The conviction of Ratko Mladic has triggered mixed reactions back in Belgrade.
While Serbia’s president is urging people to look to the future there is deep resentment in some quarters
At the offices of an NGO called “Youth initiative for human rights”, which deals with reconciling Serbia with its past, its chief Anita Mitic said guilt should be ascribed to those who were responsible.
“I think this is a good thing. It’s a point when you say that he is a war criminal, he is convicted war criminal that committed genocide; one of the worst nightmares and the worst marks in our history was committed in Srebrenica, so it is a good thing that we finally have a verdict for him.”
Elsewhere in the Serbia capital members of another NGO – “Zavetnici”, which cares for Serbs who took part in the in the war in former Yugoslavia were critical of the court’s findings. Among them NGO President Milica Djurdjevich:
“We’ve been openly saying for a long time that the Hague Tribunal is illegitimate and is plainly a political court which over the years has imprisoned numerous Serbs for a total of a 1000 years, and yet hasn’t sentenced any Croat for crimes against Serbian people.”
News of Ratko Mladic being sentenced to life in prison spread very quickly throughout the city and locals were keen to say what they thought:
“I think that every person should bear responsibility for deeds he or she has done, no mather who that person is.”
“Sentenced to life in prison? That is a disaster. I don’t know on what grounds they reached this verdict. He was only defending the Serbian people. “
Euronews reporter Borjan Jovanovski:
“The Hague court’s verdict is a clear indication that 22 years after signing of the Dayton Agreement , Serbia remains deeply divided over its role in the wars of the former Yugoslavia, which is a heavy burden on its perspectives to the European integration processes.”