Mladic settles into prison: war crimes court

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Ex-Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic has settled into a UN prison to await his war crimes trial, following completion of medical tests, a court official said Wednesday.

"I can confirm that Mr Mladic has completed the initial induction process in the detention unit," said Martin Petrov, who heads the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia's (ICTY) Registrar's Office.

"Mr Mladic is now following the standard detention regime that applies to all detainees," Petrov told journalists at a press briefing in The Hague, where the court is based.

It was unclear whether Mladic had been moved to a general residential wing inside the detention unit, in the seaside suburb of Scheveningen, with Petrov saying "information about the exact location of our detainees is confidential."

One of Europe's most wanted men for his part in the 1992-95 Bosnian war, Mladic, 69, was arrested in Serbia last month after 16 years on the run.

The man once called the "Butcher of Bosnia" was flown to the Netherlands five days later and is now being held at the ICTY's detention unit, in a Dutch prison a few kilometres (miles) from the court.

He is expected to make a second appearance before judges on July 4, where he will again be asked to plead to 11 charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the Bosnian conflict, which saw some 100,000 people killed and more than two million others displaced.

At his first appearance before a three-judge bench on June 3, a visibly thinner Mladic told the court he was "a gravely ill man" after an attempt to stop his extradition on health grounds was turned down by a Belgrade-based judge.

"The tribunal has provided all the necessary medical tests, all the medical tests have been performed in order to give us a clear and full picture of Mr Mladic's health," Petrov, said, without giving further details.

Under the detention unit's rules, Mladic was entitled to an examination by a doctor of his choice, but Petrov said, "To my knowledge he hasn't made such a request."

Neither has Mladic asked for a change in legal representation after a tribunal-appointed lawyer represented him at his first appearance.

"We do anticipate and really hope that the choice of councillor of Mr Mladic's determination will be made before the further initial appearance," Petrov said.

© 2011 AFP

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