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UN prosecutors demand Mladic life sentence for Bosnia war crimes

Martin Meissner, Pool, AFP | A file photo of wartime Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic at the UN Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in The Hague on June 3, 2011.
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Prosecutors on Wednesday urged UN war crimes judges to impose a life sentence on former Serb military commander Ratko Mladic, once dubbed "the Butcher of Bosnia".


"It would be irresponsible and an affront to justice to impose anything other than a life sentence," prosecutor Alan Tieger told the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia as the prosecution wrapped up its case after a four-year trial.

"The time has come for General Mladic to be held accountable for those crimes against each of his victims and the community he destroyed."

Mladic, 73, has denied 11 charges including two of genocide, as well as war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the bloody 1992-95 Bosnian conflict.

More than 100,000 people died and 2.2 million others were left homeless in what prosecutors say was a relentless campaign of ethnic cleansing, aimed at chasing all non-Serbs from Bosnian territory with the aim of creating a Greater Serbia.

'Life sentence request for Ratko Mladic not a surprise'

After living openly in Serbia despite an international arrest warrant against him, Mladic was finally captured in 2011 after 16 years on the run. His trial opened in May 2012.

During three days of closing arguments, prosecutors insisted Mladic, despite defence arguments, was the man "who was in charge, who called the shots."

"His concern was not that Muslims might create a state, his concern was to have them vanish completely," Tieger told judges on Monday.

The defence team will now open three days of closing arguments on Friday and into next week. A verdict and judgement is not expected until some time in 2017.


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