Missed most of the first half of Milosevic’s trial?
Since the case began in February 2002, a tangle of bureaucratic setbacks has mired the trial in costly delays. Milosevic is accused of 66 counts of human rights abuses, from violations of the “customs of war” to genocide. After 298 witnesses, 30,000 pages of documents and millions of dollars, the case will reach its halfway point this week ? a level of inefficiency that has strained the patience of even the trial’s most ardent defenders.
So writes Mary Bridges in the Los Angeles Times (free registration may be required). And it may be about to get worse.
When the trial resumes July 5, its credibility will face even greater strains. Milosevic has announced his intent to call a staggering 1,631 witnesses, including U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and former President Clinton, in his defense.
To finish in the 150 days he has been allotted, Milosevic would need to question 10 witnesses a day, a pace that would turn the courtroom into a revolving door of diplomats, dignitaries and press.
The trial of Saddam Hussein is likely to cause just as many headaches.
Of course art was there long ago. In 1992, Julian Barnes wrote about the trial of the former Communist dictator of a fictional country that bears a strong resemblance to Bulgaria. The book, The Porcupine, covers the whole territory of trying former heads of state. Read the novel, skip the newspaper reports.