IRCT welcomes Mladic transfer to the Hague01-06-2011
After sixteen years, the victims of Srebrenica and their families may finally see justice done.
Ratko Mladic, former commander of the Bosnian Serb troops from 1992 to 1995, is in UN custody in The Hague and charged with 15 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and violations of customs or laws of war in relation to atrocities committed during the Bosnian war including the massacre of nearly 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica. The charges also include an ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing, torture, and terrorising of the Bosniaks, or Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Croats, and other non-Serb populations.
Apprehended on 26 May, Mladic was extradited to the Holland city after losing an appeal in a Serbian court Tuesday.
Rather than a climate of impunity, the arrest and subsequent trial of Mladic supports justice within a process of regional rehabilitation. However, many victims and their families worry that justice will still not come – like in the case of Slobodan Milosevic, Mladic may not live to see a verdict. The 69-year-old is rumoured to have a kidney disease, and, as the trial of political leader Radovan Karadzic shows, a trial may take several years.
“Now they are handing him over to justice,” Kada Hotic told BBC News. “Well, better late than never. But I'm afraid of another trial without a verdict.”
Hotic was among the Bosnian Muslims who sought refuge in Srebrenica in 1995. After Mladic’s army took over the city, Hotic was bussed to Bosniak territory, while her husband, brothers, and son were killed.
However, in consideration of these concerns, prosecutors are amending the charge sheet to reduce the trial time, the BBC reports.
Yet, despite the expected ordeal still ahead, the victims and their families will know that the former commander, who led an army that brought forth genocide and torture, will face these charges in The Hague’s International Criminal Tribunal. Furthermore, others around the world that commit crimes against humanity, crimes of torture, crimes of unspeakable pain, will know that these crimes will not continue and will not be tolerated.
For meaningful rehabilitation to continue, for the victims and families of Bosnia and for the region itself, those charged with war crimes must be brought to justice. This is why we applaud the apprehension of Ratko Mladic, who will finally face the crimes of Srebrenica.