- Title: Trial of Bosnian Serb commander Mladic enters final stage
- Date: 5th December 2016
- Summary: THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS (DECEMBER 5, 2016) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA PRESIDENT OF ASSOCIATION "MOTHERS OF SREBRENICA", MUNIRA SUBASIC, STANDING IN FRONT OF THE TRIBUNAL (SOUNDBITE) (Bosnian), PRESIDENT OF ASSOCIATION "MOTHERS OF SREBRENICA", MUNIRA SUBASIC, SAYING: "Before Mladic came to Srebrenica, my son Nermin whose birthday it is today, was still alive. All our people were alive. When Mladic arrived, massacre started and among the missing ones there were thousands of women and boys. Many women were raped those days when Mladic was in Srebrenica. Mladic should be remembered as a murderer from the end of 20th century, who sent thousands of young women and men to their graves and left thousands of parents and mothers with sorrow."
- Embargoed: 20th December 2016 10:16
- Keywords: Mladic former Yugoslavia Bosnia Serb Srebrenica Sarajevo Muslim
- Location: THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS
- City: THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS
- Country: Netherlands
- Reuters ID: LVA0015BLX6IV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Prosecutors began closing arguments on Monday (December 5) in the genocide trial of former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic, marking the final stage of the last major case at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal.
Mladic, 74, faces up to life imprisonment for two counts of genocide and nine counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
A former general who headed the Bosnian Serb separatist forces, Mladic is one of the top suspects in the massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys from the Srebrenica enclave at the end of the 1992-95 Bosnian war.
"Before Mladic came to Srebrenica, my son Nermin whose birthday it is today, was still alive. All our people were alive," Munira Subasic, a member of the Mothers of Srebrenica group, said.
"Mladic should be remembered as a murderer from the end of 20th century, who sent thousands of young women and men to their graves and left thousands of parents and mothers with sorrow," said Subasic, who hopes Mladic will get life.
The closing arguments are expected to run through Dec. 15 and a judgement is likely in 2017.
Mladic was charged alongside former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic, who was sentenced to 40 years in prison in March.
Prosecutors say Mladic and Karadzic jointly masterminded a conspiracy to "ethnically cleanse" large parts of Bosnia of Muslims and Croats and carve out a pure Serbian state during the violent breakup of federal Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
"On the 11th of July general Mladic walked into Srebrenica and vowed that the time had come to take revenge on the Turks," prosecutor Alan Tieger told judges on Monday.
He added that within a short period, 7,000 Srebrenica men and boys as young as 12 were systematically murdered, and the remaining inhabitants were expelled.
"Meanwhile, Bosnia's capital had been held under what General Mladic called 'our hammer' - its civilian population subjected to a campaign of shelling and sniping, that was increased to place pressure on or retaliate against the Muslim side, or conversely reduced in response to pressures from international community," Tieger said.
According to the Karadzic judgement, Mladic shared a goal to "permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from Bosnian-Serb claimed territory".
Mladic's lawyers have complained that the former general, a frail picture of the wartime leader, has already been found guilty and accused the tribunal of bias. But a defence motion to declare a mistrial was dismissed earlier this year.
Karadzic and Mladic were indicted shortly before the end of Bosnia's war, which claimed up to 100,000 lives, but spent more than a decade on the run in Serbia before their arrest.
When Mladic was finally caught in 2011 he was in poor health following a series of strokes. His defence lawyer said resulting gaps in his memory rendered him unable to distinguish fact from fiction, but judges ruled he was fit enough to stand trial.
Established in 1993, the tribunal indicted 161 individuals from all sides of the conflict and 83 were convicted.
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