Written by: Andy Wilcoxson
Forensic expert, Professor Slavisa Dobricanin,
former director of the Institute for Forensic Medicine in Pristina continued
his testimony at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic on Friday.
Professor Dobricanin was the forensic scientist in-charge of autopsying the Kosovo-Albanians who died in the Kosovo village of Racak on January 15, 1999.
Teams of forensic scientists from Finland and Belarus directly participated in the autopsies together with Professor Dobricanin and his team.
All of the forensic teams harmonized their findings. According to a report written by three members of the Finnish team, “the autopsy findings were discussed in full professional consensus.”
Professor Dobricanin’s evidence dealt with the findings reached by the forensic teams. His testimony was bolstered by numerous official documents and autopsy reports that were exhibited over the course of his evidence.
According to Professor Dobricanin, gunshot wounds killed all of the 40 corpses found in Racak. Nobody had been cut-up with knives, as some Albanian witnesses had testified during the prosecution case.
Contrary to the indictment’s assertion that the Albanians were beaten before being “executed”, the forensic teams found no evidence that any of the bodies had been beaten. The only injury aside from gunshot wounds that was found on the bodies came from animals that had gnawed on the corpses after they were dead.
Professor Dobricanin testified that the forensic teams reached the conclusion that the bullets hit the bodies from different directions.
According to the report compiled by the Finnish forensic experts, J. Rainio, K. Lalua, and A. Penttiläa, only one person was shot from a close range. Professor Dobricanin testified that all others were shot from a long range.
Diphenylamine testing revealed that 37 of the 40 bodies had gunshot residue on their hands. Diphenylamine testing, sometimes referred to as the “paraffin glove” testing, was criticized during the prosecution case.
The prosecution claims that Diphenylamine testing is inaccurate, saying that tobacco products and certain fertilizers can cause nitrate particles to be on the hands.
Diphenylamine testing is conducted by placing the hand on a special adhesive foil. Nitrate particles on the hand stick to the foil. The position of the hand on the foil surface is documented. Diphenylamine is applied to the foil and the chemical reaction causes nitrate particles to turn a bright blue color, thus making them visible.
Professor Dobricanin testified that the location of the nitrate particles, the concentration of the particles, and the distribution of the particles on their hands indicated that 37 of the 40 bodies had been firing weapons before they were killed.
If these people had just been smoking cigarettes, or handling ammonium nitrate fertilizers, then the location and distribution of the particles on their hands would have been different.
In spite of the prosecution’s contention that Diphenylamine testing is unreliable, it used in many countries around the world, including the United States.
In addition to the presence of gunshot residue on their hands, the bodies were wearing many layers of clothing. Some of the corpses were wearing as many as three and four layers of clothing. Professor Dobricanin testified that many were wearing heavy rubber boots, and military-style belts.
These people were dressed to spend prolonged periods of time outside. If they had just been minding their own business in their house, then they would not have been dressed the way they were.
Further indication that these were armed combatants and not some innocent civilians, as the prosecution claims, has to do with the location of their wounds.
When Judge Marinkovic testified she showed videotapes of the trenches and bunkers that the KLA had in the immediate vicinity of Racak. The videotape showed that the trenches had been used for combat activities, as they were littered with spent shell casings.
The videotapes showed that the police were being shot at from the hills around Racak where the trenches were located.
From their wounds, it would appear that these bodies were in a protected position, such as a trench, when they were killed. Professor Dobricanin testified that only the upper parts of the bodies had been shot. Nobody was shot in the lower part of their body.
These wounds are consistent with somebody in a trench. If you are shooting at somebody from a trench, then the only part of you that can get hit is the part of yourself that you expose when you rear-up to fire a shot, i.e. your upper body.
The Kosovo-Albanians who died in Racak on January 15, 1999 were armed combatants, not innocent civilians. They had gunpowder on their hands. Their wounds were consistent with somebody killed in a combat situation. They were dressed to spend prolonged periods of time outside.
The nature of their wounds is not consistent with people who were executed. They were shot from different angles, and from a distance. Only one was shot at a close range.
Professor Dobricanin also gave some interesting evidence regarding Helena Ranta. According to him, she is a dental expert. Her specialty is teeth. She is not a ballistics expert. Therefore, she is not qualified to give much of the evidence that she gave when she testified as a court witness in 2003.
According to Professor Dobricanin, when Ms. Ranta held her press conference in Pristina, he and other members of the forensic teams were prohibited from attending.
On February 19, 1999 Bill Clinton went on television and told the world, “We should remember what happened in the village of Racak back in January -- innocent men, women, and children taken from their homes to a gully, forced to kneel in the dirt, sprayed with gunfire -- not because of anything they had done, but because of who they were."
Bill Clinton lied. He launched the NATO attack against Yugoslavia with that notorious lie as his main justification. Racak is the one and only “war crime” that the Serbs are accused of committing in Kosovo prior to the NATO attack.
Professor Dobricanin will continue his testimony when the trial resumes next Tuesday.
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