Even as the Serbian president says his country should look to the future after Ratko Mladic's conviction, many Serb war veterans say their former commander didn't deserve to be punished.

A woman reacts near a grave of her family members in the Memorial centre Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, after the court proceedings of former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic on November 22, 2017.
A woman reacts near a grave of her family members in the Memorial centre Potocari near Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, after the court proceedings of former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic on November 22, 2017. (Reuters)

Serbia should look to the future and the entire region should leave the past behind after the Ratko Mladic's conviction, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said.

On Wednesday, Mladic was convicted of war crimes and genocide committed during Bosnia and Herzegovina's 1992-95 war.

But some former Yugoslav officers like Uros Cirkovic are finding it hard to move on.

Like his friend and former commander Mladic, both were Yugoslav officers and when the war started in their native Bosnia they joined the Serb side.

He said Mladic's harsh punishment is undeserved. 

"Maybe, I say maybe, there may be some guilt but knowing him as officer and man he is not guilty," Cirkovic said.

Critical of tribunal

Many Serbs are critical of the tribunal and the life sentence wasn't a surprise.

"This is the biggest tragedy in the history of justice," said Zivojin Kostic, a Belgrade resident.  

But some admit that the burden of having committed war crimes is not easy to live with 

"It all affects the mentality of the people, the way that they think today. Everyone feels the consequences of those wars of 1990s," said Ognjen Sosevic, a student.

TRT World's Zoran Kusovac has more from Belgrade.

Source: TRT World