THE UN war crimes tribunal on Tuesday opened the final stage of former Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic’s genocide trial with a much-delayed appeal.
Mladic, 77, was sentenced to life in prison in 2017 for crimes committed more than 25 years ago, such as genocide at Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo.
Both the defence and prosecution appealed the verdict. Mladic’s team asked for an acquittal, while the prosecution wants a guilty verdict for genocide in six other municipalities.
The first-instance trial was handled by the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY), for the former Yugoslavia, while the appeal is being handled by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT).
The mechanism took over unfinished cases after the ICTY closed at the end of 2017.
The appeal was originally scheduled to begin in March but was postponed because of Mladic’s health condition. It was once again postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The July 1995 genocide at Srebrenica is regarded as the worst atrocity in Europe since the Holocaust.
Serb forces under Mladic’s direct command murdered around 8,000 Muslim Bosniak men and boys trapped in the enclave and expelled the rest of the population.
He was also convicted for the 40-month shelling and sniping of Sarajevo in the 1992-95 war, inhumane treatment of prisoners in detention camps, and taking UN soldiers as hostages.
Mladic had been hiding from justice in Serbia for 16 years before he was finally arrested in 2011. The latest delays pushed the final verdict to 2021. (dpa/NAN)
– Aug. 25, 2020 @ 13:05 GMT |