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Mladic seeks to delay extradition - by sending his appeal by post

The Serbian warlord is trying to avoid extradition to The Hague using any means possible – including through ‘snail mail’.

Milos Saljic, the lawyer of Ratko Mladic, speaks to media outside the the Special Court building yesterday.
Milos Saljic, the lawyer of Ratko Mladic, speaks to media outside the the Special Court building yesterday.
Image: Vadim Ghirda/AP

LAWYERS FOR THE accused Bosnian Serb war criminal Ratko Mladic have sought to delay their client’s extradition to the Netherlands so that he can face trial at The Hague – by sending his appeal in the post.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Mladic’s lawyer Milos Saljic as saying he had sent Mladic’s appeal in the post at 5:30pm yesterday.

Serbian court rules require the court to now wait a day for the appeal to arrive in the post. It then has three days to issue a ruling on whether Mladic, 69, can be extradited.

The bid has been seen as an attempt to at least delay Mladic’s extradition for a few days, potentially until into next week – which could buy him enough time to prove that his health is too poor to allow him to travel.

The New York Times explains how Mladic’s team believe he is both physically and mentally unfit for a trial – and how they want tests of his ability to defend himself in an intense international tribunal.

“We think he is not able to be in court and talk about his case because of his neurological problems,” Saljic said, according to the Daily Telegraph. “He has had three strokes so it is a miracle he is alive anyway. He still speaks incoherently.”

Saljic also suggested that even if Mladic was extradited and a trial arranged, his client’s health was so poor that he would likely die before the trial began.

Serbian prosecutors have rejected the appeal, writing off the moves as delay tactics and a ploy to avoid justice. If the appeal is dismissed by the Serbian courts, Mladic could be extradited as quickly as this evening.

The moves come after a Serbian judge initially ruled last week that Mladic was fit to stand trial. Saljic also argued at that point that Mladic did not recognise the legitimacy of the tribunal at The Hague.

Mladic is accused of ordering the systematic killing of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica between 1992 and 1995. He denies the charges.

Nine things to know about Ratko Mladic >

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Gavan Reilly

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