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Milosevic To Appeal Decision To Impose Defense Team

2 September 2004 -- Former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic says he will appeal a decision by a UN war crimes court that forces him to use defense attorneys.

Presiding Judge Patrick Robinson said today that the 63-year-old Milosevic is too ill to continue representing himself in the lengthy, complex trial.

"The concern of the chamber is that, based on the medical reports, there is a real danger that this trial might either last for an unreasonably long time, or worse yet, might not be concluded should the accused continue to represent himself without the assistance of counsel," Robinson said.

The court appointed two lawyers now acting as "friends of the court" to ensure a fair trial, but said Milosevic is free to appoint his own counsel to run his defense. The trial has been disrupted numerous times because of the defendant's illnesses.

Milosevic finished his opening statement yesterday, months behind schedule. He said the ruling is a "scandal" and said the court cannot deny him the right to defend himself.