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Tuesday, 10 September, 2002, 19:17 GMT 20:17 UK
Serbian press sees Milosevic in trouble
Slobodan Milosevic
Serbian newspapers view the trial from every angle
The Serbian press has been looking at the strength of the case against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic as the war crimes tribunal in The Hague wraps up the phase of the trial relating to events Kosovo.

There is a general feeling that the case against him has been hardening in recent days.

"Pieces of the puzzle are being gradually gathered into a body of evidence," the Politika daily says.

In an article headlined "Role in the transport of bodies" the newspaper says the prosecution wanted to prove the defendant's involvement in bringing the bodies of civilians from Kosovo to a mass grave near Belgrade, when it called UN investigator John Martin Zdrilic on Monday.

Horrific discovery

"The mass grave in Batajnica is linked to bodies from Kosovo and an order by Slobodan Milosevic," the paper says.


Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic charges
  • Genocide
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions
  • Violations of the laws or customs of war

    Click here for a full list of charges

  • It says DNA analysis carried out in Madrid has so far proved that nine of the many victims were killed in a cafe in Suva Reka in Kosovo.

    "The results of this horrific discovery - whose credibility the defendant denies - have finally reached The Hague," the paper says.

    The Danas daily also homes in on the identification in Madrid of victims from Suva Reka.

    The paper quotes Mr Zdrilic as saying that 11 victims - including an unborn child - were killed at two locations: in a house and a cafe, and that Interior Ministry staff "did this in cold blood".

    "The bodies were first buried in the villages of Ljubizda and Koriste, and then transferred to Batajnica," Mr Zdrilic was quoted as saying.

    Mr Milosevic, the paper says, insisted on several occasions that the bodies were buried in Batajnica much later than claimed.

    "However, this is quite improbable," Mr Zdrilic said. He said the grave was overgrown and had thus been there for some time.

    Defendant's demands

    Another daily suggests, however, that the prosecution has not been having all its own way.

    "Milosevic demands to be allowed to cross examine Louise Arbour", reads the headline in Borba.

    The request relates to letters which Ms Arbour, the tribunal's chief prosecutor in 1996-1999, sent to the Yugoslav authorities during the conflict in Kosovo, while Mr Milosevic was president.

    The prosecution says the letters and replies from the Yugoslav Government show Milosevic was informed that crimes were being committed in Kosovo.

    Presiding Judge Richard May conceded that Mr Milosevic was arguably right to complain that a UN official of higher rank than Mr Zdrilic should have been brought to court to present Ms Arbour's letters.

    However, Mr Milosevic's demand for Ms Arbour to be called as a witness went unanswered.

    On a lighter note, Politika has a cartoon showing Mr Milosevic in convict's stripes using the scales of justice ... as a swing.

    BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

     WATCH/LISTEN
     ON THIS STORY
    The BBC's Justin Webb
    "The court has to decide whether these are genuine witnesses who can shed light on the case"

    At The Hague

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    20 Feb 02 | Europe
    19 Feb 02 | Europe
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