The Yugoslav war crimes tribunal on Wednesday pushed back by nearly seven weeks the start of the long-awaited genocide trial of former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic.

The UN court announced the trial will start May 14 instead of the previous provisional date of March 27 to allow Mladic's lawyers more time to prepare. Mladic's defense team says it needs until October to read through thousands of pages of evidence to prepare for the trial.

Prosecutors plan to use evidence from 410 witnesses and call 158 of them to testify in court as well as presenting judges with nearly 28,000 exhibits in a trial that will highlight atrocities committed by Serb forces allegedly under Mladic's command from the opening shots of the 1992-95 conflict to its climax, the massacre of about 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Srebrenica enclave in eastern Bosnia.

Mladic, who was captured last May in Serbia 16 years after he was first indicted, faces 11 charges including two genocide counts for allegedly masterminding Bosnian Serb atrocities throughout the war that left an estimated 100,000 dead. He denies the charges. 

He had at least one stroke during his years as a fugitive and has complained of various ailments since his capture.

However, judges largely rejected defense requests for short courtroom sessions during the trial to accommodate the ailing Mladic, saying in a written scheduling order that they were "not convinced that the accused's health condition requires modification of the daily and weekly sitting schedule."