The French General Philippe Morillon met Ratko Mladic every week when he was commander of the UN forces in Bosnia in 1992 and 93. It was a time when he was trying to negotiate peace there. Morillon said he even played chess with him.
“It was always a bit of a chess game with him,” the general told euronews. “He was someone who exercised true command on the ground. Karadzic, who was the president of the Bosnian Serbs, was just a puppet in his hands. l never got anything in the various negotiations without it first passing by Mladic. He thought he was like Napoleon, and he loved his entourage to tell him so.”
“Do you think Mladic was the kingpin behind the former Yugoslavia’s pain?” euronews’ Laurence Alexandrowicz asked.
“Yes, without a doubt he prolonged the troubles. He was the one who opposed the peace accords negotiated in Geneva. It was Mladic, and Mladic alone, who carried out a real putsch in Pale and who got the Bosnian Serb parliament to reject the plan against the wishes of Karadzic.
“So he prolonged the suffering of the whole region by at least two years, and instead of serving his country, he wanted to be the great saviour of the greater Serbia. He triggered the Serb defeat and gave it this appalling image of the Srebrenica massacres at the end of July 1995.
“I’m glad that Serbs will now get the chance to understand that the man considered a hero by some among them is in fact the main reason why their suffering was prolonged.
“I’m very happy about the arrest. I’m very happy for Europe too. I’m happy that the Serb government and (President) Tadic had the courage to go ahead with this arrest.”
euronews asked: “Do you think this arrest, which is very symbolic, will help with reconciliation. Does it mark the end of something?”
“For the unfortunate mothers of Srebrenica, those who cannot forgive, we have to understand their pain, it’s a kind of mad pain. The young generations who aspire to peace themselves know that peace will come from mutually accepted independence. At least, those aged between 20 and 30 today and who barely knew the war, expect only that.”