SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC.ORG. Monday, January 24, 2005
Professor Markovic Concludes His Testimony
Written by: Andy Wilcoxson
Professor Ratko Markovic concluded his testimony at The Hague trial of
Slobodan Milosevic on Monday. Prosecutor Nice made his best effort to
discredit the witness over the course of the cross-examination.
Professor Markovic has written a number of scholarly papers over his 40-year career in constitutional law. Mr. Nice’s cross-examination generally went to show that Markovic raised criticisms of the 1974 constitution. However, this does not damage the credibility of the witness, on the first day of his examination-in-chief Professor Markovic said he was “no fan of the 1974 constitution.”
In order to damage the credibility of the witness Mr. Nice would have had to
demonstrate that Professor Markovic improperly applied constitutional law when he was a judge on the Constitutional Court. Or that he acted outside of the law when he was the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia. Mr. Nice demonstrated neither. The only thing Mr. Nice demonstrated was that
Professor Markovic exercised his right, as a scholar, to raise criticisms of
the constitution at times when he did not hold public office.
Mr. Nice’s cross-examination tactics were particularly underhanded. In one
case Mr. Nice read from an article that Professor Markovic had written for a Belgrade magazine called “Legal Life.” In the article Markovic wrote of the possibility that lands inhabited by Serbs could be unified. Mr. Nice claimed that this article was a platform for the establishment of Greater-Serbia.
When Milosevic re-examined the witness the parts of the article that Mr.
Nice had not read were read out. It turns out that the article advocated one
political option, and that option was the preservation of Yugoslavia. The
article said that Yugoslavia was the best solution for the south Slav
peoples. The part of the article that made reference to the unification of
Serbian lands was put forward as a possible scenario. On top of that it was
presented as an unattractive scenario, according to the article any attempt
to implement this scenario would lead to war and sanctions from the
This is only one example of manipulation by the prosecutor, Mr. Nice claimed that the article advocated Greater-Serbia, when the article advocated Yugoslavia’s preservation and cautioned against attempts to establish Greater-Serbia, since this would lead to war and sanctions.
Mr. Nice took liberties with the truth regarding the talks in Rambouillet.
Professor Markovic had testified that the NATO occupation of Yugoslavia
mandated by the so-called “Rambouillet Agreement” was one of the major
stumbling blocks that caused the talks to breakdown. Markovic said that the demand for NATO occupation had not been disclosed until the last day of the Rambouillet conference.
In a feeble attempt to refute that claim, Mr. Nice read an extract from a
letter that Markovic sent to the Contact Group prior to the talks,
indicating a readiness to discuss the presence of the international forces
Markovic, stuck to his original testimony, insisting that he referred to
international forces, “but not military forces, as they can be civilian
forces too.” He also noted that the document presented at Rambouillet called for the wholesale occupation of Yugoslavia, not just the international
presence in Kosovo that his letter indicated a willingness to discuss.
Mr. Nice, now desperate to save NATO’s reputation, resorted to telling
outright lies. Mr. Nice claimed that the “international community” was well
intentioned at Rambouillet. Mr. Nice based that claim firmly on the
testimony of Zoran Lilic.
President Lilic never testified to these alleged “good intentions” of the
international community at Rambouillet. Quite the contrary, he testified
that he had no direct knowledge, and that the indirect knowledge he did have went to show that no proper negotiations had taken place.
This is what Lilic said about Rambouillet when he testified on July 9, 2003
(see transcript page 23997): “When it comes to Rambouillet and everything that went on there, I know about that from the press, actually, from the media. I wasn’t included in that whole process.” Lilic’s comment about the process was as follows, “there wasn’t any proper negotiating between two sides that should have negotiated. For an agreement to exist, there must have been two sides.”
As we can see from Lilic’s own words, things are not the way that Mr. Nice
put them. No well meaning person could use that testimony to make claims
that the international community had good intentions at Rambouillet.
Mr. Nice’s attempts to challenge Professor Markovic were unsuccessful, and usually completely nonsensical. One example of a nonsensical attack was Mr. Nice’s line of questioning regarding the 30th and 40th personnel centers of the Yugoslav Army, which Markovic knew nothing about. Mr. Nice exploited Professor Markovic’s lack of knowledge of regarding the personnel administration of the federal army to suggest that he was an incompetent official.
Professor Markovic was the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia; in other words he held an office on the level of the republic, not on the level of the
federal government. The federal government administers the army. Therefore, the army was not in his sphere of activities. Expecting Professor Markovic to know about personnel administration in the federal army is like expecting the lieutenant governor of Iowa or Minnesota to know about personnel administration policies in the U.S. Army.
During cross-examination Mr. Nice claimed that Milosevic and Tudjman entered into a conspiracy to carve-up Bosnia at a meeting held in Karadjordjevo in 1991. Professor Markovic denied this, and President Milosevic ripped this conspiracy theory to shreds when he reexamined Markovic.
Milosevic and Markovic both agreed that acceptance of the Cutliero Plan, a
year after the Karadjordjevo meeting, negated the possibility that Serbia
had designs to carve-up of Bosnia.
The Cutliero Plan, which had been agreed to by all three sides before the
Bosnian war started, called for a unified and independent Bosnia. If
Milosevic were attempting to execute some conspiracy that he had concocted at Karadjordjevo with Tudjman, then he would not have voiced his support for the plan. The only reason the war started in the first place was because Alija Izetbegovic withdrew his signature from the plan.
Professor Markovic’s testimony took-up the entire day. The trial will resume tomorrow with a fresh witness.