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UN court rejects war crimes appeal by Ratko Mladic

UN war crimes judges on Tuesday upheld the genocide conviction and life sentence of former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic over the killing of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995 and other war crimes.

Mladic, 78, who led Bosnian Serb forces during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, was convicted in 2017 on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including terrorising the civilian population of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo during a 43-month siege.

He was convicted by trial and ordered to serve life in prison, but appealed against the verdict and sentence. But appeal court judges dismissed his appeal “in its entirety”, a written summary judgment said.

Lawyers for Mladic argued that the former general could not be held responsible for possible crimes committed by his subordinates and asked for an acquittal or a retrial.

The verdict caps 25 years of trials at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, which has convicted 90 people for war crimes.

The ICTY is a predecessor of the International Criminal Court, the world’s first permanent war crimes court, also seated in The Hague, the Netherlands.

The tribunal will now start looking for a host country willing to house Mladic for the remainder of his life sentence.

Fourteen European countries have taken in UN court convicts to serve out their sentences to date and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was transferred to a British prison in May this year.