UN prosecutor wants two separate trials for Mladic

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 21:18

The Hague: UN war crimes prosecutor Serge
Brammertz wants ex-Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic`s
trial to be split, with one part focussing specifically on his
role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

Brammertz`s office said that it filed a motion before the
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in
The Hague yesterday asking judges to divide the original
indictment for the 69-year-old former general.

"The prosecutor is asking to sever the Mladic indictment
into two parts and to conduct two separate trials instead of
one," information assistant Ljiljana Pitesa told AFP today.

The first trial would deal with the Srebrenica massacre in
1995, where some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed over a
six-day period in Europe`s worst atrocity since WWII.

After the first trial is concluded, the next trial would
deal with all the other crimes on the Mladic indictment,
namely those committed during the siege of Sarajevo and in
other Bosnian towns, as well as the taking hostage of UN
personnel, Pitesa said.

Mladic is charged with responsibility for the 44-month
siege of Sarajevo that started in May 1992 and claimed some
10,000 lives.

Forces under his command conducted a terror campaign
against the city`s civilian population, primarily through
shelling and sniping.

The prosecution said in court papers that the split, with
the Srebrenica case being heard first followed by the other
charges, would "ensure justice for the victims, the desire to
commence a trial as soon as possible."

It would also "ensure the need to plan for the contingency
that Mladic`s health could deteriorate."

Mladic, known as the "Butcher of Bosnia", was arrested in
northeastern Serbia on May 26 after 16 years on the run.

He was transferred to the UN`s detention unit a few days
later and made his first appearance before the court on June
3.

He is currently facing 11 charges of genocide, war crimes
and crimes against humanity for his role in the bloody 1992-95
Bosnian war.

Pitesa today denied ICTY concerns around Mladic`s health,
saying "at the moment we don`t have any reason to think that
the trial may be affected" by it.

During his trial, Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic
died suddenly on March 14, 2006 of a heart attack before his
case was concluded.

"Two short trials instead of a long trial is the best way
to handle the specifics in Mladic`s case," Alexander Kontic,
another Brammertz aide, told a weekly press conference later
today.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 - 21:18

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