The International Criminal Court rejected Ratko Mladic’s appeal, and ultimately upheld his life sentence, over his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
Mladic was sentenced to life in prison in 2017, for his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, when about 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed.
At his appeal hearing in The Hague last August, prosecutors urged his conviction for another genocide charge.
Mladic denounced the court, describing it as the daughter of Western powers.
His lawyers said he was away from Srebrenica when the massacre occurred.
The Srebrenica massacre, carried out in an area supposedly under the protection of the United Nations, was the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.
Mladic, known as the “Bosnia Butcher”, was one of the latest suspects to face trial at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. He was arrested in 2011 after 16 years on the run.
In 2017, he was convicted of the Srebrenica genocide but was acquitted of the genocide over his army’s 1992 campaign, in which Bosnians and Bosnian Croats were expelled from their homes or held in appalling conditions.
In 2016, the same court convicted former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic of plotting the Srebrenica massacre, among other crimes.
His initial 40-year sentence for genocide and war crimes was later increased to life in prison in 2019, and he will serve the remainder of it in Britain’s prisons.
What happened during the appeal?
The August session was postponed due to Mladic’s health problems and coronavirus restrictions.
But he remained defiant throughout and attacked both the court and the attorney general.
Speaking about the Srebrenica region, he said that he had signed an agreement with the Bosnian Muslim army to respect it and other protected areas, and indicated that he was not responsible for any violation of these areas.
But prosecutors’ attorney Laurel Page said Mladic had been convicted of some of the “most heinous crimes of the 20th century”.
“Mladic was responsible for Operation Srebrenica. He used the forces under his command to execute thousands of men and boys,” she said.
But defense lawyer Dragan Iftik denied that his client had played a role, saying: “Mr. Mladic is not evil. He was someone who has always tried to help the United Nations, in doing the job that it cannot do in Srebrenica on a humanitarian level.”
How did the genocide happen?
Between 1991 and 1999, the former socialist state of Yugoslavia violently disintegrated into separate entities, covering the territories of what was then Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, and Slovenia.
Of all the conflicts, the war in Bosnia was the bloodiest because it was the most divided ethnically and religiously.
Yugoslav army units, which withdrew from Croatia and renamed them the Bosnian Serb Army, carved out a large area of Serb-controlled territory in Bosnia.
Over a million Bosnians and Croats were expelled from their homes in the so-called ethnic cleansing, and Serbs also suffered. By the time the war ended in 1995, at least 100,000 people had been killed.
At the end of the war in 1995, Mladic went into hiding and lived in obscurity in Serbia, protected by family and members of the security forces.
Finally tracked down, he was arrested at his cousin’s home in a rural area of northern Serbia in 2011.