Written by: Andy Wilcoxson

The trial of Slobodan Milosevic resumed on Wednesday. The first hour and 15 minutes of the hearing was in closed session. When the hearing came out of closed session Mr. Nice was allowed to re-cross-examine Gen. Delic.

Mr. Nice, who was supposed to limit the re-cross-examination to issues arising out of re-examination, asked Delic several questions about the SCG commission for cooperation with the ICTY. The judges allowed this questioning even though it did not arise from the re-examination.

The next topic that Mr. Nice dealt with was Gen. Delic's testimony that Paddy Ashdown had lied when he said that he had seen Serbian forces shelling and burning Kosovo-Albanian villages.

According to Delic, Ashdown could not have seen the villages that he claimed to have seen from the location he says he was at.

This is what Ashdown said about his location when he testified on March 14, 2002:

MR NICE: Now, while in Albania on this visit, and indeed at this part of your visit, were you able to keep observation, through binoculars, on the area of Junik, which we can see? Perhaps you can just point it out for us.

ASHDOWN: I was. I journeyed from Bajram Curiju through Trepoje, along the lines here - there's a very rough track up to the border crossing here - and then followed this border crossing up to a point on the Albanian Kosovo border, approximately where my marker is now, above a village which I was informed was called Gegaj, G-e-g-a-j, and this gave me a very good view of the whole area around south of Junik. There are some small villages down here. And indeed, I could see deep into Kosovo, because this is an area of plains here, almost as far as Pristina.


As you can see from the transcript, Mr. Nice was asking Ashdown what he could see from Albania. Ashdown explains that he journeyed from Bajram Curiju through Trepoje (in Albania) and that he was looking into Kosovo from a place called Gegaj, which is a village in Albania near the border with Kosovo. Furthermore, if you look at the video from March 14th you can see that Ashdown indicates his position on a map as being just inside of the Albanian border at Gegaj.

Ashdown's evidence clearly indicates that he was in Albania looking into Kosovo. However, when Gen. Delic took the stand, and proved that Ashdown could not have seen the places he claimed to see, Ashdown sent word to the tribunal changing his story. Now he claims that he was actually in Yugoslavia, not in Albania.

Ashdown sent grid coordinates to the Tribunal and Mr. Nice sent some poor investigator out into the Kosovo mountains with a video camera to check what could be seen from that location.

Sure enough, several of the locations enumerated by Ashdown could be seen from the new grid coordinates. The only problem is that the grid coordinates don't correspond with Ashdown's original testimony. First of all, the coordinates are in Kosovo not in Albania.

Secondly, the new grid coordinates did not appear to be easily accessible. The investigator could be heard speaking on the videotape and he sounded out of breath as if he had had a difficult time hiking up to the grid coordinates.

In a futile effort to help Ashdown, the prosecution fabricated several maps. On one map the prosecution moved the location of Gegaj so that it would be closer to the grid coordinates given by Ashdown.

Gen. Delic caught the prosecution in this attempted deception. He showed the court that where Gegaj was located on several other prosecution maps and where it was on this new map. Mr. Nice acknowledged the discrepancy and proceeded to blame KFOR providing him with a faulty map, which purely by coincidence would have helped Ashdown's story.

The prosecution also generated several computer models of the topography that could be seen from Mr. Ashdown's new recollection of where he was at. Unfortunately, the computer models generated by the prosecution contradicted the videotape filmed by their investigator.

All in all this was an embarrassing day for Paddy Ashdown and the prosecution. The hearing ended today in another closed session with Mr. Nice was questioning Delic about some unknown topic.

After Delic finishes his re-cross-examination, Bogoljub Janicevic will continue his testimony. The trial will resume tomorrow.

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