The Hague tribunal on Tuesday pronounces a final verdict against General Ratko Mladic – Drustvo

Ratko Mladic Photo: EPA / TOUSSAINT KLUITERS (archive)

On November 22, 2017, the Hague Tribunal found General Mladic (78) guilty of genocide in Srebrenica; persecution of Croats and Muslims throughout BiH; terrorizing the population of Sarajevo with prolonged shelling and sniping and taking UNPROFOR members hostage, 1992-95.

The young man was convicted on 10 counts of genocide in Srebrenica and crimes against humanity in 15 Bosnian municipalities: persecution, extermination, murder, deportation and forcible transfer.

The tribunal also found Mladic guilty on four counts of violating the laws and customs of war: murder, terror, illegal attacks on civilians and hostage-taking.

The young man was acquitted of genocide charges in five other Bosnian municipalities – Foca, Kotor Varos, Prijedor, Sanski Most and Vlasenica.

According to the verdict, Mladic was the protagonist of a comprehensive joint criminal enterprise aimed at the permanent and violent removal of Muslims and Croats from a large part of the territory of BiH in order to achieve Serb domination.

In addition to Mladic, the verdict also designated former RS ​​President Radovan Karadzic, members of the leadership Momcilo Krajisnik, Biljana Plavsic, Nikola Koljevic and others as participants in that criminal association.

The tribunal ruled that the VRS, under Mladic’s command, had killed “several thousand” Muslim men from Srebrenica and forcibly relocated tens of thousands of women, children and the elderly in the days following the enclave’s capture on July 11, 1995.

Mladic’s defense attorneys and prosecutors also appealed the first-instance verdict.

The defense asked for Mladic to be released or tried again, claiming that the prosecution had not proved his guilt.

In the appeal, the defense attorneys claimed that there was no joint criminal enterprise and that the Serb forces under Mladic’s command only defended themselves from the BiH Army.

The defense did not deny that “a certain number” of Srebrenica Muslims were killed, but in its appeal it also claimed that the perpetrators of these crimes were “avengers” among local Serb residents, members of the RS police and VRS security officers who “defected” from Mladic. commands.

According to the defense, many of those exhumed from mass graves were killed in the fighting before the Srebrenica crisis, and “5,000 to 6,000” were killed in clashes during the breakthrough of the ABiH column and civilians from the VRS ring around Srebrenica.

Prosecutors demanded that the convicting part of the first-instance verdict be confirmed, but also that the Appellate Chamber find General Mladic guilty of genocide against Muslims and Croats in five municipalities in BiH.

Prosecutors said the judges erred in finding in the first-instance verdict that Mladic’s forces had “genocidal intent” to exterminate Muslims and Croats as ethnic groups in five Bosnian municipalities, but that the victims did not constitute a sufficiently “significant part” of those groups. to make the crimes reach the scale of genocide.

It is uncertain whether General Mladic will attend the sentencing.

According to the defense documents, Mladic set both defense attorneys, Branko Lukic and Dragan Ivetic, as a condition for appearing in the courtroom. He refused the possibility to follow the session via video link from the court detention.

However, the defense attorneys claimed that both were prevented from appearing in the courtroom – Ivetic due to illness, and Lukic because he had to follow Mladic’s instructions.

In late May, the court rejected the defense’s request that the pronouncement of the final verdict be postponed because the defense attorneys could not be in the courtroom.

Instead of the defense attorneys, with the permission of the court, General Mladic will be represented at the sentencing by the legal advisor of the defense, Peta-Louise Baggot.

The Appellate Panel has warned Chief Defense Officer Lukić several times that he is obliged to represent his client.

The panel, which will hand down the final verdict to General Mladic on Tuesday, will be chaired by Judge Prisca Nyambe of Zambia.

The members of the panel are Judges Mustapha EL Baaj from Algeria, Aminatta N`Gum from The Gambia, Elizabeth Nahamya from Uganda and Seymour Panton from Jamaica.

General Mladic has been in custody in Scheveningen since 31 May 2011. He was arrested by the Serbian authorities on 26 May of that year in Lazarevo near Zrenjanin and extradited to the Tribunal.

The trial of General Mladic lasted from May 16, 2012 to December 15, 2016. During 530 working days, 169 prosecution witnesses and 208 defense witnesses were examined. The written statements of another 214 witnesses were also admitted into evidence. 9,914 exhibits were admitted.

The Hague tribunal indicted General Mladic for the first time on July 25, 1995, and the indictment was amended several times until 2011.

In his first appearance before the tribunal, Mladic, in early June 2011,. refused to plead guilty, and the judge, in accordance with the rules, entered in the file that the accused did not feel guilty.

The first-instance verdict was handed down to General Mladic by a trial chamber in which, in addition to the presiding judge Alphons Orie from the Netherlands, there were also judges Bacone Moloto from South Africa and Christoph Flugge from Germany.

Before he was detained in Scheveningen in the summer of 2011, General Mladic, according to the findings of the doctor, had survived three strokes.

During his time in custody, Mladic underwent numerous therapies and underwent surgery several times, and in 2013 he thanked the tribunal in court for saving his life.

Throughout the trial, the defense pointed out that Mladic’s health was deteriorating and that there was a risk of a fatal stroke.

The defense attorneys also demanded that it be determined whether Mladic is capable of litigation.

Reports from forensic doctors, on the other hand, said that Mladic’s health was satisfactory and under control, as well as that he was being provided with all the necessary medical care.

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Source: Dnevni list Danas by www.danas.rs.

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