Mladic refused to enter a plea to charges of genocide

Wartime Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic on Monday, refused to enter a plea to charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity and was removed from the courtroom for unruly behavior. It was his second appearance before the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

According to the tribunal, the presiding judge Alphons Orie entered a non guilty plea in Mladic’s name on all eleven counts of the indictment.

Mladic was visibly nervous and uncooperative and said he didn’t want to listen to the court proceedings without his lawyer present. He had asked to be defended by his Belgrade lawyer Milos Saljic and a Russian professor of international law, Alexander Mezyayev.

The tribunal secretariat said it didn’t have time to verify Saljic’s and Mezyayev’s credentials and Mladic refused to be represented by officially appointed lawyer Aleksandar Aleksic.

“What kind of a court are you,” Mladic yelled, constantly interrupting judge Orie. “You don’t allow me to speak, to have a lawyer, you don’t allow me to breath,” Mladic said.

“I don’t want to listen to this without my lawyer present,” Mladic said as Orie started reading the indictment. After several warnings, Orie ordered Mladic to be removed from court.

After a brief recess, the session resumed and the chamber ruled the next session will be held after Mladic’s legal representation was cleared with the tribunal’s secretariat.

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