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Mladic removed from ICTY courtroom, not guilty plea entered for him

Ratko Mladic [ICTY backgrounder, PDF; JURIST news archive] made his second appearance [video] Monday at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website], but was removed from the courtroom for disrupting the proceedings. Throughout the proceedings, Mladic was hostile, gesturing to the crowd and refusing to enter a plea without lawyers of his choice representing him. The ICTY assigned Mladic a lawyer, Aleksander Aleksic, while Mladic wanted his Serbian lawyer Milos Saljic and Russian lawyer Aleksandr Mezayev to represent him. Judge Alphons Orie denied this request. Saljic has said that he could not adequately represent Mladic [Guardian report], because he does not speak English. As Orie attempted to read the charges, Mladic interrupted him and argued with the judge, contesting the court's legitimacy.

Saljic stated [AP report] that Mladic's behavior is proof he is not fit to stand trial. Mladic, in arguing with Orie, also stated that "half his body is not working" and that his head was cold and he should be allowed to wear his cap. Orie said that since Mladic has not given the court appropriate medical information, he will not be given special allowances. A plea of not guilty was entered for Mladic. Orie has not set a date for Mladic's next hearing.

Serbian authorities captured Mladic [JURIST report] in May, ending a 16-year manhunt for the former general colonel and commander of the army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mladic made his first appearance [JURIST report] last month at the ICTY, contesting the charges while simultaneously asking for more time to review them, which he was granted. Before that, he had lost his final appeal in Serbia to avoid extradition, and was transported to The Hague late Tuesday night [JURIST reports]. Mladic faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, including murder, political persecution, forcible transfer and deportations, cruel treatment and the taking of peacekeepers as hostages. He is most infamous for allegedly ordering the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the massacre of Srebrenica during the Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive].

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