- Title: YUGOSLAVIA: 11 WESTERN LEADERS CONVICTED OF WAR CRIMES BY BELGRADE COURT.
- Date: 22nd September 2000
- Summary: BELGRADE, YUGOSLAVIA (SEPTEMBER 21, 2000) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. MV/PAN: VEROLJUB RAKITIC, PRESIDING JUDGE, ENTERING THE COURT ROOM 0.07 2. LV: WS OF THE COURT ROOM, WHERE TRIAL AGAINST 14 WESTERN LEADERS WAS HELD 0.11 3. GV/PAN: PAN SHOT OF THE CHAIRS LABELLED WITH NAMES OF THE ACCUSED 0.18 4. MV: VEROLJUB RAKITIC, PRESIDING JUDGE READING OUT THE VERDICT 0.33 5. GV/CU: PEOPLE APPLAUDING 0.41 6. GV/MV/CU: VARIOUS OF THE TRIAL (6 SHOTS) 1.10 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 7th October 2000 13:00
- Location: BELGRADE, YUGOSLAVIA
- Country: Yugoslavia
- Reuters ID: LVAUYGFU7O6MGW9JW1I8FGLYXL0
- Story Text: Belgrade sentenced 14 Western leaders to 20 years in
prison each for war crimes during last years NATO air strikes
and said it would issue arrest warrants.
U.S. President Bill Clinton, Jacques Chirac of France,
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and 11 other leaders have
been on trial since Monday in the Belgrade District Court.
Empty seats in the courtroom were labelled with their names.
In the name of the people...We sentence...to individual
prison terms of 20 years each.. presiding judge Veroljub
Rakitic said reading out the 14 names to applause. He said an
order was given to issue arrest warrants against them.
The 14 were found guilty as charged for inciting a war of
aggression, war crimes against the civilian population, use of
banned weapons, attempted murder of President Slobodan
Milosevic and the violation of Yugoslavias territorial
Milosevic was indicted with four close aides by the
International War Crimes Tribunal for former Yugoslavia for
repressing ethnic Albanians in Kosovo before and during the
bombing, in March to June of last year.
The tribunal refused to open an investigation into
allegations that NATO leaders were guilty of war crimes in the
air campaign that forced him to withdraw from Kosovo.
They fired 600 cruise missiles and made 25,119 air sorties
during the 78-day aggression, attacking both military and
civilian targets, killing and wounding many people and causing
mass destruction of property, the charges read.
During their so-called humanitarian intervention they have
killed 546 soldiers and 504 civilians, of whom 88 children...
They left behind them devastation in the place of modern
factories, bridges, schools.. Rakitic said.
The trial began a few days before September 24 elections
which the Yugoslav government portrays as a choice between
patriotism and treachery branding its domestic opponents
traitors and NATO lackeys plotting to destroy Serbia.
Rakitic said the accused had violated the United Nations
Charter and described the attacks as an unauthorised
aggression on a sovereign country.
We invited the accused to come to the court and present
their defence. They ignored the invitation, or were maybe
afraid to face reality and their consciences, he said.
Rakitic expressed regret the penal code had not foreseen
Our humane criminal code does not stipulate higher
sentences because it could not be foreseen that such a crime
could be committed.. that is why this court is limited by the
penalty and has sentenced each accused to 20 years.. he said.
During the three-day trial video material was presented as
evidence and forensic and other reports and testimonies of
survivors read out. Defence attorneys also had their say.
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