Milosevic hearing to take place at UN tribunal

The United Nations war crimes tribunal scheduled a hearing in the case of Slobodan Milosevic that may bring an end to his four-year-long trial after his death in prison on March 11 from a heart attack.

The hearing will take place at 9 a.m. in The Hague, the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia said in a statement on its Web site. The statement didn't give any details on the proceedings.

Carla Del Ponte, the tribunal's chief prosecutor, said after Milosevic's death there were 50 hours left in the presentation of the defense case.

Milosevic, 64, the first head of state to appear before an international war crimes trial, was charged with more than 60 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity arising from wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Kosovo, in which more than 250,000 people died. He faced life in prison if convicted. Milosevic refused to recognize the tribunal and conducted his own defense, denying all charges.

An autopsy overseen by Dutch authorities showed he died of a heart attack, the UN court said March 12.

Dutch toxicologist Donald Uges, who tested Milosevic's blood two weeks before he was found dead in his cell, said yesterday the ousted leader may have taken a nonprescribed drug that worsened his high blood pressure in a ploy to persuade the tribunal to send him to Moscow for treatment.

Milosevic's family want to hold his funeral in Serbia's capital, Belgrade, Agence France-Presse reported, citing Zdenko Tomanovic, a lawyer for the family. Milosevic's son, Marko is scheduled to arrive in The Hague today to collect his father's body, AFP reported.

I.L.