Mladic Refuses To Cooperate

Gen Ratko Mladic, the so-called “Butcher of Bosnia”, denounced the Hague war crimes tribunal as a “Satanic court” on Tuesday as he was hauled into the witness box to give evidence on behalf of one of his co-accused.

Declaring that he was “not afraid of anybody but God”, Mr Mladic, 71, tried to read a prepared statement rather than face cross-examination – and asked that his false teeth to be brought up from the cells so that he could read it more clearly.

Even once his dentures were in, Mr Mladic continued to refuse to answer any questions from Mr Karadzic, who referred addressed him during the hearing as “General Sir”.

The geriatric war crimes suspect’s display of defiance came after he was brought before the court during the trial of Karadzic, 68, the former Bosnian Serb leader. The pair are jointly accused of masterminding the Srebrenica massacre of 1995, in which more than 7,000 Muslims died, as well as other war crimes.

Asked by Karadzic whether there was ever “an agreement or understanding to expel Muslims and Croats living in Serb-controlled areas,” and whether he had ever intended to “terrorise the citizens of Sarajevo by killing and sniping”, Mladic gave the same stock answer. “I reserve my right not to testify because I may injure my rights in my own case,” he told the court.

He said that his statement – which he waved above his head at times – “touched” on the events in question, but the judges still refused to admit it as evidence, despite Mladic proesting that it was “only seven pages long”.

His lawyer, Branko Lukic, also claimed that in any event, his elderly client’s recollection of events was shaky because he suffered from a syndrome known as “deception of memory”.

“It is a category of memory disorder which means that somebody cannot differentiate between truth and fact, because they speak the truth even if they are not doing so.”

After Mr Kwon ruled that Mladic could not be “compelled” to give proper answers to Karadzic’s questions, Mladic left the court with a final blast at the judges.

“Thanks for preventing me from stating what I wanted to say,” he snarled. “You have confirmed to me that the Hague tribunal is not a court of law but a Satanic court.”

As he walked out, escorted by a uniformed security guard, he briefly addressed Karadzic, who was sat just a few yards away from him, dressed in a dark grey suit and maroon tie. In muttered, off-microphone remarks that could not be overheard fully in the public gallery, he appeared to suggest that the two were victims of a Nato conspiracy.


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