Milosevic trial - should it continue?
I find it quite bizarre that, over the past few days, there have been suggestions that the trial of Slobodan Milosevic at The Hague should be stopped, and the accused set free, simply because he is [said to be] in poor health. Most of those who have commented in the BBC's online survey on this issue seem to share my view.
I can, just about, understand that some trials are not allowed to proceed when the accused is adjudged not to be mentally fit to stand trial, but I fail to understand why physical incapacity should be taken into consideration; there seems to be no suggestion that he is in any way unfit mentally to understand what is going on, even if he contests the validity of the trial. If he wishes to conduct his own defence then I would be the last person to suggest he not be permitted to do so, but physical disability making continuance impossible must not be allowed to become a stratagem leading to the trial being halted. Mr Milosevic is entitled to a fair trial, but it must continue, if necessary with a defence counsel acting for him.
UPDATE: (Tuesday 6JUL04 23.20 BST) I wrote this hours ago, but it didn't publich correctly and I thought it had been 'lost'. The Blogger website seems to have been very lethargic today, so I gave up after a while and went off to do more productive things ... ah well, better late than never.