Moscow says it was “bewildered” at the refusal of the Hague Tribunal to temporarily release Ratko Mladic for medical treatment in Russia.

“The refusal to transfer the Serb for medical treatment is quite illustrative of Hague’s justice. Previously, the ICTY (Hague Tribunal) used to sanction temporary release of convicts on much less weighty grounds. So, the tribunal’s decision and its arguments can cause nothing but bewilderment,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said, according to TASS.

The ministry further “expressed concern over the fact that the ICTY’s Trial Chamber based its opinion about allegedly adequate medical control and the age-related nature of Mladic’s illness on the conclusions of the ICTY penitentiary’s medics and some ‘independent medical specialists’, despite the fact that the prison in Scheveningen, where convicts keep on dying under unclear circumstance, has long been disrepute.”

“Thus, as many as 18 people, 16 of them ethnic Serbs, have died in this prison over the period of the ICTY’s activities and under its jurisdiction. The ICTY Trial Chamber bears full responsibility for this decision and consequences of its conclusions, which expose another episode of ignoring such fundamental rights as the right to life, health care and medical assistance,” the Russian MFA said.

The Hague Tribunal announced on Friday that it would not grant temporary release to Mladic, as it was not convinced that he would return, despite the guarantee offered by the Russian government. The tribunal also said that Mladic was receiving adequate medical treatment at the Scheveningen detention unit.

Mladic’s defense in March asked the tribunal to urgently allow the defendant to travel to Russia for medical treatment, as his health had dramatically deteriorated while in detention, and said it would be “the only reasonable and humane way” to make sure he is alive for his first instance verdict.

Mladic was arrested in Serbia in 2011 after spending many years in hiding and extradited to the Hague Tribunal. His trial started in 2012 and ended in December 2016.

The first instance verdict is expected to be announced in November.

The former military leader of Serbs in Bosnia is accused of war crimes and genocide, committed during the 1992-95 war.

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