Laughing Mladic Has Reason to Gloat Over War Crimes Trial Delay

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Former Serbian army commander Ratko Mladic continues to offend those in the audience at his genocide trial, and now he's got a reason to gloat as the judge suspended the proceedings thanks to a potentially huge error in prosecutors' disclosure of evidence. The man accused of ordering his troops to slaughter 8,000 men and boys in Srebrenica reacted with apparent pleasure -- "nodding, smiling and clapping himself" as prosecutors played footage Thursday of him issuing commands in the hours before the massacre, according to The Telegraph's Bruno Waterfield. One survivor, who lost her husband and son in the massacre, told The New York TImes' Marlise Simons and Alan Cowell, "I came to see how Mladic would react to all his crimes. But he looked proud of himself, it’s so hard to bear."

Mladic has reason to gloat, at least as far as this trial is concerned: His lawyers have lobbied for a three-month delay in the trial in previous hearings, and per The Times, the judge agreed. "Court officials estimate that 'millions of pages' contained in 'tens of thousands of documents' were not disclosed to the defense as they should have been under the UN court’s rules," The Telegraph's Waterfield reported. As The Associated Press' Mike Corder explained, "The tribunal published a letter Thursday from prosecutors to Mladic's lawyer that explained the missing documents were not uploaded onto an electronic database accessible to defense lawyers. 'We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience that these missing materials ... may have caused to you,' the May 11 letter says." Judge Alphons Orie said he would try to get the proceeding back on track as soon as possible, The Times reports, but as AP notes, the delay could still take months -- just like Mladic wanted.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.