Sunday, December 14, 2003

Dubya finds common ground with the French

Bush demands that Clark's testimony be secret and scrutinized

PARIS, Dec. 13 — Washington has agreed that Gen. Wesley K. Clark, the former NATO commander and a contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, can testify in the war crimes trial of Slobodan Milosevic. But the Bush administration has demanded the right to edit videotapes and transcripts of the sessions before they are made public.
Closed sessions are routinely held at the United Nations tribunal that deals with Balkan war crimes, but usually to protect witnesses's safety. The conditions of General Clark's appearance are new.

The court agreed to give the United States government 48 hours to review the testimony and to ask judges to suppress any it regards as sensitive. Two government lawyers will accompany the general.

"The review is to ensure there was no inadvertent disclosure of sensitive, classified information," said Pierre-Richard Prosper, the United States ambassador at large for war crimes issues, in a telephone interview from Washington. During the Balkan wars, he said, General Clark "obviously had seen a substantial amount of intelligence." But, he added, "we feel fairly confident that the bulk of the testimony and videotapes can be released."...

Among the 280 witnesses who have already testified at the trial, there have been many high-profile witnesses and many senior military officers from other nations. Only France is known to have insisted that its top military officers testify behind closed doors.

No comments: