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Milosevic Blames French, Serbs for Muslim Massacre

September 29, 2002|From Associated Press

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Slobodan Milosevic defied U.N. prosecutors Friday, contending the massacre of Muslims in eastern Bosnia of which he is accused was devised by French spies and carried out by renegade Serb paramilitaries.

The former Yugoslav president, charged with 66 counts of war crimes from 1991-1995, including genocide, also dismissed the testimony from the prosecution's first Croatian Serb witness -- who accused the Milosevic-bankrolled nationalist Serb forces of ethnic bloodletting.

In the second phase of his trial, which started Thursday, Milosevic faces 61 counts of war crimes for atrocities allegedly committed under his authority.

During the first phase of the trial, involving events in Kosovo, Milosevic was charged with five counts of crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war for events between 1998 and 1999.

Milosevic denied involvement in the July 1995 murder of approximately 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica, asserting that Bosnian Serb paramilitaries were paid by the French secret service to carry out the executions.

Milosevic said that neither he nor Bosnian Serb wartime commanders Gen. Ratko Mladic and Gen. Radislav Krstic were involved. "I'm sure that military honor would never have permitted them to execute innocent civilians," Milosevic said.

Krstic was convicted last year of genocide for commanding Serb forces in Bosnia. Mladic, indicted by the court in 1995, is at large.

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