Photo: Getty Images/Serge Ligtenberg
Just a day after it began, the war crimes trial of former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic was abruptly halted on Thursday, after the judge announced there were irregularities in the sharing of evidence between the prosecution and defence, AFP reports.”The hearing is adjourned sine die,” said Judge Alphons Orie, three hours into the trial’s second day at the International Criminal Court at The Hague. Orie said judges aim to establish a new starting date “as soon as possible.” Mladic’s attorney has asked for a six-month delay, according to the AP.
Court spokeswoman Nerma Jelacic told the AP that most of the material not shared with defence attorneys focused on witnesses the prosecutors had intended to call before the court’s three-week summer break in July. Prosecutors acknowledged the error and did not object to the delay.
Mladic, the so-called “Butcher of Bosnia” is charged with 11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide over the 1992-1995 war in the Balkan state. After the war, he was on the run until being arrested in May 2011 while in hiding. He denies any wrongdoing, but will face life imprisonment if convicted.
The delay is a huge setback because of Mladic’s age and health problems. The 70-year-old has suffered three strokes in the last 10 years and is partially paralysed on his right side, according to his attorney, which has some speculating that he may not live to see the end of his trial, just like his compatriot Slobodan Milosevic.
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