Defence lawyers representing former Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic have been given until the end of the month to respond to a request by prosecutors for proceedings to be divided into two parts.

The first part would deal with the massacre of more than 7,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica, while the second would tackle the siege of Sarajevo and other crimes.

Proceedings at the International Court for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague have now been adjourned.

Mr Mladic was arrested in Serbia in May after 16 years on the run. He was then transferred to the UN court to stand trial for his role in the atrocities.

He has been charged with 11 counts including murder, deportation, inhumane acts and attacks on civilians.

Mr Mladic has already entered a plea of not guilty, describing the charges as 'monstrous'.

The former senior military figure has experienced several strokes in recent years and there have been concerns that he could die before a verdict is reached, just like former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic.