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  The Promise of Justice : Burning the Evidence  

THE KOSOVO COVER-UP
A Signal Date | The Investigator | "Civilians Were the Priority" | Code Name: Nicholas | Milosevic's Order

Code Name: Nicholas

One informant was a Serbian army reservist and truck driver who was given the code name "Nicholas" by western investigators. Milos Vasic, a senior journalist with the Belgrade magazine Vreme, has seen transcripts of Nicholas' testimony to war crimes investigators. In them, Nicholas said he was ordered to drive refrigerator trucks from a police base in Kosovo to eastern Serbia.

"He [Nicholas] would be given a loaded and padlocked truck in an army and police base [located in eastern Kosovo], drive it to the Bor complex, leave it at the security check on the entrance and an empty truck would be returned by a police officer," Vasic says.

According to Vasic, Nicholas was not told what his truck was carrying, but soon became suspicious. With the help of friends he took a look. "When they opened the truck, they found it full of bodies," says Vasic. "They took photographs—Polaroids—of the operation, including the license plates of the Yugoslav Army truck."

Shocked by his discovery, Nicholas managed to flee Serbia and eventually took his story and photographs to the United States embassy in Croatia, according to the transcript. Vasic says Nicholas is now a protected witness and is expected to testify in the U.N. war crimes trial against former President Milosevic.

Nicholas was not the only Serbian fighter disturbed by the body disposals. Several others, including Dusan, say they were disgusted with the operation and furious at their own commanders for ordering them to handle corpses.

"Maybe you've never seen a decomposing body," Dusan says. "I'm talking about an arm here, a leg there ... like gelatin. The smell sticks to you and you can't get rid of it for days."

Next: Milosevic's Order