Mladic war crimes trial resumes with witness testimony News
Mladic war crimes trial resumes with witness testimony
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[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] on Monday resumed the trial of former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic [ICTY case materials; JURIST news archive]. The court reopened [BBC report] the trial with the testimony of witness Elvedin Pasic, who was a juvenile at the time of the Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive] in the 1990s. He lived in the village of Hrvacani that was attacked during the war and witnessed elderly villagers being killed. Pasic has also testified in other cases including the cases against Radoslav Brdanin [ICTY case materials], who was sentenced to 30 years in prison, and Momcilo Krajisnik [ICTY case materials], a former Bosnian Serb politician who was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Mladic is charged with several counts of genocide and crimes against humanity committed during the Bosnian civil war including murder, political persecution, forcible transfer and deportations, cruel treatment and the taking of peacekeepers as hostages.

Last month, the ICTY postponed the trial after suspended proceedings [JURIST reports] due to an error in disclosing documents to the defense lawyers. The trial had been already postponed indefinitely [JURIST report] in May due to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct related to evidence disclosure. Judge Alphons Orie adjourned the trial to allow the defense lawyers more time to consider the evidence the prosecution will present. Earlier that month, chief prosecutor of the ICTY had told reporters [JURIST report] that he believes Mladic is mentally and physically fit to stand. The ICTY had ordered [JURIST report] a medical examination for Mladic after he missed a hearing before the court a week earlier. His first appearance [JURIST report] before the ICTY was in June of last year when he contested charges against him while simultaneously asking for more time to review them. A day after, during his second appearance [JURIST report], Mladic refused to enter a plea without lawyers of his choice representing him and he was removed from the court for disrupting the proceedings.