bosnia report
New Series No: 29-31 June - November 2002
Did Milosevic never threaten war?
by Natasa Kandic

The statement made by Vreme journalist Stojan Cerovic that ‘Slobodan Milosevic himself never spoke of going to war’, published in Danas {Belgrade} 28/29 September 2002, rudely contradicts the facts. It is, therefore, important to point these out.

Natasa Kandic photoSlobodan Milosevic’s intentions are described by his closest ally and collaborator in the articulation of the ‘common criminal enterprise’ Borisav Jovic in his book Poslednji dani SFRJ: izvodi iz dnevnika [Last Days of SFRY: extracts from a diary]. In an entry for 25 February 1991 (pp. 276-7) headed ‘Army plans for overthrow of the governments of Slovenia and Croatia and for a way out of the crisis’, he writes that the Army, supported by Serbia, Montenegro and ‘the Serb parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia’, should ‘in a combined political and military action overthrow the government first in Croatia and then in Slovenia’ while ‘in the hesitant republics (Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina) it is necessary to overthrow the leaderships and/or re-direct them in a different direction by way of combined political measures - demonstrations and insurrections. These activities should be combined with military operations.’ And on page 278: ‘In Croatia and later also in Slovenia, the installation of military rule should be the first option.’

‘I talk to Slobodan Milosevic about the army plan. I read out to him my notes word by word. He approves all of this, but believes that Slovenia should be left out. Only Croatia should be subjected to this treatment.’ ‘I ask him what we are to do if we do not win a majority in the [Federal state] Presidency for the necessary decisions, and he replies that we should work with those members who are "for", and that the Army will "obey". He believes it is logical that we should "remove" all those who resist this action of the Presidency.’ (p. 278)

Slobodan Milosevic himself spoke quite openly and unambiguously in 1991 about a war for new borders, as a matter of Serbian state interest: ‘We must secure unity if we, as the largest and most populous republic, wish to dictate the further course of events. This is a matter of the borders, the essential state issue. Borders, as you know, are always decided by the strong, not by the weak... I have ordered mobilization of the police reserve and the formation of new police forces, while the government has been instructed to prepare the necessary formations which would fully secure our defence, i.e. enable us to defend the interests of our republic and of the Serb people outside of Serbia. ... If we have to fight we are more than prepared.’ (NIN, 12 April 1991).

So did Milosevic never speak about going to war?


Translated from Monitor (Podgorica), 11 October 2002


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