Wednesday, April 27, 2005

CONTEMPT, INDEED:

**************************************************************
INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE TO DEFEND SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC
ICDSM Sofia-New York-Moscow www.icdsm.org
**************************************************************
Velko Valkanov, Ramsey Clark, Alexander Zinoviev (Co-Chairmen),
Klaus Hartmann (Chairman of the Board), Vladimir Krsljanin (Secretary),
Christopher Black (Chair, Legal Committee), Tiphaine Dickson (Legal
Spokesperson)
**************************************************************

CONTEMPT, INDEED:

ICDSM Statement on the Contempt Charges Brought Against Kosta Bulatovic and
the Imposition of In Absentia Proceedings Against President Slobodan
Milosevic

21 April 2005

The ICTY has now charged a defense witness for Slobodan Milosevic, Kosta
Bulatovic, with contempt, for refusing to continue testifying in the course
of proceedings-- known as in absentia-- carried out in absence of the
accused, who was kept at the ICTY's detention unit, as he was too ill to
attend the day's proceedings.

First, in violation of basic legal rights, and, indeed, of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Slobodan Milosevic was denied the
right to represent himself. The Trial Chamber held that he was too ill to
ensure his own representation, and rather than order an adjournment of the
proceedings, or a stay, or a mistrial, or, indeed, any other reasonable legal
measure routinely employed by legitimate courts around the world, they
instead imposed counsel upon an unwilling accused, counsel who'd previously
acted as parties in the proceedings, a glaring, formal conflict of interest.

The ICTY has now compounded this violation by carrying out in absentia
proceedings, and by bringing criminal charges against a defense witness who
refuses to cooperate with this exceptionally transparent attempt to remove
the accused from his own defense, and perhaps to gag him entirely.

It is increasingly clear that the proceedings undertaken by the ICTY
against Slobodan Milosevic are themselves in contempt. In contempt of the
basic rules of International Law and, indeed, of principles of human decency.
An accused person has the right to represent himself and obviously has a
right to be present for, and participate in, his own trial. To go so far as
to criminally charge a witness who refuses to cooperate with massive
violations of rights guaranteed by international instruments such as the
the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights has brought this
institution to a new low, and threatens the future of International Law.

These contempt proceedings are absolutely illegitimate and can only serve
to set back even further the cause of justice and, indeed, the truth.

These in absentia proceedings appear to be the result of a deliberate
design, and were wholly predictable from the very moment, last summer, when
former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's two previous employees,
David Scheffer and Michael Scharf, publicly lobbied in the International
Herald Tribune and the Washington Post, respectively, for the imposition of
the very measures being carried out today. Mr. Scheffer did not hide his
contempt for internationally recognized basic human rights by demanding
that late Trial Chamber President Richard May "permanently pull in his
well-worn leash" by gagging President Milosevic, then "pumping the
proceedings into his cell". Neither Scheffer nor Scharf, in their public
demands for the gagging of President Milosevic, concealed their view that
the ICTY is a political rather than legal body. They are both architects of
the institution, and therefore they would know. Their lobbying appears to
have been successful and will have devastating effect, as appears to be
their intention, on any future international criminal proceedings. Indeed,
both have made clear at different moments that their intention is to insure
that Saddam Hussein, for example, would not have the right to claim U.S.
aggression against Iraq.

President Milosevic has always maintained his opposition to this body--as
one that was illegally constituted and is employed to justify aggression
and violate national sovereignty--as well as his firm commitment to the
people of Yugoslavia that he would establish that the so-called Balkan wars
were, in fact, one war--a war against Yugoslavia, carried out in violation
of International Law.

In order to prevent him from doing this, the most fundamental tenets of
criminal procedure and, indeed, of international law must be further violated
and its future jeopardized.

There is only one positive aspect of these perverse proceedings: they bring
clarity to the situation and make clear once and for all that the ICTY is
not a legal body but, rather, abuses power that it does not even legally
possess.

*************************************************************
*************************************************************

URGENT FUNDRAISING APPEAL

******************************

President Milosevic has the truth and law on his side. In order to use that
advantage to achieve his freedom, we must fight this totally discredited
tribunal and its patrons through professionally conducted actions which
would involve the Bar Associations, the European Court, the UN organs in
charge and the media.

Our practice has shown that ad hoc voluntary work is not enough to deal
properly with these tasks. The funds secured in Serbia are still enough only
to cover the expenses of the stay and work of President Milosevic's legal
associates at The Hague (one at the time). The funds secured by the German
section of the ICDSM (still the only one with regular contributions) are
enough only to cover minimal additional work at The Hague connected with
contacts and preparations of foreign witnesses. Everything else is lacking.

***********************************************************

3000-5000 EUR per month is our imminent need.

Our history and our people oblige us to go on with this necessary action.
But without these funds it will not be possible.

Please organize urgently the fundraising activity
and send the donations to the following ICDSM accounts:


Peter Betscher
Stadt- und Kreissparkasse Darmstadt, Germany
IBAN: DE 21 5085 0150 0102 1441 63
SWIFT-BIC: HELADEF1DAS

or

Vereinigung für Internationale Solidarität (VIS)
4000 Basel, Switzerland
PC 40-493646-5

************************************************************

All of your donations will be used for legal and other necessary
accompanying activities, on instruction or with the consent of President
Milosevic. To
obtain additional information on the use of your donations or to obtain
additional
advice on the most efficient way to submit your donations or to make bank
transfers, please do not hesitate to contact us:

Peter Betscher (ICDSM Treasurer) E-mail: peter_betscher@freenet.de
Phone: +49 172 7566 014

Vladimir Krsljanin (ICDSM Secretary) E-mail: slobodavk@yubc.net
Phone: +381 63 8862 301


************************************************************

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