Who is he: In response to Bosnia's secession from Yugoslavia, the Bosnian Serb Parliament voted to create the Army of the Repuklika Srpska (VRS). Ratko Mladic was named commander of the Main Staff of that army. Mladic held that position until 1996 when Serbia surrendered.
In July 1995, Mladic's troops were attacked by NATO air strikes, which were intended to force compliance with the UN ultimatum to remove heavy weapons from the Sarajevo area. Nonetheless, Mladic's troops overran and occupied the UN safe areas of Žepa and Srebrenica. Over 40,000 Bosnias (a South Slavic ethnic group) who sought safety in Srebrenica were expelled, and about 8,300 were murdered, allegedly upon Mladic's order.
In 1995, Mladic was indicted for genocide at the war crimes tribunal in the The Hague (the ICC). Those charges were expanded later that year by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to include the attack on the UN safe area in Srebrenica.
Mladic was a fugitive from the ICTY for 16 years, finally apprehended in May 2011 in Lazarevo in the northern province of Vojvodina. Due to ill health, Mladic appeared before the Belgrade Higher Court for a hearing to determine whether he was fit enough to be extradited to The Hague. The judge suspended interrogation due to his poor health, but the Court ruled that he was fit to be extradited on May 27, 2011. According to the Serbian Health Ministry, a team of prison doctors determined his health was stable and he was ready to face the tribunal.
As of this writing, Mladic is on trial. Critics of the process point out that the whole idea of "crimes against humanity" is a bogus one. And there are grave doubts about the "justice" that the ICC metes out. Finally, there are numerous questions about the "massacre" over which Mladic supposedly presided.
There is evidence that the massacre was actually a kind of entrapment that Mladic sought to avoid and that the subsequent blackening of his name and reputation was deliberately pursued by the West, which intended to demonize Serbia and the regime of that time.
Background: Ratko Mladic was born March 12, 1943 in the small village of Božanovici, which is located southeast of Sarajevo near Mount Treskavica. That area was part of the state of Croatia, which was a puppet state for Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany after the 1941 invasion and partition of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia.
In 1961, Mladic entered the Military Industry School in Zemun before attending the KOV Military Academy. When his studies were completed he entered the Officers Academy, and graduated in 1965 at the top of his class. Mladic joined the Yugoslav Communist Party that same year and kept his membership in the party until it disintegrated in 1990.
Mladic's first assignment as an officer was in Skopje. Mladic was the youngest soldier in the unit he commanded. Holding the rank of second lieutenant, Mladic proved himself a capable officer. He was competent enough to command a platoon, and then a battalion and finally a brigade. In 1989, Mladic's military expertise was honed enough to be promoted to the head of the Education Department of the Third Military District of Skopje.
Mladic was promoted to Deputy Commander of the Pristina Corps in Kosovo in 1991. He was given command of the 9th Corps of the Yugoslav People's Army, and that same year Mladic was promoted to Major General. The forces under his command participated in the Croatian War and attempted to sever Dalmatia from the rest of Croatia. The attempt failed, but Mladic's forces did take the village of Kijevo.
In 1992, Ratko Mladic was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel General. His army was ready for victory and exactly one month after the Bosnian Republic declared independence in 1992 Mladic and his officers blockaded the city of Sarajevo. Electricity and water were turned off and the traffic was blocked from going in and out of the city. The blockade was the beginning of the four-year siege of Sarajevo, which was the longest siege in modern warfare history.
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