'Butcher of Bosnia' Mladic's appeal verdict set for June

'Butcher of Bosnia' Mladic's appeal verdict set for June
Mladic was sentenced to life in prison over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.
3 min read
Mladic was convicted of overseeing the Srebrenica massacre [Getty]
UN judges will give their verdict on June 8 on an appeal by former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic against his genocide conviction over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

Mladic was sentenced to life in prison in 2017 for overseeing the massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys, and for war crimes and crimes against humanity in general during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

"The judgement on the appeals in the present case shall be pronounced in public in The Hague, The Netherlands, on Tuesday, 8 June," the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals said in a statement.

The prosecution have also appealed, seeking to overturn Mladic's acquittal on wider genocide charges.

The court, which deals with cases left over from the now-closed UN war crimes court for the former Yugoslavia, held hearings on Mladic's appeal in August last year.

During the hearings, the frail-looking former general raged that he had been "pushed into war" and dismissed the court as a "child of western powers".

In a rambling speech that dug up centuries of historic grievances, Mladic said he remained a "target of the NATO alliance" and accused prosecutors in The Hague of "showering me with satanic, snaky, devilish words".

'Victory walk'

The two-day appeal hearing had been delayed several times after Mladic needed surgery to remove a polyp, and then because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dubbed the "Butcher of Bosnia", Mladic was convicted of orchestrating a campaign of "ethnic cleansing" to drive Muslims and Bosnians out of key areas to create a Greater Serbia as Yugoslavia tore itself apart after the fall of communism.

Prosecutors said he personally oversaw the massacre at Srebrenica as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing to drive out Muslims from the UN-protected enclave.

It was the worst single act of bloodshed on European soil since World War II.

"Srebrenica was Mladic's operation," prosecutor Laurel Baig told the court last August, saying he had carried out a "victory walk" through the town.

Mladic was captured in 2011 after years on the run, and convicted following a three-year trial.

He was the military face of a trio led on the political side by ex-Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic.

Milosevic died of a heart attack in his cell in The Hague in 2006 before his trial had finished.

Karadzic is serving a life sentence for genocide in Srebrenica and other atrocities after appeals judges increased his sentence from an original jail term of 40 years.

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