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By Thomas Escritt
THE HAGUE Dec 7 Prosecutors told a U.N.
tribunal on Wednesday that Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb
general charged over the murder of thousands of Muslims in the
town of Srebrenica in 1995 must be sentenced to life in jail.
Mladic, 74, is charged with two counts of genocide - part of
the attempt to carve an ethnically pure Serb state out of
multiethnic Bosnia - alongside political leader Radovan
Karadzic, who was sentenced in March to 40 years' prison.
"It would be an insult to victims living and dead and an
afront to justice to impose any sentence less than the severest
available under the law - a life sentence", said Alan Tieger,
lead prosecutor on the tribunal's last major case.
Summing up at the end of the four-year trial, prosecutors
said Mladic had given the order to kill thousands of Muslims in
the U.N.-protected enclave of Srebrenica in July 1995 after
systematically starving them over the previous winter.
"The time has come to take revenge on the Turks of this
region," Mladic said on a television broadcast, played in court,
on the eve of the fall of the enclave, where thousands of Muslim
Bosniaks had fled believing it to be a safe haven.
Mladic, wearing a crumpled grey suit, read a newspaper for
much of the hearing, occasionally nodding or shaking his head in
response to prosecutors' words.
The massacre, Europe's worst since World War Two, triggered
NATO air strikes that ended the three-year Bosnian war, part of
a wider Balkan conflict that saw Yugoslavia broken into seven
states in a series of wars that killed 130,000 people and lasted
for most of the 1990s.
Prosecutors at the International Criminal Tribunal for the
former Yugoslavia cited Mladic's orders to cut off power and
water to Muslim parts of Bosnia's capital Sarajevo, besieged by
his Serb Republic forces for more than three years.
Prosecutor Peter McCloskey dwelt on the pain felt by victims
and surviving loved ones, unable to say final goodbyes after
wives, husbands, parents and children were torn from each other
"I looked and looked for someone who was able to put
something down on a scrap of paper. But of course they were not
able even to hold a pencil," he said, referring to the dead.
He read as a substitute American Civil War soldier Sullivan
Balou's letter of farewell to his wife Sarah, written a week
before his death in 1863.
Mladic's lawyers will respond later this week. Judges are
expected to hand down a verdict and sentence next year.
(Editing by Louise Ireland)