Foul-mouthed Mladic sentenced
Mladic, known as the “butcher of Bosnia”, was sentenced to life imprisonment after being found guilty of committing genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
From 1992 to 1995, 100,000 people were killed and another 2.2 million displaced in the Bosnian war.
Radovan Karadzic, the political leader of the Bosnian Serbs in the 1992-95 war, and Yugoslavia’s President Slobodan Milosevic, who armed and funded the Bosnian-Serb forces, faced the same charges. The ICTY convicted Karadzic last year and jailed him for 40 years. Milosevic died in his cell in 2006 before his trial was concluded.
As Mladic entered the courtroom, he gave a broad smile and thumbs up to the cameras, angering relatives of the victims.
The verdict was disrupted for more than half an hour when Mladic asked for a lavatory break and then his lawyers said proceedings should be halted because of his high-blood pressure. When the judges denied the appeal, the former general stood up and shouted: “This is all lies … I’ll fuck your mother.” He was ejected from the court and the verdicts were read in his absence.
His lawyer, Dragan Ivetic, said it was “certain” the 74-year-old would appeal.
“I am General Ratko Mladic. The whole world knows who I am,” he told a pre-trial hearing in 2011. “I am here defending my country and people, not Ratko Mladic.”
The trial in The Hague took 530 days across more than four years, nearly 10,000 exhibits were examined and almost 600 people gave evidence for the prosecution and defence, including survivors of the civil war.
Prosecutor Serge Brammertz told the media that Mladic would be remembered “for the many communities and lives he destroyed”.
“Today’s judgment is a milestone in the tribunal’s history and for international justice,” he said.
The former general was charged with genocide for the slaughter of 8,000 unarmed Bosnian-Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995, and his forces’ 43-month siege of Sarajevo in which thousands of civilians were killed by artillery, mortar, tank and sniper fire from the hills surrounding the Bosnian capital.
When the Bosnian Serbs took up arms after a referendum for independence by Muslims and Croats, Mladic took over the Yugoslav forces in Bosnia who rapidly conquered 70 per cent of the country.
War damage in Sarajevo. Picture credit: Wikimedia