VOJISLAV SESELJ - DAY 4: GREATER SERBIA
www.slobodan-milosevic.org - August 25, 2005
Written by: Andy Wilcoxson
The trial of Slobodan Milosevic has been going on for three and a half years now, and the judges still can not understand what the prosecution case is.
Mr. Nice admitted today that Slobodan Milosevic never espoused or advocated the idea of "Greater Serbia." This admission from the prosecution came as a shock to everybody, including the judges, who have been laboring under the false impression that Milosevic is accused of masterminding a conspiracy to create Greater Serbia.
Judge Robinson pointed out that the Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia indictments were only joined because there was a belief that those wars were all provoked by Milosevic's alleged conspiracy to create "Greater Serbia."
The conspiracy, or as the indictment calls it the "joint criminal enterprise," that Mr. Nice now alleges is much more of a vague concept. According to Mr. Nice, Milosevic did not want greater Serbia -- he only wanted all Serbs to remain living together in one state, which they did for 70 years in Yugoslavia.
Mr. Nice says that Milosevic's secret master plan was never fully articulated and that it changed depending on the circumstances. Apparently Mr. Nice does not understand what a plan is; obviously if it isn't articulated and it changes, then it isn't a plan.
Mr. Nice spent more than an hour trying to explain to the judges what his case was, and what the purpose of Milosevic's alleged conspiracy was. Apparently the conspiracy was aimed at preserving Yugoslavia and if that couldn't be accomplished then keeping the Serbian people together in a single state was a sort of plan B. If this is what Milosevic is now accused of then it isn't anything wrong.
The constitution of Yugoslavia guaranteed the Yugoslav nations the right to self determination. This means that the six Yugoslav peoples (Serbs, Croats, Muslims, Macedonians, Montenegrins and Slovenians) had the right to leave Yugoslavia and establish their own states.
The Socialist Yugoslav republics (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Macedonia) did not have the right to secede because the Socialist Yugoslav republics did not belong to the individual Yugoslav peoples. For example, Bosnia was defined by its constitution as an equal state of Serbs, Croats and Muslims and Croatia was a state of Croats and Serbs.
Article 5 of the Yugoslav constitution regulated
the state borders and it clearly stipulated that the borders could not be
changed unless all of the republics and autonomous provinces agreed to the
changes. This means that nobody could leave the federation unless everybody in
the country was in agreement.
The only way for one of the Yugoslav peoples to exercise their right to self-determination and secede from the country would be to change the republican borders in the manner prescribed by Article 5 of the constitution and then to secede. Obviously the Muslims couldn't legally exercise their right to self determination by turning Bosnia into an independent country because Bosnia wasn't theirs to take as it legally belonged to all three peoples.
If, as the prosecution alleges, Milosevic had a plan to have all Serbs live in one state, and if that plan meant that parts of the Socialist Republic of Croatia and parts of the Socialist Republic of Bosnia were to become part of a new Serbian state, then there is nothing illegal about that. Serbs were constituent peoples in Bosnia and Croatia and they had a constitutional right to secession.
Even though it would have been perfectly legal and proper for Milosevic to have pursued a unified Serbian state, he didn't do that. He supported the Vance Plan, and the Z-4 Plan in Croatia. He supported the Lisbon Agreement, the Vance-Owen Plan, the Owen-Stoltenberg Plan, the EU Action Plan, and he signed the Dayton Accords for Bosnia. All of those plans, which Milosevic supported from the very beginning, made a unified Serbian state impossible.
Milosevic even supported the Belgrade Initiative which was intended to prevent Bosnia's secession by making Alija Izetbegovic the President of Yugoslavia. Serbia certainly could not have expanded its borders with Alija Izetbegovic as the federal president. Seselj said that Izetbegovic lost interest in this agreement after the Americans told him that he could have Bosnia all to himself.
Furthermore, when the FR Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) promulgated its constitution in 1992, it stated unequivocally that it had no territorial pretensions on any of the former Socialist Yugoslav Republics. Milosevic, neither in words nor deeds, pursued a unified Serbian state. In fact there are some Serbs who criticize Milosevic because they believe that his actions destroyed any hope of a unified Serbian state, which they feel has put the Serbian people in a weak position.
Vojislav Seselj gave in-depth testimony today about what "Greater Serbia" means. He said that Croats and Muslims are ethnically the same as Serbs. He said that the only difference is that Croats are Catholic and that Muslims are of the Islamic faith. He said that the Vatican encouraged Catholic Serbs to consider themselves a separate ethnicity from the Orthodox Serbs and this is how the Croats came in to being, and he said that the Ottoman Empire did the same with the Serbian Muslims.
Dr. Seselj explained that "Greater Serbia" means that Muslim-Serbs (meaning Muslims), Catholic-Serbs (meaning Croats), and Orthodox-Serbs (meaning Serbs) should all form a unified state. This would mean that the Serbian state would cover the entire area where the Serbian language is spoken, meaning that Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia would all become part of Greater-Serbia.
Seselj said that the Serbian Radical Party is, and always has been, the only party in Serbia that advocates Greater Serbia. He said that Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia never favored the idea of Greater-Serbia.
The indictment against Milosevic is easily the dumbest thing ever written. According to the indictment, Milosevic and Seselj were both participants in the alleged conspiracy since 1991. Seselj said that he was amazed that he could be in a conspiracy with Milosevic in 1991 because the two of them had never even met each other until 1992.
Milosevic read out the names of several people held by the indictment to be co-conspirators in the so-called "joint criminal enterprise." Seselj, who is listed as a member himself, said that many of the people listed by the indictment were his political opponents and he accused some of them of being outright criminals. Seselj said that many of the alleged co-conspirators were Milosevic's opponents too. He gave the example of Milan Babic, who violently clashed with Milosevic over the adoption of the Vance Plan under which the Krajina Serbs handed their weapons over to the UN in exchange for the promise of UN protection. Protection, which Seselj pointed out, never came.
The indictment's logic is deeply flawed. Mr. Nice's thesis that Milosevic had a criminal conspiracy to create an enlarged unified Serbia if Yugoslavia fell apart is ludicrous. The initial Kosovo indictment admits that the secession of Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia is what set off the wars in the former Yugoslavia. How could Milosevic have masterminded a conspiracy that depended a war being started by somebody else? The whole idea is stupid.
Milosevic noted with great pleasure today that "not everybody who watches this trial is an idiot." He said that law students will study this trial at universities and that Mr. Nice will find himself the target of criminal prosecution.
The trial is scheduled to resume next Tuesday.
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