MiloÅ¡eviÄ‡ was indicted in May 1999, during the Kosovo War, by the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for crimes against humanity in Kosovo. Charges of violating the laws or customs of war, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions in Croatia and Bosnia and genocide in Bosnia were added a year and a half later.
Following MiloÅ¡eviÄ‡'s transfer, the original charges of war crimes in Kosovo were upgraded by adding charges of genocide in Bosnia and war crimes in Croatia. On 30 January 2002, MiloÅ¡eviÄ‡ accused the war crimes tribunal of an "evil and hostile attack" against him. The trial began at The Hague on 12 February 2002, with MiloÅ¡eviÄ‡ defending himself while refusing to recognize the legality of the court's jurisdiction.
The trial was a controversial issue and has featured many conflicting testimonies. For example:
- Rade MarkoviÄ‡'s statement that a written statement he had made implicating MiloÅ¡eviÄ‡ had been extracted from him by ill-treatment legally amounting to torture by named NATO officers. Judge May declared this to be "irrelevant", but MiloÅ¡eviÄ‡ stated that it was forbidden under the 1988 rules concerning evidence gained by torture.
The prosecution took two years to present its case in the first part of the trial, where they covered the wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo. Throughout the two-year period, the trial was being closely followed by the publics of the involved former Yugoslav republics as it covered various notable events from the war and included several high-profile witnesses.
MiloÅ¡eviÄ‡, while defending himself, read from Friedrich Naumann's book Mitteleuropa, claiming it was a long-standing objective of German foreign policy and the German liberal party in particular to "erase Serbia from the map", citing a number of alleged wrongdoings by Germany against Serbia during the last hundred years, including the recognition of Croatia and other countries. He pointed out that Klaus Kinkel, the German Foreign Minister who proposed the creation of the tribunal, was a German liberal. In particular, he pointed out statements by Kinkel that Germany had to accomplish in Yugoslavia what it had "failed to accomplish twice before," and that "the Serbs should be brought to their knees."
A two-hour documentary entitled Milosevic on Trial documents the trial against MiloÅ¡eviÄ‡.