INTERPOL lauds Serbian arrest of fugitive Balkans war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic
LYON, France – The arrest earlier today by Serbian police of Ratko Mladic, wanted by a United Nations war crimes tribunal on charges of genocide and who was the subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice for internationally wanted persons, has been praised by the world police body as advancing the cause of international justice.
Mladic, the fugitive former Bosnian Serb Commander who had been on the run for 16 years, faces a number of charges brought by the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for crimes against humanity, including murder, inhumane acts, extermination and other crimes committed during the 1992-1995 Balkans war.
“The Serbian authorities are to be strongly commended for arresting Ratko Mladic, one of the most wanted fugitives from international justice,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble of Europe’s most wanted war crimes suspect.
“The arrest by Serbian police of Ratko Mladic, an alleged architect of human carnage and mass murder, is a triumph for international justice. The arrest of Mladic also reflects the determination of the Serbian police never to give up their hunt for all those wanted in connection with war crimes perpetrated in the Balkans,” added Mr Noble.
In January of this year, Secretary General Noble met with Serbia’s President Boris Tadic and First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Ivica Dacic to identify ways in which INTERPOL and Serbia could cooperate more closely to bring war criminals to justice. During that meeting, President Tadic made clear that if Mladic were on Serbian soil, then Serbia’s police would locate, arrest and bring him to justice.
“President Tadic’s belief in the Serbian people and police as expressed that day left me convinced that INTERPOL and the entire international community could have confidence in his words. After today’s arrest, no one should doubt Serbia’s commitment to the rule of law and justice,” said Mr. Noble.
INTERPOL has made hunting war criminals a priority and in that regard has been working closely with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and its Chief Prosecutor, Serge Brammertz.
“We will continue to work with the ICTY’s Chief Prosecutor Brammertz and the Serbian INTERPOL National Central Bureau to ensure that the remaining fugitive, Goran Hadzic, still wanted by the ICTY and also subject of an INTERPOL Red Notice, is captured wherever in the world he might be, and delivered to the tribunal in The Hague,” added Mr Noble.
INTERPOL's Fugitive Investigative Support (FIS) unit at its General Secretariat headquarters in Lyon has been liaising closely with its network of specialist investigators, National Central Bureaus – particularly in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina – and the ICTY in the exchange and coordination of information as well as leads concerning the possible location of Mladic and other fugitives wanted for war crimes.
The charges against Mladic, aged 69, include genocide for the murder of nearly 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in Srebenica in 1995. The indictment also charges Mladic with responsibility for the shelling of Sarajevo which resulted in thousands of men, women and children being killed and wounded.
Serbian authorities have announced they have opened proceedings to transfer Ratko Mladic to the ICTY in The Hague.