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Thursday, 14 February, 2002, 14:35 GMT
Milosevic defence transcript
Day three at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia - Milosevic is second from right
Proceedings are expected to last at least two years

The following is a continuation of excerpts from former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's defence at his war crimes trial in The Hague on 14 February, as translated from Serbian.

Milosevic: That fact is the day and night bombing of Kosovo - day and night bombing. Twenty-four hours round the clock every day for 78 days at which the alarm was sounded every day.

People were on the alert for 24 hours - now they wish to negate that fact by bringing witnesses here who are going to say that they in fact fled from Serb forces - as you call the army and police.

Is there a court that is going to disregard that fact in favour of witness statements in which people say that they had to flee. On the basis of this kind of a claim that they were being expelled by Serb forces.

What we've have heard insults the intelligence of an average inhabitant of this planet.

Click here to return to previous transcript

Yesterday, we heard of compositions, so to speak, where there are deportations, there are killings there too as well. The truth is that this is a conflict with terrorists - with terrorist bands and also where there is bombing and most often there is a conflict with terrorists and their bombing.

Because it was not a rare occurrence that terrorists, when they were sent out during the war, would receive support from their allies who waged the war against Yugoslavia with them.

'Expulsions'

So the truth is that where there is a conflict and where there is bombing or most often both, that is where one can see flights of the population.

And then we have been listening to this interpretation for two days. This conflict with these bands and the bombing and we've heard this and saw this - in Western footage, not Yugoslav footage.


The army and the police defended their own country with honour and chivalry

Slobodan Milosevic
This is considered to be killings by the Serb forces and when people were fleeing from these places of conflict then this was qualified as deportations. I repeat, the population from Kosovo was expelled by the KLA because they ordered people to do so, they beat them and they killed them.

Number two, Nato, through their air strikes - that is the truth behind your story about deportations.

And I want to say here something that everybody in Serbia knows. In the Serb tradition, and as a tradition of the Serb military, a prisoner of war and an unarmed person is held sacred.

Whoever violated this sacred principle has to be held accountable.

Escape

However, this was not done by the military or by the police. I'm not trying to say that this has not been committed by some individuals or some groups. But this was not done by the army or by the police.

The army and the police defended their own country with honour and chivalry. Individuals and groups that may commit crimes exist anywhere in the world and are condemned and prosecuted everywhere.


The task of the military and of the police was to neutralise the actions of terrorists and to protect civilians

lobodan Milosevic
Such dirty crimes cannot be ascribed to an army, a police, a people, a nation, a country, their government. It is precisely the members of this army and the police know the best how many terrorists had escaped from that precisely by mingling with civilians.

They would actually see them from a few hundred metres away and they would easily recognise them in masses of civilians because usually they were only wearing their underwear having thrown away their uniforms so that they can escape.

They all managed to escape because there was a direct prohibition from the top downwards because nobody was allowed to fire even a terrorist if this would endanger the civilians or even lead to their killing. A multitude of them escaped.

'No deportations'

The American representatives knew that full well - those who were criss-crossing Kosovo and we talked to them about this and, of course, the terrorists knew as well that the army and the police had strict orders that they were not allowed to open fire wherever there was civilians.

Many comments were made in respect of this, however, these orders remained standing. That is to say that the task of the military and of the police was to neutralise the actions of terrorists and to protect civilians.

All orders, all actions taken by command individuals corroborate this. After all, this fabricated deportation could it have been organised especially in massive proportions without an order, without an organisation? And there was no idea of this nature - there was no action of this nature.


Whoever will speak the truth here will not say anything that is dishonourable, or that has anything to do with my personality, my policy and the work of my government

Slobodan Milosevic
This was never mentioned, never not in a single variant not even in a variance when a witness could be brought.

Yesterday, you heard witnesses who were calling TV stations and saying that they were not prepared to support what they heard reported in the courtroom yesterday. No way.

They were phoning yesterday when they watching the broadcast, when during your break here in this courtroom they would phone journalists and say - you have said such and such thing. No way - I'm not going to testify - that's not the way it happened.

Well bring these witnesses, let us finally hear who these people are. Whoever will speak the truth here will not say anything that is dishonourable, or that has anything to do with my personality, my policy and the work of my government - nothing - and you can bring as many of them as you want.

Decorations

An incredible number of things have been mentioned here by way of proof.

Yesterday, I heard the following - three generals had received decorations - well what's wrong with that? Several thousand people were decorated for having defended their country.

We are the only country that managed to shoot down a so-called invisible Nato plane... Well this man who shot down an invisible aircraft that has come to sow death among children, didn't that man deserve a decoration? He deserved 50 decorations.

Everybody who shot down a plane got a decoration. Everybody who shot down a cruise missile was decorated as well...

Several thousand people in Yugoslavia were decorated for their courage in the war. Also, thousands of people were decorated for their efforts at the reconstruction of the country because only in a few months' time we managed through superhuman effort of many citizens to reconstruct the country - to go back to a normal life, to try to go back to a normal life.

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