In a new motion, the defense of the former VRS Main Staff commander urges the Trial Chamber to allow Ratko Mladic to travel to Russia for medical treatment ‘urgently, before it is too late’, warning the judges that they will bear responsibility for ‘any future deterioration and the final fatal outcome’ if they do not let Mladic go

Ratko MladićRatko Mladić

Ratko Mladic’s life is now in the hands of the Trial Chamber who will bear responsibility for any future deterioration of his health and the final fatal outcome unless ‘things change dramatically’. The ‘dramatic change’ the defense wants to see is allowing the accused to travel to the Russian Federation to undergo medical treatment in an unidentified medical clinic.

This alarming and ominous warning to the judges was made public today in the public redacted version of the defense’s reply to the prosecution’s arguments against Mladic’s release, submitted last week. The prosecution argued that Mladic had access to ‘optimal’ health care in The Hague and urged the judges to reject the motion in which the defense asked for Mladic’s provisional release on humanitarian grounds until judgment because he needed to go to Russia for medical treatment.

If the situation were not tragic, the prosecution’s response would be high comedy, the defense contends, criticizing the prosecution for ignoring the ‘effectiveness and strength’ of the guarantees proffered by the Russian Federation. According to the defense, they ‘preclude any possibility of flight’ of the accused. The defense also found fault with the prosecution’s purported willingness to underestimate the seriousness of Mladic’s health problems and the weight of the medical reports filed by the UN Detention Unit; as the defense alleges, they highlighted several times the negative effects of the trial on the health of the accused. Finally, by emphasizing the seriousness of the crimes Mladic is charged with as a factor militating against his provisional release, the prosecution violates the presumption of innocence, the defense argues.

The defense wants the Trial Chamber to ‘urgently, before it is too late’ decide to provisionally release Ratko Mladic and allow him to travel to Russia for medical treatment.