Ratko Mladic, the former commander of the Bosnian Serb army and one-time fugitive from international justice, has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by a UN tribunal at The Hague.
More than 20 years after the Srebrenica massacre and his first indictment by the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the soldier nicknamed the “butcher of Bosnia” has been found guilty of of multiple offences.
As he entered the courtroom, Mladic gave a broad smile and thumbs up to the cameras – a gesture that infuriated relatives of the victims.
The long-anticipated verdict was delayed for more than half an hour after Mladic asked the judge for a bathroom break. When he returned, his defence team then asked for proceedings to be halted or shortened because of his high blood pressure, but judges denied the request. Mladic stood up shouting at the judges, and was forcibly removed from the courtroom to allow the verdicts to be read.
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.
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