Written by: Andy Wilcoxson


Professor Ratko Markovic concluded his examination-in-chief at the Hague Tribunal’s trial of Slobodan Milosevic on Wednesday. His testimony focused on his experience as the leader of the Serbian Government’s delegation at talks in Rambouillet, France in 1999, which were intended to find a peaceful solution to the Kosovo crisis.


The Serbian Government delegation, which Markovic headed, was multi-ethnic. The delegation was comprised of two Albanians, two Serbs (counting Markovic), two Turks, one Goran, one Muslim, one Roma, and one Egyptian. The so-called “Kosovo delegation” was comprised exclusively of Albanians, and their leader was Hashim Tachi, the head of the KLA terrorist organization.   


According to Markovic’s testimony, the talks in Rambouillet were held under the auspices of the Contact Group. The Contact Group only produced one document in relation to the talks; this document was a set of non-negotiable principles that the parties had to abide by for the negotiations. The delegation of the Serbian Government agreed to these principles and signed the document, but the Kosovo-Albanian delegation did not.


Professor Markovic explained that the Kosovo-Albanian delegation did not sign the document, because one of the Contact Group’s non-negotiable principles was the territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.


In spite of the Kosovo-Albanian side’s refusal to agree to the basic pre-conditions set out by the Contact Group, the conference in Rambouillet was nonetheless convened.


At these so-called “negotiations” there were no direct talks between the Kosovo-Albanian delegation and the delegation of the Serbian Government. No rules were established for negotiations, and no agenda was ever made. According to Markovic the situation at the conference was chaotic.


The two delegations only met with international mediators, who provided bits and pieces of the so-called “Rambouillet Agreement” to them in a piecemeal fashion, over the course of the conference.


Markovic described one meeting with Madeline Albright. According to his description of events; it was as if the former U.S. Secretary of State was suffering from some sort of bipolar disorder. He said that she would speak fondly of her childhood in Serbia, and her father’s love for the Serbian people one minute, and then she would change personalities and angrily threaten Serbia with bombing if it didn’t sign the so-called “agreement.”


According to Professor Markovic, the Serbian Government delegation was not provided with the complete text of the so-called “Rambouillet Agreement” until 9:30 AM on the final day of the conference, this fact was confirmed by the date and time stamped on the document itself.


The Serbian Government delegation was given a deadline of 1 PM (3 ½ hours) to decide if they would sign the document or not. There were never any negotiations regarding the contents of the document. It was presented in an “all or nothing” form.


Markovic and the Government delegation had not received Chapters II, V, and VII of the agreement until 9:30 AM on the final day. Those chapters dealt with the military implementation of the so-called “agreement.” This is where the infamous Annex B is contained, and where NATO demands the wholesale occupation of Yugoslavia.


Not surprisingly, the Serbian Government refused to sign a piece of paper that would give NATO the right to occupy the whole country, take over the electromagnetic spectrum, and generally control everything under the Serbian sun. Professor Markovic summed up the Serbian Government’s choice, as “a choice between NATO occupation and NATO bombing.”


Professor Markovic explained that the so-called “Rambouillet Agreement” is not a document of the Contact Group. The Rambouillet conference was held under the auspices of the Contact Group, but the Contact Group never adopted the “Rambouillet Agreement”. It is a non-document; it was not issued under anybody’s authority.


Professor Markovic testified that Boris Maiorsky, the Russian representative of the Contact Group, who was mediating the Rambouillet conference together with Hill and Petritsch, had never even seen Chapters II and VII of the so-called “agreement” and that Chapter V was debated, but never adopted by the Contact Group.


Markovic speculated that the final text of the so-called “Rambouillet Agreement” was the work of Madeline Albright. He said that she was the “gray eminence” behind everything that happened in Rambouillet.


The so-called “Rambouillet Agreement” that the Albanians signed, and the Serbian Government did not sign, was a non-document. It was not issued under anybody’s authority. The very term “agreement” is a misnomer. The Albanians did not sign an agreement with anybody, it was not an agreement between Albanians and the Contact Group, nor was it an agreement between Albanians and the Serbian government. It was only an “agreement” of the Albanians with themselves.


Just like the Albanians, the Serbian Government delegation also signed an agreement among itself. Unlike the Albanians, the Serbian Government delegation was multi-ethnic, and contained the leading members from all of Kosovo’s ethnic communities – except Albanians where it contained only minority leaders in that community.


The only ones who signed an agreement with the Contact Group, in relation to the Rambouillet conference, was the Serbian Government, when it agreed to the basic principles for negotiations.


Markovic summed up the Rambouillet conference as follows, no negotiations were held, no agreement was reached, and the Contact Group adopted no conclusions.


Upon completion of his examination-in-chief, Professor Markovic was cross-examined by Mr. Nice. Nice began his cross-examination with a general attack on the witness, this drew rare criticism from Mr. Bonamy who accused the prosecutor of being antagonistic towards the witness.


Mr. Nice did not effectively challenge any of the evidence that Professor Markovic gave during his examination-in-chief. Mr. Nice focused his attention on a scholarly paper that Markovic wrote in 1988 (before he was involved in politics) where he criticized the 1974 Serbian Constitution.


Mr. Nice is expected to continue his cross-examination throughout tomorrow’s session.

# # #