Mladić ante haagus?

Eh, maybe. The arrest of Ante Gotovina means that Serbia now has a monopoly on the fugitive racket, not a very enviable position. The special prosecutor for war crimes made an enigmatic announcement, suggesting that he might know something but was not about to do anything. The interior minister made a petulant remark, blaming the preceding government for not having made the arrest (but implying, correspondingly, that his government might). A former police official made a dramatic claim, suggesting that negotiations were under way (but he is not in a position to know). And so today Danas editorializes that public opinion is being prepared for an arrest and extradition. Since we have all been here before, we can only wait and see.

Update: New reasons for not doing their job are blooming like a thousand flowers. Interior minister Dragan Jočić says that it is difficult to find people charged with genocide, because "they are experienced warriors, people who spent the war under difficult conditions and survived." Indeed, it must have been terribly difficult to wage war against unarmed civilians, but this hardly makes for warrior experience. Not that Jočić would have a basis for comparison. Manwhile, Kurir is raising the alarm (by way of Index.hr) that Mladić may prefer committing suicide to surrender. But since Mladić is not a civilian, we doubt that Mladić will kill him.


Yakima_Gulag said...

Well I'll believe it when I see Mladic and Karadzic in court. As far as not being able to find people, well, everyoen has to have their location registered with the police, this is the case in all the region. An alias ought to be easy to penetrate there. Mladic didn't do 'intelligence work' so he would not have training in how to live underground unless liveing underground means in one of those old Tito era bunkers.

today's Secret Klingon word: vrrzoeol, a slinky dress made from metal mesh

blahblahblah said...

I hate these guys as much as the next person, but to say that they only fought unarmed civilians is utter rubbish, making it sound like the SDS side was the only bad side (and not HDZ and SDA as well). Mirsad Tokača breaks it all down nicely, if only I could find the link....
As far as these izjave go, trying to read their meaning is like tring to predict the future with tea leaves or bird intestines. Who can tell what the hell is going on, better just to ignore the whole thing and avoid the stress and headaches. Thinking about it just brings back all the crap from the 90s...

Eric Gordy said...

Here's the link for Tokaca:


As for following the izjave, yeah. I've developed a strategy that I'm hoping to be able to test: the moment that Rasim Ljajic stops denying that anything is happening, this means that something very major will happen the next day.

Eric Gordy said...

Ah yes .. for the figures from Tokaca, click "Stanje baze po centrima" on the left.

Steve Albert said...

We have been here far too many times.

At this point, it is the Serbian Government that is playing a game of wait and see. Over the years ,the international community has played along, allowing words to become a substitute for action.

Serbia may well be the last refuge of scoundrels. Its government and people may feel increasingly isolated as Croatia moves toward membership of the EU. However , handing over Mladic will always be a risky business. The temptation is there to wait things out and hope that the world will feel less urgent about seeing Karadzic and Mladic brought to justice.

This waiting game is made possible because ,while most people in IC would like to see Karadzic and Mladic face the Tribunal, getting them to the Hague is not very high on anybody's list of priorities.

Why has nobody posted a reward for their capture that matches the reward for bringing Bin Laden and his ilk to justice? The sum to be paid out for turning these two in has not even kept up with the rate of inflation.

Why haven’t more resources been allocated to their capture?

Why have the major human rights organizations not launched a second "Arrest Now" campaign? Bringing persons charged with genocide to justice should surely be one of their principle concerns.

Its surely not because the Serbian Government's excuses for not turning Mladic over hold water. The latest whopper, that Mladic might kill himself if faced with capture, really takes the cake.

This is an old chestnut. Milosevic threatened to kill himself when he was facing arrest. He is still very much alive today.

Perhaps it is too much to ask of our governments that, after ten long years they make the capture of Karadzic and Mladic, a priority. However, the least that we all can do is not to take these sorry excuses from Belgrade seriously.


Eric Gordy said...

Maybe it might be useful to think of the possibilities. This is probably not exhaustive, but here goes:

1) He is off in some other country (people have mentioned Russia as a possibility) and cannot be found.

2) He is hiding so effectively that he cannot be found, and nobody outside of a tight circle knows about it.

3) The military has been hiding him all along, but nobody knows.

4) The military has been hiding him all along and the government knows this, but does not sufficient control ovber the military to do anything about it.

5) The military and government know exactly where he is, but do not have the political will to do anything about it.

I would be inclined to say that 1) and 2) are pretty improbable, for a whole lot of reasons. I would also not be very inclined to believe 3), since it implies a degree of coordination that probably does not exist. That would leave 4) and 5), which are not terribly different from one another. If it is neither 4) nor 5), then no amount of political pressure would change the situation.

This is all speculation, of course.

steve Albert said...


Although I think that it is probable that the military and government had a hand in hiding Mladic, I am far from sure that that means that they can resist pressure to hand him over. Much of that pressure comes from the force of circumstance.

Slovenia is already in the EU. Croatia may be on the way. Serbia will remain outside the EU as long as Karadzic and Mladic are fugitives from justice. That’s hardly the outcome that most people would have predicted at the beginning of the Balkan Wars,

Kostunica’s recent declaration that “Mladic is a stone around Serbia’s neck” is a recognition of how harboring Mladic has led to Serbian isolation. This statement isn’t a denunciation of the horror Mladic wrought. It does not speak to the moral necessity of bringing the person who presided over the Srebrenica massacre to justice.

Kostunica may be making these noises to buy time, but they clearly are a sign that pressure can make a difference . With each passing day the position of the Serbian Government become more untenable. How can Belgrade try the Scorpions and still protect Mladic?

Of course, the present leaders of Serbia lack the courage of a Djindic or Natasa Kandic. However, that does not mean that this type of courage will not be found in other Serbian politicians, I am sure that,over time, more voices will be heard Serbia asking for Mladic to be turned over.

Few would have predicted that the Serbian people would have overthrown Milosevic or that he would have ended up in the Hague. Those of us who are concerned about the future of the region have to ask ourselves what we can do to hasten the day when Karadzic and Mladic will join him there.

I have been inspired to respond to your post by the eloquence with which you made the point that Mladic did not require courage to slaughter civilians. I hope that more people will make this point clearly. Hopefully the day will come when the people who elect the Government in Serbia will understand that that country is paying a heavy price to protect a murderous coward, who deserves to end up in a jail cell in the Hague.


Eric Gordy said...

Steve, one thing that I think we are witnessing is the rapid depreciation of fugitives: the people who want Mladic extradited are supplemented by the people who see no reason to support him. I saw something of the sort when I was lucky enough to be in Buenos Aires for the "police trials" in 1986 -- some of the people who were most passionate about getting the criminal police officers convicted were the younger police officers. They wanted to be seen as a professional police force, and regarded the detritus of the old regime at the top as ballast.

Steve Albert said...


One would hope that the elements of the Serbian armed forces and police who "want to be seen as a professionals , and regard the detritus of the old regime at the top as ballast." would take a recent suggestion by Florence Hartmann to heart.

"Hartmann proposed that the "Bosnia-Herzegovina model" should be enforced on all individuals who are known helpers in the hiding and protection of Hague fugitives; which entails freezing their property and assets."

Serbian officials have indicated that they know who Mladic's helpers are. There have been public statements indicating that his cellphone conversations have been tapped,and that, up until a month ago, his son collected his pension. Surely it isn't too much to ask of them to cut off his support network and arrest anyone who continues to help hide the fugitive.

Western governments and NGOS could help by publicizing the list of 'helpers'.The governments could also freeze any assets they might have outside Serbia, if they have not already done so.

It is one thing not to hand over a person indicted for genocide by International Tribunal. It is quite another to have your police and armed forces (or elements of them) actively assisting the fugitive.

No state can do so and hope to be considered a full member of the community of nations. At this late date,that's a powerful argument that can be made to members of the Serbian military and police.