The trial of the former commander of the Bosnian Serb army, Ratko Mladic, has been interrupted after he complained of feeling sick and was taken to a hospital.
|Photo by Beta|
According to the Hague Tribunal, ICTY, spokesperson Nerma Jelacic, Mladic was taken to hospital as a precaution.
The presiding judge Alphons Orie decided to suspend the main hearing after Mladic’s defence claimed that their client was feeling unwell and that he could not continue to participate in the hearing.
Mladic’s health has been an issue at The Hague since proceedings began.
On Wednesday, Mladic’s defence team had continued their cross examination of David Harland, a former official with the UN Protection Forces of Bosnia.
Harland confirmed the defence’s claims that there had been a dispute between the political leadership of Bosnian Serbs, headed by Radovan Karadzic, the former president of Republika Srpska, and the Bosnian Serb army, led by Mladic.
“When they were in the field, military officers would defer to their commander Mladic. However, there was a mild dispute between Mladic and Karadzic who was in Pale [the wartime capital of the Bosnian Serbs],“ said Harland.
Recalling the Sarajevo siege, Harland said that the Bosniaks had also taken part in disrupting the gas and electricity supply, believing that this would force the international community to act sooner against the Bosnian Serbs.
“Some Bosniaks believed that with this they would trigger a Western military intervention. Izetbegovic [ the leader of the Bosniaks] told me in person that civilians should not be allowed to leave Sarajevo,” explains Harland.
He also said that UNPROFOR suggested the evacuation of civilians from the town of Srebrenica in 1993, but that the Bosniak government strongly opposed the suggestion.
The position of the Bosnian Serbs, according to Harland, was weakened by three factors – first, the sanctions imposed by Serbia on the Bosnian Serbs, which were introduced after the West put pressure on Serbia, second, the Bosniak army got stronger after aid from the West and Muslim countries started to arrive, and third, because of the NATO military intervention against the Bosnian Serbs.
Mladic, who was arrested in May last year, has pleaded not guilty to charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war during the Bosnian conflict between 1992 and 1995.
The trial will resume on July 13.
In July 1995 Srebrenica was shelled and occupied by the Army of Republic of Srpska,VRS, despite being declared a protected area by the United Nations. More than 7,000 people were killed, the victims of genocide.
Key dates and events in the Bosnia war.
The Bosnian Serb commander’s role in the genocide committed in Srebrenica is described in detail in many indictments and verdicts pronounced before local and international judicial institutions.