12:02 GMT +323 July 2019
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    A woman walks past a graffiti depicting former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic and reading Serbia written in Cyrillic, painted on a wall in Belgrade on Nocember 22, 2017.

    Those Behind Mladic Verdict 'Want Balkans to Remain an Explosive Region' - Son

    © AFP 2019 / Oliver Bunic
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    Former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic has been sentenced to life in prison by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY). The decision is, however, feared to have a negative impact on the situation in the Balkans.

    "Some were happy with the verdict and others were saddened. But Ratko Mladic will continue to be a hero for the Serbian people because Serbs know that he was against war crimes and never called for them to be committed," Momcilo Krajisnik, former chair of the parliament of Republika Srpska, said in an interview with Sputnik Serbia, adding that Mladic’s lawyers may succeed in appealing the verdict.

    Krajisnik suggested the verdict is unlikely to be positive for the situation in region, saying, it "will further aggravate tensions between Serbs, Bosniaks and Croatians and will not contribute to reconciliation."

    Mladic, a former general for the Republika Srpska, the Serbian-majority region in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been on trial since 2012 after his capture in Serbia for the Srebrenica massacre in 1995, in which more than 7,000 Bosniaks were slaughtered, as well as for other atrocities he committed during the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia. He was found guilty on one charge of genocide, but was convicted on each of the other 10 counts.

    Biljana Plavsic, former president of Republika Srpska, said that she "was not surprised" by the verdict, but echoed Krajisnik, saying that the verdict can still be appealed.

    "Taking into account the previous decision by the ICTY, I’m not surprised. But this is only a first-degree verdict. The tribunal has seen cases in which people sentenced to 20 years were released after an appeal. We will wait for the ruling of the appeals court," she said.

    READ MORE: Mladic's Sentencing and ICTY's Double Standards in Conviction

    Mladic’s son, Darko Mladic argued that the tribunal could not deliver any other verdict and warned that the verdict could be used for "political interests."

    "This ruling is not legally binding so far and can be appealed, but I think it is apparently politically biased," Darko Mladic told Sputnik Serbia in a separate interview.

    He added that the decisions taken by the ICTY, including Mladic’s verdict, will not contribute to the reconciliation of groups in the region.

    "According to the resolution on which the tribunal was based, the goal was to reconcile the sides of the conflict. Now, the ICTY insists their goal is to punish war criminals, but this discriminates against victims. Those who killed Serbs are not in prison and their leaders have never appeared before the court," he said.

    He added, "Those forces that are behind such verdicts want the Balkans to remain an explosive region because they don’t have enough control over the region. The Balkans are important both as a region in itself and as the possible knife to the throat of Europe."

    Related:

    Mladic's Sentencing and ICTY's Double Standards in Conviction
    Waiting for a Verdict: Why Ratko Mladic is Behind Bars at the Hague
    EU Commemorates Srebrenica Massacre, Names EU Integration Path to Reconciliation
    Tags:
    war crimes, International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Ratko Mladic, Republika Srpska
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