‘Butcher of Bosnia’ Mladic Appeal Date Set for March

A U.N. tribunal will hear arguments in March in the appeal of former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic, convicted of genocide and war crimes committed in Bosnia’s 1990s civil war.Mladic, once dubbed the Butcher of Bosnia, was sentenced to life behind bars in November 2017 for his role in the Balkans war, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre — Europe’s worst bloodshed since World War II.About 100,000 people were killed and 2.2 million others displaced in the 1992-95 war, which erupted as communal rivalries tore Yugoslavia apart after the fall of communism.Both prosecution and defense have appealed against the verdict, which found 77-year-old Mladic guilty on 10 counts including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity including murder and deportation.Judges at the U.N.’s International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in The Hague ordered that the hearings would take place on March 17-18.In one of its final judgments, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) acquitted the brazen ex-commander of genocide in certain municipalities, a fact which now forms the bulk of the prosecution’s appeal.Judges had said “ruthless” Bosnian Serb forces under Mladic’s command carried out “mass executions” and showed “little or no respect for human life or dignity”.The crimes were “amongst the most heinous known to humankind”, the judge said when handing down the sentence.At Srebrenica, Bosnian Serb forces overran UN peacekeepers before slaughtering almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys and dumping their bodies into mass graves.Mladic was among the top leaders to face international justice over the Balkans wars — along with former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and ex-Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.They were accused of forming a “joint criminal enterprise” to create a Greater Serbia by ridding the territory of Bosnian Muslims and non-Serbs.Milosevic died in his cell in The Hague in March 2006, suffering a heart attack before his trial had finished.Karadzic was convicted of genocide in 2016 for the Srebrenica massacre and other atrocities during the war and sentenced to 40 years.After an appeal, judges increased his sentence to life, saying the initial term had underestimated the “sheer scale and systematic cruelty” of his crimes. 

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