Thursday 18 January 2018

Mladic en route to Hague to face trial on genocide and war crimes charges

Ratko Mladic pictured shortly before the time of his arrest. Photo: PA
Ratko Mladic pictured shortly before the time of his arrest. Photo: PA reporters

Former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic is en route to The Hague from Serbia after losing his appeal against being transferred to face trial on genocide and war crimes charges.

The road leading to Belgrade Airport was closed to regular traffic as the convoy of at least eight vehicles, including jeeps and police vans, transferred the general from the court to the airfield.

Earlier yesterday three judges in Belgrade rejected an appeal by war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic seeking to stop his extradition to a UN tribunal.

Mladic faces eleven counts of war crimes and genocide for atrocities committed by his Serb troops during the Bosnia's 1992-5 war, including the horrific Srebrenica massacre that left 8,000 Muslim men and boys dead.

Mladic was briefly released from the jail cell earlier today and went in a secret convoy to a suburban cemetery where he left a lone candle for the daughter who killed herself with his honour pistol during Bosnia's bloody ethnic war.

The former general accused of some of the worst horrors of the 1992-5 war was accompanied by a security detail of armoured vehicles.

Mladic lit a candle and left a small white bouquet of flowers with a red rose in the middle at the grave.

"We didn't announce his visit to the grave because it is his private thing and because it represented a security risk," Mr Vekaric said. "The whole operation lasted for exactly 22 minutes and passed without a glitch. He was at the grave for a few minutes."

A defence extradition appeal sent by letter arguing he is not mentally and physically fit to stand trial arrived at the Belgrade court today.

After 16 years on the run Mladic was arrested last Thursday in a village north of Belgrade.

His daughter Ana, (23) a medical student, committed suicide in 1994 with her father's gun. She never wrote a suicide note, but her death was attributed to depression as a result of her father’s role in the war.

Mladic claims that she was killed by his wartime enemies, saying the gun was found in her left hand, although she was right-handed.

Mladic lawyer Milos Saljic asked for a team of doctors to examine Mladic, who is said to have suffered at least two strokes.

"Doctors are saying he's capable of standing trial," Mr Vekaric said, adding that Mladic will get proper medical check-ups once he arrives to the UN tribunal's detention unit in The Hague.

Yesterday Serbian President Boris Tadic rejected speculation that authorities had known of Mladic's hiding place and delayed his arrest to coincide with a visit by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

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