International Criminal Justice: Mladic Update

On May31st Ratko Mladic arrived at The Hague and immediately was locked up in the Dutch prison used by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[1]

In the five days since his arrest and ordered extradition on May 26th,[2] Mladic appealed the Serbian court’s order of extradition to The Hague. The appeal asserted that he is physically and mentally unfit for trial. On May 31st the appeal was rejected.[3]

The following is a summary of the ICTY charges facing Mladic:

  • Genocide and complicity in genocide: for leading Bosnian Serb forces who massacred 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995 and ethnically cleansed towns and villages in Bosnia of non-Serbs throughout the 1992-95 Bosnian war.
  • Crimes against humanity by persecution on the basis of religion: for killing, torturing, raping, deporting and illegally imprisoning Muslims and Croats.
  • War crimes by extermination, murder and cruel treatment: for widespread killing of non-Serb civilians in towns and villages targeted by Bosnian Serb forces and for the deadly campaign of sniping and shelling of civilians during the 44-month siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo.
  • War crimes by taking hostages: for taking hostage United Nations military observers and peacekeepers. [4]

Through his son Mladic has denied that he ordered the massacre at Srebrenica.[5]

Now attention is being paid to how Mladic was able for so long to avoid arrest and whether those who aided his evasion of legal process are liable for crimes.[6]

Mladic still has supporters in Serbia, and on May 29th around 10,000 of them rallied in Belgrade to protest the arrest and threatened extradition of Mladic to the ICTY at The Hague. The crowd also demanded the resignation of the Serbian president, Boris Tadic, whom they called a traitor to Serbia for his willingness to hand over alleged war criminals to the tribunal.[7]

The ICTY has jurisdiction over perpetrators of atrocities committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s, including grave breaches of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, violations of the laws or customs of war, genocide and crimes against humanity. It has indicted 161 ethnic Serbs, Croats and Muslims, the majority of whom are Serbs. The following summarizes the status of these 161 cases:[8]

Concluded cases: Convicted & sentenced   64
Acquitted   13
Referred to national court   13
Withdrawn/deceased   36
Pending Cases: Appeal after trial   16
At trial   14
Pre-trial     4
At large     1
TOTAL   161

[1] Simons, Mladic Arrives in the Hague, N.Y. Times (May 31, 2011),

[2] See Post: International Criminal Justice: Mladic To Face Charges at ICTY (May 27, 2011).

[3] Carvajal, Mladic Appeals Extradition on Health Ground, N.Y. Times (May 31, 2011),; Carvajal, Mladic Extradition Appeal Rejected, N.Y. Times (May 31, 2011),

[4] Associated Press, A Summary of War Crimes Charges Against Mladic, N.Y. Times (May 31, 2011),; ICTY, Case Information Sheet: Ratko Mladic

[5] Beaumont & Meikle, Ratko Mladic denies ordering Srebrenica massacre, says his son, Guardian (May 30, 2011),

[6] Carvajal & Erlanger, Serb Fugitve Slowly Starved of Friends and Cash, N.Y. Times (May 29, 2011),

[7] Erlanger, Demonstrators Rally Against Mladic Extradition, N.Y. Times (May 29, 2011),

[8] ICTY, Key Figures,;  Associated Press, An Overview of the Yugoslav War Crimes Court, N.Y. Times (May 31, 2011), See also Post: International Criminal Justice: Introduction (April 26, 2011); Post: International Criminal Justice: The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (May 28, 2011).

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As a retired lawyer and adjunct law professor, Duane W. Krohnke has developed strong interests in U.S. and international law, politics and history. He also is a Christian and an active member of Minneapolis’ Westminster Presbyterian Church. His blog draws from these and other interests. He delights in the writing freedom of blogging that does not follow a preordained logical structure. The ex post facto logical organization of the posts and comments is set forth in the continually being revised “List of Posts and Comments–Topical” in the Pages section on the right side of the blog.

5 thoughts on “International Criminal Justice: Mladic Update”

  1. Comment: Trial of Former Bosnian Serb Military Commander Starts

    On May 17, 2012, the trial of Ratko Mladic, the former Serbian military commander, started in the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia at The Hague in the Netherlands. The opening statement outlined what the prosecution intends to prove with respect to an 11-count indictment on charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity in the Bosnian war in the 1990’s.

    Simons & Cowell, Trial of Former Bosnian Serb Commander Details Srebrenica Massacre, N.Y. Times (May 17, 2012),; Simons, Former Bosnian Serb General Hears Indictment, and Insults, as Trial Opens, N.Y. Times (May 17, 2012),; Video of Start of Mladic Trial,

  2. Comment: Mladic Trial Resumes

    On July 9th the trial of Ratko Mladic resumed before the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. The first witness “broke down in tears several times as he described one of the Bosnian war’s early large-scale killings of civilians, including many of his friends and relatives— the 1992 massacre near the town of Grabovica.

    Simons, The Hague: Mladic’s Trial Resumes, N.Y. Times (July 9, 2012),

  3. Comment: Mladic Hospitalized and Trial Suspended

    During his trial on July 12th, Ratko Mladid became ill and was taken to the hospital. His trial is suspended until he can return to court.

    Assoc. Press, Ratko Mladic Hospitalized After Feeling Unwell, N.Y. Times (July 12, 2012),; Assoc. Press, Ratko Mladic absent from UN genocide trial due to illness, case adjourned until Monday, Wash. Post (July 13, 2012),

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