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‘Butcher of Bosnia’ Ratko Mladic appeals genocide conviction at The Hague

Issued on: 25/08/2020 – 13:51

Former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic was in court at The ..

Issued on:

Former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic was in court at The Hague on Tuesday to appeal his 2017 genocide conviction for atrocities his forces committed during the Bosnian war, including the murders of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica. Lawyers for Mladic argued that he was not fit to face trial.

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Lawyers for Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic told a UN court Tuesday he was at risk of a "miscarriage of justice" because he was not mentally fit to take part in an appeal hearing against his genocide conviction.

Dubbed the "Butcher of Bosnia", the 78-year-old Mladic has challenged his 2017 conviction and life sentence for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

'Butcher of Serbia' Ratko Mladic not fit for hearing lawyer tells UN judges, FRANCE 24's Molly Quell reports

But Mladic's lawyers said they were taking part under protest in the two-day hearing in The Hague, after judges earlier this week rejected a bid to postpone it pending a fresh medical assessment.

A frail-looking Mladic appeared in court wearing a mask because of coronavirus regulations, which he later removed. Wearing a suit with his red tie askew, he initially complained that he could not follow the hearing through headphones.

"This hearing today is inappropriate and threatens … a miscarriage of justice, such that I cannot abide to be a silent participant in this questionable proceeding," defence lawyer Dragan Ivetic told the court in opening remarks.

"I am unable to meaningfully gain instruction from Mr Mladic, or be assured that he is able to meaningfully follow proceedings."

The hearing has already been delayed several times since March after Mladic needed an operation to remove a benign polyp on his colon, and then because of the pandemic.

Who was Ratko Mladic, the 'Butcher of Bosnia'?

'Questions about his memory'

Mladic was captured in 2011 after years on the run and sentenced to life behind bars three years ago for his role in the 1992-95 war in Bosnia.

This included genocide committed by his forces in the small eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, Europe's worst bloodshed since World War II, where some 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered.

About 100,000 people were killed and 2.2 million others displaced in the Bosnian war, which erupted as communal rivalries tore Yugoslavia apart after the fall of communism.

Today is the start of the appeal of Ratko Mladić, who was sentenced in 2017 to life imprisonment for committing genocide in Srebrenica including war crimes throughout BiH. Our thoughts today are with the survivors and the families of the victims, for whom justice must be served.

— Remembering Srebrenica (@SrebrenicaUK) August 25, 2020

Mladic, who has been serving his sentence at a detention centre in the seaside suburb of Scheveningen, has appealed against both the conviction and sentence. The prosecution has appealed against his acquittal on wider genocide charges.

Ivetic said the original judgment was "replete with errors", including linking Mladic to crimes committed in 1991 before he was in the chaiRead More – Source

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Covid: Thousands protest in France against proposed new vaccine pass

A new draft law would in effect ban unvaccinated people from public life.

Demonstrators in the capital, Paris, held placards emblazoned with phrases like “no to vaccine passes”.

Interior Ministry officials said 34 people were arrested and some 10 police officers were injured after the protests turned violent in some places.

The bill, which passed its first reading in the lower house of France’s parliament on Thursday, would remove the option of showing a negative Covid-19 test to gain access to a host of public venues.

Instead, people would have to be fully vaccinated to visit a range of spaces, including bars and restaurants.

The government says it expects the new rules to come into force on 15 January, although the opposition-dominated Senate could delay the process.

But demonstrators on Saturday accused the government of trampling on their freedoms and treating citizens unequally.

Others targeted their anger at the president, Emmanuel Macron, over comments he made earlier this week in relation to unvaccinated citizens, telling Le Parisian newspaper that he wanted to “piss them off”.

One protester, hospital administrator Virginie Houget, told the Reuters news agency that Mr Macron’s remarks were “the last straw”.

And in Paris, where some 18,000 people marched against the new law, demonstrators responded to his coarse language by chanting: “We’ll piss you off”.

TV images showed altercations between protesters and police turning violent in some places. In Montpellier officers used teargas during clashes with the demonstrators.

Turnout for the protests was estimated to be about four times higher than the last major demonstrations on 18 December, when some 25,500 people marched across the country.

But despite the vocal protests, opposition to the new measures is not widespread and recent polling suggests the vast majority of people back the vaccine pass.

France is one of the most highly vaccinated countries in Europe, with more than 90% of over-12s eligible for the shot fully vaccinated.

Meanwhile, new coronavirus infections are rising rapidly across France as the new Omicron variant takes hold.

The country recorded more than 300,000 new cases for the second time in a week on Friday and admissions to intensive care wards are rising steadily, putting healthcare systems under strain.

Some hospitals have reported that some 85% of ICU patients are not vaccinated against Covid-19.

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Covid-19: ‘There is no choice between lives and livelihoods,’ OECD chief Gurría says

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:26

As European countries move into their second Covid-19 lockdowns of t..

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:26

As European countries move into their second Covid-19 lockdowns of the year, the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development backs measures seen by many as tough. Ángel Gurría tells FRANCE 24: "If you win the battle against the virus first, you will have less economic consequences." He adds that "there is no choice between lives and livelihoods; it's a false dilemma".

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Mexican economist Ángel Gurría has been Secretary-General of the OECD since 2006 – throughout the global financial crash and subsequent recovery.

With hopes now high for viable vaccines against Covid-19, he's telling world leaders that the solutions to health and economic crises must carry the elements of our solutions to the environmental crisis too: "The single most important inter-generational responsibility is with the planet. That means the recovery, where we are going to make investments that have an impact for the next 30, 40 years, must absolutely have the sustainability of the planet in mind".

On the recently announced Pfizer vaccine, Gurría says: "It is a game changer […] The possibility of a vaccine being close is of enormous consequence. We still have to wait for it to be finalised, approved and distributed in sufficient amounts that it can get everywhere, so we are calculating that we are going to spend most of 2021 still living with the virus. But it changes expectations; the whole mood has improved considerably since the announcement."

On the refusal of Donald Trump, leader of the OECD's biggest single funder, to concede defeat in the US presidential election, Gurría sounds an upbeat note: "I believe that we will have an orderly transition of power in the United States come 20th January 2021. I believe in the institutions in the United States, I believe that the political forces in the United States will eventually align."

Finally, as talks drag on over a new Brexit deal on the future relationship between the EU and the United Kingdom, Gurría says he still expects a deal to be struck: "I believe that the common interest will lead to a deal […] The impact in Europe is going to be limited to the trade with the UK. The impact in the UK is going to be very serious, not only because of the flows of trade and flows of investment, but also because the overall business mood will be affected. So I am still counting on a deal."

Produced by Mathilde Bénézet

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Attacks in France and Austria: Europe’s response to extremism

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:40Modified: 13/11/2020 – 17:42

TALKING EUROPE © FRANCE 24
This Friday..

Issued on: 13/11/2020 – 17:40Modified: 13/11/2020 – 17:42

TALKING EUROPE
TALKING EUROPE © FRANCE 24

This Friday marks the fifth anniversary of the Paris terror attacks, in which 130 people were killed. The last few weeks have seen more bloodshed, with attacks in the Paris region, in Nice and in the Austrian capital Vienna. European leaders are looking for solutions: ways to stop hate being preached, broadcast and acted upon, while defending individual freedoms of speech and of conscience. In our debate we ask two leading members of the European Parliament, from France and from Austria, what they believe should be done.

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Produced by Yi Song and Perrine Desplats

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Our guests

  • Andreas SCHIEDER, Austrian MEP, Socialists & Democrats
  • Nathalie LOISEAU, French MEP, Renew Europe

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