Serb war criminal Ratko Mladic in hospital in ‘poor health’: Son

Former Bosnian Serb military chief, serving a life sentence for war crimes in The Hague, has been hospitalised for a week.

Ratko Mladic's son Darko told media that his father (centre) is suffering from 'pneumonia, fluid accumulation in the lungs and heart failure' [File: Jerry Lampen/Pool via Reuters]

Convicted war criminal and former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic, who is serving a life sentence for war crimes in The Hague, has been hospitalised in “poor health”, his son has told AFP news agency.

In a brief telephone interview with AFP in Belgrade, Darko Mladic confirmed his statement to the local press that the former general had been hospitalised for a week.

He was first in a civilian hospital in The Hague, and since Thursday in the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT) prison facility.

“He is in poor health. A team of doctors is ready here to go and see him, but we don’t know yet if they will be allowed. We will ask permission for him to be examined by these doctors,” Mladic told AFP.

Contacted by AFP in The Hague, the MICT said it “cannot comment on the health status of detainees as this information is confidential”.

In June 2021, the MICT upheld a life sentence against Mladic for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war.

He was found guilty of genocide for his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of some 8,000 Bosniak men and boys by Bosnian Serb forces.

Darko Mladic told several media outlets in Serbia and Bosnia that his father was suffering from “pneumonia, fluid accumulation in the lungs and heart failure”.

“We don’t know what caused the heart failure and whether Ratko may have suffered a minor heart attack. We have not received the results of tests,” he told the Novosti daily.

Mladic was diagnosed with coronavirus in early August, but “without serious symptoms”, the source said.

Darko Mladic said his father’s health had “deteriorated dramatically” since May.

“He is in a difficult situation and it seems to me that his life is in danger. He cannot function independently and he needs a carer,” he said.

He said his father has “never complained” and that “this is the first time he’s admitted that it’s difficult for him”, SRNA news agency reported on Saturday.

Ratko Mladic has in the past suffered several strokes that have caused damage to his nervous system, according to Russian medical experts cited by his defence team during the trial in 2016.

His exact age is a matter of debate – he is 79 or 80 years old, and claims to have been born on March 12, 1943.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies