Vesna Peric Zimonjic: Hunt for Ratko Mladic, the Butcher of Bosnia, goes on

Share
Related Topics

A question mark hangs over Serbia's European future owing to its failure to arrest and hand over to international justice the wartime commander of the Bosnian Serbs, General Ratko Mladic.

The surrender of Mladic, 66, who is accused of genocide over the deaths of more than 7,500 Bosnian Muslims in the "safe haven" of Srebrenica in July 1995, remains a prime condition Serbia has to fulfil in order to join the family of European nations. In recent months, efforts to locate Mladic have been stepped up, particularly since the arrest of the Bosnian Serbs' former political leader Radovan Karadzic last July. The two went into hiding in 1995.

Mr Karadzic, who had posed as a doctor of alternative medicine, is awaiting trial before the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. He is also charged with genocide and crimes against humanity, notably for the three-and-a-half-year siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo that left 10,000 dead. The Serbian war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic said last weekend that "every tip-off connected to Mladic had been checked out, many financial channels supporting him had been severed and his recent movements have been reconstructed".

He stressed that the political will existed to bring in Mladic: "Everyone is doing all they can to complete the co-operation [with the international war crimes tribunal]." Rasim Ljajic, the Serbian minister responsible for relations with the court, recently said he hoped Mladic will be arrested "by the end of the year".

Many details have surfaced on Mladic's networks of guards, mostly hardcore wartime subordinates. He had a false identity card which enabled him to move around freely.

While on a luxury holiday in Montenegro in 1997, he allegedly rented a villa in a small village on the Adriatic, but accommodated his 10 bodyguards in a tent outside. They were paid a mere 150 German marks each for the two weeks. Recently uncovered documents of the Serbian Security and Information Agency describe Mladic as a paranoid and egotistical person who moved frequently between Belgrade flats in recent years.

He reportedly wore no slippers to avoid noise when at home, and rarely flushed the lavatory, fearing that neighbours might hear him. Cooked meals were brought to him, prepared by the mothers of his aides. Belgrade has set up a special tip-off phone line and offered a reward of €1m for details that would lead to Mladic's arrest.

But a recent survey showed 65 per cent of Serbs would not provide authorities with information about Mladic if they met him or knew of his whereabouts.

This is not a surprise. Little is being done in Serbia to reveal the truth of the Bosnian war, and Mladic is still regarded by many as a hero who bravely defended Serbs in Bosnia.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: We are winning the fight against extreme poverty and hunger. It's time to up the ante

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
David Cameron addresses No campagn supporters in Aberdeen  

Scottish independence: Cameron faces a choice between destroying his country or his party

Matthew Norman
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week