KOSOVO EU MONITORING MISSION CHIEF CONTINUES HIS TESTIMONY
www.slobodan-milosevic.org - March 8, 2005
Written by: Andy Wilcoxson
Dietmar Hartwig continued his testimony at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic on Tuesday. The former head of the European Union Monitoring Mission (EUMM – also known as ECMM and EU KDOM) in Kosovo testified regarding the situation in Kosovo from November 1998 until he left on the eve of the NATO aggression in late March 1999.
Mr. Hartwig’s job was to gather information and compile reports for the EU regarding the situation in Kosovo. He testified that the only ones who limited freedom of movement in Kosovo were the KLA. He said that the KLA set-up roadblocks and would not let EU observers pass. He even testified that fire was opened on his observers from areas occupied by the KLA.
Hartwig described the KLA’s operational technique as similar to that of the Red Army Faction (RAF), which he pointed out, is characterized as a terrorist organization by Western Governments. He said that the KLA adopted illegal and anti-democratic means to achieve its objectives.
Mr. Hartwig reiterated his testimony that the Yugoslav Army and Serbian Police were responding to KLA provocations. He said that the Army and police never started the fighting, and that they did not behave in an excessive fashion when they did engage in combat with the KLA.
Mr. Hartwig said that some civilians were caught in the crossfire and killed on occasion. Under cross-examination from Mr. Nice, he explained that it is militarily impossible to fight against a guerilla enemy like the KLA without inflicting some civilian casualties. He explained that the KLA mingled itself in among the civilians, making it all but impossible to fight against the KLA without having some inadvertent civilian casualties. The witness described the Serbian forces as being well disciplined.
Hartwig said that the KLA palmed off its casualties as victims of Serbian repression. He gave an example that happened in Mitrovica in January 1999. The KLA opened fire on the police wounding a number of policemen. The perpetrators fled to a house. The police surrounded the house and told the KLA fighters inside to surrender. The KLA responded by opening small arms fire on the police, and trying to escape. The police responded by shooting and killing two of the KLA soldiers.
Mr. Hartwig said that the Albanians were indignant over the shooting, and the two KLA casulties were portrayed as innocent victims of Serbian repression.
Hartwig said that he never saw Serbian security forces expelling Albanians from their homes, and as chief of the EU Monitoring Mission in Kosovo, he never received reports from his observers that would indicate any unlawful actions on the part of the Serbian police or Yugoslav Army forces.
The witness testified that the KLA was aggressive and used violence to elicit loyalty from the Albanian civilian population. He gave an example where an Albanian doctor in Pec was celebrating his birthday and the KLA came and crashed the party. He said that the KLA demanded material support from the people at the party, and when they did not get it they began shooting people.
Mr. Hartwig said that the Albanian population refused to cooperate with the Serbian authorities so that they could accuse them of harassment. He gave an example of a construction project in Pec where a number of Albanians had been hired to build a school. There was a police checkpoint at the construction site and workers had to show their IDs to gain access to the site.
Hartwig said that a number of Albanian workers refused to get IDs so that they could accuse the police of blocking them from their job. He said that ID was freely available to those people and that all they had to do was go to the mayor’s office and fill out a form.
The witness reiterated his earlier testimony that the Western media’s reporting did not correspond to the real situation in Kosovo.
Mr. Nice’s cross-examination drew a lot of attention to the fact that Mr. Hartwig’s testimony contradicts the reports the OSCE. Mr. Nice seems to think that this damages the witness’s credibility in some way.
However, Hartwig’s contradiction of the OSCE’s reports makes perfect sense when one considers the testimony of Roland Keith. Mr. Keith was the commander of the Kosovo Polje field office in the OSCE’s Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM).
When Mr. Keith testified on September 14, 2004 he said that the leadership of the OSCE had “no real interest in rebuilding stability in Kosovo,“ he said that they “had other political agendas of which this [peace] would not play a role whatsoever.”
Mr. Keith testified that KVM observers were poorly trained, and that a number of them were biased. Given Keith’s testimony, it is hardly surprising that Hartwig found himself in contradiction of the OSCE’s reports.
Mr. Nice’s cross-examination drew attention to the fact that there was friction between the OSCE KVM, and the EUMM. Hartwig said that the OSCE wanted to exercise control over the EUMM, but that his mission resisted such pressure and acted independently of the OSCE.
In re-examination from Milosevic, Hartwig explained how Racak was a catalyst for political change. He said that in the time leading up to Racak the Serbs were gaining sympathy. He said that such an incident politically benefited the KLA, and that one could see such a thing coming since it was a political necessity for the KLA. He said that he was aware of reports that the KLA had staged the scene, and he said that Serbian authorities investigating the incident behaved properly.
Slobodan Milosevic will finish his re-examination of the
witness on Wednesday. The next witness to take the stand will be Barry Lituchy,
a college professor from New York.
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