Briefly Noted ...

By Emir Suljagic in The Hague (TU 312, 5-9 May 2003)

Briefly Noted ...

By Emir Suljagic in The Hague (TU 312, 5-9 May 2003)

Tuesday, 22 February, 2005

The trial of Slobodan Milosevic was suspended last seek to give the former Yugoslav president time to prepare his defence. Before the recess, prosecutors had asked for more time to complete their case, forecasting that it would last into early 2004. Lead prosecutor Geoffrey Nice told the court that he would be unable to call all the evidence under the time restrictions imposed by the trial chamber.


Milosevic, who has been repeatedly admonished by the judges for wasting time and giving speeches instead of questioning the witnesses, said he was in favor of allowing the prosecution more time.


"Time has been the only consideration in what you call a trial,” he said to the judges.


The next high-profile witness to take the stand will be the president of Slovenia, Milan Kucan. His testimony is scheduled for May 21.


BELGRADE PROBES MLADIC


The reformed leadership of Serbia and Montenegro launched an unprecedented investigation into the links between its army and Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic.


Boris Tadic, the Montenegrin who heads the joint ministry of defence said on May 11 that the results of the investigation showed that Mladic had last been seen in the country’s army facilities on May 15, 2002.


He also said, in an interview to the Belgrade daily Politika, that the ministry would conduct an investigation into whether any serving members of the army were still protecting Mladic.


The former commander of the Bosnian Serb army is wanted by the tribunal for his role in the massacres following the fall of the UN safe haven of Srebrenica in July 1995.


HAGUE FUGITIVE ESCAPES ARREST


Veselin Sljivancanin, one of the three Yugoslav army officers wanted in connection to the Vukovar hospital massacre in November 1991, escaped police arrest on the night of April 24, according to Glas Javnosti, a Belgrade daily.


The secretary of the Committee to Defend Sljivancanin, Vesna Gojkovic, told the newspaper that he managed to escape a dragnet that lasted 17 hours.


Of the three officers wanted for the Vukovar hospital massacre, Sljivancanin is the only one still at large. The other two, Mile Mrksic and Miroslav Radic, have both surrendered voluntarily.


SESELJ GETS A "STAND BY COUNSEL"


Despite his request to defend himself, the tribunal appointed a “stand-by” defence counsel for Vojislav Seselj, former president of the Serbian Radical Party.


The counsel will be involved in the proceedings on a daily basis and will be prepared to take over Seselj's defence at any time, either at his or the judges’ request.


In its ruling, the trial chamber said that the right of the accused to defend himself "was not absolute" and that the judges were in charge of the proceedings.


The decision was partly based on a fear that Seselj would use the courtroom to propagate his fierce brand of Serbian nationalism, as he has been known to do.


Emir Suljagic is an IWPR reporter in The Hague.


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