DOUBLE GENOCIDE REMAINS IN MLADIC’S INDICTMENT
Mladic’s motion against the Trial Chamber’s decision confirming the first two counts in the indictment – genocide in six BH municipalities in 1992, and in Srebrenica in 1995 – was rejected today. The prosecution called sufficient evidence capable of supporting a conviction for the accused’s involvement in both genocides, the Appeals Chamber ruled
The Appeals Chamber headed by the ICTY President Theodor Meron confirmed the Trial Chambers decision on Rule 98bis motion filed by General Mladic and confirmed the two counts pertaining to genocide in the indictment against Ratko Mladic. The first genocide encompasses the crimes in 1992 in the municipalities of Foca, Kljuc, Kotor Varos, Prijedor, Sanski Most and Vlasenica and the second genocide was committed in Srebrenica in 1995. The defense appealed against the decision rendered at the half-time of the trial in April 2014 by the Trial Chamber. After the prosecution rested its case, the Trial Chamber denied the motion in which the defense asked the judges to drop the two counts from the indictment because, as the defense argued, the prosecution had not called enough evidence to support the charges.
In its decision, the Appeals Chamber notes that the Trial Chamber was right when it concluded that the prosecution had called sufficient evidence to support a conviction for both genocides in BH and the involvement of the accused in them.
First, the Trial Chamber applied its discretionary right and correctly concluded that the evidence on the killing of a large number of persons, their detention and inhumane treatment including rape and grave physical and mental suffering, creating conditions designed to cause the physical annihilation of Bosnian Muslims and Croats clearly pointed thatgenocide was committed in the six municipalities. In the case of Srebrenica, the Trial Chamber noted in its decision that a large volume of the evidence called by the prosecution showed that there had been genocide in Srebrenica too.
Secondly, the defense's allegation that the Trial Chamber failed to consider the evidence on Mladic’s genocidal intent, mens rea, has been rejected. The Appeals Chamber recalls that the conclusion on the intent could be based on ‘circumstantial evidence’ such as the systematic design and the scope of the crimes. The Appeals Chamber's decision emphasizes that the Trial Chamber listed a lot of other evidence called by the prosecution on Mladic’s intent to commit genocide in the six municipalities in 1992, including the intercepted conversations and reports from meetings where Mladic made threats about all-out attacks on civilians and the evidence that Mladic was aware that crimes had been perpetrated.
Speaking about Srebrenica, Mladic’s genocidal intent could be seen in the video recordings, the Appeals Chamber recalls. There is video footage of Mladic arriving in Srebrenica, saying‘we give this town to the Serb people as a gift’ and ‘the time has come to take our revenge on Turks’. The decision also refers to the evidence of Momir Nikolic, chief of security in the Bratunac Brigade. In his testimony before the Tribunal Nikolic said that when he asked Mladic what would happen to the Srebrenica prisoners, Mladic made a gesture with his hand showing that they would all be killed.
Having in mind the ‘totality of the evidence’ on the substantial elements of genocide and the genocidal intent of the accused, the Appeals Chamber concludes that the judges in the Trial Chamber did not err when they rejected the defense's motion on the counts 1 and 2 in the indictment. The Appeals Chamber's decision rejected all the other arguments proffered by the defense. Thus the indictment against Ratko Mladic stands as it is. As the trial continues, Mladic will have to refute the prosecution’s evidence on all 11 counts.
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