THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) -- Defense attorneys for former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic asked judges Monday to adjourn the case for six months, just hours before the first witness was due to take the stand, saying recent changes in rules for tendering evidence would "result in an extreme miscarriage of justice."
The motion threatened to hold up the first witness testimony in the long-awaited Yugoslav war crimes tribunal trial. Elvedin Pasic, who was just 14 when Serbs overran his village in 1992, was scheduled to testify about Serb forces imprisoning and mistreating men, women and children at a makeshift detention camp in a nearby school in 1992.
Mladic's lawyers claimed in their written filing that trial judges recently changed the rules governing what documentary evidence prosecutors can file and said the changes would now let the prosecutors file significantly more evidence than previously allowed.
The defense motion said the change "is unprecedented in the history of the tribunal and threatens to be a significant blight to the integrity of these proceedings. Urgent action by the Chamber is required to avoid a very potential miscarriage of justice."
Mladic's trial started on May 16, but was almost immediately halted because prosecutors admitted that an apparent clerical error meant they failed to disclose to defense attorneys thousands of pages of evidence.
Mladic faces 11 charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. He denies wrongdoing.
If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.