Ratko Mladic is the Dutch worst nightmare from the Yugoslavia wars. He humiliated the Dutch UN mission by killing thousands of Bosnians with the Dutch standing by without authorisation to engage. He was ‘captured’ this week and brought to the International Court of Justice, The Hague. (ed.)
According to Western intelligence sources who have spoken to The Sunday Telegraph, is that far from being a bin Laden-style lightning raid [excuse me — ed.], Mladic’s arrest was an entirely staged event – the result not of police work but of negotiations by diplomats, who spent a whole year hammering out a deal to get him to surrender.
The deal, which suggests Serb intelligence at least had lines of contact to Mladic’s protectors, was sealed by appealing to the Serb hardman’s one known soft spot – his family. Told that they would be looked after properly if he give himself up, the prospect of ensuring the safe future for his wife, Bosiljka, and son, Darko, proved key in changing his mind.
“The negotiations about his surrender lasted slightly more than a year, with mainly French, British and German officials involved,” said one Western diplomat, who asked not to be named. “The Serbs took responsibility to work things out with him, and guaranteed that his family would be taken care of, and that he would get a pension and eventually a decent burial.
“After all, it’s better for him to go as a martyr to the Hague than die in some shabby military barracks or some wolf-lair in Serbia. He acknowledged that eventually and was talked out of suicidal martyrdom. As a result, Serbia gets her chance for EU membership, and he was just picked up by prior agreement in Lazarevo. There was no hunt operation at all.”
For more backgrounds about the Yugoslavia wars, see Srebrenica revisited