'Butcher of Bosnia' Loses His Genocide Appeal

Ratko Mladic is revered by Serbs, villainized by Bosniaks
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 8, 2021 1:11 PM CDT

(Newser) – Ratko Mladic, the military chief known as the "Butcher of Bosnia" for orchestrating genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in the Balkan nation's 1992-95 war, lost his final legal battle Tuesday when UN judges affirmed his life sentence, the AP reports. The rejection of Mladic's appeals of his 2017 convictions and sentence closed a grim chapter in European history that included the continent's first genocide since World War II—the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys. The now-frail Mladic, often belligerent at his court appearances in The Hague, showed no reaction other than a scowl as Presiding Judge Prisca Matimba Nyambe of Zambia said the panel had dismissed his appeals by a vote of 4-1.

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Mladic, the 79-year-old former commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, was convicted of crimes including genocide, murder, extermination, and terror for atrocities throughout the war that killed more than 100,000 and left millions homeless. He is the last major figure to face justice from the conflict that ended more than a quarter-century ago. His former political chief, ex-Bosnian Serb President Radovan Karadzic, is serving a life sentence after being convicted for the same crimes. And former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic died in a UN cell in 2006 before judges could reach verdicts. Mladic's toxic legacy still divides Bosnia. To Serbs in Bosnia, he is a war hero who fought to protect his people. To Bosniaks, he will always be a villain responsible for their wartime suffering.

(Read more Ratko Mladic stories.)

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