Federal Television in Bosnia-Herzegovina (FTV) aired a shocking video on Wednesday evening (June 10th) in the programme 60 Minutes. The footage shows former Bosnian Serb Army Commander, Ratko Mladic, enjoying his life in plain sight in Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Ratko Mladic, 67, has been on the run from the UN's International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) for 14 years, when he was indicted for the Srebrenica genocide and other serious crimes against humanity.
As expected, Serbia's minister in charge of co-operation with the UN tribunal - Rasim Ljajic - claimed the footage was old. "Not a single shot is less than eight years old,?" he said. Ratko Mladic has never been seriously pursued by nationalist governments in Serbia and therefore, anything that the Serbian ultra-nationalist government says should be taken with a grain of salt.
The video was found and confiscated during search of the flat of Mladic?s wife Bosiljka on December 4 last year at the order of the Chamber for war crimes of the District court in Belgrade. During the search, Belgrade investigators also found Ratko Mladic diaries, some of which we republished on June 7th.
The footage shows Ratko Mladic receiving guests at his house in a Belgrade neighbourhood of Kosutnjak (location) where he introduces guests to BILJANA. "Biljana" is a wife of his son, Darko Mladic. She was Muslim, her previous name was AIDA, but she quietly changed her Muslim name into Serbian name BILJANA. She gave birth on March 2, 2006 to a boy, Mladic's grandchild. The child has been named after St. Stefan. They apparently have one more daughter, Anastazija, who was born in 2001. It is unclear which baby he was holding on his lap.
Some parts of this amateur video show Ratko Mladic attending a wedding party of one his bodyguards in a restaurant Kula near Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in September 2000. The restaurant is situated in the so called "East Sarajevo", rural part of Sarajevo held by Bosnian Serbs, which is close to the main military NATO headquarters located in the Federal part of Sarajevo. The restaurant is also near Ratko Mladic's village of birth - Boinovići. The village is located near the Jahorina mountain, southeast of Sarajevo.
Another part of this video shows Mladic as slowly walking on a snow-covered mountain path with a cane, looking significantly older than in other footage. According to some reports, he had a "stroke" in 2006 and he hardly recovered from it. Since then, he started walking with a cane. Therefore, it looks like this part of the footage is indeed from 2006 or even 2008 as claimed by FTV.
Then, the video also shows Ratko Mladic sitting in peaceful wooded surroundings of what the television said were Serbian Army military barracks. Serbian government said that "the last time Mladic was in military premises was at the Krcmari army barracks near [the eastern Serbian town of] Valjevo on June 1, 2002." However, the footage shows significantly older Ratko Mladic holding onto his cane while sitting with his wife in a compound surrounded by trees. He jokingly complains there is not enough coffee on the table.
The compound looks a like guarded military base. The entrance sign to the compound reads, "Barutana. Izgradjena 1807 god. Restaurirana 1976 god." (Gun Powder Factory. Built in 1807. Restored in 1976.), which is part of Belgrade Castle (Beogradska Tvrdjava) built by Ottomans.
The oldest portion of this video shows Ratko Mladic attending a funeral of his daughter, Ana, who committed a suicide in 1994. You may recall that in 1994, Mladic was actively murdering Bosniak civilians - women, children, men, and elderly - in Sarajevo and other cities in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He felt no emotion for mass murders of Bosniaks, but he sobs uncontrollably in front of his daughter's coffin. A perfect psychopath, indeed.
A spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office at the ICTY said that they were examining the footage and would comment later. In the meantime, former Ratko Mladic bodyguard, Branislav Puhalo, told a Belgrade court Tuesday that Mladic was guarded by about 50 heavily armed men who were staying at an army barracks in Belgrade. He said the protection unit was set up in 1997 under orders from former President Slobodan Milosevic.
"It was all legal," Puhalo said at the trial of 10 people charged with helping Mladic evade justice. "We were tasked with protecting Mladic from criminals and bounty hunters." Puhalo said that Mladic's protection unit was disbanded in March 2002.
So we have 10 people standing trial for helping Ratko Mladic evade justice, but what about Radovan Karadzic's supporters? We wonder, why the same Belgrade Court failed to charge family members of Radovan Karadzic for helping him evade justice? Remember that Ratko Mladic's boss, Radovan Karadzic, freely traveled and regularly stayed in touch with his family, especially his wife Ljiljana Zelen-Karadzic - all with the help of Dragan Karadzic, son of Radovan's brother Luka Karadzic. None of these people have ever been charged with obstruction of justice.