Michael J. Kelly [Creighton University School of Law]: "Serbia has moved against a group of nationalist co-conspirators who have been hiding wanted war criminal Radko Mladic for about a decade. The Serb government, largely unresponsive to repeated requests to turn over such perpetrators to international tribunals, has responded in this case only because the European Union (E.U.) has taken the drastic step of breaking off economic talks with financially-strapped government in Belgrade.
Mladic was the Bosnian Serb general in command of soldiers during the Bosnian civil war of the early '90's who committed mass atrocities, including the bloody genocide of 8,000 of Muslims at Srebrenica in 1995. Indicted by the War Crimes Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Mladic was never captured. He fled to Serbia along with others wanted for crimes against humanity after the war when U.S. and NATO military commanders refused to collar indictees in occupied Bosnia, claiming that their soldiers were not police officers adequately equipped to carry out supboneas and arrest warrants. Although allied soldiers did a fine job of arresting Nazi and Japanese Imperial leaders after World War II, commanders in occupied Bosnia did not feel they had the wherewithall for such a task in modern times.
Under Slobodan Milosevic, Serbia sheltered these criminals, refusing to cooperate with the West on principle. Under Milosevic's successor regimes, notably that of fellow-nationalist Vojislav Kostunica, noises of more cooperation were heard, but Mladic remained at large. Now, however, the E.U. has suspended talks with Serbia over associating with the community until Mladic is handed over. Under such economic pressure and the threat of Serbia remaining isolated as the only country in the Balkans without a growing E.U. relationship, Belgrade has finally decided to move on Mladic. That Brussels was prepared to use this leverage to bring such a war criminal to justice is lauditory. The E.U. historically only threatened non-association with countries in exchange for strengthening banking regulations, environmental laws, human rights, or eliminating the death penalty - as it forced Turkey to do recently."