The notorious former general of the Bosnian Serb Army, Ratko Mladic, will spend the rest of his life behind bars. He’s been convicted of genocide and other war crimes. The judge found Mladic contributed to the mass murder of thousands of people during the 1990s Bosnian War.
CGTN’s Mariam Zaidi is in The Hague, where the trial took place.
Early morning on Wednesday, some of the victims of the man dubbed the “Butcher of Bosnia” gathered outside the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands.
Older and more frail, 74-year-old Mladic looked pensive at his trial at the International Criminal Tribunal, frequently shaking his head in disagreement. Stories of torture, rape and humiliation of Bosnian Croats and Muslims at the hands of the army Mladic commanded during the 1992 to 1995 Bosnian War were read out.
At one point, Mladic caused the hearing to be adjourned as he angrily shouted insults at the presiding judge, before his verdict was read. He was removed from the courtroom, before his final sentence came down.
“For having committed these crimes, the chamber sentences Mr. Ratko Mladic to life imprisonment,” said Alphons Orie, the presiding judge, reading Mladic’s verdict.
“Guilty” was the verdict on 10 out of the eleven charges Mladic faced, including the genocide of thousands in Srebrenica, and crimes against humanity.
It has been a long road to justice. Mladic was indicted in July 1995, but 16 more years would go by before his arrest. The trial began in the spring of 2012.
“It’s an important achievement, for the office, for international justice, but mainly for the survivors,” said Serge Brammertz, the Chief Prosecutor.
But some survivors were disappointed that Mladic was cleared of one count of genocide in communities outside of Srebrenica.
“As me personally, I couldn’t care less, whether he has got a life sentence or walks free, because he was not convicted with his first count,” said Kelima Dautovik, a survivor of the Bosnian War. “In my town in Prijedor 3,800 civilians have been killed.”
Wednesday’s verdict is the last before the UN war crimes tribunal closes its doors on December 31st.