Today, in Serbia, the Serbian Security Intelligence Agency arrested General Ratko Mladic. After sixteen years on the run, General Mladic was arrested in the village of Lazarevo, near Zrenjanin in northern Serbia. Gen. Mladic was Europe's most wanted war criminal and is responsible for the Srebrenica genocide where over 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were slaughtered within a five day period. Additionally, the charges facing Gen. Mladic are fifteen counts of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, taking of hostages and other atrocities as well the shelling of Sarajevo during the siege where over 12,000 civilians perished.
Gen. Ratko Mladic was the former Chief of Staff of the Army of Republika Srpska during the Bosnian war that lasted from 1992-1995. On July 11, 1995, the Bosnian town of Srebrenica, which was a declared U.N. safe haven, fell to Serb paramilitary forces led by General Ratko Mladic. Within those five days, the systematic killings and unimaginable torture of Bosniak civilians was part of a campaign to eliminate the Bosniak population in the name of radical Serb nationalism, as well as to eliminate the historical pattern of tolerance that was shared by citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Gen. Mladic remained an official member of the Bosnian Serb military until 2002, and was drawing an army pension from Belgrade until the end of 2005. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague believes that Mladic had been hiding in Serbia all along. Furthermore, Serbia has been under scrutiny by the chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor, Serge Brammertz who expressed concern earlier this month that authorities were not doing enough to capture Gen. Mladic and other war crimes fugitives.
Today, BAACBH remembers all of the victims of Srebrenica as well as all victims of genocide; and let us not forget that justice is the only path towards a democratic and prosperous Southeast Europe. We also express our deepest gratitude to members of the U.S. Congress, the Congressional Caucus on Bosnia, and successive U.S. Administrations for their efforts and unwavering support in urging the arrest of Ratko Mladic.