Glance of delayed international war crimes cases

May 17, 2012, 2:50 PM

(AP) – Former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic’s genocide trial at the U.N. Yugoslav war crimes tribunal was suspended Thursday after prosecutors mistakenly failed to turn over evidence to his defense lawyers. It was far from the first time an international trial has faced delays. Here are some other examples.

_Slobodan Milosevic: The trial of the former Yugoslav President on charges of masterminding Serb atrocities throughout the wars that tore apart the Balkans in the 1990s dragged on for four years and was eventually aborted without verdicts when he died of a heart attack in his jail cell in 2006. The trial was repeatedly delayed by Milosevic’s ill health and propensity for grandstanding in court.

_Charles Taylor: The former Liberian President fired his legal team and boycotted the start of a trial at the Special Court for Sierra Leone in June 2007, claiming he did not have the resources to properly defend himself. The trial got under way again in January 2008 when the first witness testified. Taylor was convicted last month of aiding and abetting murderous rebels in Sierra Leone’s civil war. He will be sentenced May 30.

_Radovan Karadzic: The former Bosnian Serb leader also boycotted the opening of his war crimes trial in October 2009 claiming he did not have enough time to prepare his defense. Judges later ruled that Karadzic had “substantially and persistently obstructed the proper and expeditious conduct of his trial.” The first witness finally testified on April 13, 2010. Prosecutors recently finished calling witnesses and Karadzic will begin presenting his defense in October.

_Vojislav Seselj: The Serb ultranationalist has repeatedly delayed his case. His trial began in November 2006 in his absence because he was on hunger strike. The court then called for a fresh start after allowing Seselj to represent himself. The trial started again in November 2007 but was halted again in February 2009 amid allegations of witness intimidation by Seselj. The trial finally resumed in January 2010 and judges are still considering their verdicts _ more than nine years after Seselj surrendered to the court.

_Thomas Lubanga: The Congolese warlord was the first suspect to go on trial at the International Criminal Court. His case on charges of recruiting and using child soldiers was twice halted due to prosecutors not disclosing parts of their evidence against him. He was convicted in March, some six years after he was sent to the court and will be sentenced later this year.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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Glance of delayed international war crimes cases