The International Criminal Tribunal has sentenced the former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladić to life imprisonment for the crimes committed during the bloody conflict in former Yugoslavia in 1990s. Mladić was found guilty of ten out of eleven counts of indictments including the genocide of Srebrenica occurred on 11 July 1995 where 8372 men and teenagers were massacred.
This sentence brings relief and peace, to the extent possible, to the relatives of the victims and marks a historic day for humanity. The political world and the sphere of international criminal justice may now continue with greater confidence on the path to promote the democratic rule of law, which must be based on just laws, justly applied; in other words, in line with the principles and the international norms and standards designed to guarantee the respect for human rights and supremacy of the law.
We are pleased to underline that the chairman of the commission of inquiry that led to the establishment of the Tribunal was the late professor emeritus Cherif Bassiouni, long time president of the Siracusa Institute whose action has allowed to understand how significant it is the possibility of prosecuting war crimes by establishing a link with individual criminal responsibility.
The sentence is meaningful also vis-à-vis the future of the International Criminal Court and the complicated phase it is going through, as it has come under the fire of some African despots accusing it of being maneuvered by Europeans who would maintain a sort of neo-colonial control by targeting only certain parts of the world.
It took 22 years, since the criminal tragedy of Srebrenica, for this sentence to be ordered. We hope much less time will be needed to shed light and bring justice with regard to Bashar Al Assad and all those who have protected and supported him in perpetrating crimes against humanity in Syria.