Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Milosevic Lawyers Seek Recall of General Clark

(TU No 440, 17-Feb-06)
Clark testified in December 2003, during the prosecution stage of the Milosevic trial. He told the court that he spoke with the accused following the massacre of Muslim prisoners from the town of Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb troops in 1995, and was led to believe that Milosevic had known in advance what would happen.

He also gave evidence about Milosevic’s relationship with Serbs in Bosnia in the early Nineties and spoke about the role the accused later played in the Kosovo conflict.

In their latest submission, filed on February 10, defence lawyers Steven Kay and Gillian Higgins, whose assistance is imposed on Milosevic against his will, objected to the fact that questioning of Clark at the time was restricted to the contents of a statement he had given to prosecutors.

By pressing for such restrictions, they argued, “The prosecution and the [United States] government structured the appearance of General Clark in the trial in such a way that only issues in support of the prosecution’s case could be adduced.”

Kay and Higgins want Milosevic to be allowed to question the general about a series of matters relating to NATO’s bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999, which Clark himself commanded.

These issues include Milosevic’s contention that the air strikes constituted an illegal act of aggression, that NATO was operating in conjunction with the rebel Kosovo Liberation Army, and that the bombing caused damage, casualties and refugee flows which were later blamed on the Yugoslav authorities.

After Kay and Higgins filed their submission, the trial chamber gave them seven days to submit further information about how they thought a second appearance by Clark should be organised, and what measures they had taken to secure his testimony.

The US embassy in The Hague has since written to the court, reminding judges of Washington's desire to protect “sensitive information and legitimate national interests" and seeking leave to file a lengthier written submission on the matter.

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