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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 July, 2004, 17:21 GMT 18:21 UK
Milosevic trial to resume in days
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in court on Monday
Slobodan Milosevic has chosen to defend himself at the trial
Judges at The Hague have announced that the trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic will resume on 14 July, subject to his state of health.

The hearing at the International War Crimes Tribunal was adjourned on Monday amid concerns about Mr Milosevic, who was said to have high blood pressure.

The judges said Mr Milosevic appeared well enough to stand trial but might not be fit to continue his own defence.

Mr Milosevic has represented himself since the trial began in February 2002.

Defence debate

"There is no evidence that the accused is not fit to stand trial at all," the judges said in their ruling.

"But there is evidence that the health of the accused is such that he may not be fit to continue to represent himself, and that his continuing to represent himself could adversely affect the fair and expeditious conduct of the trial."

Srebrenica massacre grave
More than 7,000 people were killed in the Srebrenica massacre

The judges asked for a cardiologist to examine Mr Milosevic.

The court will then consider whether to compel the 62-year-old Mr Milosevic to accept a court-appointed lawyer to represent him - an option he strongly objects to.

Observers believe that if a defence lawyer is appointed, he would be likely to question whether Mr Milosevic was fit to stand trial.

Experts say the court would have no alternative but to free Mr Milosevic if he is found unfit and the case is halted.

The trial will resume on 14 July but will be adjourned from 21 July to 31 August to give Mr Milosevic extra time to prepare his case.

Trial delays

Mr Milosevic had been due to open his defence case on Monday.

Began Feb 2002
Milosevic facing more than 60 charges of war crimes
Court heard from 295 witnesses

But a medical report read in court said he had high blood pressure and was at risk of a heart attack. It said the former leader needed to rest.

A flushed-looking Mr Milosevic - who refuses to acknowledge the legality of the tribunal - berated the judges for making him come to court despite his poor health.

Mr Milosevic's health problems have led to frequent delays in what is seen as the most important war crimes trial in Europe since the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders following World War II.

He is accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo in the 1990s.

The charges include "genocide or complicity in genocide" in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, where more than 7,000 people were killed in 1995.

Mr Milosevic says he wants to call a long list of witnesses, including former US President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair - both in office during Nato's bombing of the Yugoslav capital Belgrade during the 1999 Kosovo conflict.

The BBC's Jonathan Charles
"Slobodan Milosevic has looked increasingly sick"

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