- Title: FILE: Profille of Ratko Mladic as Mladic genocide trial resumes in the Hague
- Date: 9th July 2012
- Summary: BELGRADE, SERBIA (FILE - MAY 31, 2011) (REUTERS) SECURITY IN STREET OUTSIDE SPECIAL COURTS PRISON WHERE MLADIC IS BEING HELD CONVOY OF ARMOURED VEHICLES LEAVING PRISON TRANSPORTING MLADIC TO AIRPORT THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS (FILE - MAY 31, 2011) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR SHEVENINGEN DETENTION CENTRE HELICOPTER CARRYING MLADIC LANDING IN DETENTION CENTRE COMPOUND SECURITY GATES AND ARMED GUARD PATROLLING
- Embargoed: 24th July 2012 13:00
- Location: Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
- Topics: Crime,International Relations,Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA4UOMR53CVIDN8IZJ8ZEXKBCEE
- Story Text: The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia resumes the trial of Ratko Mladic, accused of genocide for his role in the siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo and for orchestrating the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995.
trial of for Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic resumed at the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague on Monday (July 9), with two weeks of hearings scheduled after it was suspended last month because of an error in disclosing documents to the defence team.
Mladic was arrested in Serbia in May 2011 after 16 years on the run. He is accused of genocide for orchestrating the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and for his role in the siege of Bosnia's capital Sarajevo during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war.
The Srebrenica massacre, often described as Europe's worst atrocity since World War Two, involved the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys captured after Bosnian Serb forces overran the United Nations-protected enclave in July 1995.
About 15,000 men and boys managed to escape and fled through the woods, but many were easy prey for the Serb army who shelled and ambushed them or lured them to surrender disguised as U.N. soldiers.
70-year old Mladic was one of the first big names from the wars that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia to be indicted by the court and the last of them to go on trial.
He was indicted in 1995 along with Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serbs' political leader, although both remained free in former Yugoslavia for more than a decade before being arrested and passed to The Hague. Karadzic's trial is already under way.
Former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic was indicted in 1999 and went on trial in The Hague in 2001, but died in 2006 before a verdict was reached.
Prosecutors say Mladic was part of a "joint criminal enterprise to eliminate the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica by killing the men and boys ... and forcibly removing the women, young children and some elderly men".
They say Bosnian Serb forces (BSF) attempted to hide the slaughter by dumping victims in remote unmarked graves. "When it became apparent that despite these efforts the world had learned of the mass murder of Srebrenica's Muslim men, BSF implemented (an) ... operation designed to further conceal the bodies and the crimes," said a pre-trial brief. "Thousands of corpses were dug up with excavators, moved in trucks and dumped in even more remote locations."
Bodies were later found strewn across 17 primary and 37 secondary mass graves.
Mladic is also held responsible for the siege and bombardment of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, which killed 10,000 civilians. The prosecution described it as a plan to "spread terror among the civilian population".
The horrors of the siege, together with the Srebrenica massacre, eventually galvanised world opinion in support of the campaign of Western air strikes on Bosnian Serb targets that brought the conflict to an end shortly after.
Mladic lived openly in Belgrade in the early years after his indictment, going into hiding after Milosevic's fall in 2000.
Growing pressure for his capture from the European Union left him ever more isolated over the following decade, as Serbia moved towards EU membership.
In May 2011 he was arrested in a farmhouse in northern Serbia, penniless and in poor health. He recently had an operation for what is believed to have been a hernia, and during pre-trial hearings his attention appeared to wander.
The prosecution has simplified its case at the request of judges in order to speed up the trial, halving the number of individual crimes mentioned in the 11 counts against him.
The ICTY was established in 1993 in response to the failure of diplomatic pressure to end the Yugoslav wars, during which Mladic's ethnic Serb army seized 70 percent of Bosnian territory, brutally cleansing it of Muslims and ethnic Croats.
It was the first international war crimes court to be set up since the Nuremberg military tribunals at the end of World War Two, and has paved the way for others.
They include the Special Court for Sierra Leone, which convicted former Liberian leader Charles Taylor of aiding and abetting crimes against humanity.
Over the past 19 years, the ICTY has managed to arrest all of its 161 indictees, defying sceptics who doubted whether its biggest targets would ever be brought to face justice.
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