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Accused war criminal calls Yugoslavia tribunal 'biased'

Former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, Ratko Mladic [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], accused the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of being "biased" against Serbs and a "puppet" of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) [official websites]. Mladic faces charges [case background] of genocide and crimes against humanity, including murder, political persecution, forcible transfer and deportations, cruel treatment, and the taking of peacekeepers as hostages committed by Bosnian Serb forces under his command during the Bosnian civil war, which saw more than 100,000 casualties and hundreds of thousands more displaced. Mladic continues to deny all 11 chargers. During the 90-minute hearing [AP report], Mladic repeatedly attacked NATO for its involvement in foreign affairs and continually disrupted the hearing until Judge Alphons Orie [ICTY profile] cut off his microphone.

This is the latest controversy in the case against Mladic [JURIST news archive]. Earlier this month, the ICTY further delayed [JURIST report] the beginning of the trial until May 14. In December of last year, a three-judge panel for the ICTY accepted a request brought by prosecutors to reduce the number of crimes [JURIST report] they intend to prove against Mladic from 196 to 106. In October, the ICTY prosecutor refused to seek further appeal [JURIST report] of the tribunal's refusal to split Mladic's trial into separate actions: one for his 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]. 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. Before that, he had lost his final appeal [JURIST report] in Serbia to avoid extradition and was transported to The Hague.

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