If Milosevic is as efficient in questioning his witnesses as prosecutors were with theirs, the defense case would last slightly longer than four years…provided the health of the accused does not fail and that prosecutors cede all their time to him.

Slobodan Milosevic in the courtroomSlobodan Milosevic in the courtroom

If judges accept the entire witness list submitted by Milosevic – with 1,631 names--and if they do not modify their order of 25 February 2004 limiting the duration of the defense case to 150 workdays, the accused will have an average of 13 minutes to question each witness. However, if conjectures that the prosecution will not cross-examine any of the defense witnesses, or will do so very rarely and briefly, do come true, the time Milosevic will have might increase to 22 minutes – for each witness.

According to calculations made by the Trial Chamber at the end of the prosecution case, the prosecution spent a total of 90 workdays to question about 300 witnesses and to present other evidence. An average of three witnesses a day broke all efficiency records at the Tribunal. If Milosevic is as efficient as the prosecution – not very likely, in view of his extensive cross-examination of prosecution witnesses – with the record-setting pace of three witnesses a day, he would need 543 workdays to go through all his witnesses. This is slightly more than four years, since on medical advice, the working week for the accused can last only three days. This means that the defense case would be complete in the second half of 2008, provided the health of the accused does not fail and that prosecutors cede all their time to him.

In such a situation, the Trial Chamber has two options: either to substantially extend the time allotted for the defense case (not very likely), or to make radical cuts to Milosevic's list, which it will probably be forced to do in order to ensure that the trial ends in the foreseeable future.