News 15 Aug 12

Mladic’s Relative Sentenced for Hiding Ex- War Commander

The Serbian Higher Court passed a sentence against a relative of the former Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladic, which is the first sentence passed by the Serbian courts for hiding an ICTY indictee.

By Marija Ristic
 Ratko Mladic, former Bosnian Serb Commander

Branislav Mladic, a cousin of Ratko Mladic that hid the former Bosnian Serb commander at his home until Mladic's arrest in May of last year, was given a suspended sentence on Tuesday. 

The Higher Court in Belgrade sentenced Branislav Mladic to four years in jail and suspended three years after he entered a plea agreement with the Serbia’s Prosecutor’s Office for War Crimes. 

He pleaded guilty to hiding Mladic in his house in the village of Lazarevo in Serbia for six years. 

Deputy war crime prosecutor Bruno Vekaric said that the prosecutor's office is currently negotiating another plea agreement with a person who is suspected of hiding Ratko Mladic in the village of Mala Mostanica, near Belgrade, during 2006, but he refused to reveal the person's identity.

The Prosecutor's office is also conducting an investigation on six people suspected of helping Mladic, and another ICTY indictee, Stojan Zupljanin, hide while pre-trial proceedings were underway against seven more individuals.

Additionally, ten more people are currently on trial for the second time in front of Serbia’s General Court for hiding Mladic.  The verdict from 2010 that acquitted them was quashed and the case was sent to retrial.

Discovering the network of people who helped Mladic hide is still an ongoing issue between Serbia and the ICTY.

At the beginning of June, the ICTY’s Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz’s presented his biannual report to the UN Security Council and expressed concern regarding Serbia’s delay in identifying all those who helped hide Karadzic and Mladic for so long.

Mladic is currently on trial before the ICTY for committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, including the Srebrenica genocide, during the war in Bosnia.

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