Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac categorically denied on Thursday allegations that former Bosnian Serb army chief and suspected war criminal Ratko Mladic received medical treatment at a leading military hospital in Belgrade while on the run.
“With complete responsibility, I declare that this is not true,” Sutanovac told journalists in Belgrade.
Mladic’s lawyer was quoted in media reports as saying that the 69-year-old former general, who was suffering from lymphoma, underwent surgery at the hospital of the Belgrade Military Medical Academy in 2009.
“These are groundless claims,” Sutanovac said. “I don’t know why Mr. Mladic’s lawyer is lying to the public in such a way and discrediting the army.”
The Serbian army and state security services have been guarding the academy for years, which makes it impossible for anyone “to enter this institution without being noticed,” the minister said.
He said, however, that the Serbian authorities would check the reports, calling on Mladic’s lawyer to name the people who allegedly treated the former general.
Mladic was arrested last week in the Serbian village of Lazarevo, 70 kilometers (40 miles) from Belgrade, after 16 years on the run. He was extradited to The Hague on Tuesday to face trial on charges of committing war crimes and genocide during the 1992-95 Bosnian War.
He is believed to have ordered the killing of 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995, Europe’s worst single atrocity since World War II.
BELGRADE, June 2 (RIA Novosti)