ROME, NOVEMBER 22 – The sentence handed down today by the International Criminal Tribunal pertaining to the former Yugoslavia against former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic concerns one of the most painful chapters of modern European history. “The Court has performed the vitally important task of promoting justice and fighting against impunity in its work over the past few years”, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a note.
“Italy has always supported the Tribunal’s work and complied with its rulings. We hope that today’s verdict will help strengthen relations between the communities affected by these tragic events, with a view towards regional and European integration”, the note said recalling “Italy’s full committment to the strategic goal of the Western Balkans joining the EU, which could help overcome any legacy of the region’s tragic past. It is of fundamental importance that all players in the area pursue this objective in a spirit of reconciliation and full collaboration”, the Ministry said.
At the UN in Geneva, the United Nations top human rights official welcomed today’s conviction of Mladic on multiple counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes by an international tribunal, adding that the verdict is “a warning” to perpetrators of such crimes that they will be brought to justice.
“Mladic is the epitome of evil, and the prosecution of Mladic is the epitome of what international justice is all about,” underscored Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in a statement Wednesday.
“Today’s verdict is a warning to the perpetrators of such crimes that they will not escape justice, no matter how powerful they may be nor how long it may take. They will be held accountable,” he added.
Mladic presided over some of the most horrific crimes to occur in Europe since World War II, bringing terror, death and destruction to thousands of victims, and sorrow, tragedy and trauma to countless more.
In the statement, Mr. Zeid also noted that Mladic’s conviction, by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), is “a testament to the courage and determination of those victims and witnesses who never gave up hope that they would see him brought to justice.” (@OnuItalia)