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ICTY prosecutor not appealing refusal to split Mladic trial

The chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] said Wednesday that he will not appeal the court's decision to proceed with a single trial for former Serbian general and alleged war criminal Ratko Mladic [ICTY backgrounder, PDF; JURIST news archive]. The prosecutor sought to separate the indictment [JURIST report] in order to hold one trial for Mladic's conduct during the Srebrenica massacre [JURIST news archive], where approximately 8,000 people were killed, and one for all of his other charges during the Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive]. The court denied [press release] the prosecutor's request last week on the grounds that separating the trials would be inefficient and could prejudice Mladic and unduly burden witnesses. Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz had argued that splitting the trials was warranted [AP report] because Mladic's health may decline over the course of the trial. Brammertz indicated that he would streamline the charges against Mladic in an effort to expedite the trial, which is likely to begin next year.

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] at the ICTY in June, contesting the charges while simultaneously asking for more time to review them, which he was granted. At his second appearance [JURIST report] he refused to enter a plea. Before that, he had lost his final appeal in Serbia to avoid extradition, and was transported to The Hague [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, the largest European genocide since the Holocaust.

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