Mladic could be sent to war crimes court in days
Monday 30 May 2011
Serbia may send Ratko Mladic to face genocide charges in The Hague within four days, a justice official said on Monday, despite rallies by nationalists angry at the Bosnian Serb general's capture after 16 years on the run.
Security agents tracked the fugitive general to a messy Serbian farmhouse belonging to his cousin on Thursday. In so doing they removed a big obstacle to Serbia' bid to join the European Union.
Tha arrest angered nationalists in Serbia and the Bosnian Serb half of Bosnia.
In Bosnia, several thousand supporters rallied on Monday waving Serbian flags and carrying banners reading: "Keep on, our general, we are with you!" and "Shame on you Tadic! You you did not betray Mladic, you betrayed the Serb people," a reference to Serbia's President Boris Tadic who ordered Mladic's arrest.
Mladic's lawyers argue the 69-year-old, found alone surrounded by medications, is mentally unstable and thus too sick to be extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal.
The Hague court indicted Mladic for genocide in the 43-month siege of Sarajevo and the massacre of 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica during the 1992-95 Bosnian war in 1995.
For seven years after that, Mladic lived openly at his home in Belgrade and often received visitors, Aleksandar Mihailovic, a friend who lived down the street, said on Monday.
"He lived normally until 2002," said Mihailovic, who built Mladic's house, told Reuters. "He loved songs, rakia, eating - he was a very normal person."
A Belgrade court ruled on Friday that Mladic was fit enough to face trial and served extradition papers. His lawyer Milos Saljic said he plans to appeal that decision "to prolong the extradition as long as possible".
He told reporters he had mailed it late in the day. "I expect the court to review the appeal tomorrow, at the earliest," he said.
The appeal court must respond and forward the final decision to the Justice Ministry which will then rule on the extradition straight away, a process that would take up to four days, said Slobodan Homen, a state secretary.
Vladimir Vukcevic, Serbia's chief war crimes prosecutor said: "I have seen Mladic and I believe he is fit for trial ... We will now focus on uncovering the entire network of his helpers."
Many Serbs admire Mladic as a dedicated military man who did not seek to enrich himself during the bitter civil war.
In Bosnia, demonstrators carried pictures and banners reading: "Keep on, our general, we are with you!" and "Shame on you Tadic! You you did not betray Mladic, you betrayed the Serb people," a reference to Serbia's President Boris Tadic who ordered Mladic's arrest.
Bosnian Serb Republic President Milorad Dodik said he would raise funds to provide legal assistance to Bosnian Serb war crimes indictees, and expressed his support for the protests.
"The Serb Republic army was an expression of will of the Serb people in Bosnia which defended their survival, homes and rights," he said. "I will do my best to preserve the dignity and reputation of the Serb Republic army, which was an honourable military formation of utmost importance for Bosnian Serbs."
Bosnia remains deeply divided along ethnic lines.
Mladic's friend Mihailovic said the siege of Sarajevo, in which 10,000 died, was a legitimate military operation and as commander responsible for the entire war, Mladic could not have known about the details of the Srebrenica massacre.
He agreed to speak out after receiving the blessing of the Mladic family and some of his arguments could foreshadow the general's defence strategy. Srebrenica survivors say they saw Mladic moments before the executions.
Serbian authorities said they detained 180 people who had attacked police and injured 32 officers in Belgrade during a pro-Mladic rally on Sunday organised by the Serbian Radical Party, whose leader is on trial in The Hague.
Many of those at the rally were young people, some not even born during the Bosnian war.
Mladic's son and grandchildren, who live in Belgrade, visited him in prison on Monday. At the Sunday rally, Darko Mladic said his father was a defender of his people.
- 1 Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
- 2 James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
- 3 Reading Festival 2014: Tesco branch replaces salad and potatoes for Jagermesiter and vodka
- 4 Here’s the damning letter Robin Williams wrote to his Mrs Doubtfire co-star's principal after they expelled her
- 5 Ferguson protests: 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein ‘arrested’ by police during St Louis demonstrations
Michael Brown shooting: Amnesty International sends team within US for first time as National Guard deployed
Michael Brown shooting: Ferguson police shoot and kill second young black man
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – and warns Obama of more to come
Iraq crisis: Islamic State's message to America - 'We will drown you all in blood'
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Crisis? What crisis? A visiting US doctor gives the NHS a rave review
Ukip MEP calls for reintroduction of death penalty on fiftieth anniversary of last deaths
Russell Brand calls for Israel boycott: Comedian urges big businesses that 'facilitate the oppression of people in Gaza' to pull funding
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...
£16 - £17 per hour: Ashdown Group: Marketing & PR Assistant - Kentish Town are...
£50000 - £60000 Per Annum + excellent company benefits: Clearwater People Solu...
£65000 - £70000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based i...