Ratko Mladić convicted of war crimes and genocide at UN tribunal
The massacre of innocents can of course never be condoned and it seems clear that Mladic is a thug but I wonder if it could have been taken into consideration during his sentencing that it was Muslims he was fighting and killing? His Republika Srpska was essentially the frontline of Serbs against the Muslims of Bosnia.
Both in the former Yugoslavia and worldwide Muslims have shown scant regard for the lives of others and retribution is very much a part of Yugoslav culture generally. As the report below notes, he is seen as a hero by his countrymen. He is adored, his portrait adorns bars and office walls in Bosnia and Serbia, his name sung at football matches. Was he just a typical Yugoslav? His men appear to have followed him unhesitatingly.
Had my people been the victim of centuries of Muslim oppression, I imagine that I might feel similarly. Scots still remember Edward Longshanks (King of England from 1272 to 1307) with bitterness. Serbs have to remember back only to 1812. And are we allowed to mention the large number of Serbs killed by the Muslim KLA?
Finally: What Mladic did seems to have been no worse than what Muslims do frequently. Yet has anyone in the KLA or the Middle East been prosecuted for their deeds? Were Mladic a Muslim, would he have been prosecuted at all?
The one-time fugitive from international justice faced 11 charges, two of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and four of violations of the laws or customs of war. He was cleared of one count of genocide, but found guilty of all other charges. The separate counts related to “ethnic cleansing” operations in Bosnia, sniping and shelling attacks on besieged civilians in Sarajevo, the massacre of Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica and taking UN personnel hostage in an attempt to deter Nato airstrikes.
The trial in The Hague, which took 530 days across more than four years, is arguably the most significant war crimes case in Europe since the Nuremberg trials, in part because of the scale of the atrocities involved. Almost 600 people gave evidence for the prosecution and defence, including survivors of the conflict.
Delivering the verdicts, judge Alphons Orie said Mladić’s crimes “rank among the most heinous known to humankind and include genocide and extermination”.
In evaluating Mladić’s culpability for genocide, the court pointed to his command and control of the Bosnian Serb army and interior ministry forces, which carried out almost all of the executions, his presence in the area, and his frequent remarks about how the country’s Muslims could “disappear”.
Once Mladic has exhausted any appeals, he could, theoretically, be sent to the UK to serve out the rest of his life behind bars. Britain is one of the countries that has signed up to the tribunal’s agreement on the enforcement of sentences.
The hearing, broadcast live, was followed closely in Bosnia. The Bosnian prime minister, Denis Zvizdić, said the verdict “confirmed that war criminals cannot escape justice regardless of how long they hide”.
In Lazarevo, the Serbian village where Mladić was arrested in 2011, residents dismissed the guilty verdicts as biased. One, Igor Topolic, said: “All this is a farce for me. He [Mladić] is a Serbian national hero.”
Mladić’s home village of Bozinovici retains a street named after the former general, where he is praised as a symbol of defiance and national pride.
Mladić’s defence lawyer, Dragan Ivetic, announced that he would appeal against the convictions.