30 May 2011

Mladic denies ordering Srebrenica massacre

9:53 pm on 30 May 2011

Former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic has told his son he did not order the Srebrenica massacre in 1995.

Darko Mladic made the claim in the Serb capital, Belgrade, on Sunday, a day before his father is due to lodge an appeal against being transferred to the war crimes tribunal in the Hague.

The massacre of 7500 Bosnian Muslim men and boys is one of the key charges against General Mladic.

He was arrested in a village about 80km north of Belgrade last Thursday after 16 years on the run. But according to his son, he says he had nothing to do with the killings.

Darko Mladic spoke after visiting his father in detention at Serbia's war crimes court.

''He said that whatever was done in Srebrenica, he had nothing to do with it.

''He saved so many women, children and fighters ... His order was first to evacuate the wounded, women and children and then fighters,'' said Mr Mladic.

''Whoever did what behind his back, he had nothing to do with it.''

The BBC reports General Mladic remains a national hero to some Serbs and his son's statement came as supporters were due to hold protests in Belgrade against his arrest and likely extradition.

Sunday's rally is due to take place outside parliament in Belgrade.

An association of former Bosnian Serb soldiers held a separate protest in the Bosnian village of Kalinovik, where General Mladic was born. Several thousand people attended.

Health deteriorating - lawyer

Defence lawyer Milos Saljic has said his client knew he would be transferred to a UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

He is to appeal against the transfer on Monday.

Mr Saljic maintained on Sunday that General Mladic's health has deteriorated since the court's decision to extradite him.