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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 March 2006, 13:42 GMT
Q&A: Milosevic trial
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was being tried on charges of war crimes and genocide at the time of his death. The BBC News website looks at the background to what had been called the most important trial of its kind since Nuremberg after World War II.


What was Mr Milosevic charged with?

Slobodan Milosevic appears under guard at The Hague, July 2004
Milosevic's poor health repeatedly delayed the trial
The former president faced charges relating to atrocities carried out in Kosovo in 1999, to crimes against humanity committed in Croatia in 1991 and 1992, and to alleged genocide in Bosnia-Hercegovina between 1992 and 1995.

The indictment relating to Bosnia - the most serious - accuses him of being responsible for the killing of thousands of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats.

It cites the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica and accuses Mr Milosevic of involvement in the murder, imprisonment and mistreatment of thousands of civilians, including women and the elderly.

In Serbia, Mr Milosevic faced additional charges connected with the murder of former President Ivan Stambolic, abuse of power and siphoning off billions of dollars of state funds into foreign accounts. Those were the issues that officially lay behind his dramatic arrest in April 2001.

Was he facing all the war crimes charges at once?

Yes. The UN International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia has ruled that charges relating to all three conflicts - Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo - should all be dealt with at a single trial, which started on 12 February 2002.

Prosecutors argued that Mr Milosevic was involved in a joint criminal enterprise responsible for the extermination and deportation of non-Serbs as part of a plan to establish an ethnically pure, greater Serbian state.

The prosecution phase of the trial lasted just over two years.

The former president's supporters have branded the court a "puppet tribunal" which wants to use the trial for propaganda purposes.

Who was representing Mr Milosevic?

Mr Milosevic was defending himself.

He repeatedly refused to enter a plea, and attempted to denounce the legitimacy of the court.

The court recorded a not guilty plea to all the charges on his behalf.

Doctors said Mr Milosevic's health is poor - he suffered from high blood pressure and related heart problems. The trial has been delayed repeatedly.

Mr Milosevic was said to be too ill to launch the defence phase of his trial that was scheduled to begin in July 2004.

Was Mr Milosevic entirely on his own for his defence?

The court appointed two stand-by defence lawyers.

However, Mr Milosevic refused to see them and distanced himself from their statements, saying he wanted nothing to do with them.

The lawyers, Steven Kay and Gillian Higgins, asked for permission to quit in 2004, arguing that, because Mr Milosevic would not talk to them, they could not act in his best interests.

But the court ruled that they had to remain.

What is the detention centre like?

Mr Milosevic was being held in isolation at the Scheveningen detention centre in The Hague.

He had been under 24-hour observation to ensure he does not attempt to kill himself - as both his parents did.

Mr Milosevic accused the tribunal of violating his rights by limiting access to his family, lawyers and journalists.

He complained that visits by members of his family were closely monitored, and said that other detainees had better access to their families.

He said he was also denied access to lawyers, with whom he wanted to discuss his imprisonment in The Hague, as well as his affairs in Serbia.

Suspects awaiting trial have been held in mixed areas, not divided into their ethnic groups.

Facilities include Serbian television, a gym, a recreation room and an outside courtyard.

Who are the next targets for The Hague tribunal?

Six suspects indicted by The Hague tribunal are still at large.

Of those, the most prominent are the Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, indicted for atrocities during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

But numerous raids by Nato forces have failed to capture them, and in June 2004, Paddy Ashdown - the international envoy governing Bosnia - sacked 60 Bosnian Serb officials for failing to arrest Mr Karadzic.

Where are Mr Karadzic and Mr Mladic?

Both Mr Karadzic and Mr Mladic are in hiding and are said to be constantly surrounded by teams of heavily armed bodyguards.

Ratko Mladic left Belgrade on the day that Mr Milosevic was handed over to the UN. Carla del Ponte, chief prosecutor of the war crimes tribunal, has accused elements linked to the Serb military of sheltering Gen Mladic and said Serbia could capture him if it wanted to.




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