Amsterdam Six former high-level political and military leaders of Serbia and the former Yugoslavia went on trial Monday for alleged war crimes in Kosovo during the 1998-99 crackdown on ethnic Albanians.
The six, headed by former Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, are charged with orchestrating the deportation of 800,000 ethnic Albanians and allowing other acts during the crackdown, which ended with a NATO bombing campaign. They have pleaded not guilty to five counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes at the U.N. Yugoslav tribunal.
Serb troops went "from tiny village to village, from town to town, murdering, beating, robbing, looting, destroying businesses and mosques" to drive out the ethnic Albanian population "and to leave behind nothing to return to," prosecutor Thomas Hannis said.
Each of the six defendants had effective control over Serb forces, the prosecutor said, but it was former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic who was "the one who gave orders, the primary planner and instigator."
Milosevic appointed all six to their jobs to "ensure that like-minded people were in positions of power," he said in an opening statement.