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Mladic to be extradited on war-crimes charges
Belgrade, May 27 (Agencies):
Published on 27 May. 2011 11:21 PM IST
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Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb military commander arrested on genocide charges, will be extradited to an international war-crimes tribunal in The Hague within a week, Serbia’s deputy war-crimes prosecutor said Friday.
The news came as a Belgrade judge resumed questioning of Gen. Mladic Friday, after cutting short for medical reasons the previous evening, according to local news agencies. The judge had been able to do little more than confirm Gen. Mladic’s identity, raising the prospect that his lawyers could argue he is too frail to be tried. “It is important that (Mladic’s) identity has been determined. Everything depends on his defense, whether he is going to file an appeal, but a maximum deadline [for extradition] is seven days,” Bruno Vekaric told Serbia’s state TV and radio channel, RTS.
Also on Friday, Gen. Mladic’s lawyer told the state news agency Tanjug that he we try to have his client transferred to special medical care for reasons of ill health and have a report made on his capacity to defend himself in court. Gen. Mladic, on the run from a genocide indictment for 16 years, was arrested Thursday where he was living, in a modest house in a village north of Belgrade.
The 69-year-old former general is accused of directing the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men in Bosnia, and was the last of the major figures accused of war crimes in the 1992-95 Yugoslav conflicts to evade capture.
The arrest’s timing—amid heightened European Union pressure on Serbia to bring the former general to face international trial—triggered speculation about whether Serbian authorities had known Gen. Mladic whereabouts. But the arrest was widely seen as turning a page on Serbia’s wartime history and easing the way for the EU to allow Belgrade candidate status for joining the bloc. Late Thursday, Serbia’s President Boris Tadic sought to capitalize on that momentum in a previously scheduled meeting with the EU’s foreign policy coordinator, Catherine Ashton.
In addition to being made EU candidate, Serbia wanted a date set by the end of the year for the start of membership talks, Mr. Tadic said after the meeting, according to the Tanjug agency. Serbia had earned the right to have “high expectations,” he said.
Mr. Tadic announced the arrest at a news conference Thursday, where he described Gen. Mladic’s capture as “good for Serbia,” and said it would open the doors for his country to start talks to join the EU.
“I think today we finished a difficult period in our recent history. We clear our name and the name of all Serbs, wherever they are,” Mr. Tadic said.

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