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Ratko Mladic sentenced to life imprisonment

22 November 2017

Ratko Mladic, the former leader of Bosnian Serbs and a military commander was sentenced to life in prison after the United Nations war crimes tribunal found him guilty of the involvement in the Srebrenica massacre and committing crimes against humanity.

A Serbian general has been thrown out of a courtroom after he shouted at a judge delivering a verdict that he is guilty of war crimes.

Caught after 16 years on the run, Mladic was found guilty of the 1995 massacre in northeastern Srebrenica, where troops under his command slaughtered nearly 8,000 Muslim men and boys.

Mladic faced two counts of genocide, among other crimes, but although the court found him guilty over his role in Srebrenica he was found not guilty of genocide in six other Bosnian municipalities: Foca, Kljuc, Kotor-Varos, Prijedor, Sanski Most and Vlasenica.

A summary of Orie's judgement said of Mladić: "The crimes committed rank among the most heinous known to humankind, and include genocide and extermination as a crime against humanity". He nodded regularly as presiding Judge Alphons Orie read out descriptions of atrocities by Bosnian Serb forces, one by one.

But in extraordinary scenes he was ordered to be dragged from the court, when in an outburst he accused the judges of lying, after they refused to adjourn because he had high-blood pressure. "Mass executions occurred and some victims succumbed after being beaten", Orie said, outlining the facts of the case against Mladic.

Judge Alphons Orie also said Mladic meant to carry out a deadly campaign of sniping and shelling in Sarajevo.

Mladic, now 74, was chief of staff of Bosnian Serb forces from 1992 until 1996, during the ferocious civil wars and ethnic cleansing that followed the break-up of the Yugoslav state.

"Mladic was instrumental to the commission of these crimes", the court said, so much so that without his acts - they would not have been committed as they were.

Arrested in 2011, Mladic's trial has lasted 530 days, included more than 500 witnesses and almost 10,000 exhibits.

Ratko Mladic sentenced to life imprisonment