MoD rejects accusations against army chief
The claims of the FHP NGO against Ljubisa Dikovic represent "a continuation of an orchestrated campaign against the defense system of the Republic of Serbia."Source: B92
The Ministry of Defense reacted on Thursday in this way to the accusations that the army chief was involved in war crimes in the late 1990s.
The Ministry of Defense strongly condemned the statements made by representatives of the Humanitarian Law Center (FHP), who today said that the Dikovic was responsible for war crimes committed in the villages of Razala and Old Citakovo in Kosovo and Metohija in April and May 1999, when he commanded the 37th Motorized Brigade of the Yugoslav Army (VJ).
"The allegations about the alleged possession of documents which indicate the responsibility of the Chief of General Staff Gen. Dikovic for crimes are seen as a continuation of an obvious orchestrated campaign against the defense system," the ministry said.
It added that the campaign was "directly damaging the reputation of Serbia and its army".
"Defense Minister Bratislav Gašić gives his unconditional support to General Dikovic, who has for years successfully led the Army of Serbia," the statement said.
It added that it is "all the more clear these are premeditated allegations" as the same claims were presented to the public in 2011, when Dikovic was appointed to his position.
"Because of these allegations general Dikovic in 2012 filed a lawsuit against the Humanitarian Law Center and Natasa Kandic, and the process is underway," the statement said.
The Ministry estimates that the FHP once again refers to "alleged military and police documents and witness statements before the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague" and in this way remains "the only institution associating General Dikovic with these crimes."
"This creates reasonable doubt as to the real intent and purpose of such charges, which the Ministry of Defense strongly condemned also in 2011, and does the same today, in the belief that the public will know how to tell unfounded accusations from the reputation that the Serbian Army enjoys as an institution of the highest trust of citizens," the statement said.
While the MoD does not specify what it considers to be the campaign to damage the defense system, it should be noted that similar appraisals were made when Ombudsman Sasa Jankovic requested the alleged wrongdoing of the VBA to be investigated.