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Russian Foreign Ministry comments on Mladic life sentence

Ratko Mladic, a former Bosnian Serb general, has been sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by a UN tribunal

MOSCOW, November 23. /TASS/. The life sentence for Ratko Mladic, a former Bosnian Serb general, continues the politicized and biased line of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

"We have again to state that the guilty verdict, delivered by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia against Mladic, is the continuation of the politicized and biased line, which has initially dominated the ICTY’s work," the diplomat said.

The tribunal’s artificial, one-sided and anti-Serb interpretation of the tragic events of the 1990s in the former Yugoslavia "undermines the restoration of mutual trust in the Balkan region," Zakharova stressed.

"The tribunal is far from the generally recognized standards in ensuring the terms of proceedings and fundamental rights to life, healthcare and medical assistance," she noted.

The diplomat recalled that in May 2017 the ICTY rejected a request to let Mladic undergo medical treatment in Russia despite Moscow’s guarantees.

On Wednesday, the UN tribunal at The Hague sentenced Mladic to life, finding him guilty of 10 out of 11 counts, including genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war during the armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) from 1992 until 1995.

The tribunal refused to adjourn or cut short the procedure of delivering the verdict for Mladic, who suffered a hypertensic crisis during the session. Lawyer Dragan Ivetic complained to the judges about his client’s health, but they decided to continue reading the verdict.

While the West has proclaimed the general as a war criminal, many people in Serbia and the Republika Srpska think he is a national hero. "Mladic fulfilled his duty very professionally. Ratko Mladic remains a legend in Serbia, a person who used all his human and professional qualities to defend the Serb people," said Milorad Dodik, President of the Republika Srpska (now part of Bosnia and Herzegovina).