Skip to comments.MILOSEVIC "TRIAL" SYNOPSIS: DUTCHBAT COMMANDER SAW NO EXECUTIONS IN SREBRENICA
Posted on 11/13/2003 3:58:09 PM PST by joan
Merced Kucanin finished his testimony today at the Hague Tribunal. As you remember from yesterday Kucanin was a Sarajevo police officer who testified about shelling and sniping in Sarajevo.
He testified today about a certain Milo Vaselovic who had been shot by a sniper in Sarajevo. Vaselovic was a Serb, and Kucanin testified that he had been shot by Vojislav Seselj. He didnt do any ballistic analysis on the corpse or anything like that but he saw Seselj on Television that night and so he concluded that Seselj must have been the gunman impeccable logic indeed.
Kucanin also retracted his previous assertion that he didnt know if civilians could leave Sarajevo or not. Today he confirmed that civilians were not allowed to leave the city. He said that there was only one way out and that a pass, issued by the B-H Interior Ministry, was required in order to leave the city. He also confirmed that very few people actually received this pass. But he only admitted that people couldnt leave the city when confronted with the fact that his witness statement said that people couldnt leave.
Kucanin, when asked by President Milosevic, also confirmed that the first victims of the war in Sarajevo were the members of a Serb wedding party who were fired on and killed while en route to the Orthodox Church in Sarajevo.
The next witness to testify was Col. Robert Franken. Franken was a DutchBat Major, and he was the deputy UNPROFOR commander in Srebrenica in July of 1995.
First of all I should say that Col. Franken said quite unequivocally that he saw no evidence which would indicate that there was any political or military cooperation between Belgrade and the VRS units that came into Srebrenica when the enclave fell. The Dutch Government conducted an exhaustive investigation into the alleged events at Srebrenica and drew the conclusion in point 10 of their report that Belgrade had nothing to do with any of the events in Srebrenica.
This evidence exonerates Slobodan Milosevic personally, but since the Serbs are on trial as a group at the Hague and President Milosevic is their foremost defender. President Milosevic is none the less endeavoring to prove the truth about what happened at Srebrenica even though it is totally outside the realm of possibility that he could in any way be connected to the events there.
According to Col. Franken Srebrenica was supposed to be demilitarized. However Franken said that the Muslims did not demilitarize, in fact he says the Muslims even received weapons at the airport and UNPROFOR was unable to stop them.
Col. Franken confirmed that the Muslims had a whole division of troops stationed in Srebrenica. He testified that the 8th Operation Group was there, and that it later became known as the 28th Infantry Division. The 28th Infantry Division consisted of the 280th Brigade, the 281st Brigade, the 282nd Brigade, the 283rd Brigade, the 284th Brigade, a Mountain battalion, 9 sabotage groups and a reserve police force. At a given time the 28th Division had over 4,000 men under arms, and Franken confirmed that every man in Srebrenica was at the disposal of the 28th Division. There was also a special unit that Srebrenicas notorious Muslim war-lord Nasir Oric had at his own personal disposal. The 28th Infantry Division, according to Franken, was a poorly trained and poorly disciplined group.
Col. Franken testified that there was heavy fighting around Srebrenica. He testified that thousands of members of the 28th Infantry Division tried to break-out of the enclave across Serbian territory towards Tuzla, and that they took massive casualties in the process.
Franken also testified that there was internal Muslim fighting among the members of the 28th Infantry Division in Srebrenica and that casualties were inflicted by the Muslims on each other over the course of that fighting.
Franken also confirmed that Muslim soldiers attempted to attack the eastern flank of the VRS near Srebrenica and that they took heavy casualties during that offensive.
President Milosevic asked the obvious question. He asked if the members of the 28th Infantry Division who died during combat operations were being counted as the victims of the alleged massacre at Srebrenica. Col. Franken didnt know.
An important point to observe here is that Col. Franken testified that none of the UN soldiers who were in Srebrenica at the critical time saw any executions taking place. In fact the only casualties they saw were of people who had been killed in the fighting. Again, none of the DutchBat personnel who composed the UNPROFOR battalion in Srebrenica saw any executions or mass-killings taking place there.
Col. Franken also testified that before the break-out operation that the Muslim Soldiers in Srebrenica would launch attacks out of the enclave onto the surrounding Serbian villages. To bear this out President Milosevic cited examples such as the time when Visnica was attacked by Muslim troops from Srebrenica and many Serbs were killed, and he cited the example when Muslim soldiers attacked and killed a group of Serbian woodcutters who were just cutting down trees in a forested area near Srebrenica, and of course there are many more examples.
Col. Franken testified that the only ones to kill a UNPROFOR soldier in Srebrenica were the Muslims. The VRS did not kill a single UNPROFOR soldier.
Col. Franken testified that the Muslims in Srebrenica would position themselves near UNPROFOR observation posts and then open fire on the Serbs in order to make the Serbs think that UNPROFOR was firing on them, with the ultimate objective being for the Serbs to retaliate and shoot at the UNPROFOR observation post.
Col. Franken recounted one occasion when Muslim soldiers in Srebrenica stole some UNPROFOR uniforms, disguised themselves as UNPROFOR members, approached a UN observation post and opened fire on the real UNPROFOR personnel who were there.
Lt. Col. Ton Karremans was Col. Frankens commanding officer and President Milosevic read from a briefing paper that Karremans provided to Franken. Karremans negotiated the evacuation of the civilian population from Srebrenica with Ratko Mladic. It should also be noted here that it was Akashis idea that Srebrenica should be evacuated.
From the briefing paper we can see that Mladic wanted the evacuation of Srebrenica to be voluntary. Mladic explained that the refugees could stay because he didnt have any problems with civilians since they were not to blame for anything.
It was Mladics position that the wounded, the elderly, and the women and children should be evacuated first. Mladic also wanted the Red Cross to escort the refugees, according to the briefing paper.
Mladic wanted the men to be questioned before being allowed to leave, and indeed men were questioned at a place near Potocari called the white house, an UNMO (UN Military Observer) was stationed at that location and saw as many men leaving the white house as he saw going in.
President Milosevics cross-examination was cut short because of time restrictions imposed by the so-called court. Col. Franken was what the so-called tribunal calls a 92-bis witness. This means that a summary of his testimony is read out by the prosecutor, followed by a very brief examination-in-chief. President Milosevic then only has 1 hour for cross-examination. This practice frequently means that President Milosevic is unable to fully cross-examine important witnesses and that was again the case today.
After President Milosevics cross-examination, the Amicus Curiae Mr. Tapuskovic was able to cross-examine Col. Franken for approximately 15 minutes.
Col. Franken told Mr. Tapuskovic that the Muslim forces inside of Srebrenica were essentially using UNPROFOR as a cover for carrying out prohibited military activities. In other words they were abusing the safe area.
Mr. Tapuskovic then embarked on an interesting line of questioning that I feel needs to be explored much further.
One of Col. Frankens subordinates named Van Duyn had testified at another trial, I believe Tapuskovic said that it was at Obrenovics trial, but Im not sure. Ill have to go back and look at the tape when it is available.
Apparently, this Van Duyn testified in that trial that the UNPROFOR battalion in Srebrenica had been ordered to fire on Serbian artillery positions that were just minding their own business on the mountain tops some 10 to 15 kilometers away from the enclave.
The objective was apparently to induce the Serbs to attack the enclave itself and thereby provide a justification for NATO air strikes. Or could the objective have been to suck the Serbs into the enclave so that they could be accused of perpetrating a massacre there later on?
Unfortunately, Mr. Nice intervened, questioning the relevance, and Tapuskovics cross-examination was abruptly ended.
After Col. Franken was finished with his testimony a secret witness called B-1524 was called to testify. B-1524 was allegedly a Serb from Zvornik that the SDA had recruited to spy on the SDS. B-1524 was also allegedly taken prisoner by Arkan.
B-1524s cross-examination will take place next Tuesday.
They were clearly stating how much they'd enjoy the trial, yet they aren't even commenting on it these days. And those Freepers are still posting on FR all the time, but on different topics.
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