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Fire Delays Milosevic’s Trial

March 5, 2002

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) _ A fire started in the cafeteria of the U.N. war crimes tribunal Tuesday, prompting authorities to evacuate the building minutes before Slobodan Milosevic’s trial was set to resume.

Fire brigades arrived at the scene as helmeted policemen went into the building. Although firefighters managed to extinguish the blaze, the downtown building remained full of thick smoke. No injuries were immediately reported.

A tribunal spokesman said the fire started on the second floor in a fryer in the kitchen.

A security guard who spoke on condition of anonymity said no one would be allowed back in until all rooms were ventilated. Tribunal staff, media and others were taken to a congress center across the street.

Milosevic’s legal adviser, Zdenko Tomanovic, told The Associated Press that Milosevic had been returned to his detention facility a 30-minute drive away for security reasons.

The former Yugoslav president’s trial for crimes against humanity will resume Wednesday, the tribunal spokesman said. Other hearings at the court also were delayed Tuesday, but it was unclear when they would resume.

Milosevic is on trial on 66 charges for war crimes and genocide during Yugoslavia’s violent breakup in the 1990s. The former Yugoslav president could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on any count.

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