Former Bosnian Serb general, Ratko Mladic, has appealed his 2017 conviction of genocide and crimes against humanity during the Yugoslav wars, appearing in the Hague on Tuesday.
Mladic has been convicted of overseeing the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995 and attacking and murdering civilians during the 43-month siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo. He was the commander of Bosnian Serb forces during the 1992-95 war that was part of Yugoslavia's breakup. He is currently facing a life sentence.
For 16 years he had avoided justice by hiding in Serbia before finally being arrested in 2011.
Whilst his defence lawyers are seeking an acquittal, they maintain that Mladic’s ill health has posed a significant barrier for him to communicate or consult with his counsel.
During opening statement’s his defence lawyer, Dragan Ivetic, stated:
"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 [...] I am unable to meaningfully gain instruction from Mr. Mladic, or be assured that he is able to meaningfully follow proceedings."
The prosecution, however, is arguing for a guilty verdict for genocide in six other municipalities.
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