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[Posted 7 November 2002]

Yesterday, November 5th, the International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic (ICDSM), the official support group for Slobodan Milosevic, faxed a motion to the ICTY. Today ICDSM Vice-Chairman Nico Varkevisser hand-delivered the motion to the ICTY. The main text of the motion is printed below. We have submitted this motion because the ICTY's egregious mistreatment of Mr. Milosevic has led to a health crisis that threatens his life.

The motion can be read in full and downloaded at

We will fax a full copy to any reporter who requests it.

The main text of the motion follows.

Excerpts from:



The ICDSM (International Committee to Defend Slobodan Milosevic), a non-profit, non-governmental organisation, seeks leave to make submissions necessary for a proper determination of the case, pursuant to article 74 of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence of the ICTY;

The Chamber has already afforded amicus curiae status to outside counsel to assist it, stating that it has done so as a result of President Milosevic's written decision not to retain defence counsel, and with the objective of ensuring a fair trial as well as a proper determination of the case;

The two remaining amici appointed by the Chamber have not adequately pursued the crucial issue of the accused's serious medical condition, nor have they secured the basic conditions and facilities required for the preparation of his defence;

Slobodan Milosevic is exercising his most fundamental right to defend himself in person, yet his health is threatened by the hectic trial schedule. He has been exhausted attempting to attain the "equality of arms" against a powerful prosecution determined to adduce vast quantities of documentation of all types, large portions of which are not relevant to specific counts in the indictments. On November 1st, 2002, Slobodan Milosevic suffered an episode of a rapid rise in blood pressure, due to his condition of malignant hypertension, which has been exacerbated by long days of hearings without appropriate rest, and accumulated months of hearings.

The ICDSM seeks leave to request this Trial Chamber to adjourn proceedings to provide Slobodan Milosevic with the specialized health care he requires. He should obtain this medical attention from practitioners familiar with his condition, in Belgrade. The ICDSM also requests that following Slobodan Milosevic's complete convalescence the Trial Chamber follow the medical recommendations provided to it by its own appointed medical practitioners. In addition, the ICDSM requests that the Trial Chamber order the provisional release of Slobodan Milosevic so that he may properly exercise his right to the equality of arms in the conditions and with the facilities required under international law. The provisional release requested would be for President Milosevic, subject to any conditions and guarantees deemed appropriate by the Trial Chamber, to be permitted to prepare his trial in a non-custodial residence in The Hague.

Mr. Milosevic is suffering from two significant medical conditions, malignant hypertension and angina pectoris, which have been brought to the Chamber's attention by a medical concilium having examined him by order of the Chamber itself. Malignant hypertension is aggravated by stress. Untreated, the mortality rate is elevated: only 25% of patients survive one year.

The Chamber has ordered that Mr Milosevic be examined. The medical practitioners appointed accordingly provided the judges with conclusions and recommendations with respect to the deterioration of Mr. Milosevic's state of health as a result of the grueling trial schedule and exorbitant effort that he is obliged to provide in order to mount his defence.

The Trial Chamber then stated that it would not adopt the medical recommendations "literally", but rather, " as far as the spirit is concerned". In reality, however, the trial schedule has remained generally long, hectic, and exhausting for Slobodan Milosevic.

In fact, pressure on the defendant had recently increased. Until the Chamber's announcement that Slobodan Milosevic had complained of exhaustion, the Chamber now frequently sat for full days, having abandoned its previous practice, following Mr. Milosevic's illness, of sitting for shorter half-day sessions. Mr. Milosevic was spending his lunch break in a basement with access to a sandwich for nourishment. It would have been impossible to argue that Slobodan Milosevic was receiving a treatment in any way compatible to the "spirit" of medical recommendations made to this Chamber.

The "spirit" of the medical recommendations made to the Chamber, it is submitted, was to reduce the stress and strain incurred by Mr. Milosevic as a result of his overwhelming efforts to prepare and face a trial of exceptional magnitude. To have skirted the medical recommendations was to ignore rather than adopt their "spirit", to have continued hearings at the previous rhythm threatened Slobodan Milosevic's life.

The Chamber did not consider itself bound to adopt the medical recommendations made with respect to a potentially fatal medical condition, and the inevitable occurred: Slobodan Milosevic was pushed to the limit of exhaustion.

Slobodan Milosevic has received over 100 000 pages of documents and 600 video cassettes from the Prosecutor as disclosure of evidence pursuant to the relevant provisions of the Rules. Given the massive disclosure of evidence received by Mr Milosevic, he is now under more strain than he was when the medical recommendations were made.

For instance, on several trial days, Mr. Milosevic has had to choose between walking outside for fresh air or eating a meal. Whatever option Slobodan Milosevic chooses will be detrimental: he will attempt to prepare his trial without having eaten, or he will prepare it without a minimum of fresh air. Either way his rights are violated. This astonishing state of affairs presents a serious threat to his health, and increases his level of stress, which is a trigger of his heart condition.

Mr Milosevic has yet to receive specialized cardio-vascular care, which he requires. The Freedom Association has previously filed a medical report from Mr. Milosevic's personal physician, Colonel Zdravko M. Mijailovic, MD, PhD, who was allowed to observe the examinations of the ICTY-appointed medical practitioners. Dr Mijailovic stated that Mr. Milosevic's condition of arterial hypertension exponentially increased the "risk of fatal incidents (brain stroke, acute myocardial infarct (sic) , hear (sic) arrest, …)". Dr Mijailovic further recommended a number a number of specialized interventions and examinations to attempt a stabilization of Mr. Milosevic's condition.

If Slobodan Milosevic's trial and prison conditions remain unchanged, there is a real likelihood of fatality. Denial of medical care is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and may constitute torture. Hearings have been suspended since November 1st 2002, so that parties may provide recommendations to the Chamber with respect to the continuation of the proceedings.

The ICDSM asks to:

GRANT it amicus curiae status; GRANT an immediate adjournment of the trial for medical examinations and specialized treatment under the care and supervision of President Milosevic's personal physician, Colonel Zdravko M. Mijailovic, MD, PhD in Belgrade and any other specialist chosen by the defendant or his practitioner; AFFORD Slobodan Milosevic with the specialized medical care he requires; GRANT an additonal adjournment for the complete recovery of the defendant under medical supervision and care; APPLY, with immediate effect, all medical recommendations with respect to the trial schedule; GRANT provisional release to the defendant, Slobodan Milosevic, following his convalescence, subject to such conditions or guarantees as may be deemed appropriate; OR VARY the conditions of detention of the accused, Slobodan Milosevic, following his convalescence, to a non-custodial setting in The Hague, with such security, conditions or guarantees as deemed appropriate.

Amsterdam, November 6 2002

* Further Reading After Appeal *


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Footnotes & Further Reading

1) 'Milosevic's 1989 Speech at Kosovo Field' - US Government Translation

2) 'Milosevic's 1989 Speech at Kosovo Field' - BBC translation

3) 'KLA Attacks Everyone; Media Attacks...Miloshevich?' by Jared Israel at

4) 'Media Misrepresentation of Milosevic's Words: A Review of the Evidence,' by Francisco Gil-White

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