Ratko Mladic’s war crimes trial will be watched by survivor of Srebrenica massacre

A survivor of the Srebrenica massacre who was given chocolate by Ratko Mladic will be watching the general’s war crimes trial next week.

What Izudin Alic remembers about that fateful day in Srebrenica was the drowsy summer heat, the crush of bodies and the fear, and his gnawing hunger. And the kindly old man in a uniform who offered him a bar of chocolate as the television cameras rolled.

Now he knows that the man was General Ratko Mladic, the dreaded commander of the Bosnian Serb army.

“I wasn’t scared because I had no idea who he was”, said Mr Alic, who was eight at the time. Now he is a haunted young man of 25 who still lives with the ghosts of the massacre in a village near the town. On 11 July 1995 General Mladic, as he was then, had just overrun the laughably mis-named “safe haven”, brushing aside its Dutch peacekeepers withou9261777t them firing a shot. His men, cold-eyed and heavily armed, crowded round him. The terrified Bosnian adults guessed what was coming; the children had no idea death was so close.

Next week Mr Alic will again see Mr Mladic. He will be glued to his television set along with the rest of Bosnia as the man they feared above all others during those terrible years appears in the dock at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. Among other dreadful crimes he is accused of carrying out Europe’s worst post-Nazi massacre at Srebrenica, where nearly 8,000 men and boys were murdered.

The proceedings, which will probably last for around two years as evidence from 400 witnesses is heard, will be the last of the great Balkans war crimes trials.

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