Mladic fit to stand trial: ICTY prosecutor

[JURIST] Chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] Serge Brammertz [official profile] told reporters Wednesday that he believes former commander of the Bosnian Serb Army Ratko Mladic [ICTY case materials; JURIST news archive] is mentally and physically fit to stand trial next month. The ICTY ordered a medical exam [JURIST report] of Mladic in November after protests from his lawyers that their client was not competent to stand trial. The results of that examination have yet to be released officially. In his remarks, Brammertz said the ICTY is pleased with the progress [Xinhua report] in the trials of Mladic, Goran Hadzic and Radovan Karadzic [JURIST news archives], but has been discouraged by the lack of cooperation from Serbian authorities. Mladic's trial is set to begin May 16, and Hadzic's in mid-October. The prosecution will rest in Karadzic's trial next month, and his defense is slated to begin on October 16 [press release].

In April, Mladic pleaded not guilty [JURIST report] to all charges presented by the ICTY. Mladic faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, including murder, political persecution, forcible transfer and deportations, cruel treatment and the taking of peacekeepers as hostages. In February, Mladic accused the tribunal of bias and sought to delay his trial [JURIST reports] once again. A three-judge panel for the ICTY accepted a request brought by prosecutors to reduce the number of crimes [JURIST report] they intend to prove against Mladic from 196 to 106 in December, in an effort to accelerate the proceedings. The ICTY prosecutor refused to seek further appeal [JURIST report] of the tribunal's refusal to split Mladic's trial into separate actions: one for his conduct during the Srebrenica massacre [BBC backgrounder], where approximately 8,000 people were killed, and one for all of his other charges during the Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive]. Serbian authorities arrested Mladic after a 16-year search [JURIST report] in May of last year.

 

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