Ratko Mladic guilty in Bosnia genocide

Former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladić was sentenced to life imprisonment Nov. 22 by the United Nations' International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), for crimes committed during the Bosnian conflict from 1992 to 1996. Mladić was found guilty of two counts of genocide, crimes against humanity (five counts: persecutions; extermination; murder; deportation; and inhuman acts), and violations of the laws or customs of war (four counts: murder; terror; unlawful attacks on civilians; and taking of hostages).

The summary of the judgment reads:

In determining the appropriate sentence to be imposed, the Chamber has taken into account the gravity of the crimes of which Mr. Mladić has been found guilty. The crimes committed rank among the most heinous known to humankind and include genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity.

Mladić's sentencing marks the finale in a case spanning nearly two decades, beginning with his arrest warrant in 1996, followed by his 2011 arrest, the opening of his trial in May 2012, followed by several postponements over procedural issues. In December 2016, closing arguments were held, and prosecutors urged the judges to impose a life sentence.

From Jurist, Nov. 22. Used with permission.

Ratko Mladic: an asshole to the end

The Guardian notes that Ratko "Butcher of Bosnia" Mladic delayed reading of the verdicts for more than half an hour when he asked the judges for a bathroom break. After he returned, defense lawyers requested that proceedings be halted or shortened because of his high blood pressure. The judges denied the request. Mladic then stood up, shouting "this is all lies" and "I'll fuck your mother." He was forcibly removed from the courtroom, and the verdicts were read in his absence.

Mladic's genocide convictions mostly concerned the July 1995 Srebrenica massacre. He was acquitted of only one charge, that of genocide at municipalities outside Srebrenica. The chamber ruled that although he was part of a joint criminal enterprise to carry out mass killings there, which represented crimes against humanity, they did not rise to the level of genocide because the victims did not constitute a substantial proportion of the Bosnian Muslim population of those municipalities. When viewed in the context of what happened in those same days at Srebrenica itself, this strikes us as legalistic hair-splitting. 

But this is still a victory for the survivors, however delayed and bitter. Bashar Assad, take note...

Bosnian Croat war crimes defendent courtroom suicide

Bosnian Croat war crimes defendant Slobodan Praljak, accused of crimes against Muslims during the war, died by drinking poison after judges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia affirmed (PDF), his 20-year prison sentence. (Jurist, Nov. 29)