"Thanks to Mr Nice's kindness"

23 May 2005 by HEIKELINA VERRIJN STUART

Of the 17 charges in the Kosovo indictment against Slobodan Milosevic, the massacre at Racak is the only crime that took place before the NATO bombings of May 1999. At his trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the former Serb president is trying to prove that he was fighting a just war in Kosovo against insurgents and terrorists.

According to Milosevic, if people were killed in Kosovo, this happened in regular battle and the hundreds of thousands who fled the area did so because of the NATO bombing. The massacre in Racak - in January 1999, bodies were found in a ravine near the village and others in Racak itself - had been "staged", claims the accused. The bodies were those of Kosovar Liberation Army fighters (UCK), he says. When William Walker, chief of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) mission, who arrived at the scene shortly after the killings and immediately alerted the world to this massacre, he provided a justification for the NATO bombing that took place the following May, says also Milosevic.

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