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4 June 2013
News

Mladic Thanks Tribunal for Extending his Life

Radosa Milutinovic BIRN BiH Hague

Ratko Mladic, who is on trial before the Hague Tribunal for genocide and other crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, thanks the Tribunal and medical staff of the Detention Unit for “saving his life” and “pulling him out of a grave”.

Detention Unit doctor Paulus Falke testified about the indictee’s health condition. Mladic gave special thanks to him.  

“Mr. doctor Falke, you, your team, the entire staff in the Detention Unit that is monitoring me, guarding, watching, examining, inspecting me night and day, all the medical staff in the Detention Unit that has been treating me and the medical staff in the Bronovo Hospital, I would like to deeply bow and greet all of you as the people who have pulled me out of a grave by both my legs. Had it not been for your care, medication and God’s will, I would have visited St. Peter a long time ago,” Mladic said.

Mladic said that he had to commend the Tribunal as well, although he had said ugly things about it.

“Had I not come here, I would have been in heaven a long time ago. So I sincerely thank everyone, from the cleaning lady to the owner and Bronovo hospital staff for having saved my life. Thank you,” said Mladic, Commander of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS.

Supporting a Defence’s proposal to reduce working weeks from five to four days, Dr. Falke presented a detailed description of Mladic’s health condition.  

He specified that the health condition of the indictee, who has suffered three strokes, was stable and that no deteriorating signs had been noticed. Unlike the Defence’s medical experts, Falke said that no increased risk of another stroke existed in Mladic’s case.

“Medical staff in the Detention Unit have noticed that Mladic gets extremely tired during hearings. When he returns from a hearing, he is too tired to undress himself, so he just lies in his bed and ignores dinner,” the doctor said.

According to a psychiatrist’s findings, testimonies were “very painful and upsetting” for the indictee, which might affect his appetite, Falke said.

“Doctor, as a human being, I am not surprised by even the most heinous truths and facts, but even the slightest lie, irrespective of who wrote, imputed or uttered it, makes me short-tempered,” said Mladic commenting Falke’s allegations.

The Trial Chamber will render a decision on whether to shorten the working week in Mladic’s case at a later stage.

As he continued cross-examining Prosecution witness Momir Nikolic, Mladic’s Defence attorney Nenad Petrusic suggested that the mass murder of Muslim captives in a warehouse in Kravica village, near Bratunac, on July 13, 1995 was committed “without any order”.

Nikolic responded by saying that he could just make assumptions about it, adding that he heard that all captives were killed following an incident involving policemen, who guarded them.

According to the indictment and previous Tribunal verdicts, Serb forces killed about 1,000 Srebrenica Muslims in the Agricultural Co-operative warehouse in Kravica. It was the first in a series of mass shootings of about 7,000 Muslim men in the days that followed the occupation of Srebrenica by VRS forces on July 11, 1995.

The cross-examination of Momir Nikolic, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison for crimes in Srebrenica, is due to continue on June 5. 

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