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PETITION: REHABILITATION FOR DRAGOLJUB MILANOVIĆ!
To the President of the Republic Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić
We, the signatories of this petition, are demanding that the injustice inflicted upon Dragoljub Milanović, the former Director of RTS (Radio Television Serbia) be corrected. He should never have been convicted. To convict the victim, rather than the criminal, is not only unjust; it is a crime! And it encourages the aggressors to attack the freedom of the press as the case of Julian Assange also proves.
The current Serbian leadership cannot be held responsible for the fact that the so-called Hague Tribunal and its successor organization still sentences Serb citizens – obviously devoid of any legal basis or sense of justice – to life sentences and inhumane treatment. However, it is incumbent on you to revise the injustice inflicted on Dragoljub Milanović.
During the night of April 23, 1999, the RTS building was destroyed at 2:06 AM by NATO bombers, killing 16 employees, and leaving as many wounded. This attack occurred without prior warning, right at the time the night shift employees were preparing their newscast, expected to include a live broadcast with a well-known foreign politician. Just prior, Director Milanović had left the building and was just arriving home, when the news reached him that the station had been bombed. During the bombing, the mother of the former Minister of Information (now President of Serbia), Angelina Vučić, was also in the building, and she was on standby with her colleagues that night preparing the news broadcast for 03:00.
A few weeks prior to this crime, media outlets from the warring countries had demanded that RTS grant them six hours daily for their own broadcasts. When the station rejected these demands, NATO – in violation of international law – declared that RTS was a legitimate target for attack, alleging that the station was an element of the "war machinery," was "serving propaganda purposes," and not "adequately" reporting on events in the war, particularly "mass expulsions" of and "crimes" against Kosovo Albanians.
Amnesty International characterized NATO's attack on the RTS building, a war crime, arguing that the Geneva Conventions Art. 52 (2) clearly defined military and civilian targets, and the participation in propaganda is not a sufficient enough argument for declaring a facility a legitimate target for an attack.
Instead of bringing the responsible NATO officials to trial, Dragoljub Milanović was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2002 for an alleged violation of the General Security Law and for not taking all precautions to protect and evacuate the personnel and equipment. In her response to Milanović's remark during the trial that "had I evacuated the station to an alternative location, there would have been many more casualties," the judge literally answered: "Yes, but you would not have been responsible!" What a cynicism!
Among those calling for the immediate release of Dragoljub Milanović at the time were renowned personalities, such as the Nobel Laureate Peter Handke, the attorney, Tiphaine Dickson, the journalist, Diana Johnstone, Angelina Vučić, Milorad Vučelić, Spomenka Deretić, Miloš Marković, Vladan Dinić, Vladimir Đukanović, the Generals Božidar Delić, Miloš Đošan, Radovan Radinović, Spasoje Smiljanić, Colonel Zoltan Dani, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Živadin Jovanović, the ambassadors James Bissett, Ralph Hartmann, Vladislav Jovanović, Miroljub Milanović, Borislav Milošević, Vladimir Kršljanin, the professors John Peter Maher, Smilja Avramov, Mirko Zurovac, Slavenko Terzić, Uroš Šuvaković, the composer Miloš Raičković and 47 members of the Russian Duma, as well as known Russian personalities such as Sergey Baburin, Valeri Ganichev, Elena Guskova, Konstantin Zatulin, Gennadi Zyuganov, Gen. Leonid Ivashov, Mikhail Leontyev, Alexander Prokhanov, Gen. Leonid Reshetnikov. Regrettably, their voices were ignored at the time.
It is a great triumph for the predominating power in a political or armed conflict, to contrive a reversal in the culprit-victim perception, namely to convict the victims of its own war crimes. This is the ultimate fulfillment of the pursued subjugation.
Dragoljub Milanović is innocent!
We demand his rehabilitation!
In Italia, per lo specifico caso della strage della RTS di Serbia sono state presentate denunce contro la NATO a cura di La Valle R., Gallo D. et al. (5/5/1999 al Procuratore della Repubblica presso il Tribunale Penale Militare di Roma) e Rampelli A. nell’interesse dei parenti delle vittime (avv.ti Bozzi G. e Mattina M., 31/5/2000 presso il Tribunale Civile di Roma), cui è seguito un ricorso in Cassazione su iniziativa della Avvocatura dello Stato, dall’esito scandaloso (5/6/2002) [“A questo punto non ci resta che sperare che il Ministro dell’Interno non legga l’ordinanza. Non si sa mai. Domani qualcuno potrebbe scoprire che sparare sull’opposizione in piazza è esercizio di una insindacabile funzione politica…” (D. Gallo)]. Per la stessa strage una causa è stata intentata anche di fronte alla Corte Europea dei Diritti dell’uomo.
Inutile dire che tutti i suddetti procedimenti legali sono stati insabbiati o bloccati adducendo cavilli e difetti di giurisdizione.
Sul bombardamento della RTS si vedano anche il documento di Amnesty International e il libro+DVD “Sedìci persone. Le parole negate del bombardamento della TV di Belgrado” (Besa ed., 2005).
Una prima Petizione internazionale per il rilascio di Dragoljub Milanović fu avviata nel 2010. Sulla persecuzione ai danni dell’ex direttore della RTS è incentrata l’opera “Die Geschichte des Dragoljub Milanovic” del grande drammaturgo tedesco, oggi premio Nobel, Peter Handke (Jung und Jung, Salzburg und Wien 2011).]