Ratko Mladic to go trial for genocide
The trial of the former Bosnian serb army chief, General Ratko Mladic will start on Wednesday at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Mladic is set to go on trial on 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide.
He is accused of orchestrating the week-long massacre of over 7,000 Muslim boys and men at Srebrenica in 1995 during the Bosnian war.
Mladic, 70, is also charged over the 44-month siege of Sarajevo during which over 10,000 people died. He spent 15 years on the run before being apprehended by Serb forces last May and sent to The Hague.
The decision by Theodor Meron, president of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia comes after Mladic's lawyers last week asked the trial to be pushed back as the court pondered their request to have presiding judge Alphons Orie removed from the bench.
"The President of the Tribunal, Judge Theodor Meron, denied the defence motion seeking disqualification of Judge Alphons Orie and stay of the proceedings," the court said in a statement.
Mladic's defence claimed last week Orie would be biaised because he has already condemned several former subordinates of Mladic.
But Meron said, after looking at Mladic's arguments: "I am not satisfied that Mladic has demonstrated that a reasonable observer... would reasonably apprehend bias. I accordingly find Mladic's request for Judge Orie's disqualification to be unmeritorious.
Mladic's lawyers on Monday night filed another request to have the trial adjourned for six months, saying they did not have enough time to prepare.
Mladic is awaiting trial in the same prison as his former political leader Radovan Karadzic, who was arrested in 2008 and is now about halfway through his trial on similar charges to Mladic.
Many fear that Mladic, who suffered at least one stroke while in hiding and remains in ill health, could escape judgement by dying mid-trial.
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