Little or nothing new in Milosevic's vision of history and truth in comparison with his previous opening statements in February and September 2002. The hearing on possible assignment of defense counsel begins

Slobodan Milosevic in the courtroomSlobodan Milosevic in the courtroom

In the conclusion of his opening statement at the beginning of the defense case, Slobodan Milosevic once again labeled the indictments charging him with genocide in BH and crimes against humanity in Croatia and Kosovo as a "sum of unscrupulous manipulations, lies, curtailing of rights, defeat of morality, extremely irresponsible altering of history."

In five and a half hour statement, Milosevic said little or nothing new in comparison with what he said in the two previous statements made in response to the opening statements of the prosecution in February and September 2002 and in comparison with what he kept on saying during the prosecution case. All the events in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, according to him, are the result of the actions of Slovenian separatists, Croatian fascists, Islamic fundamentalists and Albanian terrorists, acting "in concert with the external forces", primarily the Vatican and Germany, which were later on joined by the United States and the European Community.

“The actions of the Serb side” – Milosevic said today – "were just a reaction to the actions of the other sides… and were proportionate to these actions." Moreover, he added, "the Serb side gradually gave ground, down to putting forward the minimal demands that it could not give up without endangering its own survival." According to him, "it is perfectly clear that the Serb side did not want the war, and did all it could to prevent it," and when it broke out, by other parties' fault, "it did everything to achieve peace."

In addition to presenting his own version of the truth and his vision of the recent history of the Balkans, Milosevic challenged the legal concepts of "joint criminal enterprise’
and "command responsibility", which according to him are "hazy constructs" designed to "find innocent people guilty without any evidence."

As he accused the Tribunal of "destroying the universal legal order to the extent that there is a collapse of the civilization," Milosevic concluded by addressing the judges:

“You, gentlemen, cannot even imagine what a privilege it is, even in the conditions you have imposed, to have truth and justice as allies."

After the opening statement, there was a hearing about the health of the accused. Due to his health problems, Milosevic might have to be assigned professional defense counsel.