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Mladic trial to hear closing arguments in December

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UN war crimes prosecutors and defence lawyers will wrap up their case in the marathon genocide trial of Bosnian Serb ex-army chief Ratko Mladic in early December, officials said Friday.

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) will present their closing arguments from December 5 to 7, with Mladic's lawyers following on December 9, 12 and 13, the ICTY said in a court document.

Mladic, 74, faces 11 counts including for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in Bosnia's bloody 1992-95 war in which more than 100,000 people died and 2.2 million others were left homeless.

Arrested in Serbia in 2011 after 16 years on the run, the man known as the "Butcher of Bosnia" went on trial in May 2012.

He has denied all the charges, including responsibility for the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre in which almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys were slaughtered over a period of six days. It was Europe's worst bloodshed since World War II.

Like his political counterpart Radovan Karadzic, who was sentenced to 40 years in jail by the ICTY in March, Mladic is also accused of being involved in the harrowing 44-month siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

Around 10,000 civilians died during a relentless campaign of sniping and shelling.

Mladic also faces charges of taking UN personnel hostage and using them as human shields against NATO airstrikes at the time, and destruction of property.

He has been held in the UN's detention unit in a seaside suburb of The Hague since being transferred in 2011.

Set up in 1993 to prosecute those most responsible for crimes committed in the wars that followed the break-up of the former Yugoslavia in 1991 after the fall of communism, the ICTY has indicted 161 people.

Mladic's trial is the last to be held at the ICTY and a verdict and judgement is expected some time in 2017. About half of those indicted have been convicted and sentenced.

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