MILOSEVIC WILL NOT TESTIFY IN HIS OWN DEFENCE
The accused does not want to “make any solemn oath before an illegal institution” and asks for more time for the presentation of his evidence. The judges warn the accused that he will be able to hear only 100 to 200 of his witnesses in the time allotted for his defense, if he continues at the present rate. The prosecution proposes that the Chamber should sit four or five days a week, but the accused is against that
Slobodan Miloševic during the cross examination
Slobodan Milosevic will not testify in his defense, because, as he explained at the status conference this morning, this would involve him “taking the oath before an institution” he considers to be “illegal”. In that case, he would also have to undergo cross-examination by prosecutor Nice, but Milosevic did not list that as a reason why he would not be taking the stand.
The objective of the status conference this morning was to consider the progress – or rather, lack thereof – in the presentation of the defense case. After one third of the allotted time has been spent, Judge Robinson warned the accused that if he continued at the present rate, he would be able to hear only 100 to 120 witnesses by the end of his case.
According to Milosevic, Judge Robinson's calculation shows that he has been given “unrealistically little time to present the defense case” and that it was necessary to extend it.
Prosecutor Geoffrey Nice, however, considers that the Chamber “must abide by its decision” allotting 150 working days to the accused for the presentation of his defense. The accused is not using the option he has under the ICTY Rules of Procedure and Evidence to tender depositions, the prosecutor noted. The accused could be assisted in taking the depositions by his three legal advisers and two appointed counsel, Kay and Higgins.
Milosevic, however, considers that the use of depositions would be “prejudicial to the principle of a public trial”. According to him, this is the “essential matter of principle, not a technical issue of time.” The prosecutor noted that the accused “persistently insists on a mistaken concept of a public trial”. According to Nice, the purpose is “to make it possible for the public to control the work of the judicial organs, not to provide it with entertainment or propaganda.”
Noting also that 12 hours of sessions per week “comes to very short working hours by international standards”, the prosecutor proposed – in light of his estimation that the health of the accused has improved – that the Chamber should sit for four or five days a week. The accused opposed it, claiming that he still suffered from chronic cardio-vascular problems. The presiding judge said that any decision on sitting for four or five days a week would not be made without consulting the doctors, adding that it might be possible to extend the working hours from four to five a day, by beginning hearings at 8 a.m.
Assigned counsel Steven Kay informed the Chamber that he had gotten in touch with the diplomatic representatives of the US and UK, on his own initiative, to see whether it would be possible to ensure voluntary appearance of Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright, Tony Blair and other “hostile witnesses” Milosevic wants to call. If he wants the Chamber to summon the witnesses he will have to file a written request in accordance with the ICTY Rules and show cause that the conditions for the issuance of a binding order have been met, Judge Robinson warned Milosevic once again.
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