Wed Dec 11, 8:56 AM ET
By TOBY STERLING, Associated Press Writer
THE HAGUE, Netherlands - The former mayor of Dubrovnik, once known as "the pearl of the Adriatic," told Slobodan Milosevic (news - web sites)'s war crimes tribunal Wednesday that artillery barrages from forces under the control of the former Yugoslav president pummeled his historic city into rubble in the fall of 1991.
"When I climbed on the ramparts on Dec. 7, I couldn't find a single house that hadn't been damaged, or that didn't stand next to a house where the roof was destroyed," said the mayor, Pero Poljanic.
Dubrovnik was severely damaged by shelling from Serb and Montenegrin gunners, who Poljanic said deliberately targeted the town's historic center - an area designated as a world heritage site by the U.N.
Milosevic, who is defending himself at the U.N. Yugoslav tribunal, had no chance to cross-examine the witness before the court adjourned for one week.
The next session was delayed because the same judges in the Milosevic case are convening for a special three-day hearing next week to listen to arguments in the sentencing of former Bosnian Serb leader Biljana Plavsic.
Court spokesman Jim Landale said the next Milosevic hearing may also take up some "technical questions." That could indicate the three judges may discuss Milosevic's health and the prosecution's request to impose a defense lawyer on the reluctant defendant.
But Landale cautioned against expecting major changes in the conduct of the trial.
Milosevic suffers from heart trouble and high blood pressure. His bouts with the flu and fatigue have disrupted the trial by several weeks since it began in February. Judges already have reduced the number of court days in each two-week period from 10 to eight.
Milosevic underwent a cardiac examination in November but refused to take a psychological exam to determine his ability to withstand the rigors of the lengthy trial, now expected to continue into 2004.
Milosevic faces indictments for war crimes in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo while he was in power in the 1990s.