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Milosevic Cites the FBI in Asserting Innocence

March 09, 2002|From Times Wire Services

THE HAGUE — Slobodan Milosevic brandished what he said was an FBI document concerning Al Qaeda-backed Muslim fighters in Kosovo as he insisted Friday that ethnic Albanian separatists were the true villains there.

Sparring with a Kosovo human rights activist who accused Serbs, citizens of Yugoslavia's main republic, of killing and mutilating ethnic Albanians in the Serbian province, the former Yugoslav president said the document proved the existence of Al Qaeda and moujahedeen support for Muslim fighters not only in Kosovo but also in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the separatist Russian republic of Chechnya.

"This is a congressional statement of the FBI. That's what this is," Milosevic declared, adding triumphantly that the report was dated Dec. 18--"after Sept. 11."

The authenticity of the document could not be independently confirmed, and he gave no details of how he obtained it.

"Neither the [Serbian] army nor the police have been implicated in war crimes," Milosevic, who is defending himself, told the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in his war crimes trial.

But witness Sabit Kadriu said he knew nothing of activity by Osama bin Laden in Kosovo, where a Serbian crackdown on ethnic Albanians triggered North Atlantic Treaty Organization airstrikes in 1999.

"It's not true there were moujahedeen in Kosovo. This is a fiction of your mind," the 41-year-old ethnic Albanian said.

Milosevic faces 66 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia--the latter two onetime Yugoslav republics.

Kadriu told the court Thursday that Serbian forces killed more than 100 civilians as they tried to flee the province in 1999.

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