Former Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic has been arrested following 16 years on the run.
After Radovan Karadzic was arrested in 2008, General Mladic became the most prominent Bosnian war crimes suspect at large.
Killing Of About 7,500 Bosnian Muslims At Srebenica In 1995
He faces accusations including a genocide charge over the killing of about 7,500 Bosnian Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica in 1995.
Serbia had been under intense international pressure to arrest him and send him to the UN International Criminal Tribunal to the former Yugoslavia in The Hague.
The hearing was halted pending a medical examination, his lawyers said. Court officials believe he will appeal. The whole process is expected to take a week.
His lawyer, Milos Saljic, told reporters the judge had attempted to question General Mladic but the suspect was in a “difficult psychological and physical condition”, and was unable to communicate.
From The Guardian:
On 13 July 1995, in one of the last acts of the 42-month Bosnia war, General Ratko Mladic’s Bosnian Serb force, which for two years had besieged the enclave of 40,000 Muslims, attacked.
The UN’s war crimes tribunal for former Yugoslavia and the international court of justice have both established as a juridical fact that the massacre was an act of genocide, the gravest crime there is – and the hardest to prove.
In a landmark 2004 ruling, Theodor Meron, the American judge who presided over the tribunal in The Hague, said: “By seeking to eliminate a part of the Bosnian Muslims, the Bosnian Serb forces committed genocide. They targeted for extinction the 40,000 Bosnian Muslims living in Srebrenica …They stripped all the male Muslim prisoners, military and civilian, elderly and young, of their personal belongings and identification, and deliberately and methodically killed them solely on the basis of their identity.”
President Boris Tadic said Gen Mladic’s arrest on Thursday had brought Serbia and the region closer to reconciliation, and opened the doors to European Union membership.
A Second Genocide Suspect Arrested On May 26
Bernard Munyagishari, a Rwandan genocide suspect on the run for 17 years has been arrested in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. He is accused of being a militia leader who masterminded the killing of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in Gisenyi in 1994.
He was caught in an operation mounted by the Congolese army in collaboration with a tracking team from the UN court trying genocide suspects.
Some 800,000 Ethnic Tutsis And Moderate Hutus Murdered
Some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus died in the 100-day genocide.
Nine other Rwandans accused of being key perpetrators of the genocide are still at large.
The BBC’s East Africa correspondent Will Ross says Mr Munyagishari, once a teacher and football referee, was apprehended in North Kivu in eastern DR Congo – where many who took part in the 1994 genocide have been hiding and causing misery for the Congolese population.
Mr Munyagishari faces charges of genocide, murder and rape and is expected to be handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), the court based in Tanzania set up to try the ringleaders of the genocide.
According to the indictment, he was the leader of the Interahamwe Hutu militia in Gisenyi in the west of the country.
An End To Impunity
This is a huge day for human rights. Let’s get rid of impunity once and for all, and let all leaders know that they will be held accountable for their actions.
As stated in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, adopted on 17 July 1998 and entered into force on 1 July 2002, a chief goal is “to put an end to impunity for the perpetrators” [...] “of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole”.
May these arrests bring some peace to the families of the victims of these atrocities.
Photo Credit: Whiternoise via Creative Commons