maintain life imprisonment The assessment of the former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic by a UN judge in The Hague brought relief to relatives of his atrocities. Now that one of the biggest war criminals of the former Yugoslavia civil war has been in prison with Mladic, they can continue their lives. However, they are still struggling with the problem.
“I think we can close Srebrenica now: this is genocide, period,” Adnandlik said. He watched the verdict today in the presence of NOS reporter Mattijs van de Wiel and two other young Bosnian Dutchmen Amra Zeric and Mirhad Hasanovic.
It seems certain in advance that Mladic will be sentenced to life imprisonment again. In 2017, he has been convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. However, for many relatives, there is still an important problem.
At that time, Mladic was found guilty on 10 of 11 charges. Therefore, one charge was deemed unproven: Mladic was found not guilty in some cities in Bosnia. Today, the Court of Appeal upheld the ruling, which made the relatives feel very sad.
Milhard Hasanovic said: “I regret that he was not found guilty of genocide in other cities.” Amra Zeric agreed. Her parents are from Prijedor, one of the cities. “Almost all of my relatives are in concentration camps. They are abused and starved there. The reason for not mentioning the genocide is that the number of victims is not enough. I feel painful to hear: your relatives have not had enough to call it. It’s genocide. It’s a bit bittersweet. On the one hand, I’m very happy that he was sentenced to life imprisonment. On the other hand, I want to be recognized.”
Wouter Zweers, Balkans expert at the Clingendael Institute: “In Bosnia, they said: You can’t say that the genocide took place in one city and not another, because Mladic is in charge of the entire region. Therefore, he should not be responsible for the genocide throughout the country. Everywhere.”
“But most importantly, the 2017 verdict was upheld,” Zwils said. “Srebrenica’s atrocities are still classified as genocide, and Mladić should still be held accountable, even though he has always claimed that he cannot control certain troops.”
Delic, Zeric and Hasanovic also breathed a sigh of relief because Mladic was present at the time. His lawyers often argue that his health is not sufficient to appear in court. “I’m glad he didn’t die before the sentence was pronounced,” Hasanovic said. “We saw him standing for a few minutes.”
All three people in their early twenties were born in the Netherlands, but they still carry the war. “After all, this is part of my identity. As a child, the question you care about is: who am I and why I came here as a Bosnian? Then you will look for the answer,” Delik said. “Although you were not born there, you will know that no relatives have been found,” Zerik said. “You see your parents watching TV in pain, and then suddenly these stories appear on the desktop.”
Journalist David Jan Godfroid watched the verdict with relatives and friends in Bosnia and Herzegovina:
Zerik said the conflict in the region itself is far from over. “There are still many tensions between the ethnic groups in Bosnia. I think it will take several generations to eliminate the suffering and build bridges. Although genocide is legally recognized, many people still deny it. Recognition, the ethnic group Peace between the two will be difficult to achieve.”
Many perpetrators are still at large
Zvirs, an expert on Balkan issues, also sees this: “In the country, there are still dividing lines between different groups, and there is still a long way to go to achieve full reconciliation. Also in Serbia, Mladic is still affected by some People see it as supporting Serbia’s interests.”
“The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia undoubtedly provided some form of justice for the crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s,” said Zweiers. “Dozens of people have been convicted, but many have also been released. This is why there is still dissatisfaction among relatives.”
Hasanovic confirmed: “Although the biggest criminals such as Mladic and Karadzic have been arrested and convicted, if you go to places like Srebrenica, there are still people actively involved in the murder. There is no way.”