Mladic hospitalised with pneumonia

Former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic, on trial before a United Nations court for genocide and war crimes, has been hospitalised with pneumonia, a lawyer said on Tuesday.

“We were informed that he [Mladic] was diagnosed as having pneumonia and hospitalised,” the lawyer Milos Saljic told Agence France-Presse by telephone in Belgrade.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) did not indicate to which hospital Mladic had been admitted, the lawyer added.

Saljic said he hoped to get more details during the day.

Mladic (69) who faces 11 counts of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity for his part in the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, has complained about health issues since his first appearance before the ICTY on June 3.

He was arrested in Serbia in May after 16 years on the run.

In particular, he is accused of masterminding the murder of some 8 000 Muslim men and boys over a six-day period at Srebrenica in July 1995, in Europe’s bloodiest atrocity since World War II.

“As I have stated previously, Mladic was transferred to the tribunal with a series of pre-existing medical conditions for which he is receiving treatment,” tribunal spokesperson Nerma Jelacic said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The rules [of the court] prevent me from giving such details,” on his condition or location, “for confidentiality reasons about his health, for security about his whereabouts,” she added.

Making demands
Mladic’s one-time mentor, Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, died in The Hague four years into his own genocide trial in 2006, of a heart attack.

Mladic was transferred to the tribunal’s seat in The Hague on May 31, and told the judges during his first court appearance that he was “gravely ill”.

Last Thursday, making his fourth appearance, he said he was suffering from a kidney stone and demanded to be examined by Serbian doctors.

The judge said he had been informed that Mladic did not feel well and could not stand up, causing a delay of more than an hour in the start of the proceedings.

“Apologies for the delay,” Mladic answered: “It was due to my health.”

“I have serious health problems, but I will fight to recover,” he added.

But Jelacic said on Tuesday the delay “had nothing to do with the health of the accused”, blaming transportation issues between the detention unit and the court.

Since his arrival in the Netherlands, Mladic has been held at the UN Detention Unit in The Hague’s seaside suburb of Scheveningen. The prison has its own medical facilities.

Prosecutor Serge Brammertz’ office in August filed a motion asking judges to divide the original indictment against Mladic into two separate trials.

The first trial would deal with the Srebrenica massacre alone.

Judges are yet to rule on the request, opposed by Mladic’s defence.—AFP


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