Between frequent rest breaks, Slobodan Milošević has used up three quarters of the time which was allowed him to conduct his defence, and has concentrated most of this time on the first (and original) set of charges against him, in connection with violations of international law in Kosovo in 1999. He has shown that he is not an especially capable lawyer, that he does not have the physical or intellectual capacity to do the work of a legal defence, and that he is not willing to withdraw in favor of a legal defence which might be capable. This might be because he plans to appeal his eventual conviction on the ground that he did not receive an adequate defence, it might be because he is using the trial as a regular television broadcast, or it might simply be because he is conducting his defence with the same monomaniacal ineptitude with which he committed the violations that led him to be charged in the first place. As the trial has dragged on and on, it has become less the revealing and cathartic event which was intended -- even the live broadcasts draw an audience only on those days when a colorful witness is called.
Now it looks like there is a possibility that the show might be cancelled. When it comes back into session on 29 November, the Tribunal will consider a proposal to retroactively separate the indictments against Milošević. This would mean that they could deliver a verdict on the Kosovo indictment and hear the defence on the Croatia and Bosnia-Hercegovina indictments sometime in the future, if at all. Leaving aside the procedural decisions which led the trial to this state, that sort of half-finish without resolution would offer one more example of why the job of establishing historical truth and of contributing to peace and reconciliation is not one that should be put in the hands of lawyers. The tendency is to offer process rather than substance.