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Milosevic reprimanded for TV call

Milosevic called a U.S. news programme from his cell
Milosevic called a U.S. news programme from his cell  


AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands -- Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has received a warning from his captors after giving a live television interview from his cell.

The International War Crimes Tribunal reprimanded Milosevic on Friday after he successfully managed to telephone the U.S.-based Fox News network while in detention in The Hague.

The deposed Yugoslav leader, awaiting trial on war crimes charges, told a reporter that he was sorry lives were lost in Kosovo, but remained proud of what he did for his country.

"All of us are sorry for the death of any person all around the world. There is no question that anybody is happy for the death of any person anywhere," he told Fox News.

But he added: "I'm proud for everything I did in defending my country and my people.

"All my decisions are legitimate and legal, based on the constitution of Yugoslavia and based on the rights to self-defence, which belongs to every nation in the world.

"And their decision -- NATO leaders' decisions -- were all criminal."

He also accused the U.N. tribunal of manufacturing evidence against him.

"Of course they have no evidence. They cannot have evidence for things that never happened," he said.

"But this so-called tribunal has one specific characteristic. They are able to fabricate the evidence."

The tribunal called the incident, which was broadcast live on Thursday, as "regrettable."

The tribunal's rules allow inmates to have access to a phone to contact family and legal representatives but forbid detainees from communicating with the media before their cases are closed.

Tribunal spokesman Jim Landale said Milosevic -- accused of crimes against humanity for Kosovo atrocities in 1999 -- had received a warning.

If he broke the rules again, he could have detention privileges restricted or withdrawn.

"He has been warned, and he said he will comply and it will not happen again," Landale told Reuters.

The tribunal gives detainees phonecards worth $31 each month, but they may not call the media, Landale said.

Flouting the rules meant they risked having telephone rights limited to consular representatives and legal counsel.

Meanwhile, Milosevic has launched a challenge to the legality of his arrest and detention.

Milosevic, who was not present at Friday's hearing, is seeking his immediate release from the U.N. jail in Scheveningen, a suburb of The Hague.

His lawyers argue that the tribunal is illegal since it was created by the U.N. security council and not by its general assembly.

Milosevic is due to make his second appearance before the war crimes tribunal on August 30.






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