The United Nations International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals recently affirmed the life sentence of former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army Ratko Mladic. Known as the “Butcher of Bosnia,” Mladic was convicted on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed during the Bosnian war from 1992-1995.
President Joe Biden welcomed the decision in a statement noting, “My thoughts today are with all the surviving families of the many victims of Mladic’s atrocities. We can never erase the tragedy of their deaths, but I hope today’s judgment provides some solace to all those who are grieving.”
As the former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, Mladic was a key figure in a campaign with the horrifying objective of permanently removing the Bosniak and Croat populations of Bosnia and Herzegovina from Serb-controlled territory, including the killing of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica in 1995.
“The crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina mark one of the darkest chapters of history following the Second World War,” said Secretary of State Blinken in a statement.
“Despite efforts of perpetrators to silence witnesses, keep evidence of their crimes buried, and evade warrants of arrest, justice has prevailed in this case,” declared Secretary Blinken. “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 the 26th anniversary of the genocide at Srebrenica draws near, Secretary Blinken expressed hope that “the verdict of the Appeals Chamber brings a measure of peace to the victims and their loved ones.” He also stated his gratitude for the years of work by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals in carrying out justice in the Mladic case.
President Biden said the “historic judgment shows that those who commit horrific crimes will be held accountable. It also reinforces our shared resolve to prevent future atrocities from occurring anywhere in the world.”