UN appeal judges have upheld the convictions of the former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladić for genocide and other offences during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war and confirmed his life sentence.
The judgment on Tuesday means that the 78-year-old former general, who terrorised Bosnia throughout the war, will spend the rest of his life in prison.
He is the last major figure from the conflict that ended more than a quarter century ago to face justice. Mladić joins his former political master, the former Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadžić, in serving a life sentence for masterminding ethnic bloodshed in the Bosnian war that left more than 100,000 dead and millions homeless.
Mladić, once a military strongman known as the “butcher of Bosnia”, commanded troops responsible for atrocities ranging from “ethnic cleansing” campaigns to the siege of Sarajevo and the war’s bloody climax in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre. Now, he is a frail man whose ill health delayed this final judgment.
His toxic legacy continues to divide Bosnia and his dark shadow has spread far beyond the Balkans. To Serbs in Bosnia, he is a war hero who fought to protect his people. To Bosniaks, mostly Muslims, he will always be a villain responsible for their terrible wartime suffering and losses.
Mladić, as well as Karadžić, have been revered by Serb and even foreign far-right supporters for their bloody wartime campaigns against Bosniaks.
More details soon …