Bosnian Serb war crimes fugitive Mladic captured in Serbia

08:46, May 27, 2011      

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Ratko Mladic, Europe's most wanted war crimes suspect, has been arrested in Serbia after years as a fugitive,President Boris Tadic said Thursday.

"On behalf of the Republic of Serbia we announce that Ratko Mladic has been arrested," Tadic told reporters.

Mladic, who was arrested by the Serbian Security Intelligence Agency,will be extradited to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, Tadic said. He did not specify when, but said, "an extradition process is under way."

Natasha Butler, a spokesperson for Stefan Fuele, the European Commissioner for Enlargement, said the European Union was still awaiting confirmation of Mladic's arrest.

"If the arrested man is actually Ratko Mladic, it means that Serbia has realized the importance of full cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and reconciliation in the region," Butler said.

Croatian media, which first broke the story, said police there got confirmation from their Serbian colleagues that DNA analysis confirmed Mladic's identity. Belgrade's B92 radio said Mladic was arrested Thursday in a village close to the northern Serbian town of Zrenjanin.

Mladic has been on the run since 1995 when he was indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for genocide in the slaughter of some 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys in the U.N.-protected enclave of Srebrenica and other atrocities committed by his troops during the 1992-1995 Balkan conflict.

Prosecutors have said they believed he was hiding in Serbia under the protection of hardliners who consider him a hero. Mladic was last seen in Belgrade in 2006.

Serbia has been under intense pressure from the international community to catch the fugitive. The failure to capture and extradite Mladic had been a major obstacle to Serbian government efforts to achieve candidate status for European Union membership.

Source: Xinhua
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