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Tolimir Described as Gravely Ill

Registrar says accused has been refusing medical treatment.
By Merdijana Sadović
The Hague tribunal’s registrar, Hans Holthuis, this week warned the court that the health of the detained Bosnian Serb general Zdravko Tolimir has seriously deteriorated.

Tolimir, a high-ranking Bosnian Serb army officer indicted for genocide and other crimes committed in Srebrenica in 1995, is said have a “grave, fragile and highly alarming” health condition.

The registrar pointed out that Tolimir’s health has not been aided by his refusal - since he was transferred to the tribunal on June 1 this year - “to cooperate with physicians, accept appropriate medical treatment or prescribed medicines”.

Tolimir has apparently given various reasons for refusing medical care, ranging from his religious beliefs to his insistence that he is, in fact, in good health.

Given the state of Tolimir’s health and his attitude regarding care, the registrar states that “there is a very real and serious risk of the accused experiencing a life-threatening episode at any time and without warning”.

The registrar is also concerned that Tolimir’s health will deteriorate even more if he’s allowed to represent himself at trial, as he intends to.

“The stresses involved in running a trial are certain to have a detrimental impact on the accused’s medical situation,” the registrar pointed out.

Tolimir, who was the assistant commander for intelligence and security of the main staff of the Bosnian Serb army during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, is charged with genocide and other crimes in relation to the executions of 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys from Srebrenica in July 1995.

Merdijana Sadovic is IWPR’s Hague programme manager.

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