Herman / Peterson extracts on ICTY bias in Milosevic trial

These two short extracts from the 1994 paper by Professor Ed Herman and David Peterson provide a graphic example of the shameless bias demonstrated by the ICTY towards Serbian defendants.

Herman / Peterson Simon article extracts

Herman / Peterson 2004 Marlise Simon piece page 27

Partiality of trial Judge

Even more dramatic was Judge May’s handling of the testimony of William Walker on June 11-12, 2002. Although Walker ranged far and wide, even covering his estimate of Milosevic’s “general attitude,” May never interrupted him once in nearly two hours of testimony. Although the “Racak massacre” claim was the basis of 45 charges of murder against Milosevic in the indictment for Kosovo, and although Walker’s credibility as the main driver of that claim was important and relevant, May announced in advance a limit of three hours to cross-examination, and then proceeded to interrupt Milosevic’s questioning over 70 times. His deference to “Ambassador” Walker, as May called him, was striking, as May actively prevented a serious cross-examination that might have challenged Walker’s credibility and exposed his lies. If Walker simply dodged a question with “I don’t recall,” May protected him from any further questions. May refused to allow Milosevic to contrast Walker’s immediate conclusion that the finding of the bodies at Racak constituted a massacre with Walker’s foot-dragging in the case of murders in El Salvador, when he served as the U.S. Ambassador to the country in 1989: “Your attempt to discredit this witness with events so long ago the Trial Chamber has ruled as irrelevant,” May insisted. In short, this episode of witness protection and judicial abuse would by itself provide very strong grounds for throwing out the trial as unfair in a court system of integrity. 

Prosecution witness protection

Herman / Peterson 2004 Marlise Simon piece page 26

Prosecution witness protection was one of the specialities of Milosevic trial judge Richard May. From the beginning, instead of leaning over backward to help the unrepresented accused, May not only displayed open hostility toward him, he limited and interfered with his cross-examination, while giving great freedom and protection to the prosecution and its witnesses. The experienced Canadian trial lawyer Edward Greenspan was outraged at the fact that May violated the well-known principle that no judge can arbitrarily set a time limit on, or interfere with, a cross examination. “Within an hour-and-a-half of the beginning of Milosevic’s first cross-examination, May impatiently asks: ‘How much longer do you think you’re going to be with this witness?’  The first witness of what is to be a lengthy trial, and the judge is putting time limits on the accused. May doesn’t even feign impartiality, or, indeed, interest.” Greenspan is also shocked at May’s admonition to Milosevic not to cross-examine “as a way of harassing or intimidating witnesses.” Brutality is “calculated to unnerve, confuse, but ultimately to expose. Cross-examination is a duel between counsel and the witness. The only weapon the defendant has is the right to ask questions.” 


The full version of the Herman /Peterson paper can be downloaded at