ACTION ALERT: Please support the Friends of Bosnia and Herzegovina Group in the Canadian Parliament

ACTION ALERT:IRGC calls for International Campaign to end Bosnian Genocide Denial

ACTION ALERT: Canadian Parliament Adopts Srebrenica Genocide Resolution

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada

Arrest of Ratko Mladic, Statement by the Institute for the Research of Genocide, Canada

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada
Published: May 26, 2011  

A Statement by the Institute for Research of Genocide of Canada (IRGC) on the Arrest of Ratko Mladic

The Institute for the Research of Genocide, Canada, (IRGC) strongly welcomes the arrest of Ratko Mladic by Serbian authorities. This is an important step forward in the pursuit of international justice and reconciliation in the Balkans. It is an important accomplishment for all those advocating against and raising awareness of genocide around the world. And it is an especially important event for all members of the Bosniak community, victims of the aggression and genocide perpetrated by the forces of Ratko Mladic and his associates in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Gen. Ratko Mladic was responsible for the Srebrenica genocide where over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were slaughtered within a five day period. Presently, Gen. Ratko Mladic is facing fifteen counts of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, taking of hostages and other atrocities as well the shelling and siege of Sarajevo during which over 12,000 civilians perished. He is set to be tried at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague.

Acting individually and in concert with other participants in a joint criminal enterprise Gen. Ratko Mladic planned, instigated, ordered, committed and otherwise aided and abetted the planning, preparation and execution of the intentional destruction significant portions of the Bosniak population in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The attempted destruction of the Bosniak population was accomplished through the widespread killing, deportation and forcible transfer of non-Serbs, as part of the 1992 and 1993 “ethnic cleansing” campaigns in the Bosnian Krajina region and in eastern Bosnia. It entailed serious bodily or mental harm to Bosnian Muslims, including torture, physical and psychological abuse, sexual violence and beatings and the subjection of Bosniaks to conditions of life calculated to bring about their physical destruction, namely through cruel and inhumane treatment, including torture, forced detention, labour and starvation.

The initial indictment against Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic was confirmed on the 25th of July 1995 and charged both with several counts of genocide and other crimes against humanity committed against civilians throughout the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. A second indictment was confirmed on the 16th of November 1995 and pertained to the events that took place in Srebrenica in July of 1995. The two indictments were joined in July 1996.

War crimes tribunal judge Fouad Riad said during Mladic’s 1995 indictment-in-absentia that the court had seen evidence of “unimaginable savagery: thousands of men executed and buried in mass graves, hundreds of men buried alive, men and women mutilated and slaughtered, children killed before their mothers’ eyes, a grandfather forced to eat the liver of his own grandson.” He added that “these [were] truly scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human history.”

As the military commander of the Bosnian Serb forces, Gen. Ratko Mladic played a key role in some of the darkest episodes of Balkan and European history. Almost sixteen years since his indictment for genocide, war crimes and other crimes against humanity, his arrest finally offers an opportunity for justice to take its course. Mladic’s victims, and those who advocate for the supremacy of international norms and customs of justice for those suspected of the most heinous crimes – genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes – will hope that, unlike their mentors Milosevic, Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic will live to face the final verdict of the International Tribunal in The Hague. Mladic must now answer for his crimes and answer to his victims in an international court of law.

Today, IRGC remembers all of the victims of Bosnian genocide. Justice will be served and truth preserved regarding the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina and the genocide against the Bosniak people.

Emir Ramic

Institute for Research of Genocide of Canada

The Arrest of Ratko Mladic an important step in our collective fight against impunity

Indictments in 1995 and 2000, further amended in 2002, charge the former commander of the Republika Srpska Army with genocide and other crimes.

Ratko Mladic, former commander of the Republika Srpska Army, was first indicted before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, ICTY, immediately following the capture of Srebrenica in July 1995.

The first indictment charged him with genocide and other crimes committed on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The same indictment charged Radovan Karadzic, president of the Republika Srpska and Mladic’s supreme commander.

As of then, the two men were on the run. But while Karadzic was finally arrested in Belgrade on July 21, 2008, Mladic remains a fugitive.

In 2000, two indictments were formed out of the original indictment. Karadzic indictment was made public, and in 2002 even Mladic’s, with new amendments.

The indictment, on 12 pages through out 15 aticles, charges Mladic for genocide, complicitz in genocide, crimes against humanity and violations violation of laws and practices of warfare, all committed during the war from 1992 to 1995 in Bosnia and Herzegoina.

The indictment notes that Mladic was appointed commander of the General Staff of the Republika Srpska Army on May 10, 1992, a function he held until December 22, 1996. In June, 1994, in the meantime, he was promoted to the rank of General Colonel.

From May 1992, Bosnian Serb Forces under the command and controle of General Ratko Mladic, took controle municipalities in the so called Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Heryegovina, later on Republika Srpska. In all of these municipalitis, Arma of Republika Srpska (VRS) soldiers participated in a campaigne of prosecutions to drive non-Serb population from these teritories, and thousands were killed.

„Many non-Serbs were killed, and many others were held in detention facilities where they were physically and psychologically abused and subjected to cruel and inhuman conditions. In addition, non-Serb homes, businesses, and religious sites and property were looted, destroyed and/or appropriated.”

By the indictement, from January to March of 1993, VRS soldiers attacted Cerska and esterd Bosnia.

„Thousands of Muslims fled to Bosnia and Herzegovina government-controlled territory including Srebrenica and Zepa,“ the indictimend notes adding that on April 16 1993, the Securitz Council of the United Nations adopted Resolution 819 in which demanded that all parties to the conflict in areas of Sarajevo, Zepa, Srebenica and Gorazde, and their surroundings, are proclaimed „safe areas“, free from any armed attack or any other hostile act.

The Hague Prosecution belives that Mladic forces, starting from this period, concetreted on goals „strategicaly located around Srebrenica“. Culmination came after Radovan Karadzic, president of Republika Srpska and Suprime Commander, in March 1995 issued „Operational Directive 07“ which directed the VRS to eliminat the Muslim enclavec of Srebrenica and Zepa.

Attacs on this area culminated in July 11, 1995, when VRS atered Srebrenica, killing thousunds of Bosniaks.

Mladic is charged with „individual criminal responsibility“ as a person who was, „as the most senior officer“, subordinated only to the Presidency/President of Republika Srpska. He was responsible, by indictement, for „planning and directing all operatios of the VRS, and monitoring the activities of all subordinate officers and unitis to ensure that his orders were implemented.“

Mladic exercised military command and control over, among others: the 1st Krajina Corps, 2nd Krajina Corps, East Bosnia Corps, Drina Corps, Sarajevo-Romanija Corps and Herzegovina-Romanija Corps.

“Each Corps within the VRS had a Corps commander and a command staff, all of whom were subordinated to General Ratko Mladic,” the indictment notes.

The Prosecution considers that Mladic exercised command and control over VRS forces “in co-ordination with paramilitary forces and volunteer units, the Bosnian Serb Territorial Defence, and the Bosnian Serb police, as well as [with] other civil authorities, like regional and municipal crisis committees”.

Besides the charge of command responsibility, Mladic is charged with having personally “planned, instigated, committed and ordered the crimes.

“By using the word ‘committed in this indictment, the Prosecutor does not suggest that the accused physically committed any of the crimes with which he his charged personally. ‘Committed’ in this indictment includes participation in a joint criminal enterprise,” the indictment explains.

Karadzic, his wartime colleague, Biljana Plavsic, the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajisnik and other leaders of the Bosnian Serbs and the Serbian Democratic Party, SDS, as well as members of Serbian paramilitary and volunteer forces, are mentioned as other members of the joint criminal enterprise, JCE, which, as per the indictment, lasted from May 1992 to December 1996.

After Plavsic admitted guilt before the Hague Tribunal for the crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2002, she was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment year after. After she served two thirds of her punishment, by the decision of ICTY Presidnet, she was relised on Octobar 27, 2009.

Milosevic, Serbia’s former president, died before his trial ended before the Hague Tribunal. The Court sentenced Krajisnik to 20 years’ imprisonment in 2008 for crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The participants in the aforementioned Joint Criminal Enterprise were allegedly involved in planning, preparing and executing a campaign of persecution, which included acts of genocide; attacking and destroying non-Serbian towns and villages; and killing and terrorising the non-Serbian inhabitants, by killing, raping, sexually abusing, torturing, beating, robbing and generally treating them in an inhumane way.

The indictment alleges that, as a member of this enterprise, Mladic planned, ordered, instigated or carried out the “intentional partial destruction of the Bosnian Muslim community in Kljuc, Kotor Varos, Prijedor, Sanski Most and Srebrenica”.

According to Prosecution, in this and some other area, during 1992 and 1993, ethnical cleansing was committed,

Starting from May 1992, VRS forces started with attacks on Sarajevo and its citizens. Mladic participated, by indictment, in “preparing, planning, facilitating or executing a protracted military campaign of artillery and mortar shelling and sniping into civilian areas of Sarajevo.”

The third article of the indictment charges Mladic with “prosecution on political, racial and religious grounds”, and he is indicted for crimes against humanity.

The third article describes killings, terrorization and cruel and inhuman treatmen during and after attacks, sexual violence, imposing inhuman living conditions, forcible transfer and deportations, unlawful detention, forced labour, the appropriation or plunder of property…

“The appropriation or property included the practice of forcing non-Serbs to sign over their property to Bosnian Serb authorities before permitted to leave the municipalities.”

By the articles 5,6 and 7, Mladic is responsible for crimes against humanity and violation of laws and costumes of war.

From count 9 to 14 indictment describes deeds by Sarajevo Romanija Corp of VRS, including the siege of Sarajevo.

As in the case of Radovan Karadzic, separate article of the indictment, is about taking of UN hostages, indicting Mladic for violation of the laws and customs of war one more time.

UN personnel, more then 200, were captured and held as hostages after NATO attack on VRS in May 1995.

Mladic’s forces “seized and held over two hundred UN staff members as hostages, following air strikes by NATO against Bosnian Serb Forces in BiH, in order to deter further air strikes in those areas where the hostages were being held,” the indictment says.

“Some of the hostages were assaulted and otherwise maltreated during their captivity,” it added.

Mladic is charged in connection with crimes commmited in the municipalities of Banja Luka, Bihac-Ripac, Bjeljina, Bosanska Gradiska, Bosanska Krupa, Bosanski Novi, Bratunac, Brcko, Doboj, Foca, Gacko, Kalinovik, Kljuc, Kotor Varos, Nevesinje, Novi Grad, Prijedor, Rogatica, Sanski Most, Srebrenica, Teslic, Vlasenica, Vogosca and Zvornik.

First indictment against Mladic in the Hague was issued in 1995 by that time chief prosecutor Richard J Goldstone, who made first amendments in November the same year. The last indictment was signed by Carla del Ponte in October 2002.

RATKO MLADIC: FROM PROMISING OFFICER TO BLOODSTAINED WARLORD

When Mladic ordered his army to bomb the people of Sarajevo until they ‘go insane’, he revealed the murderous intentions that would culminate in the Srebrenica massacre.

Ratko Mladic started life in the village of Bozinovci, near Kalinovik, on May 12, 1943, in the middle of the Second World War.

At 15, he “started his military career” by entering the Military and Industrial School in Zemun, near Belgrade, graduating from the Military Academy.

At only 22 he became an officer in Skoplje, Macedonia. He was the youngest member and commander of an automatic engineering unit in the Yugoslav National Army, JNA.

In the spring of 1991, when the armed conflict started in Croatia, Mladic went to Knin, in northern Dalmatia, then the epicentre of the Serbian revolt against Croatian independence.

At first commander of the Ninth Corps of the JNA, he soon received the rank of major general.

Under Mladic’s command, JNA forces engaged in the war in Croatia on the side of the rebel Serbs from the beginning, trying out and testing the forced movements of civilian populations that would later become known as “ethnic cleansing”.

During a raid in Serbia, the police found Mladic’s personal war diaries, which contained important insights into his strategy.

In them, he referred to “moving populations”, as well as to plans to sacrifice the Croatian Serb statelet, the so-called Republika Srpska Krajina, for parts of Bosnia.

“I told them to draw the lines of the [future] borders and to move the population…” Mladic wrote in his diary.

After the war in Croatia wounded down at the end of 1991, Mladic was moved elsewhere.

On May 9, 1992, he was appointed commander of the Second Military District of the JNA, covering much of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Three days later, the parliament of the self-proclaimed Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina appointed Mladic as commander of the Republika Srpska Army, VRS.

In an interview with the Belgrade-based magazine NIN in February 1994, Mladic said he became a general “in troubled times of war.

“When I took over my position in the Second Military Region, I tasked myself with gathering people and forming the command and headquarters… I knew immediately that a big historic event was going to happen there,” Mladic said in the interview.

In April 1992, the city was attacked and placed under siege, which turned out to last for 1,425 days. Systematic shelling and sniper targeting of civilians started, accompanied by shortages of food, water and electricity.

“Shell Velusici, shell Velusici and Pofalici, because there are not many Serbs in those settlements,” Mladic ordered on May 28, 1992, incidentally mispronouncing the Sarajevo settlement of Velesici.

“And shell the part near Dobrovoljacka street, and up there around Humska street and up Djure Djakovica street,” he continued.

“Don’t them sleep at all. Make them go insane,” he continued.

“Can you shoot Bascarsija? Fire a salvo at Bascarsija. Keep the Presidency and Parliament buildings under direct fire. Shoot slowly, in intervals, until I order you to stop,” Mladic ordered on the same occasion.

That night, many buildings in central Sarajevo were set ablaze. More than a hundred wounded people were brought to the hospitals within hours.

Those who stayed in the besieged city remember months spent living in fear, as people were killed queuing for water and bread, or running across bridges under sniper fire. Hospitals were shelled, along with museums and libraries.

Available data suggest that more than 13,000 Sarajevo residents died as a result of these activities, which lasted until the siege was finally broken in 1995.

More than half of this number died in 1992 alone. The number of indirect victims of the siege, who died of hunger or disease or who committed suicide out of desperation, has not been determined.

Mladic was unrepentant. “I am just defending my people,” he said on many occasions during the war.

The military forces commanded by Mladic were under the supreme command of Radovan Karadzic, the then president of Republika Srpska, who “had the power to appoint, promote and dismiss military officers”, according to the Prosecution of the Hague Tribunal, which charges him with genocide and numerous other crimes.

Addressing Karadzic, the only person to whom he was subordinate, Mladic said that he wants “our country, Republika Srpska, and the Serbian people to prosper,”.

“I want your words, uttered at the last Assembly session, to be embedded and conveyed by these media to each single men in our country.

“I want us to stand by each other and overcome these evil times, go through the storm and make our dream of all Serbs living in one country come true,” Mladic said during the war.

Although he said he was “defending his people”, Mladic freely admitted that offensives were “the main method of his warfare style”.

“Attacking is in my nature. This is acceptable to the Main Headquarters of Republika Srpska. My goal is simple – protection of the Serbian territory and the people who have lived there for ages,” he said, shortly after he became commander of the Main Headquarter.

In July 1995, just a few months before the war ended in Bosnia, Mladic’s forces captured the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, which the United Nations had declared a UN “protected zone” two years earlier.

Mladic arrived in Srebrenica with a smile on his face, congratulating the soldiers who met him in the streets of the deserted town.

Cameras recorded the General’s movements. Republika Srpska Television and the Serbian Television, the only TV stations present, reported on the “liberation” of the town, from which tens of thousands of people were then fleeing.

“Here we are in Serbian Srebrenica on July 11, 1995,” Mladic said. “On the eve of yet another big Serbian holy day, we are presenting this town to the Serbian people. Finally, the time has come to get even with the Turks for the first time since the uprising against Ottoman rule.”

He then ordered his soldiers: “Go ahead towards Potocari, Bratunac…don’t stop”.

What followed was the mass murder of several thousand men and boys, which subsequent indictments and verdicts passed down by international and local courts have classified as genocide.

Several thousand women and their children fled the town for the UN Base in Potocari. At the same time, thousands of men tried to head for Tuzla through the woods.

In the night between July 11 and 12, 1995 Mladic held three meetings in the “Fontana” hotel in Bratunac. The fate of the wretched people of Srebrenica was the subject of those meetings.

“You can either survive or disappear. In order for you to survive, I am asking all you men, who are armed, even if they committed crimes, and committed crimes against my people, to hand in their weapons to the VRS,” Mladic told representatives of Srebrenica, who attended one meeting with members of the Dutch UN Battalion.

On July 12, Mladic arrived in Potocari, accompanied by a TV crew. The cameras filmed him distributing Toblerone chocolate bars to children who had not seen such luxuries for years, telling their parents not to be afraid because “nobody will do them any harm.

“All of you who want to stay can do so. All those who want to leave this territory are free to do so. We have secured sufficient number of buses and trucks for you,” the General said.

He repeated the same message at a meadow in Sandici, in a hangar in Bratunac and at a stadium in Nova Kasaba, addressing captured men and boys who were surrounded by armed Serbian soldiers.

Instead, those who were captured or who surrendered were shot dead. According to the Hague Tribunal Prosecution indictment of 2002, «more than 7,000 prisoners captured in the area around Srebrenica were summarily executed from 13 July 19 July 1995. The killings continued thereafter.”

In late August 1995, the international community finally intervened militarily to end the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

NATO bombed Serbian positions near Sarajevo and throughout Bosnia in order to force the Bosnian Serbs to the peace table. Operations lasted for more than 10 days.

“The bombs, which have fallen on our kids, have revealed the truth about the West and made the Serbs, who have not done so to date, start using their heads,” Mladic said. “This war will last until their [the Western] kids come home in coffins.”

The war ended with the signing of the Dayton, Ohio, Peace Accord on December 14, 1995. A short time later the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia, ICTY, issued a warrant against Mladic on the basis of two indictments filed in mid-1995.

“They would like to handcuff our generals and take them to The Hague, while their officers walk freely here and distribute posters and media material to children,” Mladic retorted. “I can only be tried by my people.”

In July 1996 an international warrant against Mladic was issued.

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) welcomes the announcement today of the arrest of Ratko Mladić in Serbia, after he evaded arrest for 16 years. Mladić was indicted in 1995 by the Office of the Prosecutor for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed during the 1992 to 1995 conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

RATKO MLADIĆ

Indicted for genocide, complicity in genocide, persecutions, extermination and murder, deportation and inhumane acts, unlawfully inflicting terror upon civilians, murder, crueltreatment, attacks on civilians, taking of hostages

THE PROSECUTOR OF THE TRIBUNAL AGAINST RATKO MLADIC, MORE : http://www.icty.org/x/cases/mladic/ind/en/mla-ai021010e.pdf

CASE  INFORMATION  SHEET, MORE: http://www.icty.org/x/cases/mladic/cis/en/cis_mladic_en.pdf

Statement of the Office of the Prosecutor, International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia on the arrest of Ratko Mladić

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia welcomes the arrest today of Ratko Mladić, General Colonel and former Commander of the Main Staff of the army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina/Republika Srpska.

He was indicted by the Tribunal on 25 July 1995 and was a fugitive from justice for almost 16 years.

In relation to the arrest, Prosecutor Brammertz stated the following:

“I welcome the arrest of Ratko Mladić today in Serbia. We await arrangements for his transfer to The Hague where he will stand trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.

We recognize the work done by the Serbian authorities, specifically the National Security Council and Serbia’s Action Team, in apprehending Ratko Mladić. We thank them for meeting their obligations towards the Tribunal and towards justice. We also acknowledge the efforts of the international community in supporting measures to secure Ratko Mladić’s arrest.

With the news of the arrest, we think first and foremost of the victims of the crimes committed during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. These victims have endured unimaginable horrors – including the genocide in Srebrenica – and redress for their suffering is long overdue. Ratko Mladić’s arrest is also significant for all people in the former Yugoslavia.  We believe that it can have a positive impact on reconciliation in the region.

Today is also an important day for international justice. Ratko Mladić’s arrest clearly signals that the commitment to international criminal justice is entrenched. Today’s events show that people responsible for grave violations of international humanitarian law can no longer count on impunity.”

BACKGROUND

Ratko Mladić, Colonel General, former Commander of the Main Staff of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS) is charged with genocide, crimes against humanity and violations of the laws or customs of war against Bosnian Muslim, Bosnian Croat and other non-Serb civilians in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1992-1995 war.

As set out in the Indictment, Ratko Mladić together with Radovan Karadžić was a key member of a joint criminal enterprise to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats from the territory in Bosnia and Herzegovina claimed by Bosnian Serbs. To achieve this aim, Ratko Mladić, acted in concert with others to commit crimes in the locations and at the times alleged in the indictment.

As the most senior officer of the Bosnian Serb Army during the war, Ratko Mladić was the superior of Bosnian Serb Army members and other Serb forces integrated into or subordinated to the Bosnian Serb Army. As such, he had effective control over the forces who participated in the crimes alleged. Ratko Mladić is charged with planning, instigating and ordering each of the crimes.

Ratko Mladić is charged with crimes that include:

  • the murder of close to 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica in 1995.
  • the murders, persecution, forcible transfer, detention and mistreatment of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats during the campaign to permanently remove such persons from the territory under the control of the forces of Republika Srpska.
  • the terror campaign and the shelling and sniping of civilians in Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb forces under his command and control which resulted in the killing and wounding of thousands, including many women and children;
  • the taking of UN military observers and peacekeeping personnel as hostages in May and June 1995.

Nineteen years have passed since the first crimes listed in this indictment were committed.  Sixteen years have passed since Ratko Mladić was indicted. Today he is in custody and will be brought to stand trial in The Hague.

The full text of the indictment against Ratko Mladić is available on the ICTY website at the following address: http://www.icty.org/case/mladic/4

Courtroom proceedings can be followed on the Tribunal’s website at www.icty.org

Minister Baird Welcomes Arrest of General Ratko Mladic

(No. 143 – May 26, 2011 – 1:25 p.m. ET) John Baird, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, issued the following statement on the arrest of General Ratko Mladic by Serbian security forces this morning near the city of Zrenjanin in northern Serbia:

“We congratulate the Government of Serbia on this arrest. Ratko Mladic stands accused of horrific crimes. Canada is pleased that he will now face international justice. We call upon all involved to ensure that arrangements for his transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for trial will be made at the earliest opportunity. We hope this will help to bring comfort to those who suffered so much during the terrible wars of the 1990s in the Western Balkans. This arrest promotes respect for international law and demonstrates Serbia’s acceptance of its international responsibilities.”

General Mladic had been a fugitive from the ICTY, and is under ICTY indictment for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed while he was in command of the Bosnian Serb army during the Bosnian wars of 1992-95.

The wars in the Balkans in the 1990s were a major engagement for Canada. Over the years, more than 40,000 Canadian troops served in the Western Balkans, to support Canada’s commitment to human rights, democracy and stability in the region. Minister Baird hailed General Mladic’s arrest as an important contribution to those enduring goals.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Chris Day
Director of Communications
Office of Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874

A Statement by the Bosnian American Genocide Institute and Education Center on the Arrest of Ratko Mladic

The significance of the Serbian government’s arrest of General Ratko Mladic as ordered by President Boris Tadic is enormous, as it enables the courts to start criminal proceedings against one of the worst war criminals. The indictment includes war crimes against humanity and international law during the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995, as well as the genocide of Bosniaks in Srebrenica, where more than 8000 unarmed men and boys were killed and more than 25000 women, children, and elderly were expelled from their homes, all under direct orders from Mladic.

The Bosniak genocide victims will definitely feel some form of relief with the chance of seeking redress for both moral and material damages. The arrest and rightful convictions of Karadzic and Mladic will serve as a message to future generations that crimes cannot be swept under the rug and hidden from and that justice will prevail. Through the legal process of reaching the truth and through the admissions by those who committed the crimes and those political regimes that directed them, there is a chance for the reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the whole ex-Yugoslavian region, to be given a healthier foundation, one of truth and justice.

One especially important goal in the criminal proceedings against Mladic and Karadzic in The Hague should be to prove the role of Serbia in the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the genocide of Bosniaks in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The memory of the war on and for the Bosnian and Herzegovinian land should not be permitted to be one of a “civil” war nor that was the genocide of Bosniaks in Srebrenica and other parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina committed by only Bosnian Serbs. The causes of the war can be found in the genocidal politics of the Belgrade regime of 1992-1995, with Slobodan Milosevic at the helm, which gave orders to Karadzic and Mladic, as well as financial and military support.

Now is the chance to prove that link. Unfortunately, Slobodan Milosevic died before the court’s verdict, but now his puppets, his right hand as well as his left stand before the court.

It is also of importance to note that the work of courts must not be influenced by the politics of the countries from which the judges originate nor should it be influenced by the relationships of political powers in the world. The active role of Bosniaks, the victims of aggression and genocide, as well as their political, national, humanitarian, and media structures, and also the political willingness of Europe, the U.S., and the whole world, are all necessities in the process of the legal path to prove and publish the truth about the aggression of its neighboring countries against the internationally recognized, independent Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the truth about the genocidal politics and role of Serbia in the execution of genocide of Bosniaks, politics of which general Ratko Mladic was an extension and executor.

Director,

Sanja Seferovic Drnovsek

We hope that the arrest of Ratko Mladic proves to be a key moment and a catalyst for progress in the Balkans, and specifically in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although the arrest is long overdue, it may provide the victims of Srebrenica, and all of Bosnia and Herzegovina, some closure to the horrible crimes against humanity (including genocide) that were committed under the command of Mladic. We hope that justice will be served and the truth prevail in the Hague.

Lejla Ovcina,

Board Member

I must tell you how much of a relief it was to see that Mr. Mladic had finally been captured. I almost couldn’t believe it when the first news broke here. The capture, however, has been bittersweet. While it is good for justice to know that he will stand trial, it is a horrible reminder of not only the heinous acts that he perpetrated on the Croatian and especially the Bosniak people, but it is also a reminder of how inept or unwilling the Serbian government was to arrest him for all these years. Justice will never be completely served but and least he will likely never have another taste of freedom in his natural life.

Edin Seferovic

Board Member

ONGOING BOSNIAN GENOCIDE TRIAL(S)

Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are both on trial on two counts of genocide and other war crimes committed in Prijedor, Kljuc, Brcko, Srebrenica, Bratunac, and other districts of Bosnia. Karadzic and Mladic’s Bosnian Genocide charge sheet contains only the most serious war crimes and their trial is likely to be “merged” together in the coming months:

Count 1: Genocide

Count 2: Genocide

Count 3: Persecutions

Count 4: Extermination, a Crime Against Humanity

Count 5: Murder, a Crime Against Humanity

Count 6: Murder, a Violation of the Laws or Customs of War

Count 7: Deportation, a Crime Against Humanity

Count 8: Inhumate Acts, a Crime Against Humanity

Count 9: Terror, a Violation of the Laws or Customs of War

Count 10: Unlawful Attacks on Civilians, a Violation of the Laws or Customs of War

Count 11: Taking of Hostages, a Violation of the Laws or Customs of War

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT ON THE ARREST OF RATKO MLADIC

Our Jewish friend, former top US diplomat Madeleine Albright, has welcomed the arrest of Bosnian Serb ex-general Ratko Mladic, saying she “enjoyed” knowing he was now behind bars, a news report said Saturday.

“It may not have been possible, but I particularly enjoy it,” Albright told the national daily De Volkskrant, speaking during a visit to The Hague.

On the run for 16 years, Mladic was arrested in Serbia last month and extradited to the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on May 31. He faced judges for the first time three days later.

“The wheels of justice grind slowly, but they do grind,” said Albright, who served as US ambassador to the United Nations during the 1992-95 Balkans conflict, which claimed some 100,000 lives.

Albright, now 74, also played a major role as a former US secretary of state from 1997-2001 in shaping US foreign policy towards a post-war Bosnia-Hercegovina.

In 2002, she testified before the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal in the case against former high-ranking Bosnian Serb politician, Biljana Plavsic, later sentenced to 11 years in prison for committing crimes against humanity in the war-torn country.

This week, Albright was again in the world justice capital, where she attended the opening of The Hague Institute for Global Justice, a legal training and research institute, the paper said.

Meanhile, some four kilometres (2.5 miles) away, Mladic, 69, is being held in a UN detention unit in a Dutch prison. He is expected to make a second appearance on July 4.

The man called “the Butcher of Bosnia” faces charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, the same charges levelled against Radovan Karadzic, his political alter ego, whose trial is in progress.

Institute for the Research of Genocide Canada