Ratko Mladic brands UN war crimes tribunal biased

Gen Ratko Mladic in The Hague. File photo Gen Mladic said he was proud of his Bosnian Serb army uniform

Former Bosnian Serb forces commander Gen Ratko Mladic has said that the UN war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is biased against him.

Gen Mladic was arrested in Serbia last year after 16 years on the run.

The 69-year-old defendant faces 11 war crime charges, including two genocide counts. He denies all charges against him.

Speaking at a pre-trial hearing in The Hague, Gen Mladic said the tribunal was a "biased Nato court".

"You are judging in the name of Nato and you are trying me and my people and you have no right to do that, because Nato bombed my people," he said.

He also held up photographs of his family and an image of himself in his old Bosnian Serb army uniform.

He said he was "proud of that army and uniform" and that his wife should be allowed to bring it to him. He was informed by the presiding judge, Alphons Orie, that his microphone had been switched off.

Ailments

Gen Mladic's trial is due to start on 14 May, having been delayed after his lawyers argued they needed more time to go through the evidence.

Gen Mladic is charged with genocide at Srebrenica, where 7,500 Muslim men and boys were killed in July 1995.

He also faces charges over the 43-month siege of Sarajevo, from May 1992 to November 1995.

Last December, the tribunal reduced the number of charges against the general because of fears about his health.

Gen Mladic has repeatedly complained about various ailments since his arrest, and was admitted to hospital in October after his lawyer said the defendant had pneumonia.

In 2006, former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic died in custody at the tribunal in The Hague.

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