THE HAGUE | 26.05.2011.

CHARGES AGAINST RATKO MLADIC

According to the proposed amended indictment filed last year, General Ratko Mladic is charged with the same crimes as Radovan Karadzic: double genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of laws and customs of war. Since the judges have yet to decide what to do with the new indictment, the one in force is the old operative indictment issued in October 2002

The current indictment against former commander of the VRS Main Staff Ratko Mladic dates back to October 2002; it charges him in 15 counts with genocide and complicity in genocide, persecution on political and religious grounds, extermination and murder, deportations, inhumane acts and cruel treatment, attacks on and terrorizing civilians, and taking UN staff hostage in May and June 1995.

Last May, the prosecution filed a motion seeking leave to amend the operative indictment in order to bring it into line with the Tribunal’s jurisprudence and to take into account the new evidence the prosecution had amassed after 2002, when the two initial indictments against Mladic, from June and November 1995, were merged. The indictment was to match Karadzic’s indictment. Had Mladic been arrested earlier, this would have made it possible to join their cases in part or in full and try them together.

The judges have yet to rule on the amended indictment filed last year. The new indictment charges Mladic with the same crimes as Karadzic, in 11 counts: genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of laws and customs of war. According to the indictment, Mladic and Karadzic were key players in four interrelated join criminal enterprises.

The first joint criminal enterprise concerned a campaign of ethnic cleansing aimed at forcible and permanent removal of the Bosnian Muslims and Croats from large swathes of BH; in eight municipalities, this campaign amounted to genocide because of its scale. The allegations in the remaining three joint criminal enterprises pertain to the terror campaign waged against the civilians in Sarajevo; taking UN staff hostage in May and June 1995, and genocide in Srebrenica in July 1995.

As in Karadzic’s indictment, the genocide charges are now alleged in two separate counts: the first one pertains to the events in eight BH municipalities: Bratunac, Foca, Kljuc, Kotor Varos, Prijedor, Sanski Most, Vlasenica and Zvornik, in 1992. The second genocide count covers the period between July and November 1995, and pertains to the killing of more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys, and causing serious bodily or mental harm to thousands of women, children and the elderly who had been forcibly transferred from the Srebrenica enclave.

Despite the reduced number of counts, the scope and substance of the charges against Mladic will remain unchanged in the new indictment, if it is confirmed by the judges. The proposed amendments in effect supplement and further clarify the allegations that pertain to the individual criminal responsibility of the accused and describe in greater detail the character of his command responsibility.