Milos Saljic, the lawyer representing Ratko Mladic [JURIST news archive], announced on Monday that he has appealed last week's finding that his client is medically fit for extradition [JURIST report]. Serbian authorities must postpone Mladic's extradition [AP report] until the court reviews the appeal, which formally requests that independent physicians, including cardiologists, neurosurgeons, orthopedists and gastroenterologists, be granted access to assess Mladic's condition [B92 report]. Saljic believes Mladic's health is sufficiently poor to merit blocking extradition and, in turn, Mladic's hearings at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website]. There have been no questions about Mladic's mental competence, as he told Saljic [Guardian report] that he understands his circumstances and that he rejects the tribunal's authority. Serbian authorities captured [ICTY press release] Mladic last week, ending a 16-year manhunt [JURIST report] for the former general colonel and commander of the army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Mladic was one of the two remaining at-large war criminals sought by the ICTY, along with Goran Hadzic. Mladic faces charges [amended indictment, PDF] of genocide and crimes against humanity, including murder, political persecution, forcible transfer and deportations, cruel treatment and the taking of peacekeepers as hostages. He is most infamous for ordering the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the massacre of Srebrenica during the Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archives]. In December, the First Municipal Court in Belgrade acquitted 10 men [JURIST report] suspected of helping Mladic evade arrest. In September, ICTY prosecutor Serge Brammertz [official profile] called on Serbia and other governments [JURIST report] to increase efforts to find and arrest Mladic. Last May, Mladic's family filed a claim in the Belgrade District Court seeking to have him declared officially dead [JURIST report] in order to collect his state pension and sell his property. The ICTY announced earlier that month that the Office of the Prosecutor filed a motion to amend the indictment against Mladic [JURIST report] to include 11 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war in order to help speed up court proceedings.