Mladic could be sent to war crimes court in days

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Life and Style
Sony Computer Entertainment President and Group CEO Andrew House, executive in charge of Sony Network Entertainment, introduces PlayStation Now
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Assistant

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Maintenance Assistant is requ...

Recruitment Genius: Business Manager

£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Panel & Cabinet Wireman

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?