Milosevic in self defence

07 February 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

Slobodan Milosevic sounded almost jubilant when he called two French witnesses, both former UNPROFOR members sympathetic to the suffering of the Serb people. Nurse Eve Crepin's testimony was so general that presiding judge Patrick Robinson dismissed it as "a conversation with a cup of tea on the veranda". But her partner, former army doctor Patrick Barriot, gave evidence that sparked intense questioning from both prosecutors and judges.

Barriot spoke of his experiences in the French army in the former Yugoslavia, his work as a volunteer in Bosnia and Kosovo, and during the air strikes against Serbia. He said there was a continuous presence of terrorists in Bosnia Herzegovina who had ties to the Algerian islamic group GIA and Al-Qaeda. Mohammed Atta - who piloted one of the planes that targeted the Twin Towers in 2001 - had been seen in Bosnia in 1994, 1995 and in 1999. The core of his evidence was a document relating to post-September 11 investigations in which the Bosnian Ministry of Interior informed the rest of the government of a request by Interpol concerning Atta's presence in a village in Bosnia in 1999. Although he implied that the document came from French intelligence sources, he admitted under cross-examination in cross examination he agreed, whilst visibly amused by an increasingly passionate prosecutor Carla del Ponte, that the document was a fax from Republika Srpska and not classified intelligence.

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