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The Latest: Kosovo welcomes verdict for Serb military leader


THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Latest on the judgment on former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic (all times local):

5:50 p.m.

Kosovo has welcomed the conviction of Serbian military chief Ratko Mladic on charges of genocide and other crimes by a United Nations court.

Kosovo's Foreign Ministry said the verdict marked an act of "international justice and satisfaction for the Bosnia war victims."

The ministry also recalled that its own ethnic Albanian population, like Bosnians, suffered at the hands of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and his generals, who "applied in Kosovo, too, all the forms of crimes described in the charges against Mladic."

Kosovo was previously a province of Serbia that declared independence in 2008.

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4:45 p.m.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says the genocide conviction of Ratko Mladic shows that "those who perpetrate atrocities cannot outrun justice."

Johnson says Wednesday's conviction of the Bosnian Serb military leader "will not bring back the thousands who lost their lives but it does demonstrate that the architects of their suffering will be held to account."

Johnson said the atrocities committed during the Balkan wars of the 1990s "marked one of Europe's darkest periods. We must join together to ensure it never happens again."

Mladic was sentenced to life imprisonment by a U.N. war crimes tribunal for crimes committed during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

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3:35 p.m.

The top Bosnian Serb leader says the United Nations war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia proved its anti-Serb bias by convicting Ratko Mladic of war crimes and genocide committed during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

Milorad Dodik alleged Wednesday that the U.N tribunal was established with the "single purpose" of demonizing the Serbs. He said Serbs, in turn, should "forever erase every mention" of the court from their textbooks.

Dodik said that "this opinion is shared by all the Serbs" and described Mladic as "a hero and a patriot."

He added that the U.N tribunal will be studied in the future as a place where "law and ethics were defeated, and achievement of justice prevented."

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3 p.m.

The European Union says it counts on the Balkan nations to honour the victims of war crimes committed in the Bosnian war by promoting reconciliation among neighbours.

It made the statement after former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic was found guilty of 10 counts of genocide and given a life sentence.

The EU said it could not comment specifically on the judgment against Mladic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, but that it fully respects the court's decisions.

It said that Wednesday's judgment "touches upon some of the darkest, most tragic events" in the recent history of the Western Balkans and Europe.

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2:45 p.m.

The head of the NATO military alliance is welcoming the life sentence handed down to former Bosnian Serb strongman Ratko Mladic and says it shows that justice works.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that the verdict "shows that the rule of law is working and those responsible for war crimes are held to account."

Stoltenberg said in a statement that he hopes the ruling will help move the entire Western Balkans region "further down the path of peace and reconciliation."

He also underlined the region's importance to the trans-Atlantic alliance and said that NATO's doors remain open to Western Balkans countries willing and able to join.

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2:15 p.m.

The guilty verdict of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic has caused mixed reactions in Serbia, which is seeking European Union membership, but where nationalism remains strong years after the 1990s conflict.

The hearing at the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal was aired live on state TV Wednesday in the Balkan country, where many consider Mladic a hero.

Nationalists blasted Mladic being found guilty of genocide and other crimes and sentenced to life in prison. But Serbian liberals hailed the verdict, urging the nation to face its role in the conflict that left 100,000 people dead and millions homeless.

Serbia's pro-government Pink television, a widely viewed commercial broadcaster, described the Mladic verdict as "shameful" and anti-Serb.

Among those in the opposing camp was the Youth Initiative for Human Rights group, which said: "war criminals must not be treated as heroes."

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2 p.m.

A former prisoner of Serb-run camps in northwestern Bosnia who became a symbol of the 1992-95 war horrors says justice has finally been satisfied with the sentencing of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic.

Fikret Alic was featured in photos published in Time magazine in 1992, when thousands of Muslims were rounded up in the notorious camps by the Bosnian Serb troops.

Alic's skeletal figure behind a barbed wire shocked the world and raised international awareness of the war.

Alic says "justice has won, and the war criminal has been convicted." He added the verdict "means that the example will help prevent war crimes in the future."

Alic was in The Hague, Netherlands, as U.N. judges declared Mladic guilty of genocide and other crimes and sentenced him to life in prison.

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1:45 p.m.

A lawyer says that Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic will appeal his genocide convictions at the U.N. war crimes court for the former Yugoslavia.

Dragan Ivetic said that "it is certain that we will file an appeal and that the appeal will be successful."

Ivetic also said Mladic has been denied his "basic human rights" by not being allowed to see doctors of his choosing.

Mladic's son Darko Mladic accused the judges of obstructing his father's legal team in presenting evidence exculpating his father.

Darko Mladic said: "This judgment is wrong. It did not achieve anything....and will be an obstacle to future normal life in the region."

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1:30 p.m.

Serbian President Alksandar Vucic says he is not surprised by the verdict against former Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic at the U.N. war crimes court for former Yugoslavia.

Vucic, a former ultranationalist who supported Mladic's war campaigns and who now says he's a pro-EU reformer, said Wednesday that "all of us knew what will be the outcome."

He alleges that the court has been biased against the Serbs and Serb war victims, but adds that "we should not justify the crimes committed" by the Serbs.

Vucic says "we are ready to accept our responsibility (for war crimes) while the others are not."

He says "farewell to all those who want to return us to the past; we want to go to the future."

Vucic said he did not watch the court hearing.

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1:10 p.m.

The chief prosecutor of the U.N.'s Yugoslav war crimes tribunal says that the conviction of former Bosnian Serb military commander Gen. Ratko Mladic is not a verdict against all Serb people.

Serge Brammertz said, "Mladic's guilt is his and his alone."

Serb nationalists often portray the tribunal as anti-Serb because most of the people it has convicted were Serbs.

Brammertz spoke to reporters after judges on Wednesday convicted Mladic of 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, and sentenced the former general to life imprisonment.

Mladic was acquitted on one count of genocide linked to ethnic purges in Bosnian towns and villages. Brammertz said he would study the judgment before deciding whether to appeal on the one count Mladic was found not guilty.

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1:05 p.m.

Bosnian Prime Minister Denis Zvizdic has welcomed the verdict against former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic, who was found guilty by a U.N war crimes tribunal of crimes against humanity and genocide during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

Zvizdic said in a statement that the verdict "confirmed that war criminals cannot escape justice regardless of how long they hide."

Zvizdic said Mladic's life sentence "will not bring back to life thousands of killed innocent civilians nor will it bring comfort to their families, but it is of immense importance for the future of (the Balkans) as a deterrent to all those who dream of future wars and continue to stoke ethnic tensions."

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12:55 p.m.

Paddy Ashdown, a former U.N. High Representative for Bosnia, says the genocide conviction of Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic is a victory for justice.

Ashdown, a former leader of Britain's Liberal Democrat party, says "those who value the rule of law in war will welcome" the verdict against "the murderer of Srebrenica."

He says that "those who bled in the Bosnian wars have retribution and that those in Bosnia who "understand there is no peace without justice can now look more confidently to the future."

Mladic was earlier convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity, and sentenced him to life in prison by the United Nations' Yugoslav war crimes tribunal for atrocities during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.

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12:50 p.m.

In Lazarevo, a small Serbian village where former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic was arrested in 2011, residents have dismissed the guilty verdict against him as biased.

Villagers say they do not recognize the United Nations' Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, which they say has sought to solely blame Serbs for the crimes of the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

A villager Igor Topolic says he is "horrified and saddened." Topolic adds "all this is a farce for me, he (Mladic) is a Serbian national hero."

Another villager MIlinko Zeljak says "he (Mladic) should be here with us, not dying out there on his own."

Residents have dubbed their village as Mladicevo (Mladic's village) to show their admiration for Mladic and defiance toward The Hague court.

The court found Mladic guility of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced him to life in prison for atrocities perpetrated during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.

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12:25 p.m.

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein has hailed the conviction of former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic as a "momentous victory for justice."

In a statement, he said Mladic is "the epitome of evil, and the prosecution of Mladic is the epitome of what international justice is all about."

He added: "Mladic presided over some of the darkest crimes to occur in Europe since World War II, bringing terror, death and destruction to thousands of victims, and sorrow, tragedy and trauma to countless more."

"Today's verdict is a warning to the perpetrators of such crimes that they will not escape justice, no matter how powerful they may be nor how long it may take. They will be held accountable," Zeid said.

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12:10 p.m.

A U.N. court has convicted former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic of genocide and crimes against humanity and sentenced him to life in prison for atrocities perpetrated during Bosnia's 1992-1995 war.

The court in The Hague convicted Mladic of 10 of 11 counts in a dramatic climax to a groundbreaking effort to seek justice for the wars in the former Yugoslavia.

Presiding Judge Alphons Orie read out the judgment Wednesday after ordering Mladic out of the courtroom over an angry outburst.

Mladic was found guilty of commanding forces responsible for crimes including the worst atrocities of the war — the deadly three-year siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, and the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the eastern enclave of Srebrenica.

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11:55 a.m.

The U.N. judge reading out the verdict for Gen. Ratko Mladic says the Bosnian Serb military chief was responsible for crimes including persecution, extermination, murder in Bosnian towns.

The judge also said that Mladic intended to commit genocide in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica where some 8,000 men and boys were massacred.

The court has not yet ruled on whether Mladic is guilty of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Judge Alphons Orie is now reporting on the court's determination of who was responsible for a litany of horrors during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

The judge also said Mladic intended to carry out a deadly campaign of sniping and shelling in Sarajevo.

Mladic was sent out of the courtroom after an angry outburst. He is facing verdicts on 11 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for allegedly masterminding atrocities by Serb forces during Bosnia's 1992-95 war. He insists he is innocent.

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11:50 a.m.

A U.N. judge has ordered Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic removed from court after an angry outburst at the hearing determining whether he is guilty of genocide and war crimes.

The defence lawyer for Mladic requested a delay in Wednesday's proceedings because Mladic had three high blood pressure readings during a break.

Presiding Judge Alphons Orie refused the request, and Mladic got out of his chair and shouted criticism "Lies! Shame on you" as he was led out to a nearby room where he could following the proceedings on a screen.

The court is reading its verdict for Mladic on 11 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for allegedly masterminding atrocities by Serb forces during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

He insists he is innocent.

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11:15 a.m.

Supporters of Ratko Mladic have put up posters in Bosnia praising the former Bosnian Serb military chief.

Posters in the eastern Bosnian town of Bratunac carried a photo of Mladic in military attire with the words "you are our hero" written above.

Some former soldiers who fought under Mladic came together to watch the pronouncement of the U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia on whether he is guilty of genocide and other crimes during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

At the same time, survivors of the 1995 massacre in the eastern town of Srebrenica gathered at the memorial centre to also watch the live TV broadcast from the courtroom of The Hague-based U.N. war crimes tribunal for former Yugoslavia.

Mladic insists he is innocent.

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10:55 a.m.

The U.N. war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia has confirmed that genocide occurred in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, but has yet to rule on whether Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic was responsible.

Presiding Judge Alphons Orie said the court found that "genocide, persecution, extermination, murder and the inhuman act of forcible transfer were committed in or around Srebrenica" in 1995.

Previous judgments have that the massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica was genocide.

The court said Wednesday however it is "not convinced" of genocidal intent in six other municipalities, in line with previous judgments.

The court will rule later on whether Mladic is guilty of genocide and other crimes during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

He insists he is innocent.

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10:20 a.m.

A skirmish broke out outside the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal after a young man carrying a Serbian flag approached a group of Bosniaks awaiting the verdict in a trial of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic.

A Bosniak woman tried to take the Serbian flag from the man.

The scuffle ended when a security officer intervened.

The man, who said he came to support Mladic, shouted: "Do not touch my flag."

The Bosnian woman told him to stop provoking victims, adding that it "is sad that the villains still glorify genocide and aggression."

The incident reflects the divisions between the Serbs and Bosniaks over Mladic's trial on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

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10:15 a.m.

United Nations judges have opened a hearing to deliver their judgment in the genocide trial of former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic.

Mladic looked relaxed in the courtroom of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, greeting lawyers and giving a thumbs-up to photographers in court.

Presiding Judge Alphons Orie, wearing a red and black robe, opened the hearing by greeting lawyers and then giving a background of when Mladic was indicted, when he was captured, details of the trial and detailing the charges against Mladic.

Mladic is set to hear verdicts on 11 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for allegedly masterminding atrocities by Serb forces during Bosnia's 1992-95 war. He insists he is innocent.

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10.05 a.m.

Lawyers for former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic say that he will appear in a United Nations war crimes tribunal for the judgment in his long-running genocide trial despite health concerns.

In a filing to judges Wednesday shortly before the hearing was due to start at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, Mladic's lawyer say that he "insists on appearing" despite his ailing health. Mladic has been insistent on his innocence.

Mladic is set to hear verdicts on 11 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for allegedly masterminding atrocities by Serb forces during Bosnia's 1992-95 war.

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9:50 a.m.

The son of former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic says his family is ready for anything as the U.N. Yugoslav war crimes tribunal prepares to rule on whether his father committed genocide and other crimes during the Bosnian war.

Darko Mladic accused the court of "not being objective, and that makes us concerned."

Speaking outside the courthouse in The Hague, Darko Mladic said the prosecution "didn't manage to connect Ratko Mladic with any point of the indictment" and that the family is ready for whatever judgment.

Ratko Mladic's lawyer, Dragan Ivetic, said the general faces a "risk of deterioration of his health, including death, that could be caused by these proceedings."

Mladic stands accused of commanding forces responsible for crimes including the worst atrocities of the 1992-95 war.

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8:20 a.m.

The United Nations' Yugoslav war crimes tribunal is set to pass judgment on former Bosnian Serb military chief Gen. Ratko Mladic, who is accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes during Bosnia's devastating 1992-95 war.

Mladic, who faces 11 counts, stands accused of commanding forces responsible for crimes including the worst atrocities of the war — the deadly three-year siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, and the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the eastern enclave of Srebrenica, which was Europe's worst mass killing since World War II.

The three judge panel will rule Wednesday on whether the 75-year-old former general is guilty or innocent and, if they convict Mladic, they will immediately pass sentence.

Prosecutors have sought a life sentence.

The Associated Press

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