Career soldier Mladic became known as the “butcher of Bosnia”
Bosnian Serb wartime general Ratko Mladic was arrested in Serbia Thursday after years on the run from international genocide charges, opening the way for the once-pariah state to approach the European mainstream.
Ratko Mladic, accused of orchestrating the massacre of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the town of Srebrenica and a brutal 43-month siege of Sarajevo during Bosnia’s 1992-5 war, was found in a farmhouse owned by a cousin, in the village of Lazarevo, near the northeastern town of Zrenjanin around 100 km (60 miles) from the capital Belgrade in the early hours a police official said.
General Ratko Mladic’s forces led the assault on Sarajevo and the “ethnic cleansing” atrocities committed against Muslims and is accused of orchestrating the methodical slaughter of up to 8,000 Muslims from the Bosnian “safe area” of Srebrenica. The region’s history is marked by conflict among its inhabitants, and after the death of communist leader Tito who held the various ethnic groups together with his party apparatus, the nation known as Yugoslavia gradually eroded into hostilities.
Ratko Mladic led the armed forces of the Bosnian Serbs during the Balkan wars of the early 1990s. Accused of ordering Europe’s worst massacre since World War II, he was the most wanted fugitive for the atrocities in the conflict.
Within Serbia, his military prowess, the undeniable suffering and the imponderable scale of the crimes he is accused of have made him as much a national myth as a man. His notoriety around the globe and his support within the Serbian dominated regions within the former Yugoslavia were only increased by the arrest of the Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic in July 2008.
Mr. Mladic spent over 15 years on the run. During that time, his arrest became an important stumbling block to Serbia’s moving forward with its bid to become a member of the European Union.
The dead were bulldozed into mass graves over four days.
It was the horrific culmination of a 3-1/2-year conflict in which the beefy general pounded the besieged city of Sarajevo daily with the artillery, tanks, mortars and heavy machineguns of his Bosnian Serb army, killing 10,000.