2005-06-02 NO BODY – NO CRIME
- 2005-06-01 EXECUTION OF SIX YOUNG MEN FILMED IN SREBRENICA
- 2005-05-31 MILOSEVIC'S SERBIA: WAS IT A POLICE STATE?
- 2005-06-07 NEW DOCUMENT ABOUT THE LINKS BETWEEN THE SKORPIONI AND SERBIAN INTERIOR MINISTRY
- 2005-06-08 MILOSEVIC: BOSNIAK BOYS' EXECUTION TAPE “SUSPICIOUS"
- 2005-06-15 MILOSEVIC WASTING TIME