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Monday, 26 August, 2002, 18:07 GMT 19:07 UK
Milosevic defiant as trial resumes
Slobodan Milosevic
Mr Milosevic was in fighting mood
The trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has resumed at the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague, after a month-long summer recess.

Despite recent concern over his health, Mr Milosevic appeared as defiant as ever as he returned to the courtroom to defend himself against charges of genocide and crimes against humanity in the Balkans in the 1990s.

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

Mr Milosevic spent his first day back in court hearing eyewitness accounts of atrocities in Kosovo, allegedly carried out by Serb forces under his command.

He cross-examined two ethnic Albanians who were members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, one of whom said he saw Yugoslav army troops carry out an unprovoked attack on his village, killing civilians and burning houses.

But Mr Milosevic said the KLA had killed a Serb soldier and that, from the position of his observation post, the witness could not have seen anything.

Time limits

Mr Milosevic faces about 60 charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for the wars in Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia.

The prosecution has only two weeks to wrap up its case on Kosovo, where Mr Milosevic's Yugoslav forces fought ethnic Albanian separatists in the 1998-1999 war.

Hearings will then turn to the wars in Croatia and Bosnia.

Zoran Lilic
Former Yugoslav President Zoran Lilic may testify

Since the trial started at the United Nations tribunal in February, Mr Milosevic has doggedly challenged both prosecutors and judges, saying he does not recognise the court's legitimacy.

Despite reports that he faced the risk of a heart attack, he has repeatedly refused offers of legal assistance, insisting on defending himself.

The month-long summer break gave the former Yugoslav president time to rest.

Although his condition is said to have been satisfactory during the recess, the presiding judge Richard May has already hinted that the trial schedule could be altered further on account of his health.

"The medical report on the health of the accused may have some impact on the speed of the trial," he told prosecutor Geoffrey Nice on Monday as the trial re-opened.

Key witnesses

Mr Milosevic's predecessor, Zoran Lilic, may be one of the witnesses called by the prosecution in the next few weeks.

Thousands of ethnic Albanians died in Kosovo
Belgrade journalists say Mr Lilic - Yugoslav president from 1993 to 1997 - could reveal key information about his involvement in attempts to arrange a truce between Yugoslavia and the Western powers, which Mr Milosevic rejected.

There is also speculation that the former Yugoslav military chief, Nebojsa Pavkovic, may have agreed to testify.

Correspondents say he could give significant evidence about the chain of command, which other witnesses have alleged ran directly from Mr Milosevic to Yugoslav army forces in Kosovo.

The former US envoy to the Balkans, Richard Holbrook, is also expected to appear, and the former BBC Belgrade correspondent Jacky Rowland is due to testify on Tuesday.


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26 Jul 02 | Europe
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28 Jun 02 | Europe
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26 Jul 02 | Newsnight
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