Ratko Mladić, the 'Butcher of Bosnia,' Found Guilty of Genocide

Ratko Mladić, the 'Butcher of Bosnia,' Found Guilty of Genocide

Former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic has been jailed for life for genocide and other atrocities in the 1990s Bosnian war.

Known as the "Butcher of Bosnia", Mladic led forces during the massacre of Bosnian Muslims (Bosniaks) in Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo.

The UN tribunal in The Hague convicted him on 10 of the 11 charges.

Mladic, 74, was not in court when the sentence was read out. He had been removed for shouting at the judges.

They had rejected a request by his team to halt proceedings because of Mladic's high blood pressure. At the start of the session, he appeared relaxed, smiling and gesturing to the cameras.

Mladic has denied all the charges and his lawyer said he would appeal.

What were the crimes?

Mladic was the military commander of Bosnian Serb forces against Bosnian Croat and Bosniak armies. He had been on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) since 2012.

It found that Mladic "significantly contributed" to the genocide in Srebrenica in 1995, where more than 7,000 Bosniak men and boys were murdered, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War Two.

He was cleared of a second count of genocide in other municipalities. The other charges included war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Presiding judge Alphons Orie read out many crimes committed by troops under Mladic's command, including:

  • Mass rapes of Bosniak women and girls
  • Keeping Bosniak prisoners in appalling conditions - starving, thirsty and sick - and beating them
  • Terrorising civilians in Sarajevo by shelling and sniping at them
  • Deporting Bosniaks forcibly en masse
  • Destroying Bosniaks' homes and mosques

At the end of the war in 1995 Mladic went into hiding and lived in obscurity in Serbia, protected by family and elements of the security forces.

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He was finally tracked down and arrested at a cousin's house in rural northern Serbia in 2011 after 16 years on the run.

 

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