THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – A former prisoner of Serb-run camps in northwestern Bosnia who became a symbol of the horrors of the 1992-95 war says justice has finally been served with the sentencing of former Bosnian Serb military chief Ratko Mladic.
Fikret Alic was featured in a front-page photo in Time magazine in 1992, when thousands of Muslims were rounded up in the camps by Bosnian Serb troops. His skeletal figure behind a barbed wire shocked the world and raised international awareness of the war.
Alic was in The Hague, Netherlands, on Wednesday as a United Nations special court declared Mladic guilty of genocide and other crimes and sentenced him to life in prison.
“Justice has won, and the war criminal has been convicted,” Alic told reporters. “That means that example will prevent war crimes in the future. Justice is satisfied.”
Alic was among Bosnian war survivors and victims’ families who waited outside the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal since the early morning, eager to hear the verdict against the man whom they consider a symbol of their suffering.
A brief skirmish erupted when a man carrying a Serbian flag approached, saying he had come to show his support for Mladic. The man was later removed from the scene by security guards.
Displaying the TIME photo of himself, Alic told reporters: “I am the one in this picture, Fikret Alic. I can testify to that crime that his general (Mladic) committed.”
“Is he not ashamed to call him a hero?” he asked. “He should be ashamed!”