Defense: Mladic is guilty of being Serb, and defending Serbs

Ratko Mladic's defense said in its closing arguments before the Hague Tribunal that it managed to demonstrate Mladic is not guilty of genocide and other crimes.

Source: Beta
(Tanjug, file)
(Tanjug, file)

"General Mladic is an innocent man," said his defense lawyer Branko Lukic and pointed out that the former military leader of Serbs in Bosnia is, "according to the prosecution, guilty only because he is a Serb and for defending the Serb people in a war that others had started."

Mladic, his defense continued, defended his people "in accordance with the law" against an enemy who used "Islamic fanaticism" in order to come to power.

According to Lukic, the prosecutors have, during the trial, declared "everyone who is a Serb" responsible for war crimes in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

"This is nothing other than inadmissible collective guilt," said Lukic.

Any officer who has ever served in any army could be declared guilty along with Mladic, the defense counsel citing this a "an absurdity based on selective presentation of prosecution's evidence."

Lukic added that prosecutors relied on "propaganda and flawed evidence in order to condemn Mladic".

He added that the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) was preparing for war as early as in 1990, under the leadership of Alija Izetbegovic, who "came to power advocating Islamic fundamentalism and superiority over Serbs."

"Serbs had to defend themselves in order to survive," Lukic said. As evidence that Izetbegovic was carrying out "holy war", i.e., jihad, the defense showed footage of him inspecting Mujahideen units, and photographs of the heads they had severed from the bodies of their Serb victims.

The defense is continuing its closing argument.

The war commander of the Army of the Serb Republic (VRS) General Ratko Mladic (74) is charged with genocide in Srebrenica, persecution of Muslims and Croats throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina, terrorizing civilians in Sarajevo through long-lasting shelling and sniping, and of taking UNPROFOR members hostage, from 1992 until 1995.

The prosecutors argued earlier in their closing statement that they had proved Mladic's guilt and asked the court to sentence him to life in prison.

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