Ratko Mladic's trial halted because of his health
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Ratko Mladic's genocide trial was halted Friday for a second day running because the former Bosnian Serb military commander was undergoing medical tests and under observation after being rushed to a hospital a day earlier.
Mladic's seat in in the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal courtroom was empty as the trial briefly resumed.
Tribunal spokeswoman Nerma Jelacic said Friday afternoon that Mladic was discharged from a hospital and sent back to his cell.
"Ratko Mladic has returned to the detention unit after medical examinations confirmed there were no abnormalities in his health status and that no treatment is required," Jelacic said in a statement. "The previous determination that Mladic is fit to stand trial therefore remains unchanged."
Mladic's lawyer said he initially feared the 70-year-old former general had a stroke when he complained of feeling ill in court Thursday, but that tests had ruled that out.
"Now we think either it's a high level of sugar in his blood or high blood pressure, since he had both higher than normal yesterday," Branko Lukic told reporters outside the courtroom. "We are hopeful that we will continue on Monday."
However, Lukic warned that Mladic's frail health could be imperiled by his trial and hinted he would apply to further reduce the time he spends in court each week.
The complex trial, covering atrocities spanning the entire 1992-1995 Bosnian war that left 100,000 people dead, already is expected to last years and has so far had sittings scheduled for only one morning or afternoon session per day.
"There is some kind of recommendation from the medical staff as well that he should have more rest during the day and we think we should have less working days during the week as well," Lukic said. "It is too much for him. It's not only sitting and listening, it's stressful too. Obviously, it did affect him."
Lukic's concerns raise the specter of the trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, which had to be aborted without a verdict when he died in his cell of a heart attack in 2006.
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