Assisted defence for Slobodan Milosevic

30 November 1999 by Thierry Cruvellier

"Pa bavite se !" "Well, you deal with that!" Slobodan Milosevic shou- ted to the court, his arms outstret- ched as if throwing a sack of hot potatoes towards the feet of his judges. The Inte ...

"Pa bavite se !" "Well, you deal with that!" Slobodan Milosevic shou- ted to the court, his arms outstret- ched as if throwing a sack of hot potatoes towards the feet of his judges. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) had not only just decided to end the three-year freedom of the Serbian ex-head of state to conduct his own defence. It also had the teme- rity to ask him how he wanted to pro- ceed from now on. Infuriated, the defen- dant let off steam for a brief moment befo- re putting away his bag, his face sunken and gloomy. Two and a half years after the opening of the trial proper and the day after the start of presentation of defence evidence, the ICTY judges have engineered a remarkable change in the direction of the court's flagship trial. In a ruling handed down on 2 September, they put an end to the possibility of Milosevic conducting his own defence against charges made by the UN tribunal. The turnaround was made pos- sible by a fresh series of medical reports issued in July and August.

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