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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 9°C
Darko Vojinovic/AP/Press Association Images Some groups in Belgrade, Serbia still deem the war crimes suspect a hero.

Mladic war crimes trial to resume with first witness on 25 June

Lawyers for the so-called Butcher of Bosnia were refused their request for a six-month delay.

THE FIRST WITNESS in the Ratko Mladic war crimes trial will take the stand on 25 June after a four-week delay.

The international court in The Hague has denied the defence’s request for a six-month delay over the prosecution’s failure to disclose all pertinent information.

The chamber said it found a postponement justified but not for that long.

While additional time is required because of the disclosure failures, the effect is sometimes “very small or even non-existent”, the judges said.

“Defence preparations to date have not been in vain but may need to be supplemented by additional searches and further reviews,” the continued.

In determining the length of the adjournment to be granted, the chamber considered the work required to be performed by counsel and their support staff.

The chamber considered that preparing a defence is not exclusively done during the pre-trial stage: “Defence team members will continue to support counsel in the weeks and months following the start of the trial, including with the analysis of evidentiary material the prosecution will present in relation to specific witnesses.”

The prosecution has been instructed to file a new witness order for its first witnesses by 30 May.

Mladic faces 11 charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, including murder and genocide. The trial was suspended on 17 May due to the prosecutors’ errors, which they had admitted to.

Opening statements have already been made by the prosecution, during which the horrors of the Srebrenica massacre were recalled. Over a period of 11 days in July 1995, the Bosnian Serb forces executed up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys in an area which had been deemed a United Nations ‘safe zone’.

Timeline: Ratko Mladic trial: what happened in Srebrenica?

Mladic trial suspended ‘indefinitely’ due to ‘significant errors’ by prosecutors>