Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Bringing Mladic to Justice

Serbia’s attempt to apprehend the war criminal Ratko Mladic is not merely a matter of Serbian national interest...

“We will do it in Serbia’s interest.”

These are the words of Serbian government spokesman, Milivoje Mihajlovic, referring to his nation’s increased efforts to apprehend Ratko Mladic, the former army general indicted for 11 counts of war crimes, including crimes against humanity and genocide, committed during the Bosnian war. Mr Mihajlovic’s comments reflect the fact that the arrest of Mladic is the last barrier preventing Serbia’s application process in to the EU, a goal they have been officially seeking since December 2009. The government has recently searched an apartment belonging to the son of the fugitive, having raised its reward for information leading to his capture from 5 to 10 million euros late last year as part of an expanded effort to arrest the war criminal.

It is a sad state of affairs that Serbia only begins to take the hunt for Mladic seriously now that it has the incentive of EU membership. This is a man wanted for the most heinous crimes, including the infamous 1995 genocide of some 8,000 Muslim boys and men in the eastern town of Srebrenica and for orchestrating the near-four year siege of Sarajevo. Unlike the man who still evades capture for the atrocities committed on 9/11, Mladic has not been hiding in the unmapped mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan; he has been residing on the turf of multicultural mainland Europe. The fact that he has been at large for so long is a disgrace to European justice and a humiliation to his victims. With the chief UN war crimes prosecutor for the former Yugoslavia, Serge Brammertz, set to travel to Serbia yet again next month to assess whether the country is doing all it can to apprehend Mladic, it is vital that he maintains the full weight of UN pressure on Belgrade.

The day that Ratko Mladic is delivered to The Hague to join his psychopathic former boss, Radovan Karadzic, will be a good day, not for ‘Serbian interests’, but for international law and criminal justice.

by Matt Jones

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