by ICDSM (International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic)
On Tuesday 30th September 2003 The Hague Tribunal heard a submission from the Prosecution that if accepted would mean the imposition of Defence Counsel on President Milosevic against his will, and would enable the trial to proceed without the presence of the accused.
This basic denial of the right of the accused to conduct his own defence is yet further proof of the political nature of the ICTY.
The arguments for the Prosecution, presented by Mr Nice, would be comical if they were not so tragic. To an outbreak of derisory laughter from the public gallery, Nice tried to suggest that the President´s health problems would be eliminated if he gave up smoking cigarettes! He further proposed that on his …‘rest days´ Mr Milosevic could study Court documents and watch hours of witness videos to save time and expedite the trial proceedings. Moreover, according to Mr Nice, the accused brought his ill health upon himself because he would insist on cross-examining the Prosecution´s witnesses. How very inconsiderate of Mr Milosevic!
In contrast to the Prosecution´s absurd arguments, which follow the equally absurd ruling that Mr Milosevic provide the Court and the Prosecution with his defence details and list of defence witnesses within six weeks, Mr Milosevic has proposed that their be a two-year recess in the trial in order to prepare his defence and that he be released from custody where his medical condition can be treated by doctors of his own choice.
It was these two key demands that gained an interest from journalists at Tuesday´s hearing when members and supporters of the ICDSM distributed their Press Release and gave interviews outside the Tribunal building. Such was the impact of the ICDSM intervention that the Tribunal´s security staff felt obliged to harass the journalists and demand to see their passports and credentials. It was to the credit of the ICDSM supporters that all copies of the Committee´s literature were distributed even in the face of such intimidation.
The only ruling given by the Court on the day was that from next Monday (6th October), following the advice of the Court appointed doctors, Mr Milosevic should attend trial for three days and rest for the next four.
A decision regarding the Prosecution´s latest submission would be announced shortly, though it is worth noting that to accept this submission would mean yet a further rewriting of the Tribunal´s existing rules.
Objective observers of the …‘trial´ cannot fail to note the sheer desperation of both the Court and Prosecution at their inability to break the resistance of President Milosevic and their inability to prevent the development and growth of his Defence Committee.
ICDSM. The Hague. 30th September 2003.