A court in The Hague has postponed appeal hearings in the case of Gen. Ratko Mladic, sentenced to life in prison for his role in the Srebrenica genocide and crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had been scheduled for June 16 and 17.
The hearings, which should have wrapped up the proceedings against Mladic ahead of a non-appealable ruling, are now delayed until further notice, it was announced on May 29.
The appellate council said in a press release that the reason for the delay was that the four judges were unable to come to The Hague from their African countries in time for the hearings due to restricted air travel and other restrictive measures amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Additionally, the court secretariat considers Gen. Mladic, 78, "high-risk" because of his age and medical history, and recommends against his having contact with anyone outside the Scheveningen detention facility. As Mladic declined to forgo his right to be present in court, a status conference scheduled for May 29 was also canceled earlier.
Mladic's defense counsel earlier asked that hearings on appeals and status conferences be canceled because they were unable to meet with their client and prepare for court after the detention facility prohibited all contact due to the novel coronavirus threat.