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Moscow bewildered at ICTY’s refusal to release Mladic for medical treatment in Russia

"The refusal to transfer the Serb for medical treatment is quite illustrative of The Hague’s justice," the ministry said

MOSCOW, May 16. /TASS/. The Russian foreign ministry said on Tuesday is bewildered at the refusal of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague to temporarily release the former commander of the Bosnian Serbs’ forces, General Ratko Mladic, for a course of medical treatment in Russia.

"The refusal to transfer the Serb for medical treatment is quite illustrative of The Hague’s justice. Previously, the ICTY used to sanction temporary release of convicts on much less weighty grounds. So, the tribunal’s decision and its arguments can cause nothing but bewilderment," the ministry said.

The ministry expressed concern over the fact that the ICTY’s Trial Chamber based its opinion about "allegedly adequate medical control and the age-related nature of Mladic’s illness on the conclusions of the ICTY penitentiary’s medics and some ‘independent medical specialists,’ despite the fact that the prison in Scheveningen, where convicts keep on dying under unclear circumstance, has long been disrepute." Thus, as many as 18 people, 16 of them being ethnic Serbs, have died in this prison over the period of the ICTY’s activities and under its jurisdiction, the ministry recalled.

"The ICTY Trial Chamber bears full responsibility for this decision and consequences of its conclusions, which expose another episode of ignoring such fundamental rights as the right to life, health care and medical assistance," the ministry stressed.

On March 20, Mladic’s defense lawyers lodged a request for his temporary release from the detention center in the Hague and also for letting him undergo a course of treatment in Russia. "Being guided by considerations of humanity, Russia answered the Serbian general’s request and offered the ICTY corresponding guarantees," the Russian foreign ministry said earlier.

Mladic is accused of genocide, violations of the laws and customs of war and crimes against humanity, reportedly committed in 1992-1995 in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He had managed to escape prosecution for 16 years until his arrest in Serbia in May 2011 and extradition to The Hague. His case is the last one the ICTY is to consider. It is expected that Mladic, former commander of the Bosnian Serbs’ army, will hear the sentence in November 2017. He will be allowed to appeal the sentence.