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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 August 2004, 22:40 GMT 23:40 UK
Excerpts: Milosevic's defence
The former president of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic has launched his long-awaited defence against war crimes charges at The Hague.

These are some excerpts from his opening statement:


Accusations levelled against me are an unscrupulous lie and also a tireless distortion of history. Everything has been presented in a lopsided manner in order to protect those who are truly responsible...

Slobodan Milosevic at The Hague
Milosevic launched his defence with a stream of invective
...They call themselves the international community, but in the territory of Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, they supported a totalitarian chauvinist elite, terrorists, Islamic fundamentalists, neo-Nazis, whose objective was an ethnically pure state. That is to say, a state without any Serbs...

...In the early 1990s, it was the Serbs who were killed and expelled from Croatia... It was the Serbs who were being killed and expelled from Kosovo... Persecution of all non-Albanians (in Kosovo) continues with undiminished fervour, continues until this day...

...This international community, headed by the USA, favoured Islamic fundamentalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo... In addition to everything else, crimes against Serbs are being committed in Kosovo with the full assistance of the Nato-led coalition...

Yugoslavia did not simply disappear into thin air... this country was destroyed by a plan, a war that continues to be waged
...The fratricidal war in Yugoslavia was instigated and supported precisely by those who established this court of yours...

...Under the auspices and protection of the United Nations, all these crimes were committed, trampling on the UN resolution, transforming the security forces of the United Nations into forces of occupation in collaboration with the Albanian terrorists...

...[Croatia] is a classical example of an armed rebellion against a state... A state has the right to use all means necessary to control the rebellion... Both under law and morality, historical facts and what is most important, the well-being of its people, [federal Yugoslavia] had the right to survive...

...Yugoslavia did not simply disappear into thin air... this country was destroyed by a plan, a war that continues to be waged...

...The Clinton administration throughout its time in office applied these double standards which has turned very aggressively against themselves which can be seen by what happened on September 11...

...A multi-ethnic, multi-confessional state was destroyed ... this constitutes the gravest international crime... Hundreds of thousands of people were wounded and maimed. Thousands of people fled their homes, mostly Serbs.


And this is an excerpt from presiding judge Patrick Robinson's response:

You have to be careful. It is questionable whether a lot of what you are saying is relevant to the case and certainly it would not be admissible in evidence.



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