Bosnian Serb general Mladic must be jailed for life: Hague prosecutor

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 07, 2016 8:44 AM

By Thomas Escritt

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - Prosecutors at a U.N. tribunal called on Wednseday for Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb general accused of war crimes including the infamous 1995 genocide of thousands of Muslims in the town of Srebrenica, to be sentenced to life in prison.

Mladic, 74, is charged with two counts of genocide related to the war to carve an ethnically pure Serb state out of multi ethnic Bosnia, alongside Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic, who was sentenced in March to 40 years' jail.

"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 for the Muslims of the so-called safe enclave of Srebrenica to be murdered. Mladic denies the charges.

"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 (these words') utterance, over 6,000 Muslim men and boys were dead," prosecutor Alan Weber said, describing the massacre, Europe's worst since World War Two, which U.N. judges have previously ruled a genocide.

Mladic's lawyers will respond this week. A verdict and sentence in the case, one of the last at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, is expected next year.

(Editing by Louise Ireland)