Ratko Mladic Finally Caught After 16 Years on the Run

When I was a Balkans analyst at EUCOM, this turd was one of the bad guys we searched for.

After 16 years on the run, a frail and haggard Ratko Mladic was hauled before a judge Thursday — the first step in facing charges for international war crimes, including the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in 1995.

No longer the fearsome, bull-necked military commander, Mladic was arrested by intelligence agents in a raid before dawn at a relative’s house in a village in northern Serbia. The act was trumpeted by the government as a victory for a country worthy of European Union membership and Western embrace.

Mladic, 69, was one of the world’s most-wanted fugitives. He was the top commander of the Bosnian Serb army during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war, which killed more than 100,000 people and drove another 1.8 million from their homes. Thousands of Muslims and Croats were killed, tortured or driven out in a campaign to purge the region of non-Serbs.

He was accused by the U.N. International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes for the massacre of Muslims by Bosnian Serb forces in eastern Bosnia and the relentless four-year siege of Sarajevo.

We went into Bosnia in 1995 under Operation Joint Endeavour, as part of a NATO contingency (IFOR) to stop the “ethnic cleansing” by the Serbs on the Bosniaks. I was there in 1999 as part of SFOR.

Since our entry into Bosnia (Kosovo, in particular) as part of Clinton’s wag-the-dog tactic, the reactions of three major groups have been sharply divided. The Bosniaks loved us, the Croatians were ambivalent but cautious, and the Serbians just outright hated our guts.

There are no good guys there. The Croations, Serbs, and Bosniaks have slaughtered each other for centuries. Each “ethnic group” has taken their turn at being the massacrer. The only reason they took a 50-year break from that was because Marshall Josip Broz Tito, though not a good friend of the Soviets, was still a strong enough dictator to keep a lid on the insurrection pressure cooker. After his death the ethnic tension grew, the Berlin Wall fell, and Yugoslavia went batshit crazy. The irony is, in spite of their different religious denominations, they’re all Slavic. Every god-damned one of them.

Mladic’s partner in crime, former Serbian President Radovan Karadžić, was arrested in Belgrade and extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, in The Hague in July 2008.

Upon hearing of Mladic’s capture, Karadzic expressed his regret for Mladic’s loss of freedom.  No mention of any sadness over the atrocities at Srebrenica.

Karadzic’s trial has lasted nearly three years.  You’d think with all the indisputable evidence, he’d have been convicted and sentenced by now. 

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