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Yugoslavia: Milosevic Lawyer Dismissed For Comments

The Hague, 10 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- A lawyer for Slobodan Milosevic was dismissed today after being quoted in the media as casting doubt on the former Yugoslav president's chances of acquittal. Judges ordered that Dutchman Michail Wladimiroff lose his status as one of three "friends of the court" saying he could no longer be perceived as free from bias. UN judges appointed the "friends of the court" to ensure that the former Yugoslav president gets a fair trial at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Wladimiroff gave an interview to a Dutch local newspaper last month in which he was quoted as saying that prosecutors had by now produced enough evidence to secure a conviction on Kosova -- one of the three indictments against Milosevic.

Soon afterwards, Wladimiroff was quoted in a Bulgarian magazine as saying that Milosevic's chances of acquittal were "negligible."