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Bildt: Mladic arrest 'a good day for Europe'

Bildt: Mladic arrest 'a good day for Europe'

Published: 26 May 2011 16:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 May 2011 16:40 GMT+02:00

Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt on Thursday hailed the arrest of Bosnian Serb war crimes suspect Ratko Mladic, calling it the closing of a "dark chapter in European history".

"A dark chapter in European history can now be closed! And we can look at much brighter EU prospects for all of the Western Balkans," Bildt wrote on his Twitter account following reports of Mladic's arrest on Thursday.

Mladic, considered by many to be Europe's most wanted war crimes fugitive, is wanted for genocide in connection with the 1995 killing of some 8,000 Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica and other crimes committed by troops under his command during Bosnia’s 1992-95 war.

His arrest was announced on Thursday by Serbian president Boris Tadic, who added that Mladic's extradition to the UN war crimes tribunal in the Hague was already underway.

"My hope is that today's news will open up the possibility for Serbia to receive EU-candidate status toward the end of the year," Bildt wrote later on his blog.

"This is a good day for Europe."

Bildt, who served as a mediator in the conflict as a European Union Special Envoy and co-chaired the 1995 Dayton Peace Conference which brought an end to the hostilities, had extensive involvement with the Balkans following the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.

After the 1995 peace agreement, Bildt returned to Sarajevo to serve as the UN High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina until 1997, later assuming the post United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Balkans between 1999 and 2001.

Bildt said he expects to be called to testify during the expected war crimes trial of Mladic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to "tell what I know about what happened in the tragic summer of 1995".

"My meeting then with Mladic and others are described in the book 'Peace Journey', but since then various trials at the ICTY have given us a much deeper picture of what actually happened," Bildt wrote on his blog.

According to Bildt, the trial of Mladic will be "the last big war crimes trial following the Balkan wars" and that Mladic's arrest would also help Croatia's EU membership negotiations reach a successful conclusion "in the near future".

"Then the powers of European integration and forgiveness can finally begin to dominate that part of Europe which for a long and brutal and horrendous decade was torn apart by nationalist conflicts," wrote Bildt.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

17:03 May 26, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
Perhaps Bildt has a lot to say in the matter. Someone told me that he was watching the events while having a sip of Absolut Vodka. with Absolut Radic. Who knows. I do not believe that, but... God create them and they join a.s.a.p.
18:34 May 26, 2011 by Max Reaver
who gives a damn about what Bildt says.
18:54 May 26, 2011 by Iraniboy
@BL@KBIRD

Lying?! Haven't you seen the pictures of Balkan genocide?

Europeans have had the experience of Jewish massacre in WW2 but it didn't ring the bell enough as they couldn't prevent another one in Balkan. And now the third wave is on it way by these new far-right parties. We never learn from the past!
19:24 May 26, 2011 by Rick Methven
This guy was responsible for more cold blooded murder and genocide than some of the Nazi thugs of the Third Reich.

I wonder if it is time to bring back the death penalty for genocide?
20:15 May 26, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
Mladic was certainly the 'star figure' who is most remembered in some of those awful massacres of the 1990s - widely reported in the media and on TV.

This cocky so-and-so was supposed to 'understand the west better than it understands itself'

Just interested to hear what he now has to say for himself at a forthcoming ICC trial?
21:26 May 26, 2011 by Iraniboy
Hate against groups has no limit!

As history suggests this hate is especially against people with other beliefs like Jews, Muslims,... Those who committed these crimes were not some evil speaking persons with horns or big teeth. They were normal populism leaders all started by criticizing a group and finished by dehumanizing and killing their victims. This is what current European far-right groups are half way done!
21:37 May 26, 2011 by wenddiver
Boo Hoo, Is this the same Kosovar Muslims the US Military saved, so they could get shot at the German airport by the Kosovar Muslimims????
21:57 May 26, 2011 by Rick Methven
@wenddiver

So as he only massacred Muslims that is OK by sicko assho*se like you ?
03:05 May 27, 2011 by Hindustani786
He is a present Hitler Demon.

Followed by Ariel Sharon, Netanyahu, Bush, Blair, Musharraf, Modi and lot more.

Justice must prevail.
07:00 May 27, 2011 by expatjourno
So Carl Bildt wants Serbia "to receive EU-candidate status toward the end of the year."

Good grief. Serbia has not even BEGUN to get over its murderous past. in fact, it's not even past. Serbs STILL support Mladic. To. This. Day.

Letting Serbia into the EU would be like letting a Nazi-filled Germany into the EU. Serbia has not even BEGUN to make the changes in its society and come to terms with its crimes against humanity.

And all we need is a MORE genocidal Yugoslav mafia types coming to Sweden.

Time to move to Norway.
08:06 May 27, 2011 by nolikegohome
Wow how convenient,to catch a corrk at the right time and fet a free pass to join the EU. :) yeah! sure the Serbs had no clue where he was hiding or did they?
09:03 May 27, 2011 by engagebrain
Mladic didn't massacre 8 000 people on his own.

Will the help also be prosecuted ?
14:49 May 27, 2011 by Grippen
Folks, haven't you heard about the presumption of the innocence?

There also was a big fuss about Milosevic trial, but eventually he has died in prison without any sentence.

At least serbians have proved their superiority over yankees - they haven't shot the suspect on the spot.
17:40 May 27, 2011 by zeulf
@ Grippen ????? "but eventually he died in Prision without any sentence"

Please explain .... what relevance does this have ? why bring the Yanks into this Euro problem?
01:56 May 28, 2011 by wenddiver
I vote for acquital, take away the funny uniforms and they look like any group of guys from Chicago or Montana. Without the hats they could be any hunting club in the Mid-West.

OK, things were done, but hey haven't we all made mistakes, things get a little out of hand. What you going to do lock them up for life for being Guys? Jeesh!! Like these are the first guys to ever do Dumb with a capital D. They've learned their lesson, they'll never let people take pictures of them and Muslims again.

I personally, say we give them a fair trial in Sweden. They get the standard two years in a Prison with golf, TV and daily Field Trips. I say let them give a verbal promise not to do it again and then cut them loose, don't Liberals like to blame Society, we'll do that. Maybe let them re-locate to Canada or Detroit.

We've got to stop dwelling on the past.
03:32 May 28, 2011 by philster61
i'd be curious to learn what role Carl Bildt played in his capture as he seems to be milking it for all its worth.....
09:20 May 28, 2011 by J. L. Belmar
@philster61

If you let him, Carl Bildt will milk everybody for his own benefit. He is too fast when opening his mouth but too slow in thinking before declaring. '

Ratko Mladic was, is and unfortunately will be, a hero in the eyes of his people. The same as Hitler was and still is a hero in front of too many Germans. And let's do not talk about Osama Bin Laden. He will remain being a hero "forever and ever" in the eyes of the too many you know what in the world.
09:40 May 30, 2011 by Grippen
@zeulf

No problem, just read news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4797696.stm and you'll understand it.

And regarding yanks - it's always nice to see Europena moral and legal superiority, not mentioning that yanks have been bombing Serbia.
15:42 May 31, 2011 by wenddiver
Not guilty by way of insanity, his Mother named him RatKo, it was to be expected.
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