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Friday, 6 December, 2002, 20:54 GMT
Milosevic trial names key witness
Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic does not recognise the tribunal
In an unprecedented step, judges in the war crimes trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic have revealed the identity of a key witness.

Milan Babic
Babic said Milosevic was a key player in the Croatian war
The man, who has so far been referred to as Witness C-61, was named as Milan Babic, a former senior Croatian Serb leader and former ally of Mr Milosevic.

Mr Babic has been giving evidence in secret for three weeks. When he was not testifying behind closed doors, his face and voice were disguised.

However, his identity was widely known as Mr Milosevic - conducting his own defence - had several times revealed it during his cross-examination.

Mr Babic's lawyer said his client decided to go public to contribute to reconciliation in the former Yugoslavia.

But correspondents say it is thought that Mr Babic went public in order to ensure better protection for his family against any possible reprisals.

Accusations

Clashing with Mr Milosevic in open court for the first time, Mr Babic said that the former Yugoslav leader played a key role in the Croat Serb uprising in 1991 after Croatia proclaimed its independence.

Mr Babic, a former mayor of Knin and self-proclaimed president of the Serb Republic of Krajina, said Mr Milosevic had used his political and military levers to maintain his grip over the Serb minority in Croatia.

Mr Milosevic denies the allegations. Instead he has been seeking to prove that the Serb rebellion was a spontaneous reaction to attacks by the Croatian authorities.

Croatia retook Krajina and other rebellious Serb areas during a massive offensive in 1995, forcing many thousands of Croat Serbs to flee their homes.

Mr Milosevic - who has been on trial since February - is facing more than 60 charges, including genocide and ethnic cleansing.

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

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


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04 Nov 02 | Europe
20 Feb 03 | Europe
20 Feb 03 | Europe
05 Oct 02 | From Our Own Correspondent
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