The Guardian July 11, 2001

The treason of Vojislav Kostunica

by Chris Black, Richard Hugus and Jared Israel*

A chorus of voices of remarkable diversity is proclaiming Vojislav 
Kostunica innocent of kidnapping President Slobodan Milosevic. This chorus 
includes not only the mainstream media, which uniformly supports the 
kidnapping, but also various groups and individuals who oppose the 
kidnapping. Their common view is that Kostunica was out of the loop; that 
the kidnapping was a big surprise or even an attack on him by Serbian Prime 
Minister Djindjic.

The evidence doesn't support this view.

Mr Kostunica has issued a statement on the kidnapping. In it he blamed 
everyone but himself. Remarkably, the blame extended to the Montenegrin 
Socialists (SNP).

According to Kostunica, by refusing to support his proposed extradition 
law, the SNP had blocked an "opportunity to legally regulate cooperation 
with the tribunal so that our citizens could be protected". (Kostunica's 
statement, as translated by Emperor's Clothes)

Mr Kostunica's proposed law would have established regulations to speedily 
extradite anyone demanded by NATO's Hague Tribunal. How can that be 
portrayed as "protecting citizens"? When a government regulates Injustice, 
does that make it Just?

In his statement, Kostunica whitewashed Washington and blamed Mr Milosevic 
for getting kidnapped:

"From the arsenal of Milosevic's politics, which was truly defeatist for 
the state and the people, are now adopted and revived precisely its most 
undemocratic elements  illegality and the pulling off of humiliating 
maneouvers that no one in the international community asked for, at least 
not explicitly."

First of all, the "international community" definitely did demand Milosevic 
be brought to The Hague. And they praised the kidnapping once it happened. 
Why does Kostunica deny these publicly known facts? And what is the meaning 
of "at least not explicitly"?

Second, as far as the kidnapping having roots in Milosevic's practices, 
what practices? Kostunica doesn't say.

Did Milosevic kidnap people and send them to the Tribunal? No. Did he rule 
by decree? No. If Milosevic was such a terrible dictator, how come he 
didn't even arrest Mr Kostunica, whose Presidential election campaign last 
year accepted tens of millions of illegal US dollars, smuggled into Serbia 
in "suitcases of cash"(1)

It seems that every time Vojislav Kostunica makes a statement he manages to 
include an attack on Slobodan Milosevic, accusing him of various crimes. 
But Kostunica never provides evidence to support his accusations.

A hundred times Kostunica has said, "Milosevic should be tried at home for 
his crimes". This suggests to the casual listener (that is, most of us) 
that the existence of crimes is a proven fact.

The opposite is true.

Mr Milosevic was arrested and held in a Belgrade jail for 13 weeks, 
supposedly for purposes of investigation. He was not allowed out on bail 
because "he might try to influence witnesses". During that time no evidence 
of any kind was presented. No witnesses testified against him.

Is it a coincidence that Milosevic was kidnapped from jail precisely when 
the legally allowed three month investigation period had expired, when 
prosecutors had to produce evidence or release him?

If Vojislav Kostunica possessed facts implicating Milosevic in any crime he 
would have turned that evidence over to prosecutors. Therefore he had no 

Therefore Kostunica's constant accusations have been lies that relied on 
and reinforced the evidence of rumour and smear spread by the Western media 
and the Yugoslav media controlled by Mr Djindjic and Mr Kostunica.

Kostunica's accusations are frequently quoted in the Western media where 
they help NATO sustain anti-Milosevic (and anti-Serb) public opinion. Why 
do Serbian patriots tolerate this man? Isn't it obvious that his slanders 
do great harm, particularly now that Slobodan Milosevic (and the Serbs and 
all loyal Yugoslav people) stand accused at NATO's Hague?

Is Kostunica guilty in the kidnapping of Milosevic?

It is a matter of record that Vojislav Kostunica worked hand in hand with 
Zoran Djindjic to "deport" Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague.

Their campaign went into high gear while Kostunica was in Washington 
visiting Powell, Rice and Bush, seven weeks ago.

Now Kostunica is having a loud falling-out with Djindjic. The function of 
this split is to let Kostunica retain some credibility among ordinary 
people, who loathe Mr Djindjic.

Kostunica's claim that he is innocent of the final deed can be disproved 
through the exercise of common sense.

1) Kostunica used to admit that extradition is unconstitutional:

"Kostunica has said he would not extradite his ousted predecessor and other 
war crimes suspects to face trial at the international court in The Hague 
because it would be unconstitutional.

According to Kostunica, the Yugoslav Constitution does not allow 
extradition of Yugoslav citizens to a foreign court.

2) Yet, after Kostunica met with Powell and Bush in Washington seven weeks 
ago, he promised to push an extradition law through Parliament. He went 
back to Yugoslavia and tried to do just that.

While he was in Washington Kostunica also changed his tune about The Hague 
War Crimes Tribunal:

"Cooperation with The Hague tribunal is something that is necessary for 
this country being a member of the United Nations and behaving as a good 
member of the international community." (Houston Chronicle, May 10 2001)

It's the same "international community" that bombed Yugoslavia.

3) When Kostunica returned to Yugoslavia, he used his control of the mass 
media to try and sell to Yugoslavs the notion that they had to bow to the 
Tribunal or Washington would prevent a Donors Conference from "saving" the 
Yugoslav economy.

Kostunica had to know these promises to save Yugoslavia were false. The 
Donors Conference may promise some credits, but they are always followed by 
the theft of the industrial wealth of the target country.

4) The Montenegrin socialists (SNP) hold the balance of power in the 
Yugoslav Parliament. When they refused to vote for Kostunica's extradition 
law, Kostunica and Djindjic pressured and threatened to force them to 
comply. At the same time, Kostunica suppressed opposition from patriots in 
his own party.

5) The SNP held firm. So Djindjic and Kostunica decided to bypass 
Parliament entirely.

"The government was forced to issue a federal decree through the cabinet, 
where Mr Kostunica and his reformists have a majority after losing its 
battle with Parliament this week." (New York Times June 24 2001)

The cabinet's action not only usurped the functions of Parliament but 
attempted to overrule the Constitution by decree. In his statement 
Kostunica still defends this:

"Everything was tried", said Kostunica. "All was laid out so that  with 
federal law, or federal and republican law, or only through republican law, 
and afterwards through the decree of the Federal government  the 
difficult question of cooperation with the Tribunal would be regulated."

6) Later, the Constitutional Court ordered a temporary injunction against 
extraditing Milosevic while he appealed the Federal administration's 

As President, Mr Kostunica's job is to command the army in order to protect 
and defend the Constitution and that includes defending the decisions of 
the Constitutional Court.

Why didn't Kostunica do his job and prevent the kidnapping?

Kostunica says the problem was he didn't know.

First of all, Kostunica and Djindjic had been partners in pushing for 
extradition all along. Djindjic says he never would have staged the 
kidnapping without Kostunica's approval.

The intentions of Djindjic were no secret. Days before the kidnapping 
Djindjic and others declared that if legal obstacles were put in the way of 
extraditing Milosevic, they would do it anyway.

Once Djindjic made this public commitment to break the law  that is, to 
kidnap the former head of state  it was Kostunica's duty to arrest him 
for conspiracy to commit treason, and order the army to take charge of the 
Belgrade Prison where Milosevic was being held. In this way, Kostunica 
would have guaranteed there was no kidnapping.

Some people say Kostunica is really a good man, that he failed to take this 
action because he is professorial and absent-minded. Nonsense! From the 
start he pursued the extradition of Milosevic with firmness and 
persistence, fully aware it was unconstitutional.

Two days before the kidnapping, leaders of the Socialist Party (SPS) met 
with him. They said they were worried there would be an attempt to kidnap 
Milosevic before Milosevic's appeal against the Federal government's decree 
could be heard.

Kostunica told those SPS leaders: "I will not permit Djindjic to take 
unconstitutional action."

So before the kidnapping, Kostunica says, "I won't let them kidnap him." 
And after he lets the kidnapping happen he says, "I didn't know it was 
going to happen  but it was illegal!" And still he does not arrest 

Does he take us for imbeciles?

Here's the plain truth: Djindjic and Kostunica have sold out their people, 
their own people, to the United States Government.

Djindjic and Kostunica are shameless.

* * *
(1) "Kostunica says some backers unconsciously work for American Imperial goals" * Chris Black, Richard Hugus and Jared Israel are journalists for Emperor's Clothes
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