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GENEVA November 22, 2017 – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has hailed the conviction of former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic on multiple counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, calling it a “momentous victory for justice.”
“Mladic presided over some of the darkest crimes to occur in Europe since World War II, bringing terror, death and destruction to thousands of victims, and sorrow, tragedy and trauma to countless more. His conviction is a testament to the courage and determination of those victims and witnesses who never gave up hope that they would see him brought to justice,” said Zeid, who served in the UN Protection Force in the former Yugoslavia from 1994 to 1996.
“Two of the main architects of some of the worst atrocities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the genocide of Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica, Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, have now been convicted and are facing lengthy jail sentences,” he said.
“Mladic is the epitome of evil, and the prosecution of Mladic is the epitome of what international justice is all about,” said Zeid, who shortly after experiencing the war in the former Yugoslavia first-hand, played a key role in setting up the International Criminal Court. “All those who question the importance of the ICC should reflect on this case. All those who are committing serious international crimes in so many situations today across the world should fear this result.”
“Today’s verdict is a warning to the perpetrators of such crimes that they will not escape justice, no matter how powerful they may be nor how long it may take. They will be held accountable,” Zeid added.
“The conviction of Mladic will not return loved ones to their families nor erase the past, but I fervently hope that this verdict can help to counter the voices of those who either deny these horrific crimes or glorify those who committed them,” the High Commissioner said.
“I would like also to recognize the extraordinary dedication of all those at the ICTY and beyond who have contributed to the delivery of justice in this and other cases brought before the Tribunal,” Zeid said.