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Ratko Mladić trial scheduled to begin on 14 May 2012

Press Advisory
(Exclusively for the use of the media. Not an official document))
The Hague, 15 February 2012

Ratko Mladić trial scheduled to begin on 14 May 2012


Ratko Mladić

The trial of Ratko Mladić, former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) Main Staff, has been scheduled to commence on Monday, 14 May 2012.

The Chamber had initially announced the expected start of trial for 27 March 2012. This date was changed to “allow the parties time to complete any outstanding pre-trial preparations and provide the Defence with additional preparation time for scheduled Prosecution witnesses and associated exhibits in the early stages of the trial.” The Chamber also limited the number of sitting weeks for the early stage of trial up to 20 August 2012 to allow the parties more preparation time.

On 10 February 2012, the Office of the Prosecutor informed the Chamber that it would call a total of 410 witnesses, of which 158 are expected to appear in court. The Prosecution is also intending on presenting approximately 27,906 exhibits during the course of its case. The Prosecution estimates that it will use approximately 200 hours of hearing time to adduce their evidence.

The Defence had previously requested that the start of trial be set for October 2012 to allow it to review all case-related material received from the Prosecution. The Chamber found that the Defence was sufficiently prepared to start the trial before its proposed date of October 2012 and said “the exact number of pages reviewed by the Defence (…) is not exclusively what determines the start of trial.”

Regarding the Defence’s request that the Chamber take into consideration the health of Ratko Mladić when setting the trial schedule, the Chamber was “not convinced that the Accused’s health condition requires modification of the daily and weekly sitting schedule, namely sitting less than five days per week and for shorter court sessions.” Although no medical reason has been established, the Chamber considered it appropriate to grant the Defence’s request to schedule morning court sessions.

Ratko Mladić, former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) Main Staff, stands accused of genocide and a multitude of crimes committed against Bosnian Muslim, Bosnian Croat and other non-Serb civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina from May 1992 to late 1995.

The indictment alleges that forces under Mladić’s command committed genocide, amongst other crimes, when they summarily executed over 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in July 1995.  

Mladić is also charged with genocide for crimes committed in eastern and north western Bosnia and Herzegovina. The indictment lists over 70 incidents of murder in 20 municipalities. The indictment also alleges that these forces tortured, mistreated and physically, psychologically and sexually abused civilians confined in 58 detention facilities in 22 municipalities. Mladić is also facing charges for the shelling and sniping of Sarajevo, during which thousands of civilians were killed and wounded.

According to the indictment, Mladić committed these and other crimes as part of a joint criminal enterprise whose objective was to eliminate or permanently remove Bosnian Muslim, Bosnian Croat and other non-Serb inhabitants from large areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Other members of the alleged joint criminal enterprise indicted by the Tribunal include: Radovan Karadžić, former President of the self-proclaimed Republika Srpska and head of the Serbian Democratic Party and Supreme Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS); Momčilo Krajišnik, former President of the Bosnian Serb Assembly; Biljana Plavšić, former Bosnian Serb Presidency Member; and Bosnian Serb Army generals Stanislav Galić and Radislav Krstić.

Mladić was arrested on 26 May 2011, 16 years after the Tribunal first indicted him. His arrest represented a milestone in the Tribunal’s history and brought the institution closer to the successful completion of its mandate.

His initial appearance took place on 3 June 2011. At a further initial appearance on 4 July, a plea of not guilty was entered on his behalf.

The next Status Conference in the case will be held on Thursday, 29 March 2012, at a time to be confirmed.

The Pre-Trial Conference has been scheduled for Tuesday, 17 April 2012, at a courtroom and exact time to be determined.

A press advisory regarding the media accreditation will be issued closer to the time of the start of trial.


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