[JURIST] The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia [official website] determined [press release] during a session on Tuesday that sufficient evidence exists to uphold charges on two counts of genocide against Ratko Mladic, [BBC profile] the former Bosnian Serb general, for his alleged role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre [BBC backgrounder]. The Srebrenica massacre is considered to be one of Europe’s worst atrocities since the Second World War, during which more than 7,000 people were killed. Mladic’s lawyers had filed a Rule 98 bis motion, arguing for acquittal on the basis that there exists no evidence capable of supporting a conviction. The court disagreed and rejected the motion on two grounds, one of scope and one of substance. First, the court ruled that it was inappropriate to consider motions for acquittal with regards to charges within a count, stating that Rule 98 assesses whether there is evidence capable of supporting a conviction on every count of the indictment, not only on those challenged by the Defendant. To be granted there must be insufficient evidence on all counts, not merely those challenged. Secondly the court found that such evidence does exist, and, if believed, could establish that genocide took place and that the accused had the necessary genocidal intent. Judge Alphons Orie reportedly stated [BBC report] for the court that “the accused has a case to answer on all counts.” Mladic has denied all charges against him and has repeatedly questioned the tribunal’s legitimacy, reportedly referring to it in the past as “satanic.”
Mladic has been engaged in a tumultuous relationship with the ICTY, both in regards to his own case and to those of his former compatriots accused of similar crimes. In January Mladic refused [JURIST report] to testify at the trial of Radovan Karadzic, [BBC profile] also accused of direct complicity in the Srebrenica massacre, stating that to do so would prejudice his own case, despite having been ordered [JURIST report] by the tribunal in December to do so. In August Mladic’s cousin, in exchange for a suspended sentence, admitted to having harbored the suspected war criminal for five years prior to his arrest [JURIST reports] in 2011. Mladic’s trial before the ICTY commenced in June 2011 and has since been postponed and resumed multiple times and for a variety of reasons, including evidentiary issues and the accused’s health conditions [JURIST reports].