This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 2 °C Sunday 15 December, 2019
Advertisement

Mladic spends his first night in The Hague in solitary confinement

The former Bosnian Serb military commander has undergone health checks and placed in isolation ahead of his trial for alleged genocide at The Hague.

File photo of Ratko Mladic in 1995.
File photo of Ratko Mladic in 1995.
Image: OLEG STJEPANOVIC/AP/Press Association Images

RATKO MLADIC WOKE UP in an isolation cell in The Hague this morning, less than a week after he was captured after 16 years on the run. The Bosnian Serb military commander now awaits trial on genocide charges over the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the worst massacre of civilians in Europe since World War II.

After Mladic’s arrival from Belgrade Tuesday evening, war crimes tribunal spokeswoman Nerma Jelacic said staff were handing Mladic his indictment and explaining the rules and procedures to him. She said isolation is standard for new arrivals at the prison.

Mladic also was being given a list of defense lawyers who could help him through the initial proceedings of the war crimes court. He was to be examined by a doctor and receive any treatment he may need, Jelacic said.

It is unclear when Mladic will appear in court for an initial appearance, but it must be within a few days. The chief prosecutor and top tribunal official scheduled a news conference for 10am Wednesday.

When he appears in court, Mladic will be asked to formally confirm his identity and enter a plea to each of the charges against him. He also will be asked whether he has any complaints about the arrangements in the prison.

Like his old ally and political boss Radovan Karadzic three years ago, Mladic may decline to plead to the charges at his first appearance, instead opting to delay a formal response by up to a month. Karadzic’s trial, which resumed Tuesday after a two-month recess, is still in its early stages.

Mladic has said he does not recognize the authority of the UN tribunal.

Mladic was extradited from Belgrade on a Serbian government executive jet following his capture last Thursday at the home of a relative in a Serbian village. Judges in Belgrade rejected his appeal to delay his transfer on grounds of ill health, and the Serbian justice minister authorized his handover to UN officials in The Hague.

Justice Minister Snezana Malovic said the handover marked the fulfillment of Serbia’s “international and moral obligation.” Serbia had been told it needed to capture Mladic before it could be considered as a candidate for membership in the European Union.

Mladic faces charges of genocide and other war crimes for atrocities committed by Serb troops under his command during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, including the notorious Srebrenica massacre in July 1995 and the 44-month siege of the capital, Sarajevo.

Mladic’s extradition brought a satisfied response from war victims.

“This means a lot to the victims of genocide,” said Munira Subasic, head of the Sarajevo-based Association of Srebrenica Massacre Survivors.

“Mladic has left and we believe that the evil will speak out of him and that he will tell the truth,” Subasic said.

In Bosnia, Serb nationalists staged demonstrations in support of Mladic, some carrying banners that said: “The eagle is gone but the nest remains.”

Serb nationalists in Serbia and parts of Bosnia still consider Mladic a hero — the general who against all odds tried to defend ethnic Serbs in the Bosnian conflict. In the Bosnian city of Banja Luka, thousands of supporters protested his arrest Tuesday, in the biggest demonstration so far in the country.

- AP

Read more: Mladic facing extradition to The Hague as Serbian court rejects appeal >

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

About the author:

Mary

Read next:

COMMENTS

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel