Milosevic trial to continue

The court will hold its next hearing on July 14, but judges held off a decision on wether or not to force Milosevic, who is acting as his own lawyer, to take on defence counsel to ease his workload.

Instead, they ordered new medical tests to see if the former president was fit enough to continue representing himself and asked for a list of lawyers to be compiled that might be assigned to him in future.

“There is no evidence that (Milosevic) is not fit to stand trial at all but there is evidence that the health of the accused is such that he may not be fit to continue to represent himself,” said the three-judge panel’s ruling.

The mammoth trial, already well into its third year, was to have resumed on Tuesday with Milosevic making his opening statement.

But the hearing was postponed indefinitely after doctors recommended he needed more rest.

The former Yugoslav president faces over 60 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity over his alleged central role in the wars in Croatia in 1991-95, Bosnia in 1992-95 and Kosovo in 1998-99.

For the bloody conflict in Bosnia which left 200,000 people dead, he faces separate charges of genocide, the gravest of war crimes. If convicted he could be sentenced to life imprisonment.

So far the trial has already been interrupted over a dozen times since it started in February 2002, because Milosevic fell ill.

Doctors say the 62-year-old suffers from high blood pressure and is at risk of a heart attack, especially during periods of stress.

Milosevic has consistently refused to appoint a defence lawyer, savouring his image as a lone man fighting against the mighty bureaucracy of the UN court.

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