Viewing cable 04THEHAGUE176

04THEHAGUE1762004-01-26 14:05:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy The Hague
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 THE HAGUE 000176 
Classified By: Clifton M. Johnson, Legal Counselor, for reasons 1.5 b, 
¶1. (C) Summary.  The trial of Slobodan Milosevic before the 
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia 
(ICTY) resumed on January 13 after a three-week winter break, 
which had begun just after the high note of General Wesley 
Clark's testimony.  Prosecution witnesses included a Serb 
journalist, a German genocide scholar, and a senior member of 
Croatian President Tudjman's administration.  Milosevic 
remained in seemingly good health.  Meanwhile, high profile 
(and risky) witnesses may be called in the few weeks 
remaining in the prosecution case, including former RS 
co-president Biljana Plavsic (see below, paras 8-9). 
Separately, the Appeals Chamber has upheld the Trial 
Chamber's decision that Milosevic will have three months from 
the date the prosecution closes its case-in-chief to prepare 
his defense, which means we can expect an opening statement 
by Milosevic sometime in late May or early June.  End Summary. 
New Year's Witnesses 
¶2. (SBU) The first witness to follow the holiday break was 
Serbian journalist Nenad Zafirovic, who covered the wars in 
Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s.  The testimony was intended 
to demonstrate Milosevic's close coordination with leaders of 
Republika Srpska on two occasions - the 1993 Geneva peace 
talks, and a follow-up 1993 Republika Srpska assembly session 
in Pale. Regarding the Geneva negotiations, Zafirovic 
testified "from all the information I gathered as a 
journalist, the accused was the head of the Bosnian Serb 
delegation and everything depended on him", stating that the 
Bosnian Serbs referred to Milosevic informally as "the big 
boss" and "big daddy". Milosevic was unfazed by the 
testimony, arguing that he served as an advisor to the 
Bosnian Serbs and consistently advised them to seek a 
peaceful solution to the Bosnian conflict.  He also noted 
that Presidents from the other Yugoslav republics were 
present in Geneva in an advisory role. 
¶3. (C) The prosecution's main interest in Zafirovic was his 
authentication of a recording of a closed session of a 1993 
Republika Srpska Assembly session, into which Zafirovic had 
smuggled a tape recorder with the help of an RS Assembly 
member.  The recording contained an address by Milosevic to 
the RS assembly on May 5, 1993, and highlighted Milosevic's 
repeated use of the word "we" when referring to the goals of 
the RS.  In a particularly ominous section (from the 
prosecution's perspective), Milosevic discusses the need for 
"amalgamating" Serb economies in Serbia proper and RS 
territories, and he then says, "I suppose it doesn't take too 
much imagination to realize where this process is heading." 
When the recording was first introduced several months ago, 
Milosevic argued that the statements should be taken in 
context because he knew the session was public.  Zafirovic, 
however, provided evidence that the session was closed, 
excluded journalists and was secured by armed guards, casting 
the speech in a different light.  Milosevic exclaimed that he 
used the word "We" because he was a Serb, and he was urging 
all Serbs to accept peace.  Still, one senior prosecutor 
suggested that the recording of Milosevic was among the most 
important pieces of evidence identifying a common plan among 
Belgrade and Pale leadership. 
¶4. (SBU) Ante Markovic (last Federal Prime Minister of 
Yugoslavia 1989-91):  Markovic (who was resuming testimony 
from October 2003) implicated Milosevic in several key 
events, most notably reiterating his testimony that Milosevic 
and Croatian President Tudjman had agreed to partition Bosnia 
and Herzegovina (BiH).  He also implied that Milosevic was 
responsible for a missile that was fired to disrupt a meeting 
between Tudjman and Markovic in Croatia in 1991.  Milosevic 
denied the allegation, referencing a news article stating it 
was a "mock attack".  In addition, Markovic testified about 
Yugoslav Defense Minister Kadijevic's plan to arrest Slovene 
and Croatian leaders in order to consolidate power. Markovic 
implied that Milosevic was behind the plot, which Milosevic 
denied.  During Markovic's cross examination, Milosevic 
produced his original business diaries for his last years as 
prime minister - documents OTP has been trying to secure for 
years -- indicating that Milosevic is able to retain at least 
some control over key archival materials that has not 
provided to OTP, despite specific requests. 
¶5. (SBU) Berko Zecevic (Munitions Expert):  The prosecution 
introduced the testimony of a munitions expert who prepared 
an investigative report following the bombing of the Markale 
marketplace on February 5, 1994.  The witness, who also 
teaches at a Belgrade university, presented evidence that the 
bomb was fired from a Serbian position.  In addition, Zecevic 
testified that a source of significant quantities of 
ammunition used by the Bosnian Serb Army came from Serbia in 
violation of the existing arms embargo.  Milosevic argued 
that UNPROFOR had not been able to determine the bomb's 
origin in weeks of investigations, yet the witness was able 
to examine the marketplace and prepare a report in just 
thirty hours.  He also accused Zecevic of bias, noting the 
Zecevic had most recently worked as a civilian for the BiH 
army.  The witness, however, was very confident of his 
findings and his own expertise, and held up well under 
¶6. (SBU) Ton Zwann (German Professor): The prosecution called 
Zwann, a German professor and specialist on genocide, to 
testify on an academic report he prepared that explores the 
definition of genocide.  The witness's report defined 
genocide from a historical and sociological - as opposed to 
legal - point of view, allowing the prosecution to present a 
broad definition of genocide for consideration by the Chamber 
and assert that the preconditions for genocide in BiH 
existed.  The report was prepared at the request of OTP, 
however the witness testified that it was a general analysis 
of genocide that was not tailored to specific events in 
Bosnia.  Milosevic attacked the relevance of a report that 
failed to included a legal analysis of the basis and 
definition of genocide. 
¶7. (SBU)  Hrvoje Sarinic (Senior official in Croatian 
President Tudjman's administration): The prosecution 
introduced the testimony of Hrvoje Sarinic, a senior advisor 
in the administration of Croatian President Tudjman.  Nice 
asked Sarinic about numerous meetings that took place during 
1993 to 1995 and introduced into evidence his book, "All My 
Secret Negotiations with Slobodan Milosevic."  Each 
individual meeting carried pieces of relevant evidence 
purporting to illustrate Milosevic's complicity with the 
Bosnian Serbs regarding key events in the wars in Croatia and 
Bosnia.  For example, Sarinic testified that during a meeting 
on November 12, 1993, Milosevic said of Serbian paramilitary 
Arkan, "I have to have someone who is going to do part of the 
job for me." Asked about a December 3, 1993 meeting where 
Tudjman was negotiating to give Bosnian Serbs and Muslims 
access to a portion of the Croatian coast, Sarinic testified 
that Milosevic "had authorization to negotiate on behalf of 
Republika Srpska."  Asked about a 1995 meeting with Milosevic 
and RS Premier Borislav Mikelic in Belgrade,  Sarinic 
testified that Milosevic demonstrated his leadership and 
control over the Bosnian Serb leader, telling Mikelic to "sit 
down, sit here, and don't ask any questions."  Sarinic also 
provided testimony that Tudjman and Milosevic had considered 
partitioning Bosnia, and that Milosevic had insisted to 
Tudjman that with the establishment of Republika Srpska, he 
had resolved "95 percent of the Serbian national question, as 
(Tudjman) did with Herceg-Bosna." The testimony resulted in 
evidence suggesting that Milosevic had played a crucial role 
in Serbian aggression in Croatia and Bosnia.  During 
cross-examination, the testimony degenerated into a lengthy 
back and forth blame session between Milosevic and the 
witness on a range of events in Bosnia and Croatia.  When 
Milosevic asked whether Sarinic truly believed that Milosevic 
had organized the shelling of Dubrovnik, Sarinic replied, "I 
don't believe that you organized it, but you knew about it." 
Future Witnesses 
¶8. (C) A senior prosecutor told Embassy legal officers on 
January 26 that "Mrs. P" (Biljana Plavsic) will testify for 
the prosecution on February 4.  She will be appearing under 
what is now a confidential subpoena, and this particular 
prosecutor considers her to be "hostile."  The prosecution's 
main interest in Plavsic, who is serving out an eleven-year 
sentence in Sweden following her guilty plea to one count of 
crimes against humanity (persecutions), relates to her 
evidence tending to show that Milosevic controlled Karadzic 
to a significant degree.  She will testify, for example, that 
Karadzic on at least one occasion gave a speech to the RS 
Assembly based on notes from Milosevic's own handwriting. 
She will also testify, it is hoped, to payments from Belgrade 
to Mladic through the 1990s.  Still, Plavsic is said to 
present a high risk -- and not only to the Milosevic 
prosecution.  The content of her testimony against Milosevic, 
for instance, remains uncertain even to the prosecution, 
while there is also the risk that she could contradict or 
repudiate details in the "agreed facts" that were integral to 
her plea.  The chief prosecutor is said to feel very strongly 
that Plavsic must testify in the case. 
¶9. (C)  It also remains possible that Momcilo Perisic, 
formerly Milosevic's chief military adviser but with whom he 
had a falling out, will testify against Milosevic in early 
February.  The fact that Perisic, who is already in The 
Hague, has long been considered a possible indictee by the 
Tribunal may also affect his testimony, as well as his 
credibility as a witness.  A senior prosecutor has told 
Embassy legal officer that Perisic would present the 
prosecution with a high risk, as his testimony against 
Milosevic could be coupled with protestations of ignorance 
regarding crimes such as those at Srebrenica in 1995.  In 
addition, prosecutors have serious questions as to whether 
his testimony could be influenced by legal proceedings 
against him in Serbia. 
Appeals Decision on the Defense 
¶10. (SBU) The Appeals Chamber, in a decision issued early in 
the week, upheld the Trial Chamber's decision that Milosevic 
has three months from the date of the prosecution's close of 
its case-in-chief to prepare his defense.  However, it notes 
that additional adjournments are possible if the Chamber 
finds that the accused lacks sufficient time or resources. 
The decision notes that the accused must accept 
responsibility for his decision to defend himself by 
accepting that his decision has disadvantages. 
¶11. (C) The looming conclusion of the prosecution case took 
on an added sense of reality during the past weeks.  Most 
immediately, the prosecution has to make its final selections 
concerning witnesses, and in the case of Perisic and Plavsic 
in particular, it needs to weigh the potential risks against 
the significance they would lend to the evidence already 
presented over the past two years.  Plavsic's testimony, for 
instance, could be one of the trial's critical moments.  The 
appeals chamber decision provided a longer view of the 
proceedings, reminding observers that the prosecution's rest 
will bring to a close only the first portion of the trial. 
Beginning in the spring or early summer, in all likelihood, 
observers will finally get to see whether Milosevic puts on a 
serious defense against two years of evidence the prosecution 
has put forward to prove the charges arising out of the 
Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia indictments.  End comment.