THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Ratko Mladic's genocide trial was halted Friday for a second day running because the former Bosnian Serb military commander was undergoing medical tests and under observation after being rushed to a hospital a day earlier.

Mladic's seat in in the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal courtroom was empty as the trial briefly resumed.

Tribunal spokeswoman Nerma Jelacic said Friday afternoon that Mladic was discharged from a hospital and sent back to his cell.

"Ratko Mladic has returned to the detention unit after medical examinations confirmed there were no abnormalities in his health status and that no treatment is required," Jelacic said in a statement. "The previous determination that Mladic is fit to stand trial therefore remains unchanged."

Mladic's lawyer said he initially feared the 70-year-old former general had a stroke when he complained of feeling ill in court Thursday, but that tests had ruled that out.

"Now we think either it's a high level of sugar in his blood or high blood pressure, since he had both higher than normal yesterday," Branko Lukic told reporters outside the courtroom. "We are hopeful that we will continue on Monday."

However, Lukic warned that Mladic's frail health could be imperiled by his trial and hinted he would apply to further reduce the time he spends in court each week.

The complex trial, covering atrocities spanning the entire 1992-1995 Bosnian war that left 100,000 people dead, already is expected to last years and has so far had sittings scheduled for only one morning or afternoon session per day.

"There is some kind of recommendation from the medical staff as well that he should have more rest during the day and we think we should have less working days during the week as well," Lukic said. "It is too much for him. It's not only sitting and listening, it's stressful too. Obviously, it did affect him."

Lukic's concerns raise the specter of the trial of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, which had to be aborted without a verdict when he died in his cell of a heart attack in 2006.

Milosevic's trial dragged on for four years in part because of his ill health repeatedly holding up proceedings.

The leader of a group that represents family members of some of the 8,000 Muslim men killed in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre said she hoped Mladic would survive.

"We wish him a good recovery. We pray to God that he gets well because if he dies, justice will die with him and the victims will be betrayed again," said Munira Subasic, the head of the Mothers of Srebrenica group. "We need him to be convicted. We need it for our own history. We do not want the Milosevic situation to be repeated."

Mladic also has had poor health during his 16 years as a fugitive from international justice and since his arrest last year and transfer to a cell in The Hague.

Since arriving in the Netherlands, Mladic has undergone surgery for a hernia and been treated for other ailments including a kidney stone and pneumonia.

But as witness testimony at his long-awaited trial got under way this week he looked healthier than at any time since his arrest.

Fearing a similar scenario to Milosevic's aborted trial, prosecutors last year unsuccessfully applied to judges to split Mladic's trial into two separate cases, fearing his health was too fragile for such a lengthy case.

Prosecutors proposed trying Mladic first for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, for which he is accused of genocide, before starting a separate trial on charges of masterminding other Serb atrocities throughout Bosnia's 1992-95 war that left 100,000 dead.

Mladic denies any wrongdoing during his time as leader of the Bosnian Serb military, arguing that his forces were defending Serb interests.

The trial is scheduled to resume Monday and continue for the remainder of the week before pausing for the tribunal's three-week summer recess.


Associated Press writer Aida Cerkez in Sarajevo, Bosnia, contributed to this report.

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  • In this Monday March 29, 1993 file photo evacuees from the besieged Muslim enclave of Srebrenica, packed on a truck en route to Tuzla, pass through Tojsici, 56 miles north of Sarajevo. More than 2,300 evacuees left Srebrenica on U.N. trucks for Tuzla. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

  • This July 13, 1995 file photo shows Dutch UN peacekeepers sitting on top of an APC as Muslim refugees from Srebrenica, eastern Bosnia, gather in the village of Potocari, some 5 kms north of Srebrenica. (AP Photo)

  • In this Monday, June 22, 1992 file photo a wounded Sarajevo resident sits in shock next to two other seriously wounded civilians moments after one of several mortar shells landed in central Sarajevo. (AP Photo/Santiago Lyon)

  • This Sunday Jan. 28, 1996 file photo shows Bosnian Muslim prisoners newly released from Foca prison 85 km (53 miles) from Sarajevo being assisted by French IFOR soldiers as they queue for a bus at Sarajevo airport for transport into the city and reunion with family and loved ones. (AP Photo/Rikard Larma)

  • This Thursday, Dec. 10, 1998 file photo shows destroyed bridge over the Drina river at the entrance of the Bosnian Serb town of Foca, 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Sarajevo. (AP Photo/Sava Radovanovic)

  • This Thursday July 13, 1995 file photo shows a young Muslim refugee from Srebrenica watching as other refugees pass in a UN armored vehicle as they arrive at a U.N. base 12 kms south of Tuzla, 100kms (60 miles) north of Sarajevo. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

  • In this April 16, 1994 photo, Bosnian Serb army commander-in-chief Col. General Ratko Mladic, center, observes Bosnian government forces positions in Gorazde, eastern Bosnia, surrounded by his bodyguards. (AP Photo/Emil Vas)

  • Toys and other belongings of children killed in Sarajevo during the 1992-95 Bosnian war, displayed at an exhibition dedicated to the little victims in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on Tuesday, May 8, 2012. Hundreds of children were among the 11,654 Sarajevans who were killed by snipers and shells. (AP Photo/Amel Emric)

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