Home Europe Ratko Mladić: All you need to know ahead of Bosnia war crimes appeal verdict

Ratko Mladić: All you need to know ahead of Bosnia war crimes appeal verdict

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Ratko Mladić, the former Bosnian Serb military commander known as the “butcher of Bosnia”, will receive a final verdict on Tuesday after appealing his 2017 conviction for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The convicted war criminal will appear at the United Nations-backed international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, where a five-judge panel will decide on whether to uphold or overturn the convictions over his actions during the Bosnian War.

You can watch live footage of the appeal verdict on this page from 15h CEST.

Who is Ratko Mladić?

Ratko Mladić, now 78, is a convicted war criminal who led the Army of Republika Srpska during the Yugoslav Wars.

He began his career with the Yugoslav People’s Army in the 1960s and rose to Chief of the General Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska during the Bosnian War of 1992-1995.

What did he do?

As a military leader, Mladić oversaw numerous deadly campaigns, including the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and the siege of Sarajevo.

He was imprisoned for life in 2017 for his role in the Srebrenica massacre, which has long been considered the worst atrocity in Europe since World War Two.

As many as 8,000 Bosnian Muslim (Bosniak) boys and men were killed in the massacre, with Mladić convicted of genocide over their deaths.

To this day, the slaughter is the only instance of genocide in Europe to be recognised by two international courts.

While the former commander was found guilty on 10 of 11 charges, he was acquitted of a charge of genocide in six Bosnian municipalities in 1992.

He had initially been indicted in July 1995, but he went into hiding after the war came to an end.

He was finally caught and arrested in 2011 after 16 years on the run.

What led up to the genocide?

Between 1991 and 1999 the socialist state of Yugoslavia was broken up into separate entities, sparking years of violence.

The Bosnian War was the most deadly, with more than a million Bosniaks and Croats being forced from their homes in what has been seen as a concerted campaign of “ethnic cleansing”.

By the end of the war in 1995, at least 100,000 people were believed to have been killed, while many others were displaced.

What will the impact of the verdict be?

Family members of victims killed under Mladić’s watch are expected to be in court to hear Tuesday’s judgment, which will be delivered by a five-judge panel led by Zambian Presiding Judge Prisca Matimba Nyambe.

Thousands of people still living with the impact of the killings will be hoping for Mladić’s convictions to be upheld.

However, Mladić is also not without his supporters, with the convicted war criminal heralded as a hero by some in his home country.

Despite his convictions, for many Bosnian Serbs, Mladić is still seen as a heroic wartime commander, with the war criminal having a street named in his honour in his home village following the Bosnian War, according to Reuters.

While it is unclear what the outcome of the hearing will be, it is unlikely that Mladić will walk free given that at least three judges would need to acquit him of the charges against him.

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