UN war crimes court expects to hear Mladic despite boycott

A UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague hopes former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic to comment on the indictment on Monday, though his lawyer says this is highly unlikely.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) accuses Mladic, 68, of committing genocide and crimes against humanity during the 1992-95 Bosnian War. He is thought to be behind the 1995 genocide of some 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica, Europe’s worst single atrocity since World War II.

Lawyer Milos Saljic said on Sunday his defendant is likely to boycott Monday’s court session, as the ICTY failed to approve his list of lawyers. According to previous reports, Mladic had chosen Saljic and Russian lawyer Alexander Mezyaev to be his defense team.

“Mladic wants a defense team of Mezyaev and me. As this is yet to be approved, he will not comment on the indictment. If he will have to appear in court, he will not say anything,” Serbia’s SRNA news agency quoted Saljic as saying.

Mladic, who was arrested in Serbia on May 26 after 16 years on the run, rejected all the charges as “obnoxious” and “monstrous.” He also requested additional time to familiarize himself with the indictment.

If Mladic pleads guilty to the 11 counts on the indictment, there will be no trial and the tribunal will sentence him. If he pleads not guilty, even to one of the charges, the trial will continue.

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