I'm not going to listen to this - Mladic

2011-07-04 13:02

The Hague - Former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic was removed from the UN war crimes court at The Hague on Monday after refusing to enter a plea and disrupting the judge's attempts to read out the charges against him.

The judge later entered formal pleas of not guilty on behalf of Mladic to the various charges against him, which include genocide, and relate to the 43-month siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo and the massacre of 8 000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica - Europe's worst massacre since World War Two.

Having threatened to boycott his second hearing since being tracked down, arrested and extradited from Serbia in May, Mladic did appear but spent several minutes demanding different legal representation and requesting a delay before having to plead.

"No, no, I'm not going to listen to this without my lawyer," Mladic shouted as he removed his translation headphones when judge Alphons Orie began reading out the charges.

"Who are you? You're not allowing me to breathe."

Mladic, aged 69, was represented by a court-appointed lawyer.

16 years on the run

The judge said the court would look into allowing him to be represented in future by other lawyers of his choice.

Arrested after 16 years on the run, Mladic had defiantly rejected war crimes charges against him as "obnoxious" and "monstrous" when he was formally charged at the Yugoslavia war crimes court last month.

Mladic is accused over a campaign to seize territory for Serbs after Bosnia, following Croatia, broke away from the Yugoslav federation in the 1990s as the Balkan state broke up during five years of war that killed at least 130 000 people.

The stakes are high for Serbia because Mladic's trial could unearth evidence showing Belgrade knew about or helped commit genocide at Srebrenica if Mladic argues he was carrying out orders, or the desires, of political leaders.

The International Court of Justice ruled in 2007 that Serbia failed to prevent genocide, but was not responsible for it. The decision shielded Serbia from compensation claims from Bosnia.

"If they (Serb authorities) were more strongly involved, the conclusion would still be the same that they did not prevent genocide, but because of their involvement there might be reasons to re-open the issue of compensation," said Andre de Hoogh, a lecturer in international law at Groningen University.

Hague prosecutor Serge Brammertz has said Mladic used his power to commit atrocities and must answer for it, but Serb nationalists say Mladic defended the nation and did no worse than Croat or Bosnian Muslim army commanders.

Mladic, who has said he is a "gravely ill" man, is no longer in the prison hospital and now plays chess with other detainees. He argued last month he only defended his country and people.

  • 420 - 2011-07-04 13:23

    When does killing become genocide? The USA and Co have had a hand in the demise of over 200 000 Iraqi citizens, surely they (Bush, Blair etc) need to answer for their actions if this man is standing trial for similar charges?

      WDVenter - 2011-07-04 13:35

      Yes, they should. But the USA bluntly stated that they don't recognize the authority of the international court in The Hague, and will use force to free any US official brought before that court. Simple.

      Gorilla - 2011-07-04 13:42

      Ag 420 really. This guy lined up hundreds of people in front of pits, bound them and shot them before burying them or just leaving them lying in fields. Don't come and tell me that the USA or any other operational forces are operating in this way. Do some research before you bore people with your garbage.

      nickwes - 2011-07-04 13:49

      @Gorilla: well said! It is well documented that the way Mladic operated was even worse than what Hitler did in WWII. He personally ordered and oversaw the killing of thousands of boys and men without the slightest worry that he would ever be brought to book. There is a big difference between genocide ie: exterminating people based on their religion or ethnicity compared to people dying in a war zone in collateral damage.

      D-Man - 2011-07-04 14:24

      I don't know why y'all fail to understand that there's a different set of rules for the winners of WWII a.k.a the Allied Forces and everyone else.

  • powerslave - 2011-07-04 14:47

    I suppose you all watched CNN at the time and blindly believed all they reported.How can you even compare this man to Hitler! Good one 420, and the rest that disagree should do better research before defending the west's actions. All the info is out there just read it.

  • daaivark - 2011-07-04 15:07

    "I'm not going to listen to this without my lawyer".... Damn hey Ratko. ANd you can't even just line them up against a wall and shoot them like you used to. What a bummer. People spoil everything, don't they.

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