The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has convicted Ratko Mladić of genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war.
The charges relate to crimes committed by Serb forces during the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992–1995, while Mladić was commander of the main staff of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS).
He was indicted by the ICTY in July 1995, but was not arrested until 2011. His trial began in May 2012 and took place over 530 trial days, with evidence from nearly 600 witnesses and 10,000 exhibits.
In the end, Mladić was convicted of genocide and persecution, extermination, murder, and the inhumane act of forcible transfer in the area of Srebrenica in 1995; of persecution, extermination, murder, deportation and inhumane act of forcible transfer in municipalities throughout BiH; of murder, terror and unlawful attacks on civilians in Sarajevo; and of hostage-taking of UN personnel. He was acquitted of the charge of genocide in several municipalities in BiH in 1992.
Trial Chamber I – composed of Presiding Judge Alphons Orie (The Netherlands), Judge Bakone Justice Moloto (South Africa) and Judge Christoph Flügge(Germany) – found that Mladić committed these crimes through his participation in, and contribution to, four joint criminal enterprises (JCE), i.e. the Overarching JCE, the Sarajevo JCE, the Srebrenica JCE and the Hostage-taking JCE.
The appeal proceedings, if any, will be carried out by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT).
Serge Brammertz, chief prosecutor of the ICTY, said yesterday: “Today’s judgment is a milestone in the Tribunal’s history, and international criminal justice. Ratko Mladić was one of the first persons indicted by my Office, and the last to be convicted.
“This judgment vindicates the Security Council’s vision twenty-four years ago: to secure peace through justice, by holding accountable the most senior leaders responsible for the crimes.”
Since its establishment, the ICTY has indicted 161 persons for serious violations of humanitarian law committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia between 1991–2001. Proceedings against 155 have been concluded and proceedings are currently ongoing for six accused.