A total of 160 people have been indicted in the former Yugoslav war crimes tribunal. Some of the accused have had time to die during their imprisonment, some are free and still working in politics.
The Hague the Court of Appeal is due to deliver its final verdict on the Srebrenica massacre on Tuesday when the court announces its decision to the Serbian commander of the Bosnian war; Ratko Mladićin complaint.
Named the “Bosnian butcher,” Mladić was sentenced in 2017 to life imprisonment for the genocide in Srebrenica and other war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the 1992-1995 war of disintegration in the former Yugoslavia.
Serbian forces killed more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in a few days after the conquest of the city of Srebrenica in eastern Bosnia and Herzegovina in July 1995. This is the worst bloodshed in Europe since World War II. The Srebrenica massacre has been defined as genocide by international courts.
The court is due to announce its decision today, Tuesday, at four in the afternoon Finnish time. Due to coronavirus restrictions, journalists will not be able to enter the courtroom, and the verdict will be visible from the recording, which will be released with a half-hour delay. Mladić is expected to be present in the courtroom.
The Hague on Tuesday, representatives of organizations representing victims will arrive, with only one being allowed per organization.
The fervent hope of many is that Mladić’s imprisonment will remain in place.
“I expect nothing more than that she be sentenced to life imprisonment, as in the first judgment of the seat,” said the president of one of the organizations representing mothers in Srebrenica. Fazila Efendic Balkan Insight –to the magazine.
Some of the victims’ relatives have died before the verdict was witnessed. For many, the loss of their own loved ones was a lifelong trauma that plagued them for the rest of their lives. One of them was a Bosnian woman who died in January Hanifa Đogazwho lost two sons and her husband in a genocide. Đogaz followed the trials in court until his death.
“My mother said no punishment is enough for what they did. Only having them get their children back could make up for it, ”said Đogaz’s daughter Razija Husejinović Balkan Insight.
Mladic the defense has claimed that he would not have been in Srebrenica at the time of the genocide. The complaint has been postponed due to, among other things, the coronavirus pandemic and Mladić’s health problems.
According to the prosecutor, there is no reason to release Mladić.
Mladić, now 78, is one of the last convicts at the UN Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) from 1993 to 2017. A special Court of Appeal was set up in The Hague to deal with pending cases from it and the UN Rwandan Genocide Court.
Yugoslavia the war crimes tribunal indicted a total of 160 people, of which 90 have been convicted. Most convictions have been handed down for crimes committed in the territory of the current state of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Among those convicted is a former Bosnian Serb leader who has been active with Mladić, among others. Radovan Karadzic, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2016. In another year, his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.
According to the court, Karadžić was a major ruler during the war and at the forefront of developing the ideas of the Bosnian Serbs. The court found Karadžić guilty of, among other things, the siege of Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, for nearly four years. Prosecutors say more than 10,000 people died in the bombing and sniper bullets during that time. Karadžić was also found guilty of genocide in Srebrenica.
Although the court succeeded in convicting many perpetrators of war crimes, it has also received criticism. It has been accused of releasing people who have been convicted of crimes. There are almost 20 acquitted persons.
Criticism has been raised by, among others, the Croatian general Ante Gotovinan exemption.
Gotovina was sentenced to 24 years in prison for war crimes and crimes against humanity in 2011, but was released by the appellate body of the court the following year. The United States is suspected of putting pressure on the court to settle.
After his release, Gotovina was appointed to a high position in the Croatian Ministry of Defense.
Second a much debated case concerned a Serbian politician Vojislav Šešeljin judgment. In 2018, he received a ten-year sentence for crimes against humanity, but was not sentenced to prison for serving 12 years in prison awaiting the outcome of the trial.
In addition, Šešelj’s charges had been dropped once in 2016 because they were considered to be too shaky on the evidence base. The decision was highly criticized.
Among other things, Šešelj was accused of giving fanatical nationalist speeches in connection with the wars of the break-up of Yugoslavia. Prosecutors considered Seselji to be the main propagandist in Greater Serbia, and his speeches were seen as contributing to the persecution of Croats and Bosnian Muslims during the wars, among others. He has still worked in Serbian politics in recent years, for example as a member of the country’s parliament.
Part the accused have had time to die either before or during the trial. These include one of the most important figures in the war, the former president of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milošević, accused of, among other things, war crimes and genocide. He died in the middle of his trial in 2006 in his cell in the Netherlands.
Sources: Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal, al-Jazeera