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(E) BBC Profile: Ratko Mladic - NATO failed
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  08/16/2003 | History | Unrated
(E) BBC Profile: Ratko Mladic - NATO failed


BBC Profile Ratko Mladic


Mr Mladic was appointed commander of the 9th Corps of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) in Knin in the Republic of Croatia in 1991.

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Profile: Ratko Mladic

Mladic fled Belgrade after the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic

Ratko Mladic was Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic's army chief throughout the Bosnian war.
Along with Mr Karadzic he has come to symbolise the Serb campaign of ethnic cleansing of Croats and Muslims and is one of the most wanted suspects from the Bosnia conflict.

Srebrenica was Europe's worst atrocity since World War II

He has been indicted by the UN war crimes tribunal on charges of genocide and other crimes against humanity - including the massacre of thousands of Muslim men from the town of Srebrenica in 1995.

Having lived freely in Belgrade for some time, Mr Mladic left when former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was arrested.

Overall commander

Mr Mladic was appointed commander of the 9th Corps of the Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) in Knin in the Republic of Croatia in 1991.

He was promoted in May 1992 and assumed overall command of the Bosnian Serb army.

Mr Mladic is considered to have been one of the prime movers in the siege of Sarajevo and led the Serb onslaught against the UN-protected enclave of Srebrenica, the worst atrocity in Europe since World War II.

Bosnian Serb forces had laid siege to the Srebrenica enclave, where tens of thousands of civilians had taken refuge from earlier Serb offensives in north-eastern Bosnia.

Men and boys separated

The Serb forces bombarded Srebrenica with heavy shelling and rocket fire for five days before Mr Mladic entered the town accompanied by Serb camera crews.

The next day, buses arrived to take the women and children sheltering in Srebrenica to Muslim territory, while the Serbs separated out all men from age 12 to 77 for "interrogation for suspected war crimes".

The unarmed men were then murdered - in the five days after Bosnian Serb forces overran Srebrenica, at least 7,500 Muslim men and boys are thought to have been killed.

After the end of the Bosnian war, Mr Mladic returned to Belgrade, enjoying the open support and protection of Mr Milosevic.

In hiding

He lived openly in the city - visiting public places, eating in expensive restaurants and even attending football matches but left following Mr Milosevic's arrest.

He is believed to be in Republika Srpska - the autonomous Serb area of Bosnia - or to have taken refuge in the mountains of Montenegro.

NATO troops fail in bid to arrest Bosnia's top war crimes suspect Mladic
Wed Aug 13, 2:46 PM ET Add World - AFP to My Yahoo!

SARAJEVO (AFP) - NATO (news - web sites) troops launched an operation to arrest Ratko Mladic, one of the most wanted war crimes suspects in Bosnia, but failed to find him during a raid on his mother's house, carried out just a few hours after she died. The operation, the first known attempt to arrest the wartime Bosnian Serb army commander, took place in Kasindol, near Sarajevo at the home of Mladic's mother who passed away Tuesday, a statement by the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia said.

"This afternoon SFOR conducted an operation intended to detain Ratko Mladic who is under indictment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for war crimes," said the statement.

"This operation did not result in the detention of Ratko Mladic," SFOR said offering condolences to the family members who "cooperated fully" during the search.

The troops searched the home of the late Stana Mladic after receiving a tip-off, said SFOR spokesman Dale MacEachern.

"While SFOR regrets the timing of the operation, it is in the best interest of all citizens of Bosnia-Hercegovina that SFOR fulfils its mandate," said the SFOR statement, stressing that war crimes suspects at large present "a major threat to sustained peace...and the country's development."

Mladic, 60, and Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic -- who also remains at large -- have been sought by the UN war crimes tribunal since 1995 to stand trial on charges of genocide and war crimes committed by his troops during the Bosnian war.

According to the witnesses Italian SFOR troops backed by four helicopters entered Mladic's house at 1:00 pm (1100 GMT). Some 30 mourners, as well as the body of 84-year-old Stana Mladic, were in the house during the search.

SFOR helicopters started monitoring the house during the night, shortly after she died, the witnesses said.

"This is a shame! The enemy is not letting us bury her in peace," Mladic's brother-in-law, Radivoje Avram, said in front of the house as SFOR was conducting an hour-long search, according to witnesses.

"Do they really think that such a man would be hiding in a refrigerator, or under the manhole cover where SFOR soldiers have been looking for him?" said Avram, visibly upset like the rest of the mourners.

The Bosnian Serb general is considered the mastermind of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, Europe's worst atrocity since World War II, and for the three-and-a-half year siege of Sarajevo which claimed another 10,000 lives.

More than 7,000 Muslim men and boys are believed to have been summarily executed in July 1995 when Serb rebel forces overran the eastern enclave of Srebrenica even though it was under the protection of Dutch UN soldiers.

For the past several years, Mladic is believed to be living in neighbouring Serbia where war crimes prosecutors claim he is under the protection of the army.

But officials in Serbia have recently said that he left the republic a year ago after losing support from his protectors in the former Yugoslav army.

SFOR troops, deployed here since the end of the 1992-1995 war, are policing a ceasefire between Bosnian Serbs, Muslims and Croats but are also tasked with the arrest of war crimes suspects.

The force has so far arrested more than 20 Bosnian war crimes suspects although it has twice failed to arrest Karadzic in large-scale operations in February and March 2002.

Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic (news - web sites) is on trial at The Hague (news - web sites) on more than 60 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the 1990s wars in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo.

Meanwhile, Stana Mladic was laid to rest in Miljevici near Sarajevo in the presence of some 700 people. A wreath of flowers was laid on her grave with a message "From Ratko and family."

"Stana had a hard life, but she had something to be proud of," a family member said in a speach at the funeral.

"She was a great patriot and she had proved that by raising her son properly," he added.

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