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“Got Him!”, (Again): This Time Mladic …

  • May 27th, 2011
  • Posted by 7thmin

mladic-may-11.jpgAnother fugitive linked to wholesale political murders, the Serb military figure Ratko Mladic, has been caught (at a village in Northern Serbia, 26.5.11) , three weeks after the death of the terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

Mladic had been wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, at The Hague, for 16 years.


EU Australia Online backgrounded his story at the time of a grim anniversary, in January last year, (“Has anybody seen him?”, 13.1.10):

mladic1.jpg“Mladic (picture) was the commander of troops from the break-away Bosnian Serb state during the violent break-up of Yugoslavia – remembered on the anniversary of the massacre at Srebrenica.

“Close to 8000 Muslim men and boys were killed near the town by Serbian troops, from 11.7.95, in an episode known as the worst massacre in Europe since the Second World War. [Women, also, were raped and killed].
karadzic.jpeg“The president of the Bosnian-Serbian government during 1992-96, Radovan Karadzic (picture), absconded as the era of ‘ethnic cleansing’ was closed down.

“Found in Serbia in 2008 he was sent to The Netherlands where he is under detention by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

“Mladic, now 68, also got away; he was in charge at Srebrenica, and wanted for crimes against humanity …

“More than 40 000 gathered at commemorative ceremonies in Bosnia on 11.7.10, watching over the re-burial of 775 victims found at Srebrenica, and identified, as part of an international program for recovering the remains of people left in mass graves.”


Mladic’s activities during the break-up of Yugoslavia were wide ranging.

He was literally overseer of the siege of Sarajevo, the people of the city beset by snipers and artillery firing down from the hills outside, some 10 000 believed dead.

With that going on, the ideal of a peaceful, properly civilized, fraternal new Europe was called into question – a thought that has haunted the drawn-out search for the accused criminals.

The capture of Ratko Mladic, and his appearance in a national court ahead of  transport to The Hague, was a gift to the European Union “foreign minister”, the High Representative, Catherine Ashton, on a visit to Serbia.

EU representatives have often reiterated that the presence of the men accused of gross crimes against humanity, at large, Karadzic and Mladic particularly, was an obstacle to Serbia’s integration with Europe.

The President, Boris Tadic, an advocate of his country’s bid for EU membership, (see EUAustralia Online, “Headliner Week”, 22.1.08), said the arrest on Thursday would help to redeem its “moral credibility”.

He told an interviewer on CNN television Mladic had evidently been hidden at first by elements from the armed forces, and more recently by family members.

While the President said it might take “some days” to get the accused to The Hague, lawyers were already active on his behalf, with reports coming out that he said he was feeling sick. (He’d reportedly had a stroke at some stage, but examining doctors said he understood what was happening and would be alright to make the two-hour flight to The Hague).
Other support for the man in the dock is not hard to locate.

A very strong nationalist movement, hostile to the EU notably because it backs the autonomy of Kosovo, is running a constant campaign of protests, to get the government in Belgrade out of office. (See EUAustralia Online, “Former Yugoslavia: rumblings in soft underbelly …”, 17.4.11).

“Europe” today is often put forward as the antidote to barbarism and injustice.

The Treaty obligations of the European Union, and its economic and political integration of countries, has been seen as a bulwark of support for states catching up on democratisation since the Second World War.

That formed part of the argument of the post-military government of Greece, under Constantine Karamanlis in the 1970s, for joining the future EU. Similar arguments were advanced in support of Portugal and Spain, with their exit from dictatorship. All three states are well supported in their avowedly democratic practices to this day, though in the times of recent crisis their economic and financial weaknesses have persisted.


The flight of accused political criminals has produced a chain of sensational climaxes across the globe.

In former Yugoslavia itself, two men from the Croatian side of the conflict, Ante Gotovina and Mladen Markac, were convicted last month by the war crimes tribunal at The Hague.

Former army Generals, they’d been accused of heading a drive by Croatian forces to regain full control of the Krajina region and evict the Serbian population there, in 1995 — late in the civil war that saw the dismemberment of Yugoslavia.

Gotovina was sentenced to  24 years in prison, Markac 18 years, for complicity in  “ethnic cleansing”, murder and theft. (See EUAustralia Online, “Former Yugoslavia …”, 17.4.11).

bin-laden.jpegIn Pakistan on 2.5.11 American special forces located and shot dead Osama bin Laden, self-proclaimed mastermind of the “nine-eleven” attack on New York and Washington, and of other atrocities. (See EUAustralia Online, “Bad day remembered”, 2.5.11).

sadam-hussein-reduced.jpgUnited States forces also apprehended the former Iraqi President, Sadam Hussein, on 13.12.03, at a hideout in the countryside, nine months after his overthrown in an American-led invasion.

He was handed over to Iraqi courts, convicted of capital crimes, and hanged in an episode marked by an outburst of cruel vengeance, which later got onto television, on 30.12.06.

milosevic.jpegIn March 2001 the former Yugoslav, then Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic was sent to The Hague for trial on war crimes charges related to the “ethnic cleansing” campaigns of the 1990s. Initially presenting as a “reform communist” he had found virulent public support in Serbia as an ethnic nationalist. He died of a heart attack while in captivity, during a protracted trial (11.3.06).

hitler.jpegA terminal event of this kind was the cornering of the German Nazi dictator Adolph Hitler in an underground  bunker complex, in Berlin. It was at the climax of a mammoth battle with Soviet forces — counter-attacking after Germany’s surprise attack on the USSR late in 1941.

Ably labelled “maniac and tyrant”, by the rock on which he foundered, Winston Churchill; he was culpable of the psychological torment and murder of innocents on an industrial scale. Before he could be got out of the bunker by Soviet troops, he married, then murdered his partner, and committed suicide, on 30.4.45.

The Nazi episode has reverberated over the decades, geriatric ex-servants of Hitler being taken in for prosecution up to this year.

That was the case of Sandor Kepiro, aged 96, a former para-military officer charged in Hungary with involvement in the murder of more than 1000 civilians in Serbia, during the Second World War. Convicted in relation to the crime in 1946, he evaded his sentence and escaped, living in Argentina into the present century. See EUAustralia Online, “Nazi war crime arrest in Hungary”, (15.2.11).


BBC News, London, “Captured Mladic in court”, 27.5.11., (27.5.11).

Julian Borger, “Ratko Mladic arrested: witness account of the Srebrenica massacre”, The Guardian, Manchester, 26.5.11., (27.5.11).

CNN International, Atlanta, “Riot police patrol Belgrade after arrest of Ratko Mladic”, 27.5.11. See interview, Boris Tadic Prime Minister (Becky Anderson), 26.5.11., (27.5.11).

Katarina Subasic, “Bosnian Serb military chief Mladic appears in court”, AFP, Paris, 26.5.11., (27.5.11).

Pictures  haguejustice, boingboing wikipedia