The arrest of war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladić comes at an extremely crucial moment for Serbia. At a time when Croatia is apparently on the verge of having been given a fixed date for EU entry, when Chief Prosecutor at the Hague Tribunal Serge Brammertz said that Serbia has not done nearly enough to catch the two main remaining war criminals (Mladić and Goran Hadžić), at the time when the EU is considering reintroducing visas for some Balkan countries including, apparently, Serbia, it would seem that Belgrade had no choice but to take the issue of general Ratko Mladić off the table.
Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić. Both captured
Now, there’s always the possibility of pieces just falling into place. After all the United States found Osama Bin Laden after ten years not far (relatively speaking) from where he was in the first place. But this being Balkans and all, you’ll forgive me if I remain my cynical self.
Ratko Mladić was hiding under an alias Milorad Komadić in a village called Lazarevo. According to tweets by @Belgrade (editor of belgraded.com) Mladić was “found” in a village mostly inhabited by people from Mladić region of birth (a Serbian village South-East of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina) and was brazen enough to use only a modification of his real name as an alias: Milorad Komadić. You either need balls of steel or (at the very least) tacit goverment support to do something like that.
You’ll remember that basically the same thing happened with Radovan Karadžić, who (using the assumed name of Dragan Dabić) lived in Belgrade practically under everyone’s noses. Point being that both Karadžić and Mladić were trump cards Serbian government used whenever it found itself cornered by the EU. While there’s still the capture of Goran Hadžić to attend to, the EU and (most likely) the United States will quite possibly grant certain concession to Serbia on a quid-pro-quo basis.
And this is basically it. What we saw today was – in my opinion – a closure of a deal where Serbian government bargained hard and most likely got what it wanted. EU
foreign minister high representative for foreign affairs Catherine Ashton would not be in Belgrade today had there not been some sort of an agreement made. Although people tend to look down on her it is possible (and I’m only speculating here) that she had two envelopes with her: one if Serbia played ball, the other if it didn’t.
And just to put conspiracy theories to rest: The fact that European Parliament reporter for Serbia, Slovene MEP Jelko Kacin said only earlier today that Serbia will not be granted candidate status without Mladić arrest in all likelyhood is a coincidence 🙂
Anyways, Ratko Mladić is apparently on his way to The Hague where he will once again be united with Radovan Karadžić. The Duo Horribilis will stand trial for war crimes just in time for the ICTY to complete its charter. Hopefully, they will not follow their political mentor Slobodan Milošević and take their own lives, but will be tried and convicted for their crimes so that hundreds of thousands of people upon whom they brought untold horror and suffering may finally find some sort of inner peace.
May whatever god they might believe in have mercy on their souls. They will find little forgiveness on this Earth.