News / Europe

Belgrade Court Rules Mladic Fit for Hague Extradition

Newspapers on a stand in Sarajevo,Bosnia, May 27, 2011
Newspapers on a stand in Sarajevo,Bosnia, May 27, 2011

Judges in a Belgrade court ruled Friday that Serbian war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic is healthy enough to be extradited to the Hague headquarters of the International Criminal Tribunal.

Mladic, who spent Thursday night in jail, was back in a Belgrade court Friday.  Earlier in the day his son Darko visited him in jail, where Mladic told him that he was not guilty of the war crime charges he is accused of during the Bosnian war.

Darko Mladic also said that in his opinion, his father was not well enough to be transferred.

The former Bosnian Serb army commander was initially in court Thursday following his arrest in northern Serbia after 16 years in hiding.  That appearance was cut short due to what his lawyer said was Mladic's poor health.  

The United Nations tribunal on war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia indicted Mladic in 1995 for atrocities he allegedly carried out, or ordered, during the three-year siege of the Bosnian city of Sarajevo, and for the killing of 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys near the city of Srebrenica.

The Serbian court will determine if all conditions for Mladic's extradition to The Hague are fulfilled.  Serbian officials say the process will take about a week.

Russia, an ally of Serbia, has called for the trial to be fair and unbiased. The Russian foreign ministry said Friday the trial should not be used to drag out the work of the tribunal.

The capture of Mladic and one more fugitive still at large, Croatian Serb Goran Hadzic, is a key condition in Belgrade's bid to become a candidate for European Union membership.

Serbian President Boris Tadic has told U.S. news network CNN claims that Belgrade officials knew where Mladic was hiding are "rubbish".

Croatian President Ivo Josipovic said the capture of Mladic is crucial for the international reputation of Serbia.

Bosnia's organization of families of war victims expressed relief after 16 years of waiting for the arrest of one of Europe's most wanted men.

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

Ratko Mladic on Dipity.

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