note: We are posting this statement by Slobodan Milosevic at his
"trial" before the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague
for purely informational purposes. Posting it does not constitute
agreement with either the statement, or the history of its author.]
adding three lies, one does not get the truth only a bigger
three indictments really have a thread running through them –
to use an expression I've heard used here – which is the ongoing
crime against Yugoslavia and against my people.
here is obviously a colossal abuse of power to fabricate an historical
forgery in which those who advocated the preservation of Yugoslavia
would be charged with its destruction; those who defended the
country would be accused of crimes; and those who advocated and
committed secession, advocating separatism and terrorism, would
be given amnesty – because they were backed by forces that wanted
to establish control over the Balkans, so as to be able to use
this strategic position to establish their control elsewhere.
we've heard, you spoke of three connected events. How come the
'discoverers' of this so-called plan, of which they speak so self-assuredly,
only got around to making allegations about Bosnia and Croatia
after ten years? Furthermore, these claims are absurd and nonsensical,
primarily because the entire policy of the Serbs, Serbia and me
personally was in regard to Croatia and Bosnia focused on peace,
not war. We used all our influence to achieve peace as soon as
the very beginning of the conflict in Croatia, we advocated a
political solution. Based on that proposal, the UN Protected Areas
were established and the situation calmed down immediately. On
March 24, 1992, the late Croatian leader Tudjman spoke to his
nation from the Ban Jelacic Square [in Zagreb], saying literally:
"There would not have been a war had Croatia not wanted it, but
we judged this was the only way to achieve independence."
would have certainly been no war had Croatia not wished for it.
Serbia never participated in that war anyway. It was an internal
why did Croatia want war? Most certainly not in order for the
Croatian people to use their right to self-determination and secession
(Macedonia, for example, claimed that right and separated from
Yugoslavia), but to achieve its goal of expelling half a million
Serbs from Croatia – Serbian Krajina – who for centuries lived
there on their own land, and not as occupiers.
the arrival of that Croatian regime that wanted war and so admitted
publicly, Croatia had a Constitution describing it as a state
of Croats, Serbs and other peoples residing therein. That Constitution
was changed. Serbs lost their rights and their
constituent status in Croatia, and they rose in rebellion. At
the time, few in Serbia even knew that Serbs lived in some part
speak of the plan according to which, with German support, Croatia
was prematurely recognized at the end of 1991, without waiting
for a political solution, which sparked a confrontation in which
Serbia – I repeat – only contributed in finding a peaceful solution
as soon as possible. Even the Croatian government never accused
us of responsibility for that conflict, and now I hear, here,
today, that we had some sort of a plan for that?
was, in fact, a plan – a clear plan aimed against a state that
was, I would say, at the time a model of future European federalism.
That state was Yugoslavia, in which multiple nations lived in
a federation, on equal footing, successfully, with the ability
to prosper, develop, and show the entire world that coexistence
the time we fought for Yugoslavia, for the preservation of Yugoslavia.
After all, all the facts prove that what I am saying is true.
Only the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which now exists, retained
its ethnic makeup. There were no expulsions, from the beginning
to the end of the Yugoslav crisis. All other republics changed
their ethnic makeup. Half a million Serbs were expelled from Croatia
and we all know what happened in Bosnia, not to mention other
parts of Yugoslavia.
I would say this is a malicious, utterly hostile process aimed
at justifying the crime against my country, using
this 'court' as a weapon against my country and my people.
at Bosnia-Herzegovina. Over there, we tried from the very beginning
to secure peace. What happened to the Cutillero Plan, which everyone
had backed? The Islamist Bosnian government rejected it at the
urging of the U.S. Ambassador and the conflict began. How can
Serbia be accused of anything in Bosnia, when it is well known
that, attempting to use our influence for peace, we not only backed
all the peace proposals but also tried to help implement them?
1993, in Athens, there was a meeting at which the Vance-Owen Peace
Plan was signed. Everybody signed it. I went to Pale with [Greek
Prime Minister] Mitsotakis and former Yugoslav president Dobrica
Cosic, and we advocated the acceptance of this plan. Unfortunately,
it was rejected – on May 3 or May 5, 1993, I don't remember exactly.
Even then we initiated a blockade of the Serb Republic, in order
to force its leadership to accept the peace plan. This was Serbia's
role – to attempt to achieve peace.
had constantly emphasized that the only formula for achieving
peace in Bosnia was to equally protect the interests of all three
peoples in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Serbs, Muslims and Croats. The
Dayton Agreement succeeded because that formula was accepted –
because the national interests of all three peoples were protected
I hear that Dayton was supposed to discuss Kosovo. That is nonsense.
The Dayton talks were convened to establish peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina,
and no one even thought of addressing the issue of Kosovo. It
has been an internal issue of Serbia, and no one could have even
dreamed that someone would attempt to internationalize it.
cannot, in any way, link Serbia or the Serbian policy with any
kind of crimes. You especially cannot legally claim, ten years
later, something that no one ever alleged about us, even then.
We were accorded only respect and appreciation for the gigantic
efforts Serbia and the Serbian policy made to achieve peace.
of Bosnia, do you know that 70,000 Muslim refugees sought sanctuary
in Serbia during the Bosnian conflict? Do you think someone would
flee their home and take refuge in the very territory from which
they were endangered? How many lives did we save, how many of
your hostages did we rescue from Bosnia – from UN peacekeepers
to pilots – and how many peace treaties did we insist on and make
possible? Eventually, we were the most responsible for the success
of the Dayton talks and the peace that ensued.
was a total peace, a complete relaxation of tensions, and then...
I will tell you how it all began in Kosovo. Because of the plan
to establish control of the Balkans, the territory of the former
Yugoslavia, efforts were made to destabilize Kosovo at precisely
the time when it seemed everything would be resolved peacefully.
November 1997, there was a summit meeting in Crete of all heads
of state and governments of Southeastern Europe. Back then, we
discussed – at our initiative – the elimination of barriers, tariffs,
integration within Southeastern Europe and improving our mutual
cooperation. I had a direct dialog with the Albanian Prime Minister
Fatos Nano. We spoke of normalizing our relations, eliminating
visas and tariffs, developing transport and trade links, et cetera.
Fatos Nano and I went before the TV cameras and he then said,
after talking about cooperation and improving our mutual relations,
that Kosovo was an internal Serbian matter. This was a promise
of peace, of peaceful solutions to all these problems.
this was an alarm for all the powers that continued to act criminally
against my country, trying to destabilize Yugoslavia and intervene
the way they did. A month or two afterwards, we received a letter
from [German Foreign Minister] Kinkel and [French Foreign Minister]
Vedrine saying they were worried about the situation in Kosovo.
For ten years since the time you claim Serbia "seized" control
of its own territory, there were no murders, no expulsions, no
plunder, no arson, no arrests in Kosovo. We did not have a single
political prisoner in Yugoslavia – not one. Kosovo had 20 newspapers
and other publications in Albanian, which one could buy at every
street corner. Not a single issue, not a single copy, was ever
banned. Albanian political parties, even separatist ones, worked
freely. Someone here said we tolerated them. No, our view was
that everything should be permitted – except violence.
the powers behind Yugoslavia's destruction and occupation rounded
up criminals throughout Western Europe and sent them to Kosovo
to establish a terrorist organization. They began terrorist attacks
in the spring of 1998. Then they were crushed. By the fall of
1998, they were completely eliminated, surrendering by the truckload
the weapons they had smuggled in.
that year, they mostly killed Albanians. I do not have specific
figures with me, since I did not know I would be given a chance
to speak today. I was notified of my appearance here only yesterday,
and I did not know what would be discussed. So I do not have all
the specific information, but I will tell you what I do have.
Two and a half times...
Milosevic, please allow...
more Albanians than Serbs were killed by the terrorists in 1998.
They killed Albanian police officers, postal carriers, forest
rangers, even retirees – only because they received their retirement
checks from the state. They were attempting to strike terror in
the hearts of Albanians as well as kill Serbs. We protected our
citizens – both Serbs and Albanians – from terrorism, and this
operation was completed by the fall of 1998. Then [US envoy] Holbrooke
came to demand a Verification Mission in order to create a pretext
for attacking Yugoslavia. Let me tell you....
Milosevic, allow me just a minute. Please. Just one minute. I
will not take away your time, I will certainly give it to you.
Even this International Tribunal whose legality you dispute is
giving you the opportunity to fully state your case. It seems
to me, first of all, that you are ready to start with the trial
– even today, as it seems. This goes to your credit. You are ready.
But I have to take you back to the... Please, try not to completely
lose sight of the issue we are discussing today. We are not the
chamber that will conduct your trial. We understand well that
your central idea is quite contrary – that this is a victimization
of your country. It has been heard and understood.
would be good for you, Mr. Milosevic, not to deceive yourself
about the chamber that will try you. You have the same amount
of time as the prosecutor here. As the chairman of this chamber
I guarantee that. Please, do not lose sight of the topic we are
have a thesis you are attempting to defend, and you have that
right – and will have that right. However, I have to remind you
that this Appeals chamber is facing an important procedural question.
It may not be important to you, but it is to us, since we are
trying to safeguard the norms of just and equitable procedure.
What we would like to know is if you would like your trial for
Kosovo to be separate from the trial for Bosnia and Croatia, or
if you would prefer them to be combined. I understand that you
might answer this in a roundabout way. I will, of course, permit
you to speak. You are a defendant who has good mental health and
clarity of thought. Therefore I ask you to try and answer this
question. Thank you in advance. You have the floor again.
of all, this is the only time I have not been interrupted, the
first time I can say something, and I will use every opportunity
to address the public regarding the crime that is being perpetrated
against my country. I do this not because of procedure, since
procedure does not interest me, but in order to answer the attacks
against my country and my people, and the ongoing crimes against
them. I want the public to know that after the aggression...
wait, Mr. Milosevic. You understand that you have much time at
your disposal, but you will have more when the trial starts. This
is, of course, not the subject of today's debate. You have the
right to continue. But you are now addressing the people outside
this courtroom. Mr. Milosevic, I have to tell you that you will
have the right to address the public. The international community
created this trial and I certainly wish that all the rules that
apply to the prosecution, to you and to the civilization are respected.
Today's debate is about how the trial would take place in another
chamber. I have no intention of interrupting you and will subtract
the time I used up by my interruptions. You may proceed now.
want to emphasize that the crime against my country has continued.
The most recent Serb murdered in Kosovo that I've heard of was
killed on Christmas this year. Some 350,000 were expelled from
Kosovo under UN auspices, while Albanian terrorist activities
were protected by the UN. Since the arrival of the so-called UN
peacekeepers that were obligated by [UN Security Council] Resolution
1244 to guarantee the security of person and property to every
inhabitant of Kosovo, Albanian terrorists have expelled 350,000
people and torched tens of thousands of homes. Sometimes they
would burn 50, 60, all the Serbian houses in a village, in plain
sight of the [UN] troops. These are in fact occupation troops,
who came [to Kosovo] under the UN banner only to transform themselves
overnight into occupiers and allies of the terrorists who killed,
who mutilated and butchered so many, and burned so much, and continue
to do so even today. And they say they were unaware this was happening.
anyone believe that the troops over there could be unaware that
tens of thousands of homes were being torched? Can someone damage
and destroy...since the UN troops came, 107 Serbian churches have
been destroyed. Can someone destroy an entire church and burn
it without the UN troops knowing?
is a "joint criminal enterprise" – of the forces who committed
crimes against Yugoslavia with the drug-Mafia and Albanian terrorists
in Kosovo, for the purpose of crimes not only against the Serbs
but all other non-Albanians, even Catholic Albanians. Even Albanians
who, in any way – such as cashing their retirement checks – showed
any loyalty to the Republic of Serbia as their state.
is happening over there is practically the rehabilitation of a
policy led by Hitler and Mussolini. This talk about "Greater Serbia",
this alleged idea that never really existed, is only raised to
mask the creation of "Greater Albania" – the very same one that
was made by Hitler and Mussolini in World War
Two. Look at it then, and look at what is being done now, what
they want to seize from Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia – tomorrow
maybe from northern Greece, when Greek-Turkish relations are strained
under orders of the common master.
is obviously a crime, and the thread running through it is obviously
a crime against Yugoslavia. I want to point out that falsifying
historical facts is not easy, though. It is not easy even when
these facts are only known to a select group of people, and downright
impossible when millions, entire nations, know the facts. With
all due respect, the real judges in this trial – not you who wear
the robes – are those who decided to murder children
in my country, who launched NATO's aggression and dropped 25 thousand
tons of bombs in 78 days, murdering mostly elderly people, children
want to play that role. But they will not be the judges.
real judge here is the people – not just the people of Yugoslavia,
but the peoples of all the countries who care about liberty and
equality. Not for nothing do we have a saying that the judgment
of the people is the judgment of God. We all face that judgment,
not just me – who is facing an attempt here to be made responsible
instead of being given recognition – but also you, and your employers,
especially those who committed crimes against my country.
you want me to request something of you, let me demand this: set
me free. I demand to be set free because you and the entire world
should know by now that I will not run from a fight for my people
and my country. I have no intention of running. It does not serve
the honor of this institution to keep me imprisoned here, in disgraceful
conditions, in order to deprive me of equality in stating my arguments
– even if this institution were legal, and you know very well
that it isn't.
if you didn't know – and I don't refer to you in particular, but
to the institution – then you would have accepted the motion from
the amici curiae to seek advisory opinion from the International
Court of Justice on the legality of this tribunal. You did not
seek it, because the outcome would be entirely predictable.
I think that such a criminal approach, an attempt to cast the
victim as the culprit, both in regard to my country, my people
and myself, has not yet been recorded in history. With that in
mind, I consider it both logical and just to release me immediately.
I will not flee, and I am ready to enter any of these debates,
since this is one battle which I certainly have an obligation