THE HAGUE, Netherlands – The U.N. tribunal ruled Tuesday that former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic (search) was fit to stand trial, but may not be healthy enough to continue defending himself against charges of war crimes and genocide.
The judges ordered Milosevic, 62, to undergo a new medical examination by an independent cardiologist and postponed hearings in his case until July 14.
They also asked the tribunal's registrar to find a lawyer who could be assigned to Milosevic's defense if necessary.
The ruling came one day after the three-judge panel released details of the former Yugoslav leader's heart condition and said it planned a "radical review" of the trial's procedure.
Milosevic has refused to accept a courtroom representative, preferring to conduct his own defense against 66 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
His trial, which began in February 2002, has been repeatedly delayed due to Milosevic's illnesses. He was due to begin presenting his formal defense this week, but his court-appointed doctor said his blood pressure was dangerously high and he needed more rest.
At a hearing Monday, presiding Judge Patrick Robinson read from a medical report that said Milosevic had suffered damage to the heart and could be at risk of a heart attack or stroke.
In Tuesday's ruling, the court said "there is no evidence that the accused in not fit to stand trial at all, but there is evidence that the health of the accused is such that he may not be fit to continue represent himself."