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Tuesday, 13 April 2004, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
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Timeline: Milosevic prosecution
3 July, 2001
Slobodan Milosevic makes a first defiant appearance at the UN war crimes tribunal sparring with Judge Richard May
At his first pretrial hearing Mr Milosevic refused to plead guilty or not guilty or to be represented by lawyers at an "illegal" tribunal. Judge May asked if he wanted to hear the indictment. Mr Milosevic replied "That's your problem." His microphone was silenced as he accused the court of trying to justify "Nato war crimes committed in Yugoslavia".
12 February, 2002
Chief prosecutor Carla Del Ponte opens the prosecution
Ms Del Ponte accused Slobodan Milosevic of causing "unspeakable suffering" in his pursuit of power. She recalled the "notorious events" of the armed conflict in the former Yugoslavia which brought the term ethnic cleansing into existence and vowed to call highranking witnesses to demonstrate Mr Milosevic's responsibility.
13 February, 2002
Mr Milosevic gets into another spat with Judge May
Prosecutors said Mr Milosevic was responsible for Serb troops who went round Kosovo "killing raping and destroying everything in their path". Mr Milosevic said the tribunal was illegitimate and his arrest was unlawful. Judge May again switched off his microphone saying his objections had been dealt with and were now "completely irrelevant".
14 February, 2002
Mr Milosevic begins his opening address
Mr Milosevic said an "ocean of lies" had been used in a global propaganda campaign against his country and that the tribunal was trying not just him but the entire Serbian nation. He argued that Belgrade had been struggling against terrorism in Kosovo and had put up a heroic defence against "aggression launched by Nato".
18 February, 2002
Mr Milosevic concludes his opening address and the prosecution calls its first witness
Mr Milosevic accused the West of inciting ethnic conflict in Yugoslavia while Serbia he said had tried to make peace. The tribunal then focused on events in Kosovo as it would for seven months. The first witness was Communistera Kosovo leader Mahmut Bakalli who said Mr Milosevic had persecuted ethnic Albanians in a form of "apartheid".
19 February, 2002
Mr Milosevics first crossexamination
Mr Milosevic knocked Mr Bakalli off balance asking if he knew that gun and drug smugglers operated in Kosovo. Mr Bakalli unconvincingly answered "No." He said he told Mr Milosevic in 1998 that police had killed 40 members of a Kosovan family including women and children. Mr Milosevic replied that the family had been shooting at police.
20 February, 2002
First victim takes the stand
A Kosovan villager Agim Zeqiri was the first of many victims to testify. He said troops controlled by Mr Milosevic burnt down his village and killed 16 members of his family in March 1999. Mr Milosevics crossexamination established that the village had given support to KLA rebels fighting for Kosovos independence from Serbia.
25 February, 2002
Another villager describes horrors
Retired farmer Halil Morina described how he fled as Serb troops went on a killing spree in the village of Landovice in March 1999. He later found the village razed and littered with bodies. The mosque had been blown up. Mr Milosevic objected that the court was making him prove his innocence rather than requiring the prosecution to prove his guilt.
27 February, 2002
Mr Milosevic demands release from custody
Mr Milosevic said being held in custody was hindering his ability to defend himself and asked to be freed. He insisted he would not abscond. "I am not going to run away from this place of force and injustice where my people and my country are on trial." Judge May turned down the request on 6 March.
1 March, 2002
Witnesses are heard in secret as they tell of being raped
Two female witnesses known as K14 and K15 were the first to be heard in secret. An edited transcript of the court session was published later. In it they tell of fleeing their homes with other ethnic Albanians and being grabbed from the convoys by Serbian soldiers who then viciously raped them.
13 March, 2002
Scientists say Nato did not cause Kosovo deaths
US experts cast doubt on Mr Milosevics claim that most deaths in Kosovo were caused by Nato bombs or the KLA. They presented statistical research showing that killings and refugee flows often came before Nato airstrikes and KLA offensives not after. They concluded that Yugoslav forces loyal to Mr Milosevic were the most likely culprits.
14 March, 2002
Lord Ashdown tells of his shock at Kosovo shelling
The first Western politician to testify at the tribunal Paddy Ashdown said he was shocked by the sight of Yugoslav forces "indiscriminately" shelling Kosovo villages on two visits to he made to the area in 1998. He described one valley south of Pristina as "an amphitheatre of hills in which every village was ablaze". He said there was no return fire.
15 March, 2002
Lord Ashdown says he warned Mr Milosevic of trial threat
On his second day at the tribunal Lord Ashdown said he met Mr Milosevic in Belgrade in 1998 and warned him that he would "end up in this court" if he failed to prevent further bloodshed in Kosovo. Mr Milosevic accused the British politician of "making speeches" during his crossexamination instead of answering questions.
3 May, 2002
Mr Milosevic clashes with Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova
Mr Milosevic accused Mr Rugova of being a "pawn of the great powers". Mr Rugova shot back "The great powers and the international community came out in our defence for human rights and against the massacres perpetuated by Belgrade and by you." He said the KLA responded to violence by fighting "for freedom".
12 June, 2002
US diplomat says Mr Milosevic was in control of Kosovo killings
William Walker formerly head of the Kosovo Verification Mission said Mr Milosevic was the man "in maximum control of events in Kosovo". He said he saw the bodies of old men killed in a "civilian massacre" by Serb forces at Racak in January 1999 a key moment in the runup to Nato bombing. Mr Milosevic said the scene was "staged or rigged".
24 July, 2002
Former secret police chief Rade Markovic fails to deliver decisive blow
Former Serbian police chief Rade Markovic turned out not to be the star witness prosecutors had hoped for. He confirmed that Mr Milosevic was in charge of security operations in Kosovo and was briefed daily. But he said Mr Milosevic had given strict orders to protect civilians and their property and had acted within the law.
25 July, 2002
Mr Milosevic told to rest because of heart attack risk
A doctor's report said Mr Milosevic was "a man with severe cardiovascular risks" and recommended shorter trial days. Mr Milosevic's bouts of flu and high blood pressure had already delayed proceedings by a month. Prosecutors argued for a defence lawyer to be imposed on Mr Milosevic in order to speed up progress.
26 September, 2002
Tribunal passes from Kosovo to Bosnia and Croatia
Prosecutors started presenting evidence on the 19911995 conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia. They faced a new challenge proving Mr Milosevic had been in control. He was president of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo troubles but only of Serbia until 1997. They also had now to prove the tribunal's most serious charge genocide in relation to Bosnia.
27 September, 2002
Mr Milosevic says Srebrenica massacre was antiSerb plot
Mr Milosevic said the massacre of thousands of Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995 was engineered by Bosnians and French spies to make the world hate Serbs. The day before he had denied trying to build a Greater Serbia by force saying Serbs were defending themselves against Bosnian fundamentalists and Croatian fascists.
1 October, 2002
Mr Milosevic is confronted by a head of state Croatian President Stipe Mesic
President Mesic said Mr Milosevic was an emotionless warmonger whose goal was an "ethnically pure" Greater Serbia "cleansed of its nonSerbian population" and built on the ruins of the old Yugoslavia. He claimed Mr Milosevic deliberately triggered ethnic violence in Croatia using it as a "fuse" to spread the conflict to Bosnia.
2 October, 2002
Mr Milosevic turns the tables on his Croatian adversary
In crossexamination Mr Milosevic said it was not he but Mr Mesic who was responsible for the breakup of Yugoslavia. The two men flung accusations at each other. "I'm not the person on trial" shouted Mr Mesic. "That's the point" Mr Milosevic snapped back.
29 October, 2002
Agent says Belgrade financed Serb rebels in Croatia
Serbian military intelligence officer Slobodan Lazarevic said Belgrade supplied and financed rebel Serbs in the breakaway Krajina region of Croatia in 1992. He said Mr Milosevic then Serbian president was known there as "the boss". Belgrade paid for rebels to attend peace conferences he added but told them not to agree to anything.
30 October, 2002
Mr Milosevic tries to discredit Serb agent
In crossexamination Mr Milosevic suggested that Mr Lazarevic was a nobody who had been bribed to testify. But the witness insisted that the Serbian chain of command in Croatia led to Mr Milosevic. "I heard the orders came from Belgrade and Belgrade is synonymous with you" he said. Mr Milosevic replied "That is a very large synonym."
11 November, 2002
Mr Milosevic insists on continuing without defence lawyer
Mr Milosevic returned to court after a 10day absence due to exhaustion railing against suggestions that a lawyer might be found to represent him against his will. During Mr Milosevic's absence Judge May had ordered doctors to forecast his future fitness for trial and asked the court for ideas on how to speed up proceedings.
12 November, 2002
Mr Milosevic stays in his cell with high blood pressure feeling tired
13 November, 2002
Judges order psychiatrists to assess the mental strain on Mr Milosevic but he refuses to cooperate
6 December, 2002
Former ally says Mr Milosevic played a key role in Croatian Serb uprising
The former Croatian Serb leader Milan Babic who had been testifying anonymously as C61 allowed the court to reveal his identity after he was exposed by Mr Milosevic. He echoed earlier witnesses saying that Mr Milosevic had been pulling political and military levers during the 1991 uprising in the selfdeclared Serb republic of Krajina.
6 February, 2003
Milosevic adviser says Serbian units fought in Croatia
A former military adviser to Mr Milosevic General Aleksandar Vasiljevic said several Serbian territorial defence units had been in action in the Croatian region of Eastern Slavonia. He added "It is my opinion that such a decision would have been under the responsibility of the president of the republic."
20 May, 2003
Prosecutors win an extra 100 trial days
Prosecutors were meant to have finished their case in April 2003 but fell behind schedule because of Mr Milosevics frequent illnesses. From September 2002 the trial days were also shortened to ease the burden on the accused. The court awarded the prosecution an extra 100 trial days to call essential witnesses in the interests of justice.
21 May, 2003
Mr Milosevic spars with Slovene expresident Milan Kucan
Mr Kucan said Mr Milosevic had made clear from 1989 that he would redraw borders by force to keep all Serbs within Serbia. But he said it was Yugoslav soldiers that tried to stop Slovenia breaking away he knew of no Serbian involvement. "Why did you opt for war" Mr Milosevic asked. "Why did you attack the Yugoslav army in Slovenia"
17 June, 2003
Yugoslav expresident says Mr Milosevic had nothing to do with Srebrenica massacre
Zoran Lilic said Mr Milosevic backed the training of Serb paramilitaries to fight in Bosnia. He also said he had urged Mr Milosevic in vain to reverse hardline policies in Kosovo and negotiate an end to the conflict. But in a setback for prosecutors he said Mr Milosevic was "outraged" by the Srebrenica massacre and had nothing to do with it.
23 August, 2003
Srebrenica killer says he took orders from Bosnian Serb army
A soldier who took part in the Srebrenica massacre Drazen Erdemovic told the tribunal he did it on the orders of his Bosnian Serb army commander under threat of death. Mr Milosevic accused Mr Erdemovic a Bosnian Croat of lying. I assume it is quite clear that I and Serbia had nothing to do with these events he told the court.
30 September, 2003
Hearings scaled back to three days per week
The court cut hearings from four days to three days per week after a cardiologist reported that Mr Milosevic "displayed symptoms of exhaustion and extreme fatigue coupled with rises in blood pressure to unacceptable levels". The report came after proceedings had been suspended for the ninth time as a result of Mr Milosevics poor health.
3 November, 2003
David Owen says Mr Milosevic had influence over rebel Serbs
Former peace negotiator Lord David Owen said Mr Milosevic had "strong power" over rebel Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia in 1993. "He could have stopped them shelling Sarajevo" he said. However he suggested that Mr Milosevics influence might have waned by the time of the Srebrenica massacre in 1995.
15 December, 2003
US general says Mr Milosevic knew Srebrenica massacre was being planned
Former Nato commander Wesley Clark said Mr Milosevic told him in 1995 he had warned Bosnian Serb leaders not to carry out a massacre at Srebrenica. General Clark said this showed Mr Milosevic had "foreknowledge". Mr Milosevic said the two men had never discussed Srebrenica and that he had never given orders to Bosnian Serbs.
12 February, 2004
UN commander says Mr Milosevic had power over Bosnian Serb leaders
Former head of UN troops in Bosnia General Philippe Morillon said he warned Mr Milosevic of the danger of a "terrible tragedy" in Srebrenica in 1993. On that occasion he said Mr Milosevic persuaded Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic to prevent a massacre showing that he did wield power over them.
25 February, 2004
Prosecutors rest their case. Months later on 31 August 2004 Mr Milosevic begins his defence.
The prosecution decides to end its case against Mr Milosevic early because of the renewed illness of the accused and of the presiding judge Richard May. The court announced on 22 February that Judge May would resign in May for health reasons. Over 293 trial days 298 witnesses were heard and 29000 pages of evidence were submitted. On 31 August 2004 Mr Milosevic begins his muchdelayed defence.
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ANALYSIS AND FEATURES
Tale of two cities
Slobodan Milosevic divides Belgrade in death as in life, reports Nick Hawton
Shadow of death
Home town beginnings
Milosevic's jail conditions
Worst outcome for tribunal
Few Serb tears for Milosevic
Charges against Milosevic
Q&A: Milosevic trial
Milosevic's road to ruin
Milosevic's rise and fall
Flashback to Kosovo's war
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