Judges say the demand of the accused to be given more time is "premature"

Slobodan Miloševic during the cross examinationSlobodan Miloševic during the cross examination

The Trial Chamber refused to consider Milosevic's demand to be given more time for his defense, saying it was "premature at this moment". The Chamber reminded the accused that he had 106 hours to present his case, noting that it was up to him to organize the presentation of his case "in such a way that it fits within that timeframe".

This is, in short, the outcome of the status conference on the "use of time" held this morning. The conference was scheduled after Milosevic submitted the list of 199 witnesses he intended to call until the end of his case. His estimate is that it would take him 422 hours to examine them. In a brief debate, Milosevic said that "the right to defense cannot be limited in mathematical terms and that it cannot be measured by time". Noting that the prosecution case lasted 300 days and that the prosecutors called a total of 352 witnesses – only one third of them testified viva voce while the rest submitted depositions, Milosevic said it was "unjust" for him to be given only as much time as the prosecution took to examine one third of its witnesses.

Presiding Judge Robinson termed Milosevic's reference to the 300 days of the prosecution case "disingenuous and malicious", reminding him that the Registry records show the prosecution took a total of 360 hours – 90 days – to present its case. The defense was allotted the same amount of time. Robinson also reminded the accused of the resources he had been given – two assigned counsel and their teams, paid by the Tribunal, three legal advisers, a liaison officer and an office that no other accused can boast – all of which might help him to organize his defense more efficiently and to make a better use of his time.

The Chamber did leave open the possibility that it might consider Milosevic's demand for more time at a later stage, when it is no longer "premature".