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Friday, 1 March, 2002, 14:05 GMT
Milosevic witnesses speak in secret
Journalists watch Milosevic trial on screen
The trial has been closed to spectators
Witnesses testifying against the former Yugoslav President, Slobodan Milosevic, are giving evidence behind closed doors for the first time in the marathon war crimes trial.

The Hague war crimes tribunal went into closed session on Friday, although no information was given on the nature of the testimonies to be given in secret.

Slobodan Milosevic
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

  • A spokesman for Mr Milosevic's Socialist Party said he believed the witnesses in question were two ethnic Albanian women who were raped in Kosovo.

    Loudspeakers and video screens, used to relay court proceedings to spectators, were switched off.

    The curtains behind the bullet-proof screen separating the courtroom from the public gallery were drawn shut and transcripts will not be made available.

    Testimony offers

    The development came a day after former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov said he was willing to give evidence as a defence witness for Mr Milosevic.

    He was prime minister during the Nato bombing campaign against Serbia and opposed the air strikes.

    To my mind the trial of Milosevic is becoming one-sided

    Former Russian PM Yevgeny Primakov
    "I can testify that Milosevic behaved in a most positive manner and enabled a peaceful outcome.

    "I am thinking of Bosnia, where the bloodletting stopped thanks to Milosevic and his incontestably positive role in Kosovo," he was reported as saying on a Russian television broadcast.

    "To my mind the trial of Milosevic is becoming one-sided," he said.

    And on Friday, former Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, who was in power during the 1992-1995 war, said he would testify against Mr Milosevic if he was invited to do so and his health permitted.

    "It will be proven that Milosevic ordered, approved or at least knew about all the evil that came to Bosnia from Belgrade," he said in an interview with a weekly newspaper based in Sarajevo.

    See also:

    01 Mar 02 | Americas
    US wants no permanent tribunals
    25 Feb 02 | Media reports
    Serbian press split on Milosevic trial
    19 Feb 02 | Europe
    Kostunica attacks Milosevic trial
    18 Feb 02 | Europe
    Milosevic defence transcript
    19 Feb 02 | Europe
    The Milosevic case: Timeline
    22 Feb 02 | Europe
    Milosevic surprises prosecution
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