Ratko Mladic, Serbian War Crimes Suspect, Arrested
Mladic is said to have led the massacre of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995, among other war crimes committed during the Yugoslav Wars.
The New York Times reported:
Serbian news reports said that Mr. Mladic, now 68, had been living under the name of Milorad Komadic and that he was captured in the small farming town of Lazarevo in Vojvodina, the Serbian province north of Belgrade, after authorities received a tip that the man known as Komadic resembled Mr. Mladic and had identification documents with that name. Witnesses said he was not wearing a beard or any disguise, but had aged considerably, appearing older and thinner than the stout, self-assured professional soldier last seen in public in 2006.
While close associates of Mr. Mladic had long said that he would sooner kill himself than face capture, Serbian media reported that he was alone at the time of his arrest and had two pistols that he made no attempt to use. The police said he was very cooperative.
According to the independent Serb broadcasting company B92, residents in Lazarevo said they were unaware that Mr. Mladic was living among them, but spotted police officers early Thursday morning at a house reportedly belonging to his relatives. Serbian analysts said Lazarevo had had a large population of Bosnian Serbs dating back to World War II , some of whom would have been sympathetic to Mr. Mladic or regarded him as a patriot. They said he had lived in the village for the past two months.
"Mladic was handcuffed and whisked away," said a Serbian police official, adding that the former general looked significantly older and haggard. "Hardly anyone could recognize him."
Mladic's arrest marks the removal of the last of the main figures from the Balkans wars. Now, Serbia has a seemingly clearer path to join the European Union, which the country has tried to join since 2009. Some, however, don't think this is the only obstacle they will have to face.
BBC News reported:
But assuming Serbia - like other before it - does eventually work its way through the mountain of paperwork, there is still another very big obstacle that looms over its membership hopes: Kosovo.
Serbia still does not acknowledge the former Serb region's independence.
But many EU members do.
It is a highly emotive issue among the Serb public, and not one on which even the country's liberal-minded President, Boris Tadic, is ready to breach faith with his voters over.
Indeed, President Tadic pre-emptively called on the international community to investigate allegations of human organ trafficking by the Kosovars in his announcement of General Mladic's arrest.
Mladic's hearing is scheduled to resume on Friday.