Mladic’s Trial Postponed Over “Clerical Error”
The war crimes tribunal in The Hague which is judging the case of Ratko Mladic, the ex-Bosnian commander, which is accused of having supervised the massacre of Srebrenica in 1995, had to suspend the case on Thursday, one day after the beginning of the trial, because of the failure to disclose some evidence to the defense.
7,000 pages of evidence regarding the case were supposed to be handed over to the defense, which is said to have been asking for six months to process the material. The matter seems to be a clerical error, but it places the presiding judge under a lot of pressure to offer defense a consistent delay to process the material.
According to the BBC World News reports, this was an embarrassing day for international justice, compelling the presiding judge to say that the scope of the error would be analyzed and a new starting date for the trial would be set as soon as possible.
The presentation of evidence was expected to begin toward the end of the month. The halt of the process comes after prosecutors submitted evidence about what is alleged to have been that Mladic orchestrated the killing of 7,000 Muslim man and women in Srebrenica.
Much of the evidence that was not shared with the defense focuses on witnesses the prosecutors had intended to call to testify before the court until July, when the court is expected to take a three-week summer break.
Prosecution has already acknowledged the error and accepted the delay, in a letter they addressed to Mladic’s lawyer in which they apologize for the inconvenience and explained that the missing documents were not uploaded onto an electronic database made available to the defense.
The prosecution showed local people panicking in an U.N. compound as the Bosnian Serb Army was approaching town. Then it was showing the forces of Ratko Mladic triumphantly entering the town, while he is recorded to say that his army was giving the town to the Serbs “as a gift,” adding that the time has come “to take revenge on the Muslims.”
Mladic has exposed an alibi for a period of three days that followed the moment of the entry in Srebrenica, causing the prosecution to say they do not accept the fact that he was unaware of what had happened. The prosecution attempted to depict an attempt to cleanse Bosnia of the Muslim population.
Ratko Mladic is facing 11 counts of war crimes, genocide, murder, persecution, terrorism, hostage-taking and crimes against humanity allegedly produced between 1992-1995. Except for the Srebrenica massacre Mladic is accused of the siege of Sarajevo, which cost the lives of more than 10,000 people.
Ratko Mladic has denied the charges, calling them “monstrous” and refused to enter a plea, causing the defense to enter a non guilty plea on his behalf.
General Ratko Mladic has been captured on May 26, 2011, and was brought before the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands, as part of the effort of Serbia to meet the demand of the European Union as a precondition for the admission to the European body.11