The sentence of former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by the International Criminal Court for genocide, war and crimes against humanity, was upheld. News by Yusuf Özkan from The Hague.
The Court of Appeals ruled that the sentence given to Mladic, who commanded Serb forces in the Bosnian civil war and was held responsible for the murder of more than 8,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica, was appropriate.
The former Serbian General, who was sentenced to life imprisonment by the international court in 2017, appealed against the decision.
At the appeal hearing in August last year, lawyers for Ratko Mladic argued that the Serbian leader had been wrongly punished for “unplanned events”.
Prosecutors argued against Mladic, who appeared before the court on 10 different charges in the case he was tried before, that he should also be tried for committing genocide against the Croats in 1992.
Ratko Mladic began trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague in 2012 for committing war crimes during the years he commanded Bosnian Serb soldiers fighting against Bosniaks and Croats.
In 2017, the court sentenced Mladic to life in prison for committing war crimes, crimes against humanity and “substantially contributing” to the Srebrenica genocide in which more than 8,000 men were killed.
The Serbian general was acquitted of genocides committed in other regions in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Prosecutors appealed for Mladic to be sentenced for these crimes as well.
Mladic was again acquitted of genocide charges in settlements outside of Srebrenica.
However, his appeal regarding the 10 crimes he was previously guilty of was rejected by the appeals court. The court found the verdict on the other cases in which Mladic was found guilty.
The former Serbian general claimed that he did not order ethnic cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that the soldiers acted on their own initiative. However, the court ruled that this was not true.
It is not yet clear where Ratko Mladic will serve his life sentence. Last month, it was announced that former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic would serve his sentence in a British prison.
The appellate court decision ended the 10-year trial.
In a statement made by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it was stated that “Although the said decision did not relieve the pain of the relatives of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide, it was the right decision in terms of the manifestation of justice.”
The statement continued with the statement, “We hope that the decision will serve social peace and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region and contribute to the prevention of similar crimes.”
Mladic’s conviction on appeal was one of the latest judgments of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), which was dissolved a few years ago. During the trial, 90 people were convicted of different crimes.
After the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina ended in 1995, Mladic hid in Serbia for years with the help of his family and security forces; He was arrested in the home of a relative in the north of the country in 2011 and extradited to The Hague.
The appeal hearing was attended by the relatives of the victims, including Almasa Salihovic, who witnessed the mass murder in Srebrenica at the age of 5 and is now 26 years old.