From Military to Genocide
As commander-in-chief of the Bosnian Serb army, Mladic was widely seen to be responsible for the 46-month siege of Sarajevo and the massacre of 8,000 boys and men at Srebrenica. Under his command, the Bosnian Serb army conducted a campaign of ethic cleansing, rape, the slaughter of prisoners of war, and the bombing of civilians.
In August 1995, the Eugene Register-Guard ran an article entitled “Serb Leader Ordered ‘Feast’ of Blood” which included eyewitness testimony of the Srebrenica massacre:
On or about July 12, he announced the "feast" of blood, according to Nedzida Sadikovic, who said she was present at the event.
According to her account, Mladic exclaimed, "There are so many," as he spotted the large number of men and boys in the crowd of several thousand refugees. "It is going to be a 'meze'(a long, delectable feast). There will be blood up to your knees," Sadikovic, 42, remembered him saying.
"Beautiful. Keep the good ones over there. Enjoy them," he told his troops, according to Sadikovic.
Ratko Mladic remained a fugitive until this morning despite several sightings of him over the years.
At 1pm today, Serbian time, Serbian President Boris Tadic announced, first in Serbian and then in English, that Ratko Mladic had in fact been arrested. He stated that the arrest was a result of the full cooperation of Serbia with the Hague tribunal (ICTY) and noted that he had always believed in his strategy of brining war criminals to justice.
This was an interesting statement to make as many people believe that Serbia have always known where Mladic was and only arrested him today as a bargaining tool in their bid to gain inclusion into the EU. In fact, Bosnian politician Zeljko Komsic went on record today to say exactly that, in a speech at which he expressed his pleasure that Mladic had been arrested but stated that it was too late for his victims.
It is no coincidence that today is the day that Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, was to meet Serbian President Boris Tadic and the head of the Serbian negotiation team, Borko Stefanovic, in Belgrade.
During his press announcement this morning, Serbian President Boris Tadic went on to highlight that all crimes must be investigated and all war criminals must be brought to justice. He called for an independent investigation by mandate of the UN Security Council into the allegations of organ trafficking in Kosovo during the Kosovo war in 1999, as reported by Dick Marty. It is notable that Tadic referred to Kosovo as Serbia’s autonomous province, reiterating Serbia’s refusal to recognise the independence of Kosovo.
Article written by me and first published as Ratko Mladic: The Arrest of a War Criminal on Blogcritics.