Mr. Mladic, the war-time leader of the Bosnian Serb forces, was arrested today in Serbia after evading capture for almost 16 years. He is awaiting transfer to The Hague, where he will stand trial before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
He faces numerous charges, including genocide, extermination, murder, persecutions, deportation, taking of hostages and inflicting terror on civilians, particularly in connection with massacre of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the supposedly “safe haven” of Srebrenica in July 1995 in one of the most notorious events of the Balkan wars.
“This is an historic day for international justice,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “This arrest marks an important step in our collective fight against impunity as well as for the work of the ICTY.”
Speaking at an event in Paris, Mr. Ban commended the efforts of President Boris Tadic and of the Serbian Government in apprehending Mr. Mladic.
The Prosecutor of the ICTY, Serge Brammertz, also highlighted the significant impact of today’s arrest for international justice.
“Ratko Mladic’s arrest clearly signals that the commitment to international criminal justice is entrenched. Today’s events show that people responsible for grave violations of international humanitarian law can no longer count on impunity,” he said in a statement.
“With the news of the arrest, we think first and foremost of the victims of the crimes committed during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. These victims have endured unimaginable horrors – including the genocide in Srebrenica – and redress for their suffering is long overdue.
“Ratko Mladic’s arrest is also significant for all people in the former Yugoslavia. We believe that it can have a positive impact on reconciliation in the region,” Mr. Brammertz added.
The ICTY was tasked by the Security Council with trying those responsible for the worst war crimes and other breaches of international humanitarian law committed during the various conflicts in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
“The arrest of Mladic is a milestone in the Tribunal’s history and brings the institution closer to the successful completion of its mandate, with 160 out of 161 indicted persons having now been arrested,” the Tribunal stated in a news release.
With the arrest of Mr. Mladic, only one indictee – Goran Hadžic – now remains at large.
Source : ONU