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Wednesday, 9 January, 2002, 15:12 GMT
Milosevic the conspiracy theorist is silenced
Tony Blair and Bill Clinton
Blair (left) and Clinton may face Milosevic in the court
Jon Silverman

Mr Milosevic displayed the same studied indifference to the latest proceedings at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague as he had done during four previous hearings.

Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic says he can call a thousand witnesses
And again, he made an outburst which the presiding judge, Richard May, cut short almost ruthlessly.

The judge had asked if the former Yugoslav president wanted to say anything about the witnesses he intended to call.

Instead, Mr Milosevic began a now familiar tirade attacking the impartiality of the proceedings.

In the few minutes he was given before his microphone was switched off, he went further than previous occasions.

He suggested that, with a British presiding judge, a British prosecutor and a British amicus curiae - a friend of the court appointed to ensure fair play for all sides - there was a British conspiracy against him.

Star witnesses

But what was not said is perhaps more significant than what was.

There are strong hints emanating from lawyers who have spoken to Mr Milosevic that he has a wish-list of witnesses he would like to call.

It includes the former US president, Bill Clinton, the former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright and the current British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Mr Milosevic would have to persuade the court of the relevance of their testimony.

But the court has the power of subpoena and there is, at least, the intriguing prospect of some of the major political players in the Nato-led war against Yugoslavia appearing at The Hague to be cross-examined by their former enemy-in-chief.

There is still a possibility that the trial date of February 12 could be put back.

The prosecution would like only one trial - for all of the crimes allegedly committed in Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia - rather than separate indictments.

This matter will have to be resolved by an appeals chamber during the next month.

See also:

21 Dec 01 | Europe
Milosevic complains to Euro court
31 Aug 01 | Europe
Court rejects Milosevic challenge
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