News 22 Dec 17

Serbia Likely to Seek Mladic’s Release for Treatment

Justice Minister Nela Kuburovic visited convicted former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic in custody in The Hague and said that Serbia will probably request his temporary release for medical treatment.

Filip Rudic
Mladic at his sentencing in The Hague. Photo: Peter Dejong/AP/Beta.

Serbian Justice Minister Kuburovic visited Ratko Mladic in custody in The Hague when she attended the UN war crime tribunal’s closing ceremony on Thursday, and said that Serbia will probably ask for Mladic’s temporary release for medical treatment.

“I visited the general at his request and [because of his] plea. Based on a report by Serbian physicians, his temporary release for treatment in Serbia will probably be requested,” Kuburovic told the Serbian national broadcaster, RTS.

Serbian doctors completed a two-day visit to Mladic on Thursday to check up on the former general’s health, which his son Darko Mladic claims is “critical”.

Prior to his arrest in May 2011, Mladic had suffered three strokes. The court rejected his request to be sent to Russia for medical treatment, saying that he received proper treatment in The Hague, although his lawyers claimed his health had deteriorated during his time in custody.

The Belgrade authorities have previously said they will guarantee that Mladic will return to the Hague Tribunal if he is temporarily released for medical treatment in Serbia.

Mladic’s first-instance verdict was handed down last month, sentencing the former Bosnian Serb Army commander to life in prison for genocide in Srebrenica and other war crimes during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

His trial was one of the last to be finished before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which officially closed down on Thursday.

The court’s unfinished cases have been taken over by another Hague-based institution, the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals.

After the closing ceremony, in which politicians from the Balkans were asked to reject convicted war criminals, Kuburovic criticised the speeches and said that the Tribunal had handed out “selective justice”.

“What catches the eye is the mentions of the charged and convicted Serbs in ongoing cases, and only non-Serb victims,” Kuburovic said.

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