UN prosecutors opened their genocide case against Slobodan Milosevic yesterday, vowing to prove that he played a leading role in the worst crimes in Europe since the Second World War.
The former Yugoslav president faces 61 counts of war crimes, including genocide, committed during the Croatian and Bosnian wars in 1991-1995.
Lead prosecutor, Briton Geoffrey Nice QC, said the co-ordinated Serb destruction of villages and systematic murder of civilians will be traced back to the Bosnian Serb leadership and, ultimately, Milosevic.
Milosevic was an "essential participant in a joint criminal enterprise" Nice said, with the primary aim of creating a Serb state by "destroying or expelling" non-Serb inhabitants.
"Genocide was the consequence," he told the court in The Hague.
"The accused intended to destroy the Bosnian Muslim population in part or in whole in order to achieve those aims," Nice said.
Milosevic operated like a careful criminal, he added, making sure there was no paper trail to him. …