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Ex-General Wesley Clark Testifies at Milosevic Trial - 2003-12-15

U.S. Presidential hopeful Wesley Clark is in The Hague testifying at the war crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. In two days of closed testimony, General Clark is expected to tell what he knows from the period when he was commander of NATO forces during the alliance's 1999 bombing campaign against Yugoslavia.

The former Yugoslav leader has always said if any war crimes were committed in Yugoslavia, they were committed by NATO forces. Now he'll get to question the man who led the military campaign against his country.

But the public won't get to hear the exchange until the end of the week. The tribunal has agreed to a Bush administration request for time to listen to Wesley Clark's testimony and propose edits of any information which could threaten U.S. national security. It is an unusual move for the tribunal, but judges will have the final say on any U.S. requests for deletions from Mr. Clark's testimony.

Many other witnesses have testified in closed session - usually to protect their identity - but only France is known to have demanded that its top officers give evidence behind closed doors.

Two state department lawyers will accompany General Clark during his testimony, which is also expected to shed light on the time the general spent with then-President Milsoevic as a U.S. negotiator trying to end the war in Bosnia in the mid-1990s.

General Clark says he spoke to Mr. Milosevic for more than 100 hours over the course of four years. He's called the former president's trial historic.

Slobodan Milosevic has been in court since February 2002, defending himself against 66 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.

General Clark is one of the most prominent of several candidates competing for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, to run against President Bush next year.