- Title: Hague prosecutors demand life sentence for Bosnian Serb general Mladic
- Date: 7th December 2016
- Summary: THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS (DECEMBER 7, 2016) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF THE INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL FOR FORMER YUGOSLAVIA UN FLAG
- Embargoed: 22nd December 2016 14:39
- Keywords: UN tribunal Ratko Mladic genocide Srebrenica sentence
- Location: THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS
- City: THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS
- Country: France
- Reuters ID: LVA0015BVY2IV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
Prosecutors told a U.N. tribunal on Wednesday that Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb general charged over the murder of thousands of Muslims in the town of Srebrenica in 1995 must be sentenced to life in jail.
Mladic, 74, is charged with two counts of genocide - part of the attempt to carve an ethnically pure Serb state out of multiethnic Bosnia - alongside political leader Radovan Karadzic, who was sentenced in March to 40 years' prison.
"It would be an insult to victims living and dead and an affront to justice to impose any sentence less than the severest available under the law - a life sentence," said Alan Tieger, lead prosecutor on the tribunal's last major case.
Summing up at the end of the four-year trial, prosecutors used documents and film evidence to argue that Mladic had personally given the order to kill Muslims in the U.N.-protected enclave of Srebrenica, after systematically starving them over the previous winter - charges that Mladic denies.
Mladic, wearing a crumpled grey suit, read a newspaper for much of the hearing, occasionally nodding or shaking his head in response to prosecutors' words.
"The time has come to take revenge on the Turks of this region," Mladic said on a television broadcast, played in court, on the eve of the fall of the enclave, to which thousands of Muslim Bosniaks had fled believing it to be a safe haven.
Within six days of the utterance, over 6,000 Muslim men and boys were dead, prosecutor Alan Weber said.
The massacre, Europe's worst since World War Two, triggered NATO air strikes that ended the three-year Bosnian war, part of a wider Balkan conflict that saw Yugoslavia broken into seven states in a series of wars that killed 130,000 people and lasted for most of the 1990s.
Prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia cited Mladic's orders to cut off power and water to Muslim parts of Bosnia's capital Sarajevo, besieged by his Serb Republic forces for more than three years.
Weber quoted Mladic as saying, "Whenever I come by Sarajevo, I kill someone in passing. That's why the traffic for Sarajevo was disrupted. Snipers? I go kick the hell out of the Turks, who gives a fuck for them."
Mladic's lawyers will respond later this week. Judges are expected to hand down a verdict and sentence next year.
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