Awaiting Mladic at his arrival in The Hague

31st May 2011, Comments 0 comments

As soon as he arrives in the Netherlands, former Bosnian Serb army boss Ratko Mladic will be driven to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia's detention unit before facing an initial appearance.

-- THE PRISON: The ICTY's Hague-based detention unit is the main holding facility for 36 ex-Yugoslavian detainees including Radovan Karadzic, the former Serbian political head in Bosnia.

It is situated within a Dutch prison in the seaside-suburb of Scheveningen, which also holds defendants before the International Criminal Court and Dutch prisoners in different buildings.

"While awaiting or undergoing trial the physical and emotional welfare of detainees is of paramount importance," the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia said on its website, adding "all detainees lead a normal live within a secure environment."

The ICTY's detainees have the benefit of an individual cell of about 15-square-metres (160 square feet) with a bed, shelving, a sink, a washbowl, toilet and an intercom in a modern building consisting of several floors.

They are allowed to circulate freely during the day on their floor, where there are showers, a laundry as well as a lounge. Defendants are locked up in cells in the evening.

They are allowed courses in computer science, English and art and stroll for an hour a day. They also have access to a workout room with bodybuilding equipment and a gymnasium.

The detention unit also has a health centre.

-- INITIAL APPEARANCE: The ICTY's rules of procedure state that a defendant's first appearance before the court must be held "without delay" although there is no specific timeline.

The three judges who will hear Mladic's initial appearance have also been named. They are: Dutch judge Alphons Orie, 63, German judge Christoph Fluegge, and South Africa's Bakone Moloto, 66.

At his initial appearance, Mladic will be asked to enter a plea on the charges listed against him on the indictment as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed during the Bosnia war of 1992-1995.

If he declines to enter a plea, he will be given another 30 days before the question is put to him again.

The former Serbian military chief in Bosnia already declared through his son Darko Mladic that he had "nothing to do" with the massacre at Srebrenica where 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed.

-- TRIAL: It could take months, or even up to a year to prepare for Mladic's trial. The trial of Karadzic, accused of the same crimes as Mladic, started 15 months after his arrest.

At this stage, his defence will especially study the evidence presented to them by his accusers.

A juncture between Mladic's trial and that of Karadzic, which started in October 2009, was not excluded, the prosecutor's office said. Both men are accused of similar war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed during the Bosnian war of 1992-1995, in which they played different roles.

Mladic could incur a life sentence.

© 2011 AFP

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