Milosevic's defense witnesses deny all the allegations in the indictment of crimes in Prizren or Djakovica, but cannot point to any document from the relevant time period to substantiate their claims

Husein Sarvanovic, defense witness for MilosevicHusein Sarvanovic, defense witness for Milosevic

Slobodan Milosevic managed to hear two defense witnesses today: retired captain Husein Sarvanovic and Colonel Zlatko Odak, still on active duty in the SaM Army.

They were both stationed in Kosovo in the spring of 1999. Sarvanovic was in Prizren and Odak was in Djakovica. Milosevic read out the paragraphs in the indictment pertaining to the events in the two towns and the surrounding villages – shelling, setting houses on fire, expulsion and murder of civilians. The witnesses then stated that such things had never happened, or if they had, that those had been "sporadic cases".

Sarvanovic, who commanded a motorized company at the time, claims that his mortar platoon opened fire only on "weapon emplacements from which terrorists opened fire" on his forces and that they never missed their target and hit a civilian one. As for the allegation in the indictment that "FRY and Serbian forces attacked Bela Crkva on 24 March 1999", Sarvanovic claims it is "not true" because his unit skirted the village that night and took up positions in the vicinity. He, however, never saw or heard any engagements or clashes.

Lieutenant-colonel Odak denied the allegations in the indictment about forcible transfer of the Albanian population from Djakovica, the setting on fire of the Islamic Library, the old bazaar and the Hadum mosque in Djakovica and the mosque in Rogova, the massacre in Meja and mass murders in the village of Qerim and in the houses in Milosa Gilica Street and Imera Grezde Street. According to Odak, the Albanian population left Djakovica and Kosovo "in fear of NATO bombs and under pressure of the terrorists"; the mosques in Djakovica and Rogova, the Islamic Library and the bazaar in Djakovica were hit by NATO bombs and the people killed in Meja were "terrorists, not civilians".

In his cross-examination, prosecutor Nice wanted both Milosevic's witnesses today to point him to documents – war logbooks or combat reports from the "relevant time" – that would substantiate their claims. Both said they had none. Sarvanovic replied that as a company commander he did not have a war logbook and that he merely gave oral reports to his superiors, while Odak said his war logbook was "probably in the files" but he had had "no time to look for it" to bring it to The Hague.

The prosecutor will continue the cross-examination of Lt. Col. Zlatko Odak tomorrow.

Husein Sarvanovic, defense witness for Milosevic
Zlatko Odak, defense witness for Milosevic