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2001: Milosevic to face genocide charge

Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic is to be charged with genocide - the most serious of all war crimes.

Mr Milosevic was told of the new indictment as he appeared before the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague for a second time.

He is already facing four charges relating to war crimes and crimes against humanity arising from the Kosovo conflict in 1999.

Mr Milosevic is the first former head of state to be charged with such offences.

The tribunal's chief prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, said three amendments to the existing indictment against him were being prepared.

They included charges relating to the conflicts in Bosnia and Croatia, Ms Del Ponte said.

Lawyer

During the 40-minute hearing, Mr Milosevic again refused to recognise the tribunal and complained about the conditions of his detention.

He is already pursuing a case in the Dutch courts, claiming he is being held illegally.

Prosecutors asked the tribunal to appoint a lawyer to defend the former Yugoslav president.

The judges refused, saying it would not be practical to force legal counsel on Mr Milosevic.

But they did appoint a lawyer to assist the court in ensuring a fair trial.

The lawyer will be able to cross-examine witnesses, and draw attention to any evidence that may indicate Mr Milosevic's innocence of the charges against him.

Presiding Judge Richard May adjourned the hearing to 29 October.

The tribunal hopes to fix a date for the trial before the end of next February.

In Context
Slobodan Milosevic went on trial in February 2002 charged with 66 counts of crimes against humanity, violating the laws and regulations of war, and genocide.

The trial was expected to be one of the most complex cases in post-war legal history.

Mr Milosevic's decision to defend himself - along with his poor health - further slowed down proceedings as has his tendency to give long speeches rather than question witnesses.

Witnesses included alleged victims of crimes instigated by Mr Milosevic as well as British politician Paddy Ashdown and US diplomat William Walker.

In July 2002 Mr Milosevic's predecessor, Zoran Lilic, was arrested and flown to The Hague, after refusing an order to testify.

The former Yugoslav leader launched his defence in August 2004.

He was found dead in his cell in March 2006. By the time of his death, the prosecution had completed its case but the defence was continuing, interrupted by Milosevic's frequent ill-health.


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