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Prosecutor of UN war crimes tribunal to charge Milosevic with genocide

Prosecutor of UN war crimes tribunal to charge Milosevic with genocide

The chief prosecutor of the United Nations tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, Carla Del Ponte, announced today that she would sign new indictments against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in October for war crimes in Croatia and Bosnia and for genocide in Bosnia.

Mr. Milosevic appeared today in The Hague before Judge Richard May in a Status Conference, which has to be called within 120 days of a first appearance to check on the progress of both the defendant and the prosecution. Judge May announced that the Trial Chamber would ask the court's Registrar to appoint an amicus curiae (friend of the court) to challenge the prosecutor's case in the absence of a challenge by the defendant, as Milosevic has not appointed a defence team.

During the Status Conference, Mr. Milosevic made points that were noted by the Judge but then strayed into political statements. At this point the Judge informed him that this Conference was not the forum for such statements and he would be given a chance to make them during his trial.

It was the second appearance of the former President before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia after his initial appearance of 3 July.

In another development, a Judge of the Tribunal yesterday granted Biljana Plavsic provisional release until her trial date is set. The court is in the process of making arrangements for Ms. Plavsic's release.