Friday, June 29, 2012

'Butcher of Bosnia' trial: Judge suspends hearing indefinitely because of 'errors by prosecution'

The showpiece genocide and war crimes trial of the 'Butcher of Bosnia' Ratko Mladic was dramatically halted in The Hague today after an extraordinary and embarrassing blunder by prosecutors.

Presiding judge Alphons Orie suspended the hearing of the former Bosnian Serb General indefinitely after prosecutors failed to disclose thousands of documents to the defence team.

Incredibly, prosecutors had over 16 years while the 70 year-old, the one-time military commander accused of orchestrating the Srebrencia massacre of 8,000 men and boys, was on the run to prepare for the case.

But yesterday they acknowledged their mistakes which judge Orie described as 'significant disclosure errors.'

The announcement could lead to a six-month delay and is seen as a major setback for the court in one of its highest profile cases, its final trial to focus on atrocities committed during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, which left over 100,000 dead.

The proceedings are being broadcast live in Bosnia where Bosnian Serbs, who consider Mladic a hero, mocked the court greeting the decision with a mixture of laughter and applause. Read More