Judge Moloto warned Mladic that the Trial Chamber had at its disposal measures it could take if the accused didn’t behave properly in court. The defense lawyers must react and stop their client from insulting witnesses, the judge insisted

Ratko Mladic in the courtroomRatko Mladic in the courtroom

The Tribunal’s Victims and Witnesses Unit yesterday brought to the judges’ attention the unacceptable comments and insults made by the accused Ratko Mladic in court against witness Aernout Van Linden. Today, prosecutor Dermot Groom revisited the issue. Noting that some of Mladic’s insults and the witness’s discontent and disappointment with such treatment in court were reported by some media outlets, the prosecution asked the Trial Chamber to take measures to ‘protect future witnesses from being insulted in court’. The prosecution ‘had not expected a military officer of such high rank to behave in this manner’, prosecutor Groom added.

Judge BakoneMoloto from South Africa is standing in for Judge Orie who is absent. Judge Moloto once again reminded Mladic where he was and what kind of behavior was expected of him in court. As Judge Moloto noted, the Tribunal ‘had at its disposal measures that could be taken to improve the situation’ if Mladic persisted with this kind of behavior.

Judge Moloto was even harsher with the defense counsels. In the courtroom, defense counsels sit just in front of Mladic. If the prosecution could hear the insults Mladic hurled at the witness from the other side of the courtroom, the judge ‘assumes’ that the defense heard them too. As Moloto said, he would ‘expect them to do something and stop the accused’. The defense counsels speak the same language and understand the accused without the assistance of interpreters. Before he gave the defense the floor to respond and explain their conduct, Judge Moloto said as a ‘preliminary remark’ that the Trial Chamber ‘finds it very serious that the defense lawyers didn’t react to what their client said’.

The accused Mladic tried to join the discussion, but Judge Moloto didn’t give him the floor.