First the presidents of the Mechanism and of the Tribunal denied Mladic’s motion in which he complained about ‘the systemic bias’ and demanded that the proceedings against him be stayed or that a mistrial be called. Now, Judge Orie’s Trial Chamber did the same

Alphons Orie, judge at the TribunalAlphons Orie, judge at the Tribunal

Judge Orie’s Trial Chamber today denied Ratko Mladic’s motion in which his defense demanded the stay of proceedings against the former commander of the VRS Main Staff, or alternatively, a mistrial. The defence cited ‘the systemic bias’ and violations of the rights of the accused to a fair trial.

On 20 July 2016, Mladic’s defense filed a motion seeking the stay of proceedings against their client or a mistrial, citing ‘the systemic bias’ on the part of two trial and three appellate judges, the president of the Tribunal and the president of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, as well as some high-ranking UN officials. The defense contended that they ‘neglected the right of the accused to the presumption of innocence and found the accused guilty’ in advance. The defense submitted its motion to the Trial Chamber hearing the case against Mladic, to the Tribunal’s President and to the President of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals.

The first to respond to the motion was Theodor Meron, the Mechanism’s President. He declared that he lacked jurisdiction since Mladic was still on trial before the Tribunal.

After that, last week, the Tribunal’s President Carmel Agius refused to consider the merits of Mladic’s motion. In Judge Agius’s view, the defense failed to provide any legal grounds for addressing the Tribunal’s President instead of the Trial Chamber. According to the Statute, the Trial Chamber is ‘primarily responsible for securing a fair trial’ for individuals accused of war crimes.

Finally, the Trial Chamber hearing Mladic’s case published its decision today. The motion was rejected because the defense failed to show that Mladic’s right to a fair trial had been violated in any way. Consequently, there are no legal grounds to order a stay of proceedings or declare a mistrial.

The closing arguments at the trial of the former commander of the VRS Main Staff for genocide and other crimes in the war in BH have been slated for the first half of December 2016.