UN tribunal confirms Mladic's life sentence for Srebrenica genocide

Photo: AP A woman crouches among the graves of victims of the Srebrenica massacre, at the memorial cemetery in Potocari, near Srebrenica, Bosnia, 8 June 2021.

The UN War Crimes Tribunal on Tuesday confirmed the sentence of life imprisonment handed down to former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic for the Srebrenica genocide, news wires reported. The confirmation was in the last instance and upheld an earlier verdict. In the first instance, the now 78-year-old accused was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mladic, who became known as the "Butcher of the Balkans" during the 1992-95 Bosnian War, wanted to be acquitted.

Mladic, who was captured and handed over to the tribunal in 2011, remained motionless during the reading of the verdict and only shook his head from time to time. He remained silent afterwards, dpa reported.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres thanked the judges and those involved in the trial for their commitment and hard work over decades.

Chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz welcomed the verdict and told Mladic's supporters that "it's time to accept the truth."

The Srebrenica massacre, determined to have been genocide by the UN International Court of Justice in 2007, is regarded as the worst atrocity in Europe since the Holocaust.

Demonstrators had gathered in the square in front of the court hours before the verdict was announced. "Justice for Bosnia" was written on some placards.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina, the verdict was met with divided reactions. At the Srebrenica Genocide Memorial, mainly relatives of people killed by Mladic's troops gathered for a live broadcast. Those present listened quietly as the verdict was delivered, many with tears in their eyes, the news portal klix.ba reported.

Leading Bosnian Serb politician Milorad Dodik, on the other hand, claimed that the verdict had "nothing to do with law and justice." He described the genocide in Srebrencia established by The Hague tribunal as a "myth" that "did not happen."

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