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The International Criminal Law blog

Ratko Mladic Trial Starts

16 May 2012 by Administrator


The trial of Ratko Mladic, former Commander of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS), has begun at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).


General Mladic faces 11 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including two counts of genocide. He is charged on the basis of individual criminal responsibility and superior criminal responsibility.


The indictment alleges that:


  • From 12 May 1992 until 30 November 1995, General Mladic participated in a joint criminal enterprise (JCE) to permanently remove Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat inhabitants from the territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina claimed as Bosnian Serb territory.


  • Between 12 May 1992 and November 1995, Mladic participated in another JCE to establish and carry out a campaign of sniping and shelling against the civilian population of Sarajevo, the primary purpose of which was to spread terror among the civilian population.


  • Commencing in the days immediately preceding the 11 July 1995 implementation of the plan to eliminate the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica and continuing until 1 November 1995, Mladic participated in a JCE to eliminate the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica by killing the men and boys and forcibly removing the women, young children and some elderly men from the area.


  • During May and June 1995, Mladic participated in a JCE to take United Nations personnel hostage in order to compel NATO to abstain from conducting air strikes against Bosnian Serb military targets.


The indictment alleges that, additionally, Mladic is individually criminally responsible for planning, instigating, ordering and/or aiding and abetting the crimes charged in the indictment.


The indictment states that, as Commander of the Main Staff, Mladic was the most senior officer of the VRS. In this capacity Mladic was the superior of, and had effective control over, members of the VRS and elements of Serb forces integrated into, or subordinated to, the VRS that participated in the crimes alleged in the indictment. It is further alleged that Mladic knew or had reason to know that crimes were about to be committed or had been committed by members of the VRS and/or elements of Serb forces under his effective control and that he failed to take the necessary and reasonable measures to prevent the commission of crimes and/or to punish the perpetrators thereof.


The counts read as follows:

  1. Genocide – against a part of the Bosniak and/or Bosnian Croat national ethnical and/or religious groups
  2. Genocide – against Bosniaks in Srebrenica
  3. Persecution (Crime against Humanity) – against Bosniaks and Bosnian Croats
  4. Extermination (Crime against Humanity)
  5. Murder (Crime against Humanity)
  6. Murder (Violation of the Laws of War)
  7. Deportation (Crime against Humanity)
  8. Inhumane Acts (forcible transfer) (Crime against Humanity)
  9. Terror (Violation of the Laws of War)
  10. Unlawful attacks on civilians (Violation of the Laws of War)
  11. Taking of hostages (Violation of the Laws of War)

Mladic was arrested in May 2011 after years in hiding.

At a hearing at the ICTY in June 2011, he stated: “I defended my people, my country… now I am defending myself.”

Further information on today’s proceedings is available here.







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