U.N. APPEALS CHAMBER AFFIRMS CONVICTION OF RATKO MLADIC, WHOSE PROSECUTION WAS LED BY PROFESSOR GROOME
June 2021 — On June 8, 2021, the Appeals Chamber of the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia affirmed the trial judgment of General Ratko Mladić convicting him of inter alia Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity. Professor Dermot Groome led the prosecution of the trial. In addition to prosecuting General Mladić for the crime of Genocide, Groome also prosecuted the President of Serbia, Slobodan Milošević.
The Appeals Chamber dismissed all grounds of appeal asserted by the defense and affirmed the life sentence imposed by the Trial Chamber. The Appeals Chamber judgment can be found on the ICTY website. Professor Groome charged and prosecuted General Mladić for two counts of Genocide. The first, related to the ethnic cleansing campaign between 1992 and 1995 which resulted in the death of tens of thousands of Muslims. Groome alleged that this campaign was so severe in some places that it amounted to Genocide in some locations. Groome also charged Mladić with Genocide related to the murder of over 7,000 men and boys in Srebrenica in July 1995.
Although the Trial Chamber convicted Mladić of Crimes Against Humanity in relation to the 1992-95 ethnic cleansing campaign, it acquitted him of the Genocide based on its interpretation of the Genocide Convention of 1948. The Trial Chamber did convict Mladić of Genocide with respect to the Srebrenica murders. The Appeals Chamber affirmed the Trial Chamber judgment and dismissed all grounds of appeal asserted by the defense.
Professor Dermot Groome is a Professor of Law and the Harvey A. Feldman Distinguished Faculty Scholar at Penn State Dickinson Law. Much of his teaching, scholarship, and service focus on emerging areas of human rights and international criminal law and draw upon his deep expertise and experiences. After starting his career in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office where he was a member of the Sex Crimes Unit and after working in Jamaica, W.I. on issues of community development, human rights, and children’s rights, Professor Groome worked in Cambodia. While in Cambodia, he served as a Legal Advisor to the International Human Rights Law Group, helped lead an investigation into a 1997 attack on peaceful protestors and drafted a report for the UN Security Council, helped the Cambodia Defender’s Project and Legal Aid of Cambodia investigate deaths in police custody, worked on issues related to the incarceration of children, and wrote a draft juvenile criminal procedure code. Professor Groome subsequently spent over 11 years as a senior war crimes prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. He investigated and drafted the first genocide indictment against a sitting head of state, Slobodan Milošević, and was the Senior Trial Attorney for the Bosnia indictment. In total, Groome led the prosecution of five international criminal trials including the case against Ratko Mladić, who was convicted of genocide for the murder of over 7,000 men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995. He led eight large complex international investigations of senior military, political, and police officials. Groome’s cases all included crimes of sexual violence against women, men, and children. He was instrumental in the development of Joint Criminal Enterprise, a theory of criminal responsibility often used to assess the culpability of senior officials for the crimes committed by their subordinates. Two documentaries have been made about Professor Groome’s cases: The Trial of Ratko Mladić (PBS/Frontline 2019) and Crimes Before the ICTY: Višegrad (UN TV 2017).