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War crimes suspect Ratko Mladic to appeal against extradition to The Hague

The former Bosnian Serb military commander is unlikely to win his appeal with the Serbian government keen to move him on to the Netherlands to stand trial.

A Bosnian Serb man holds a photo of Mladic during a protest against his arrest in the general's hometown of Kalinovik
A Bosnian Serb man holds a photo of Mladic during a protest against his arrest in the general's hometown of Kalinovik
Image: Amel Emric/AP/Press Association Images

THE FORMER BOSNIAN Serb military commander Ratko Mladic will file an appeal against his extradition to the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague today.

Mladic is accused of war crimes including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of almost 8,000 Muslim men and women. He was arrested last Thursday after a 16-year manhunt.

His family say he is too sick to stand trial in the Netherlands, BBC News reports. They claim that he has suffered two strokes and his lawyer says that his psychological condition is deteriorating.

This despite an earlier court decision on Friday that the 69-year-old was fit to stand trial.

However, it is widely expected that his appeal will be rejected by Serbian government which is keen to remove him to The Hague as soon as possible.

The appeal could take up to three days but is likely to be dismissed sooner, BBC News says.

There is speculation that Mladic will be sent to The Hague on a night-time flight without prior warning if and when his appeal is rejected and he is ordered to stand trial.

Yesterday, thousands of people rallied in Belgrade to demonstrate against General Mladic’s arrest. Protesters threw stones and bottles and clashed with baton-wielding riot police.

Nationalist supporters rallied outside parliament buildings demanding Mladic’s release with about 100 people arrested and 16 minor injuries were reported.

AP reports that this amounted to a victory for the pro-Western government which had feared the wrath of the nationalist old guard in a country with a history of much larger and more virulent protests.

Mladic’s son has also claimed that his father denies being the instigator of the Srebrenica massacre.

He said that his father had been ordered only to evacuate those injured and that “whatever was done behind his back, he has nothing to do with that.”

- additional reporting from AP

Read: Nine things to know about Ratko Mladic >

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Hugh O'Connell

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