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Friday, 6 July, 2001, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Lawyers 'unlikely' to meet Milosevic soon
Guard leads Slobodan Milosevic into the dock at the Hague tribunal
Milosevic is a political prisoner, say his supporters
Two Canadian lawyers travelling to the International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague at the request of the former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic are unlikely to meet him this weekend.

Tribunal spokesman Jim Landale said the lawyers had yet to receive authorisation from the tribunal and added that the court had yet to determine the purpose of the visit.

We have been asked by Milosevic to go and see him to discuss the situation

Christopher Black, lawyer
The lawyers, Christopher Black and Andre Tremblay, are part of an international support committee that considers Mr Milosevic a political prisoner.

Formed in Berlin in March, the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic is made up of 200 lawyers, writers and intellectuals.

Mr Black said he was going there on behalf of the group to see the conditions of Mr Milosevic's detention and discuss any legal matters he wished to raise.

At his first appearance at the tribunal earlier this week, the former Yugoslav leader declined to ask for defence lawyers and refused to enter a plea on war crimes charges.

No representation

Mr Black refused to speculate about whether they would eventually represent Mr Milosevic.

Mira Markovic
Mira Markovic will soon be able to visit her husband

Both men are heavily involved representing defendants before the Rwandan war crimes tribunal.

Two of the lawyers who had been representing Mr Milosevic while he was in Belgrade failed to persuade him that he should be represented in court.

The court has said it may have to appoint a lawyer for Mr Milosevic.

'Command responsibility'

The former champion of Serb nationalism is currently charged with war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the 1998-99 crackdown against the ethnic Albanian population in the Serbian province of Kosovo.

Legal analysts have said the case may hinge on whether or not the prosecution can prove Mr Milosevic's "command responsibility" for the war crimes in Kosovo.

On Thursday, the European Commission said it was likely to lift an EU-wide travel ban on Mr Milosevic wife, Mira Markovic, to allow her to visit her husband in prison.

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See also:

13 Apr 01 | Europe
Milosevic back in jail
09 Oct 00 | Europe
Profile: Marko Milosevic
10 Apr 01 | Europe
What next for Mira Markovic?
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