Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/5/2012 (1774 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- An apparent clerical error prompted judges to postpone the long-awaited war crimes trial of former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic on Thursday, possibly for months.
The delay cast a shadow over one of the court's biggest cases -- and over the reputation of the court itself, where most prominent trials have proceeded at a snail's pace, frustrating many victims.
It also highlighted problems international tribunals face in prosecuting sweeping indictments covering allegations of atrocities spanning years in countries far from the courts where defendants face justice.
"It is fraught with delay because of the volume of documentation and scope of alleged crimes," Richard Dicker, the director of Human Rights Watch's international justice program, said Thursday. "Add to that the need to translate and it really takes it to a whole new level of complexity that you don't see in domestic trials."
Presiding judge Alphons Orie said he was delaying the Yugoslav war-crimes tribunal case due to "significant disclosure errors" by prosecutors, who are obliged to share all evidence with Mladic's lawyers.
Orie said judges will analyze the "scope and full impact" of the problem and aim to set a new starting date as soon as possible. The presentation of evidence was set to begin later this month.
Prosecutors had already acknowledged the errors and did not object to the delay. Mladic's attorney has asked for six months to study the materials.
Mladic is accused of commanding Bosnian Serb troops who waged a campaign of killings and persecution to drive Muslims and Croats out of territory they considered part of Serbia during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.
His troops rained shells and snipers' bullets down on civilians in the 44-month siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo. They also executed thousands of Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, the site of Europe's worst massacre since the Second World War. The war itself left over 100,000 dead.
-- The Associated Press