Mladic Back in Court After Hospital Tests
Former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic was back in court at the Hague tribunal on July 16 after being briefly hospitalised for medical tests last week.
Mladic, 70, appeared rested and alert as his defence lawyer Branko Lukic completed the cross examination of David Harland, former civil affairs officer and political adviser to the commander of UNPROFOR, the UN Protection Force in Bosnia.
“Ratko Mladic has returned to the detention unit after medical examinations confirmed there were no abnormalities in his health status and that no treatment is required. The previous determination that Mladic is fit to stand trial therefore remains unchanged,” court spokesperson Nerma Jelacic said in a statement.
Mladic was placed in hospital as a precaution on July 12 after complaining of feeling ill during his trial, which was temporarily adjourned as a result.
On the afternoon of July 13, the tribunal announced that the accused had returned from hospital to the detention unit in The Hague.
Mladic’s health has been an issue since he was arrested in Serbia in May 2011, after 16 years of evading capture. He reportedly suffered from more than one stroke prior to his arrest, and also came down with pneumonia in autumn 2011. During status conferences leading up to his trial, he complained of kidney stones and repeatedly made remarks about his ill health.
Judges ordered a full medical report on the accused last year and found that he was fit to stand trial.
Prosecutors allege that Mladic, the commander of the Bosnian Serb army from 1992 to 1996, is responsible for crimes of genocide, persecution, extermination, murder and forcible transfer which “contributed to achieving the objective of the permanent removal of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory.”
He is also accused of planning and overseeing the 44-month siege of Sarajevo that left nearly 12,000 people dead, as well as the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre, during which more than 7,000 Bosnian-Muslim men and boys were killed.
Mladic has pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him.
The trial will continue on July 17 with the testimony of General Sir Richard Dannatt, former chief of general staff in the British Army, who was part of the NATO presence in Bosnia after the war ended in late 1995.
Rachel Irwin is IWPR’s senior reporter in The Hague.