The arrest of Ratko Mladic has revived conflicting feelings in Serbia.
A candlelit vigil has been held for Mladic in the village of Lazarevo. The Bosnian Serb wartime general, 69, was found at a house in the village last Thursday. For the people living there, Mladic is a hero who fought for Serbia. They want to change their village’s name to Mladicevo.
Mladic’s son has told reporters his father has denied any responsibility for the 1995 massacre at Srebrenica.
On Monday, Mladic’s lawyer plans to appeal against plans to extradite his client to the International Criminal Court. Milos Saljic says Mladic’s mental and physical heath is deteriorating – he has had several strokes. His family think he is too frail to be handed over to prosecutors in The Hague.
Mention of Mladic may evoke feelings of pride in some, but for others there is only horror and revulsion. The so-called ‘Butcher of the Balkans’ is wanted on charges of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia.
News of his arrest prompted thousands to gather in Visegrad in eastern Bosnia. Some 3,000 roses were thrown into the river; one for each person from the town who perished in the conflict.