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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 11:58 GMT
Milosevic wants Clinton to testify
Slobodan Milosevic as he defends himself at the war crimes tribunal
Milosevic sees the proceedings as a political show trial
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic says he will call ex-US leader Bill Clinton and other Western politicians to testify at his trial for war crimes at The Hague.

Copies of the weekly Vreme on a Belgrade newsstand
"Final reckoning", this Belgrade weekly reads

On the second day of his defence case, he has repeated his allegation that Nato is itself guilty of crimes against humanity.

Mr Milosevic, who is conducting his own defence, said he also wanted to question Germany's former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel.

Mr Milosevic is allowed to call whoever he likes as a witness. The court has the power to subpoena them but the judges do have to be persuaded that their testimony will be relevant.

Clinton 'ordered' bombing

During his arguments on Friday, the ex-Yugoslav leader said former US President Bill Clinton had ordered the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade because he wanted to go down in history as the first Western leader to bomb Chinese territory.

Washington insisted the bombing was a mistake by Central Intelligence Agency target planners using an outdated map.

Milosevic charges
  • Genocide
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions
  • Violations of the laws or customs of war

    Click here for a full list of charges

  • Mr Milosevic also said his forces had intercepted radio communication between the Nato command centre and the pilots in Kosovo in May 1999.

    He said the pilots had spotted a convoy and reported that it was of civilian tractors, but the response was: "Carry out your orders."

    Mr Milosevic said: "Dozens of persons were killed."

    The thrust of his argument, as on Thursday, was that Nato itself was to blame for the deportation and killing of ethnic Albanians from Kosovo in 1999.

    Mr Milosevic is accused of orchestrating a systematic campaign of mass murders, deportations and rapes as part of a plan to create an ethnically pure Serb state out of the ruins of former Yugoslavia.

    Dressed in a smart navy suit and a tie in the red, blue and white Serbian colours, Mr Milosevic showed photographs of corpses, as he did on Thursday, of those he said had been killed in Nato bombing raids.

    The court looked at pictures of a baby covered with blood and dust lying in a field, a young man with only half his face and the unidentifiable remains of many others.

    The BBC's John Silverman says Mr Milosevic only appears interested in waging a political atttack on Nato and is completely ignoring the charges on which he is being tried.

    Marathon trial

    The first months of the case will focus on Kosovo; then it will move on to the wars in Bosnia and Croatia. The entire proceedings could last two years.

    "The whole world knows this is a political trial," he told the court on Thursday, responding to the prosecution case which was outlined during the first two days of the trial.

    Judge Richard May reminded Mr Milosevic he needed to wrap up his defence on Friday, in line with a two-day limit. Mr Milosevic replied that he was only about half way through his statement and did not think his time should be restricted.

    Once he has concluded his arguments the UN tribunal prosecutors will start calling up to 350 witnesses to present the full case against him.

    Click here for extracts of Milosevic defence

    Mr Milosevic rejects the legality of the court and has refused to appoint lawyers to defend him in what is being described as the most important war crimes trial since the Nuremberg trials after World War II.

    He is the first former head of state to be indicted before an international tribunal.

    The bombed Chinese embassy in belgrade
    Milosevic said Clinton deliberately targeted Belgrade's Chinese embassy

    On Thursday Mr Milosevic showed a German documentary which cast doubt on the 1999 massacre of about 45 ethnic Albanians by Serb forces in the Kosovan village of Racak - an incident that helped trigger Nato intervention.

    He argued that alleged mass killings were in fact clashes with terrorists.

    But the editor of WDR television was quoted by Sueddeutsche Zeitung as saying that Mr Milosevic has misused the documentary, which did not seek to exonorate the former president.

    "Even the film-makers have no doubt that Milosevic is a war criminal," Joerg Schoenenborn told the paper.

    The BBC's Fiona Werge
    "Milosevic claimed Nato pictures were false images"
    See also:

    14 Feb 02 | Europe
    Kosovo glee at Milosevic plight
    12 Feb 02 | Europe
    Serbs stop work to watch trial
    11 Feb 02 | Europe
    Milosevic allies still at large
    12 Feb 02 | Europe
    Profile: Carla Del Ponte
    01 Feb 01 | Europe
    UN stands by Milosevic indictment
    15 Apr 99 | Europe
    Fog of war shrouds refugee deaths
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