The arrest of alleged war criminal Ratko Mladić is a major step towards justice, Amnesty International said today as the Bosnian Serb former general awaits transferral to The Hague to face trial on genocide charges.
Ratko Mladić was indicted by International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in 1995 including his alleged role in the killing of around 8,000 men and boys in Srebrenica.
He is also accused of responsibility for the shelling and sniping of Sarajevo by Bosnian Serb forces, which resulted in the death and injury of thousands of civilians.
Charges against the former Bosnian Serb general also include complicity in genocide, persecutions, extermination and murder, deportation and inhumane acts, unlawfully inflicting terror upon civilians, murder, cruel treatment, attacks on civilians and the taking of hostages.
Mladic was arrested in Vojvodina, a northern province of Serbia in the early hours of Thursday morning.
“The arrest of Ratko Mladic represents a significant step forward in bringing justice to the victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Serbian authorities must now ensure the arrest of Goran Hadzić, who is the only remaining suspect charged by the Tribunal still at large”, said Sian Jones, Amnesty International’s Serbia researcher.
Former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzić is charged with crimes against humanity and war crimes in eastern Slavonia, Croatia. He is believed to be at large in either Serbia or Bosnia and Herzegovina.
“With the Tribunal nearing completion of its cases, domestic courts in the region must also remember their responsibility to prosecute war crimes suspects,” she added.
“These authorities must do much more to ensure that all victims of the horrific crimes committed by all sides to the conflict have access to justice.”
Serbia’s progress in the investigation and domestic prosecution of war crimes continues to suffer from a lack of political backing and adequate funding for the Special War Crimes Chamber at the Belgrade District Court (WCC) and the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor (OWCP).
“As the Tribunal prepares to complete its work, the United Nations Security Council must also ensure that it has the time and resources to conduct the trial of Ratko Mladić in accordance with the highest standards of international justice,” Sian Jones added.