FORMER Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic denied yesterday that he had sought to carve out an ethnically pure "greater Serbia" in the broken Yugoslav federation.
More than two-and-a-half years after his trial began in The Hague, Mr Milosevic called his trial "a farce, pure and simple" as he wound up his opening statement.
Saying that prosecutors had failed to prove any of the charges, Mr Milosevic called the indictments a "sheer mutilation of justice."
After he concluded, the court said that it would announce today whether it would impose defence counsel on Mr Milosevic, who has refused to co-operate with court-appointed lawyers.
Earlier, Mr Milosevic denied that he had fanned Serb nationalism and instigated a decade of Balkan wars.
He said that prosecutors, lacking evidence of specific crimes, had manufactured "the unique concept of a joint criminal enterprise," the term the in the indictments referring to an alleged conspiracy to drive out non-Serbs from areas designed for an expanded Serb state.
"In two years, you have not presented a shred of evidence" to support the charges, Mr Milosevic told the court.
He described his own role as striving for peace while protecting the Serbs.
Inside Serbia, "during all of those 10 years, there was no discrimination against anyone," Mr Milosevic insisted.
He accused NATO of attacking Yugoslavia in 1999 to profit from Kosovo's mineral resources and power plants.
Mr Milosevic, who was handed over by Serbia in 2001, faces 66 counts of alleged war crimes. He could be jailed for life.
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