Ratko Mladić was sentenced to life in prison by the International Criminal Court, which was welcomed by a number of organizations and states, including the EU, the State Department, the Turkish Foreign Ministry and NATO.
«The final judgement in the case of Ratko Mladić by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) brings to an end a key trial in Europe’s recent history for war crimes, including genocide, which took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Remembering those who lost their lives, our deepest sympathies are with their loved ones and those who survived. This judgement will contribute to the healing for all those who suffered.
The EU expects all political actors in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the Western Balkans to demonstrate full cooperation with international tribunals, respect their decisions and acknowledge their independence and impartiality.
Genocide denial, revisionism and glorification of war criminals contradict the most fundamental European values. Today’s decision is an opportunity for leaders in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region, in view of the facts, to lead the way in honouring victims and promote an environment conducive to reconciliation to overcome the legacies of the war and build lasting peace.
This is a prerequisite for the stability and security of the Bosnia and Herzegovina and fundamental for its EU path. It is also amongst the 14 key priorities of the Commission Opinion on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s EU membership application.
International and domestic courts in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the neighbouring countries need to continue their mission to provide justice for all victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, and their family members. There can be no impunity» according to a joint statement by High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi.
The State Department in an announcement notes that, “today’s decision from the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals affirming the conviction of Ratko Mladic on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes brings a measure of long-awaited justice to victims and their families in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
As the former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, Mladic was a key figure in a campaign with the horrifying objective to permanently remove the Bosniak and Croat populations of Bosnia and Herzegovina from Serb-controlled territory. The crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina mark one of the darkest chapters of history following the Second World War.
Despite efforts of perpetrators to silence witnesses, keep evidence of their crimes buried, and evade warrants of arrest, justice has prevailed in this case. We commend the courage and resilience of survivors and their loved ones who have continued to fight for the official acknowledgment of these crimes. As we approach the 26th anniversary of the genocide at Srebrenica, we hope the verdict of the Appeals Chamber brings a measure of peace to the victims and their loved ones. We are grateful for the years of work by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in carrying out justice in this case.
The United States will continue to press for justice, mutual trust, and reconciliation as the foundation for peace and stability.
For its part, the Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a press release stating, among other things, about the conviction of Ratko Mladić that although this decision did not alleviate the pain of the relatives of the victims of the Srebrenica genocide, it was the right decision in terms of justice.
“We hope that the decision will serve social peace and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region and will help prevent similar crimes,” the statement concluded.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement: “I welcome the decision by the United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals to affirm the conviction of Ratko Mladic. It is right that he is being held accountable for his outrageous crimes against civilians, including the murder of thousands of Bosnian men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995.
NATO helped to end two ethnic wars in the Western Balkans in the 1990s, and close a dark and shameful chapter in European history. The region remains strategically important to our Alliance. We will continue to contribute to stability and security across the Western Balkans, promoting peace and reconciliation”./ibna