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Thursday, 14 February, 2002, 13:05 GMT
Milosevic defence transcript
Day three at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia - Milosevic is second from right
Proceedings are expected to last at least two years
Following are excerpts from former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's defence at his war crimes trial in The Hague on 14 February, as translated from Serbian.

Milosevic: I hope and assume that according to the rules you explained to me I won't be interrupted. I should like to start off by showing a video tape.

[Tape is played with tribunal interpreters providing simultaneous translation]

M: This is just an atom, even smaller than an atom of the truth, even less than an atom of the truth, in the ocean of lies - and the product of propaganda and the abuse of global media as a means of war against my country.

He [the prosecutor] probably thinks that I am superhuman - and ascribed to me some magical god-like powers

You have heard the German general [in the video clip played to the court]... who said he was ashamed as a German of how his government behaved.

And as you read all my mail... then I'm sure you were able to read the letters of American officers who are ashamed their own government...

I am sure that the public will realise this - that these voices will become ever louder, the voices of truth and that the shame will be ever greater. The shame that falls upon those who lied about Yugoslavia and who used the media war... a war in which people died, a war in which there was great destruction...

Who's on trial?

This is the first opportunity that I have been given after seven months here to address the public.

Over the past two days all the prosecutors that we have heard here have uttered one particular sentence - that is to say that they are just trying an individual...

In this false indictment they have gone even further than anybody's imagination could have forecast

So they're trying an individual and not a nation. All three prosecutors said that.

But in all the indictments, they are accusing the whole nation, beginning with the Serb intelligentsia... We even heard quotations from the memorandum issued by the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences which were allegedly the ideological groundwork and foundation for the crimes committed against the Albanians...

Everybody who lent support - the government, the parliament, the various political organisations, the media - they all stand accused here...

We just agree on one point here that my conduct was the expression of the will of the people, but the prosecution's accusing the population of supporting me...

They are accusing the army and the police, the volunteers and the territorial defence... He [the prosecutor] probably thinks that I am superhuman... and ascribed to me some magical god-like powers.

Struggle against terrorism

The Americans go right the other side of the globe to fight against terrorism - in Afghanistan, a case in point, right the other side of the world, and that is considered to be logical and normal.

Whereas here the struggle against terrorism in the heart of one's own country, in one's own home, is considered to be a crime.

Our defence was a heroic defence, a heroic defence from the aggression launched by Nato

In this false indictment they have gone even further than anybody's imagination could have forecast or conjured up. They even claim - and we have heard this over the past two days - that I intentionally caused the later aggression and war against Yugoslavia and the sufferings of millions of its citizens for the sole purpose of using this occasion to kill the Albanians.

Now I have to ask myself - could they have thought up anything more intelligent? They even go further...

They say I was not interested in any borders but just one single border - the border between what was Serbian and not Serbian... Serbia and I personally, therefore, are alleged to be waging a policy of genocide outside Serbia. But this policy of genocide somehow does not seem to exist in Serbia for which we are solely responsible...

'Heroic' defence

They want to ascribe to me responsibility and accountability for everything that they themselves did and all the crimes that they perpetrated themselves...

Our defence was a heroic defence, a heroic defence from the aggression launched by Nato... Now this is an outrage against a whole people - against a whole nation...

That fact is the day and night bombing of Kosovo - day and night bombing. Twenty-four hours round the clock every day for 78 days at which the alarm was sounded every day.

People were on the alert for 24 hours - now they wish to negate that fact by bringing witnesses here who are going to say that they in fact fled from Serb forces - as you call the army and police...

 Click here to watch Milosevic's opening statements

Click here for next transcript

Slobodan Milosevic
"This is even less than an atom of the truth"
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