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'Bloody traces of Mladic are all over Bosnia'

Bosnians await International Criminal Tribunal verdict in ethnic cleansing case against 'Butcher of Bosnia' on June 8

Vesna Besic and Lejla Biogradlija   | 06.06.2021
'Bloody traces of Mladic are all over Bosnia'

BELGRADE, Serbia

The bloody traces of a former Serb general known as the "Butcher of Bosnia" can be found all over Bosnia and Herzegovina, the head of the Srebrenica Memorial Center said on Sunday.

Thousands of Bosnians are waiting for the final verdict in the ethnic cleansing case against Ratko Mladic, to be announced on June 8 by the International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague.

Emir Suljagic, the center's director, who has extensively worked on the genocide victims in Bosnia and Herzegovina's historic town of Srebrenica, said some of the victims' relatives may have their high expectations for the verdict against Mladic disappointed on that day.

"Satisfaction is relative. Victims who have experienced Mladic's atrocities may be disappointed that day. Some might say he got what he deserved," Suljagic told Anadolu Agency.

The real issue, according to Suljagic, is the political class that continues to maintain Mladic's legacy.

"What do we do with the political class that continues to perpetuate Mladic's work and legacy after his conviction? Mladic did not leave his bloody traces only in Srebrenica. There are traces in all of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Do not forget that Mladic was personally involved in the siege of Sarajevo," said Suljagic.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is awaiting June 8 and "we will never be hostages of Mladic ideology. Now we are writing our own history," said Suljagic.

The 78-year-old former general was sentenced by the UN court to life imprisonment in 2017 for genocide in Srebrenica and crimes against humanity between 1992 and 1995.

However, Mladic is also known for his forces' bloody 1,425-day siege of Sarajevo, the longest a capital city has suffered in the history of modern warfare.

Mladic was once Europe's most wanted man after his role in the Bosnian War from 1992 to 1995.

Srebrenica genocide

More than 8,300 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed after Bosnian Serb forces attacked the UN "safe area" of Srebrenica in July 1995, despite the presence of Dutch troops tasked with acting as international peacekeepers.

Srebrenica was besieged by Serb forces who were trying to wrest territory from Bosnian Muslims and Croats to form a state.

The UN Security Council declared Srebrenica a "safe area" in the spring of 1993. However, Serb troops led by Gen. Ratko Mladic, who was later found guilty of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, overran the UN zone.

Dutch troops failed to act as Serb forces occupied the area, killing 2,000 men and boys on July 11.

About 15,000 Srebrenicans fled to the surrounding mountains, but Serb troops hunted down and killed 6,000 in the forests.

*Written by Talha Ozturk in Belgrade

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