War

Mladic put in regular cell at UN court's jail

AP News
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Posted: Jun 15, 2011 9:05 AM
Mladic put in regular cell at UN court's jail

Former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic has been transferred to a regular cell at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal's detention unit after completing a battery of medical tests, a court official said Wednesday.

Martin Petrov, chief of the U.N. court's registrar's office, said Mladic "is now following the standard detention regime" for all suspects held in the cell block, which is housed inside a regular Dutch jail close to the North Sea coast.

That means being locked every night into a one-man, cell equipped with a computer _ without Internet access _ and a television that can air broadcasts from the former Yugoslavia. During the day his cell is unlocked, allowing him to mingle with other inmates in his wing of the detention unit, cook meals, exercise and take classes in English and computing.

Mladic is charged with genocide and other offenses for orchestrating atrocities committed by Serb forces throughout the 1992-95 Bosnian war. He faces a maximum life sentence if convicted.

The 69-year-old spent the first days after he was extradited from Belgrade on May 31 undergoing tests in the detention unit's medical facility.

The tribunal has not disclosed information about his health. His Belgrade lawyer and family members said shortly after his arrest last month that he suffered two strokes during 16 years as a fugitive from justice.

"The tribunal has performed all necessary medical tests ... to give us a clear and full picture of Mr. Mladic's health at the moment," Petrov said.

He added that Mladic has the right to request further tests by doctors of his choosing.

Mladic appeared frail but healthy at a hearing last month at which he said he was not ready to enter pleas to the 11 charges against him. He is due back in court July 4 and if he again refuses to plead, judges will enter not guilty pleas on his behalf.

Preparations for his trial are expected to take several months.

Mladic is currently represented by a court appointed Serbian lawyer, but he is expected to hire his own team of defense attorneys.

Petrov said tribunal officials have already met Mladic "several times" to discuss his representation. If Mladic cannot afford to hire a lawyer, the court provides funding for him.