When retired General Wesley Clark appears at Slobodan Milosevic's war crimes trial, it will not only be a meeting of wartime foes, but a showcase for two candidates vying for power in elections at home. \nClark arrived in the Netherlands on Sunday to give testimony yesterday and today in closed sessions for Milosevic's trial at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal. \nMilosevic, a skilled speaker defending himself against 66 counts of war crimes, will be looking to undermine Clark's credibility as a witness for the prosecution. \nFrom his detention cell, Milosevic is running in parliamentary elections in Serbia on Dec. 28, which could see a resurgence of support for his Socialist Party. \nBut on Friday the court prohibited Milosevic and other arrested candidates from using the facilities of the UN detention center outside The Hague for campaigning, and instructed that his telephone calls be monitored to enforce the gag order. \nClark was NATO's allied commander during the 1999 bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, aimed at forcing Milosevic's Serb troops to end a campaign of repression and expulsion of the ethnic Albanian majority in the southern Serbian province of Kosovo. \nClark said he expected to bring to the court information from "meeting with Milosevic for more than 100 hours over nearly four years." \nSpeaking on Sunday as US authorities announced the capture of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, Clark said "it's very important that international law is followed and that leaders who violate international law are held accountable." \nProfessor Michael Scharf, the author of several books on the Yugoslav tribunal and a former US State Department lawyer involved in the court's establishment, warned that Clark will face a tough opponent in Milosevic. \n"Clark is gambling that this will give him national and international press attention just at the time he needs it for the primaries. It will enable him to look very patriotic, very presidential," Scharf said. \nIf Clark performs well in court, he could boost his standing back home against rival Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean. \nBut Milosevic, who studied law but never practiced it, has proven in his time as defendant to be a skilled cross-examiner. \nHis trial is televised in Serbia, and experts say he uses the platform of the courtroom to score political points at home rather than to score legal points with his judges. \nSerbian nationalists have vowed not to transfer war crimes suspects to the tribunal, and are expected to make a strong showing in the parliamentary elections. \nBreaking from common practice at the UN court, Clark's testimony will be held behind closed doors and only released after US government screening. \nAny segments considered a threat to US "national security" will be cut. \nProsecutors are hoping Clark will back up their contention that Milosevic was aware of Serbian wartime atrocities, such as the massacre of thousands of Muslim civilians in Srebrenica, Bosnia, and that he failed to prevent them or punish those responsible. \nAlthough prosecutors have called hundreds of witnesses, Clark will be the most senior US official to testify at the Milosevic trial, which began in February last year and may continue until 2006. \nHis appearance comes at a critical time as the prosecution tries to wrap up its case by the end of the year, clearing the way for Milosevic to present the case for the defense beginning in April. \nClark was NATO's supreme allied commander in 1999 during the military alliance's 11-week bombing campaign in Yugoslavia, which drove Serbian forces out of Kosovo. \nHis book, Waging Modern Warfare, gives a day-by-day account of the events from the command center. \nA chapter allegedly dropped from the book at the insistence of the State Department reportedly quotes Milosevic as having said he knew Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic had planned atrocities in Srebrenica in 1995 but was unable to do anything about it. \n"That would be a slam dunk in terms of the theory of command responsibility. The prosecution would like to show he knew it would happen or was aware atrocities were planned," Scharf said. \nThe UN court, known formally as the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, was founded in 1993 to try political and military leaders responsible for atrocities in the Balkans since 1991.
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