Foreign Policy Blogs

Top aide to Ratko Mladic arrested for war crimes in Serbia.

Top aide to Ratko Mladic arrested for war crimes in Serbia.Zdravko Tolimir, a former intelligence officer and senior aide to Ratko Mladic, was arrested in Bosnia yesterday.  Tolimer was considered the third most wanted war crimes fugitive after Mladic and Radovan Karadzic.  He was arrested near the border with Serbia after a major sweep of the area by anti-terrorist units of both the Bosnia and Serbian police forces.  He is considered one of the architects of the Srebrenica massacre, in which 8000 Bosnian men were systematically executed in a UN safe area.

The detention of Tolimir is considered part of the wider reconciliation campaign aimed at Serbia gaining admission into the European Union.  Talks between Serbia and the EU have been suspended in part due to Serbia's failure to fully cooperate with bringing the remaining war crimes suspects to justice.  The Serbian Humanitarian Law Centre has suggested the arrest was due to outside pressure, but noted it was a step towards the capture of other fugitives.  Tolimir was suspected of aiding Mladic in evading arrest. 

Tolimer was charged by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague with genocide and alleges his "intent to destroy" the Muslim population in Bosnia through "opportunistic summary executions" and "large scale systematic murder."  The international community considers the atrocities committed in the former Yugoslavia as genocide.    

Five of the original 161 people indicted for war crimes by the ICTY remain at large.  It is only a matter of time before the remaining fugitives, including Mladic and Karadzic, are brought to justice. 

BBC News/AP/Reuters



Daniel Graeber

Daniel Graeber is a writer for United Press International covering Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader Levant. He has published works on international and constitutional law pertaining to US terrorism cases and on child soldiers. His first major work, entitled The United States and Israel: The Implications of Alignment, is featured in the text, Strategic Interests in the Middle East: Opposition or Support for US Foreign Policy. He holds a MA in Diplomacy and International Conflict Management from Norwich University, where his focus was international relations theory, international law, and the role of non-state actors.

Areas of Focus:International law; Middle East; Government and Politics; non-state actors