THE HAGUE | 13.10.2004.

APPEALS CHAMBER TO HEAR ARGUMENTS ON THE ASSIGNMENT OF COUNSEL TO MILOSEVIC ON 21 OCTOBER

Since the assigned counsel did not have a new witness after the testimony of a German reporter was completed, the trial of Slobodan Milosevic was adjourned until Monday, 18 October

Slobodan Milosevic considers German reporter Franz Josef Hutsch "an important witness" who "knows a lot." That is why, he announced today, he will call him again to testify "once his right to represent himself is restored." The Appeals Chamber might do just that: it announced today that on 21 October, it will hear oral arguments on the appeal against the decision to assign counsel lodged by the assigned counsel himself, English lawyer Steven Kay.

Milosevic apparently put the German reporter on his witness list in order to confirm one of his main "Kosovo arguments": that Albanian civilians left their villages for the woods—or left Kosovo altogether--under the pressure and arrangements of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). The witness confirmed this before the court and gave examples of some villages in the Orahovac and Malesevo areas where he claims villagers left under KLA pressure. He even mentioned the names of some KLA commanders who gave the orders.

During cross-examination, however, the witness confirmed the prosecutor's argument that Albanian civilians moved out because of a real fear of attack and violence by Serb security forces. Both the KLA and Serb forces "manipulated the fear, and the civilians always suffered," the witness said today. He confirmed that he saw consequences of an attack by Serb forces on Velika Krusa, which he said were "unforgettable"; for instance, he saw a "tractor scrap yard" the size of six or seven football fields and the charred remains of identity papers that had been taken away from refugees before they crossed the border.

As he continued his cross-examination, prosecutor Geoffrey Nice touched upon the witness' journalistic output, quoting from his texts and interviews. In one of his analyses, Hutsch wrote that "Slobodan Milosevic let loose his rabid dogs, Karadzic and Mladic." When asked by the prosecutor what he based his conclusion on, the witness replied he "relied on sources from Western European secret services."

But Ratko Mladic, who Hutsch interviewed in March 1996, categorically denied that he took orders from Milosevic, noting that the Republika Srpska Army was "adult enough to solve its own problems." On the other hand, Zeljko Raznatovic Arkan told the German reporter in an interview that all he had done "he had done under the command of the Yugoslav Army and Slobodan Milosevic." He also claimed that Milosevic "had rejected him because he knew too much." In his article, Hutsch explained that "after he rejected Arkan, Milosevic appointed Frenki [Simatovic]” as the commander of paramilitary forces in Kosovo.

After the German reporter’s testimony, a status conference was held to discuss the problems the assigned counsel faces with the witnesses on Milosevic's list who refuse to come to The Hague to testify because the accused is no longer allowed to represent himself.