Ratko Mladic should be jailed for life, prosecutors told a UN court on Wednesday, as the Bosnian Serb general’s war crimes trial draws to a close in the Hague.
Nicknamed ‘the Butcher of Bosnia’, he is charged notably over the murder of thousands of Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995.
The massacre, Europe’s worst since World War Two, triggered NATO air strikes that ended the three-year Bosnian war, part of a wider Balkan conflict that saw Yugoslavia broken into seven states in a series of wars that killed 130,000 people and lasted for most of the 1990s.
“It would be incompatible with tribunal sentencing practice and an insult to the victims, living and dead, and an affront to justice to impose any sentence other than the most severe available under law – a life sentence,” said lead prosecutor Alan Tieger.
Prosecutor Adam Weber cited what were said to be Mladic’s own words about Muslim parts of Sarajevo, besieged by Mladic’s Serb Republic forces for more than three years.
Mladic had declared, Weber told the court: “Whenever I come by Sarajevo, I kill someone in passing. That’s why the traffic for Sarajevo was disrupted. Snipers. I go kick the hell out of the Turks. Who gives a fuck for them?”
In what is the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia’s last major case, Mladic, 74, is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes over the attempt to carve an ethnically pure Serb state out of multi-ethnic Bosnia.
His trial started more than four years ago.
Mladic, wearing a crumpled grey suit, read a newspaper for much of the hearing, occasionally nodding or shaking his head in response to prosecutors’ words.
His lawyers will respond later this week. Judges are expected to hand down a verdict and sentence next year.
Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic was jailed for 40 years in March.