Mladic opposes split trial before UN court: lawyer

1st September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Ex-Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic is opposed to a bid by a UN war crimes prosecutor to split his trial with the first focusing on the Srebrenica massacre, documents showed on Thursday.

"The defence respectfully requests that the trial chamber deny the motion in its entirety," his chief defence lawyer Branko Lukic said in the newly-published court papers.

The request by International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) prosecutor Serge Brammertz was inconsistent with the tribunal's jurisprudence and would hamper Mladic's right to a fair trial, Lukic said in the document which was dated Wednesday.

Mladic, also named "the Butcher of Bosnia" is facing 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

In particular, the 69-year-old former general is accused of masterminding the murder of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys over a six-day period at Srebrenica in July 1995, in Europe's bloodiest episode since World War II.

Brammertz's office earlier this month said it filed a motion asking judges to divide the original indictment for Mladic into two separate trials.

The first trial would deal with the Srebrenica massacre alone.

Lukic argued however that staring a second trial directly after the first, as asked for by the prosecutor, should not be allowed as there would not be sufficient time to prepare.

"With General Mladics poor health, he will require more time to prepare not less," Lukic said.

A second trial would include the other crimes alleged against the former strongman, committed during the siege of Sarajevo, around municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the kidnapping of UN personnel.

Mladic is charged with responsibility for the 44-month siege of the Bosnian capital that started in May 1992 and claimed some 10,000 lives.

Any trial of Mladic may still not start for months, and should it be split would see two separate judgements.

© 2011 AFP

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