Genocide suspect, Ratko Mladic was removed from the courtroom of the tribunal while the sentence was being read.
Today, Ratko Mladic heard what the Yugoslavia Tribunal had in store for him. The outcome of a process that lasted six years.
The Serbian army leader was removed from the courtroom by guards at around 11 o’clock because he started to shout at the magistracy. Previously he had been away for a long toilet break. Never a dull moment with Ratko.
Eventually, he was sentenced to life in prison at around ten past twelve for the mass murder of adults and children in Srebrenica. Life imprisonment is the maximum sentence within the Yugoslavia Tribunal. Sounds of relief could be heard from the public gallery.
A quick look back. We thought in July of 1995 that this terrible war in ‘Former Yugoslavia’ was almost over. The Dayton agreement had already been signed. There was finally international support. The UN kept a close eye on things. In the meantime, we had given shelter to refugees from countries or regions that we had only heard from in holiday guides such as Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia, Macedonia and of course Serbia. And in many cases, these people were able to return to their homes.
Choosing a side was difficult, if not impossible. The Serbs had clearly been the aggressor. But what the Croats had done under the direction of Franjo Tudjman in revenge was no joke either.
And Ratko Mladic? The cruel tyrant who had ordered the mass murder and had driven people together, killed them and then had them buried? He lived a protected existence in Serbia. He still had friends within the military and in politics who supported him and provided protection. Until 2009 approximately. That was the year we received reports that special operations were on their way to arrest him. In 2011 he was suddenly appeared in The Hague, at the Yugoslavia Tribunal. Pale-eyed, a gray hat, unintelligibly screaming about “the injustice” that was done to him.
The mass murderer of Srebrenica has been punished today. He will look at four walls for the rest of his life. Finally, redemption has been made.
Whether all those mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters of the murdered people want to be reminded of this remains to be seen. Their suffering will be forever, no matter how many banners, marches, and commemorations are organized for the victims of the massacre; the biggest mass murder on European soil since the Second World War.