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Wednesday, 9 January, 2002, 16:55 GMT
Milosevic in tribunal outburst
Slobodan Milosevic appearing at the UN war crimes tribunal
Milosevic says the court is prejudiced against him
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has made a fresh outburst against Nato in his latest appearance at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.


Quite obviously the intention is to (portray) those who defended their families, children, thresholds, homes and country as criminals and evil people

Slobodan Milosevic
Hints have also emerged that he wants to summon 35 high-ranking representatives of Nato states, including British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former US President Bill Clinton.

His Belgrade lawyer has been quoted as saying that if the prosecution called 100 witnesses, Mr Milosevic would call 1,000.

His trial on charges of war crimes in Kosovo is due to start on 12 February.

Mr Milosevic was appearing at his last pre-trial conference which was dealing mainly with technical matters, before prosecutors open their case.


It is not the time for speeches - you will have your opportunity to make your case when your trial starts

Judge Richard May
But when asked to speak, Mr Milosevic launched an attack on Nato over its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999.

"All this is geared towards a construed justification for the crimes committed during the Nato aggression against my nation," Mr Milosevic said.

"Quite obviously the intention is to (portray) those who defended their families, children, thresholds, homes and country as criminals and evil people," he said.

"Whereas those who travelled thousands of kilometres to destroy their houses in the night and kill innocent people and destroy maternity wards and hospitals... are, in co-operation with the Albanian terrorists, responsible for the vast number of victims."

He also accused the court of being biased and politically motivated.

Carla del Ponte
Del Ponte: Wants charges brought at single trial
Mr Milosevic continued for some minutes, before the presiding judge - Richard May - with whom he has clashed repeatedly at previous hearings, turned off his microphone.

"It is not the time for speeches. You will have your opportunity to make your case when your trial starts," the judge said.

Technicalities

The main purpose of the hearing was to decide the number of witnesses who will give evidence at the trial, which is expected to last a year.

The prosecution wanted to call 110 witnesses, but Judge May said he would allow only 90.

The prosecution also asked the three-judge panel to decide whether to grant protection to some of these witnesses.

If so, they will testify in closed session or behind screens with voice distortion.

Mr Milosevic again refused the court's appeal to appoint a defence lawyer.

Instead it is thought he is planning to consult an international team of seven legal advisers drawn from Yugoslavia, the UK, France, the United States, China, Senegal and maybe Germany.

One of his lawyers has been quoted as listing Mr Blair, Mr Clinton, ex-US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana as possible witnesses to be called by Mr Milosevic.

All-inclusive trial

As the trial date approaches it is still not certain if the trial will go ahead as planned.

The chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte, has appealed against the court's decision to hold two separate trials: one for Kosovo and another for war crimes in Bosnia and Croatia.

She said that at an all-inclusive trial she could prove the former president was part of a criminal enterprise that conspired to create a Serbian state within the former Yugoslavia.

It was Mr Milosevic's fifth appearance at the court since he was transferred to The Hague in June 2001.

During six months of detention he has refused to co-operate with the court and to appoint his lawyer.

The court has entered pleas of innocent on his behalf.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jane Bennett-Powell
"Throughout the proceedings, ex-president Milosevic sat impassively"
The BBC's Jon Silverman in the Hague
"Milosevic... has a wish list of witnesses that he intends to call"
The BBC's Justin Webb
"In the courtroom Mr Milosevic looked contemptuous"
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