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Wednesday, 6 March, 2002, 16:00 GMT
Milosevic denied release request
Slobodan Milosevic
Mr Milosevic has asked to be freed before
Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has been denied a request for a temporary release from United Nations custody in order to help him conduct a more effective defence.

Richard May, presiding judge at the UN tribunal in The Hague, said that he did not want to disrupt proceedings and was not confident that Mr Milosevic, currently on trial for war crimes, would return.

Richard May, presiding judge at Slobodan Milosevic's trial
May: not confident that Milosevic would return

"The trial has already commenced and the trial chamber is not satisfied that, if he were released, he would continue to appear for trial and would not pose a danger to any victim, witness or others," he said.

Mr Milosevic made a similar request in February after complaining that he had not been able to mount a sufficient defence for his trial.

That request was also denied.

US envoy backtracks

The news came as the United States Ambassador for war crimes Pierre Richard Prosper played down remarks made in Washington last week where he criticised the UN tribunal for being both costly and slow.

Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic charges
  • Genocide
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions
  • Violations of the laws or customs of war

    Click here for a full list of charges

  • Mr Prosper instead referred to the UN's key war suspects Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, saying he was confident that the pair would eventually be brought to justice.

    "Karadzic and Mladic will go to The Hague," he said.

    "It could happen tomorrow, it could happen next year or the year after, (but) the tribunal will not close before they are brought to justice in The Hague."

    Chief prosecutor for the tribunal, Carla Del Ponte, also said on Wednesday that she was confident the US would continue to both support the tribunal and help the UN arrest further suspected war criminals from the former Republic of Yugoslavia.

    Ms Del Ponte said that both she and Mr Prosper agreed that courts in the Balkans needed to prosecute lower level war criminal suspects alongside those higher profile suspects indicted at The Hague.

    See also:

    01 Mar 02 | Americas
    US wants no permanent tribunals
    25 Feb 02 | Media reports
    Serbian press split on Milosevic trial
    19 Feb 02 | Europe
    Kostunica attacks Milosevic trial
    18 Feb 02 | Europe
    Milosevic defence transcript
    19 Feb 02 | Europe
    The Milosevic case: Timeline
    22 Feb 02 | Europe
    Milosevic surprises prosecution
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