UN war crimes judges have found former Bosnian Serbian general Ratko Mladic guilty of crimes against humanity and genocide during Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war. Mladic was removed from the courtroom after an angry outburst.
Former Bosnian Serbian commander Ratko Mladic, was found guilty of charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide for his role in the 1995 massacre in Srebrenica, ruled the United Nations’ Yugoslav war crimes tribunal on Wednesday.
Mladic was sentenced to life in prison by the three judge panel on the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
The reading of the verdict was temporarily adjourned after an angry outburst by 74-year-old Mladic, who was removed from the courtroom.
His defense team had tried to delay the hearing on the grounds of Mladic’s increased blood pressure, saying that he was in ill health after suffering three strokes.
Srebrenica ruled a genocide
The killing of nearly 8,000 Muslim Bosniak men and boys was ruled a genocide by the chamber, the judges said on Wednesday. The killings are regarded as the worst atrocity to take place in Europe since the Holocaust.
Prosecutors accused Mladic and his political counterpart Radovan Karadzic of seeking to “permanently remove” Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from areas claimed by Bosnian Serbs through ethnic cleansing.
Ahead of the verdict, skirmishes were reported outside the court.
As DW correspondent Catherine Martens was speaking with a member of the activist group “Mothers of Srebrenica,” a man approached with a Serbian flag.
“I can show my Serbian flag wherever I want,” he said. The situation then turned violent and police had to step in.
War crimes and genocide charges
Mladic denied the 11 charges against him that included genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity that were committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war that killed 100,000 people and displaced 2.2 million. Other counts include murder, torture, rape, extermination, deportations and terrorism.
He was accused of commanding forces that committed the worst atrocities of the war, including the Srebrenica genocide as well as the deadly three-year siege on the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.
The 74-year-old former general, who has been dubbed “The Butcher of Bosnia” but remains a hero to man in Serbia, is the highest military commander to be judged by the tribunal.
Mladic’s defense lawyers previously slammed the trial as “political” and insisted their client is “not a monster.” In the days leading up to Wednesday’s verdict, the defense team filed several requests to have their client’s health assessed.
The ICTY was set up in 1993 in The Hague to process major crimes committed during the Yugoslav wars.