Mladić postpones entering plea at Hague Tribunal

THE HAGUE -- The trial of Ratko Mladić has started in the Hague Tribunal on Friday morning, but the proceedings were postponed later during the day, said reports.

Ratko Mladić in the Hague Tribunal courtroom (Beta)
Ratko Mladić in the Hague Tribunal courtroom (Beta)

Mladić has decided to delay entering his plea and the new hearing is scheduled for July 4.

The judge has read an indictment against the former Bosnian Serb military commander.

Mladić was asked about his name, date and place of birth and he was informed about the basic procedure.

The court has determined that there are no obstacles to begin the initial hearing.

Mladić told the judges that he was "gravely ill", that he could not hear well and asked them to repeat some of the things that had been said. He added that he did not read the papers about his rights which had been delivered to him earlier.

When Judge Alphons Orie asked him whether he received a copy of the indictment in his language, Mladić said that he did receive the folders but that he had not read the files.

Mladić's court-appointed defense counsel Aleksandar Aleksić told the judges that he had informed his client about the indictment and that he was convinced that Mladić unerstood it.

Mladić said, however, that he did not want the judges to read a single letter of the indictment to him.

The judge said that the indictment, despite his wishes, would be read in accordance with the Hague Tribunal rules.

Hague Tribunal Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz represented the prosecution at today’s hearing.

Brammertz was also present during former Republic of Srpska (RS) President Radovan Karadžić’s first appearance before the court.

Mladić was brought to a Hague Tribunal courtroom from a hospital in Scheveningen detention unit. His defense counsel told B92 Thursday that Mladić's condition was “neglected”. Hague Tribunal Spokeswoman Nerma Jelačić said, however, that the indictee was in the prison hospital as a part of a regular procedure.

Mladić is facing 11 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and other war crimes in Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992 until 1995.

Aleksić told B92 that this was the most voluminous case tried at the Hague Tribunal.