THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic (search) said Thursday he has presented a list of 1,400 witnesses he wants to call in his defense against war crimes charges, and demanded that former President Clinton, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and British Prime Minister Tony Blair be subpoenaed to testify.
U.N. war crimes judges declined to immediately rule on the request, and said Milosevic would "have to provide reasons" for the request in writing.
"Clinton has to appear here. Schroeder, Blair, others, too," Milosevic said at a procedural hearing before he opens his defense case on July 5.
He argued that the former U.S. president, the German chancellor and the British prime minister must be called because they headed their governments during the period of his indictment in the 1990s.
"Please issue an order that they have to appear as witnesses here," he said.
Milosevic said he has 1,631 witnesses in mind and has presented the names of nearly 1,400 of them to the court.
"The most terrible accusations have been uttered here," Milosevic said at a procedural hearing. "The most flagrant lies have been spoken here as well, and the only means to fight that is to present the truth."
Appearing energetic and characteristically defiant despite his frail health, Milosevic told the judges, "I should like here, before the public, to prove that these are all false indictments, false accusations against Serbia, against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (search), and against myself."
Presiding Judge Patrick Robinson (search) cut Milosevic short, warning him against making speeches.
He instructed the former Serb leader to provide more details about witnesses he wants to call, such as their ages and subject of their testimony.
Milosevic is representing himself against 66 charges of war crimes filed by prosecutors, including genocide, during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
He has had nearly three months to prepare his defense since prosecutors completed their case last February. He is assisted by several Belgrade lawyers.
The judges said they won't limit the number of witnesses Milosevic calls, as long as he remained within the 150 hearings days assigned to his case. Milosevic has the right to keep the content of his case confidential, but must disclose a witness list each week to prosecutors, the judges said.
During the prosecution case which began in February 2002, nearly 300 witnesses were called and thousands of documents were presented into evidence.
The judges rejected Milosevic's request for an extra month to interview witnesses. "The chamber believes it has dealt very fairly with you in this matter and will not change its position," Robinson said, questioning the relevance of so many witnesses.
On Wednesday, the three-judge tribunal dismissed a mid-trial motion filed by three independent lawyers to drop the genocide charges. The judges dismissed the argument by the lawyers, appointed by the court to ensure fairness, that the prosecution had failed to provide sufficient evidence to support the charges.
Wearing a black pinstripe suit and a bright red tie, Milosevic showed no sign of the ailments that has delayed the trial by months. The 61-year-old defendant has a weak heart and high blood pressure, and has repeatedly complained of fatigue and stress.