‘Butcher of Bosnia’ Ratko Mladic convicted of war crimes

Former military chief gets life sentence for crimes including the Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslims

Former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic
Former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic
(Image credit: Photo Credit: PETER DEJONG/AFP/Getty Images)

Former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic was sentenced to life in prison by a UN court today after being convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity during the Bosnian War.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia determined that Mladic, known as the ‘Butcher of Bosnia’, was the chief military organiser of a campaign to push Muslims, Croats and non-Serbs off their lands to create a homogeneous state for Bosnian Serbs.

Mladic, 74, directed some of the worst atrocities of the war, including the 1995 massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, Europe’s worst mass killing since the Second World War, reports the Associated Press.

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“Between 100,000 and 200,000 people were killed in the Bosnian War, between 1992 and 1995, and as many as 50,000 women were raped,” says Al Jazeera English.

A shouting Mladic was removed from the courtroom, in The Hague, before the verdict was read. He was found guilty of ten of 11 charges, including genocide, persecution and extermination.

Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader, were indicted in July 1995 for war crimes committed during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Karadzic was convicted of genocide last year for his role in the Srebrenica massacre.

Mladic went into hiding for more than a decade but was found in northern Serbia in 2011. His trial stretched from 2011 until 2016, during which the court heard from 591 witnesses and examined nearly 10,000 pieces of evidence, The Guardian reports.

Some survivors of the Bosnia war say Mladic’s fate means little as his ideology lives on.

“Today in Bosnia, war criminals hold official positions. They walk freely, from [convicted war criminals] Biljana Plavsic to Momcilo Krajisnik. They’re returning to politics, and sit in high positions in this country and take our money,” Sarajevo survivor Denis Vrhovcic told Al Jazeera English.

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