Ratko Mladic has refused to enter a plea at the UN war crimes court in The Hague, angrily demanding more time to appoint his own lawyers.
The chief judge instead entered a not guilty plea on Mladic’s behalf, citing the rules of the court.
When the former Bosnian Serb general refused to hear details of the charges, including genocide during the Bosnian war, judges ordered his removal from the court room.
Mladic continually tried to interrupt the chief judge, who then ordered that he be returned to his cell.
Many were surprised to see the former general appear in the dock; a lawyer representing him had earlier said the accused would boycott today’s hearing.
There were testy exchanges between Mladic and the chief judge over various matters, including the naming of defence lawyers. The accused was also warned not to communicate with the public gallery.
Mladic refused to obey the order, and at one point he gave a thumbs up sign to someone in the public gallery. The chief judge did not seem to notice this, as he was talking to the other judges at the time.
Also, at the start of the hearing, judges ordered Mladic to remove a cap he was wearing. The former general later insisted that he needed the hat to keep his head warm and improve his ability to hear, but the chief judge refused to let him put it back on.
The 69-year-old was arrested in May after 16 years on the run.
Angry exchanges lead to Mladic's removal from UN court