Mladic removed from U.N. war crimes court.
THE HAGUE: Guards at the U.N. war crimes tribunal removed Ratko Mladic from the courtroom Monday after the former Bosnian Serb army chief harangued the judge as he read out the charges and entered a not guilty plea on Mladic's behalf.
Having threatened to boycott his second hearing since being tracked down and extradited from Serbia to The Hague in May, Mladic did in fact appear but spent several minutes demanding new legal representation and seeking a delay in filing his plea. He also complained of cold after being told not to wear his cap.
Judge Alphons Ourie rejected the request for a postponement but said the tribunal would check whether the lawyers he wanted would at subsequent hearings be allowed to replace the court-appointed attorney acting for him. Mladic has requested for Belgrade-based military lawyer Milos Saljic and Russian jurist Alexander Mezyaev to represent him.
When Ourie moved on to rule that, in the absence of a plea, the court would enter one for Mladic after reading out the charges, the 69-year-old former career soldier shouted: "No, no, no! Don't read it to me, not a single word."
As Ourie pressed on, warning Mladic that he would be removed if he interrupted again, he stated the first charge as genocide.
"No, no, I'm not going to listen to this without my lawyer," Mladic shouted as he removed his translation. "You are no court. "Who are you? You're not allowing me to breathe."
The judge adjourned the hearing, before resuming some minutes later with an empty dock to read the remaining charges, formally entering a not guilty plea after each one. Mladic is accused over the 43-month siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo and the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica -- Europe's worst massacre since World War II
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|Publication:||The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)|
|Date:||Jul 5, 2011|
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