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Updated: May 27, 2011 03:15 IST

"Butcher" Ratko Mladic arrested

Vaiju Naravane
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Bosnian-Serb General Ratko Mladic is seen in this 1995 file photo during a visit to troops in the east Bosnian town of Vlasenica.
AP Bosnian-Serb General Ratko Mladic is seen in this 1995 file photo during a visit to troops in the east Bosnian town of Vlasenica.

General Mladic also known as the Butcher of Srebrenica, was wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the United Nations special tribunal on the former Yugoslavia.

General Ratko Mladic, who commanded Bosnian Serb troops during the 1991-1995 Balkan wars that tore apart the former Yugoslavia was arrested in Serbia today, President Boris Tadic confirmed in Belgrade.

General Mladic also known as the Butcher of Srebrenica, was wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the United Nations special tribunal on the former Yugoslavia. He was living under the pseudonym of Milorad Komadic. His arrest came after an anonymous tip off to the the police that the persons known by that name bore an uncanny resemblance to General Mladic. DNA tests are expected to confirm his identity.

He had evaded justice since 1995, when the Dayton Peace Accords that brought hostilities to an end were signed and several leaders and political leaders had accused Serbia of sheltering him. The European Union gave no option to Serbia saying they would bar Belgrade’s entry to apply for EU membership unless war criminals such as Ratko Mladic or Radovan Karazdic were caught. Radovan Karazdic was handed over to the International Criminal Tribunal on the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague in 2008.

"On behalf of the Republic of Serbia I can announce the arrest of Ratko Mladic," President Boris Tadic told reporters. “An extradition process is under way. We have ended a difficult period of our history and removed the stain from the face of the members of our nation wherever they live. I believe that the doors for Serbia to join the EU are open,” Tadic said. The President did not specify where in Serbia the arrest took place.

The 68-year old Mladic is wanted for his role in the massacre in July 1995 of up to 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica. He was also the commander of the 44-month-long siege of the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, which killed more than 10,000 people.

Welcoming the move, the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said: We expect Ratko Mladic to be transferred to the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia without delay. Full co-operation with the ICTY remains essential on Serbia's path towards EU membership”.

U.S. and Serbian authorities had offered rewards of up to $19m for information leading to Mladic's arrest.

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