UN tribunal upholds the convictions and life sentence of Ratko Mladić |
The International Mechanism called upon to exercise the residual functions of the Criminal Tribunals on Tuesday rejected its appeal against the 2017 convictions for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Mr. Mladić, 79, known as “The Butcher of Bosnia”, presided over some of the most horrific crimes committed in Europe since World War II.
He commissioned violent ethnic cleansing campaigns across Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995, including the July 1995 massacre of thousands of Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica.
Accountability an “essential step”: Guterres
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has taken note of the court’s decision and his hearts go out to the victims, survivors and their families, according to a statement released by his spokesman, Stéphane Dujarric.
He said the UN chief “calls on all those in power to refrain from denying the gravity of the crimes that have been tried and notes that accountability is an essential step for reconciliation in the region.”
This final judgment is also a reflection of the global community’s commitment to international criminal justice and the fight against impunity.
“This is another vital step towards reconciliation with the past in order to build a more resilient, secure and more promising future for all citizens and residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region,” the statement said.
The decision sends an “extremely important message”
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, as well as the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, welcomed the decision.
“The Mechanism’s verdict highlights the determination of the international judicial system to ensure accountability, however long it may take – in Mladić’s case, nearly three decades after committing his appalling crimes,” Ms. Bachelet.
Ms Nderitu added that the court’s decision “offers historical certainty and finality” for victims and survivors.
“It also sends an extremely important message to the Western Balkans where we see not only genocide denial and glorification of convicted criminals such as Mladić persist but increase,” she said.
“Act for justice”
They urged elected officials and public officials in the region, as well as the media, to refrain from revisionist narratives, divisive rhetoric and incitement to hatred, noting that posters and other materials that glorify the War criminals continue to appear in various cities of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“Mladić’s crimes were the heinous culmination of political hatred. Today’s ruling is about her individual responsibility for her horrific acts, not collective punishment or the guilt of a particular community, ”Ms. Bachelet said.
“I urge governments, elected officials and civil servants to fight for justice for all victims and survivors of wars in the former Yugoslavia, to appease – rather than aggravate – the open wounds in the region and to promote reconciliation and lasting peace. Only by honestly addressing the past can a country strive to create an inclusive future and build accountable institutions for all of its citizens. “