|Mladic (C) is accused of masterminding the murder of more than 7,000 Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995 [EPA]|
A UN war crimes court has ordered Bosnian Serb ex-army chief Ratko Mladic to undergo a full medical examination following his failure to appear at a hearing last week.
Presiding judge Alphons Orie on Wednesday ordered a detailed report to be submitted to the Hague-based court by December 6, two days ahead of the ex-general’s next scheduled appearance.
“The chamber orders the registry to have a complete medical examination of the accused conducted,” Orie said in a statement.
A full report will help pre-trial judges to “better assess whether and to what extent his health condition could affect preparation for the upcoming trial,” he said.
Also, it will help judges understand Mladic’s “actual current condition” when they have to evaluate and decide on future motions or requests made on this topic, the judge said.
Orie ordered that doctors probe Mladic’s overall health, look at any specific health conditions, their severity and length and the treatment he has received since arriving at a UN detention unit in The Hague at the end of May.
The man dubbed “The Butcher of Bosnia” last week failed to appear for a hearing before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), where he faces 11 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for his role in the Balkans country’s 1992-95 war.
Mladic, 69, who was supposed to plead to an additional charge relating to the murder of 30 Muslims in Bosina in eastern Bosnia in 1995, told judges he was “too ill to appear”.
He has complained of illness since his first appearance before the tribunal in early June, following his arrest in northeastern Serbia after spending 16 years on the run.
Accused in particular of masterminding the murder of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in July 1995, Mladi repeatedly asked to be examined by Serbian doctors, with ICTY chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz saying last month that his health was “an area of concern.”
The court’s spokeswoman declined to give further information Wednesday after announcing on November 9 that Serbian doctors would examine Mladic this week.
His Belgrade-based lawyer Milos Salic said he was hospitalised in October with pneumonia.
Mladic’s former mentor, former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic, died in his cell at the ICTY detention centre in March 2006 as his trial was nearing its end.
Mladic’s own trial is expected to start next year.