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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 September, 2004, 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
Milosevic team seek halt to trial
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic
Slobodan Milosevic has dismissed the trial as a kangaroo court
Two British lawyers appointed to defend Slobodan Milosevic have asked for his International War Crimes Tribunal trial to be suspended.

Steven Kay and Gillian Higgins want proceedings at the Hague to be stopped until the court has ruled on an appeal they made against their appointment.

The court ordered the two lawyers to defend Mr Milosevic after deciding he was too ill to conduct his own defence.

But he has refused to speak to the two, insisting he must defend himself.

'Unfair trial'

The former Yugoslav president faces 66 charges of war crimes during the Balkan conflict during the 1990s.

Mr Kay told Judge Patrick Robinson he was making "an application on the suspension of the hearings until the appeal is heard".

The request is likely to be examined on Wednesday.

In the appeal against their appointment filed last week, the two lawyers said appointing a defence team for Mr Milosevic against his wishes could lead to an unfair trial.

'Unfit to defend himself'

Mr Milosevic's ill health, linked to heart problems and high blood pressure, has repeatedly brought his lengthy trial to a halt, putting it behind schedule.

Began February 2002
Milosevic faces more than 60 charges
Prosecutors' case rested February 2004
Court already heard from 295 witnesses

The former Serb strongman began his own defence in late August, having refused to use lawyers in court since February 2002, when the prosecution began presenting its case.

Earlier this month however, the trial judges appointed Mr Kay and Ms Higgins to defend him.

A number of witnesses set to have appeared for Mr Milosevic's defence have said they will not come to the court unless he is conducting his own defence.

Mr Milosevic, who has dismissed the charges against him as lies, wants to call more than 1,000 witnesses, but it is unlikely they will all be able to appear during the 150 trial days allotted for his defence.

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