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Mladic Acquittal Decision Due Next Week

Defence had asked for charges to be dropped under a procedure that is part of tribunal rules.

Judges will deliver an oral decision on Ratko Mladic’s request for an acquittal on April 15, it was announced this week.

Last month, Mladic’s lawyers argued that their client should be acquitted of genocide and several specific incidents relating to other counts in the indictment before the defence case begins in May. The request was made under a procedure stipulated in the rules of the Hague tribunal and known as Rule 98 bis. (See Mladic Lawyer Argues for Charges to be Dropped.)

Prosecutors allege that Mladic, who was commander of the Bosnian Serb army from 1992 to 1996, is responsible for crimes of genocide, persecution, extermination, murder and forcible transfer which “contributed to achieving the objective of the permanent removal of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian Serb-claimed territory”.

He is accused of planning and overseeing the 44-month siege of Sarajevo that left nearly 12,000 people dead, as well as the massacre of more than 7,000 men and boys at Srebrenica in July 1995.

Mladic was arrested in May 2011 in Serbia after evading arrest for 16 years. His trial got under way a year later, and the prosecution rested its case in February.

Rachel Irwin is IWPR’s Senior Reporter in The Hague.