Examination of Witnesses (Questions 20
TUESDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2001
20. Supposed to. That is your word, but it seems
to me that we are always going to be saying "supposed to".
There is not even clarity amongst them who has jurisdiction.
(Mr Judah) That is why I think it is a political problem
rather than what is actually on paper. The second part of your
questionwell, yes, there should be clarity one way or the
other. Either there is going to be a new federation, in which
everything is clear, or there is not going to be a new federation,
in which case Serbia will obviously have only one government.
21. Even if, supposing, in the unlikely event
of the Montenegrin people voting to stay in FRY, it seems to me
the issue is not going to go away. It is going to continuously
hamper progress because the Serbs, in fairness to them, are giving
generous termslike positive discrimination in terms of
legislature, seats in government rotating between President/Prime
minister and so onwhereas you have a federation and you
have large and small units of federation sets, there is no precedent
for a federation which has got, say, this lacking of symmetry
and scale. I mean, the Serbs are going to get aggravated by it
(Mr Judah) I agree with that, but we have to understand
that, if there is going to be a new federation, it will be accompanied
by precisely a lot of negotiations and discussions about what
any federal authorities which remain will do. "Probably not
very much," is the answer to that.
(Mr Judah) But we have not got there yet.
Mr Mackinlay: Your colleague, Dr von Hippel,
mentioned constituent assembly for Kosovo. I wonder if you could
beef up on that.
Chairman: We will be moving on to Kosovo. I
think, Mr Chidgey, you had a question.
23. Mr Glenny, you were talking about the need
to keep the Balkans in the public eye and the feeling of neglect.
I would like to come back to finish that point, if I may, before
we drift off into other areas. One of the issues that was made
very strongly to us by many of the ministers in our recent visit
was the awareness they have of the population's need to see change,
to see something better than they had under Milosevic, to see
an end to the deprivation and the poverty of their lives; the
ministers feeling that they have to deliver and deliver fast or
chaos could return. It is rather like they have just learned to
ride a bike and have to keep peddling, because, if they fell off,
it would be a disaster. Sir John was mentioning policy a moment
ago, British policy, what it should be. I really wanted to say
to you all that there seem to be a series of priorities here.
One is the EU package, which has been moving, and moving very
fast. The other one, of course, is the wider issue, or potentially
wider issue, of the events in Presevo and the latest package announced
by the Serbian Government on how to provide economic and social
developments to which all ethnic groups can have access and take
ownership of. In your view, do these priorities clash? What should
the British Government's policy be in supporting both or either
in priority to the other? How important is the Presevo initiative?
(Mr Glenny) The Covic initiative of the last week
(Mr Glenny) As far as I can see, there is an extraordinary
consensus building around the Covic package, including local moderate
representatives of the Albanians,both as a strategy for reducing
tension there but also building up the region economically. My
own feeling is that this initiative at the moment looks like it
may fly. It has strong international backing; it has strong local
backing from both instances; and everyone I have spoken to involved
in the negotiations is very impressed with Covic's personal performance.
25. I would like to move on to
(Mr Glenny) May I briefly say something about Montenegro?
Chairman: We would like to move on to Montenegro
later. Basically, I would like to move on to the Hague Tribunal,
then move on to Montenegro, and then Kosovo.
26. Mr Glenny, again you touched briefly, in
your response to an earlier question by Dr Starkey, on the issue
of the indictment of Milosevic and whether or not the reluctance
to indict him by Kostunica was because of the danger of making
him a hero or a martyr if he was taken off to the Hague. That
was a situation expounded in Belgrade. You did not seem to put
much credence on that but can I just press you on that. There
was quite a persuasive case made that the first thing that needs
to be done with Milosevic is to discredit him by making it clear
he is nothing better than a common but rather successful criminal,
which was an argument for prosecuting first in Serbia and maybe
then eventually in the Hague. Or is your argument that, if he
was carted off to the Hague and indicted and successfully tried
as a war criminal, that in fact would be an indictment against
the Serbian nation? Would that not be, therefore, the end finally
of any aspirations of the further agenda of continuing to support
the concept of greater Serbia? Are there undercurrents here about
which we are not particularly clear?
(Mr Glenny) There are lots of undercurrents. It is
a terribly complicated situation, largely because the institution
of the Hague Tribunal itself is a very new institution with really
quite substantial implications for policy in international relations.
Kostunica resists the extradition of Milosevic basically because
he believes the Hague Tribunal to be compromised by its relationship
with the Americans, in particular, and American intelligence.
He believes that the Hague Tribunal is being used as a way of
demonising Serbs and he makes a persuasive case for this. Personally,
I do not think he is thinking politically. Djindjic, I think,
in his response, shows that he is thinking politically about the
Hague. It is important, certainly, for Serbs to have a crack at
the whip, in my opinion.
27. What does that mean in fact? That he would
have a domestic tribunal?
(Mr Glenny) A domestic trial for crimes committed
inside Serbia, because, although Jonathan pointed out that he
was elected, he first came to power, Milosevic, using all the
institutions of a one-party state and when he was elected he was
elected with the use of rigged votes and so on and so forth. Therefore,
to claim that he is a legitimate representative and a metaphor
for Serbian political aspirations, I think, is questionable to
a degree. So the Serbs want him for crimes committed/undertaken;
they are, however, committed to extraditing him prior to any national
28. If I may just on that point there: the arguments
also point out that they have to change their constitution in
order to have a fair trial.
(Mr Glenny) In fact yesterday, I think it was, Momcilo
Grubac, the Federal Justice Minister, said it will take between
four and five months and then they will have extradition procedures
in place for the Hague.
29. In the interim, is there anything to stop
the Serbian authorities handing over other indictee war criminals
who are from other countries and other nationalities?from
Croatia or Bosnia and Slovenia, for example.
(Mr Glenny) They cannot hand them over if they are
Yugoslav citizens. If they are not Yugoslav citizens they can
hand them over to third parties; that is, they can send them back
30. Is there any evidence that there are any
of these indictees in the country?
(Mr Glenny) There is a suspicion that Mladic is in
Yugoslavia, but there is not hard evidence.
31. One final question from me, if I may. Again,
it has been mooted that there should be an establishment of a
Truth Commission in the context of the ICTY. I would like to hear
your views on that because one of the issues that concerns us
is that it is no more than a public relations exercise or, even
worse, would it be suggesting there should be an amnesty attached
to it, as in the South African model. In fact we were advised
by some people we saw that this was not the case, but I could
well see that if we went to a Truth Commission that concept of
amnesty certainly becomes attached to it.
(Mr Glenny) The situation is not comparable with the
South African situation, for reasons I will not bother to go into.
The problem with truth and reconciliation is that you are dealing
with not just Serbia and Yugoslavia but also Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Were there a truth and reconciliation committee, to be of any
value it would require everyone involved to commit themselves
to it and the indications that I hear, out of Croatia in particular,
is that they possibly would not be very happy with this idea.
But those are only indications. Also, the Serbs are probably going
to have very different opinions on this as well.
32. May I just clarify a comment you gave in
answer to David Chidgey's previous question: Is Mladic a Yugoslav
citizen? Are we talking about Yugoslavia as it was when we talk
about Yugoslavian citizens or Yugoslavia as it is now?
(Mr Judah) Perhaps I can just read something. This
comes from Belgrade every morning (indicating newspaper cutting)
(Mr Glenny) The Soviet Justice Minister saysand
I paraphrasethat there are indications that General Mladic
might be a Yugoslav citizen.
(Mr Judah) Yes, although he says he is still not sure.
Asked whether he referred to Ratka Mladic, he said, ". .
. he has obtained information that Ratka Mladic is a `FRY citizen'
but he himself could not confirm it."
33. So the answer is that it is fuzzy, is it?
(Mr Judah) Obviously no-one seems to have gone to
check. I am not quite sure why. In answer to the question of whether
he lives in Yugoslavia, he said "Everyone knows that he used
to live, until at least a couple of months ago, in a suburb of
34. I think Mr Steele is trying to answer your
(Mr Steele) Chairman, I wanted to bring up a point
in answer to what David Chidgey said about Presevo, unless you
are having a block of questions on Presevo later.
35. I am unclear what the answer was then. Are
we saying that nobody knows whether he is a Yugoslav citizen and
(Mr Glenny) The Serbian Justice Minister is evidently
unclear as to whether Mladic Ratka is a Yugoslav citizen or not.
36. And the same with Karadzic?
(Mr Glenny) Yes. I mean, I cannot imagine that either
of them would have taken out Bosnian citizenship! That is the
only thing I can say on that.
37. Mr Steele, if you would make a comment on
what Mr Chidgey said and then refer back to Dr Starkey.
(Mr Steele) I simply wanted to use the opportunity
to say something about Presevo, unless you are going to have a
series of questions on that because I think that is an extremely
important issue and it does reflect what Britain should be doing
about it. I absolutely agree with Misha Glenny that the Covic
initiative is very good, but at the same time I think it is very
important not to give a total blank cheque to Mr Covic and his
initiative. The main thing is about what the new government is
doing: first, that they are recognising it as a political problem
that has to be solved by political meansthis is clearly
a distinction to the way Milosevic behaved in Kosovo; secondly,
they are recognising the past injustices done by Serbian governments
to the Albanians of South Serbia, and recognising that they were
thrown out of public service jobs, the police, hospital management
and all the other things, and that, therefore, the Albanians would
have a genuine grievance; and, thirdly, that they are trying to
talk to the Albanians. I think it is very creditable that they
are talking not only to political Albanians, like Riza Halimi
the mayor of Presevo, but also they have said that they are willing
to talk to the leaders of the UCPMB guerilla movement that is
operating down there. I think that is a major step forward. However,
I think the corollary of this initiative is: what happens if it
does not work? That is where I come back to my point about the
blank cheque. I think there is great danger, if British policy,
indeed EU policy, overwhelmingly supports Covic, it is then going
to be bound to say, if the policy fails, "Do they use military
means?" and we look a little bit hopeless if we do not say,
"Yes, we do now accept that they can use military means."
Of course that would be a disaster. I think it is quite clear
that the Yugoslav army is already doing things which they should
not be doing in that area. I was there two and a half weeks ago
and I saw tanks firing from Serbia proper into the buffer zone.
Of course we know that the Yugoslav army is not allowed to penetrate
that zone physically with vehicles or men, but, if they are firing
shells in there that may be a moot point in terms of legality
and the Kumanovo agreement, but in terms of humanitarian consequence
it is disastrous. It is creating the same kind of refugee exodus
that we saw when the Yugoslav army was shelling Albanian villages
in Kosovo two years ago. I think that this is a very dangerous
tactic that the Yugoslav army has been pursuing. Some of the senior
Serb journalists I spoke to in Bujanovac, who are down there most
of the time, felt that there could be a split of policy between
Covic and Pavkovic, the Chief of Staff of the Yugoslav army, and,
indeed, that it might be a deliberate one, that Pavkovic might
be trying to sabotage the Covic initiative because he wants to
move to military means. I think it would be very important that
we get some kind of international presence into this area, whether
it is unarmed UN observers of some kind who can be there to monitor
exactly what is going on and give information so we do not just
take all the information from Covic and his people. Secondly,
that we might even have to think of allowing KFOR to be able to
move into that area in some capacity or other, preferably in a
joint operation, which could include not only the Serbs of Serbia
but even the Albanians of Kosovo, so that it was a tripartite
thing, with Albanian representation from Pristina, KFOR, and Serb
representation from Belgrade, so that it is really even-handed
and able to see what is going on. But, as I say, I think the situation
could very well deteriorate quite quickly as the spring comes
on and as the so-called fighting season begins, when you get cover
from the trees and so on, and the snow, such as it isthough
it is not particularly snowy at the momentmelts. If we
are left with this policy, if we just say Covic is doing a wonderful
job, we could be really caught.
Sir Peter Emery
38. Could I ask you about the Presevo Valley.
Mr Rowlands and myself went up with 4-5 Commando, watching. The
fact is that every two weeks 60 new Kosovo Albanians were coming
to a camp, being trained in military arms drills, etcetera, and
leaving or dissipating and another 60 would come. Asking what
all this meant, the reply that we had from the military who were
there, much in contact with the local people, was: "War?
The war has not ended. The war has not really begun." How
far is that stretching? How much is that going to be a permanent
factor in the next two or three years of re-armament, desire to
re-fight, desire to avenge, I suppose, in some way or other?
(Mr Steele) As I say, I think it could be very dangerous
over the next two or three years, and, indeed, earlier. There
is no doubt that there has been a radicalisation of the Albanian
population of South Serbia in the last year. When I was there
about a year ago, in January last year, local Albanians were willing
to criticise the UCPMB, saying, "We do not want this, we
do not think it is a good idea," and so on. Now, it is very
hard to hear an Albanian criticise the UCPMB, so that there has
been this closing of ranks. Whether it is entirely a genuine agreement
or whether there is some kind of intimidation going on, that nobody
wants to come out publicly and criticise them, you know, it is
very hard to say, but there is clearly a radicalisation of the
Albanian population. It was pointed out quite accurately that
there is a massive training programme going on of these guerrillas.
They want to destabilise the area, they do want to provoke something.
There are some internal disagreements of tactics and so on but
I think the general strategy is clear. Definitely a great deal
of blame attaches to the guerilla side for destabilising the situation,
but, nevertheless it creates a problem in which, if the Yugoslav
reaction is excessive, it further feeds this Albanian polarisation
and radicalisation. That is why I think at this early stage now,
before it gets to major war, there should be some sort of interposition
of independent people of the kind I mentioned earlier, to try
and keep a lid on it at the moment at least.
39. Before I call Mr Rowlands, who was also
there, could I ask you, Dr von Hippel, to give the perspective
from Kosovo on what has just been said?
(Dr von Hippel) I agree with what my colleagues are
saying, but I think it is important from the Kosovo perspective
that whatever comes out of the discussions that are ongoing inside
Kosovo that they include the Albanians in the Presevo region as
well and try to open the dialogue between the two, so that if
Kosovo does become independent there would still be cross-border
relationships. If it is not independent, it is the same story
in that sense. It is very difficult with the ... I do not know
what to call them any morethe former KLA or some of the
Albanian extremists that are undertaking a lot of this activity.
It is very difficult to say who is leading it and where it is
coming from. So I do not even know, in terms of inside Kosovo,
the type of influence that they have across the border. On the
other hand, as Misha Glenny was saying earlier the Americans do
have a lot of influence. Last year, when this issue was raised,
in March or whenever it was, when Tim was in Kosovoand
he was the only one worried about it at the time, but it was raised
as an issuethe Americans quite quickly sat on it and somehow
used their influence with the Albanians to stop the conflict from
exploding. I think they are about to deploy some EU monitors.
I think I read that yesterday or the day before. But I agree that
those are good solutions to the problem.
Chairman: Before asking Mr Mackinlay to lead
on Montenegro, I know that Mr Rowlands, who was there with Sir
Peter, would like to comment.