Mladic is accused of organising the massacre of up to 8,000 Bosniaks in 1995 [AFP]
Serbia’s government has boosted the reward for information leading to the capture of Ratko Mladic, a former Bosnian Serb army commander, and Goran Hadzic, the ex-Croation Serb leader, who are both fugitives wanted by a UN court for alleged war crimes.
While the bounty for the detainment of Mladic, Europe’s most wanted war crimes fugitive, rose by tenfold from $1.4m to $14m, the reward for Hadzic’s arrest increased from $350,000 to $1.4m.
Mladic and Hadzic are the last two remaining fugitives wanted to answer war crimes charges before the Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).
Mladic is accused of organising the massacre of up to 8,000 Muslim civilians from Srebrenica in 1995 and masterminding a siege on the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo for more than three years.
About 10,000 people died during the siege. They were the worst atrocities to occur on European soil since the Second World War.
He was indicted for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity by the ICTY in 1995.
The US government has already offered rewards of up to $5m for information on Mladic’s whereabouts.
Hadzic faces 14 accounts of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his alleged involvement in the murder of thousands of Croatian civilians during Croatia’s war of independence from Yugoslavia from 1991 to 1995. He was indicted by the ICTY in 2004.
Both men are believed to be hiding in Serbia.
The increased reward on Thursday came just days after EU foreign ministers called on the European Commission to offer its opinion on Serbia’s bid to join the bloc.
Bruno Vekaric, a deputy war crimes prosecutor, said the Serbian government’s move, which aims to boost the prospects of capturing the suspects, reflects its eagerness to gain the favour of the EU.
Vekaric said the rise in the bounties “presents Serbia’s clear political will to remove the last remaining obstacle on its path towards the European Union”.
“This two men have kept the whole nation a hostage, [but] also their families and future generations.”