On June 8, 2021, the Appeals Chamber of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) delivered its judgment on appeal in Prosecutor v. Ratko Mladić. Mladić and the Prosecutor appealed the 2017 judgment of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). According to a press release from the Tribunal, Mr. Mladić was convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity, and for violating the laws of war, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The Trial Chamber based its decision, inter alia, on its determination that Mladić played a “leading and grave role” in a number of actions against Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats. However, it found him not guilty of one count of genocide (in count 6), in relation to crimes against Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats in certain municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mladić filed several appeals in relation to alleged violations of fair trial rights; facts relating to his involvement in the overarching joint criminal enterprise (JCE), the Sarajevo JCE, the Srebrenica JCE, and the hostage-taking JCE; errors regarding modes of liability; systematic unfairness and bias; and appeals relating to his sentence. The Prosecution’s appeal relating to the ICTY’s finding that certain Bosnian Muslim communities did not each constitute a substantial part of the protected group (in relation to ground 6) and that Mladić did not possess destructive intent (in relation to the ground two).
The Appeals Chamber unanimously dismissed Mladić’s appeals and affirmed his convictions. The Prosecution’s appeal was dismissed, with three judges dissenting. Judge Nyambe disagreed with the Majority’s decision to dismiss all grounds of Mladić’s appeal, arguing that they should have been dismissed for all except one count. His opinion focused only on the errors of law that he felt were “most egregious,” such as the trial court’s failure to give proper notice of the charges in the indictment and its use of circumstantial evidence to find that Mladić contributed to the overarching JCE. He felt that Mladić should be retried on five of the six grounds. Judge N’Gum and Judge Panton believed that the Prosecution had demonstrated that the Trial Chamber erred in acquitting Mladić and finding that: (1) the Bosnian Muslim communities in the count at issue did not each constitute a substantial part of the Bosnian Muslim group in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and (2) Mladić and others did not possess “destructive intent.”
A statement by the Prosecutor is also available on the IRMCT website.