Milosevic to Face Genocide Charges

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Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic is expected to face genocide charges for mass killings in Bosnia.

The chief prosecutor of the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, said Thursday she will file new indictments against Milosevic on Oct. 1 for crimes committed in Bosnia and Croatia in the early 1990s.

Those massacre charges would be combined with charges for crimes against humanity in Kosovo in 1999, and would likely go to trial in the fall of 2002, according to prosecutor Carla Del Ponte

Del Ponte spoke just after Milosevic appeared for the second time before the panel of judges since he was transferred from Yugoslavia June 28 to face charges of alleged crimes in Kosovo.

"We will issue an indictment for genocide in Bosnia, possibly Croatia. Let's leave Croatia open," she said.

Del Ponte said the mass graves of Kosovo Albanians recently discovered in Serbia were not enough to charge the former leader with genocide in Kosovo. Investigators revealed at least four common burial sites across Serbia — graves that contain the tangled remains of at least 800 victims of a brutal 1998-99 crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Del Ponte had said previously she was investigating Milosevic for genocide, but it was the first time she confirmed that the most serious war crimes charge would be included in at least one indictment.

Dozens of Serb police and army officers have been indicted for the persecution of Muslims and Croats during the Balkan wars in the early 1990s, ended by the Dayton peace accord in 1995 that Milosevic signed.

Only one, Radislav Krstic, has been convicted of genocide. He was sentenced earlier this month to 46 years imprisonment.

The prosecution was building a case accusing Milosevic of ultimate responsibility for war crimes in Bosnia and Croatia, since he stood at the top of the chain of command.

In previous trials, senior officers were convicted of war crimes committed by subordinates, even if it could not be proved they had issued orders to commit those crimes. Those cases established the law holding commanders responsible if they knew of atrocities and failed to prevent them.

Meanwhile, the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal said Thursday it will appoint a lawyer to assist Milosevic after the former president insisted he would represent himself against the Kosovo charges. Judge Richard May said the appointed lawyer would not represent Milosevic, but would "assist the court" by ensuring that the defendant's interests were protected and that he gets a fair trial.

Milosevic advised the court last Friday that he continued to refuse to recognize the legitimacy of the "so-called tribunal" and would not appoint an attorney to represent him.

Thursday's hearing was a routine meeting called a status conference, part of every case to come before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. They are usually brief sessions to discuss scheduling and evaluate progress.

Although volunteer lawyers are advising and consulting him, Milosevic has not changed his mind about appeared in the courtroom alone.

"He's in a good mood, peacefully thinking about his future," said one of his Belgrade advisers, Dragoslav Ognjanovic.

Milosevic was arrested last April by Serbian police on charges of corruption and abuse of power during his 13 years as Yugoslavia's president. Belgrade agreed to demands by the U.N. tribunal that he first face international war crimes charges and surrendered him to The Hague.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.