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Mladic: “I Want to Live as Long as Possible”

7. October 2011.00:00
During a status conference the Trial Chamber of The Hague Tribunal asks the Prosecution to consider which counts contained in the indictment against Ratko Mladic could be exempted.

This post is also available in: Bosnian

Judge Alphons Orie did not provide a detailed explanation of the Trial Chamber’s request concerning the indictment for crimes committed in 23 municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Some issues related to the preparation for the trial of Mladic, former Chief of the Main Headquarters with the Republika Srpska Army, VRS, who is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violation of the laws and customs of war, were discussed at the status conference.

Mladic complained about his deteriorating health condition, but he pointed out that he wanted to endure and reach the truth.
“I want to live as long as possible and reach freedom. I am in the 69th year of my life. I have severe health problems. I shall struggle to endure. I am not defending myself or general Mladic. I am defending Rep ublika Srpska and Serbia and the entire nation,” Mladic said.

Judge Orie told him that he should focus on defending himself, instead of “other people, entities or organisations that are not charged by this Court”.

The indictee said that he suffered enormous pain from a kidney stone, appealing to RS and Serbia to enable doctors, who had treated him in the previous years, to examine him.

Mladic objected to the fact that the Defence team had not been formed as per his request. The judge responded by saying that the verification of those people was still underway. Mladic said that he did not consider judges and Tribunal staff members enemies, but he said that he would not succumb to certain pressures.

“The more pressure they put on me, the stronger I am. This morning I received a visitor from the French Embassy. The gentleman came and we spoke in the corridor. He brought me a little bag with some materials in it…” Mladic said. The judge then interrupted him, telling him that he should speak about his health condition.

The indictment charges Mladic in two counts with genocide in Srebrenica and other Bosnian municipalities, the shelling and sniping campaign conducted in Sarajevo and taking UN members hostages.

The Hague Prosecution requested the Court to divide the indictment against Mladic and hold two trials, one of which would pertain to genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995 and the other one to the persecution of the non-Serbian population all over Bosnia and Herzegovina, crimes committed in Sarajevo and taking hostages.

The Tribunal has still not rendered a decision concerning this request. The indictee said, during the hearing, that he wanted the trial to go chronologically.

“I am angry because you are mentioning Srebrenica. You should start from my arrival in Knin in 1991. I shall tell you what I know and what the truth is,” Mladic said.

The next hearing at which the status of Mladic’s case will be discussed is scheduled for November 10 this year. M.T.

This post is also available in: Bosnian