The 'Ratko Mladic' case is proof of what can be done in international justice processes if states show the will to cooperate and remove political obstacles, Judge Carmel Agius said addressing the UN Security Council Tuesday evening.
“A few hours ago, the Appeals Chamber handed down a verdict against Ratko Mladic. In short – Ratko Mladic's appeal was rejected and the verdict for murder, expulsion and deportation, other inhumane treatment as a crime against humanity, illegal attacks on civilians and hostage-taking was confirmed… The sentence of life imprisonment was confirmed,” said Agius.
He called on everyone to read the verdict and see the majority decision. All this, he added, is already publicly available on the website of the Mechanism.
“I want to thank the judges in the Council as well as the team who worked hard to ensure the work. The appeal procedure was complex from the very beginning and all this was linked to the exclusion of judges, which had to be decided at the very beginning. So that led to a postponement of the decision in the Mladic case, which was planned for March 2020, and then the Covid pandemic broke out, which further slowed down the work. After that, we had the death of a judge from Burkina Faso,” Agius explained.
He said the final verdict against Mladic was a strong message for the victims and survivors.
“Mr Mladic was indicted before the tribunal in 1995, thanks to prosecutors from the International Tribunal with the support of the international community. Fifteen years later, they managed to deprive him of his liberty. The final verdict is a really strong message for the victims and survivors that the perpetrators of such serious crimes will still be brought to justice, regardless of their position,” Agius pointed out.
He concluded by saying that a verdict of this kind cannot bring back the loved ones or heal wounds, but it gives hope that victims and families will find some comfort in this justice.
Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb army general, was sentenced to life in prison by the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (MICT), Tuesday, confirming the first instance verdict.