The Chamber orders the accused to submit written motions indicating why he wants subpoenas issued to certain people he wishes to question as "hostile witnesses." The starting date for Slobodan Milosevic's defense case is uncertain.

Slobodan Milosevic enters the courtroomSlobodan Milosevic enters the courtroom

Although he repeated for the thousandth time that "as a matter of principle he does not want to submit any written motions to a tribunal he does not recognize," Slobodan Milosevic will have to explain in writing why the Tribunal should issue subpoenas – orders for witness testimony that involve punishment if not complied with – to former US president Clinton, German Chancellor Schroeder, British PM Blair, French president Chirac and other world leaders he intends to question as "hostile witnesses."

Milosevic will also have to explain in writing why the Tribunal should issue binding orders for the disclosure of documents to the intelligence services of the US, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and other Western countries involved in the former Yugoslavia during the wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. Milosevic also wants an order issued for the disclosure of documents from Serbia and Montenegro’s archives.

Although he should present his arguments in writing on this issue too, the Chamber is prepared to consider Milosevic's oral request that three of his witnesses – high-ranking officials from Serbia, Republika Srpska and the former Republic of Serbian Krajina – be given "safe conduct," i.e., that they receive guarantees they will not be arrested and detained in The Hague when they arrive here to testify.

In the afternoon hearing, amicus curiae Steven Kay re-opened the issue of how much time Milosevic has to prepare for his case. Referring to Milosevic's claims that he started preparing his defense on 25 March but lost 41 working days due to illness, Kay asked that the beginning of the defense case, scheduled for 5 July, be put back until the end of the Tribunal’s August recess. Prosecutors opposed this request, noting that the accused had enough time to prepare the testimony of the first witnesses to be heard during July’s 12 working days. The judges, while insisting that the limit of three months allotted to Milosevic for the preparation of his defense is to remain, asked the Registry to give them precise information about the number of working days the accused lost due to his illness after the prosecution case ended. The final decision on the starting date of the defense case will be made pending that information.

The case will begin with Slobodan Milosevic's opening statement, which may not exceed four hours, i.e., one working day, according to a decision rendered today.

The Chamber dismissed a prosecution motion asking that Milosevic be compelled to provide more detailed summaries of his witnesses’ testimony, reserving the right to change that decision in the course of the defense case if it becomes aware that the information provided by the accused is not sufficient for the efficient running of the trial.

The Trial Chamber hearing Milosevic's case appeared for the first time in its new composition, with Judge Iain Bonomy replacing Judge Richard May, who resigned for health reasons.