[QODLink]
Europe
Serbia extradites Ratko Mladic
Former Bosnian Serb commander arrives in The Hague where he will face trial on charges of genocide and war crimes.
Last Modified: 31 May 2011 15:59
Armed police guarded a convoy as part of the Serbian authorities' extradition operation [Reuters]

Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb army commander, has been extradited from Serbia to stand trial on charges of war crimes and genocide in The Hague.

The 69-year-old former military commander on Tuesday arrived at the detention unit of the UN-backed court where he will stand trial.

"Mladic, who was arrested by Serbian authorities on Thursday May 26, 2011, has been admitted to the UN Detention Unit in The Hague," the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) announced in a statement.

He joins Radovan Karadzic, his former Bosnian Serb political chief, who is currently on trial.

Earlier, Snezana Malovic, Serbia's justice minister, said Mladic's extradition marked the fulfilment of Belgrade's "international and moral obligation".

"Mladic is charged with the most serious crimes against humanity and the most serious violations of the international humanitarian law,'' she said in a news conference to announce Mladic's extradition.

The announcement came shortly after a convoy of jeeps and police vehicles was seen leaving Serbia's war crimes court, where Mladic had been held since his arrest on Thursday.

'Political pressure'

Mladic has been charged over alleged atrocities committed by his Serb troops during the 1992-95 Bosnian war.

Those include the Srebrenica massacre in which about 8,000 Muslim men and boys were rounded up and killed, and the 44-month long siege of Sarajevo, which left an estimated 10,000 people dead.

Mladic's lawyers had appealed against his extradition, arguing that he was too ill to travel to The Hague, but Serbia's war crimes court rejected the appeal earlier on Tuesday.

Jonah Hull, Al Jazeera's correspondent, reporting from Belgrade, said that only after Mladic is examined by doctors in The Hague will the status of his health really be clear.

"Here in Belgrade there are wildly divergent views on Mladic's health," he reported.

"The prosecution and the [Serbian] court appointed doctors have proclaimed him of sound health ... but his defence are saying the doctors here have been under undue political pressure to certify him healthy.

"He's certainly not a well man - even the prosecutor confirmed that to me, though he said he [Mladic] was 'fit enough' to stand trial."

Pro-Mladic protests

Mladic was arrested on Thursday in a farmhouse in northern Serbia belonging to a cousin. His capture prompted at times violent protests by Serb nationalists in Serbia and Bosnia.

Away from Belgrade on Tuesday, in Banja Luka, the capital of the Bosnia Serb entity of Republika Srpska, thousands of Bosnian Serbs rallied to show support for the former army commander.

"General Ratko Mladic is our brave son who led Republika Srpska's army and us soldiers to defend it," Branislav Predojevic, who heads an association of Bosnian Serb veterans, told journalists at the start of the protest.

"General Ratko Mladic is not a war criminal."

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Referendum on Scottish independence is the first major election in the UK where 16 and 17-year olds get a vote.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Farmers worry about their future as buyers shun local produce and rivers show an elevated presence of heavy metals.
War-torn neighbour is an uncertain haven for refugees fleeing Pakistan's Balochistan, where locals seek independence.
NSA whistleblower Snowden and journalist Greenwald accuse Wellington of mass spying on New Zealanders.
join our mailing list