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Tuesday, 5 March, 2002, 10:30 GMT
Milosevic trial halted by blaze
Journalists watch the proceedings
The building was evacuated just before the trial resumed
The trial of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic has been postponed after a fire broke out in a kitchen at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

There will be no Milosevic hearing today

Jim Landale
Court spokesman
The building was evacuated after smoke started billowing from a cafeteria on the second floor, just 20 minutes before Mr Milosevic's trial was due to resume.

Tribunal spokesman Jim Landale said the proceedings against the former Yugoslav leader would be postponed until Wednesday.

Mr Milosevic has been taken back to the tribunal's detention centre in Scheveningen, according to one of his lawyers.

Confident defence

Correspondents say that although firefighters have managed to extinguish the blaze, the building remains engulfed by thick smoke.

It is unclear whether any other hearings will take place today, although officials said they hoped some could resume in the afternoon.

Mr Milosevic has been on trial at The Hague for the past three weeks, accused of 66 counts of war crimes during the conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo in the 1990s.

The trial is seen as the most important of its kind since 22 Nazis went on trial after World War II.

Despite the fact that Mr Milosevic says he does not accept the legitimacy of the court, he has so far appeared well prepared for his appearances, and has managed some skilful cross-examinations of witnesses.

See also:

19 Feb 02 | Europe
Kostunica attacks Milosevic trial
01 Feb 01 | Europe
UN stands by Milosevic indictment
19 Feb 02 | Europe
Milosevic's legal manoeuvring
18 Feb 02 | Europe
Milosevic defence transcript
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