Mladic trial to resume after four week delay

AMSTERDAM Thu May 24, 2012 11:12am EDT

Former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic attends his trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague May 16, 2012. REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters/Pool

Former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic attends his trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague May 16, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Toussaint Kluiters/Pool

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - The genocide trial of Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic is set to resume at the Yugoslavia war crimes tribunal on June 25 four weeks later than initially planned, The Hague-based court said on Thursday.

Mladic, who was arrested in Serbia in May 2011 after 16 years on the run, is accused of genocide for his role in the siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo and for orchestrating the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995; Europe's worst massacre since World War Two.

In their opening remarks to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) last week, prosecutors showed footage of civilians as they fled sniper fire in Sarajevo and of thousands of Muslims being herded onto buses and deported from Srebrenica.

The first witness was due to testify on May 29, but Mladic's defense lawyer Branko Lukic asked for a six-month delay because he said his team did not receive all the evidence from the prosecutor in time.

The court cited a technical error: some diplomats said the documents were not uploaded into the court system correctly. The court, based in The Hague, said in statement it will now call the first witness to testify on June 25.

The trial chamber said it has instructed the prosecution to schedule hearings for those witnesses least impacted by the disclosure failure to take place before the summer recess.

Mladic, who has refused to enter a plea, is the last of the main protagonists in the Balkan wars of the 1990s to go on trial at the ICTY.

The list of charges stemming from his actions as the Serb military commander in the Bosnian war of 1992-95 ranges from genocide to murder, acts of terror and other crimes against humanity.

(Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Sara Webb and Jon Hemming)

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