MOSCOW, April 11 – RAPSI. Former Colonel General of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) Ratko Mladic was ejected from his trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY) Thursday morning after lashing out on a protected witness during testimony on the 1995 Srebrenica Massacre.
An ICTY spokesperson said in a press statement the Mladic had used “inappropriate language” when addressing the witness, but refrained from relaying his exact word choice.
It remains to be seen whether Mladic will face contempt charges for his outburst.
He was removed from the courtroom by the presiding judge for the duration of the present witness’ testimony, but was expected to return once the prosecution called its next witness.
Mladic stands accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of the laws and customs of war.
The trial is one of the most high-profile in the Hague tribunal's history. As a VRS leader, Mladic played a central role in the war. He now stands accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and the breach of laws and customs of war. Mladic was indicted in 1995, but evaded authorities until his arrest on May 26, 2011. His trial began on May 16, 2012.
His charges stem from his alleged involvement in the siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre, as well as the more generalized allegation that he participated in a joint criminal enterprise aimed at permanently ousting the Muslim and Croat populations from Serb-controlled areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In a report issued on the Srebrenica Massacre, the ICTY referred to it as, "the single worst atrocity committed in the former Yugoslavia during the wars of the 1990s and the worst massacre that occurred in Europe since the months after World War II."
The ICTY has held that the massacre constituted an act of genocide, stating: "The Tribunal has found beyond a reasonable doubt that Bosnian Serb and other forces killed between 7,000 and 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys between approximately 11 and 19 July 1995. The Tribunal has established beyond a reasonable doubt that the vast majority of those killed were not killed in combat, but were victims of executions. The Tribunal has established beyond a reasonable doubt that the killings did not occur in a moment of passion, but were the product of a well-planned and coordinated operation. Finally, the Tribunal has established beyond a reasonable doubt that the killing of 7,000 to 8,000 Bosnian Muslim prisoners was genocide."