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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 July 2004, 12:35 GMT 13:35 UK
Milosevic trial judge dies at 65
Judge Richard May
Judge May clashed repeatedly in court with Mr Milosevic
The judge who headed the trial of Slobodan Milosevic until earlier this year has died at the age of 65, the war crimes tribunal has announced.

Richard May stood down from the UN tribunal at The Hague because of his ill health.

He oversaw the lengthy first phase of the former Yugoslav president's trial on charges of war crimes and genocide.

Judge May faced repeated defiance from Mr Milosevic, who refused to recognise the court's authority to try him.

The judge sometimes switched Mr Milosevic's microphone off to silence the defendant.

Firm but fair

In one of their most memorable early exchanges, Judge May asked Mr Milosevic whether he wished the full 32-page indictment, charging him with crimes committed in Kosovo in 1999, to be read out. Mr Milosevic told him: "That's your problem."

In another hearing, Judge May told him: "Your views about the tribunal are now completely irrelevant, as far as these proceedings are concerned."

The British former prosecutor was described as having an unflappable demeanour, with a reputation for being firm but fair.

His decision to stand down from the court he had presided over since 1997 was announced in February and took effect in May after the prosecution wrapped up its case.

He was replaced by another British judge, Lord Bonomy.

Mr Milosevic is now preparing to start his defence later in July. The trial is expected to finish in 2005.

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