The Hague, Netherlands. International Criminal Tribunal Prosecutors have sought to deny a request by former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic that he be released for medical treatment in Russia before a verdict in his genocide trial.
The former Serbian general is facing war crimes charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for his alleged role in the 1992-1995 Balkan war. He has suffered several strokes before he was arrested in 2011 after 16 years on the run and is considered at risk of more without urgent treatment.
General Mladic’s lawyers had filed a motion for his provisional release two weeks ago, arguing that his condition was seriously deteriorating after a short hospitalization for medical issues in March.
In documents filed on Monday, prosecutors argued that Mladic was getting the best possible care in The Hague and reports of a worsening of his condition by his defense team were “disingenuous”.
“The motion should be denied … His long history as a fugitive from justice and the severity of the charges against him demonstrate the risk he would abscond prior to judgement,” the prosecution document argued.
General Mladic was gravely ill when he arrived at the U.N. court in The Hague after years on the run, prosecutors said. “The medical treatment that followed, as he explicitly acknowledged, saved his life,” they said.
The medical issues in Mladic’s case echoed those of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who died in his cell in 2006 of a heart attack before his verdict on genocide charges. Many see the ICT prosecutor’s actions as politically motivated, rather than genuine concerns.