Ratko Mladic’s Appeal Against Genocide Conviction Set for August

17. July 2020.17:45
The UN court will hear the former Bosnian Serb military chief’s appeal next month against the verdict convicting him of genocide and other wartime crimes, after it was postponed for Mladic to have an operation and delayed again because of the pandemic.

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Ratko Mladic. Photo: MICT

The Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals in The Hague announced on Friday that appeals in the case against the former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic will be heard on August 25 and 26.

The UN court sentenced Mladic to life imprisonment in November 2017, finding him guilty of genocide in Srebrenica in 1995, the persecution of Bosniaks and Croats throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina, terrorising the population of Sarajevo during the siege of the city and taking UN peacekeepers hostage.

Mladic appealed against the verdict, as did the Hague prosecution, which is calling for him to be found guilty of genocide in six other municipalities in 1992.

The appeals hearings were originally scheduled for March this year, but were postponed for Mladic to have a colon operation.

They were rescheduled for June but postponed again because travel restrictions that were imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic meant that some of the judges could not get to The Hague in time for the hearings.

The Hague court will hear Mladic’s defence appeal on August 25, followed by the prosecution’s appeal the following day.

The court said that Mladic can decide whether he wants to appear in the courtroom in person or participate via video link from the UN detention unit, where he is being held during the trial.

It also said that because of the continuing pandemic, “the courtroom must be adapted for the safe conduct… of the appeal hearing and that communication equipment for remote participation of Mladic, counsel, or any judge, if required, be in place, be fully operational”.

Mladic himself can address the chamber for ten minutes at the end of the hearings, it added.

A date for the final verdict has not yet been set, but Carmel Agius, president of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, told the UN Security Council last month that it will be delayed until 2021.

Mladic, who is 77, has had several serious medical problems while in detention in the Netherlands and has suffered two strokes and a heart attack. His defence has repeatedly asked for him to be hospitalised, claiming that his health is deteriorating.

Denis Džidić

This post is also available in: Bosnian (Bosnian)