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Milosevic scorns war crimes court

Milosevic, right
Milosevic, right, in court for the third time to face charges of war crimes in Croatia  

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (CNN) -- Slobodan Milosevic has continued to refuse to cooperate with the U.N. war crimes tribunal, insisting it is an illegitimate, institution peddling fabricated accusations.

The former Yugoslav president refused to enter a plea at the court in The Hague to charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes in Croatia and Kosovo, forcing judges to enter "not guilty" pleas on his behalf.

He told presiding Judge Richard May on Monday: "I wish to say to you that the text we have just heard ... shows the indictment is false."

He continued shouting in Serbian, despite May's admonitions. "Mr. Milosevic, will you please be quiet," the British judge said.

Milosevic initially heard amended charges for alleged crimes in Kosovo, to include evidence found in mass war graves of Kosovo victims in Serbia.

Christiane Amanpour: Milosevic still defiant 

CNN's Chief International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour said Milosevic showed the "same kind of defiance as in his previous two appearances."

During those pre-trial hearings Milosevic had refused to enter a plea, and a "not guilty" plea had to be entered on his behalf by May.

He was appointed an amicus curiae, or "friend of the court," not to defend him, but to make sure his interests are represented after he turned down access to legal representation.

But Milosevic earlier on Monday dubbed the move as "The Hague fair play," criticising it for deploying two teams working for the same party.

The court assigned the three lawyers to lodge motions on behalf of the defendant and draw the court's attention to any mitigating evidence.

Although they do not formally represent Milosevic, they can object to any material or submissions they consider inadmissible or unfair.

Milosevic added: "I'm not submitting any motions to this court because I do not recognise this court. If what I'm saying into this mike is considered by you to be an submission on my part, that's up to you."

The 60-year-old said the "flood" of amended indictments "cannot cover up the truth because the truth is known by millions of people."

He said he had been protecting his country from criminal aggression and terrorism during his 13-year reign of power.

Milosevic said he would continue to refuse to familiarise himself "with something that has been fabricated and far from the truth."

He later heard an indictment read out in his native tongue on the charge of atrocities committed in Croatia in the early 1990s.

Invited to plead to the new Croatia indictment, issued this month, he struck a similarly uncooperative tone.

"It's absurd to accuse Serbia and the Serbs for the armed secession of Croatia," Milosevic said when the judge asked for his pleas to 10 counts of crimes against humanity, nine of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and 13 counts of violating the laws or customs of war.

Prosecutors accuse Milosevic of spearheading a "joint criminal enterprise" to kill or expel Croats and other non-Serbs from about a third of Croatia between August 1991 and June 1992 to create a Serb-dominated state.

Yugoslavia and Croatia went to war in 1991 after the break-up of Yugoslavia. A civil war involving Serbs, Muslims and Croats raged in Bosnia from 1992-95.

U.N. prosecutors also said on Monday they would file a new indictment against Milosevic next week for alleged crimes in Bosnia, including genocide.

The ousted leader, transferred to the trial four months ago, has been in detention at a special U.N. holding unit outside The Hague.

The tribunal, established in 1993 to bring to justice those responsible for atrocities in the Balkans, has indicted more than 100 individuals. Sixty-one have appeared before the court while 31 are still at large.


• Milosevic faces fresh U.N. charge
October 9, 2001
• Milosevic spurns Hague lawyers
September 7, 2001
• Milosevic facing genocide charges
August 30, 2001
• Milosevic in court
July 3, 2001
• Milosevic faces Croatia war charge
September 28, 2001
• Croatia arrests war crime suspects
July 6, 2001

• Croatian Government
• International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia

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