Home > Uncategorized > WITNESS: An evening with Ratko Mladic

WITNESS: An evening with Ratko Mladic


I had asked the Bosnian Serb commander about the siege his forces had laid to the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica.  The massacre there, the worst of the many atrocities perpetrated against Bosnian Muslims by Mladic’s army, was still two years away but this was his way of demonstrating that there would be no escape for its inhabitants.


That gesture by Mladic, arrested in Serbia on Thursday after 16 years on the run from charges of genocide in the Bosnian war, spoke more about his ruthlessness and obsession than any of the words he uttered during an interview that lasted for more than two hours.


Mladic, a former Yugoslav Army officer, was a familiar face to reporters covering the war in Bosnia, but few journalists got to spend time with him.  I had the opportunity to pass an evening alone with him and a Reuters colleague from Belgrade at the Bosnian Serb headquarters in Pale, outside Sarajevo, in May 1993.


Arrogant and dismissive of the United Nations and the international mediators trying to end the war, Mladic was at the height of his powers.  Serb forces were in control of 70 percent of Bosnian territory, the capital Sarajevo was at the mercy of his heavy artillery, and Mladic was breathing fire.


The World Trade Center in New York had been bombed in February 1993 and, recalling that attack, Mladic threatened to bomb London and Washington if U.N. troops tried to intervene.  “One furious Serb can do a lot of damage with just one match,” he said matter-of-factly, almost slipping in the remark as an aside.


That threat –an indication of Mladic’s exaggerated sense of power as much as anything else – gave me my story for the day but what fascinated me far more was Mladic the man.  Over the course of our discussion, his mood shifted back and forth from angry, belligerent and animated to humorous, charming and pensive.


We sat across a long table trading cigarettes and sipping plum brandy.  Whenever he got excited, Mladic would stand and strut around the room.  At one point, to illustrate his insistence that he really did not like weapons, he strode over to me, un-zippered his camouflage coat and slapped his hips, inviting me to see for myself that he was not armed.


A LONELY CHILDHOOD


He had really wanted to be a surgeon, not a military officer, he declared, and he would have made a super surgeon “but I’d never make a Frank Sinatra because I don’t have a super voice.”


As the formality of our exchanges about military and diplomatic developments wore off, we got to talking about Mladic’s childhood.


Mladic ‘s father was killed in 1945 leading an attack by Josip Broz Tito’s partisans against the home village of Ante Pavelic, the World War Two leader of the Croatian Ustasha fascist state.  Mladic was two at the time and his widowed mother later sent him off to boarding school in Belgrade.


As he reminisced, it became clear that Mladic was obsessively devoted to the women blood relatives in his life.  He kept returning our conversation to his mother, his sister and his daughter Ana, a medical student in Belgrade.  I cannot recall him talking about his son, Darko, or his wife, Bosiljka.


Ana would kill herself the following year with her father’s favorite pistol.  Reports at the time said she could not come to terms with evidence that he was a butcher.


I left our meeting convinced I had met a psychopath, a man without a conscience but a charmer as long as you stayed on the right side of him.


We ran into each other several more times over the course of 1993.  On each occasion, Mladic would throw me a wave or shake my hand.  Then, the final time we met, in August that year, he winked at me with a big grin on his face, as if to let me in on the joke he had decided to play on the United Nations.


Mladic had just completed the encirclement of Sarajevo with the capture of the Muslim-led Bosnian army’s only supply route into the capital. This was his chance to show off his conquests to the commander of U.N. Forces, Belgian General Francis Briquemont.


Briquemont had to ride up Mount Bjelasnica in an armored car to survey the scene.  Mladic stood at the summit, binoculars around his neck and a Gazelle helicopter in the background to drive home his point that a U.N. no-fly ban was not worth the paper it was written on.  Briquemont was not amused.  Mladic, typically, did not care.


Photo: Former Bosnian Serb army commander and top war crimes fugitive Ratko Mladic is seen on Mountain Vlasic in this April 1995 file photo. REUTERS/Ranko Cukovic/Files

Philips 46PFL5605H/12 116,8 cm (46 Zoll) LED-Backlight-Fernseher (Full-HD, 100Hz, DVB-T/-C) schwarz TecTake Wandhalterung 94cm (37 Zoll) bis 132cm (52 Zoll) silber PLasma LCD LED TV Wandhalterung neigbar 12 Grad für 32” 37″ 40″ 42″ 46″ 47″ 50″ 51″ 55″ 60″ passend für… Panasonic NR-B32FW2-WE Kühl-/Gefrierkombination / A++ / 249 kWh/Jahr / 225 Liter Kühlteil / 90 Liter Gef… Acer S273HLbmii 68,6 cm (27 Zoll) slim LED Monitor (VGA, HDMI, Kontrast 12.000.000:1, 2ms Reaktionszeit)… PHILIPS® LED Lampe E27 MyAmbience warmweiss 2700 Kelvin – 7 Watt = 35 Watt LED-Taschenlampe Panasonic silber (inkl. 2 x LR03 Batterien), Aluminium-Gehäuse Panasonic Viera TX-L37DT30E 94 cm (37 Zoll) 3D LED-Backlight-Fernseher (Full-HD, 400Hz bls, DVB-T/-C/-S,… ATC Fernseher Wandhalterung, kipp und schwenkbar für Pioneer LG Samsung Toshiba Philips Panasonic Sony S… Samsung UE46D6200TSXZG 116 cm (46 Zoll) 3D-LED-Backlight-Fernseher (Full HD, 200Hz CMR, DVB-T/C/S2, CI+)… LG AN-WF100 WiFi Dongle für alle WiFi ready LG Fernseher Wii Component Cable Samsung SyncMaster T22A350 55,8 cm (22 Zoll) widescreen TFT Monitor (HDTV-Tuner, LED, HDMI, Scart, VGA, … Jung LED-Lichtsignal Ampelfunk. LS 539-2 LG LEDRG PlayStation 3 / PS3 Slim – Eye Stand – black – Kamerahalterung -PS Eye- für Flachbildschirme Panasonic BL-C160CE Outdoor IP-CAM mit LED`s + Infrarot Sensor,MPEG4,10fach dig. Zoom,Farbnachtsicht 3lu… Hama MiMO Wlan USB2.0 Adapter mit zwei eingebauten Antennen und WPA2-Verschlüsselung LG HW300Y LED-Projektor (Kontrast 1000:1, 300 ANSI Lumen, WXGA 1280 x 800 Pixel, Wifi, HDMI) schwarz Panasonic TX-P42C3E 106 cm (42 Zoll) Plasma-Fernseher (HD-Ready, 100Hz, DVB-T/C, CI+) schwarz Philips 40PFL8505K 102 cm (40 Zoll) LED-Backlight Fernseher (3D ready, Full-HD, 200Hz, Ambilight Spectra… Acer S232HL LED 58,5cm 23″ Full HD DVI 12.000.000:1 JELLYFISH DAS ORIGINAL MIT WALLWASH FUNKTION DURCH DEN TRANSPARENTEN FUSS- DIE ERSTE LED TOUCH PAD LEUCH… Toshiba 26EL833G 66 cm (26 Zoll) LED-Backlight-Fernseher (HD-Ready, 50Hz, DVB-T/-C, CI+) schwarz Philips 42PFL6805H/12 107 cm (42 Zoll) LED-Backlight-Fernseher (Full-HD, 100Hz, Eco LED-Serie) Gebürstet… Panasonic Viera TX-L32DT35E 80 cm (32 Zoll) 3D LED-Backlight-Fernseher (Full-HD, 400Hz bls, DVB-T/-C/-S,… Maxampere – Original Vogels Wandhalterung EFW 8105 Superflat M für Acer LED / LCD / Plasma Fernseher 19 … Panasonic Viera TX-L24C3ES 61 cm (24 Zoll) LCD-Fernseher (HD-Ready, 50Hz, DVB-T/-C, CI+) silber Philips IMAGEO LED Candle 12er Set weiß Philips MASTER LED Spot 4W MR16 TC 2700K 12V 827 24° TecTake 400124 Wandhalterung für Flachbildschirme 36cm (14 Zoll) bis 102 cm (40 Zoll) LMP LED E14 Toshiba golfb.frost 6W dim. Acer S243HLAbmii 61 cm (24 Zoll) slim LED Monitor (VGA, HDMI, Kontrast 12.000.000:1, 2ms Reaktionszeit) … Toshiba 42RL833G 107 cm (42 Zoll) LED-Backlight-Fernseher (Full-HD, 50Hz, Wi-Fi ready, DVB-T/-C, CI+) LG 47LV570S 119 cm (47 Zoll) LED-Backlight-Fernseher (Full-HD, 500Hz MCI, Smart TV, DVB-T/C/S ,CI+) schwarz Acer AT2326ML 58,4 cm (23 Zoll) Slim LED-Backlight-Fernseher (Full-HD, DVB-T, HDMI, VGA, EPG) hochglanzs… Philips 46PFL7605H/12 116,8 cm (46 Zoll) LED-Backlight-Fernseher (Full-HD, 100Hz, Ambilight Spectra 2, D… Acer S230HLBD 58,4 cm (23 Zoll) Slim LED Monitor (VGA, DVI, 5ms Reaktionszeit) schwarz Sony BRAVIA KDL-26EX325BAEP 66 cm (26 Zoll) LED-Backlight-Fernseher (HD-Ready, DVB-T/-C/-S2, CI+) schwarz Wansview WiFi 802.11g 2-way audio IP Camera Kamera W-lan 720P LG 42LW4500 107 cm (42 Zoll) Cinema 3D LED-Backlight-Fernseher (Full-HD, 100Hz MCI, DVB-T, DVB-C, CI+) s… Radiohalterung Doppel-DIN + DIN mit Ablagefach für Chevrolet für Camaro ab Baujahr 2010- Einbau-Kit, Das… LG W2261VP 54,6 cm (21,5 Zoll) Widescreen TFT Monitor HDMI/ DVI-D/ VGA (Kontrastverhältnis 50000:1, Reak… LG LB08E827L0A.E20JWE0 LED Bulb E27, 7.5 W 2700K Samsung SyncMaster S23A550H 58,4 cm (23 Zoll) Widescreen TFT Monitor (LED, VGA, HDMI, 2ms Reaktionszeit)… Toshiba 46SL833G 117 cm (46 Zoll) LED-Backlight Fernseher (Full-HD, 100Hz, DVB-T/-C, CI+) schwarz Samsung LE22C450 55,9 cm (22 Zoll) LCD-Fernseher (HD-Ready, DVB-T/-C) schwarz Acer A191HQLbmd 47cm (18,5 Zoll) LED Backlight Monitor (VGA, DVI, 5ms Reaktionszeit) schwarz glossy Panasonic Viera TX-L24D35ES 61 cm (24 Zoll) LED-Backlight-Fernseher (Full-HD, 50Hz, DVB-T/-C, CI+) silber Acer AT1926D 47 cm (18,5 Zoll) Slim LED-Backlight-Fernseher (HD-Ready, DVB-T, HDMI, VGA) hochglanzschwarz mumbi LPF60 ultra flach Wandhalterung Plasma LCD LED TV Halter / 32 – 60 Zoll (81cm – 152cm) Wandhalter …

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , ,
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: