Appeal lodged against extradition of Mladić

BELGRADE -- A lawyer representing Ratko Mladić told reporters on Monday that an appeal against the decision to extradite his client to the Hague Tribunal had been sent.

Miloš Šaljić (Tanjug)
Miloš Šaljić (Tanjug)

The appeal was dispatched at 17:30 CET by mail, he explained, addressing the media in front of the Special Court in Belgrade where Mladić is being held in custody.

Šaljić said last week's decision to extradite the former military leader of Serbs in Bosnia was contested on the grounds that he was not fit to stand trial, and therefore should not be sent to the war crimes court in The Hague.

A Belgrade-based court council now has three days to decide on the appeal.

Šaljić also revealed that he would be one of the legal counsels to travel with Mladić should he be extradited, but did not provide the names of other lawyers.

On Monday morning, Mladić was visited in prison by his son and wife, and for the first time, his daughter-in-law and two grandchildren.

This was the first time that the former general met the 10-year-old girl and the 5-year-old boy, considering that he spent the past 16 years on the run.

Šaljić said that Mladić "wept" during the visit.

His lawyer once again voiced concern that his client would not live to see his trial at the Hague, saying that his health was unchanged, and that Mladić, "after the emotional encounter with his grandchildren, again spoke of his wish to visit the graves of his daughter and mother".

Earlier today, Šaljić said he had filed a request to form an independent team of doctors that would determine the real state of health of his client.

"I believe the trial will not go ahead, because I do not believe Mladić will see the start of that process in front of the Hague Tribunal," Šaljić told reporters in front of the Special Court in Belgrade.

"His health is in an alarming state, it is necessary that he is examined by cardiologists, neurosurgeons, orthopedists, gastroenterologists," Šaljić said.

The lawyer confirmed that he would send the formal appeal against the decision to extradite Mladić "by mail, in the evening", in order to stall the procedure and prevent the extradition.

Šaljić could not say what Mladić's reaction to last night's unrest in Belgrade was, since he explained he did not discuss this with his client.