Bosnian Serb people holding photos of former Gen. Ratko Mladic during a protest in Kalinovik, Bosnia, hometown of the Bosnian Serb wartime military leader, 70 kms southeast of Sarajevo, Sunday, May 29, 2011. Approximately 3,000 Bosnian Serbs, gathered to show support and anger after the arrest of Mladic. Protestors carried banners and flags and sang songs in his support, he was arrested after 16 years in hiding from the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague. Mladic is to face trial on 15 accounts of war crimes including genocide in Srebrenica in 1995. (AP Photo/Amel Emric) (AP)

Lawyer: Mladic won't live to see a trial

The 69-year-old ex-general has already suffered at least two strokes


Jovana Gec
May 30, 2011 5:16PM (UTC)

The lawyer for war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic said Monday that the former general is so ill he won't live to see the start of his trial on genocide charges.

Attorney Milos Saljic asked for a battery of doctors to examine the 69-year old. Mladic was arrested last week after 16 years on the run, and is said to have suffered at least two strokes.

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But Bruno Vekaric, Serbia's deputy war crimes prosecutor, said Mladic is employing delaying tactics and that nothing should prevent his extradition to the international war crimes court in The Hague, Netherlands.

The U.N. tribunal charged Mladic with genocide in 1995, accusing him of orchestrating the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica and other war crimes -- the worst slaughter of civilians in Europe since World War II.

Saljic said he will file Mladic's appeal against extradition by mail on Monday afternoon.

Justice ministry official Slobodan Homen said extradition could take between two and four days to complete.

"Sending the appeal by mail is an attempt to delay the extradition process," he said.

On Sunday, protesters hurled stones and bottles in clashes with baton-wielding riot police in Belgrade after several thousand nationalist supporters of Mladic rallied outside the parliament building to demand his release.

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By the time the crowds broke up by late evening, about 180 people were arrested and 43 injuries were reported, mostly policemen. That amounted to a victory for the pro-Western government, which arrested Mladic, risking the wrath of the nationalist old guard in a country with a history of much larger and more virulent protests.

Rioters overturned garbage containers, broke traffic lights and set off firecrackers as they rampaged through downtown. Cordons of riot police blocked their advances, and skirmishes took place in several locations in the center of the capital.

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The clashes began after a rally that drew at least 7,000 demonstrators, many singing nationalist songs and carrying banners honoring Mladic. Some chanted right-wing slogans and a few gave Nazi salutes.

The demonstrators, who consider Mladic a hero, said Serbia should not hand him over to the U.N. court in The Hague, Netherlands.

Demonstrators demanded the ouster of Serbian President Boris Tadic, who ordered Mladic's arrest. A sign on the stage read, "Tadic is not Serbia."

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Nationalists are furious that the Serbian government apprehended Mladic after nearly 16 years on the run. The 69-year-old former general was caught at a relative's home in a northern Serbian village.

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Dusan Stojanovic and Danica Kirka contributed.

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Jovana Gec

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