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Ratko Mladic Unfit for Genocide Appeal in UN Court

August 25, 2020, 07.18 PM

THE HAGUE, – Lawyers for Ratko Mladic told a UN court Tuesday that he was not mentally fit to take part in an appeal hearing against his genocide conviction.

To continue with the trial would place the Bosnian Serb military chief at risk of a “miscarriage of justice”.

Ratko Mladic, 78, dubbed the “Butcher of Bosnia”, is challenging his 2017 conviction and life sentence for genocide and crimes against humanity.

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He is also challenging his conviction for war crimes in the civil war in former Yugoslavia including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

But Mladic's lawyers said they were taking part under protest in the two-day hearing in The Hague, after judges earlier this week rejected a bid to postpone it pending a fresh medical assessment.

A frail-looking Mladic appeared in court wearing a mask because of coronavirus regulations, which he later removed.

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Wearing a suit with his red tie askew, he initially complained that he could not follow the hearing through headphones.

"This hearing today is inappropriate and threatens... a miscarriage of justice, such that I cannot abide to be a silent participant in this questionable proceeding," defense lawyer Dragan Ivetic told the court in opening remarks.

"I am unable to meaningfully gain instruction from Mr Mladic, or be assured that he is able to meaningfully follow proceedings."

The hearing has already been delayed several times since March after Mladic needed an operation to remove a benign polyp on his colon, and then because of the pandemic.

Questions about his memory

Mladic was captured in 2011 after years on the run and sentenced to life behind bars three years ago for his role in the 1992-95 war in Bosnia.

This included genocide committed by his forces in the small eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, Europe's worst bloodshed since World War II, where some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered.


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