Milosevic must speed Nato leaders' subpoenas

14th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

14 April 2005, THE HAGUE - The UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague pressed former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic on Thursday to speed his attempts to get political leaders including German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to testify at his trial.

14 April 2005

THE HAGUE - The UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague pressed former Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic on Thursday to speed his attempts to get political leaders including German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to testify at his trial.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, under presiding judge Patrick Robinson, wants Milosevic to comply with the necessary formalities required to call former US president Bill Clinton, British prime minister Tony Blair, French president Jacques Chirac and German chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.

Milosevic accuses NATO of aggression against Serbia during the 1999 Kosovo war and has long demanded that the political leaders of the time should be forced to testify.

But the Yugoslav former leader has refused to follow the procedures laid down, such as giving reasons why they should be called.

The British advocate appointed by the court against Milosevic's wishes to assist in his defence, Steven Kay, has been asked to draw up the necessary documents.

Kay indicated he hoped to send letters next week to the US embassy in the Netherlands, to Clinton personally and to the secretary of state at the time, Madeleine Albright.

The lawyer said he had discussed the possibility of calling Blair with the British ambassador in The Hague and that he would within the next month investigate how to approach the French and German leaders.

Robinson repeated on Thursday that the tribunal would issue the necessary subpoenas, irrespective of the position of those named, provided Milosevic followed procedure.

Milosevic, who is a lawyer by training and is conducting his own defence, said he would need longer than the 150 days allocated by the court.

Prosecutor Geoffrey Nice, however, demanded that the trial, which has been running since February 2002, be brought to a speedy conclusion. The prosecution has accused Milosevic of abusing the trial for political purposes.

Milosevic, who faces charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in relation to the Balkan wars of the 1990s, also said he would not testify under oath, as he refuses to recognise the legitimacy of the tribunal.

Also on Thursday, the tribunal said it intended to release Milan Milutinovic, president of Serbia 1991-2002, pending the start of his trial. The decision was suspended to allow chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte to appeal.

Milutinovic took over as Serb president when Milosevic became president of Yugoslavia.

The judges have also decided to release the Yugoslav army's former chief-of-staff, General Dragoljub Ojdanic, and former Yugoslav deputy prime minister Nikola Sainovic. The decision was suspended to allow Del Ponte time to appeal.

DPA

Subject: German news

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