News / Europe

Mladic Appeals for Calm Over His Arrest

Bosnian Serb wartime general Ratko Mladic in seen this handout photo taken in Belgrade, May 26, 2011
Bosnian Serb wartime general Ratko Mladic in seen this handout photo taken in Belgrade, May 26, 2011

Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic has appealed for calm after his supporters announced a rally in Serbia's capital to protest his arrest and extradition to a war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

Mladic's lawyer, Milos Saljic, told reporters Saturday in Belgrade that his client says he does not want to be the cause of unrest and there should be no bloodshed.  Serbia's right-wing Radical Party announced demonstrations for Sunday outside the National Assembly in Belgrade.

Earlier Saljic said Mladic would appeal a Belgrade's court decision on Friday to extradite him to the U.N.-backed court to stand trial on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide.  He said his client is physically and mentally unable to stand trial and that he would file an extradition appeal on Monday.

Mladic's son Darko claims his father's condition is critical, and the family will request for him to be examined by an independent team of doctors.  The former general has been examined by physicians in the detention facility of Serbia's war crimes court and they have approved his transfer to The Hague.

Mladic was arrested Thursday in northern Serbia after 16 years of hiding.  The U.N. tribunal on war crimes in the former Yugoslavia indicted him in 1995 for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide, in Bosnia during the 1990s Balkans conflict.

Mladic was indicted for his alleged role in the massacre of 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys from the Bosnian town Srebrenica. He was also in charge of the three-year siege of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo, which was noted for exceptional cruelty, including cutting off water supplies to the city and killing citizens waiting in line to get water or food.  

Serbian officials say they will pursue and prosecute anyone who had helped Mladic avoid being captured over the years.  President Boris Tadic also pledged efforts to capture the remaining top war crimes fugitive, Croatian Serb Goran Hadzic.

The U.N. Security Council welcomed Mladic's arrest.  In a Friday statement, the council also said it was reiterating a commitment to ensure that there was no impunity for those responsible for "genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity."

Some Serbs have expressed outrage and disappointment about Mladic's arrest, saying he only defended Serbian interests.

But Mladic has lost support among Serbia's younger generation who want closer ties with western Europe.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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