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UN Court Upholds Ratko Mladić Convictions And Life Sentence


A UN court on Tuesday upheld
the
life sentence imposed on former Bosnian Serb
military chief Ratko Mladić for his role in the Balkan wars
in the 1990s.

The International Residual Mechanism for
Criminal Tribunals on Tuesday rejected his appeal against
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 to
occur in Europe since the Second World War.

He
commanded 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 thoughts are with the victims, survivors
and their families, according to a
statement
issued by his Spokesperson, Stephane
Dujarric.

It said the UN chief “calls on all those
in position of power to refrain from denying the seriousness
of the crimes that have been adjudicated and notes that
accountability constitutes an essential step for
reconciliation in the region.”

This final judgement
is also a reflection of the global community’s commitment
to international criminal justice and the fight against
impunity.

“It is another vital step
towards coming to terms with the past to build a more
resilient, secure and hopeful future for all citizens and
residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region,” the
statement said.

Ruling sends ‘hugely
important message’

The UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, alongside the
Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Prevention of
Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, have welcomed
the ruling.

“The Mechanism’s verdict highlights
the determination of the international justice system to
ensure accountability no matter how long it may take – in
Mladić’s case, nearly three decades after he committed
his appalling crimes,” Ms Bachelet said.

Ms. Nderitu
added that the court’s decision “provides historical
certainty and finality” for victims and
survivors.

“It also sends a hugely important message
throughout the Western Balkans where we see genocide denial
and the glorification of convicted criminals such as Mladić
not only persisting but increasing,” she
said.

‘Strive for justice’

They urged
elected and public officials across the region, as well as
media, to refrain from revisionist narratives, divisive
rhetoric and incitement to hatred, pointing out that posters
and other materials that glorify war criminals continue to
appear in various towns across Bosnia and
Herzegovina.

“Mladić’s crimes were the abhorrent
culmination of hatred stoked for political gain. Today’s
decision is about his individual responsibility for his
dreadful acts, not about collective punishment or
apportioning guilt to any particular community,” Ms
Bachelet said.

“I urge Governments and elected and
public officials to strive for justice for all victims and
survivors of the wars in the former Yugoslavia, to assuage
– rather than aggravate – the region’s open wounds,
and to foster reconciliation and long-lasting peace. Only by
honestly addressing the past can a country strive to create
an inclusive future and build accountable institutions for
all its
citizens.”

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