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Withdrawn/deceased   36
SUBTOTAL 126
Pending Cases: Appeal after trial   16
At trial   14
Pre-trial     4
At large     1
SUBTOTAL   35
TOTAL   161

[1] Simons, Mladic Arrives in the Hague, N.Y. Times (May 31, 2011), http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/01/world/europe/01serbia.html?ref=world&pagewanted=print.

[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), http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/31/world/europe/31serbia.html?ref=world; Carvajal, Mladic Extradition Appeal Rejected, N.Y. Times (May 31, 2011), http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/01/world/europe/01serbia.html?hp.

[4] Associated Press, A Summary of War Crimes Charges Against Mladic, N.Y. Times (May 31, 2011), http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/05/31/world/europe/AP-EU-Mladic-The-Charges-Glance.html?hp; ICTY, Case Information Sheet: Ratko Mladichttp://www.icty.org/x/cases/mladic/cis/en/cis_mladic_en.pdf.

[5] Beaumont & Meikle, Ratko Mladic denies ordering Srebrenica massacre, says his son, Guardian (May 30, 2011), http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/may/29/ratko-mladic-denies-ordering-srebrenica-massacre.

[6] Carvajal & Erlanger, Serb Fugitve Slowly Starved of Friends and Cash, N.Y. Times (May 29, 2011),   http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/30/world/europe/30mladic.html?ref=world.

[7] Erlanger, Demonstrators Rally Against Mladic Extradition, N.Y. Times (May 29, 2011), http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/30/world/europe/30serbia.html?ref=world.

[8] ICTY, Key Figures, http://www.icty.org/sections/TheCases/KeyFigures;  Associated Press, An Overview of the Yugoslav War Crimes Court, N.Y. Times (May 31, 2011), http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/05/31/world/europe/AP-EU-Mladic-Tribunal-Glance.html?ref=world. 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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International Criminal Justice: Mladic To Face Charges at ICTY

On May 26, Ratko Mladic was arrested in Serbia and will be extradited to The Hague in the Netherlands. He is the former Bosnian Serb general held responsible for the massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995. At The Hague he will face charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).[1]


[1] Reuters,Ratko Mladic to Face Tribunal on Genocide Charges, N.Y. Times (May 26, 2011); Bilefsky & Carvajal, Serbia Says Jailed Mladic Will Face War Crimes Trial, N.Y. Times (May 26, 2011); Rhode & Burns, Executions Were Mladic’s Signature, and Downfall, N.Y. Times (May 26, 2011); ICTY, Statement of the Office of the Prosecutor on the Arrest of Ratko Mladic, (May  26, 2011) http://www.icty.org/sid/10670 (contains link to full text of indictment of Mladic); Editorial, End of the Line, N.Y. Times (May 26, 2011); Carvajal, Serbian Court Backs Transfer of Mladic to Hague, N.Y. Times (May 27, 2011); Carvajal, Left Ill by Fugitive Life, Mladic Hopes to Avoid Hague, N.Y. Times (May 27, 2011).