News 18 Oct 17

Ratko Mladic Trial Verdict Set for November 22

The first-instance verdict in the trial of the former commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, Ratko Mladic, who is accused of genocide and large-scale persecution during the Bosnian war, will be delivered next month.

BIRN
Sarajevo
Ratko Mladic in court. Photo: ICTY.

The UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on Wednesday named November 22 as the date for the first-instance verdict in the trial of Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic.

Mladic is charged with genocide in Srebrenica in 1995 and six other Bosnian municipalities in 1992, persecution of the non-Serb population throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, terrorising the residents of Sarajevo and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

He was arrested in 2011 after having been on the run for more than a decade, and proceedings began in June that year.In their closing statement, the Hague prosecutors asked the court to sentence Mladic to life imprisonment, while the defence called for his acquittal.

His lawyers recently said they will soon ask the court to grant Mladic temporary release for medical treatment in Serbia, after Belgrade promised it would offer guarantees that the former Bosnian Serb Army chief would return to his trial.

Mladic, now 74, has had several serious health problems while in detention and suffered two strokes and one heart attack.

His lawyers say that his condition further deteriorated in May this year. They insist that he needs to undergo hospital treatment due to the risk of a new stroke or heart attack.

The defence requested in March that Mladic be granted temporary release and allowed to go to Russia, but the court rejected the request, fearing he might not return.

Vojislav Seselj appeal set for December 13

In a separate announcement on Wednesday, the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals set the hearing for the prosecution appeal against the acquittal of Serbian Radical Party leader Vojislav Seselj for December 13.

The prosecution will have an hour to present its appeal and the defence will have an hour to respond to it.

Seselj has said he will not attend and the court has appointed a legal representative for him.

On March 31 last year, the tribunal acquitted Seselj, by a majority vote, of responsibility for crimes against non-Serbs in Croatia, Vojvodina in Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In its appeal, the prosecution asked the court to quash the acquittal verdict, pronounce Seselj guilty and sentence him to 28 years in prison.

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Background

Srebrenica: Genocide Reconstructed

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.

War in Bosnia

Key dates and events in the Bosnia war.

Ratko Mladic: The Force Behind the Srebrenica Killings

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.

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