www.slobodan-milosevic.org - October 12, 2004


October 12, 2004: The so-called "trial" of Slobodan Milosevic resumed in The Hague today after a month's delay.


During that month, Steven Kay, the lawyer who was imposed on Milosevic against his will, had the task of trying to convince as many witnesses as possible to participate in the trial.


Most of the witnesses have refused to participate, with the majority citing the same reason; that they will not take part in the proceedings if Milosevic is not allowed to conduct his own defense.


Milosevic's chief legal advisor Zdenko Tomanovic said that Milosevic's defense team did not assist Kay in his preparation.

"According to information I have received several days ago, Mr. Kay was able to contact 97 witnesses, of which 92 immediately declined to participate until Mr. Milosevic's right to defend himself is returned to him." Tomanovic told Belgrade's B92 radio.


German journalist, Franz Josef Hutsch, a former German army major, was the fourth defense witness to take the stand.


Hutsch was in Kosovo, as a journalist, from September 1998 until December 1999. He described the scene when he arrived in Kosovo as being tense but not violent.


Hutsch made contacts in the KLA and said that he could be called an "embedded reporter" with the KLA.


He testified that the KLA's tactics during the time of the "Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement" in late 1998 included staging hit-and-run attacks on Serb patrols designed to "force them into a trap and try to provoke an excessive reaction."


The KLA also tried to lure the Serbs into attacking civilians in early 1999 so that the images could be shown during the talks taking place in Rambouillet, France, he added.


He said that the KLA took advantage of the cease-fire agreement. When the VJ went back into its barracks, the KLA took the opportunity to take more territory, Hutsch said.


He testified that fighting between the VJ and the KLA increased dramatically in late '98 and early '99 after the KLA attempted to block the VJ's supply lines.


Hutsch, who was trained as a UN Military Observer in Georgia, described the KLA as a well organized and well armed fighting force.


He said that the KLA had Arabic officers who had been recruited by the American company MPRI. He said that they were Mujahedeens who had formerly served in the B-H Army.


According to Hutsch there were between 80 and 100 Mujahedeen officers in the KLA. He said that MPRI paid them "huge sums of money" and trained them in Turkey. (Incidentally, Turkey is a member of NATO.)


The witness said that every brigade in the KLA had at least one Mujahedeen officer, and that they were very well guarded.


Hutsch testified that the KLA was prone to staging events for public relations purposes. For example, he said that the KLA would force Albanian refugees to stay exposed to the elements out in the woods until reporters would come and see them, and that the KLA forced Albanian civilians to stay in combat areas to be used as human shields.


He testified that the KLA funded itself by trafficking drugs, and forcing women into prostitution. He said that drugs and women would be trafficked out of Kosovo by the same channels as weaponry was smuggled in.


Hutsch arrived at the scene together with William Walker, in Racak, on the morning of January 16th 1999. He said that he did not think the corpses laying in the gully there were members of the KLA. But he did notice some odd things about the scene that morning.


He said that William Walker, and the OSCE observers in the area, just stood by while journalists and others tampered with the crime scene. He said that journalists were moving the corpses around to take their pictures, and that some were even taking "souvenirs" away from the crime scene.


Hutsch also mentioned that he was struck by the lack of shell casings surrounding the bodies.


He denied claims made by the indictment that in the spring of 1999 Serbian forces undertook an operation to force Albanians to leave Kosovo.


The alleged plan, which the prosecution calls Operation Horseshoe, "was something invented by German Ministry of Defense" Hutsch said.


After Mr. Kay concluded his examination-in-chief, Milosevic again demanded that the tribunal return his right to defend himself, adding that he didn't want the crumbs of that right. He began to protest about the way in which Kay had examined the witness, before Robinson switched his microphone off.


It is still unknown how many witnesses Mr. Kay was able to find. And the appeal that he filed against his own appointment is still pending. The trial will resume tomorrow morning at 9:00 AM (CET).


# # #