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Milosevic Trial Continues

October 9, 2002

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ Serb forces under Slobodan Milosevic bombarded the historic Croatian city of Dubrovnik in 1991 as part of a plan to conquer as much territory as possible, a former Montenegrin foreign minister testified Tuesday.

Montenegro, one of the six former republics of Yugoslavia, mobilized its own force of 30,000 troops and participated in the siege of Dubrovnik which destroyed large parts of the coastal city.

Nikola Samardzic, 67, told the war crimes tribunal trying Milosevic that the former Yugoslav leader tricked the Montenegrin republic into attacking Dubrovnik by telling them Croatia planned to attack first with a 30,000-strong force.

``Even I believed it at the time,″ Samardzic said. ``But it was a lie. No one attacked us, at least not from the direction of Dubrovnik.″

Samardzic said Milosevic’s real aim had been to mobilize the Montenegrin population for a war to create a ``Greater Serbia″ incorporating large portions of Croatia and neighboring Bosnia.

More than 1,000 artillery shells rained on Dubrovnik over three months in late 1991, killing at least 43 civilians and destroying vast parts of the Old Town that had once been a popular tourist resort.

Milosevic faces 66 counts of war crimes at the U.N. tribunal, 61 of them for the 1991-1995 conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia.

Samardzic blamed Milosevic for the destruction of Yugoslavia and said all nationalist Serb forces, including the Serb Orthodox Church, had accepted Milosevic as the leader who would join the minority Serbian populations in other republic with Serbia.

Milosevic, who is defending himself, was to cross-examine Samardzic on Wednesday.

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