- Former commander Ratko Mladic was jailed for life by U.N. judges for crimes against humanity, including genocide
- He was also found "significantly responsible" for the genocide of 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995
- Judges also said Bosnian Serb forces under Mladic's command had taken part in a range of war crimes
- The more-than-500-day trial called 591 witnesses and saw 9,914 pieces of evidence accepted by the court
Former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic was jailed for life by U.N. judges on Wednesday after being found guilty of crimes against humanity, including genocide.
He was also found to have had "significant responsibility" for the genocide of over 8,000 Muslim men and boys committed at Srebrenica in 1995.
Judges for the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) sitting in The Hague unanimously found Mladic guilty of culpability in the Srebrenica murders which took place towards the end of the country's brutal three-year civil war.
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.
He was also convicted of a string of crimes against humanity, including persecution, extermination, murder, murder as a violation of the laws of war and forced deportations.
Sitting wearing a black suit and red tie, the 74-year-old former general shook his head as a lengthy and detailed summary of the tribunal's findings began to be read out.
Proceedings were interrupted as he first demanded a bathroom break. This was granted but was later followed by a request from the defense team for a blood test.
Chairman of the Trial Chamber, Alphons Orie, then ordered Mladic be removed the courtroom for cursing and shouting.
The summary continued and descriptions of the crimes detailed in the judges’ summary were graphic, with details of summary executions, forced separations and the torture of detainees.
Judges also said Bosnian Serb forces under Mladic's command had taken part in a range of war crimes.
These forces were also found guilty of spreading terror among civilian populations in the capital Sarajevo and in other parts of Bosnia, in an attempt to clear non-Serbs from certain territories.
There were tense scenes as relatives of those killed in the Srebrenica genocide watched the proceedings via video link from Bosnia.
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‘Butcher of Bosnia’
Mladic, now 74, was once Europe's most wanted man after his role in the 1992-1995 Bosnian War.
He was the commander of the Army of Republika Srpska which was established in Bosnia-Herzegovina at the beginning of the country’s civil war amid the breakup of Yugoslavia.
He and the forces under his command were linked to genocide committed in Bosnia, particularly in Srebrenica, Europe's worst atrocity since World War II, after Serb forces overran an enclave supposed to be under the protection of U.N. 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.
A 15-year manhunt ended in 2011 when Mladic was found and handed over to The Hague tribunal for trial on May 31 that year.
Wednesday's 523-day trial ended in the conviction of Mladic on a range of war crimes charges.
The court itself will wind up on Dec. 31, bringing an end to a painful and bloody chapter in postwar European history.
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Ratko Mladic was born on 12 March 1942 in the Kalinovik area of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Mladic, trained in the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) Military Academy in Belgrade. He first served in the JNA, then in the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) which was established in Bosnia-Herzegovina as Yugoslavia broke apart.
The VRS was founded at the beginning of the war in Bosnia, on May 12, 1992, and Mladic was its commander. JNA forces in Bosnia were also converted to VRS units.
After the end of the war with the Dayton Accords reached on Nov. 21 1995, Mladic became a fugitive for over a decade.
Mladic's trial began on May 16, 2012 and ended with summations between 5-15 Dec. 2016.
The more-than-500-day trial called 591 witnesses and saw 9,914 pieces of evidence accepted by the court.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Copyright Andolu Ajansi