My father saved many Muslims at Srebrenica, claims Mladic's son
Published 30/05/2011 | 05:00
RATKO Mladic's son has claimed his father "had nothing to do with" the slaughter of 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica ahead of the indicted Serbian war criminal's appeal against extradition in Belgrade today.
Darko Mladic insisted yesterday that his father, the former commander of the Bosnian Serb military, had actually saved the lives of Muslims and bore no personal responsibility for the 1995 massacre, the worst war crime on European soil since the end of World War Two.
Mladic (69) is expected to be extradited to a UN tribunal in The Hague as early as tomorrow to face trial on 11 counts of war crimes, including charges of genocide for the mass murder of captive Muslims in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica.
"Whatever was done in Srebrenica, he has nothing to do with it," said Darko Mladic. "He saved so many women, children and soldiers.
"His orders were first to evacuate the wounded, then women and children, then captured soldiers. Whatever was done behind his back, he has nothing to do with that," he added.
Mladic is charged, along with Radovan Karadzic, of being the supreme commander of Serb "ethnic cleansing" operations, such as Srebrenica, and other crimes against humanity, including the four-year shelling of Sarajevo in the Bosnian war that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991.
Europe's most wanted war crimes fugitive has been held in a Serbian jail since his arrest last Thursday, and is expected to make an emotional appeal against extradition on the grounds of ill health and diminished psychological condition.
The Mladic family will appeal against extradition on the grounds that he is too ill to appear in court.
"His basic human rights are being violated," said his son.
Mladic is said to be physically frail, having suffered at least two strokes. Milos Saljic, his lawyer, also said that he was in "bad shape psychologically".
Prosecutors have dismissed the family's moves as a delaying tactic. Defence requests appear likely to delay Mladic's extradition until at least tomorrow.
Mladic has suffered at least two, and possibly three, strokes, the latest in 2008, his son said. The suspect's right arm is only semi-functional, and his family says he is not lucid.
The former commander keeps demanding that he be allowed to visit the grave of his daughter, who committed suicide with his handgun in 1994.
"If he can't go there, he wants his daughter's coffin brought in here," the lawyer added. "His condition is alarming."
His lawyer, Milos Saljic, said the family does not believe that Mladic would receive proper medical attention in The Hague. He noted that several high-profile Serbs had died there, including former President Slobodan Milosevic. (© The Daily Telegraph, London)