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Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 09:08 GMT
Speculation grows about Milosevic witnesses
Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic: Who will testify against him?
By the BBC's Paul Anderson in Belgrade

As the Hague tribunal considers whether former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic should face a single trial on charges both relating to the Croatian and Bosnian wars, media reports have claimed that the prosecution has not got enough witnesses to present its case.

Carla del Ponte, chief prosecutor
Tribunal prosecutors want single trial
The prosecution strenuously denies the claims but little has emerged in Belgrade as to who may testify against Mr Milosevic.

There are plenty of rumours - and much more interest in the identity of the mystery witnesses than in Mr Milosevic himself.

The imminent start of the trial has smoked some of his former associates out of their silence.

Military and civilian leaders in a position to know anything about the former president's decisions on Kosovo have paraded before the media, either to deny they are about to testify against their former boss or to say they will, if called on.

Not co-operating

Key among those in denial are two of the four men indicted with Mr Milosevic who are still in Serbia.

One, the former Interior Minister, Vlajko Stojiljkovic, said he had nothing to say against Mr Milosevic - only against Kosovo's Albanians.

Another, Nikola Sainovic, described as the former president's indispensable operations man, has refused to co-operate.

The pair may yet find themselves beside Mr Milosevic, especially if the Serbian Government honours its commitment to surrender more suspects.

Milan Milutinovic
Milan Milutinovic has stepped up public appearances
But there are suggestions that another indictee, the current Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, may escape that fate.

Lately he has been seen more of in public, at concerts and book prizes fuelling speculation that a deal has been cut in which he could perhaps be tried in his own country in return for testifying for the prosecution.

Over the past two weeks tribunal investigators have been busy in Yugoslavia visiting, for example, the former secret service chief Rade Markovic in prison.

As the man in charge of the feared Red Beret special forces, Mr Markovic knows plenty and he has plenty to gain from giving testimony.

He is under investigation himself for alleged war crimes.

Investigators have also spoken to others, once in similar positions of power, but all witnesses have been sworn to silence and their identities will only become known once the trial starts.

See also:

09 Jan 02 | Europe
Milosevic in tribunal outburst
21 Dec 01 | Europe
Milosevic complains to Euro court
31 Aug 01 | Europe
Court rejects Milosevic challenge
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