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 Tuesday, 19 February, 2002, 06:03 GMT
Kostunica attacks Milosevic trial
Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica
Mr Kostunica fears the Serbian nation will be put on trial
By the BBC's Nick Thorpe in Belgrade

The proceedings in The Hague against Slobodan Milosevic have been sharply criticised by the current Yugoslav President, Vojislav Kostunica.

At a press conference in Belgrade, President Kostunica described the conduct of the trial as inconsistent and said that in future all relations between his country and the tribunal must be regulated by law.

There has been little legality but much shallow, superficial... and often forged quasi-history

President Kostunica
He attacked the conduct of the trial and especially statements by the chief prosecutor, Carla del Ponte.

By referring to historical events in the early 20th Century, she appeared to contradict her own statement that individuals and not the Serbian nation were on trial, President Kostunica said.

Mr Milosevic, as former head of state, was still a Yugoslav problem, he said.

He urged fellow Yugoslav lawmakers to accelerate the passing of a long-delayed law on co-operation with the tribunal.

Until then, other people who have been indicted and written evidence affecting any case should not be handed over to the tribunal, he said.

Defiant stance

Analysts in Yugoslavia suggest such legislation may finally be passed next month.

President Kostunica has consistently criticised the war crimes tribunal, alleging that it has an anti-Serb bias.

But these latest remarks suggest he does not want to appear in public to be outdone by Mr Milosevic's defiant stance in the dock.


At The Hague

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18 Feb 02 | Europe
15 Feb 02 | Europe
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