İrem UZUN -TDO- Ratko Mladic, a former Bosnian commander during the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, will appeal his 2017 conviction for genocide and crimes against humanity at a court in The Hague. Known as the "Butcher of Bosnia", he was jailed for life in November 2017. Both the defense and prosecution appealed the verdict. Mladic's team asked for an acquittal while the prosecution wants a guilty verdict for genocide in six other municipalities. The two-day hearing is set to begin Tuesday, having already been postponed several times due to Mladic's ill-health and the coronavirus pandemic.
Mladic was the military commander of Bosnian Serb forces against Bosnian Croat and Bosniak armies. He had been on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) since 2012 prior to his conviction five years later. The court found that he "significantly contributed" to the genocide in Srebrenica in 1995, where more than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys were murdered.
Mladic appeared in court on Tuesday wearing a mask because of coronavirus regulations. He initially complained that he could not follow the hearing through headphones. "This hearing today is inappropriate and threatens... a miscarriage of justice, such that I cannot abide to be a silent participant in this questionable proceeding," defense lawyer Dragan Ivetic told the court in opening remarks. "I am unable to meaningfully gain instruction from Mr. Mladic or be assured that he is able to meaningfully follow proceedings," he said.
Lawyers for Mladic have repeatedly complained about his ill health, but in a written ruling before Tuesday's hearing, judges said that the lawyers hadn't "substantiated that Mladic is unable to communicate, consult with his counsel, and/or understand the essentials of proceedings," Deutsche Welle reported. Mladic will himself speak for 10 minutes on Wednesday.