Reactions after the Haag’s tribunal final verdict about Ratko Mladić
Ratko Mladić, former Bosnian Serb commander, received a life sentence in 2017 for the responsibility of killing about 8.000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995. The Srebrenica massacre is considered the worst atrocity since World War II in Europe. He appealed against the verdict in 2017. The final judgment, which found Mladic guilty, was heard on June 8.
The verdict provoked various reactions in Serbia’s pro-government newspapers. Ratko Mladić was on the front page of the newspaper immediately the day after the verdict. According to Informer, Mladić “is forever a Serbian hero,” and he was convicted despite “absolutely no evidence.” There was a headline in tabloid Kurir “Hague injustice for Mladić”. Vecernje Novosti published a photo of shock-looked Mladić with the title “They dealt the final blow”.
There were not so many reactions among Serbian politicians. President Aleksandar Vučić addressed the verdict indirectly at the UN Security Council meeting. He said that “neither Serbia nor the Serbian people have been convicted of anything”. The Minister of Interior Aleksandar Vulin, known for his nationalistic rhetorics, was the only one who reacted by saying that Mladić’s life sentence was a “revenge, not a verdict”.
Bosniak and Croat members of the BiH trilateral presidency welcomed the verdict except for the Serbian Milorad Dodik. He said that the Mladić verdict “has nothing to do with law and justice”. In a press conference, he also noted that the trial was held to “Satanism” Serbs and claimed that “an attempt is being made to create a myth about the genocide in Srebrenica, which did not happen”.
This was a long-awaited verdict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic said she is relieved that the judgment is finally done, and she also added that glorification of genocide must be prohibited. Survivor Semso Osmanovic, who lost 23 family members in the massacre, said that the verdict meant he finally feels able to return to his hometown.
The US President Joe Biden said the “historic judgment shows that those who commit horrific crimes will be held accountable. It also reinforces our shared resolve to preventing future atrocities from occurring anywhere in the world”.