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Slobodan Milosevic has to obtain Time and Conditions necessary to prepare his Defense

13. September 2003


The process against the former President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic is lasting for almost two years already. During all that time, after they have submitted mountains of suspicious documents, brought hundreds of false witnesses and spent hundreds of millions of dollars from the UN budget, the prosecutors of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) haven`t succeeded to show any evidence of guilt of the Serbian leader for the alleged crimes.
The Prosecution undergoes a total fiasco. Soon, the phase of defense of Slobodan Milosevic (who was until now allowed only to cross-examine witnesses of the Prosecution) should start.
Slobodan Milosevic has numerous and convincing confirmations of his innocence. Nevertheless, the organization of the defense requires serious preparations. The indictment against Slobodan Milosevic has been prepared for more than four years with participation of hundreds of ICTY employees. Slobodan Milosevic presents his own defense in person and alone. For preparation of his defense he has the right to use the same amount of time as the ICTY prosecutors spent preparing the indictment.
“Equality of arms”, in fact of conditions for defense and prosecution is one of the fundamental norms of International Law, guaranteed by many documents, including the European Convention on human rights. And that assumes the right for adequate time and necessary conditions for the preparation of defense.
We condemn the recent decision of the ICTY to ban visits with Slobodan Milosevic by the members of the Socialist Party of Serbia and “Sloboda (Freedom)” Association, the committee for his support. The aim of this decision is to strengthen the isolation of President Milosevic. This is obviously a dangerous measure of moral and psychological pressure against a political prisoner.
Slobodan Milosevic has to have the possibility to conduct his defense not from the prison cell, but from freedom. Otherwise, an adequate preparation for defense is impossible.
At the same time, he has to have the possibility to recuperate his health, seriously damaged by the several years of imprisonment, by the exhausting court process and by the lack of qualified medical assistance. We are deeply worried by the fact that Slobodan Milosevic is still deprived of qualified medical care. That creates a real threat to his life.
Taking all the above-mentioned into account, and also considering the seriousness and the broadness of the accusations, we demand a break in the process against Slobodan Milosevic, lasting at least two years. We also demand his immediate release and return to Belgrade in order to recuperate his health. The persecution of his family has to cease.
Without fulfilling these demands, the process against Slobodan Milosevic will remain an open political harassment, having nothing in common with judiciary.