The event that occurred in Serbia on May 26th 2011 will entail dire consequences for Serbs, the Balkans, Europe and the world at large. General Ratko Mladic was arrested on that day. Notably, it was Croatian, rather than Serbian news media that were the first to report the news.
Later that day, May 26th, an inquisitor attempted to investigate the General, but had to suspend his effort due to Mladic’s poor health condition. The Mladic family lawyer, Milos Salic, points out that Ratko Mladic has suffered three strokes and two heart attacks, his right armed is paralyzed, and his kidneys are failing, according to some reports. His family demands that a medical commission be set up (of doctors from Russia only!), and that Mladic be admitted to the Military Medical Academy.
But hearings nonetheless resumed in the daytime on May 27th. Prior to that, 5 doctors of the Belgrade district prison examined Mladic and decided that he could take part in legal proceedings. The war crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic said cynically that the main thing is that Mladic understands what is going on.
Serbs were shocked by the arrest of Ratko Mladic. The very same day, May 26th, Belgrade saw spontaneous protests by very young people who did not fight in the 1990s. Larger-scale protests erupted in Republika Srpska, and its capital, Banja Luka. The demonstrators set up a poster reading: “The wing is broken, but we remember the military flight”. Protests also swept other cities of Republika Srpska in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Throughout the night, from May 26th to the early hours of May 27th, Serbian television, mostly the B92 pro-western channel, broadcast reports about Mladic. There is more to the broadcasts than just jubilation about “Serbia’s throwing off the yoke”. Reporters are accusing Russia and urging Serbs to get rid of the “historically wrong Russophile delusions”…
The Balkans mass-media, increasingly hysterical over the arrest of General Mladic, have caused the attacks on Serbia and Russia to merge. Moscow should be ready for asituation when the western propaganda machine links «Mladic’s crimes»(«genocide») to «crimes by Serbs»to «Russia’s complicity», irrespective of whether Russia did or did not help harbour Ratko Mladic. The global propaganda machine is making use of Mladic’s arrest to set up a platform for subsequent anti-Russian moves…
The Hague Tribunal Chief Prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, has already come up with a scenario for the trial. Frist, Ratko Mladic should be brought to the Tribunal and appear before the judge no later than 48 hours after his arrival. Secondly, the prosecutor seeks the joinder of this case with the Karadzhic case, so “the two could be tried together”. Legal aspects, human rights and elementary logic are all thrown away as useless. Brammertz suggests consolidating the two cases despite the fact that Karadzhic has been tried for three years now, and will have to wait for the start of Mladic’s trial for at least several months.
The amended indictment charges General Ratko Mladic with 11 counts of genocide (in Srebrenica and eight other Bosnian communities), crimes against humanity, crimes against non-Serbs, and violations of the laws and customs of war committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina from 1992 to 1995. The prosecution considers that Karadzic and Mladic were part of a joint criminal enterprise with the aim to permanently remove Bosnian Muslims and Croats from the part of the country that Bosnian Serbs claimed for themselves. The three trials of Serbia’s prominent political leaders, Karadzhic, Seselj and Maldic, will thus definitively establish the fundamentally illegal doctrine of a “joint criminal enterprise”, running counter to the legal rules insisting on the principle of individual responsibility.
Nor does Mladic stand a chance of fair examination of his case, – something Russia is pressing for, since The Hague Tribunal takes different stands on Serbs and non-Serbs. Now that Ratko Mladic has been arrested, the Tribunal will be around for a longer period of time. Actually, the Tribunal is only just entering the main stage of its performance.
The effort to suppress any manifestation of discontent with Mladic’s arrest and the way he is being treated is gaining momentum in Serbia. Dozens of protesters were arrested in Belgrade in the first 24 hours following the General’s arrest. Notably, the Serbian Parliament suddenly suspended work on May 26th to adjourn until June 7th…
The Deputy Head of the Dutch Parliament Committee on European Affairs, Harry van Bommel, said that Mladic’s arrest is not enough for granting Serbia the EU candidacystatus. According to him, “we are waiting for the last fugitive, Goran Hadzic. The problem of Kosovo should be also settled, just as the Justice System reform should be carried through”.
Of all the Serbian parties, it was only the Serbian Radical Party that has strongly condemned the arrest of Ratko Mladic. The Head of the party parliamentary faction, Dragan Todorovic, said that the arrest of Ratko Mladic is, perhaps, Serbia’s most heart-rending experience. According to Todorovic, the trial of Mladic, will threaten the existence of Republika Srpska, since the Tribunal will now try to prove that the republic is a “genocidal entity”.
The arrest of Ratko Mladic ushers in another stage of the offensive against the Serbian people, against its vitally important interests, above all, the existence of Republika Srpska. The West will demand that Serbia should recognize the independence of Kosovo. Geopolitically, this may trigger another stage of the Balkans’ re-division. The current situation urges that one should keep a close eye on what is going on around Ratko Mladic.