Serbia police search Belgrade house of genocide fugitive Ratko Mladic

By Jovana Gec, AP
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Serbia police search fugitive Mladic’s house

BELGRADE, Serbia — Masked policemen searched the house of genocide suspect Ratko Mladic on Tuesday in an effort to capture the war crimes fugitive as Serbia seeks EU membership.

The operation in Belgrade lasted for more than eight hours, during which a few dozen armed special officers blocked off the suburban street where Mladic’s family house is located.

It was not immediately clear whether the action provided any clues to the whereabouts of the former Bosnian Serb army commander wanted by a U.N. court for the massacre of 8,000 Muslims Srebrenica and other war crimes of the Bosnian war.

War crimes prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic said authorities were working to track Mladic’s financial support network, which is crucial to his long evasion of justice.

The independent Beta news agency reported that the police found at least €70,000 ($95,380) in Mladic’s house during Tuesday’s search. Svetozar Vujacic, Mladic’s family lawyer, confirmed police had found money in the house, but he said it was a “much smaller sum.” Vujacic also said police went through documents and measured the walls.

“This is the fourth time that they are doing the general search of the house and they won’t find anything they haven’t found before,” he said.

Vujacic confirmed that Mladic’s wife Bosa and their son Darko were inside.

In past searches, police confiscated documents, computer discs and videos from Mladic’s house.

Mladic was indicted for genocide in 1995 by the tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands, and is believed to be hiding in Serbia under nationalists’ protection. He lived freely in his Belgrade house for years, before vanishing in early 2006.

Serbia, which recently submitted its candidacy for European Union membership, must arrest Mladic if it wants to move closer to the 27-nation bloc.

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