Ivashov: Attacks NATO in testimony | 14:52 -> 22:25 November 24 | B92
THE HAGUE — Wednesday – The Hague Tribunal finished hearing evidence from Russian general Leonid Ivashov, who said that Russia was in possession of information as early as 1997 that NATO would attack Yugoslavia.
At the time, Ivashov was in charge of following the situation in Yugoslavia and reporting back to then Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
Prosecutor Geoffrey Nice suggested that the witness’s claims regarding the intentions of NATO and the US to attack Yugoslavia could be a result of skimming through American military handbooks and news paper articles and documents which the witness quotes, but cannot present to the court.
He then asked Ivashov if the Russian, who have been know to “eavesdrop on their own leaders” make a habit of eavesdropping on western officials as well, to which the general replied that as far as eavesdropping on foreign officials is concerned, he can point to a time he listened in to a conversation in March 1999 of US Secretary of State Madeline Albright encouraging Hashim Tachi to incite a rebellion in Kosovo.
“Eavesdropping on terrorists is legal and allowed.” Ivashov said.
He added that the Kosovo Liberation Army and NATO were an alliance both politically and militarily at the time, and that no political moves on the side of Belgrade could have prevented the bombing.
Nice mentioned reports from the Russian members of the Contact Group in Kosovo that list various abuse of human rights perpetrated by the Serbian side in Kosovo, to which Ivashov answered that the Contact Group has always been full of compromises and that while they accused Belgrade of such acts, the reports talked about the KLA as a terrorist organization, which in his opinion, proves the compromising nature of this organization.
When Prosecutor Nice accused Ivashov of being far too involved in the interests of Yugoslavia, Ivashov said, “I did defend the interests of Yugoslavia, as an independent and sovereign state. I tried to fight for the acknowledgement of human rights and the UN charter. I had no other interests. I am as loyal to keeping the peace as any other NATO general is.”
Milosevic was visibly pleased with the testimony, addressing Ivashov at the end saying, “Thank you general Ivashov, and have a good trip!”
Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov is expected to take the stand as a defense witness for Slobodan Milosevic in the Hague Tribunal next Tuesday.