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Milosevic Pretrial Hearing Underway

Aired January 9, 2002 - 06:09   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
COSTELLO: Nine minutes past the hour now. As promised, we want to go back to the Netherlands, The Hague and the pretrial hearing of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. He's saying a few words at his pretrial hearing. He's going to speak in his own language and then you will hear the translation. Let's listen in.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC, FORMER YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT (through translator): Those who traveled thousands and thousands of kilometers to destroy those (ph) houses in the course of the night, and to kill innocent people, and to destroy mechanically walls (ph), hospitals, bridges, railways, but those are the people who are in cooperation with the Albanian terrorists are responsible for the vast number of these things and for all this material carnage (ph) and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) it would appear that they are the good guys and they should be given the full support of the international public opinion --

JUDGE RICHARD MAY: Mr. Milosevic -- Mr. Milosevic, I have already outlined the way in which the trial will be conducted. You will have your opportunity to put your defense in the way in which I've described. But now is not the time to do it. It's not the time for speeches. What we're considering is simply the format of the trial and the procedure, which will be followed. Now is there anything you want to say about that?

As I say you will have your opportunity to make your case when the trial starts and that's the right time to do it -- not now. We don't -- we're not dealing with the substance of the trial. We're simply dealing with the procedure. Now is there anything you want to say about the procedure?

MILOSEVIC (through translator): This is not the first time that I have not been given the chance to say what I want to say. But --

MAY: You will only be allowed to say -- to make your speeches at the appropriate time during the trial. This, as you've been told, is not the appropriate time. At the moment we're dealing with the procedure, so confine your remarks to that. When the trial begins, there will be, as I've told you, a time for you to make your statements, then you can make them and you can make your defense. Now is there anything you want to say about the procedure or not? MILOSEVIC (through translator): With respect to procedure, I wish to (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that it does not (ph) offer a single argument with respect to a clear-cut legal (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that I have put forth here, which affects the illegality of this tribunal which was set up by a resolution of the U.N. Security Council, which does not have any jurisdiction to do so, and is not able to transfer the competences (ph) to anybody, and as legal men yourselves (ph), you know that you can't transfer (UNINTELLIGIBLE) do not --

(CROSSTALK)

-- so, at any rate --

MAY: Milosevic, we have already ruled on that, and it's not a matter for further argument. Now is there anything you want to say else about the procedure or we shall adjourn.

MILOSEVIC (through translator): Well if you're going to limit me to speaking about these questions and the questions of procedure, let me say that by natural definition of each and every court and tribunal, a court is always mutual and unbiased and prejudiced and look at this court. It is -- court should be impartial, but look at this court. The indictment has been raised according to what the British intelligence service has said. The judge is an Englishman. The amicus curiae is --

MAY: Milosevic, we have -- we have -- we have listened to you patiently. You have been told a number of times that this hearing is purely to make -- to deal with matters of procedure. You will have a full opportunity at your trial to make your defense and make your statements. That time is not now.

This hearing is adjourned.

COSTELLO: OK, what you were just listening to is a procedural hearing in The Hague and that's in the Netherlands. Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is on trial for alleged war crimes in Kosovo. He was complaining that he was not being allowed to speak. He claims the procedure itself is illegal.

As you heard the judge didn't buy that at all. This is just a procedural hearing to help you understand and it's sort of outlining how the trial will go.

The actual trial gets underway on February 12th. We'll be following this whole process all the way along. It's a military tribunal, so maybe it'll help us for our own military tribunals in the future.

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