16 years after being indicted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Tribunal former Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic is under guard in solitary confinement in The Hague.
On Friday he makes his first court appearance to enter his plea, after which he will enter the jail’s general population where he will again be able to rub shoulders with former colleagues like Radovan Karadzic.
“I’ve been more than ten times in Bosnia over the last few years, and every time I met with victims’ organisations, their number one request from the international community and to the tribunal was to make sure that Ratko Mladic is arrested.
It’s, of course, very important for the tribunal. He’s one of the two remaining fugitives and he is the most senior military officer from the Bosnian-Serb army to face trial in the Hague. But it is also important for international justice in general, because it means and it sends the strong signal that at the end of the day those allegedly responsible for the worst atrocities will be arrested one day.
We are fully aware that we must make sure that this trial can take place as soon as possible and under the best possible circumstances,” said Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz.
Many of those keeping a vigil outside the prison must have despaired of ever seeing Mladic appear there. Now it is just a matter of hours before justice begins its search for the truth.