Thursday, September 21, 2006

Media Roundup - The Dreaded M(ladic) Word

The man who never seems far from the headlines - Ratko Mladic is again the subject of conjecture in the Serbian media.

The latest speculation seems to centre around an alleged Russian connection. Namely, during the Bosnian war Mladic appears to have bought weapons from the chief of Russian State Security Stjepasin. And yesterday it materialised that one of Mladic's right hand men, Marko Lugonja was arrested just minutes before his flight was due to take off - bound for Moscow. One version claims that Lugonja had already boarded the airplane but men in suits burst into the aircraft and then detained him. The other, preferred by Lugonja, is that he was stopped at passport control.
The operation was co-ordinated by the Special War Crimes Prosecutor Vukcevic in conjunction with the security agency BIA.

Either way the event was something of a fiasco since although Lugonja was meant to appear in court soonish, he still had the use of his passport and was technically was free to travel. Its not immediately clear why this occurred but with the Serbian record of letting suspects flee, hardly surprising.

Logonja now claims that the whole incident was set up with the intention of impressing the 'internationals' and Carla Del Ponte. As in many shady episodes in the Balkans there may be some truth in this - but of course this doesn't mean he didnt intend to flee.

Another Hague indictee Goran Hadzic is also (somewhat suspiciously) making the news. In what feels like a PR campaign by the Serbian government the potential arrest of Hadzic is being touted in the media as a possible offering to Del Ponte and the EU in return for the continuation of Serbian EU integration.

Sources quoted in the media say that if the EU refuses to continue the talks then the government will be forced to call a general election.

Are the Europeans impressed? Will Serbia go to the polls yet again this October?
Stay tuned.


Blogger Viktor said...

According to my sources, we can expect elections in december, not october. But something's bound to happen, i feel like we are in state of limbo now.

2:12 pm  
Blogger Bg anon said...

Yes the latest information suggests that the Europeans are unimpressed with the Serbian governments 'unofficial' offer.

Man sometimes this Mladic issue feels like the Milosevic period. It just goes on and on...

I agree with you that elections arent likely soon. Perhaps December or even early next year. One should never underestimate the capacity of politicians to hang on to what they have and the capacity for members of smaller parties to be affected by bribery (or blackmail).

3:54 pm  
Blogger Nikola said...

Never hand over our heroes to that political circus!

5:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all the bending and manouvering Serbia's gov is doing to appease Europe and Del Ponte, I don't believe that Serbia's politicians have any dignity left at all.
There is a good song by a bad group in Oz that says "Better to die on your feet than to live on your knees". It's something Serbia's MP's should be aware of. There's no respect for the seemingly weak.

7:19 am  

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