An international court in The Hague on Tuesday upheld the life sentence of the former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, who was baptized as the “butcher of Srebrenica” because of his responsibility for the genocide committed in that city in July 1995.
Mladic, 78, was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity in 2017, including the murder of 8,000 Muslim boys and men in Srebrenica and the siege of Sarajevo. However, both the defense and the public prosecutor appealed the verdict, demanding acquittal in the first case.
The process fell to the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, which took over the cases that the ICTY had pending after its closure. The hearings were slated to start in May 2020, but were postponed initially due to Mladic’s health and later due to the COVID-19 pandemic and only started in August.
The Srebrenica genocide is considered to be the worst atrocity on European soil since the Holocaust. In addition to this massacre, Mladic was also convicted of the 40-month siege of Sarajevo, the inhumane treatment of prisoners in internment camps and the taking of UN soldiers hostage.
The former Bosnian Serb general had been on the run from justice for 16 years before he was arrested in 2011. Therefore, after the final part of the trial against him was postponed, the verdict did not become known until a decade after his arrest.