UNITED NATIONS, June 9. /TASS/. The decision to uphold a life sentence of former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic comes in continuation of the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)’s politicized course, Russian Deputy Permanent Representative Gennady Kuzmin at UNSC briefing regarding the report of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals.
Mladic lost the appeal of his life sentence in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague on Tuesday as the ruling was delivered in the Appeals Chamber.
“The verdict pronounced for Ratko Mladic added to the politicized stance assumed by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Now it has also stained the reputation of the Residual Mechanism,” Kuzmin said. “Soon it will be 30 years, almost one third of a century, during which time the biased and cost-intensive Hague machinery of justice has been grinding the fates of those who took part in the war in the Balkans. That war was a tragedy for hundreds of thousand Serbs, Croats, Bosnians, and representatives of other ethnicities.”
“That war highlighted how vulnerable the international law is. It demonstrated how the NATO states given total impunity easily cast aside the UN Charter and started a military operation in a third country. Was there any accountability for massive air bombardments against civil infrastructure, i.a. in the city area of Belgrade and other big cities, for having killed and wounded thousands of civilians, including journalists in the Belgrade TV Center and the Chinese Embassy?” the Russian diplomat continued
“The IRMCT has the relevant jurisdiction, but why does it all of a sudden become ‘deaf and blind’ to some particular crimes? Why did it turn a blind eye to blatant crimes of Kosovar Albanians, so that now the Kosovo Specialist Chambers has to handle them?” Kuzmin added. “The ICTY went down in history as a tool of revenge rather than a body of justice.”
In his words, “the Residual Mechanism inherited all negative features of its predecessor.”
“The ICTY and the Residual Mechanism have not been instrumental in reconciling the diverse Balkan community. The reason for this is a shortage of fairness in the verdicts issued, bashing one side of the conflict while hushing up the wrongdoings of the others,” the diplomat said.
Medical examination of Mladic
Kuzmin reiterated that Russia attaches great importance to safeguarding the rights of individuals under detention, including the right to medical assistance.
“In its resolution 2529 (2020) the Security Council specifically adopted a position on this point,” he continued. “Nevertheless, the Residual Mechanism does not deem it practical to report to the Council about how these rights are being ensured.”
“We didn’t find any information on the current health status of Ratko Mladic, including his recovery after the surgery. A full independent examination and certification, including whether he has retained his cognitive function, has still not been conducted. We strongly insist on this kind of examination being carried out,” Russia’s deputy UN envoy said.
Ratko Mladic, former Bosnian Serb commander, was in hiding for almost 16 years until he was arrested in Serbia in May 2011 and extradited to The Hague. Mladic was sentenced to life in prison by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on November 22, 2017 for genocide, crimes against humanity and violation of laws and customs of war. The tribunal found him guilty on ten out of eleven counts and only acquitted him on the charge of genocide in six municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mladic was convicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Srebrenica.
In March 2018, Mladic’s attorneys filed an appeal, demanding that all procedural mistakes be corrected and that he be cleared on all ten charges.
The former commander suffered three strokes and one heart attack in prison. According to his defense team, he did not receive adequate medical help in prison.