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Milosevic's Court-Appointed Lawyers Want to Withdraw

The trial of former Yugoslav leaver Slobodan Milsoevic resumed in The Hague with the former leader's court-appointed lawyers arguing that the judges should allow them to withdraw from the case.

Lawyer Steven Kay called the proceedings against Slobodan Milsoevic fundamentally flawed. His client has refused to work with him, and he said if the judges do not let him withdraw from the case it would be a violation of the code of ethics.

"I have not welcomed being called a prosecutor when I am representing a person as assigned counsel," he said. "Nor have I welcomed criticism that I have not put the case properly when I have got no instructions and I am trying to do my best. It has shown that as assigned counsel, our relationship with this accused has run into the sand."

The judges appointed Mr. Kay to defend Slobodan Milsoevic in September, an appointment which Mr. Milosevic rejected and which Mr. Kay himself appealed. Last week, appeals judges ruled that while Mr. Milosevic must keep defense lawyers as a backup for when he is too ill to defend himself, he can take the lead once again at his trial - deciding which witnesses to call and questioning them first.

Mr. Milosevic refuses to talk to Mr. Kay or share his witness list with him, and dozens of witnesses have refused to come to The Hague to testify while Mr. Kay is in charge of the former leader's defense.

In asking to withdraw from the case, Mr. Kay told the judges that if they do not deal now with exactly what they expect from him or any future court-appointed lawyer, they may have problems when the trial is over. He says there is an ethical problem with guessing what type of defense the defendant wants.

But the judges were less than impressed with Mr. Kay's arguments. At times angry, they said if they listened to him, they would be unable to appoint anyone to defend Mr. Milosevic when he is sick.

The judges did not immediately rule on Mr. Kay's request. Mr. Milosevic is to call his first witness Thursday.