...it is indeed important to discuss it, especially today in 2021, a year of important anniversaries: the 80th anniversary of the birth of Milošević (10th August), the twenty years elapsed since his kidnapping (28th June) and since the creation of the International Committee for the Defence of Slobodan Milošević (ICDSM), as well as the fifteenth anniversary of his killing in the prison of The Hague (11th March)...
In the Year of Slobodan Milošević
by Andrea Martocchia (secretary of the Jugocoord association)
7 March 2021
The question of Slobodan Milošević and the political and human affairs surrounding him, within the broader and no less contentious matter of the Yugoslav tragedy, is not one that is easy to raise: the average interlocutor knows little of it and tends to respond from behind a barrage of ludicrous clichés; other interlocutors, better informed of the facts, or so they believe, shut down conversation with furious reactions and absolute, but unsupported, declarations.
Yet, it is indeed important to discuss it, especially today in 2021, a year of important anniversaries: the 80th anniversary of the birth of Milošević (10th August), the twenty years elapsed since his kidnapping (28th June) and since the creation of the International Committee for the Defence of Slobodan Milošević (ICDSM), as well as the fifteenth anniversary of his killing in the prison of The Hague (11th March).
The two main organizations which have "taken up the cause" of Milošević – the International Committee for Slobodan Milošević (CDSM, ICDSM's heir) and the SloboDA Association of Belgrade – in view of the exceptional circumstances brought about by the pandemic, which make it impossible to organize conferences or other in-person events, are preparing to mark these dates with the diffusion of texts, videos and monographs, and are calling on ex-members and ICDSM support groups around the world to contribute by making available their materials and testimonies.
National Coordination for Yugoslavia (Jugocoord, www.cnj.it) itself, and not by chance, was established twenty years ago (Bologna, 1st July 2001). Those who created it had followed closely and constantly, over the previous years, the tragic phases in the dismembering of Yugoslavia culminating in the NATO bombing of 1999, and had, in the first instance, defended the unity of that great, modern and peaceful country, and had subsequently stood up against the mountain of mud that the NATO countries' system of strategic disinformation was slinging over the leadership of what remained of that country, with particular fury directed at Slobodan Milošević and his entourage, with the very intent to effect its devastation. "They strike Milošević to strike Yugoslavia, not the other way around", said, quite correctly, the then Yugoslav president.
Following its founding, Jugocoord continued in its counterinformation activities by republishing on the internet all ICDSM statements and materials, by denouncing the scandal of the political "trial" staged at The Hague against the figure who was most representative of both the Yugoslavist inheritance and of the interests of the Serbian nation: two aspects which are closely correlated and not in the least contradictory, as instead proclaimed by those whose hatred is harboured both for the former and the latter.
This year, indeed, Jugocoord will complete a challenging endeavour, which, in some way, represents both a synthesis of those activities performed to date in Italy around these issues, and also a compendium of essential information for those who really wish to understand and learn the truth. The endeavour in question is the publication of the second Italian edition of In defence of Yugoslavia, the only text existing in our domestic publishing panorama which has ever been dedicated to a documentation of the figure of Slobodan Milošević.
This second edition sees the light, thanks to the same publisher (Zambon), fully 15 years on from the first, and must therefore necessarily cover the further grave acts that have occurred in the meantime, starting with the physical liquidation of Milošević in The Hague prison. Moreover, this volume includes a large part of the new contributions and materials published in the German editions, which now amount to five in total, and in other essays and subsequent publications, such as the book entitled Anatomy of a Judicial Murder written in 2017 by Vukašin Andrić, one of Milošević's trusted doctors. As such, this second edition differs profoundly from the first, which had been conceived almost as an instant book to be circulated during the key moments of the "trial" of Milošević, above all to present to the Italian public the long and detailed Opening Declaration to the “cross-examinations by the defence”, read by the "accused" between 31st August and 2nd September 2004 before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
At any rate, that the new edition is very different from the first will be immediately obvious to the reader acquainted with the latter from the very size of the volume, much heftier than that of 2006, and the same reader will be able to appreciate just how much new material has been added, often as the result of painstaking translations into Italian, and how much additional information has been made available to those who wish to undertake a study which goes beyond the superficial into the dramatica Yugoslav crisis of the end of the twentieth century. Indeed, while this work was sparked by Slobodan Milošević's para-judicial situation, necessarily our gaze extends to take in Yugoslavia's drama as a whole: a much broader web of issues, in which, however, Milošević and the "ad hoc Tribunal" represent the main narrative turning points and, in great measure, the synthesis.
The issues covered in the book have lost absolutely none of their relevance. The Balkan area remains highly unstable following the reckless, irresponsible operations of ethno-institutional engineering promoted by the West, and the "ad hoc Tribunal" has shut its doors only in a formal sense, while actually "handing over" to a new ad hoc institution– the so-called International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) – which is carrying on regardless with its writing of the recent history of those lands for the consumption of the same Western powers. The Mechanism, as an institution, is exactly identical to the "ad hoc Tribunal", with the same personnel (from its first president, Theodor Meron, down) and the same seat in The Hague; in addition, the Mechanism is also controlling the propaganda legacy of the "ad hoc Tribunal", above all through the creation of ICTY Information Centres in which the huge, contradictory and chaotic mass of documentation produced over 25 years is "carefully" selected and made available to "orient" academics, students, journalists and politicians. One such Centre has been opened, for example, in Sarajevo's City Hall, and temporary venues have also been created in Pola (Istria) and in Vienna; each Yugoslav republic is desired to inaugurate one. This demonstrates how the issue of the "ad hoc Tribunal" remains relevant today and, more than this, is indispensable to those who wish to devote themselves to interpreting the contemporary Yugoslav crisis.
The creation of this second edition has been difficult and long and drawn out for a number of different reasons: technical difficulties both intrinsic and unforeseen, the deaths of key figures in the campaign for Milošević, such as his widow Mirjana Marković, the ex-president of Montenegro and Yugoslav premier Momir Bulatović, and – in Italy – professor Aldo Bernardini, full professor of International Law, and partisan Miriam Pellegrini Ferri, former leading ICDSM representatives in Italy. Other unexpected events which occurred during the drafting, such as the awarding of the Nobel prize to Peter Handke – the great novelist and playwright, and also cental figure in the solidarity campaign for Slobodan Milošević – led us to add material or, indeed, entire new sections. We attach to this text the Index to the volume in order that those interested might have a clearer idea of the book's contents.
The first edition was edited by the Italian Section of the ICDSM, chaired by Miriam Pellegrini, ex-partisan, recently deceased. With her partner, in life and in the struggle, Spartaco Ferri, Miriam drafted for the occasion a brief, indignant introduction; other introductions were written by the well-known jurist Giuseppe Mattina and the famous philosopher Domenico Losurdo. None of the four are alive today: we cannot but pay further homage to them here. Their writings of the time today retain all of their validity and, indeed, demonstrate their exceptional prescience. For instance, the harsh words used by Losurdo to compare the "ad hoc Tribunal" of The Hague to the kangaroo courts of the Ku Klux Klan were premonitory of the physical elimination of the accused by the "Tribunal" itself, which would occur only a few months after the publication of the first edition. The reader of today finds equally prophetic, in this connection, the following statements by Klaus Hartmann, ICDSM president, written only weeks before the murder in the preface to the German edition:
The situation has, for the actors in The Hague, become so inconvenient that they are clearly seeking ways-out, in which it appears that some variation on the theme of the “summary judgement” plays a role. The long-standing, outright disdain for medical certificates and advice concerning the heart disease and circulatory problems suffered by Milošević, the denial of adequate medical treatment and monitoring, as well as the constant pressure exerted in terms of limiting time available and exacerbating stress, all speak volumes.
After the killing of Milošević the question arose of the redefinition of the International Committee's roles. In Italy, essential documentary material has continued to be gathered and disseminated by Jugocoord, and it is for this reason that the second edition has been prepared by the aforementioned association through the efforts of its secretary, Andrea Martocchia, and the Commission dedicated to matters regarding the "ad hoc Tribunal".
Jugocoord has also been promoting other initiatives around these issues: to this end since 2017 a partnership has been engaged with the SloboDA Association. 2018 saw the first edition of the “Giuseppe Torre" international competition for critical essays on the "ad hoc Tribunal" of The Hague, with awards going to Stephen Karganović and Jovan Milojevich. A second edition has just concluded and the winners will be announced on the website www.cnj.it on 30thApril 2021. The association has earmarked funds to cover the publication of the most outstanding texts on these questions, has acquired the rights for the projection in Italy of the important documentary De Zaak Milošević (The Milošević affair) by director Jos de Putter and writer Germinal Civikov (VPRO, The Netherlands 2003) and has undertaken a complete subtitling thereof.
The "Torre" competition and our other recently-launched initiatives recently on the subject of the "ad hoc Tribunal" of The Hague are not merely the fruit of our staunch commitment to shedding light on the uses and abuses of International Law, but also a specific duty conferred on us by our supporter Giuseppe Torre, who passed away in 2014 having arranged a bequest to fund just such activities. Indeed, his last will and testament, drafted in 2007, contains the following words:
Of the National Coordination for Yugoslavia I ask that this sum be used to defend those Serbs charged by the Special Tribunal of The Hague, and to make the general public aware of what this institution really is: an affront to law, to justice and to our sense of humanity, created by the victors as an addition to, and integral part of their wars.
Torre expressed his ideas even more incisively with regard to the "ad hoc Tribunal" in an article of his from 2006 in which he wrote:
One consequence of the humanitarian wars is the use of justice, moulded by the victors into an instrument serving the purposes of their new strategies. […] Thus was created The Hague's special criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, a real instrument of warfare which cancels both international law, and the basic principles of European legal systems. Recently, it has returned not a verdict on, but rather the corpse of Slobodan Milošević. The trial of the century, which was supposed to prove beyond doubt his responsibilities, has swiftly been made to disappear while the accused himself has been disappeared.
IN DEFENCE OF YUGOSLAVIA
Slobodan Milošević's tragic case and the destruction of his country: from scapegoat to accuser
II Italian edition, revised and expanded by Jugocoord Onlus
Frankfurt: Zambon Editore, 2021
1.1. Foreword and Acknowledgements
1.2. Domenico Losurdo: Introduction to the first Italian edition
1.3. Klaus Hartmann: Introduction to the German edition
1.4. Andrea Martocchia: The Milošević trial: "intentions on trial"
2. The "j’accuse" at the "ad hoc Tribunal"
Declaration made by Slobodan Milošević opening his "defence trial", The Hague 31st August – 2nd September 2004
3. The battle for the right to health and the right to self-representation
3.1. Letter from international law experts to the Secretary-General of the UN (29th July 2004)
3.2. Tiphaine Dickson: Beyond the Star Chamber. Shutting down the Milošević defense In The Hague (20thFebruary 2005)
3.3. Aldo Bernardini: International law turned on its head: the Yugoslav crisis and the case of President Milošević (26th February 2005)
3.4. ICDSM and Sloboda: Milošević must be freed! (November 2005)
3.5. Aldo Bernardini: Letter to Fausto Pocar, President of the ICTY (6th March 2006)
3.6. Letter from the members of the ICDSM to the UN Security Council and to the President of the ICTY Appeals Court (10th March 2006)
3.7. Excerpts from the interview granted by Mirjana “Mira” Marković to the daily newspaper Novosti (14th March 2006)
4. The murder in The Hague prison
4.1. The Wikileaks revelations
4.2. The "ad hoc Tribunal" of The Hague rejects Milošević's request to be treated in a trusted clinic (23rd February 2006)
4.3. Slobodan Milošević's last letter (8th March 2006)
4.4. Andrea Martocchia: "In prison death is only by murder"
4.5. J. Vergès and P. Barriot: Open Letter to Carla del Ponte (April 2006)
4.6. Marko Milošević: Open Letter (17th July 2006)
4.7. C. Black and A. Mezyaev: The death of President Slobodan Milošević in a NATO prison remains a core issue in international justice (14th March 2013)
5. Peter Handke, Yugoslavia and the "Milošević affair"
5.1. Martin Lettmayer: Interview with Peter Handke (January 1997)
5.2. Italo Slavo: Peter Handke's karstic springs (10th July 2005)
5.3. Peter Handke: Oration over Milošević's tomb (18th March 2006)
5.4. Further notes on Handke, the Yugoslav question and the Nobel Prize 2019
6. Other testimonies and comments
6.1. Italo Slavo: Slobo the poet (January 2002)
6.2. Klaus Hartmann: The "justice" of the Nazis and that of NATO (8th November 2003)
6.3. Michel Parenti: The demonization of Slobodan Milošević (February 2004)
6.4. Aldo Bernardini: Letter to the Lelio Basso Foundation (8th July 2004)
6.5. Ramsey Clark: Letter to Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General (12th February 2004)
6.6. Giuseppe Mattina: On the illegalities of the trial of Slobodan Milošević (2005)
6.7. Miriam Pellegrini and Spartaco Ferri: Letter to President Milošević (2005)
6.8. Ralph Hartmann: Speech made in Berlin (15th March 2006)
6.9. The final letter of his wife, Mira Marković (18th March 2006)
6.10. Aldo Bernardini: Cowards, great cowards (5th April 2006)
6.11. Zivadin Jovanović: On the occasion of the 14th anniversary of his death (11th March 2020)
7. Other texts and speeches by Slobodan Milošević
7.1. Speech at Kosovo Field (28th June 1989)
7.2. Interview given to Ron Hatchett of C-Span TV (19th April 1999)
7.3. Correspondence with Fidel Castro (1999) and the Cuban leader's stance on the Yugoslav question
7.4. Slobodan Milošević addresses the nation (2nd October 2000)
7.5. Last interview before arrest (Fulvio Grimaldi, March 2001)
7.6. Prison visit to Slobodan Milošević (Aldo Bernardini, August 2001)
7.7. Open letter (August 2003)
7.8. Condolences on the death of Yasser Arafat (11th November 2004)
8. Milošević's Death in the Propaganda System (E.S. Herman and D. Peterson)
9. International right and... purl in the Yugoslav case (A. Martocchia)
10.1. Legend (nomenclature, acronyms, abbreviations) and Aid to Reading the Self-defence Declaration
10.3. Bibliography and other sources