News / Europe

Mladic Makes First Appearance at War Crimes Tribunal

Wartime Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic gestures at his long-awaited first appearance before a U.N. judge in The Hague, June 3, 2011
Wartime Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic gestures at his long-awaited first appearance before a U.N. judge in The Hague, June 3, 2011

Former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic has made his first appearance before the U.N. war crimes tribunal at The Hague, but refused to enter a plea to what he said are "obnoxious" charges of genocide against him.

Mladic told the court's three judges on Friday that he was defending "my people and my country" during the fighting in the 1990s that splintered the one-time country of Yugoslavia. He said he needed "more than a month" to read the "monstrous words" in the indictment. Mladic is accused of masterminding the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys - Europe's worst mass killing since World War II - and the 44-month siege of Bosnia's capital Sarajevo in which 10,000 died.

Alternately subdued and feisty, Mladic told the court he did not want "a single letter or sentence" of the indictment read in court. But Presiding Judge Alphons Orie ignored the request and read all 11 charges against Mladic.

The 68-year-old Mladic told the court he is "gravely ill," but also asked for the hearing to go into private session so he could discuss his health with the judges without a worldwide television audience hearing the conversation. Back in open court, the somewhat frail Mladic pointedly said he did not want guards helping him to walk unless he asked for assistance.

Orie set July 4 for Mladic's next hearing, when Mladic will be required to offer a plea to the charges. If he does not, an automatic not-guilty plea will be entered on his behalf.

He was once a burly, intimidating figure on the battlefield. But Mladic, wearing a light gray suit, appeared somber as Orie read the charges against him.

Mladic said he had not read the indictment and needed "a bit more time" to think about the allegations. If convicted, he faces life imprisonment.

He has been at The Hague since Tuesday after being flown there from Serbia where he was arrested last week.

In advance of the hearing, his court-appointed attorney, Aleksandar Aleksic, said Mladic has not had proper health care for years. Aleksic said Mladic spent Thursday night in a prison hospital, but the tribunal said Mladic's medical supervision was routine.

The lawyer said he would ask the war crimes tribunal to approve more medical tests for his 69-year-old client. The exact state of Mladic's health sparked a dispute when another of his attorneys, Milos Saljic, said he has a document claiming that Mladic suffered from lymph node cancer and underwent surgery for it in 2009.

But a Serbian prosecutor, Bruno Vekaric, said the document "looks like a hoax."


Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Experts Warn World Losing Ebola Fight

Doctors Without Borders says world is losing battle against Ebola, unless wealthy nations dispatch specialized biological disaster response teams More

Video Experts: Rise of Islamic State Significant Development in Jihadism

Many analysts contend the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years More

US-Based Hong Kongers Pledge Support for Pro-Democracy Activists

Democracy advocates call on Chinese living abroad to join them in opposing new election rules for their home territory More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearancei
X
Elizabeth Lee
September 02, 2014 8:57 PM
Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Larger Than Life Chinese Lanterns Make Southern California Appearance

Chinese lanterns with a long history are lighting up in 21st century style at the Los Angeles County Fair in southern California. Visitors can see traditional lanterns that hang, but also lanterns in the shape of animals, iconic landmarks and many other objects, all created by artisans from a place in China known for its lanterns. Elizabeth Lee has the details from the fair in the city of Pomona.
Video

Video Experts See Rise of ISIS as Significant Development

The Islamic State’s rise seems sudden. It caught the U.S. by surprise this summer when it captured large portions of northern Iraq and spread its wings in neighboring Syria. But many analysts contend that the group - which grew out of al-Qaida in Iraq - has been rebuilding for years. VOA's Jela de Franceschi takes a closer look at the rise of ISIS and its implications for the Middle East and beyond.
Video

Video Israel Concerned Over Syrian Rebels in Golan

Israeli officials are following with concern the recent fighting between Syrian rebels and government forces near the contested Golan Heights. Forty-four U.N. peacekeepers from Fiji have been seized by Syrian Islamist rebels and the clashes occasionally have spilled into Israel. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

AppleAndroid