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Slobo Says Tribunal Illegal

Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic filed a written motion at the war crimes tribunal contesting the U.N. court's legality and demanding his case be dismissed, court officials said Friday.

The motion is the first step in the pre-trial defense of the former leader. The trial is not expected to start until next year.

Milosevic was indicted for alleged atrocities against Kosovo Albanians in 1999. The court entered pleas of innocent on all counts on his behalf when he refused to respond to the charges in court.

In a 5-page preliminary motion, dated Aug. 9 and signed by Milosevic, he asserted that the Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was "selective and political" and incapable of conducting a fair trial.

The Accused
The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, created by the United Nations Security Council in 1993, is located in the Hague Netherlands and consists of judges from 14 countries, including the United States.

It has indicted more than 100 people on charges including breaching the Geneva Conventions, violating the customs of war, genocide and crimes against humanity.

Forty-three indictees detained, three are out on provisional release and 26 are at large.

Twenty-four have proceedings go on now.

Twenty-two have been found guilty, two have been acquitted, three have died and charges against three have been withdrawn.

  • Read the indictment against Slobodan Milosevic.
  • The court will discuss the motion at Milosevic's second public hearing scheduled for Aug. 30. A copy of the document was obtained by The Associated Press on Friday.

    The statement echoed the tone taken by Milosevic at his first tribunal appearance on July 3 soon after his extradition.

    Milosevic has refused to appoint an attorney and wants to conduct his own defense. "The tribunal corrupts justice and law because it is incapable of acting equally in enforcing laws among nations and individuals or within the former nation that has been targeted for prosecution," his motion said.

    "This tribunal is illegal and lacks all jurisdiction," it said, adding the court was established illegally and that he was illegally transferred to the Netherlands on June 28. He was handed over by officials from the Serbian state, not the federal Yugoslav overnment.

    Since Milosevic's arrest, the tribunal has indicted Croats and Bosnian Muslims and convicted a Bosnian Serb of genocide. But critics of the court, including Russia, have slammed it for failing to try NATO leaders for alleged war crimes against the civilian Serb population during the 1999 air war fought to protect Kosovar Albanians.

    The tribunal, established in 1993 by the United Nations to prosecute those responsible for atrocities during the break up of the former Yugoslavia, has rejected similar defense motions in earlier cases.

    Click here to learn more about Yugoslavia's recent strife.

    In an 8-page counter motion filed on Aug. 16, prosecutors rejected Milosevic's arguments. They cited the 1995 Dayton peace agreement for Bosnia and Herzegovina, noting that it was signed by Milosevic himself on Dec. 14 of that year.

    "The Dayton Agreement explicitly recognizes a major role for the tribunal in bringing peace and security in the former Yugoslavia," the prosecution submission said.

    On Friday, officials said Friday Milosevic's wife, Mirjana Markovic, was planning another visit to the U.N. detention unit on Monday for his 60th birthday. Markovic met with Milosevic last month.

    In a separate case, a Dutch attorney was to represent Milosevic at a regional court in The Hague next week. The court will hear a case against the Dutch state contesting the former president's arrest and detention.

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