Poor health blocks Milosevic trial

Slobodan Milosevic's trial is in doubt with concerns about his health prompting judges to question whether Europe's biggest war crimes proceedings in more than half a century can continue.

    The former Yugoslav president is conducting his own defence

    The start of the former Yugoslav president's defence case on Monday was postponed with prosecutors calling for the imposition of a defence counsel on Milosevic after judges raised concerns about Milosevic's high blood pressure and his need to rest.

       

    Milosevic's bouts of high blood pressure, flu and exhaustion have frequently delayed his trial that began in February 2002. The 62-year-old faces charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Balkans in the 1990s.

       

    "The time has come for a radical review of the trial process and the continuation of the trial in the light of the health problems of the accused," presiding judge Patrick Robinson said at what the tribunal described as an administrative hearing.

       

    The trial's three judges are to rule by Tuesday on how to proceed with the case.

     

    Charges

       

    Milosevic, who graduated from the Belgrade Law Faculty and is conducting his own defence, has described his trial as a battle for truth against what he called politically motivated charges that were "false" and "monstrous".

       

    "The time has come
    for a radical review
    of the trial process..."

    Patrick Robinson,
    presiding judge

    The former Serb leader had been due to launch his defence by making a four-hour opening statement in a case widely regarded as Europe's biggest war crimes trial since Hitler's henchmen were tried at Nuremberg after the second world war.

       

    Prosecutor Geoffrey Nice rejected a suggestion that Milosevic was no longer fit to stand trial but called for the court to appoint defence lawyers to represent him to reduce stress.

       

    "This is a case that must be tried. The accused wishes it to be tried," he said. "The time has now come where it is essential if this case is to be properly concluded and in a reasonable period of time that counsel is imposed."

       

    Milosevic has repeatedly rejected calls to appoint a defence lawyer since the trial opened.

       

    Charged with dozens of counts of war crimes in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s, Milosevic wants to summon former US President Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair in the 150 working days he has for his case.

    SOURCE: Reuters


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    How different voting systems work around the world

    How different voting systems work around the world

    Nearly two billion voters in 52 countries around the world will head to the polls this year to elect their leaders.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    The peace games: Dreaming big for South Sudan's youth

    A relatively new independence and fresh waves of conflict inspire a South Sudanese refugee to build antiwar video games.