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Miloševic Lawyers Ask To Be Removed From Trial

Miloševic Lawyers Ask To Be Removed From His Trial At UN War Crimes Tribunal

The lawyers appointed by a United Nations war crimes tribunal to represent former Yugoslav President Slobodan Miloševic against genocide charges have asked to withdraw from the case because the defendant is uncooperative.

Steven Kay and Gillian Higgins, who were appointed to the posts last month by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), said this week that Mr. Miloševic's refusal to cooperate with them meant they could not do their job nor meet the ICTY's own code of conduct.

"The accused has consistently refused to see us or speak with us. In these circumstances, we have conducted his case in the best way we could until the appeal against our assignment could be heard," they said in a letter submitted to the Tribunal on Tuesday. "We had hoped that in the meantime we might be able to generate cooperation between the accused and ourselves. This has not succeeded."

Mr. Kay and Ms. Higgins said it was impossible for them to know their client's "objectives of representation," a requirement of the code of conduct.

The two lawyers, both from the United Kingdom, were assigned to their roles by the ICTY in a bid to ease the workload of Mr. Miloševic, who is suffering from heart problems and had been representing himself. The appointment was also designed to reduce the chance of further delays in the already long-running trial.

But Mr. Kay and Ms. Higgins said their first task as assigned counsel was to appeal against the ICTY's decision to appoint them, "having heard the accused's wish to challenge that matter." A ruling on that question is expected within the next two weeks.

Mr. Miloševic is facing charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and other war crimes for his role in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo during the 1990s. His trial is due to resume on 9 November.

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