Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 17:09 PM EDT, 26 May 2011
On 26 May 2011, Serbian security forces arrested Ratko Mladić in Lazarevo, Serbia. He had eluded apprehension for 16 years despite a large monetary award for his capture.
Mladić was the former Chief of Staff of the Army of the Republika Srpska (the Bosnian Serb Army) during the 1992–1995 Bosnian War. In his capacity as Chief of Staff, he led both the Siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre. (Source: Wikipedia)
In 1995 after fleeing and subsequently going into hiding, Mladić was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY) off genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In October 2010, Serbia intensified the hunt and with the financial support of the United States increased the reward for Mladić’s capture from €5 million to 10 million euros. Thus, he became one of Europe’s most wanted fugitives. As a consequence of his ability to elude capture for over a decade the Serbia government asked Interpol to assistance them in the apprehension of Mladić. His capture was considered a precondition for Serbia to join the European Union.
The arrest has been widely hailed as a huge success for Serbia and its Westward-leaning president, Boris Tadic. Mr. Tadic declared that the arrest had “closed one chapter of our recent history that will bring us one step closer to full reconciliation in the region” and that Serbia had “wiped the stain” away.
Mladić’s most unconscionable act was the notorious Srebrenica massacre in which 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed by the Army of the Republika Srpska, VRS under his command. He is also charged with crimes related to the VRS’ siege of Sarajevo, which lasted more than 1,400 days and resulted in the deaths of around 10,000 civilians, with a further 56,000 wounded.