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Bosnian War commander's lawyers call for acquittal at Hugue trial

Xinhua, December 14, 2016 Adjust font size:

During their closing arguments on Tuesday, the defense team of former Bosnian Serb Army commander Ratko Mladic has called for his acquittal at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

"Due to the fact that the prosecution has failed to meet the burden of proof, the only appropriate and fair judgment would be acquittal on all counts," defense lawyer Dejan Ivetic stated in court. "The prosecution did not present evidence or support all allegations."

Mladic, 73, stands accused of two counts of genocide, five crimes against humanity and four violations of the laws or customs of war committed during the Bosnian War in Bosnia and Herzegovina from April 1992 to late 1995. One of the genocide crimes is related to the Srebrenica massacre, when around 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed in Europe's worst atrocity since World War II.

"To prepare for this day I tried to see it from his perspective," Ivetic said. "He had had to listen to so many vicious allegations, misunderstandings day after day. Not many of us could have endured that."

Last Wednesday, prosecutors demanded life imprisonment for Mladic. Prosecutor Alan Tieger had concluded his statement against the three-judge panel by saying that it would be "an insult to all victims and relatives and an insult to justice to impose any sentence other than the most severe available under law."

After having been at large for almost sixteen years, Mladic was arrested in Serbia on May 26, 2011. His trial started on May 16, 2012 and suffered from delays due to the bad health of the accused. The trial entered its final phase last week. The parties will each have one-and-a-half hour on Thursday, Dec. 15, for their final comments. Endit