Ratko Mladic’s trial at the Hague is a welcomed event.
The West’s inaction and complacency in 1995 led to the Srebrenica Massacre and more, carried out by Mladic’s forces.
Since then justice has alluded its victims, but hopefully the ICTY can rectify that situation, to some degree.
However, the arrogance of Mladic is still evident, as the Independent reports:
“Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic taunted Srebrenica survivors on Wednesday at the start of his trial for genocide, running his hand across his throat in a gesture of defiance to relatives of the worst massacre in Europe since World War Two.
Mladic, now 70, flashed a thumbs-up and clapped his hands as he entered the courtroom in The Hague, where he faces possible life imprisonment for allegedly leading the slaughter of 8,000 unarmed Muslim boys and men in Srebrenica in 1995.
In the packed public seating area, a mother of one of the Srebrenica victims whispered “vulture” several times as prosecutors opened their case.
Later, Mladic made eye contact with one of the Muslim women in the audience, running a hand across his throat, in a gesture that led Presiding judge Alphons Orie to hold a brief recess and order an end to “inappropriate interactions.”
Wearing a dark suit and tie, he sat, spectacles in hand, listening intently and jotting notes as prosecutors made their opening remarks.
Prosecutor Dermot Groome said Mladic and other Bosnian Serbs had divided the territory of the former Yugoslavia along ethnic lines and implemented a common plan to exterminate non-Serbs.
“The prosecution will present evidence that will show beyond a reasonable doubt the hand of Mr Mladic in each of these crimes,” he said.
Two dozen mothers of victims of the Srebrenica massacre gathered outside the court, some holding signs, one of which read: “Mladic, the greatest murder of innocent people and children.”
Kada Hotic, who lost her 29-year son, husband and two brothers, said she was worried Mladic might not live long enough for the verdict, like the late Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who died during his trial.
Mladic is the last of the main protagonists in the Balkan wars of the 1990s to go on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
He is accused of orchestrating not only the week-long massacre in Srebrenica, at the time a UN “safe haven”, but also the 43-month siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, in which more than 10,000 people were killed by snipers, machineguns and heavy artillery.
The list of charges stemming from his actions as the Serb military commander in the Bosnian war of 1992-95 ranges from genocide to murder, acts of terror and other crimes against humanity. “
I would recommend readers study the Srebrenica Genocide Blog.
Update 1: This seems to be a good resource, The Mladic Files – An exploration into atrocities in the Balkans and Missteps that led to a tragedy.
Update 2: Some context to Mladic’s arrest in 2011, Europe’s most wanted arrested.
Update 3: This piece from Richard L Kent is worth a read, Bosnia: After A Decade, It Still Haunts.