Mladic closing arguments: Saving the best for last?

22 December 2016 by Stephanie van den Berg

The closing arguments in the case against former Bosnian Serb military commander General Ratko Mladic finished up last week. The 1992-95 war in Bosnia ended over twenty years ago and Mladic's is the last trial for the tribunal which has seen interest in its trials waning, is this case too little, too late or did the tribunal save the best for last?

Justice Tribune spoke to Iva Vukusic about the significance of the case and the closing arguments of the parties. Vukusic is former journalist who also worked in the prosecutions office of the Bosnian state court's war crimes chambers and is now a PhD candidate at Utrecht University where she focuses on paramilitarism during the 1990s wars in the former Yugoslavia.

Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic together in an undated image (Photo: Flickr/ICTY)
Image caption: 
Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic together in an undated image (Photo: Flickr/ICTY)

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) is closing next year and this is the last major trial. How important is this case for the legacy of the ICTY?

Iva Vukusic (IV) : The trial against Mladic is one of the cases that will define the last stage of the tribunal. Probably (Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan) Karadzic and Mladic will be considered as some of the most important trials in the entire history of the tribunal.

What also makes it remarkable is that it is a really high official, someone who was on the run for a long time, so there was a lot of attention and expectation because he is considered to be one of the most responsible persons for the violence in Bosnia.

The closing arguments really gave me a sense of something big ending and I really hope that Mladic stays healthy and lives to see the end of the proceedings (with the verdict expected in November next year).

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