Berserkistan Navigator Serbs' Gen. Ratko Mladic Makes
Rare Appearance at Djukic Funeral

Ratko MladicBELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) — Bosnian Serb commander Gen. Ratko Mladic appeared in public for the funeral of a fellow officer Tuesday, showing contempt for Western authorities seeking his arrest for war crimes. Mladic, wearing his Bosnian Serb uniform, and Col. Veselin Sljivancanin, another indicted war crimes suspect, were seen at the burial ceremony for Gen. Djordje Djukic, Mladic’s chief of logistics who had been in charge of the Serb bombing siege of Sarajevo.

Djukic, 62, was arrested by the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, this year and charged with crimes against humanity, but was recently released on medical grounds. He died Saturday of pancreatic cancer. Djukic’s funeral was the first occasion when Mladic was seen outside Bosnia since last December, when the U.S.-sponsored peace plan for Bosnia — which included a call for his arrest — was signed.

A grim-faced Mladic stood side by side with top Yugoslav army officers at the funeral Tuesday. Sljivancanin, in a summer shirt, seemed relaxed. An estimated 3,000 people attended the burial ceremony, which was open to the public.

Mladic is believed to be hiding generally in his underground headquarters in Han Pijesak, about 30 miles east of Sarajevo, avoiding NATO-led peace troops who are supposed to arrest war crimes suspects if they come across them. It was not clear how Mladic arrived from Bosnia or whether the NATO-led force spotted him on the way to Serbia’s capital. If he traveled by car, he had to pass at least one international checkpoint.

The undisturbed presence in Belgrade of Mladic and Sljivancanin was a a clear sign that Serbia’s powerful president, Slobodan Milosevic, who signed the peace plan and pledged cooperation with The Hague tribunal, does not intend to arrest and extradite the suspects. Milosevic has been under immense international pressure to hand over Mladic, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and three Yugoslav army officers, including Sljivancanin.

Mladic and Karadzic were indicted twice by the Hague court — for the siege of Sarajevo that killed 10,000 people and for the massacre of an estimated 6,000 Muslim men in Srebrenica after the Bosnian Serb army overran it last summer. Djukic, too, was indicted for his role in the bombing of Sarajevo.

Sljivancanin and two Yugoslav army officers were charged with the 1991 mass killing of Croats in the town of Vukovar during the six-month Serb-Croat war.

The Hague tribunal, established by the United Nations to try war criminals in former Yugoslavia, has indicted 57 people blamed for the bulk of atrocities committed during four years of war. That number includes 46 Serbs. Karadzic and Mladic are the highest-ranking officials sought by the tribunal. Only five of the suspects are in custody in The Hague awaiting trial.

The tribunal, frustrated at its inability to get its hands on indicted Bosnian Serb leaders, announced Tuesday tha it has decided to air the evidence of their alleged war crimes for the world to see. No date was set for the hearing, which is both an admission of powerlessness by the U.N. war crimes court and an attempt to marshal the international community against Karadzic and Mladic. The hearings are likely to provide the most comprehensive evidence yet of Karadzic’s and Mladic’s alleged roles in purging non-Serbs from Serb-controlled territory.

Additional resources
Berserkistan, May 19 · Bosnian Serb Army General Djordje Djukic Dies of Cancer
Berserkistan, May 21 · Tribunal to Reveal Evidence Against Karadzic, Mladic
Indictment Against Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic

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