The “Bosnian Butcher” Ratko Mladic addressed the Hague Tribunal this week as his appeal hearings commenced and concluded. The Bosnian Serb former military leader is appealing a life sentence and 10 charges including genocide and crimes against humanity.
He was convicted in 2017 for a number of crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Bosnian War. These include the Srebrenica Massacre where Bosnian Serb forces killed over 8000 Muslim men and boys as well as raped, beat, and forcibly displaced many more including women and children.
Mladic told the court he had “worked honestly in peace and war, in accordance with the laws of my country,”. He added that he did not start the war or plan the attack on Srebrenica.
Mladic’s lawyer Dragan Ivetic had told the court the day before that Mladic was not mentally stable.
“To convict or prosecute someone who is unable to stand trial is a denial of due process”, he said. The hearing continued anyway.
The prosecution argued that as well as upholding the previous 10 charges, the court should give Mladic a second conviction for genocide. They said that judges in the original trial were mistaken by not recognising his intent to commit genocide in the Bosnian municipalities of Foca, Kotor-Varos, Prijedor, Sanski Most, and Vlasenica.
“He wanted an ethnically pure Serbian state to be established, and constantly threatened Muslims that they would disappear or be exterminated,” they said.
“In July 1995, Mladic used Bosnian Serb forces under his command to forcibly relocate thousands of Bosnian women, children and the elderly and to shoot thousands of Muslims,” a prosecutor said. They added that Mladic had commanded and directed the operations of the Bosnian Serb Army and that Srebrenica was Mladic’s operation.
The final verdict is due in nine months time.