Ratko Mladić

Convicted war-criminal and former general of the Bosnian Serb military (1991-1996)

Ratko Mladić (born 12 March 1943) is a Bosnian Serb general and a war criminal who committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. On 31 May 2011, Mladić was extradited to The Hague, where he was processed at the detention center that holds suspects for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY); he was convicted in 2017.

People are not little stones, or keys in someone's pocket, that can be moved from one place to another just like that.

Quotes edit

We are fully aware that war is not the only way to defend our values. But if those values are fundamentally endangered, as is the case today, then war is the only way to defend them.
There are so many! It is going to be a feast. There will be blood up to your knees.
[F]uck the Turks in Žepa, in Srebrenica, in Goražde.
  • People are not little stones, or keys in someone's pocket, that can be moved from one place to another just like that.... Therefore, we cannot precisely arrange for only Serbs to stay in one part of the country while removing others painlessly. I do not know how Mr. Krajišnik and Mr. Karadžić will explain that to the world. That is genocide.

Srebrenica Massacre edit

With one exception, the following quotes are taken directly from archival footage shot by VRS military cameramen. The arrival of the Bosnian Serb army is covered, as well as their subsequent rush to Potočari, the site of the Dutch base where tens of thousands of Bosnian Muslim refugees had taken cover, seeking protection from the United Nations.
  • Krle, Krstić, come on. Record that flag. Tear that flag down so it doesn't fly any more. Pull it down. Bravo! Towards Potočari! Towards Potočari and Bratunac! Don't stop, come on! Go in front of me the whole way, come on. Come on, boys, forward!
  • Here we are, on the eleventh of July of the year 1995, in Serbian Srebrenica. On the eve of yet another great Serb holiday we present this town as a gift to the Serb nation. The moment has finally arrived that, after the revolt against the Dahijas, we will have vengeance against the turks in this place.
  • There are so many! It is going to be a feast. There will be blood up to your knees.
    • Nedzida Sadikovic, as quoted by Roy Gutman, Newsday News Service, August 9, 1995.
  • Don't be afraid of anything, just take it easy, easy. Let the women and children go first. Thirty buses are coming, we're send you off toward Kladanj. Don't be afraid of anything, nobody is going to do anything to you. Thank you, thank you. Thanks, be safe. Nobody knows anything. Everything is done on my order.

Interviews (1993–1995) edit

  • I can not participate in a conversation if people are portraying me as somebody who is trying to establish greater Serbia. I am not Tsar [king] Dušan.
    • From interview with PTC Б1, 1992
  • The generations of the past failed to unite Serbia and to establish a common Serbian state, which should include all Serbian national, ethnic and historical territories.
    • From interview with PTC Б1, 1992
  • We, as the winners [of WW1 & WW2], created a common country [Yugoslavia] with our enemies [Croats & Muslims], who were on the defeated side [Central Powers & Axis Powers].
    • From interview with PTC Б1, 1992
  • We Serbs are the only nation, on this planet, who decided to unite with people who tried to exterminate us and were our enemies.
    • From interview with PTC Б1, 1992
  • I have no intention to create greater Serbia, neither to re-establish the former Byzantium. I am only defending my nation and my country.
    • From interview with PTC Б1, 1992
  • We are fully aware that war is not the only way to defend our values. But if those values are fundamentally endangered, as is the case today, then war is the only way to defend them. Everything that hinders us in our effort to defend ourselves is an injustice. We did not want this war, it was thrust upon us, like all others. Defending one's people is a holy duty,
    • From interview with Robert Block, 1995
  • It would have been better if we had fought in Italy and Austria which are really at war against us, instead of allowing them to use our unfortunate Slovenians, Croats and Moslems as bait and cannon fodder.
    • From interview with Vreme, May 24, 1993
  • I wonder, if France really wants to create a Muslim state in Europe, why don't they empower them to do this in Paris or Britain?
    • Interview with Gaspari di Sklafani in DJente, Han Pijesak, 1994
  • They went running around to jewelry stores, banks, and well-stocked super-markets. There is not a single hill that they kept or liberated. On the other hand, the soldiers and officers in the army lead modest lives.
    • Commenting on war profiteers in interview with Robert Block, 1995
  • I think it is time for all peace-loving people of this world to start pondering where all this leads. I think it's high time that the weapons in this part of the world, and all over the world, were silenced."
    • From interview with Robert Block, 1995
  • If humankind were to follow my advice and if it were in my power, I wouldn't allow the word 'war' to be uttered in any language, I would ban all weapons, even in the form of toys.
    • From interview with Robert Block, 1995
  • When I guarantee something, it's the same as the word of the Almighty.
    • Quoted by Laura Silber in the Financial Times

Quotes about Mladic edit

  • The most brutal in all this was Mladic; his orders, like the one from May 1992, "aim at Velusici; there aren't many Serbs there," or the one "shoot in their bodies, blow up their brains," show that he is a monster. Unfortunately, he wasn't the only one.
  • As a confused old pensioner or retiree, Mladic is in danger of arousing local sympathy in rather the same way John Demjanjuk did but of doing so within a few years of the original atrocities and not several decades. Moreover, Mladic was a director and organizer of the mass slaughters at Srebrenica and Zepa (as of the obscene bombardment of the open city of Sarajevo), and not a mere follower of orders. The new and allegedly reformist Serbian government bears some responsibility for this moment of moral nullity and confusion, since it seems to regard the arrest of Mladic and his political boss Radovan Karadzic as little more than an episode in the warming of Belgrade's relations with the European Union. You don't have to be a practicing Serbo-chauvinist to find something a bit trivial and sordid in that calculation. (And what if it doesn't prove possible to stretch the increasingly inelastic Eurozone to accommodate Serbia's pressing needs and add them to those of Greece and Ireland? A possible hostage to fortune here.)
    • Christopher Hitchens, "Mladic the Monster: Our failure to respond to the Serbian atrocities prolonged the slaughter" (30 May 2011), Slate
  • Setting his goal as the creation of a ‘Greater Serbia’, Milošević deployed the Yugoslav National Army (JNA) — then the fourth largest army in Europe — against would-be secessionist republics. Meanwhile, Serb separatist forces within such republics were encouraged to rise up. Lacking a large Serb population, Slovenia was allowed by Milosevic, after a ‘ten-day war’, to go its own way after declaring independence in June 1991. Not so with Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina: he was determined that their sizeable Serb minority populations would remain within Yugoslavia. Milosevic loyalists helped carve out Serb autonomous enclaves in each: first Milan Babic in the Serb-dominated Krajina region of Croatia, and then General Ratko Mladić and the psychiatrist-turned-demagogue Radovan Karadžić, within Bosnia. Paramilitary gangs bearing outlandish names — Arkan’s Tigers, the White Eagles, the Chetniks — rampaged through Serb-run Croatia and Bosnia, bringing death and destruction wherever they went. In the process they endowed the lexicon of conflict with a new term, ethnicko cis cenje terena — literally the ‘ethnic cleansing of the earth’, or simply ethnic cleansing.
  • General Ratko Mladić is a living 100 kg contradiction … His large and compact face is almost always painted with a smile. He inspires trust at first sight, but the same senior UN functionaries, those who spent the most time with him in [1993], are divided in their judgement.
    • Demetriu Volcic (1993) Sarajevo: Quando la Storia Uccide, Arnoldo Mondadori Editore, page 34
  • All over northern and eastern Bosnia, Serb paramilitaries, the JNA, and Ministry of Interior forces, acting in conjunction, laid siege to towns and villages, driving out Muslims in a firestorm of brutality. On 20 May 1992, General Ratko Mladic, since indicted as a war criminal by the Hague Tribunal, was named commander of the Republika Srpska (that is, the Bosnian Serb Republic) Army. He brought a high level of professional expertise and ruthlessness to the Serb nationalist forces. Everywhere the pattern was the same—artillery barrages that laid waste to people and buildings; sieges that went on sometimes for months, even years, reducing the populations to a starved, diseased, and fearful existence. When Serb nationalist troops entered a town, the suffering became even worse.
    • Eric D. Weitz, A Century of Genocide (2018), pp. 214-215

External links edit