The accused refused to attend the examination of a protected witness who testified via video link from Sarajevo. Mladic contends that such evidence ‘violates his right because he cannot participate directly in examining the witness’. After consulting with his lawyer, the accused indicated his position could be taken as ‘a voluntarily waiver of his right to attend the trial’ until the cross-examination of previous witness Osman Selak resumes

Emty chair of Ratko MladicEmty chair of Ratko Mladic

Ratko Mladic refused to enter the courtroom and attend the examination of a witness who was to testify via video link from Sarajevo. Mladic told the judges through his lawyer that his rights were violated because he ‘cannot participate directly in examining the witness’ and that he ‘insists the witness be examined in his presence’.

As Judge Orie recalled, on 7 September 2012 the Trial Chamber granted the prosecution leave to examine the witness via video link because of his health problems. The defense didn’t object to the request and didn’t seek leave to appeal against the Trial Chamber’s decision. The only thing that could be surmised was that ‘Mladic voluntarily waived his right to attend this part of the trial’, the judge concluded.

The Trial Chamber then withdrew to give defense counsel Miodrag Stojanovic an opportunity to tell Mladic he could ‘enter the courtroom quietly, sit down and behave’, if he wanted to attend the trial. If not, the trial would continue without Mladic.

When the defense counsel returned to the courtroom, he told the judges that Mladic ‘remains adamant and refuses to come in’ during the evidence of the witness who will testify under the pseudonym RM 145. However, Mladic indicated he would be back for the cross-examination of the witness who was examined in chief yesterday. Mladic said his position could be interpreted as ‘a voluntary waiver of the right to attend’ that segment of the trial.