Court Jails Mladić for Life

The UN tribunal on war crimes in former Yugoslavia in The Hague delivered its verdict in the trial of Ratko Mladić, former chief of the Bosnian Serb military, finding him guilty of the 1995 genocide at Srebrenica, eastern Bosnia, and of terrorizing the civilian population in besieged Sarajevo from 1992 to 1995, but the charges of genocide in other Bosnian towns were dropped.

The court sentenced former general to life in prison.

Prosecutors demanded a life sentence for Mladić, who was the Bosnian Serb army commander in the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. Mladić’s lawyers argued that his responsibility for murder and ethnic cleansing of civilians by Serb forces was never established beyond reasonable doubt and he should get no more than 15 years if convicted.

Mladić was indicted along with Radovan Karadžić, the wartime leader of Bosnian Serbs, in 1995, shortly after the Srebrenica genocide, but evaded capture until 2011.

His trial in The Hague took more than four years in part because of delays due to his poor health and will be the last case to be heard by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

The UN court judges started the verdict delivery Wednesday morning with descriptions of some of the gruesome crimes from the indictment. The verdict elaboration was interrupted briefly due to Mladić’s health complaints, but the judges decided to continue without the defendant present in the courtroom.

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