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Milosevic Opens Defense In War Crimes Trial

31 August 2004 -- Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic opened his defense case at the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia in The Hague today.

Milosevic said in his opening statement that the accusations against him were "unscrupulous lies" and a "distortion of history."

Milosevic is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes in connection with the 1990s conflicts in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo. For the war in Bosnia that left 200,000 people dead he has been charged with genocide and complicity in genocide.

If convicted, he faces a life sentence.

The start of Milosevic's defense case was delayed several times because of recurrent health problems. He has been given four hours to present the outlines of his defense case today.