General Ratko Mladic has appeared before Serbia’s war crimes court in Belgrade following his arrest earlier on Thursday.
Mladic, who has been taken into custody in a northern Serbian village, has been on the run for more than ten years. He is accused of war crimes, including genocide, committed against non-Serbs during the Bosnian conflict of the early 1990s.
The Serbian court will now undertake detailed checks to determine whether everything is satisfactorily in place for Mladic to be extradited to The Hague. A decision is expected in about a week’s time.
Defending Mladic, lawyer Milos Saliic told the court that Mladic does not recognize the international tribunal, and is neither physically nor mentally able to go through the rigors of an investigation. Those pleas are unlikely to be sympathized with by the majority of the global community, as Mladic is wanted for what amounts to being the worst atrocities to take place in Europe since World War II.
Mladic is accused of overseeing the massacre of up to 8,000 men and boys in 1995. In addition, between April 1992 and February 1996, he led his army to lay siege to Sarajevo killing an estimated 10,000 people.
Earlier in the day as soon as Serbian President Boris Tadic announced that Mladic had been arrested in Serbia, congratulations began pouring into Serbia from around the world, including neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has commented that the arrest marked a “historic day for international justice.”
President Barack Obama also praised news, saying Mladic will now have to answer to his victims and the world in court.