Courtside: Milosevic Trial

By Chris Stephen in The Hague (TU 298, 27-31 January 2003)

Courtside: Milosevic Trial

By Chris Stephen in The Hague (TU 298, 27-31 January 2003)

Tuesday, 22 February, 2005

Judge May said that he had told the defendant several times before that the reasons were the fear that otherwise a witness could be intimidated and his family threatened.

The judge later ordered a closed session after Milosevic asked questions likely to reveal the identity of the witness.

Witness C-013 is a Serb from Croatia who worked for the Vukovar police before the war.

He later became an officer in the rebel Serb statelet in eastern Croatia - the Serbian Autonomous Region Eastern Slavonija - and when the area was returned to Zagreb in 1998 he went back to serve in the Croatian force.

He testified that the Yugoslav army, JNA, and state security (secret police) of Serbia secretly transported weapons across the Danube and armed Serbian militia groups in Croatia in 1991.

He alleged that there were joint operations involving the JNA and local militias made up of territorial defence units and paramilitary formations from Serbia proper.

He also told the court about the expulsion of Croats and looting of their homes, as well as the killing of local civilians.

C-013 said Jovica Stanisic, head of Serbia’s state security service, Goran Hadzic, so-called prime minister of the Serbian entity in eastern Croatia, and Zeljko “Arkan” Raznatovic, the commander of notorious Tigers paramilitary group, were involved.

He said that he was present when, in the middle of September 1991, Stanisic and his group came to Dalj, where the seat of the government of rebel Serb territory was situated. He said Stanisic ordered all local commanders to attend, then swore at them for their failure to capture Vukovar.

C-013 also testified how on two occasions Arkan took around forty Croat civilians from the prison in Dalj. They were never seen again.

He told the court that when he began work for the Croatian police, he found out about two wealthy civilians who had survived after paying Arkan and Hadzic "one or two million German marks" in return for their lives.

He confirmed the authenticity of official documents from the police station in Dalj documenting the removal of the prisoners.

Whether Milosevic contested this is not known, as most of the session was held privately on the judge’s orders to shield the identity of the witness.

Chris Stephen is IWPR Bureau Chief in The Hague.

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