News 13 Mar 08

Serb Nationalists Mark Mladic's Birthday

Belgrade _ A group of Serbian nationalists attempted to mark the 65th birthday of former Bosnian Serb General, Ratko Mladic, a top war crimes fugitive, in downtown Belgrade, media said Thursday.

The activists of previously little-known organisation called Young Nationalists attempted to place several large banners along overpasses in the Novi Beograd area reading Happy Birthday General.

Police dispersed the group, forcing them to remove the banners.

A activist who refused to identify himself told reporters that the group wanted to display patriotism and to send a message to the West that “it can not destroy traditions of the Serbian army using false court cases,” a reference to Mladic’s indictment by the United Nations’ International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia based in The Hague, Netherlands.

Mladic has been indicted by the tribunal on charges of genocide and other crimes against humanity, including the 1995 massacre of at least 7,500 Muslim men and boys from the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica.

Mladic lived in Belgrade for several years after the end of Bosnian war in 1995, but he went hiding following the ousting of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

Serbia’s moves towards EU membership have been tied on Belgrade’s efforts in apprehending the fugitive general.

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