By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent BosNewsLife

War-time Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic has been detained in Serbia.
War-time Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic has been detained in Serbia.

BUDAPEST/BELGRADE (BosNewsLife)– Serbia says it has captured former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, one of the world’s most wanted war crimes suspects. Mladic, who was detained in Serbia early Thursday, May 26, has been indicted for crimes that include the massacre of thousands of Muslims during the Balkan war.

“On behalf of the Republic of Serbia I announce that today we arrested Ratko Mladic,” said Serbian President Boris Tadic. “The extradition process is underway…This is the result of full cooperation of Serbia with The Hague Tribunal,” he added.

Police said the wartime leader was found in a farm house of a relative in the northern Serbian village of Lazarevo, northeast of Belgrade, Serbia’s capital.

Tadic told reporters that Serbia was preparing to fly the former Bosnian Serb general to the Netherlands-based United Nations tribunal on war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.


Farmotel Stefania is on the way to Slovenian and Croatian Adriatic sea coast.

The Tribunal indicted Mladic in 1995 for atrocities, including killing 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys near the town of Srebrenica. The massacre in 1995 by Serb forces under his command was Europe’s worst single atrocity since World War Two.


Mladic is also accused of ordering the three-year siege of the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo. Some 12,000 people reportedly died in Sarajevo because of relentless shelling by Serb forces from nearby mountains and shooting by snipers.

Flanked by the Serbian flag, a somber looking President Tadic made clear Serbia hopes Mladic’s arrest on Serbian soil will help to heal the wounds of history in the troubled Balkans.

“Today we closed one chapter, a chapter of our recent history, that will bring us one stepcloser to full reconciliation in the region. I believe that every other country must be responsible for closing their own chapters,” he said. “All crimes have to be fully investigated, and all war criminals must face justice.”

There have been accusations in Serbia that the Tribunal has shown bias towards non-Serb war crimes suspects.


Tadic, on Thursday, May 26, made it a point of urging the UN Security Council to back an investigation into Council of Europe allegations that ethnic Albanian fighters of Kosovo and its current prime minister, Hashim Thaci, harvested and sold human organs from Serb captives at the end of the war there in the 1990s.

The leadership of Kosovo, which broke away from Serbia, has denied wrongdoing.

President Tadic also promised there would be an investigation into why it took 16 long years to apprehend the 69-year-old Mladic.

Yet, the arrest of Mladic was expected to speed up Serbia’s efforts to join the European Union.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton called the capture an “important step forward for Serbia and for international justice,” while NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the arrest “finally offers a chance for justice to be done.”


EU officials made delivering Mladic a key condition for Serbia’s membership application.

The United States also praised the development with the White House saying Washington looks forward to Mladic’s quick transfer to the U.N. tribunal at The Hague.

Rights group Amnesty International called the arrest a significant step forward in bringing justice to the victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Amnesty also urged Serbian authorities to ensure the arrest of Croatian Serb Goran Hadzic, the only remaining suspect charged by the international war crimes tribunal who is still at large.

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic was captured in 2008 in Belgrade.


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