UN court upholds Ratko Mladić convictions and life sentence

The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals rejected Butcher of Bosnia's appeal.

A UN court on June 8 upheld the life sentence imposed on former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladić for his role in the Balkan wars in the 1990s. 

The International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals on Tuesday rejected his appeal against  2017 convictions for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

Mr Mladić, 79, known as “the Butcher of Bosnia”, presided over some of the most horrific crimes to occur in Europe since the Second World War. 

He commanded violent ethnic cleansing campaigns across Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995, including the July 1995 massacre of thousands of Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica. 

Accountability an ‘essential step’: Guterres 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has taken note of the court’s decision and his thoughts are with the victims, survivors and their families, according to a statement issued by his Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric. 

It said the UN chief “calls on all those in position of power to refrain from denying the seriousness of the crimes that have been adjudicated and notes that accountability constitutes an essential step for reconciliation in the region.” 

This final judgement is also a reflection of the global community’s commitment to international criminal justice and the fight against impunity. 

“It is another vital step towards coming to terms with the past to build a more resilient, secure and hopeful future for all citizens and residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region,” the statement said. 

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, alongside the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, have welcomed the ruling. 

“The Mechanism’s verdict highlights the determination of the international justice system to ensure accountability no matter how long it may take – in Mladić’s case, nearly three decades after he committed his appalling crimes,” Ms Bachelet said. 



UN entities involved in this initiative
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
United Nations
Other entities involved in this initiative
Arcadia Associates