Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Milosevic Lawyers Press for Unsealing of Records

TU No 449, 21-Apr-06
In the latest submission, Steven Kay and Gillian Higgins urge Judge Fausto Pocar to assign a chamber of judges to the task of considering whether the material in question can be unsealed.

The paperwork apparently consists of pleadings and medical records relating to the medical treatment the former Yugoslav president received in the court's detention unit and his efforts to secure a period of release to receive care in Moscow. Kay and Higgins say Milosevic told them before he died that he wanted the material made public.

The lawyers note that when they originally considered asking the chamber that had been hearing Milosevic's trial to release the material, they were informed by the court's registry that following his death, those judges no longer had anything to do with the case.

When they approached another set of judges – those responsible for deciding whether material from the proceedings could be made available for the purposes of an inquest and an internal inquiry – they were again told that they were speaking to the wrong people.

Kay and Higgins are currently in the process of appealing this decision.

In their simultaneous request for Judge Pocar to assign a chamber to resolve the issue, they argue that the matter is "particularly pertinent" given speculation regarding the circumstances of Milosevic's death.

Tests carried out on a blood sample taken from Milosevic earlier this year revealed the presence of a drug which was not prescribed to him by court doctors and which is known to counteract medicines he was taking for high blood pressure.

Following his death, it was revealed that Milosevic had written to the Russian authorities, expressing concern that he was being poisoned. The possibility has also been raised that Milosevic might have been taking the illicit medication in an effort to manipulate his own health and secure release from the tribunal's custody.

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