The Hague August 24, 2001


RITA COSBY: President Milosevic, thank you so much for joining us from the Hague. First of all, tell  us if you could, how are you feeling?

SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC: I feel fine, you know I'm here in the jail, the so-called "prison" of that illegitimate tribunal, which is not having any legitimacy  exactly as NATO aggression against
Yugoslavia had no legitimacy.  Those are the paths of the same approach. This tribunal is to NATO based tribunal to continue the war by other means.
RITA COSBY: Now that tribunal has called you an indicted war criminal, how do you feel about that title?
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC: You know I can tell you, I'm proud for everything I did in defending my country and my people, all my decisions are legitimate and legal, based on the Constitution of Yugoslavia, and based on the right of self-defense which belongs to every nation in the world .  And their decisions - NATO leaders' decisions were all criminal.  They were simply killing our people and they have thrown more than 22,000 tons of bombs to hospitals, to apartments of civilians, to electricity facilities, water supply,  bridges, railways, trains, refugees, and that was all one massive killing of  innocent people and that was the real crime, so right address for war crimes in Yugoslavia  is NATO.  That all was done in front of the eyes of all the world, so I don't believe in spite the huge media campaign against my country, that it is possible  to hide those facts.
RITA COSBY: Do you think that you have anything to apologize for, because  tens of  thousands of Albanian lives were lost?
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC:  They were lost in the NATO aggression. I want to remind you that before the aggression started there were only some rare conflicts with small groups of  terrorists who were putting bombs in cafes, in market places or somewhere else, killing innocent people.  That was all, and that was calmed down in the Autumn of 1998. They were bringing they're arms by tractors getting it back to the police, and that was completely calmed down.  And people were in their homes, and there was verification mission of OSCE, so  in front of them, that was completely clear, Kosovo was completely calm. But when NATO started bombing on 24th of March, lots of civilians were killed, and of course lot of them tried to escape what was normal - everybody was running away. I said to one of your colleagues during the war when he was asking me why the people were running away: "How one wouldn't t run away under air alarm of 24 hrs a day and under massive bombings of NATO". Everybody was running away, including dears, bears, birds, everybody was running away.
RITA COSBY:  What I wanted to ask you, was you did direct Serb troops to kill Albanians, of course Albanians were killing Serbs as well, but you did direct Serb troops to kill Albanians, how do you feel about that?
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC:   No, no, the troops were avoiding to kill civilians  anyhow, they had only to eliminate terrorist groups which were killing people, both Serbs and others - Albanians, Turks, Muslims, everybody. Even when they were quite  clearly visible within the groups of civilians, there was strict order that  police or army should not open fire - just to avoid possibility to kill any civilian. So there was nothing like killing civilians done  by armed forces of
RITA COSBY: But many civilians were raped, many were killed - there is proof of that . They ended up in mass graves, how do you explain that?
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC:  There were individual crimes, but there was clear order  that any crime has to be punished immediately, and whoever did it has to be arrested. And the proof that that order was obeyed quite clearly and exactly as it  was supposed to be obeyed, is the fact that more than 500 different individuals were immediately arrested by the police or the army. So, armed forces and police forces had nothing in common with any crime which was committed in Kosovo. Those were consequences of chaotic situation created by massive bombing of NATO. In such chaotic situation, of course there is always a possibility for different criminal elements to do some crime, but there was very very efficient action against all of them to be immediately arrested and sent to jail. Army and police forces were defending the country and were not used against the population  They were our citizens and they were not object of any military action.

RITA COSBY: Are you sorry - and I will say that some of the Albanian  leaders, and Albanian officials have said that they are sorry that some Serb civilians were killed in the process, as you have said, in the chaotic situation. Are you prepared to say now that you and others are sorry for, maybe some of  the civilian deaths, some of the other deaths that happened to have been killed? 
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC: Many things happened in that chaos, but you have to be aware  of the fact that that was just the consequence of that criminal aggression committed by NATO against

RITA COSBY: Are you sorry I guess, a lot of people...
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC:  Of course, all of us are sorry for the death of any person anywhere in the world, nobody can't be happy for the death of any person anywhere, that is so obvious so that it is not the question at all.
RITA COSBY: What will you use as your defense at the trial, and will you represent yourself?  What will you use as your defense?
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC:  You know, this trial is really illegal, but I said to you  that all the decisions of mine were completely legitimate and legal in defense of my country, and their decisions were completely criminal and that is the big difference. That is the big difference.  Look now at what they are doing in
Macedonia,  they first supported Albanian terrorists whom they call "Kosovo liberation army", in fact that is a terrorist organization, to start killing  people in Macedonia, and then that is now the excuse for them to get in with the troops and to occupy Macedonia.  That is the process of occupation of the  Balkan peninsula.
RITA COSBY: But in this case, Mr. President, the NATO troops are coming in  and they are disarming the Albanians, do you think that is a good thing?
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC:  They will disarm Albanians like they disarmed Albanians in Kosovo. I remember what commanding general of KFOR in July 1999, said - that  "KLA" was disarmed, and than those disarmed are killing people every day under the auspices of NATO, who are occupying Kosovo, so I don't believe that they will disarm them. They will only say that, but they will not do that.
RITA COSBY: How do your people in
Yugoslavia feel about you now, do you think  you still have support within your country?
SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC:  Yes, I have very wide and very strong support within my people.  So, they understand how they have brought that puppet regime now in
Belgrade with those stolen elections and they understand that that is  the way to occupy Yugoslavia. Everything is now worse than it was before, despite the fact that there are no sanctions anymore, that everything is now open for growing the economy without any limitation. But economy is getting down, there is no factory which is working normally, people are living very hard and everybody knows it.


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