Nov. 16 -- Democratic presidential candidate and retired Gen. Wesley Clark talks to 'Meet the Press' host Tim Russert about his upcoming appearance at the U.N. war crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.
updated 11/16/2003 6:41:26 AM ET 2003-11-16T11:41:26

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark will interrupt briefly his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination to testify at the U.N. war crimes trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

CLARK SAID Sunday the Swiss chief prosecutor in the trial at The Hague, Carla Del Ponte, has asked him to appear in mid-December to testify against the ousted Serb leader.

“Because of the historic importance of this proceeding — the first trial of a head of state before a war crimes tribunal — I have agreed to appear,” Clark said in a statement.

He said the U.S. government has authorized his participation.

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As the former supreme commander of NATO, Clark led a 78-day bombing campaign in 1999 aimed at expelling Yugoslav forces involved in a bloody crackdown on ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Clark also served as director of strategy, plans and policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff in the mid-1990s when the United States was trying to negotiate an end to the war in Bosnia.

Clark told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that during his work for the Joint Chiefs and later as NATO commander, he spent dozens and dozens of hours in negotiations with Milosevic.

“These are conversations that the prosecutor says would be significant,” said Clark. “This is about what Milosevic knew, when he knew it, what his intent was, how he viewed situations, how he operated.”

Milosevic is facing 66 counts of war crimes, including alleged genocide in Bosnia. He contends he had no power to stop Bosnian Serbs from committing massacres in Bosnia after it seceded from Yugoslavia.

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