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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Milosevic's Russia Trip Opposed

AMSTERDAM -- War crimes prosecutors on Thursday opposed a request by former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to visit a Moscow clinic, citing reports his family was in Russia and arguing he might not return to face trial.

Milosevic, who is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the Balkans in the 1990s, asked the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague earlier this month for a provisional release to visit a Moscow clinic during the court's winter recess. He suffers from a heart condition and high blood pressure, which have repeatedly delayed the trial, now in its fourth year.

"The prosecution opposes this application because there is no evidence to suggest that this accused would return to The Hague in the event that he is released," prosecutors said in a statement.

Once in Russia, Milosevic, 64, might be found unfit to travel and therefore to return, they said, adding he had done all he could to thwart the proper functioning of the trial and did not recognize the legitimacy of the tribunal.

"The chamber will also be aware that the accused's wife, brother and son are all reportedly now resident in the Russian Federation," prosecutors said.

Under tribunal rules, accused may be provisionally released only if they can satisfy the court they will not pose a threat to victims or witnesses and that they will return to face trial.

Prosecutors said Milosevic's application had been timed to have the maximum disruptive effect on the trial.

Judges have adjourned the trial until Jan. 23 to give Milosevic more time to rest beyond the court's three-week winter holiday.