Court rules Ratko Mladic can be extradited to UN tribunal

Ratko Mladic is fit enough to face genocide charges in The Hague, a Belgrade court ruled today after the Bosnian Serb wartime general's son said he appeared too frail after more than 15 years on the run.





The court said Mladic, arrested yesterday in a Serbian village, had until Monday to appeal against extradition to the international criminal court to be tried for a massacre in Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo during Bosnia's 1992-5 war.



European officials hailed his capture at a farmhouse belonging to his cousin also with the surname Mladic as a milestone on Serbia's path towards the European Union and said they expected his extradition within 10 days.



His son, speaking after what he said was his first meeting with his father in years, said he was too ill. Last year the Mladic family asked a court to declare him dead to collect his military pension.



"We are almost certain he cannot be extradited in such condition," said Darko Mladic, a computer specialist by profession. "He is in very bad shape. His right arm is half paralysed. His right side is partly numb."



His father, the once burly and aggressive Mladic, 69, moved slowly and with a slight limp when he appeared before an investigative judge at the special war crimes court in Belgrade on Thursday.



Mladic's lawyer later told reporters the court had halted the questioning because his client was "in a serious condition. He is hardly responsive". An official described him as looking disoriented and tired.



"Dead man arrested," ran several Serbian newspaper headlines today, with a picture showing a pale and wizened Mladic, who is accused of instigating ethnic cleansing during the 1992-95 Bosnia war, Europe's heaviest fighting since World War Two.







Officials say Mladic has high blood pressure, heart disease and a kidney stone. His son said he had suffered strokes which had left two scars on his brain, although he said his father recognised the family and knew he was in detention.



Judge Maja Kovacevic said the medical team had determined he was fit for proceedings. "Mladic's lawyer was delivered the extradition papers and he has until Monday to appeal," she said.



Despite whatever ailments he may have had, Mladic was able to move frequently during his years as a fugitive.



Bruno Vekaric, Serbia's deputy war crimes prosecutor, said Mladic appeared in better shape during today's questioning.



"Mladic was making questions about his pension and sought it back. He also wanted a television set and Russian novels," he said, adding that he was under constant medical observation.





Mladic's lawyer Milos Saljic said he would appeal against the extradition on Monday and insisted that Mladic could not be handed over to The Hague until his health was stable.



"He must be provided with adequate treatment before the extradition," he told reporters.



Rasim Ljajic, the Serbian minister in charge of the search for fugitive war criminals, said Mladic - often quoted saying "The Hague will not see me alive!" - had not resisted arrest.



"Mladic had two loaded guns he did not use," Ljajic said.



"Mladic was dressed in several layers of clothes, he was hardly recognisable, he was not attracting attention. He looked pale as if he hadn't left confined spaces for a very long time," he said on Serbian television.



The deputy war crimes prosecutor said the court would continue to question the general, accused of orchestrating the brutal 43-month siege of the Bosnian capital and the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica in 1995.



European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said she expected Mladic to be extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague within nine or 10 days.



Mladic, whose Bosnian Serb Army was armed and funded by the late Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic, is still seen as a hero by many Serbs. Milosevic died in 2006 while on trial in The Hague for war crimes.



Nationalists in Serbia, which was under international sanctions over the war in Bosnia and then bombed by NATO to stop atrocities in Kosovo in 1999, condemned the arrest as a blow to national interests.



Several dozen rallied in Belgrade to protest, clashing briefly with police who dispersed them from the main square and the authorities increased security in certain areas of the country, including around foreign embassies.



Russia, which vehemently opposed the 1999 NATO bombing of Milosevic's Serbia and has accused the West in the past of bias against Bosnian Serbs, called for a fair trial for Mladic.



Chief war crimes prosecutor Serge Brammertz said it was impossible to say for how long the trial would last.



"It is clear that trials take often several years," he told reporters. "It is really difficult to give any timeline on this regard." The tribunal is scheduled to close down in 2014.



Croatia said it wanted to see Mladic's actions in Croatia in 1991 to be included in his indictment. He was a senior army officer in southern Croatia at the time and accused of crimes against civilians in the Croatian villages and towns.





PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
Actor, model and now record breaker: Jiff the Pomeranian
Video
News
REX/Eye Candy
science
News
i100
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates after scoring his first goal for Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier against Besiktas
sportChilean's first goal for the club secures place in draw for Champions League group stages
Arts and Entertainment
Amis: 'The racial situation in the US is as bad as it’s been since the Civil War'
booksAuthor says he might come back across Atlantic after all
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 200th birthday of Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
News
i100
News
In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Jim Carrey and Kate Winslett medically erase each other from their memories
scienceTechnique successfully used to ‘reverse’ bad memories in rodents could be used on trauma victims
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Pixie Lott will take part in Strictly Come Dancing 2014, the BBC has confirmed
tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

Front-End Developer (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, C#, GUI)

£55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...

Graduate C# Developer (.NET, WPF, SQL, Agile, C++) - London

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# De...

Day In a Page

Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?