International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) [official website] prosecutor Serge Brammertz [official profile] said [transcript, PDF] Wednesday that Ratko Mladic [ICTY backgrounder; JURIST news archive] will appear before the tribunal Friday to face allegations of war crimes during the Bosnian civil war [JURIST news archive]. Serbian authorities captured [ICTY press release] Mladic last week, ending a 16-year manhunt [JURIST report] for the former general colonel and commander of the army of the Serbian Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Brammertz commended Serbia for their efforts, and explained why Mladic was important to the ICTY.
Why is it so important for us to prosecute Ratko Mladic? The answer to this question lies in his position of power and influence during the war. It also lies in the nature and extent of the atrocities committed. Ratko Mladic was a Colonel General and Commander of the Main Staff of the Bosnian Serb Army. He was the most powerful military figure in Bosnia during the war. He is charged with crimes that shocked the conscience of the international community. These crimes symbolize the brutality of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Brammertz also emphasized the importance of capturing the final at-large Serbian war criminal, Goran Hadzic [ICTY case materials]. Mladic will face the tribunal for the first time Friday at 10:00 AM [press release].
Mladic lost his final appeal in Serbia to avoid extradition [JURIST reports], and was transported to the Hague late Tuesday night. Mladic faces charges [amended indictment, PDF] of genocide and crimes against humanity, including murder, political persecution, forcible transfer and deportations, cruel treatment and the taking of peacekeepers as hostages. He is most infamous for ordering the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys in the massacre of Srebrenica [JURIST news archive] during the Bosnian civil war.