OSCE/KVM OBSERVERS HAD AN UNOBSTRUCTED VIEW OF
THE RACAK GULLY THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE ANTI-TERRORIST OPERATION
www.slobodan-milosevic.org - September 30, 2005
Written by: Andy Wilcoxson
Col. Bogoljub Janicevic, the former chief of the Urosevac SUP, continued his testimony at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic on Friday.
On Thursday he testified that OSCE/KVM personnel had been spotted plotting the GPS coordinates of tunnels and bridges throughout Kosovo, which causes suspicion that NATO may have been using the Observer mission as a cover to locate potential bombing targets. In addition to this fact, Janicevic testified today that the KLA's activities increased and that it became better armed while the verifiers were present in Kosovo.
Most of Col. Janicevic's testimony on Friday dealt with the events in Racak, which was in the area of the Urosevac SUP's responsibility.
Janicevic presented several documents to the tribunal detailing KLA terrorist activity in the weeks and months leading up to January 15, 1999, when the Serbian police launched an anti-terrorist operation against the KLA in the village.
According to Janicevic, the VJ was not present in Racak, nor did it shell the village as alleged by the indictment. He said that it would have been "stupid" for the army to shell the village because the police were in the village and would have been hit by the exploding shells.
The witness presented the tribunal with a chronological timeline of the anti-terrorist operation. He presented maps and police reports detailing the locations and movements of the police, the KLA, and the OSCE/KVM observers, who he said were on site in Racak the whole time.
According to the maps Janicevic presented, the OSCE verifiers had an unobstructed view of the gully near Racak. A team of OSCE verifiers was positioned less than 1 kilometer away from the gully, and could clearly see it with the naked eye.
To prove that OSCE verifiers were in Racak, Milosevic played a videotape, filmed by a Reuters news crew, showing the police rolling into the village in the presence of orange OSCE vehicles which were parked on the hills overlooking the village.
The fact that the OSCE verifiers could see the gully is important. It was in this very gully that William Walker alleged that the Serbian police had brutally executed tens of Albanian civilians. This alleged "war crime" is the only war crime that Serbia was accused of committing in Kosovo prior to the NATO aggression.
If Walker's story were true, then the verifiers would have seen the execution taking place, or at the very least they would have seen the bodies in the gully, but none of them reported seeing anything of the kind on the 15th.
When forensic investigators, led by Danica Marinkovic, attempted to enter Racak on the evening of the 15th they were forced out of the village by KLA gunfire. Clearly, the KLA didn't want any forensic documentation to be made in Racak until after they had a chance to stage their battle casualties in the gully.
It was only on the 16th, after the KLA had all night to put its casualties in the gully, that bodies were found in the gully. The reason why the verifiers didn't see anything in the gully on the 15th was because there wasn't anything in the gully.
Interestingly, Col. Janicevic testified that William Walker passed through a police checkpoint going into Racak at 21:00 hours (9 PM) on January 14th, the evening before the anti-terrorist operation. Walker and another man took somebody to Racak and dropped them off there. One almost wonders if Walker didn't have a hand in helping the KLA plan Racak's aftermath.
Milosevic added a couple of seized KLA documents to the already huge pile of evidence that the KLA and the police fought a battle in Racak on the 15th. The documents included a KLA terrorist's war diary that speaks of, "evacuating wounded KLA solders from Racak on the 15th".
Milosevic also played a videotape of William Walker speaking at the funeral of those killed in Racak. All of the caskets at the funeral were covered by the Albanian flag. This is noteworthy because only soldiers' coffins are covered by the flag. When Albanian an civilian dies their casket is not covered by the flag.
Friday's hearing ended with Mr. Nice complaining about the political effect of the video that Milosevic played on Thursday. The video depicted Paddy Ashdown meeting with a group of uniformed KLA terrorists who showed him their weapons.
Later in the tape, Ashdown was taken to visit another group of armed Albanians who weren't wearing KLA uniforms, and they showed him their weapons too. Ashdown could be heard on the tape promising the un-uniformed people that he would inform Prime Minister Blair of their situation and that he would do his best to assist them.
Mr. Nice wanted to make it clear that Ashdown did not believe that the second group of armed Albanians were members of the KLA, but he did admit that it was probably a member of the KLA who took Ashdown to see the second group.
Apparently, Ashdown contacted Mr. Nice and told him that the second group of Albanians had told him that they procured the weapons so that they could give them to the Serbian police in the event that the police demanded the surrender of weapons. Of course there is nothing on the tape to substantiate Ashdown's story. The tape goes on for several minutes and nobody ever mentions the Serbian police, or any intention to surrender the weapons.
Mr. Nice's deep concern for the political effect of the tape is just another indication that politics, not justice, are the first concern at the ICTY.
Col. Janicevic will continue his testimony when the trial resumes on Monday.
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