Ratko Mladić arrested for war crimes

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ratko Mladić in 1993
Image: Evstafiev Mikhail.

Ratko Mladić, otherwise known as "The Butcher of Bosnia," has been arrested after being sought for over a decade. The 69-year-old former Serbian general and war crimes suspect was arrested on May 26 by Serbian special police in Lazarevo, Serbia. Mladić was accused of war crimes shortly after the 1992–1995 Bosnian War. He was wanted for genocide and crimes against humanity, including the orchestration of a massacre of over 8000 Muslim Bosniak men and boys in Srebrenica.

The arrest has prompted protests from Serbian nationalists, who herald Mladić as a national hero and patriot. However, the international reaction to Mladić's capture is more positive. French President Nicolas Sarkozy praised Serbia's actions, saying it is another step for Serbia on the path to joining the European Union. Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt gave similar praise, saying that the Serbia's prospects of joining the EU are "brighter than ever."

Serbia's war crimes court ruled that Mladić is fit for trial, despite claims from family and supporters to the contrary. Ratko Mladić's son Darko claims that his father is too weak to face extradition to The Hague for trial. Mladić could face extradition within a matter of days.