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Milosevic's Ill Health Delays His Trial Again

Ex-Yugoslav president is too exhausted to appear in court. U.N. tribunal will reconvene Monday.

November 02, 2002|From Associated Press

THE HAGUE — The challenge of defending himself against scores of war crimes charges has apparently taken its toll on Slobodan Milosevic, who was too exhausted to appear in court Friday.

The former Yugoslav president, who is 61, required medical attention at the United Nations detention center outside The Hague, and his trial was adjourned until Monday.

Presiding Judge Richard May asked the prosecution and the friends-of-the-court assigned to ensure a fair trial to submit proposals for speeding up the trial, which appears likely to continue for two years.

A spokesman for the U.N. tribunal said the three judges were concerned about repeated delays and the strain on Milosevic.

"The judges are only concerned about the obvious stress placed on all parties, including the accused himself," spokesman Jim Landale said. "They want to hear from the parties what could be done to reduce that stress."

Dragoslav Ognjanovic, a legal advisor to Milosevic, said Milosevic began feeling ill Thursday night as a consequence of "the intensity and rhythm of the trial."

"His blood pressure is higher than usual," Ognjanovic said, "which is the only reason he did not appear in court Friday."

Landale said Milosevic was expected to recover and appear in court Monday.

The trial, which started in February, was disrupted for several weeks in April and in June because of Milosevic's health.

He has a history of high blood pressure and a heart condition. Doctors at the tribunal warned in July that he was at "a serious risk of a heart attack" because of the stress of the trial.

Milosevic is defending himself against 66 counts of war crimes allegedly committed during the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and in Kosovo, a Yugoslav province, in 1999.

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