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Prosecution Case - Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina

“Actually, at that meeting the accused said to me, 'Look, we've had enough of this, Hrvoje. Let's each of us take our part of Bosnia without the international community.'”

Hrvoje Šarinić, a member of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's cabinet, in his 21 January 2004 testimony about a conversation
he had with Slobodan Milošević in September 1995.

When the trial against Slobodan Milošević opened on 12 February 2002, the Prosecutor's Trial Attorney in the case, Geoffrey Nice, began by relating how a Croatian man, about 58 years old, barely escaped death at the Ovčara farm near Vukovar, in eastern Croatia, when Serb forces executed at least 200 Croats and other non-Serbs in November 1991.

Nice next told the story of a young Bosnian woman, heavily pregnant, who gave birth to a daughter in the woods near Višegrad, in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1992 after Serb forces forced her to flee the town. On the promise that they would be traveling in a Red Cross bus, Serb forces took the woman, the baby, 45 members of her extended family and others, to a house whose carpets were doused with petrol. “They were burnt alive,” stated Nice, “and the baby's screams were heard for some two hours before it too succumbed”.

The Prosecution alleged that Slobodan Milošević, then the President of Serbia, was criminally responsible for crimes committed against these and other civilians and non-combatants in some 50 different areas of Croatia and Bosnia between 1991 and 1995.

Among the charges against him, the Prosecution also alleged that Slobodan Milošević committed genocide in eight municipalities in Bosnia, including the mass executions of over seven and a half thousand Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in July 1995.

The Plan

According to the Prosecution, these crimes were part of Slobodan Milošević's plan to forcibly remove Muslims, Croats and other non-Serbs from large areas of Croatia and Bosnia in order to impose and maintain his control over them; to create, as the Prosecution alleged, a Greater Serbia.

The Prosecution led evidence showing that Slobodan Milošević formulated this plan months before the crimes occurred. High level and insider witnesses at the trial, including former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) Presidency members Stjepan Mesić from Croatia and Borisav Jović from Serbia, as well as Croatian Serb leader and convicted co-perpetrator Milan Babić, testified about Milošević's desire to create a Greater Serbia. Milan Babić, an insider witness for the Prosecution, stated that while Milošević would publicly say that he wanted to preserve Yugoslavia, in reality, his goal was to “preserve” Yugoslavia for the Serbian people. Indeed, in an intercepted telephone conversation on 30 December 1991, Milošević instructed Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić not to speak about any new concept for Yugoslavia, and thereby deceive the public: “Take care,” said Milošević, “it's dangerous if they think that something new is being created.”

Several witnesses testified that in March 1991 Slobodan Milošević had a secret meeting with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman at Karadjordjevo, a hunting lodge in the northern Serbian province of Vojvodina, where the two agreed to divide Bosnia along ethnic lines, and annex the parts to Serbia and Croatia. They left the possibility for the Bosnian Muslims to be allowed to live in an enclave.

The Prosecution also showed that Slobodan Milošević's plan to create a Greater Serbia was not just words. In July 1991, Milošević spoke with Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić and Croatian Serb leader Milan Babić about unifying certain neighbouring territories in both Croatia and Bosnia. Milan Babić told the court that Karadžić said he would chase the Muslims into the river valleys in order to link up all Serb territories in Bosnia. Milošević told Babić not to “stand in Radovan's way”.

Showing that his plan had succeeded in Croatia, protected witness C-048 testified that in the first weeks of March 1993, Slobodan Milošević and Serbian State Security Service chief Jovica Stanišić, another of Milošević's alleged co-perpetrators, were at a gathering in a Novi Sad casino. Milošević asked Stanišić about the situation in one of the areas in Croatia under Serb control. Stanišić replied that the area had been cleansed of Croats, the situation on the ground was stable, and that everything was going according to plan. Milošević replied: “Very well. So we have completed the main part of the job. Carry on like that but in a subtle way”. Similarly, on 2 June 1993 at a meeting of the Supreme Defence Council, the highest-level Yugoslav body with responsibility for the country's defence, Slobodan Milošević said: “The war option in Bosnia has been exhausted, they have taken everything that was supposed to be taken.”

Evidence in the trial demonstrated that once Slobodan Milošević's plan to unite large parts of Croatia and Bosnia to Yugoslavia had been achieved militarily, he turned his energies to sealing his successes politically. On 9 January 1993, at a meeting of the Council for Coordination of State Policy, a Yugoslav body which included the highest level state officials, Milošević said:

“objectively and according to all our relations such as political, military, economy, cultural and educational, we have that integrity [of states]. Question is how to get the recognition of the unity now, actually how to legalise that unity. How to turn the situation, which de facto exists and could not be de facto endangered, into being de facto and de jure.”

The solution Slobodan Milošević was working toward was annexing the areas that had been cleansed of non-Serbs to Yugoslavia. Hrvoje Šarinić, formerly a member of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman's inner circle, told the court that in a meeting on 12 November 1993, Milošević said to him: “I am telling you frankly that with Republika Srpska in Bosnia, which will sooner or later become part of Serbia, I have resolved ninety percent of Serbia's national question, the same way as [Croatian President Franjo] Tudjman has resolved the national issue of Croatia through Herceg-Bosna [in western Bosnia and Herzegovina].” During another meeting with Šarinić in September 1995, Milošević reiterated his goal: “Look, we've had enough of this, Hrvoje. Let's each of us take our part of Bosnia without the international community”.

Milošević's Co-perpetrators

The Prosecution alleged that Slobodan Milošević conspired to create a Greater Serbia with a host of co-perpetrators in the Croatian Serb, Bosnian Serb and Yugoslav political, police and military leaderships, many of whom the Tribunal indicted (see box).

According to the Prosecution, Slobodan Milošević and his alleged co-perpetrators commanded or controlled the forces that committed the crimes and the institutions that aided and abetted them. These forces included: the Croatian Serb and Bosnian Serb armies (SVK and VRS, respectively), the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) and its successor the Yugoslav Army (VJ), Croatian Serb police units called “Martićevci” after their leader ICTY convict Milan Martić, Bosnian Serb police units, a unit of the Serbian State Security Service called the Red Berets, and paramilitary units such as Arkan's Tigers, headed by its leader Željko Ražnatović aka “Arkan”, and the “Šešeljevci”, named after Serbian politician and political party leader Vojislav Šešelj.

Slobodan Milošević's Co-perpetrators:
*Indicted by the Tribunal **Testified for the Prosecution in the trial against Slobodan Milošević

For Crimes Committed in Croatia
*/**Milan Babić: Prime Minister/President of the Serb Autonomous District Krajina, and later Croatian Serb President
*Goran Hadžić: Prime Minister of the Serb Autonomous District Slavonia, Baranja and Western Srem, and later, Croatian Serb President
**General Aleksandar Vasiljević: Yugoslav National Army (JNA) General, Head of its Counter-Intelligence Section

For Crimes Committed in Bosnia
*Radovan Karadžić: Republika Srpska President
*Biljana Plavšić: Held several high-level positions in the Bosnian Serb leadership, among them membership in the Presidency
*Momčilo Krajišnik: President of the Bosnian Serb Assembly
*Ratko Mladić, Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) Chief of the General Staff

For Crimes Committed in both Croatia and Bosnia
**Borisav Jović: Member of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) Presidency
**Branko Kostić: SFRY Presidency Member
Veljko Kadijević: JNA General, former SFRY Defence Minister
Blagoje Adžić: JNA General and Chief of Staff; succeeded Kadijević as SFRY Defence Minister
*Milan Martić: Commanded Croatian Serb police unit called “Martićevci,” also held several high-level positions in the Croatian Serb leadership, including Defence Minister, Interior Minister and President of the Serbian Autonomous Region Krajina and Republika Srpska Krajina
*Jovica Stanišić: Head of the Serbian State Security Service
*Franko Simatović aka “Frenki”: Commander of the State Security Unit Red Berets
*Željko Ražnatović aka “Arkan”: Commander of the paramilitary unit “Arkan's Tigers”
*Vojislav Šešelj: Head of the Serbian Radical Party, a Serbian politial party

Milošević's Bosnian Serb and Croatian Serb Co-Perpetrators

Witness testimonies, documents, intercepted telephone conversations and other evidence showed that Slobodan Milošević exerted substantial influence over his alleged co-perpetrators in the Croatian Serb and Bosnian Serb leaderships, and that he was in regular contact with them. Indeed, evidence showed that Milošević's co-perpetrators in Croatia and Bosnia looked to him, and depended on him for direction and support.

Insider witness Milan Babić testified that Slobodan Milošević was regarded as the leader and protector of all ethnic Serbs throughout the former Yugoslavia. UN official David Harland testified that when he had to write name signs for the Bosnian Serb delegation for negotiation meetings, VRS general and ICTY indictee Ratko Mladić would cross out the word “Bosnian”, and say, “No, no, we are a single Serb delegation. You know, Belgrade is our capital.” In an intercepted telephone conversation that took place on 9 July 1991, Radovan Karadžić said to Milošević, “Get in touch with me maybe daily. It is very important for me to hear your assessment.”

Prosecution evidence also showed that not only did Slobodan Milošević guide and support his co-perpetrators, but he also issued them instructions and orders. For example, in an intercepted telephone conversation on 31 July 1991, Milošević said to Radovan Karadžić: “The Serbs will not be divided into many states. That should be the basic premise for your thinking.”

The Prosecution showed that Slobodan Milošević was so integral to formulating and executing the policies of his co-perpetrators in the Croatian Serb and Bosnian Serb leaderships that he represented them in meetings with international representatives, and during several peace negotiations. When American envoy Richard Holbrooke asked Milošević who he should deal with in negotiating a peace plan for Bosnia, him or the Bosnian Serbs, Milošević replied, “With me, of course.”

Milošević's Co-Perpetrators in Belgrade
Prosecution evidence also showed that Slobodan Milošević exercised effective control over individuals holding positions in key institutions in the SFRY, which was succeeded in 1992 by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) after the SFRY fell apart, and Serbia, the dominant republic within each state.

One of these institutions was the army, which under the SFRY was called the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), and under the FRY was renamed the Yugoslav Army (VJ). Witness testimonies and other evidence showed that Slobodan Milošević effectively controlled the JNA in three ways:

First, by controlling the votes of a majority of members of the SFRY Presidency, the so-called “Serbian bloc”, which commanded the JNA;

Second, by controlling the SFRY Defence Ministers, who were allegedly Milošević's co-perpetrators, Veljko Kadijević and later Blagoje Adžić, and the JNA Chief of the General Staff, including Blagoje Adžić before he took over as Defence Minister. Intercepted telephone conversations showed Adžić and Kadijević communicating directly with Milošević and Radovan Karadžić, neither of whom had legal authority over them;

Third, through the “Military Line”, a group of JNA officers who were loyal to Milošević and whom he, and another of his alleged co-perpetrators, namely State Security Service Chief Jovica Stanišić, contacted directly, by-passing the normal JNA chain of command. In his testimony, former JNA general and insider witness Aleksandar Vasiljević listed a number of high-level JNA officers who were part of this group.

In the SFRY's successor state, the FRY, the army was commanded by both the President and the Supreme Defence Council (SDC), composed of the presidents of the FRY, Serbia and Montenegro. The prosecution presented evidence that Milošević controlled both. From 1993 to 1997, during the crimes committed in Bosnia, the FRY President was Zoran Lilić. Milan Babić testified that he overheard Lilić describing himself as being at Milošević's “disposal”. In addition, former Yugoslav President Zoran Lilić testified for the Prosecution that Milošević met privately with Yugoslav Army Chief of Staff Momčilo Perišić, by-passing regular reporting channels.

Another key institution which the Prosecution alleged Slobodan Milošević controlled was the Interior Ministry of the Republic of Serbia, and within it, the State Security Service, headed by his alleged co-perpetrator Jovica Stanišić. Although the head of the State Security Service is formally subordinate to the Interior Minister, the Prosecution led evidence designed to show that real power resided with Stanišić, who was in effect the number two man in Milošević's regime. Milan Babić testified that Stanišić once told him that he dealt with the country's internal affairs, and that Milošević handled foreign affairs. Aleksandar Vasiljević testified that Milošević appointed the head of the State Security Service and treated him as if he were of higher rank than the Interior Minister.

The Prosecution introduced evidence that Slobodan Milošević built the forces that operated under the State Security Service's control; specifically, the special units commonly known as the Red Berets, which were commanded by his alleged co-perpetrator Franko Simatović, aka “Frenki,” and which the Prosecution asserted committed a great many crimes. Former SFRY Prime Minister Ante Marković testified before the court that Milošević stated at the time: “…I ordered mobilisation of the reserve task force of the Serbian Ministry of Interior Security Forces and the urgent forming of supplementary forces of the Republic of Serbia police.” In addition, Jovica Stanišić is reported to have said to Milošević at an anniversary celebration of the founding of the special units, held on 13 May 1997, “Mr. President, everything we have done so far we did with your knowledge and with your consent.”

The Prosecution introduced evidence that paramilitary units also operated under Milošević's control. Aleksandar Vasiljević testified that most of the paramilitary units were attached to the Serbian Interior Ministry. He stated that State Security Chief Jovica Stanišić, and the Interior Ministry's Public Security Chief Radovan Stojičić, aka “Badža“, stood behind all of the paramilitary groups.

The Prosecution also led evidence that, through the State Security Service and the Red Berets, Milošević controlled his alleged co-perpetrator Željko Ražnatović aka “Arkan”, and his paramilitary group, “Arkan's Tigers”. Protected witness B-129 described Arkan's Tigers, which the Prosecution alleged also committed a number of crimes, as a reserve force of the State Security Service or Interior Ministry. Protected witness C-048 testified that at the March 1993 gathering at the Novi Sad casino, Slobodan Milošević asked Mihalj Kertes, a high-level Yugoslav official, whether Arkan was under control and was assured that he was. Milošević stated that “we need people like this now, but no one should think that they are more powerful than the state”.

Money, Materials and Men

The Prosecution introduced evidence that Slobodan Milošević provided his proxies in the Croatian Serb and Bosnian Serb leadership money, materials and men in order to give them the means to ethnically cleanse areas of Croatia and Bosnia that he wanted to include in his Greater Serbia. Prosecution evidence showed that the Croatian Serb and Bosnian Serb states relied almost entirely on assistance from institutions under Milošević's control in order to fund and implement his plan.

Prosecutors submitted evidence that 90% of the Croatian Serb and 99.6% of the Bosnian Serb governments' budgets in 1993 came from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Evidence also showed that the vast majority of those funds were spent on the Croatian Serb and Bosnian Serb police and military.

Radovan Karadžić stated quite clearly in an address to the Republika Srpska Assembly in May 1994: “Without Serbia, nothing would have happened, we don't have the resources and we would not have been able to make war.” Croatian Serb leader Milan Babić testified that without support from Yugoslavia, or Serbia, “under no circumstances could [the Croatian Serb government] exist”. Former JNA general, and insider witness Aleksandar Vasiljević stated in his testimony in the Milošević case, “There are … the [Croatian Serb] Krajina and the Republika Srpska who have their own governments, who have their own armies, but the funding comes from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.”

The Prosecution submitted evidence showing that the Croatian Serb and Bosnian Serb armies, police forces, security services and local Serb armed groups received almost all of their weapons, ammunition, and equipment from the JNA, its successor the VJ, and the Serbian Interior Ministry, all of which Slobodan Milošević effectively controlled, as described above.

Both Croatian Serb and Bosnian Serb armed forces received a great deal of weaponry before the conflicts erupted. Milan Babić testified that in the summer of 1991 a JNA colonel, after taking their orders, gave Croatian Serbs weapons from a JNA warehouse located in Bosnia near the Croatian border. Protected witness B-24, a member of the local Serb authorities in Zvornik in eastern Bosnia, testified that at least two-thirds of their weapons came from the JNA. A military document introduced in Milošević's trial, which is dated March 1992, states that the “JNA has distributed 51,900 weapons [to the Bosnian Serbs].” Another document, introduced by protected witness B-1448, suggests that in 1992 paramilitaries in Bosnia were getting equipment from JNA barracks near Belgrade.

Evidence also showed that weapons, ammunition and equipment continued to be transferred throughout the wars. When the JNA withdrew from Croatia and Bosnia in May 1992, it left behind for the Croatian Serb and Bosnian Serb armies a large quantity of both supplies and men. The extent to which the Bosnian Serb army relied on this initial gift from the JNA and subsequent VJ support is best exemplified in Ratko Mladić's overview of his army's supplies from the beginning of the war to 31 December 1994, which he gave in April 1995 to the Bosnian Serb Assembly:

From the beginning of the war to date, a total of 9,185 tons of infantry ammunition has been expended. 1.49% self-produced; 42.2% came from supplies that we inherited and were withdrawn from enclaves and [barracks] of the former JNA, 47.2% was provided by the Yugoslav Army; and 9.11% was imported… We have expended 18,151 tons of artillery munitions, 26.2% of it from production, 39% from supplies, 34.4% provided by the Yugoslav Army and 0.26% imported… As for anti-aircraft ammunition we expended 1,336 tons. We secured none from production, which means we didn't produce one shell, one bullet … 42.7% came from supplies, 52.4% were provided by the Yugoslav Army, and 4.9% came from imports…

Former JNA general Aleksandar Vasiljević testified that the SFRY Presidency would have to approve transferring weapons from JNA stores to non-military personnel. He also testified that a JNA colonel told him that General Života Panić, a high-level JNA commander, had verbally ordered him to give the Croatian Serbs weapons. General Života Panić was subordinate to both generals Blagoje Adžić and Veljko Kadijević.

Slobodan Milošević himself admitted to providing assistance for the war effort on 2 April 2001, when he was detained in Belgrade on abuse of office charges:

"As regards the resources spent for weapons, ammunition and other needs of the army of Republika Srpska and the Republic of Serbian Krajina, these expenditures constituted a state secret and because of state interests could not be indicated in the Law on the Budget, which is a public document. The same applies to the expenditures incurred by providing equipment, from a needle to an anchor, for the security forces and special anti-terrorist forces in particular, from light weapons and equipment to helicopters and other weapons which still remain where they are today, and this was not made public because it was a state secret, as was everything else that was provided for the army of Republika Srpska."

Also, evidence showed that not only did the majority of soldiers in the Croatian Serb and Bosnian Serb armies come from the JNA, but that they continued to receive their salaries from Belgrade. Milan Babić testified that the JNA paid those of its officers who volunteered to serve in Croatian Serb armed units. A top secret order from the SFRY Defence Department in September 1991 transferred high-ranking JNA officers to Croatian Serb army garrisons. In relation to JNA officers who were born in Bosnia, a strictly confidential order on 7 May 1992 states the following:

“…it has been ensured that members of the JNA who remain on the territory of the Republic of BH [Bosnia] or are sent to this territory shall retain all the rights enjoyed by other members of the JNA. In keeping with this, and in order to implement this decision in a systematic and organised manner, all members of the JNA who have BH citizenship shall be retained in their current duties in units and institutions in Bosnia.”

The Prosecution introduced evidence that the VJ 30th and 40th Personnel Centers were established precisely in order to regulate the status, promotions, payment and benefits of former JNA or VJ staff serving in Bosnia and Croatia. Evidence in the case showed that VRS General Ratko Mladić, along with other VRS officers, two of whom the Tribunal convicted of crimes in Srebrenica in 1995, were served by the 30th Personnel Center. The minutes of the Supreme Defence Council, a Yugoslav body which Slobodan Milošević dominated, showed that it made decisions to promote and punish Bosnian Serb army officers.

In cross-examining Prosecution witness British General Rupert Smith, Slobdan Milošević stated that paying officers' salaries does not constitute command. General Smith replied, “…the man who pays the cheque is usually the person who is in control eventually”.

Criminal Intent of Milošević's Co-perpetrators

Evidence was led that Slobodan Milošević's co-perpetrators made their criminal intent quite clear in both their public statements, intercepted conversations and other evidence. For example, in an intercepted telephone conversation, Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadžić tells Milošević on 24 October 1991: [...] we have prepared everything to create a de facto situation..., which they [referring to the Bosnian Muslims] will break their teeth on, ... there is no way we will live in a country with them (...).” Later, in a speech Karadžić made to Serb municipality leaders, he exhorted: “…you should seize power completely and energetically!”

The Prosecution introduced two documents which showed that Karadžić's exhortation to Serb leaders to seize power was backed up by a plan on how to do so. The first document, called “Variant A and B” laid out precise steps that Serb municipal leaders were to take in order to establish Bosnian Serb control, which varied according to whether the Serbs constituted a majority in the municipality (variant A) or a minority (variant B). Radovan Karadžić presided over the meeting at which the document was distributed to Serb municipal leaders on 20 December 1991, months before the war in Bosnia started.

The second document is called “Six Strategic Objectives of the Serbian people.” The first strategic goal that it describes is “separating the Serbian people from the other two ethnic communities”. The document, which constituted official policy of the Bosnian Serb Republic, was printed in its official gazette on 12 May 1992, at the outset of the war.

Genocidal Intent

The Prosecution also led evidence designed to prove that the highest level Bosnian Serb leaders, and Radovan Karadžić in particular, intended to commit genocide in Bosnia. In an intercepted telephone conversation on 12 October 1991, Karadžić tells his interlocutor, poet and professor Gojko Djogo, on a number of occasions that the Bosnian Muslims will disappear:

Karadžić: …They do not understand that there would be bloodshed and that the Muslim people would be exterminated. The deprived Muslims, who do not know where he is leading, to what he is leading [them], would disappear.
Djogo: Yes, yes, yes, yes.

Djogo: Where does he … where does he mean to start a war, in Sarajevo? Is he a madman?
Karadžić: He is. I think that they should be beaten if they start the war. They will be … they will … well, they will disappear, that is …
Djogo: There will be a lot of blood, but …
Karadžić: They will disappear, that people will disappear from the face of the Earth if they, it they insist now. Their only chance was to accept what we had offered them. It was too much, we did offer them too much…”

In another intercepted conversation on 15 October 1991, Karadžić said, “In the first place no one of their leadership would stay alive, in three, four hours they'd all be killed. They wouldn't have a chance to survive at all.” On the same day, in a televised address to the Bosnian Assembly, Karadžić said: “This is the road that you want Bosnia and Herzegovina to take, the same highway of hell and suffering that Slovenia and Croatia went through. Don't think you won't take Bosnia and Herzegovina to hell and the Muslim people in possible extinction….”

To show that Radovan Karadžić's genocidal intentions were not all bluster, the Prosecution introduced into evidence Karadžić's Directive of 8 March 1995 in relation to Srebrenica: “By planned and well-thought out combat operations create an unbearable situation of total insecurity with no hope of further survival of life for the inhabitants of Srebrenica and Žepa.” Srebrenica and Žepa, both located in eastern Bosnia, were declared by the UN to be safe areas. Both were crammed to overflowing with Muslim refugees.

Former Bosnian Serb official and ICTY convict Miroslav Deronjić gave evidence that two days before the massacres at Srebrenica began, Radovan Karadžić told him, “Miroslav, all of them need to be killed.” On 11 and 12 July 1995, after VRS forces took Srebrenica, Ratko Mladić met with UN peacekeeping commanders and a Bosnian Muslim representative. During the meeting Mladić offered the Bosnian Muslims the option of surviving or disappearing. On 13 July 1995, VRS Colonel, and ICTY indictee, Ljubiša Beara spoke to Miroslav Deronjić about the prisoners from Srebrenica that were being held in Bratunac, located nearby. He said, “I have orders from the top, orders from the top [sic] to kill the prisoners.”

A couple of weeks later, on 6 August 1995, according to the prosecution evidence Karadžić describes what happened at Srebrenica as a “success”: “As you know, we had success in Srebrenica and Žepa. There's nothing to criticise or comment on there. Of course, many stupidities were committed after that, for many Muslim soldiers roamed the surrounding woods, and there we suffered some losses. In the action itself, we didn't have losses.”

Implementing the Greater Serbia Plan on the Ground

Civilian, police, military and paramilitary organs subordinate to Slobodan Milošević and his co-perpetrators allegedly put Milošević's criminal plan into action. Working under the direction of Slobodan Milošević and his partners in crime, these organs collaborated to drive non-Serb populations out of municipalities and territories throughout Croatia and Bosnia, and to establish Serbian control over them.

In its case, the Prosecution showed that Slobodan Milošević's criminal plan followed a common pattern in village after village, and town after town. Beginning in August 1991 in Croatia and March 1992 in Bosnia, forces subordinate to Slobodan Milošević and his co-perpetrators, having covertly armed local Serb forces, began to attack villages with non-Serb populations.

After this first round of shelling, Serb forces entered the villages and either forced those who survived to flee, killed them, or captured them and took them to detention camps where they were held in inhumane conditions, beaten, tortured, sexually assaulted, or made to perform forced labour. The Serb forces also destroyed numerous Catholic churches, monasteries, and mosques, a great many non-Serb homes, and they also looted non-Serb property.

Frequently, before the armed attacks began, forces subordinate to Slobodan Milošević and his co-perpetrators declared large areas of Croatia and Bosnia autonomous regions. They also either took over public institutions and local government structures, or established parallel ones. To eliminate opposition to their rule, they specifically targeted economic, political, religious and academic leaders of non-Serb communities.

According to the prosecution, the result of Slobodan Milošević's ethnic cleansing plan was that almost the entire non-Serb population of Serb held parts of Croatia, which in 1991 numbered 168,000 Croats, was forcibly removed or killed. Similarly, demographic evidence that the Prosecution introduced showed that about 344,000 Muslims born before 1980 were living in the area which later came under Bosnian Serb control. In 1997/1998, only about 15,000 remained.

Milošević Knew About the Crimes and Failed to Stop Them

The Prosecution led evidence that showed that Slobodan Milošević knew about the crimes his proxies were committing in Croatia and Bosnia. During the awards ceremony for the Red Berets on 13 May 1997, which was videotaped, Milošević told one of its members, Colonel Radojica Božović, “Hello Božović, I read those reports of yours.” Božović, whom a number of Prosecution witnesses incriminated, replied: “Thank you (inaudible words), God forbid there should be more of them, but should there be, I'm here.”

International representatives were surprised by the level of detailed knowledge that Slobodan Milošević had of events in Croatia and Bosnia, which was unusual in their experience for someone of his level. For example, American General Wesley Clark testified that at the Dayton peace negotiations, he worked directly with Slobodan Milošević to establish a link between two cities on a computerized map. Clark said that Milošević knew the strategic significance of villages and the terrain and did not need to consult with anyone.

International representatives and organizations also regularly sent Slobodan Milošević letters and reports, or informed him verbally in meetings of crimes occurring on the ground. For example, American Ambassador Herbert Okun testified that during a meeting that he and his fellow American negotiator Cyrus Vance held with Slobodan Milošević they discussed reports about Serbian paramilitaries operating in eastern Bosnia, and in particular Željko Ražnatović, aka “Arkan,” whose unit had allegedly committed a number of crimes in Bijeljina. Milošević suggested that Arkan was there privately. Vance told Milošević that he didn't believe that. Milošević then replied, “Arkan was in Bijeljina only at the beginning. The rest of the time he was in Belgrade.” Later, after Vance said that everyone knew Arkan was there, Milošević admitted, “Yes, but others as well.”

Based on Slobodan Milošević's dominant relationship with his co-perpetrators, and the forces they commanded, the Prosecution argued that he had the ability to punish those who committed crimes, and to stop them from perpetrating more in the future. For example, VRS General Ratko Mladić was paid by the VJ. His army, the VRS, depended on the VJ for money, material and men. Slobodan Milošević, if he had chosen to, could have reigned him in and prevented the suffering of countless victims. Milošević chose not to. Indeed, as UN official David Harland testified, sometime at the beginning of August 1995, Radovan Karadžić tried to fire Mladić, but Mladić stayed in his post, with Belgrade's support.

Prosecuting Milošević's Co-perpetrators

Because Slobodan Milošević died before the end of his trial, there will be no judgement in his case. However, the Office of the Prosecutor, in its efforts to bring justice to victims of these crimes, has brought cases against a number of Milošević's alleged co-perpetrators. Croatian Serb leader Milan Babić pleaded guilty to crimes committed in Croatia, while Milan Martić was convicted by the first instance Trial Chamber and sentenced to 35 years' imprisonment. Bosnian Serb leader Biljana Plavšić also pleaded guilty, while her fellow official Momčilo Krajišnik was convicted and sentenced in the first instance to 27 years' imprisonment for crimes in Bosnia. Former Serbian State Security officials Jovica Stanišić and Franko Simatović are awaiting trial, and Serbian political party leader Vojislav Šešelj is currently on trial. Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadžić and Ratko Mladić remain at large.

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