Lastly, the sentence to life imprisonment for Ratko Mladic, the executioner of Srebrenica, has been confirmed. This was established today by the Hague Tribunal. Almost 26 years after those events, the case is definitively closed. The judges of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals pronounced the final verdict on appeal for the 78-year-old former general military commander of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Serbs, responsible for the killing, in July 1995, of about 8,000 Muslim boys and men from Bosnia , in the United Nations ‘protected’ enclave in Srebrenica, in eastern Bosnia.
In 2017, Mladic was sentenced to life imprisonment in the first instance for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide: the charges concerned, among other things, the siege of the city of Sarajevo with over 10 thousand dead. the persecution and expulsion of non-Serbian Bosnians from the region and the Srebrenica genocide, the worst atrocity committed since the Second World War.
Mladic fled shortly after the end of the Bosnian war in 1995, now hit by a war crimes indictment. He managed to escape capture for 16 years, until May 2011, when he was joined by police men at his home in Lazarevo, near Belgrade. During the years of his escape he could count on the support and protection of the then Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and in Belgrade he was seen attending crowded restaurants, stadiums and racecourses, escorted.
In 2000 Milosevic was forced to leave power and the following year he was handed over to the judges of The Hague. Despite this, Mladic managed to stay free for another ten years, longer than Radovan Karadzic, the former political leader of the Bosnian Serbs, who was arrested in July 2008.
Born in Kalinovik, in southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 1943, Mladic lost his father at the age of two, who died fighting against the Croatian Ustaše. He grew up in Tito’s Yugoslavia and became an officer in the Yugoslav People’s Army. A career soldier, at the beginning of the war in Yugoslavia, in 1991, he was appointed head of the Ninth Yugoslav Army Corps assigned to Knin, in what then – after the proclamation of independence of Croatia from Yugoslavia – became the self-proclaimed Republic Krajina, an area with a Serb majority self-proclaimed independent from Zagreb. A year later he was placed at the head of the new Serb-Bosnian army. 1992 is also the year of the beginning of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which lasted three years and ended – with a hundred thousand dead and over 2 million refugees and displaced persons – after the Srebrenica massacre.