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Tuesday, 3 July, 2001, 09:36 GMT 10:36 UK
Milosevic hearing transcript
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic appearing at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague
Milosevic: Refusal to appoint a lawyer or to enter a plea
Transcript of Slobodan Milosevic's first appearance at the UN War Crimes Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Judge Richard May: Mr Milosevic I see that you are not represented by counsel today. We understand that this is of your own choice. You do have the right of course to defend yourself. You also have a right to counsel and you should consider carefully whether it is in your own best interests not to be represented.


I consider this tribunal false tribunal

Slobodan Milosevic
These proceedings will be long and complex and you may wish to reconsider the position. In these circumstances if you wish to have time to consider whether you want to have counsel or not, we will be prepared to give it to you. Now do you want some time to consider now whether you wish to be represented?

Slobodan Milosevic: I consider this tribunal false tribunal and indictments false indictments. It is illegal, being not appointed by UN General Assembly, so I have no need to appoint counsel to illegal organ.

Judge: Well Mr Milosevic, in due course you will have the chance to put in motions challenging the jurisdiction or any other preliminary matters which you wish to do. But we take it that you wish to proceed today without counsel although it is a matter which you may wish to reconsider in due course.

Judge Richard George May
Judge Richard May: This is not the time for speeches
This initial appearance is simply to deal with these matters: first of all the indictment itself, and secondly for you, if you wish, to enter your pleas of guilty or not guilty to it.

The first matter is the indictment. As you may know, you have the right to have the indictment read out now in court before you plead to it. This is a right which you may also waive. Now do you want to have the indictment read out or not?

Slobodan Milosevic: That is your problem.


This trial's aim is to produce false justification for the war crimes of Nato

Slobodan Milosevic
Judge: Mr Milosevic, you are now before this tribunal and you are within the jurisdiction of it. You will be tried by the tribunal. You will be accorded the full rights of the accused, according to international law and the full protections of international law and the statute.

[Long silence]

Judge: The trial chamber will treat your response as a waiver of your right to have the indictment read out. The next part of the procedure is to move towards having that indictment put to you. Mr Milosevic, you may if you wish have time to consider your plea.

The rule allows you up to 30 days to do so if you don't understand the matters to which you have to plead, or you wish to consult counsel before entering a plea. On the other hand, you may enter a plea today. Now do you want to enter pleas today or are you asking for an adjournment to consider the matter further?

Slobodan Milosevic: This trial's aim is to produce false justification for the war crimes of Nato committed in Yugoslavia.


We shall enter pleas of not guilty on each count on your behalf

Judge May
Judge: Mr Milosevic I asked you a question. Do you wish to enter your pleas today or are you asking for an adjournment to consider the matter further?

Slobodan Milosevic: I have given you my answer. Furthermore, this so-called tribunal...

[Microphones switched off.]

Judge: The rules state that if an accused fails to enter a plea, then the trial chamber shall enter a plea of not guilty on his behalf. Mr Milosevic we treat your response as a failure to enter a plea and we shall enter pleas of not guilty on each count on your behalf.

Slobodan Milosevic: As I have said, the aim of this tribunal is to justify the crimes committed in Yugoslavia. That is why this is a false tribunal...

Judge: Mr Milosevic, this is not the time for speeches. As I have said you will have a full opportunity in due course to defend yourself and to make your defence before the tribunal. This is not the moment to do so. This matter is now adjourned. The next hearing will be a status conference which will take place the week commencing the 27 August unless the trial chamber orders an earlier hearing. The matter is now adjourned.

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See also:

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