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Bosnia / Herzegovina: Ratko Mladić appeal loss 'historic moment' for victims of genocide

Former Bosnian military chief Ratko Mladić speaks to his lawyers before appearing for the pronouncement of the Trial Judgement for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on November 22, 2017 in The Hague.
Former Bosnian military chief Ratko Mladić speaks to his lawyers before appearing for the pronouncement of the Trial Judgement for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on November 22, 2017 in The Hague. © 2017 Getty Images Europe

Original verdict confirmed - Ratko Mladić sentenced to life imprisonment and found guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes

‘The verdict by the International Criminal Tribunal sends a powerful message around the world that impunity cannot, and will not, be tolerated’ - Nils Muižnieks

Responding to the verdict and sentencing of Ratko Mladić, the commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, to life imprisonment for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, Amnesty International’s Europe Director, Nils Muižnieks, said:

“Today’s decision is a historic moment and a step towards justice for the tens of thousands of victims of the armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“Whilst this sentence will bring some closure to the surviving victims and their relatives, the physical and psychological scars will remain. Thousands of cases of enforced disappearances remain unresolved, and many thousands of victims and their families continue to be denied access to justice, truth and reparation.

“The verdict by the International Criminal Tribunal sends a powerful message around the world that impunity cannot, and will not, be tolerated. It is now vital that the national courts take the baton and step up their efforts to bring all those suspected of criminal responsibility to justice in fair trials.”

The verdict

Ratko Mladić was sentenced to life imprisonment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in November 2017, with The Hague court recognising his individual criminal responsibility as Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, and his participation in joint criminal enterprises, including to terrorise the population of Sarajevo and eliminate Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica. 

The Appeals Chamber confirmed the original verdict pronounced by ICTY which found Mladić guilty on 10 of 11 counts, including genocide and persecution on ethnic and religious grounds of Bosnian Muslims and Croats, as well as extermination, murder, deportation and other inhumane acts. He was also convicted of murder, terror, unlawful attacks on civilians and the taking of hostages. Mladić was acquitted of the charge of genocide in six of municipalities in BiH in 1992.

The Appeals Chamber rejected the appeals filed by Mr Mladić and the Prosecution.

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