Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic, who is awaiting trial in The Hague, has been admitted to hospital suffering from pneumonia.

The former general has frequently complained of ill health since his arrest and extradition from Serbia in May to face charges of genocide and war crimes during the Bosnia war of the early 1990s.

His Belgrade lawyer, Milos Saljic, said the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal had informed him yesterday that Mr Mladic had been transferred to hospital, "apparently because of pneumonia".

Mr Saljic said he had no further details. The press office at the tribunal in The Netherlands was unable to confirm the information.

Mr Mladic, who evaded arrest for 16 years, is accused of orchestrating the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995 and the 43-month siege of Sarajevo in which 10,000 people were killed.

Last week, Mr Mladic said he was in pain due to a kidney stone during a pre-trial status conference and requested to see Serbian doctors. His lawyers say he underwent a hernia operation in August.

Concerned over the suspect's health, prosecutors have proposed splitting the case against him into two to speed up proceedings, mindful that former Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic spent four years on trial but died in 2006 before a verdict could be reached.

Mr Mladic has dismissed the charges against him as "obnoxious" and "monstrous".