Time has come for justice, Mladic’s victims say

Updated 20 November 2017
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Time has come for justice, Mladic’s victims say

SARAJEVO: The time has finally come for Ratko Mladic to face justice, victims’ families said Monday en route from Sarajevo to The Hague for Wednesday’s expected verdict in a UN court against the Bosnian Serb wartime military chief.
“The time has finally come to condemn the criminal and butcher Ratko Mladic,” Kada Hotic, member of an association of Srebrenica mothers, told AFP before boarding a plane for the Netherlands to attend the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
The former general faces 11 counts arising from Bosnia’s 1992-1995 war which claimed more than 100,000 lives.
Mladic is charged notably over the 44-month siege of the capital Sarajevo and the massacre of Srebrenica Muslims, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.
Hotic’s relatives, including her husband and a son, are “all under ground, while they were all alive before Mladic’s arrival” in the eastern town of Srebrenica in July 1995, she said.
“We are still searching for some of them in mass graves in order to bury them.”
Hotic sought the “heaviest possible sentence” against Mladic, whom she labelled the “absolute issuer of orders for crimes.”
“I expect that Mladic be condemned to the heaviest sentence, which means for life and that the entire indictment be confirmed,” said Fikret Grabovica, head of an association of parents whose children were killed during the Sarajevo siege.
His daughter Irma was 11 years old when she was killed in front of her house.
“We expect that he (Mladic) be found guilty of genocide not only in Srebrenica but also in other towns,” said Munira Subasic, president of the association of mothers from the Srebrenica and Zepa enclaves.
The Srebrenica massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim boys and men trying to flee the ill-fated town after it fell to Serb forces was deemed genocide by international justice.
The last verdict to be pronounced by the ICTY is the “most important since it is about the man who was the main one responsible for the murders,” Subasic added.
“He is responsible for genocide. His intentions were the kill the largest number of people, to rape and expel the largest number of people to achieve an ethnically clean territory,” she concluded.
Mladic was captured in 2011 in northern Serbia after 16 years on the run.
At his first court appearance in 2011 he denied all the charges, describing them as “obnoxious.”


US security chief in Moscow as nuclear treaty hangs in balance

Updated 22 October 2018
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US security chief in Moscow as nuclear treaty hangs in balance

  • John Bolton is expected to discuss Trump’s plan to jettison the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Putin
  • “It is the United States that is eroding the foundations and main elements of this pact” said Putin’s spokesman

MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Monday that Washington’s withdrawal from a key Cold War-era nuclear treaty would make the world more dangerous, as Donald Trump’s national security adviser met senior Russian officials in Moscow.
John Bolton is expected to discuss Trump’s plan to jettison the three-decade-old Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday.
On Monday, Bolton discussed the fate of the treaty with Russian Security Council Chief Nikolai Patrushev and was expected to meet with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov later in the day.
Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists that ditching the treaty “will make the world more dangerous” and rejected US claims that Moscow has violated the pact, instead accusing Washington of doing so.
“It is the United States that is eroding the foundations and main elements of this pact” with its missile defense capabilities and drones, he said.
Lavrov said he was waiting to hear Bolton’s “official explanation” regarding Trump’s intentions, adding that for the moment the US side has not initiated the official procedure for exiting the treaty.
Trump on Saturday claimed that Russia had long violated the treaty, known as the INF.
“We’re the ones who have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement, but Russia has not unfortunately honored the agreement, so we’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out,” he told reporters.
“Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years,” he said.
“And we’re not going to let them violate a nuclear agreement and go out and do weapons (while) we’re not allowed to.”
Trump’s announcement raised global concerns, with the European Commission urging the US and Russia to pursue talks to preserve the treaty and China calling on Washington to “think twice.”
The Commission, the 28-nation European Union executive, stressed that the INF has been a mainstay of European defense for the last three decades.
“The US and the Russian Federation need to remain in a constructive dialogue to preserve this treaty and ensure it is fully and verifiably implemented,” spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic told reporters.
She said the agreement was important for both European and global security.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said a unilateral withdrawal from the treaty “will have a multitude of negative effects.”
Trump argued that the treaty does nothing to hold non-signatory China back from developing missiles, but Hua said that “it is completely wrong to bring up China when talking about withdrawal from the treaty.”
The treaty banning intermediate-range nuclear and conventional missiles was signed in 1987 by then US president Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader.
Gorbachev on Sunday said that “dropping these agreements... shows a lack of wisdom” and was a “mistake.”
The INF resolved a crisis over Soviet nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles targeting Western capitals.
The latest row between Russia and the United States comes ahead of what is expected to be a second summit between Trump and Putin this year.
Analysts have warned that the latest rift could have lamentable consequences and drag Russia into a new arms race.
The Trump administration has complained of Moscow’s deployment of Novator 9M729 missiles, which Washington says fall under the treaty’s ban on missiles that can travel distances of between 310 and 3,400 miles (500 and 5,500 kilometers).
Britain’s The Guardian newspaper said that Bolton himself is pressuring Trump to leave the INF and had blocked talks to extend the New Start treaty on strategic missiles set to expire in 2021.
US-Russia ties are under deep strain over accusations Moscow meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. The two countries are also at odds over Russian support for the Syrian government in the country’s civil war, and the conflict in Ukraine.
On Friday, the US Justice Department indicted the finance chief of Russia’s leading Internet troll farm for allegedly interfering with US congressional elections to be held in November.
Russia accused the United States of fabricating the charges.
Putin and Trump will both be in Paris on November 11 to attend commemorations marking 100 years since the end of World War I.