Friday, 27 May 2011

A Bad Year for Bad Men - Bin Laden, Mladic...who's next?

After Osama Bin Laden's capture and death at the hand of US forces, Bosnian Serb Military Commander Ratko Mladic has been arrested by his own Serbian authorities and awaits a probable extradition to the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague.

With Libyan leader Colonel Gaddafi under extreme siege from NATO forces in Tripoli and with long-standing leaders in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Syria either out of office or struggling under severe local unrest to go that way, it has been an extraordinary 2011 for those who have been seen to use their powers for wrong.

Milosevic, Karadzic & Mladic
The arrest of the former Bosnian Serb Military Commander Ratko Mladic is a watershed moment in the history of the Balkan Wars of the 1990s.

Ratko Mladic then

General Mladic, was arrested yesterday after 16 years on the run and faces genocide charges over the 1992-95 Bosnian war. His extradition to the UN war crimes court at The Hague could take a week and is being questioned by his legal representatives due to his ill health.

Mladic was indicted in 1995 for genocide over the killings of about 7,500 Bosnian Muslim men and boys that July at Srebrenica - the worst single atrocity in Europe since World War II - and other crimes. It is to be hoped that he will be extradited to the Hague and legal proceedings against him can begin.
Ratko Mladic now

It is believed that he lived freely in the Serbian capital, Belgrade until he disappeared after the arrest of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in 2001. Following the arrest of former Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadzic in 2008, Mladic became the most prominent Bosnian war crimes suspect at large.

His gaunt figure was a world away from the towering figure that was a regular sight on TV screens throughout the 1990s.

Some Questions...
The news has been hailed internationally as a big step forward in the process of reconciliation between the former Yugoslav states but many in Serbia are not so happy with the news - seeing him as a Serbian hero.

But how has it taken so long for the Serbian authorities to find him and arrest him? Did they know where he was beforehand or, like with Pakistan's insistence over Osama Bin Laden's whereabouts previously, did they honestly not know of his location?

Because for as long as Mladic and formerly Karadzic were at large, there were two great blots on the Serbian copy-book for entry into the European Union.

Source: BBC Website

Those road-blocks have now been removed and time will tell whether Serbia will join their neighbours Slovenia in he EU.

In the meantime, with this good news, it is right to remember the 100,000+ lives killed in the Bosnian Wars and the thousands massacred in Srebrenica in particular.

For the sakes of their collective memory and for those families still living today in the shadows of these awful recollections, let's hope that yesterday's arrest marks another milestone in the road to a happier, more peacful and more prosperous Balkans.

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