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Milosevic-Era Lawyer Becomes First Defense Witness

7 September 2004 -- A onetime supporter of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has become the first witness to testify for the defense, despite Milosevic's refusal to cooperate with his court-appointed counsel.

A law professor under Milosevic, Smilja Avramov, was a onetime legal adviser to Yugoslavia's Foreign Ministry and a Milosevic supporter. She said she broke with the Serbian leader in the 1990s for being too accommodating of the international community.

The court last week appointed defense attorneys Steven Kay and Gillian Higgins against Milosevic's will in an effort to speed up the trial, which has been repeatedly delayed due to Milosevic's ill health.

Milosevic has dismissed his court-appointed defense team as "a legal fiction."

Milosevic is facing 66 counts of war crimes in connection with the wars in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo in the 1990s.