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US, UN laud Serb commander's upheld conviction

08:38 09 June 2021 Author :  

The US and UN lauded on Tuesday the decision to uphold the conviction of a former Bosnian Serb military commander who was responsible for one of the worst mass atrocities in modern European history.

The UN court in The Hauge earlier upheld Ratko Mladic's conviction for his role in the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He had previously been found to have had "significant responsibility" for the genocide of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995.

Mladic, also known as the "Butcher of Bosnia," unsuccessfully appealed his conviction for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

US President Joe Biden thanked UN tribunals for more than two decades of "tireless work" that led to the decision, noting "justice and reconciliation are the foundation for peace and stability for the future."

"Today’s decision is also an important confirmation that this is possible," Biden said in a statement. "I sincerely hope leaders in the region will respect this judgment and reinforce its importance for the rule of law."

In 2017, judges for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia sitting in The Hague unanimously found Mladic guilty of culpability in the Srebrenica murders, which took place toward the end of the country's brutal three-year civil war.

Mladic was once Europe's most wanted man after his role in the 1992-1995 Bosnian War.

He was commander of the Army of Republika Srpska, which was established in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the beginning of the civil war amid the breakup of Yugoslavia.

He and forces under his command were linked to the genocide in Bosnia, particularly in Srebrenica, Europe's worst atrocity since World War II, after Serb forces overran an enclave that was supposed to be under the protection of UN peacekeepers.

However, Mladic is also known for his forces’ bloody 1,425-day siege of Sarajevo, the longest of a capital city in the history of modern warfare.

After the end of the war with the Dayton Accords of Nov. 21, 1995, Mladic became a fugitive for over a decade.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said The Hague's final judgementt "is a reflection of the international community’s commitment to international criminal justice and the fight against impunity."

"It is another vital step towards coming to terms with the past to build a more resilient, secure and hopeful future for all citizens and residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region," Guterres spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement./aa

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