Mladic seen by doctor after arriving in The Hague

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Former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic spent his first night behind bars at a UN prison in The Hague where he was examined by a doctor, the court due to try him for war crimes said Wednesday.

"He did have a medical examination according to the procedures," said Nerma Jelacic, spokeswoman for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, before which Mladic was expected to make his first appearance later this week.

Asked about the ex-general's first night behind bars, Jelacic said: "I won't be making any statements about his personal wellbeing."

Jelacic said she was not aware whether the former general saw a lawyer after his arrival in The Hague on Tuesday evening, adding "he has actually just arrived, he is yet to choose his lawyer."

Mladic will be given the opportunity to choose a legal representative from the ICTY's list of accredited lawyers, she added.

Jelacic could not confirm reports that Mladic was to make an initial appearance before a three-judge bench on Friday.

Europe's most wanted man was arrested last Thursday and extradited from Serbia on Tuesday and transferred to the ICTY's detention unit in The Hague where he spent his first night in isolation.

Earlier Tuesday, Serbian judges rejected Mladic's appeal against a transfer to the UN-backed ICTY. Dismissing his complaints of ill health, they said he was fit to stand trial for alleged atrocities committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

The prosecution has charged Mladic, 69, with genocide, persecution, extermination, murder, deportation, inhumane acts and cruel treatment for his alleged part in a plot to achieve the "elimination or permanent removal" of Muslims from large parts of Bosnia in pursuit of a "Greater Serbia".

He is accused of masterminding the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys, Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.

He is also charged over the 44-month siege of the capital Sarajevo from May 1992 in which 10,000 people died.

© 2011 AFP

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