Five doctors from Serbia will travel to the Netherlands next week to examine former Bosnian Serb army Ratko Mladic, who was too ill to attend a pretrial hearing at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal.
The team of Serbian doctors will work together with those from the U.N. tribunal in The Hague in assessing Mladic's health, Serbian health minister Zoran Stankovic said Friday.
He expressed hope that the Serb doctors will have a say in the further treatment as well.
Mladic was too ill to appear at Thursday's hearing during which the 69 year old was to enter a plea to a new allegation of more killings by Serb forces under his command during the early 1990s.
The court did not release details of Mladic's illness, but since arriving at the tribunal earlier this year Mladic has suffered from a kidney stone, had surgery for a hernia and been hospitalized with pneumonia. He also reportedly suffered two strokes while on the run from international justice for 16 years.
"Mladic's legal team has asked for doctors from Serbia to check his health condition," Stankovic said. "Together with the doctors from the Hague they will decide on therapy and treatment."
Mladic faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity for allegedly masterminding Serb atrocities throughout the Bosnian War.
His absence from courtroom underscored the frailty of his health and fears he may not be well enough to survive the rigors of a trial expected to last years when it finally gets under way.