Milosevic lays blame on NATO, demands Clinton appear in court
THE HAGUE, Reuters
February 16, 2002, 12:00 am TWN
Slobodan Milosevic returned to the attack at his war crimes trial on Friday, accusing NATO of “bestial” genocide in Yugoslavia and demanding ex-U.S. President Bill Clinton and other Western leaders come to testify.
“I’m asking what kind of tribunal this is if you refuse to try people for these crimes by the leaders and armies of NATO countries,” Milosevic said to judges in the Hague.
The former Yugoslav president, in his second day of reply to his prosecutors’ opening addresses, employed the same line of attack as he had on Thursday — to blame the Balkan bloodshed of the ‘90s entirely on his Balkan enemies or NATO.
On the fourth day of what is forecast to be a marathon case, he insisted the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Albanians who fled Kosovo in 1999 during the NATO air war against Yugoslavia had been driven out not by Serbs, as internationally reported, but by their fellow Albanians.
The guerrilla Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) “referred to all Albanians who did not flee Kosovo as traitors,” he said.
They created the “illusion of exodus,” he added. “There were hundreds of cameras waiting at the borders to show the alleged Serb misdeeds,” he added. The motive was to justify NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia.
Milosevic showed the court horrifying pictures of carbonized bodies he said were those of civilians killed by NATO bombs in Kosovo and the rest of Serbia in 1999.
NATO bombs destroyed Beijing’s embassy in Belgrade, in what Washington insisted was a mistake by Central Intelligence Agency target planners using an outdated map.
“It is quite clear that Clinton wanted to go down in history as the first man to bomb Chinese territory by bombing the Chinese embassy in Belgrade,” Milosevic said, referring to an incident which killed Chinese diplomats and journalists and provoked fury in Beijing.
Accusing NATO of the widespread use of especially lethal “cluster bombs”, he showed the court a photograph of a Serb peasant woman killed while ploughing her field and the corpses of children dressed in their pajamas.
“This is an example of bestiality, targeting people in this way,” he said, adding that NATO had bombed at night to maximize deaths among sleeping civilians. He produced pictures of bomb-shattered hospitals, an old people’s home, houses and workplaces, some strewn with charred and bloodied bodies.
“All these crimes are grave, but striking a sanatorium full of patients is something that the person who did it should explain,” said Milosevic. “I hope he will.”
Milosevic said NATO had repeatedly violated the Geneva Conventions and international norms of war in a bombardment Western leaders said was necessary to stop Serb persecution of Albanians in Kosovo.