Yesterday, Tuesday 8 June, was the date for the final verdict against the “Balkan butcher” who led what was known as the Bosnian Serb Army between 1992 and 1995 to commit war crimes in Bosnia.
The court ruled in his presence that the Serbian general is a criminal who committed genocide and crimes against humanity in Srebrenica, Sarajevo and in 15 other Bosnian municipalities. Read also Commemoration of the 17th anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre Srebrenica massacre.. 20 years ago 95 international artists exhibit in solidarity with Srebrenica Srebrenica survivors refuse to forgive Dutch soldiers
Thus, the court rejected the appeal, and upheld its ruling on November 22, 2017, convicting Mladic to life imprisonment on 10 of the 11 charges brought against him by the prosecution.
In the capital, Sarajevo, the families of the victims and representatives of civil society organizations gathered in the main hall of the City Hall to follow the trial live on large screens, in the presence of the Mayor of Sarajevo, Binjamina Karic.
Al Jazeera Net met with a number of families of the victims to monitor the reactions to the trial, where the joy was mixed with the judicial ruling; Sadness that fills the chests for loved ones who are gone.
Ramiza Gordic – who killed Mladic and his aides, her two sons and her husband in Srebrenica – said, “Thank God we saw this oppressor who was pretending false heroism, we saw him humiliated in the dock, the trial of the thug who killed my dearest, will not make me forget them, but I am satisfied because in the end we are We stayed.”
She added – in an interview with Al Jazeera Net – “They wanted the Muslims to perish, but we stayed and we will remain in beautiful Bosnia, and we will not get tired or tired in the journey of searching for our most precious people. I have traveled to many countries to introduce the justice of our cause, and to reveal to the world the horror of the Serbian aggression against us.”
For her part, Sunaida Karovic, head of the Union of Civilian War Victims in Sarajevo, said that when the verdict was pronounced, “I remembered when I was injured and lost one of my legs, the sad memories came back to me, the memories of 1425 days of fear and panic in inhuman conditions in which all the reasons for normal life were lacking. No water, no electricity, no heating.
And she continued, “But with all that, I feel a kind of satisfaction, because I saw the criminal humiliated, the judge orders him to stand, and he stands, then orders him to sit down and sit, and he was the one who was commanded and obeyed, thank God I watched this day.”
In Srebrenica – which witnessed the terrible massacre – the Association of Srebrenica Mothers organized a follow-up to Mladic’s trial in the same place where his greatest crime was committed. A huge screen was installed in the memorial center in Srebrenica, to transmit the proceedings of the trial session via Al Jazeera’s live broadcast in the presence of the victims’ families.
“I dedicate this ruling to the spirit of Khadija Mahmidovich, the first president of the association, who did not live to see that moment, and lived more than 20 years in suffering and grief for her children and husband. Justice is so slow that many mothers They weren’t happy with it.”
She added, “I would also like to dedicate this joy to the mothers in Palestine. We sympathize with them, because we are the best at feeling their pain. My message to the Palestinian mother is to struggle and not give up in the pursuit of justice, for every evil has an end, even if it sometimes seems that the whole world is against us.”
“The Hague Tribunal will not be the last, the days are turning, and power will not always remain in the hands of tyrants. This is what our Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him and grant him peace, taught us. We must do what we can; collect evidence and documents, then fight for our rights, and we will succeed because The truth wins if the owners of the truth do what they can, this is one of God’s laws on earth.”
Almasa Salihovic – who followed the trial from Srebrenica – told Al Jazeera Net – “When the verdict was pronounced, I remembered my brother Abdullah, but nothing can bring back the one who died.”
“However, it is a nice feeling that justice has won, and this is a consolation for us to some extent. It is also important for the young people on whom the future of this country depends. And although this criminal is still a hero in the eyes of some young people (Serbs), we want To believe that they will one day understand that an internationally condemned war criminal cannot be considered a hero.”
Al Jazeera Net also spoke with Sheikh Ahmed Khorstanovic, an imam in Srebrenica and one of the witnesses to the crimes of Ratko Mladic; “In Srebrenica, all the male members of my family were killed: my father, my grandfathers, my uncles and my uncles, Mladic and his henchmen killed them, for no fault of their own. My mother ran with me and my sister through the woods, my mother was pregnant, my brother Anis was born and he never saw our father.”
“For me personally, even the death penalty for criminal Mladic is not enough,” Sheikh Ahmed concludes, “I believe that crime has no religion, nationality or any other title. Crime is a crime and a major sin in all the world’s religions.”
Politically, Bakir Izetbegovic welcomed the verdict, addressing his speech to the Serbs, saying, “I hope that this ruling will help the Serbian people to get rid of the burden imposed on them by those who deny crimes and portray war criminals as heroes. Accepting the truth is the only right path to a more successful future for all of us.” “.
The Serbian reactions came to the contrary; Starting with Milorad Dodik, a Serbian member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina who stated that the Appeals Chamber ruling against General Ratko Mladic “is a farce and politicized, and the court in The Hague has shown that it wants to demonize the Serbs.”
Gorica Dodik’s tweet came in response to a large number of Serbian youth, as he said, “Very seriously! I repeat.. Long live Republika Srpska! Long live Ratko Mladic! Long live all the heroes of the Republika Srpska Army!”
As well as Darko Mladic (son of the Serbian general), who raised a question that some considered strange, saying, “This court was specifically designed to violate the dignity of Serbs, and is not intended to achieve justice.”
“Otherwise, why don’t we see the like of it in other places? Why is Ratko Mladic being tried here only? Why is there not, for example, Ratko Mladic in Syria?”
Ermin Coca, an expert in international law, in his meeting with Al Jazeera Net; He stressed that “the final verdict against Mladic is of great importance to the science and practice of international law, because the International Court has convicted political and military officials of genocide,” he said.
“It is certain that the experience gained during the prosecution of war criminals in Bosnia and Herzegovina will serve as a starting point that can be used to prosecute other criminals (political or military) in other parts of the world,” he added.
Al Jazeera Net also contacted Amer Ahmic, the Bosnian liaison officer with the International Court residing in The Hague, who said, “This is the seventh time that a war criminal has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity in Bosnia.”
“This is a victory for Bosnia, a victory for the families of the victims, witnesses and everyone, and on a personal level, I feel relieved that I witnessed that moment that we have all been waiting for for 26 years,” he added.
Ahmich concludes, “We arrested him and brought him to justice. We tried him. Today, he receives an international certificate that he is a war criminal.”