THE HAGUE – Ratko Mladic’s defence on Friday began its closing argument before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), claiming he was not guilty of the crimes he is charged with, which include war crimes and a 1995 genocide of thousands of Muslims in Srebrenica.

The Bosnian Muslims were preparing for war, creating an atmosphere of war before it actually broke out in 1992, said defence lawyer Branko Lukic.

“The Bosnian Muslim Party of Democratic Action was preparing for war,” said Lukic, who also quoted from the “Islamic declaration” by Bosnian wartime leader Alija Izetbegovic, which said “there can be no peace between the Islamic faith and non-Islamic social and political institutions,” Reuters reported.

Earlier this week, the ICTY prosecution sought life imprisonment for Mladic, who is charged with two counts of genocide.