With closing arguments of the prosecution and defense, from the 5th to 15th of December, four years long Hague trial of Ratko Mladic will be completed. A verdict is expected by November next year.
Mladic, the wartime commander of the Army of the RS (VRS), is charged with genocide against 7,000 Bosniaks from Srebrenica, persecution of Muslims and Croats throughout BiH that had the scale of genocide in six municipalities, terrorizing civilians in Sarajevo by shelling and sniping and taking “blue helmets” as hostages.
It is certain that prosecutors will request a life sentence in their closing arguments because, according to them, “Mladic’s hand” was crucial in all the crimes, or criminal intention to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Croats from a large part of the territory of BiH that was claimed by leaders of Bosnian Serbs.
Mladic, according to prosecutors, realized that joint criminal enterprise of the political leadership of the RS, led by Radovan Karadzic, with “military force” in order to create a Serbian state.
Defense lawyers did not deny the crimes since they were faced with an abundance of evidence before the Tribunal, while Mladic was fugitive.
Prosecution witness David Harland, who spent the entire war in Sarajevo as an official of the United Nations (UN), said that Karadzic and Mladic used shelling of Sarajevo as “the tap of terror that they opened or closed” as needed.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed that Mladic’s forces captured more than 200 UNPROFOR members in the summer of 1995, but the prosecution was proving that they were hostages, and the defense that they were prisoners of war.
They mostly argued about two explosions on Markale market, where, in the winter of 1994 and summer of 1995, more than 100 civilians were killed.
The trial of Mladic, during which prosecutors and defense attorneys listened to more than 150 witnesses, was almost identical to the trial of Radovan Karadzic, who, to recall, was sentenced to 40 years in prison, as reported by BIRN.