COVID-19 Special Coverage
UN prosecutors urge life sentence for Ratko Mladic
UN prosecutors urge life sentence for Ratko Mladic

Prosecutors in the war crimes trial of Ratko Mladić [BBC profile] on Wednesday urged the judges to impose a life sentence. The trial commenced on May 16, 2012, before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] and is now in its final stages. Mladić is commonly referred to as the “Butcher of Bosnia” for the various war crimes he allegedly committed during the Bosnian conflict from 1992-1995, including genocide and crimes against humanity [ICTY case sheet, PDF]. The prosecutors stated [Guardian article], “The time has come for General Mladić to be held accountable for those crimes against each of his victims and the communities he destroyed.” Mladić is the last high profile target charged with crimes during the conflict.

Earlier this week the prosecution began its closing arguments [JURIST report], signaling the close of this multi-year long trial. This trial was postponed [JURIST report] multiple times, including once over evidence disclosures in 2012. Mladić was on the run for 16 years before he was captured and brought to court. The Serbian government was able to finally capture [JURIST report] him in 2011. The pressure to capture Mladić increased after the death of Slobodan Milosevic [JURIST report] in 2006. The charges against Mladic allege that he was responsible for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre [BBC backgrounder] as well as a Serb sniping and mortar campaign.