No plea to “monstrous charges”

03 June 2011 by Geraldine Coughlan

There were cries of emotion from Srebrenica survivors in the public gallery when former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic did not enter a plea to charges he called "monstrous" and "obnoxious".

After Presiding judge Alphons Orie read out a summary of the indictment on 11 counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, Mladic said he hadn't read the indictment and needed more than one month to study the document. Under ICTY rules, Mladic has been granted 30 days to consider how he will plead. The court re-scheduled the next hearing for 4 July. If Mladic does not enter a plea of guilty or not guilty within 30 days, the judges will enter a plea of not guilty, on his behalf.

Gravely ill
Ratko Mladic looked frail but alert as he saluted, coming into court. Dressed in grey jacket and baseball cap, he was helped to the dock by UN guards. He told the court he was a "gravely ill man" who needed more time to understand and prepare a "proper" defence, expressing dissatisfaction with the court-appointed lawyer, Aleksander Aleksic. He waived his right to have the indictment read out in full, saying he didn't want "a single letter or sentence" to be read out to him. Mladic may now choose his own lawyer for his trial or he may opt to conduct his own defence.

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