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Thursday, 26 September, 2002, 21:27 GMT 22:27 UK
Trial leaves Milosevic cold
Zagreb resident watches Milosevic trial on TV
Milosevic remained defiant in court

Courtroom number one in the Hague Tribunal is small, almost intimate; but the crimes being tried could not be more serious.

Not that the defendant appears intimidated by the gravity of the charges.


Slobodan Milosevic (AFP)
Milosevic charges

Bosnia

  • genocide and complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and violations of the laws or customs of war

    Croatia

  • grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, violations of the laws or customs of war and crimes against humanity

    Kosovo

  • violations of the laws or customs of war and crimes against humanity


  • Slobodan Milosevic looks alternately defiant, bored, wry or scornful.

    Occasionally, during the 20-minute recesses, he recognises a supporter who has travelled from Belgrade to be in the public gallery, and he waves through the bullet-proof glass.

    The second part of the trial against him opened with an 80-minute-long outline of how the prosecution will spend the next nine months.

    The British prosecutor, Geoffrey Nice, talked of forced deportations, murder, wanton destruction, even genocide, in the service of a greater Serbia, being built at the behest of Slobodan Milosevic.

    Mr Nice produced a map of Bosnia from before the war - showing the untidy, complex mosaic of ethnic majorities.

    Then he showed a map of the ethnic divisions after the conflict.

    It was neat, but obtained at an appalling price - of thousands of killings, innumerable acts of inhumanity and countless acts of ethnic cleansing.

    'Shafts of light'

    Mr Nice warned the judges - and perhaps the public too - that none of the 177 witnesses the prosecution plans to call will provide the single devastating blow.

    But together they will produce the "shafts of light" which will illuminate the reality of Mr Milosevic's guilt.

    Slobodan Milosevic insists that nothing could be less likely. He derides this tribunal - again today he called it illegal.

    The tribunal was, he said, simply the last phase of the campaign of aggression against the Serbs.

    He says the Yugoslavs and the Serbs had only been defending themselves against Bosnian fundamentalists, Croatian fascists and a Europe in thrall to Germany.

    He said that the Vatican bank had paid for arms for Croatia - and yet while he was treated as a criminal for protecting the Serbs, the Pope remains, as he put it, "the Holy Father".

    The dividing lines are clear - the prosecution using a scalpel to pick away at what they say is the reality; the defendant using a bulldozer to flatten what he says is a political charade.


    At The Hague

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    See also:

    10 Sep 02 | Media reports
    10 Dec 01 | Europe
    28 Jun 02 | Europe
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