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UN: Milosevic Says Tribunal 'Illegal,' Refuses to Enter Plea

The Hague, Netherlands, 3 July 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, making his first appearance before the United Nations war crimes tribunal today, declined legal representation, saying he did not recognize the legitimacy of the court. Milosevic said he considered the tribunal "false" because, he said, it had not been appointed by the United Nations General Assembly.

"I consider this tribunal (to be) a false tribunal and indictments (to be) false indictments. It is illegal, being not appointed by (the) UN General Assembly, so I have no need to appoint counsel to (an) illegal organ."

Milosevic, who faces charges of crimes against humanity for crimes committed in Kosovo in 1999, also refused to enter a plea.

If Milosevic refuses to enter a plea within 30 days of his arraignment, a plea of "not guilty" will automatically be entered for him under the rules of the tribunal.

The court was adjourned until the last week of August when a hearing on the status of the case will be held.