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Ratko Mladić Arrested!
May 26, 2011 5:35 AM   Subscribe

VOA reports arrest of Ratko Mladić Boris Tadić has confirmed the arrest of Ratko Mladić the commander who was the military commander of the massacre of Srebenica, the Siege of Sarajevo.
posted by Katjusa Roquette (42 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Let me just set aside my international lawyer hat. Ah ha ha, motherfucker, I hope you live to see your sentence set down at the ICC. That is all.
posted by jaduncan at 5:42 AM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Also, he used to be protected by the Serb intelligence agencies. It's interesting that they no longer want to and/or cashed in their chip.
posted by jaduncan at 5:43 AM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Whoooooooooooooo! Is it asshole hunting month or what?
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:45 AM on May 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm ashamed to admit that I did not know very much about the Bosnian war until recently. I've been reading more, inspired by you all (and Dee Xtrovert in particular). Part of me is glad that I learned about this bastard only recently, so I didn't have to wait long before seeing him brought to justice (if this is in fact him).
posted by Gorgik at 5:48 AM on May 26, 2011


Yeah, the EU made consideration of membership conditional on his arrest, so Serbia had to cash in. The story of his hiding/concealment will be a good book, I think. I wonder how subtle a process it is going from "stay in this safe house" to "don't leave this town and you won't get caught" to "we're going to arrest you next time we see you"?
posted by norm at 5:51 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Answering my own question, sort of. The NPR writeup says this:
When in the late 1990s his trail grew too hot in Bosnia, Mladic moved with family into a posh suburban villa in the Yugoslav capital, Belgrade.

In Belgrade, he was seen attending his son's wedding. He showed up at soccer games, dined in plush restaurants and frequented elite cafes, refusing to give interviews and smiling quizzically when he happened to be photographed.

When Milosevic was ousted from power in October 2000, and Yugoslavia's new pro-democracy authorities signaled they might hand Mladic over to the tribunal, tabloids had him leaving Belgrade for Bosnia.

But true to his style, Mladic countered those rumors and others that had him terminally ill in Belgrade. Before going underground in 2002, he was repeatedly seen in public — sometimes with his guards, sometimes without them.
Also, he kept goats and named them after foreign leaders he hated, like Madeline Albright.
posted by norm at 5:54 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gen Mladic had reportedly been using the assumed name Milorad Komodic.

Ratko Mladic: good at mass murder, crap at pseudonyms.
posted by Pallas Athena at 5:58 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Did they shoot him in the head and dump his body at sea?
posted by 3.2.3 at 6:16 AM on May 26, 2011


Did they shoot him in the head and dump his body at sea?

Not yet.
posted by autoclavicle at 6:21 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's all chant "Never Again!"

Oh, right, Rwanda. Well, let's all chant "Never Again In Europe!"

What, Bosnia? Where's that? Well, then, let's all chant "Never Again In Europe, to an ethno/religious minority!"

They were Muslims? In Europe, Muslims? European Muslims, really? Well, let's all chant "Never Again In Europe, to an ethno/religious minority, by a guy named Hitler!"

Er, just to be safe, let's make that "Never Again In Europe, to an ethno/religious minority, by an Austrian/German guy named Hitler!"

Alright, everyone together! Yes! Never Again!*

* Some restrictions apply. See details of your particular genocide.
posted by orthogonality at 6:26 AM on May 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Posh suburban housing is the new wilderness.
posted by strange chain at 6:27 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The face of evil. During his 16 years evading the law, Gen Ratko Mladic benefited, it seems, from help both at home and abroad. I don't suppose for a moment that we will see any of these aiders and abetters anywhere near a court of law. There is an extremely interesting backstory to come out here.
Ratko Mladic's legacy first published July 2005 by noted journalist Ed Vulliamy. (related)
posted by adamvasco at 6:32 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Let's hope the court manages to get a conviction before the guy croaks, unlike last time.
posted by eeeeeez at 6:34 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


But the anagram-as-pseudonym worked so well for Eichdolf Adman!
posted by Bromius at 7:01 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mass murderers hiding in plain sight. It's pretty revolting to think it requires chips to be cashed in. Among monsters, Mladic is a serious monster. Incredible that there needed to be a carrot on the stick as a requirement to join the EU for Serbia to give up Mladic.

Stitching up the Balkan feuding between the Chetniks and the Ustashi may well be as difficult as stitching together the Afghan factions.

Radovan Karadzic had a particularly insane cover.

A few tweets on the topic: Mladic taken alive, to stand trial in The Hague. OBL, on the other hand ... Compare and contrast?...Justice for the 8000 innocent souls he butchered in Srebrenica...Ratko Mladic, Europe's most wanted man arrested (not shot in head)...10 years for #OBL, 16 years for #Mladic...let's not wait so long for al-Bashir. Carrots and sticks as needed.

Mladic nicknamed himself "God".

Just hours before the [Srebrenica] massacre, Mladic handed out candy to Muslim children in the town's square, assuring them everything would be fine and patting one child on the head. Then the shootings began and the bodies of the victims were bulldozed into mass graves.
posted by nickyskye at 7:24 AM on May 26, 2011


Interesting information from the Guardian's live blog on the arrest:

- only this morning, the chief prosecutor in the Hague criticised Serbia for "failing to get serious about the Mladic case";
- quote from the EU foreign policy chief (after the arrest): "We expect Ratko Mladic to be transferred to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia without delay. Full co-operation with the ICTY remains essential on Serbia's path towards EU membership";
- Mladic had apparently been staying at a cousin's house;
- he had been under surveillance for the past few months.
posted by daveje at 7:27 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


he had been under surveillance for the past few months

Were they afraid that if they swooped in, he'd commit another genocide before they could slap the cuffs on him?
posted by Etrigan at 7:44 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Did they shoot him in the head and dump his body at sea?

Not yet.


Europe still holds to the quaint view that criminals should be prosecuted in a court of law, not summarily executed without trail, regardless how objectionable they be.
posted by bigZLiLk at 7:49 AM on May 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


> Were they afraid that if they swooped in, he'd commit another genocide before they could slap the cuffs on him?

Probably more like they wanted to see if they could discern his routines so they could attempt to take him in without incident.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:03 AM on May 26, 2011


This news was an awesome way to kick off my morning. I am really happy to see that bastard caught.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:22 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Probably more like they wanted to see if they could discern his routines so they could attempt to take him in without incident.

Plus, of course, the matter of who visits his is of fairly intense intelligence interest.
posted by jaduncan at 8:27 AM on May 26, 2011


Were they afraid that if they swooped in, he'd commit another genocide before they could slap the cuffs on him?

To be fair, there was likely every reason to believe that Mladic had loyal, potentially violent supporters nearby. Better to take the time to scope things out, see who else he meets with (potentially other people you'd want to arrest) and ensure you can handle things with a minimum of violence and spectacle rather than just jumping on the dude at first sight and screwing it all up.

(This of course presumes that Serb police/intel are working in good faith, which is a little dicey given the history here...)
posted by scaryblackdeath at 8:35 AM on May 26, 2011


The comments sections of that VOA page is pretty vile - lots of unapologetic supporters of Mladic and his actions. Interesting in a completely depressing way.
posted by echolalia67 at 8:44 AM on May 26, 2011


Let the word go forth from this time and place: if you are a genocidal war criminal, you won't get away with it for more than 16 years.
posted by nickyskye at 8:49 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I work with a Serb, who is still bitter about how NATO illegally occupied and warred on a nation that had never declared war on another nation etc. etc. etc.

This guy is a hero to him.

We don't talk about this a whole lot.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:24 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Countdown begins now for the Noam Chomsky article daydreaming about Bush being deported to the Hague for trial, and saying the entire Bosnian conflict is America's fault.Ui
posted by happyroach at 9:25 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Was the shooting of bin Laden unambiguously wrong? Do you know how to implement "Never Again" even if your heart's in the imperative?

Had bin Laden been captured, would he have been treated any differently from the prisoners in GITMO? Would he have been given a civilian, open trial? And if he were treated fairly, there'd have been such a backlash from public anger, the need for retribution and the need to feel strong.

Orthogonality, I'm not sure what exactly you're mocking with your discount of "Never Again". I agree with the bitter sentiment that we humans, even when faced with knowledge of unambiguous evil, have been unable or unwilling on some level to stop it. But I wonder if there's an undercurrent discounting the "Never again" sentiment... In the '90s, I went to a protest of the conditions in Bosnia, and an elderly couple of Holocaust victims was there protesting with us.

Look at the Libya war. Those who advocated for it early, Hillary Clinton and Samantha Powers, were strongly influenced by regret over the Clinton administration's inaction in Rawanda and Bosnia. Yet the humanitarian considerations are also mixed in with oil interests and frustrations over Gadhafi's unpredictability, which don't bear directly on genocide. Did we prevent a genocide or just a military routing? Are we prolonging a quagmire war?
posted by Schmucko at 9:31 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let the word go forth from this time and place: if you are a genocidal war criminal, you won't get away with it for more than 16 years.

It's something. It's not as fast as it should be, but that will change, especially as the ICC becomes normal and better-respected. Maybe next time it'll be 12 years. Maybe 10.

More importantly, it's one more place that you can't hide. Want to be a member of international organizations? You can't hide war criminals.
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:16 AM on May 26, 2011


: Is it asshole hunting month or what?

Bernard Munyagishari arrested for genocide in Rwanda.

Let the word go forth from this time and place: if you are a genocidal war criminal, you won't get away with it for more than 16 17 years.

:-/
posted by zennie at 10:27 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The comments sections of that VOA page is pretty vile - lots of unapologetic supporters of Mladic and his actions. Interesting in a completely depressing way.

Sweet Jesus, you aren't kidding there.
There was no war crimes in Srebrenica. The only victims were the Serbs, whose bodies were the only ones ever confirmed found in Srebrenica, furthermore there are only no Serbs left there, which is the real genocide COMMITTED AGAINST THE SERBS, continually endorsed by the manipulative (international) community! The only crime committed in Bosnia is against the truth in which the Serbs are the only victims cleansed from their ancestral lands. NO truth and justice to be found in Hague Tribunal. -- "Slobodan Petrovich"
posted by norm at 10:58 AM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


especially as the ICC becomes normal and better-respected

Although similar in many ways, including having its seat at the Hague, the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia is not the ICC. It was established by fiat of the Security Council. The ICC is a treaty body.

Europe still holds to the quaint view that criminals should be prosecuted in a court of law, not summarily executed without trail, regardless how objectionable they be.

It would have been an interesting alternative path had the US sought to declare 9/11 a war crime and request UN establishment of a tribunal for same.
posted by dhartung at 11:39 AM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it's both more telling and more important that the Serbs gave him up, not that he was 'captured'.

It's one thing to die a fugitive martyr. It's another thing altogether to lose one's mythological influence and one day find yourself thrown out with the trash. That's a better way, I think, for justice - let the perpetrators know that they have lost their veneer, make them face their own decline. In some ways, that's more cruel than just killing them.
posted by Xoebe at 12:32 PM on May 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


happyroach: "Countdown begins now for the Noam Chomsky article daydreaming about Bush being deported to the Hague for trial, and saying the entire Bosnian conflict is America's fault."

Well, if you substitute Clinton for Bush, and Kosovo for Bosnia, he did more or less that in 2006:
"But almost the entire indictment was for after the bombing. How are those charges going to stand up unless you put Bill Clinton and Tony Blair on the dock alongside?"
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:50 PM on May 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are the acute and caron diacritical marks both used to denote the "ch" versus the "s" sound? Or do they denote two different pronunciations?
posted by jph at 4:30 PM on May 26, 2011


"Er, just to be safe, let's make that 'Never Again In Europe, to an ethno/religious minority, by an Austrian/German guy named Hitler!'"

I think the U.N. response to Lybia took the 'never again' thing to heart. It caught a lot of flack. But you can't prove that things were going to go that way - whether they were or not - so how do you look like you didn't over respond? Particularly if you're successful. No one will ever know.
Which is something I'm perfectly willing to accept. But a lot of
people seem to want to be heroes. That
and things don't seem to really get rolling until you go after the women.
(Got to me too though. There is some music I simply can't listen to anymore)

"Europe still holds to the quaint view that criminals should be prosecuted in a court of law, not summarily executed without trail, regardless how objectionable they be."

Really? Please, do go on.

Tactically, it may be that it's easier - and feel free to check me on this - for the authorities of a nation to capture someone when he's going to soccer matches in their own country rather than holed up in a stronghold in and obscured by internal resistance from, an 'ally' country and vowing never to be captured alive.

Dave Scheffer put $5 million on his head 10 years ago, Serge Brammertz and Dusan Ignjatovic have been in earnest in looking for the guy - granted that there are people
who think he was a hero (makes me think of the Bruto quote:"...for you send as guardians of your flocks, not dogs or shepherds, but wolves." - but this really was just a matter of time.

But indeed, this is what counterterrorism is mostly. Even with the U.S., despite certain parties (and partys) that might feel it should be otherwise. It's a policing operation.

However you do require the occasional military extrication if someone has enough beef and mobility and political clout to raise the stakes that high. Most people, not having hundreds of millions of dollars at their personal disposal, bit easier to catch.
I deeply respect GSG9, but I doubt they could have captured OBL given the same circumstances. This is not to say I doubt their capacity for the mission (and indeed, the two red army links above regarding people who have been shot by them belies how fantastically trained they are). But I don't think anyone could have nabbed him alive within the parameters of the mission.
Well, Hollywood maybe.

Still, fucker's in jail.
Rarely is my opposition to capital punishment so sorely tested.
Rarely is my desire to hop on a plane, go capture someone, pound the shit out of them until my knuckles are sticking through my skin so I switch to a bat, so hard to resist.
But the true enemy is not the man but the act. We allow ourselves to act that way, we become part of the problem. Because as good as our intentions are, and my intentions are very very good indeed, what we're fighting is not the man who we have in custody, he's neutralized, but the spirit of the pogrom which lurks even in our own hearts.

Best way to destroy this man is to make irrelevant everything he did and the way he did it so it really does never happen again.
But it's not a simple task, you can't spill even your own blood to ensure that will happen.
You have to promote human rights in everything you do. And that does indeed mean giving him a fair trial.

...oh, you don't have to like it. But that's another very efficient way of fighting the enemy and ensuring that it won't rise again.


"Ratko Mladic: good at mass murder, crap at pseudonyms."


Landlady: Oh I'm sorry I didn't introduce you. This is Ron...Ron Vibbentrop.
Johnson: Oh, not Von Ribbentrop, eh?
Von Ribbentrop: (leaping two feet in the air, then realizing) Nein! Nein! Nein! Oh!! Ha, ha, ha. No, no, that is some other chap.

Landlady: And this is the quiet one, Mr Bimmler - Heimlich Bimmler.
Himmler: How do you do there squire, also I am not Minehead lad but I in Peterborough, Lincolnshire was given birth to, but stay in Peterborough Lincolnshire house all during war, owing to nasty running sores, and was unable to go in the streets play football or go to Nürnberg. I am retired vindow cleaner and pacifist, without doing war crimes (hurriedly corrects himself) tch tch tch, and am glad England win World Cup - Bobby Charlton, Martin Peters - and eating lots of chips and fish and hole in the toads, and Dundee cakes on Piccadilly line. Don't you know old chap I was head of Gestapo for ten years. Five years! No, no, nein, I was not head of Gestapo at all...I make joke.

Whoooooooooooooo! Is it asshole hunting month or what?
We're only here to chew bubblegum and hunt assholes.

...and we're all out of bubblegum.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:39 PM on May 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Every time we bring a genocidal rabble-rouser to court, it becomes a little less attractive to make yourself a murderous dictator. Chalk one up for the good guys, and for the future of humankind.
posted by Triplanetary at 11:04 PM on May 26, 2011


Man I hope they get Joseph Kony too; it'd be like Christmas in May.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:51 AM on May 27, 2011


Although similar in many ways, including having its seat at the Hague, the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia is not the ICC. It was established by fiat of the Security Council. The ICC is a treaty body.

Bah. Yes. I knew that. I'm just too stupid to remember it, it would seem. Thanks dhartung!

I think that the fundamental point stands, especially since some of the impetus behind the ICC came from the ICTY, but now I'm just trying to justify my mistake.
posted by Lemurrhea at 4:16 AM on May 27, 2011


@jph, ć is like the 'ts' sound at the end of the word 'cats' and č is more like 'ch' as in 'chuck'

@ everyone, my local paper published a good likeness of Mladić.

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_SERBIA_MLADIC?SITE=WAYAK&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

I remain concerned that Mladić might not live long enough to complete the trial process. He apparently has had several strokes and a heart attack. To much rakija, too much rich food.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 4:54 AM on May 27, 2011


> ć is like the 'ts' sound at the end of the word 'cats' and č is more like 'ch' as in 'chuck'

That's incorrect. The 'ts' sound is spelled 'c'. To a Westerner's ears both ć and č sound exactly like the 'ch' in 'chuck'. To a native speaker the ć is softer, and yes, they are certainly two different sounds.
posted by Dragonness at 7:48 AM on May 27, 2011


I'm just going by the Serbian dictionary I boughtbin Sarajevo and Celia Hawksworth's book on the language.
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:34 AM on May 27, 2011


Smedleyman, the difference is that those actions resulted in lengthy investigations by independent courts to determine their legality. The US, OTOH, perceives itself as being above the law.
posted by bigZLiLk at 11:21 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


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