bosnia report
New Series No. 9/10 April - July 1999
On the bombing

` It is very painful to watch bombs falling on the city where you were born. At the same time I believe that what is happening is good for the future of Serbia and the Serbs. They have found themselves in the blind alley of a policy like a bus without brakes that has been running downhill for the past ten years. At some point, clearly, it must hit a wall. But the West made a big mistake when it failed to condemn the Yugoslav forces and Milosevic for the genocide they had committed. Having committed one genocide in Bosnia, they are now conducting a new one in Kosova.

If Milosevic and Co. were to be sent to The Hague, the situation in Serbia would be wholly transformed. Many would then say that what has happened is positive, and that it can help change the history of the Serbian people by stopping the terrible historical fall it has experienced. The West, I believe, would be sympathetic. But Milosevic must be defeated before this can happen.

I will tell you something that I have told no one before. In 1990 Ante Markovic [Yugoslavia's last prime minister] invited me to visit him. When I arrived, he suggested I should stand as an independent candidate against Milosevic, and that his [Reformist] party would support me. I told him it was unwise for his party to participate in the Serbian elections, when it had not done so in the Sloveni an or Croatian ones. He would in any case lose the elections, and it would be better for him to rely on his position as federal prime minister. He said that he had to stop Milosevic. My response was that it would be better immediately to arrest Milan Babic [later head of `Republika Srpska Krajina'] for menacing the territorial integrity of Croatia by unconstitutional means; and that in the event that Milosevic tried to help Babic, he should arrest Milosevic too. After that he could place Tudman under house arrest, to show that there was a differ ence between them. Markovic asked: ``You propose arrests?'' I told him that without them there would be a bloodbath. His answer was: ``I have my economic reform''.

I would be ready to defend Milosevic at The Hague, provided he agreed that the defence should be based on the argument that he was not the only person responsible, that he shares his guilt with many others in Serbia. One man indeed ÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÔ cannot on his own accomplish what he has done. '

Srda Popovic, Belgrade-born lawyer and founder of the weekly Vreme, now living in the New York area, Feral Tribune (Split),
19 April 1999


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