Thursday, May 26, 2011

Bosnian War Crimes Suspect Mladic Arrested

Updated at 3:30 p.m. edt

The arrest today of Gen. Ratko Mladic prompted Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to warn accused war criminals that they will be hunted down no matter how long it takes.

"Mladic's arrest serves as a statement to those around the world who would break the law and target innocent civilians: international justice works. If you commit a crime, you will not escape judgment, you will not go free," Clinton said in a statement.

Mladic's was captured a decade and half after allegedly allowing the mass killing of about 6,000 Bosnian Muslim males. 

Clinton was the sitting First Lady when the genocide occurred and Mladic and other fugitive Bosnian Serbs later went into hiding. Her husband, then- President Bill Clinton rallied NATO into an air campaign that brought a halt to the Serbs ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims. 

"Today, as we thank Serbia for bringing a criminal to justice, we also send our deepest sympathies and extend our thoughts and prayers to all those who have suffered from the notorious acts charged to Mladic, particularly the genocide at Srebrenica in 1995," Clinton said.

"You have waited far too long for this day," she added.

Clinton also signaled the United States' desire that Mladic be handed over quickly to the special court at The Hague.

"We commend President Tadic, the government of Serbia, its security services and all those who have labored for years to bring Mladic to justice. We look forward to his earliest possible extradition to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague so that justice may be served," Clinton said.

end update

Just as the U.S. and NATO are trying to send a message to despots in places like Tripoli and Damascus, an alleged war criminal accused of committing acts of genocide and mass murder in Bosnia and Herzogovina gets apprehended by authorities.

Gen. Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb military commander blamed in the 1995 slaughter of nearly 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica, is under arrest today in Serbia on charges of crimes against humanity, the Serbian government announced.

Mladic picked up at a so-far undisclosed location in Serbia. Click here for the Interpol's most-wanted notice for Mladic, accused of extermination and hooliganism.

President Obama wants Mladic handed over to the special war crimes tribunal on the former Yugoslavia, a spokesman said a short while ago. The timely news of the arrest was welcomed by White House officials, especially those traveling with the President in Europe.

The systematic killings in Srebrenica, the worst act of genocide in Europe since World War II, prompted President Bill Clinton at the time to organize support for a successful bombing campaign that forced Belgrade to capitulate. 

Under what was called a policy of ethnic cleansing, Mladic led a military and militia accused of rounding up men and boys, sometimes promising their loved ones that it was just for questioning. Many of the Bosnian Muslim males never returned and some were discovered in mass graves.

Srebrenica is a Muslim enclave in the former Yugoslavia and is a centuries-old remnant and tribute to the once far-reach of the Turks' Ottoman Empire.

Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb political leader accused of having a role in the Srebrenica massacre, was arrested three year's ago and is currently on trial at The Hague.

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