BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic knows he will be extradited to a U.N. war crimes tribunal but wants time to rest before the trip, his lawyer said Saturday.
Mladic, 69, is being held in a Serbian jail. He could be extradited as early as Monday if a judge rejects his appeal of a decision to move him to The Hague. His defense team and family have said he suffers from several health problems.
Serbia’s police chief said security has been tightened throughout the country ahead of the protest planned by ultranationalists over Mladic’s arrest Thursday in a tiny Serbian village after 16 years on the run.
Ivica Dacic said the rally scheduled for Sunday in Belgrade will closely be watched by the police.
He said that: “Security has been increased, but the situation in Serbia is stable.”
Mladic is charged by the U.N. war crimes court for his part in the killing of some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, and other atrocities committed by his troops during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war.
There are fears of violence as extreme right-wing groups are calling their supporters, mostly soccer hooligans, to join the Sunday rally in front of the downtown parliament building organized by the ultranationalist Serbian Radical Party.
“Additional attention has been focused on the extremist groups these days,” Dacic said. “We are taking measures to prevent the escalation of extremist behavior.”
“He’s in a kind of confusion,” Saljic said. “His health has not improved.”
Mladic’s son Darko told reporters in front of the Belgrade court that the former fugititive looked a bit better than he did Friday but seemed unaware of the situation he faces.
“If you were able to talk to him for five minutes, you would know what I’m talking about,” Darko Mladic says, reiterating a family appeal that Mladic be placed into a hospital.
He also repeated Mladic’s call against violence by his supporters, saying the protests should be peaceful.
Dusan Stojanovic contributed.