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Milosevic Trial to Resume July 14 - 2004-07-06

The war crimes trial of former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic will resume July 14 at the U.N. tribunal in the Hague, but judges in the case say he may not be well enough to continue mounting his own defense.

In a statement, the judges said there is no evidence that 62-year-old Slobodan Milosevic is not fit to stand trial at all, but there is evidence that he may not be healthy enough to defend himself.

They ordered Mr. Milosevic to receive a new medical examination by an independent cardiologist, and they also requested that the court's registrar find a lawyer who could be assigned to him, if necessary. Mr. Milosevic has repeatedly refused to appoint a defense lawyer during his more than two-year trial, and has been conducting his own defense.

The trial was set to resume Monday, but the judges delayed the proceedings amid concerns about Mr. Milosevic's blood pressure and heart complaints. He has suffered bouts of flu, exhaustion and high blood pressure that have frequently delayed the proceedings.

The former Yugoslav leader is accused of more than 60 counts of genocide and war crimes for his alleged key role in the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo in the 1990s. Fighting in the conflicts cost an estimated 250,000 lives.

Mr. Milosevic is challenging the legality of the war crimes tribunal, and it is not clear he could be forced to cooperate with a court-appointed lawyer. He has 150 days to present his case.

If convicted on any of the charges against him, he could face life imprisonment.