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Monday, 4 November, 2002, 10:29 GMT
Fresh delay for Milosevic trial
Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic has complained about fatigue and exhaustion
Slobodan Milosevic has taken another day off to rest from his war crimes trial in The Hague because of ill health.

Mr Milosevic has been suffering from high blood pressure and exhaustion.

The trial was adjourned on Friday, when the former Yugoslav leader failed to appear in court, complaining of "extreme fatigue and exhaustion".

Mr Milosevic, aged 61, is facing charges of genocide and ethnic cleansing charges in the Balkans in the 1990s.

Doctors

He was visited at the UN detention unit by doctors and was expected to be well enough for the trial to resume on Tuesday, said court spokesman Jim Landale.

A judge at the tribunal on Friday expressed concern about the prospects for completing the trial.

"In light of the state of health of the accused, the length and the complexity of the case, the chamber is concerned about the best way to ensure the completion of this trial," said presiding Judge Richard May.

He has asked the prosecution and lawyers appointed to assist the court in the case, to submit proposals on how best to proceed within seven days.

Health worries

Mr Milosevic has been advised by doctors to rest regularly as he suffers from high blood pressure.

The former Yugoslav leader has suffered several times from influenza, causing long adjournments in the trial, which began in February.

Judge Richard May
Judge May has imposed time limits on prosecution and defence

BBC legal affairs analyst Jon Silverman say that from the court's point of view the worst thing that could happen would be for Mr Milosevic to die. The court might be accused of killing the former Yugoslav leader.

Prosecutors have complained about the delays, saying that they have reduced the time available to make the case against Mr Milosevic.

Mr Milosevic has insisted on defending himself, and has refused to appoint anyone to help him with the workload of preparing cross examinations of prosecution witnesses.

Our legal analyst says that the pace of the trial might be much faster if Mr Milosevic had lawyers - the court could even theoretically proceed in his absence.

Closure

Judge May has imposed time limits on prosecution and defence in the trial.

The trial is expected to last about two years.

Jon Silverman says the delays beyond this would be damaging to the court and the perception of its ability to deliver justice and fulfil one of its main aims - to bring closure to the wars in the former Yugoslavia.

The phase of the trial dealing with Kosovo has already ended.

Judge May has asked prosecutors to conclude their case by May for all alleged crimes, including those in Croatia and Bosnia.

Mr Milosevic is scheduled to begin his defence then. The trial is expected to last at least two years.


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01 Nov 02 | Europe
30 Oct 02 | Europe
05 Oct 02 | From Our Own Correspondent
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