Mladic Arrested for War Crimes in Serbia, Explosions Kill 28 in Yemen
Ratko Mladic, long-sought by prosecutors for his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, was arrested in Serbia after being on the run for more than a decade. The massacre is among the most notorious event of the war in Bosnia, and resulted in the deaths of 8,000 Muslim men and boys. Mladic, a former Bosnian Serb army general, was living under the name Milorad Komodic in Vojvodina, in northern Serbia, though the government has not released full details of how he was discovered or arrested.
Serbian President Boris Tadic said Mladic would be extradited to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia at The Hague. His arrest also paves the way for Serbia to become a candidate to gain membership to the European Union. President Tadic vowed that the search for those who had collaborated with Mladic would continue. Serbia had been under intense pressure from the United Nations and Europe to root out remaining war criminals, and had been accused of not taking adequate steps to find those who remained at large.
The arrest came shortly before Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s policy chief, was set to arrive in Serbia, leading some to speculate that the arrest was timed to coincide with her visit. The Serbian government denies that the arrest was intended to influence with an upcoming U.N. report or any form of international pressure.
Mladic is the most prominent suspect to be arrested since Radovan Karadzic, who was arrested in 2008 and currently on trial. Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was arrested in 2001 and died during his trial in his cell in 2006.
The three leaders made up a triumvirate of political and military power enforcing the policy of ethnic cleansing, said Emma Daly, communications director at Human Rights Watch, who was in Bosnia during the war working for the UK-based newspaper The Independent.
Daly said in Srebrenica, no one knew why the men and boys were rounded up, but then came reports that they were shot and buried in mass graves.
“I remember going back the following spring by which time NATO had taken over. And there were green fields with grass and trees and there were bodies lying in the field,” she said.
(Additional reporting by Daniel Sagalyn.)
Explosions Kills 28 in Escalating Yemen Violence
There are conflicting reports from Yemen on the cause of a series of explosions that killed 28 people — the government has claimed the blasts took place at a munitions storage site; the opposition fighters claim the government shelled the building. An estimated 109 people have died in fresh clashes in Yemen this week alone, and protesters continue to call on longstanding president Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave office.
The U.S. government, which has worked with Saleh on anti-terrorism efforts, has ordered all non-essential personnel to leave Yemen. President Obama has encouraged Saleh to step aside, despite the two governments’ efforts to root out al Qaida elements and other terrorist groups known to be operating in the volatile country. President Saleh has said he will not step down and rebuffed a deal drafted by the Gulf Co-operation Council in which he would cede power to a coalition government.
Demonstrators remain encamped at Sanaa University, which has been a major flashpoint for protests in recent months. The capital’s airport also briefly closed Wednesday because of violence.
Arab Spring, IMF Leadership on the Docket for G-8 Leaders
Leaders from the Group of Eight are convening in Deauville, France, for a two-day summit, dominated by concerns over violence in Libya, Syria and elsewhere in the Arab world, as well as fledgling democracies in Egypt and Tunisia — and how best to fund and support them. There are fears that the economic toll of the unrest could further destabilize budding governments or strengthen strongmen. Representatives from Egypt, Tunisia and the Arab League have been invited to participate in the Deauville talks.
The G-8 Summit comes on the heels of French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde’s announcement that she is seeking to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn as head of the International Monetary Fund, following his arrest on charges of sexual assault and subsequent resignation. His exit came at an especially crucial time for the organization, which had been heavily involved in attempts to fix debt crises in Europe. Developing nations have expressed interest in the top job, but no prominent candidates have emerged to challenge Lagarde. Economic recovery is expected to factor in heavily to this year’s summit as major industrial economies work to recover from financial crisis.
President Obama, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi are all attending the summit.
Joplin Officials to Release List of Missing
Four days after a massive tornado ripped through the city of Joplin, Mo., 125 people are confirmed dead and officials are preparing to release a list of those still unaccounted for — a number estimated at 1,500 people.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said, “We’re going to be moving to take over that part of the operation to get this information out much more quickly and respectfully for these families that need to hear the information about the loved ones who are — have been lost.”
The tornado in Joplin was followed by more twisters in Arkansas, Kansas and Oklahoma that claimed 16 more lives. The Joplin tornado is believed to be the most deadly in the United States in 60 years.