Bosnian Serb Ex-Military Commander Ratko Mladic Headed to The Hague
Serbian judges reject Radko Mladic's appeal, paving the way for genocide trial.
BELGRADE, Serbia May 31, 2011 — -- Serbian judges today rejected an appeal by accused war criminal Ratko Mladic and the former Serbian military commander was put aboard a plane headed for the The Hague to face charges of genocide.
His lawyer Milos Saljic visited Mladic in jail earlier today and said the ex-general was crying and very emotional during what he called a farewell visit by his wife and sister. They brought him a big suitcase with clothing he will need in The Hague, Saljic said.
Prosecutors in The Hague say they are currently thinking whether to merge the trialsof Mladic with that of former Serb commander-in-chief Radovan Karadzic who is already imprisoned in the Hague. The two men face the same indictment, but Karadzic's trial began in October 2009.
The list of charges against Mladic includes genocide, complicity in genocide, crimes against humanity, violations of the laws and customs of war.
The 14-page document is a grim compressed history of the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia. The time and geography of the crimes covered by the indictment include the duration of the war and almost all of Bosnia's territory.
It covers the 1992 campaign of ethnic cleansing in eastern Bosnia, establishment of concentration camps in the northwest Bosnia, three-year siege of Sarajevo, taking of U.N. hostages in 1995 during NATO air strikes, and the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim boys and men.
Mladic was captured last week in a village north of Belgrade, 16 years after the indictment was issued.
Earlier today Mladic was escorted to visit the tomb of his daughter, Anna, who committed suicide during the war with her father's gun. It was said then she couldn't bear what her father was doing. Mladic always claimed she was killed.
Mladic had been repeatedly requesting the visit since his arrest last Thursday. His family and lawyer say Mladic is in extremely poor health after suffering two heart attacks and three strokes.
Saljic has said he does not expect Mladic to live long enough to go to trial, and describes coversations with Mladic as confusing. "At times he's defiant, says he'll put on his uniform and walk all the way to The Hague and call Bill and Hillary Clinton to the witness stand."
"At times nostalgic," Saljic adds, Mladic "wants to visit the grave of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. Mostly, Mladic is obsessd with death and graves."
Serbia's deputy war crimes prosecutor Bruno Vekaric, issued a statement saying, "We want express our sorrow for the victims, this is our contribution to justice. We do not want the world to remember us for our war commanders, but as the country of tennis star Novak Djokovic."
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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