The Congress of North American Bosniaks (CNAB), on behalf of Bosniaks in the United States and Canada, welcomes the news of the arrest of war criminal Ratko Mladic, who served as a general of the Bosnian Serb army during the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina. As Radovan Karadzic’s right hand man he commanded the Bosnian Serb army in conducting systematic campaigns of genocide, crimes against humanity and indiscriminate destruction in Bosnia and Herzegovina, against all non Serbs. These war crimes resulted in genocide against the Bosniak people and mass murder of innocent civilians, including children, women and elderly on a scale not seen since the Holocaust in Europe, with over 200,000 dead civilians, 50,000 raped women, thousands of sacred and historic monuments destroyed, and more than a million displaced from their homes.
Gen. Mladic, who has been hiding for 16 years, directly commanded, as the general of the Main Staff, the Bosnian Serb army during the invasion of UN “safe area” Srebrenica in July 1995, resulting in the genocide and murder of more than 8,000 Bosniak civilians and expulsion of more than 30,000 others. Radovan Karadzic, currently on trial at the Hague war crimes tribunal authorized the attack on Srebrenica. The arrest and trial of both will hopefully give some peace to the families of those who were killed and whose lives have been destroyed.
It is important that the arrest of Ratko Mladic is not used for political gain by Serbian and Bosnian Serb politicians to obtain concessions from the international community, particularly the European Union. These arrests are only a long overdue obligation by the Serbian government but the process of accountability and long term stability must not stop here. We demand that the following steps be taken to further peace and long term stability in the region
– Serbia needs to unequivocally recognize the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina from 1992 – 1995 under the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, who died while on trial for genocide and crimes against humanity in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.
– Serbia must continue to cooperate with the war crimes extradition requests and arrest all suspected war criminals
– Serbia must revoke all extradition requests of Bosnian citizens, whose aim is to spread the blame for the war and equate aggressors and victims. There can be no peace or reconciliation in the region until Serbia accepts full accountability for its actions without passing the blame to others.
– Serbia must stop all transgression of sovereignty against Bosnia and Herzegovina. Serbian government continues to support Serb nationalist rhetoric in Bosnia and Herzegovina, indicating that its long term aspirations toward Bosnian territories are still part of the national agenda.
Ratko Mladic must be extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and swiftly prosecuted so that justice will be served and truth preserved regarding the aggression on Bosnia and Herzegovina and the genocide against the Bosniak people.
On behalf of CNAB
Spokesman of the Board of the Directors of CNAB