About Balkan Witness                        Contact Balkan Witness



Articles on the Kosovo Conflict


Milošević's old allies celebrate his "innocence"

The Hague Tribunal's verdict in the Karadzic trial (March 24, 2016) states, at page 1303, paragraph 3460:

With regard to the evidence presented in this case in relation to Slobodan Milošević and his membership in the JCE, the Chamber recalls that he shared and endorsed the political objective of the Accused and the Bosnian Serb leadership to preserve Yugoslavia and to prevent the separation or independence of BiH and co-operated closely with the Accused during this time. The Chamber also recalls that Milošević provided assistance in the form of personnel, provisions, and arms to the Bosnian Serbs during the conflict. However, based on the evidence before the Chamber regarding the diverging interests that emerged between the Bosnian Serb and Serbian leaderships during the conflict and in particular, Milošević’s repeated criticism and disapproval of the policies and decisions made by the Accused and the Bosnian Serb leadership, the Chamber is not satisfied that there was sufficient evidence presented in this case to find that Slobodan Milošević agreed with the common plan.

Based on this paragraph, long-time supporters of Milošević have claimed that the Hague Tribunal declared him innocent of war crimes in Bosnia

Milošević doesn't deserve exoneration for war crimes Claims that the ICTY "exonerated" Milošević contribute to the commonplace denial of genocide and war crimes in Serbia, where convicted war criminals are publicly lauded as heroes. By William Marsden, The Ottawa Citizen, September 7, 2016

Exonerating Milošević: A Futile, Destructive Cause of Global "Anti-Imperialists" The author picks apart the voices of self-imagined anti-imperialists such as Andy Wilcoxson, Neil Clark, and John Pilger, who take fragments of the ICTY's Karadzic judgment out of context to create a false narrative of the exoneration of Milošević. By Refik Hodzic, The Balkanist, August 27, 2016

No exoneration The Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) strongly condemns statements the purpose of which is to deny the facts about the wars in the former Yugoslavia and to restore Milošević’s policy. 
The role of Slobodan Milošević and the Serbian leadership in the wars of the 1990s can be seen in numerous ICTY judgments, including the Radovan Karadžić judgment, but it cannot be inferred by selective reading of individual sentences and paragraphs, only by an overall assessment of the evidence and judicial facts. Thus, any conclusions about Milošević’s innocence and the alleged validity of his policy are contradicted by citations from other ICTY judgments (such as in the cases Milan Martić in which he is described as a participant in various joint criminal enterprises in the wars in the former Yugoslavia, as well as by judicially established facts in the Karadžić case about the role of the state of Serbia (led by Milošević at that time) in helping the wartime leadership of the Republic of Srpska throughout the entire war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. One can see in the judgment, for instance, that Karadžić maintained regular contact with Milošević during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that Serbia sent help to the Bosnian Serb army in the form of money and fuel, as well as special police units such.
In addition, a lot of evidence was presented during the trial of Slobodan Milošević on charges of crimes committed in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, which pointed to his role in the crimes for which he was allegedly exonerated by the Karadžić judgment. After the prosecution had presented its case, the Trial Chamber dismissed the motion of the amicus curiae for Milošević to be acquitted at that stage of the proceedings. In the Decision on the Motion for Judgment of Acquittal of June 16, 2004, it is stated that "there is sufficient evidence that the accused (Milošević) was a participant in a joint criminal enterprise“ which included the perpetration of genocide and other crimes against Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
During the trial of Slobodan Milošević, ample evidence that "the war was financed from Belgrade" was presented, as also that the Serb armies from Bosnia and Krajina were constantly paid from Belgrade while they were committing crimes against non-Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and that they had logistic support from the Ministry of Defense, Ministry of the Interior and other authorities of Serbia and FRY. There is one piece of evidence in particular, which was presented during the trial of Milošević, and that was a statement made by Radovan Karadžić in May 1994, in which he stated that “there could be no war without Serbia, we do not have the resources and we would not be able to wage the war."
The statements by ministers Dačić and Vulin, represent on the one hand an attempt to whitewash the wartime past of Slobodan Milošević, and also to reduce their own responsibility for the sufferings during the wars in the former Yugoslavia, in view of the fact that they were his political and/or party associates. On the other hand – and this is far more dangerous – the aim is to justify and decriminalize Milošević’s politics, and re-legitimize the idea of a Greater Serbia. Particularly disturbing is the fact that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, as one of the key government officials in negotiations on the accession of Serbia to the European Union, calls out „Western politicians“ because of their unwillingness to comply with the conclusion about the innocence of Milošević and his leadership for waging the war and committing crimes during the wars of the 1990s. By Časlav Ninković
, Humanitarian Law Center in Belgrade, August 19, 2016

Ex-Hague prosecutor upset over "rehabilitation" of Milošević  Radio B92, August 17, 2016

Milošević's old allies celebrate his "innocence" Disputed claims that the Hague Tribunal said that Milošević was innocent are being trumpeted by Serbian ministers and other propagandists trying to whitewash the country's wartime past. By Balkan Insight/Balkan Transitional Justice, August 16, 2016

There has been no exoneration of Milošević (Scroll down the target page for this letter.) The former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia, who knew Milošević first-hand, found him to be a ruthless autocrat who would stop at nothing to to retain personal control over the Serbian state. By Raphael Girard, The Ottawa Citizen, August 16, 2016

What Hague Tribunal said about "exonerating Milošević" Neil Clark made his allegation based on the guilty verdict on Radovan Karadzic, which does not explicitly mention Milošević's role in the crimes committed in Bosnia. Radio B92, August 15, 2016

Milošević "Exonerated"? War-Crime Deniers Feed Receptive Audience Milošević was not a party to the Karadzic trial referred to here. But the tanks of his army attacked Sarajevo in April 1992, the beginning of his 1000-day siege of that city - a fact not mentioned in Andy Wilcoxson's article in Counterpunch, which takes one paragraph from the Karadzic verdict out of context. Wilcoxson's manipulation of the facts has been promoted by Neil Clark, a long-time war-crimes denier who has also supported Russia in its aggression against Ukraine. By Gordana Knezevic, August 9, 2016


Balkan Witness Home Page

Articles index


Articles by Roger Lippman




Contact Balkan Witness

Report broken links

About Balkan Witness