Mladic, the last link

General Sir Michael Rose and General Ratko Mladic

The « Greater Serbia » was a painful concept. A gigantic puzzle whose pieces could not be assembled without tears. Now undoing the puzzle would be more complicated. While the trial of Radovan Karadzic is stumbling, particulary on matters of procedure, where does Ratko Mladic, the butcher of Srebrenica, hide himself?

Vladimir Vukcevic, the serbian prosecutor, swore him a new year in the shade of a jail. Yes, because it’s highly probable that it’s in the daylight, the former general in the army of Bosnian Serbs spends most of his time. Half-hidden, enjoying the complicity of some, and the complacent indifference of others. Radovan Karadzic, for his part, had successfully completed his two courses in butchery and dowser : from 1996 to 2008, under appearance of a healer guru, he had  probably been the least wanted fugitive ever seen. His arrest two years ago  caused a stir.

Mladic is the missing link. If he’s not under lock and key at the Hague, despite all the gesticulations of Belgrade, and pressures of the international community, (the capture of the war criminal is a sine qua none condition for Serbia to integrate the EU), proves that he has strong supports within the population, but also among some officials. One year ago, the bosnian television showed pictures of Mladic smiling at his wife’s arm at a family ceremony. The broadcast also replied on Mladic’s bodygard testimony, according to which the most wanted man in the Balkans could wander freely in Belgrade.

According to a recent poll, nearly 40% of Serbs still regard Ratko Mladic as a national hero. It’s enough to slip through the fingers of justice. Is Serbia really ready to exorcise her old demons? That’s the real question. Arguably much more important for the European Union than the  arrest of Mladic, strictly speaking … (photo : Bogomir Doringer, CC)

 

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