Mladic: War crimes tribunal can take care of sick people

27th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The UN's Yugoslav war crimes tribunal insisted Friday that its detention centre, soon to house Bosnian Serb ex-general Ratko Mladic, was able to care for ill inmates.

"We are able to care for ... people who have illnesses," International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) spokeswoman Nerma Jelacic told AFP amid pleas from Mladic's family that he was too ill to be transferred to The Hague.

She said the majority of accused in the tribunal's custody had "pre-existing medical conditions".

"The detention centre has been taking care of ill people since it has been created," Jelacic said.

"We have our own medical unit and we also have access to the Dutch medical system, civilian and prison."

After his arrest in a village in northern Serbia in the early hours of Thursday, Mladic's first hearing was halted after his lawyer Milos Saljic said he was too ill to speak.

Mladic's family have said that he had suffered a series of strokes.

Jelacic would not comment on the state of Mladic's health or whether it could influence his transfer to the ICTY.

"We are waiting for official reports from Serbian authorities who will be making the decision on his transfer to the tribunal," she said.

A Serbian judge ruled Friday that Mladic, the alleged mastermind of the Srebrenica massacre and other atrocities for which he is indicted, was fit to face international justice at a war crimes court.

Mladic's family insists he is not guilty of organising the Srebrenica massacre -- the worst single atrocity in Europe since World War II -- and the 44-month siege of Sarajevo.

The UN detention unit where Mladic will be held is in a Dutch prison in The Hague's seaside suburb of Scheveningen.

© 2011 AFP

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