Mladic complains of ill health at pre-trial hearing

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“I have serious health problems,” accused war criminal Ratko Mladic told the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia Thursday. During an hour-long preliminary hearing, the former Serbian army commander complained of kidney stones and other ailments causing him great pain.

“I will fight to overcome the problems,” he said, “because I do not defend myself but General Mladic, Republica Srpska, Serbia and all the people there.”

Mladic is facing charges of genocide for his involvement in the fall of the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica and war crimes during the siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo from 1992 to 1995. He was arrested in May, 16 years after his original indictment. 

In The Hague, presiding Judge Alphons Orie responded to Mladic’s comments by reminding him that the tribunal only tries individuals. “No republic and no nation stands accused,” he said, advising Mladic to focus on that “in order to defend yourself as a person."

Judge Orie also disregarded Mladic’s earlier complaints about being handcuffed during transportation to and from the court. The judge said it is standard practice of Dutch police and they are “unlikely” to make an exception.

The next preliminary hearing in Mladic’s case is set for 10 November. No official trial date has yet been announced

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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